There are only 25 days to go before the great adventure
begins!!! My long-standing blogging-buddy - "MIMI" - is about to make her SOUTH AFRICAN DREAM come true. I can hardly believe that it is finally happening.
I first "met" Mimi in 2008. Who would have thought that two people living worlds apart would strike up such a long-standing friendship? Yet it happened. Both of us were dog-bloggers and shared similar interests. Mimi was an icon of strength (from a distance) during the writing and publication of my book MAXDOG, and became part of my support group during my struggle with depression. Over the years, I have been sharing my country on this blog in the hope that perhaps ONE of my cyber-friends might make the long journey to our country. Well, Mimi has finally decided to do this. And now the big count-down starts.
ONLY 25 DAYS TO GO!!!
I admire my friend for taking this plunge. If I was her, I'd be quite nervous - travelling to a strange country to stay with a family she's never met. In addition, she's never travelled such a great distance in
her life – even the aeroplane trip will be a novelty. She has worked hard, saved hard and trusted that I will look after her when she gets here. I feel truly blessed that she has chosen me and my family to help her achieve her dream. And I thank her family too for encouraging her to make her dream a reality.
Mimi will be spending 17
fun-filled days with us. We plan to spoil
her rotten! … And to make every effort for her ‘SOUTH AFRICAN DREAM’ to come
Mimi arrives on the 12th September. It’s a LONG flight from Atlanta (USA) and she
will land at OR Tambo airport in the early evening. Being a Friday, with the typical pre-weekend traffic in a large city, I suspect that she will experience
a ‘baptism of fire’.
Johannesburg traffic is not fun at the best of times, and we will be
hitting it full on. It may take us well over an hour to get home. Nevertheless, our small welcoming party will be there to take her under our wings.
Our first destination will be HOME!
Here, Mimi will meet my
family, my furry-friends and eventually sleep off the cobwebs of the long
flight. By Saturday afternoon
(hopefully) she’ll be ready for the adventure ahead…
Amongst many outings, our adventure will include three days
in the glorious Kruger National park; one day in the scenic splendour of the
mountains of Mpumalanga and three days in the beautiful mother-city of Cape Town. In between we’ll be visiting a number of
touristy sites in Johannesburg – the Lion Park, the Elephant Sanctuary, the
Apartheid museum, the Cradle of Human-kind, etc And I will also be showing her the life of
an average South African. Not to mention SHOPPING!
Mimi… we are counting the days. We are ready for you. The world around us is priming itself for the
glory of Spring – new buds and blossoms everywhere.
The rain over the past weekend has helped
urge the buds along too. Hopefully
everything will be in full celebratory mode by the time you arrive.
I thank God for the gift of friends and for the joy of
finally meeting such a long-standing cyber-buddy.
It is thanks to the fun world of blogging that we are able to make beautiful
friends around the world. Soon, I’ll be
Twelve hours is a long time to spend in a motor-vehicle, but
it was totally worth it!
After looking at the prices of over-night accommodation in
the Pilanesberg National Park, we decided to take our chances, cut costs and
simply spend a single day in this glorious place.
Having packed our picnic basket, we left home at 5am and entered
the Bokubung gate in the south of the park at 7.30am. During the morning, we
slowly made our way north-west finally stopping for lunch in the middle of the
The web of dirt roads is tricky to navigate in places. Heavy
January rains have left a mountain of repair-work for the park officials. But the animals are thriving and the bush is
lush. We were rewarded with some wonderful sightings.
Our picnic spot overlooking a dam was very pleasant indeed.
We were lucky to watch a herd of elephant lazily made their way to the water
while we nibbled on our sandwiches. Clear-blue skies forced the temperature up
to 29 degrees C – quite a hike after the thermometer had rested at 3 degrees in the
early morning. This is so typical of early winter on the Highveld of South Africa.
It was tough going in the car and by 3pm, we decided to call it quits. Finally, we made our way back in the city and the bustle of metropolitan life.
In summary, it was a wonderful day-excursion despite us feeling
rather stiff this morning. As South Africans,
we so often forget about the beautiful natural heritage which surrounds us. What
a privilege it is to be able to simply pack our bags and escape for a few hours
to the peace of the bush.
Rocky outcrops all around.
Hippos, Darters and Fish-eagles at rest in the lazy African sun
A little Klipspringer hides in the long grass.
Terrapins in the murky water.
"Donkey in pyjama"s - Burchell's zebra
Breakfast at a 'hide'.
Impala on the run.
A wildebeest follows.
A Hippopotamus baking in the winter sun.
The animals are so well camouflaged.
A crocodile soaks up the sun at the water's edge
Even the butterflies are enjoying the sun.
A baby waterbuck looks at us suspiciously.
Her father is nonplussed.
A lapwing roams nearby.
"So, what's the weather like up there?"
Wildebeest rest in the shade...until they are disturbed by a game-vehicle.
The SPRINGBOK - South Africa's national symbol.
This big elephant kept us in a road-block for about 45 minutes. He claimed the road as his own (his right!) and the traffic piled up on both sides of him. We all gave him his space while he foraged on the green bushes along the side of the road.
The higher the view, the better.
Our lunch-time picnic spot.
We watched the elephants come down to drink. This old chap panned the water for danger before taking a long slurp.
Impala against an azure backdrop.
What a wonderful, beautiful day. All I can say is
"Thank you, Lord, for our magnificent heritage"
Happy Workers' Day everyone!
Sending lotsaluv to all my friends across the world.
Many people have asked me about the latest news of 'OWL', so this is a short post to address this question. Quick answer: Yes, she is still in our midst.
It's been 15 days now and hopefully she is here to stay. We've had extensive rain in the past two weeks, but she's simply let the weather slide off her feathers. Nonplussed.
Every morning, just before the sun rises, she finds a place in the palm tree to roost for the day. Some days its ON the telephone pole, other days her choice is on one of the palm fronds. She settles in, shuts her eyes, and ignores the ever-persistent voices of disdain from the garden birds.
At dusk, she opens her beautiful yellow eyes and begins her routine of preparation. Night-time jaunts require feathers in pristine condition, so she preens and preens. Then she stretches her wings and examines her talons. A few good shakes and then she scans for flight options. Soon she's gone - to hunt in the green belt below our house.
I continue to feel so privileged by her presence although she's still not shown any interest in the owl box. I've not seen her mate either. Hopefully, OWL is here to stay.
A 'lucky' glimpse of the nictitating membrane across OWL's eye
A short video clip of OWL being pestered by the garden birds: