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TRAVELBUCKET

South Africa

FORESTS & FERNS

We spent the weekend at Forest Edge chalets on the edge of the magical Knysna forest in the Rheenendal area.  These cottages are located just a couple of minutes’ drive from the memorial of Dalene Matthee, a renowned South African writer, at Krisjan-se-Nek.  This was her favorite spot in the Knysna Forest. Through Dalene Matthee’s books, the stories of the Knysna forest took on a new life.  We followed Saul barnard and Old Foot on the forest footpaths in Circles in a Forest.  We got to know the people of the forest in Fiela’s Child and the Mulberry Forest.  And we got a glimpse of the magic of the forest through Karoliena Kapp in Dream Forest.  En excerpt from :  www.dalenematthee.co.za   It was a weekend filled with the happy chirping of birds in the morning when the sun rises, the humming of bees, getting into bed at night when… Read more >

LONG AND WINDING ROADS

It was already late in the afternoon when we left home base on 31 December 2013 with our bikes to spend New Year’s eve somewhere in the quiet Karoo.  The road will lead us to Rietbron.  As everyone was heading for the coast the roads were busy, but luckily we were heading in the opposite direction to Rietbron – never been there before, so we did not know what to expect!. Our first break was in the beautiful Meiringspoort.  It was hot.  Time for a drinks and smoke break while taking a short breather.  Soon after exiting the poort  we turned right and were on the back roads of the Karoo.  No traffic and only silence.  A 100 kms of gravel roads lay ahead of us before we reached Rietbron.   It started off with a nice gravel ride with views over the wide open veld .  Further into the… Read more >

THE FOREST VILLAGE

Hubby spoiled me with a quick, but welcome, road trip while he was on his home break  from his bush work somewhere in Africa.  We zippied  along the N2 in the Garden Route and through the green Tsitsikamma forests to the adrenaline filled little village of Storms River situated halfway between Port Elizabeth and George. Walking in the village you cannot imagine that yellowwood was actually used for railway sleepers in this forest community in the early 1800’s.   At the turn of the 1800’s Frank Mangold purchased several properties in the village and built a house and established several other businesses.  Today there are still not a lot of businesses in the sleepy village, but if you are an adrenaline junky this is the place to do a canopy tour and maybe catch a glimpse of the rare Knysna Loerie with its reds wings gliding from tree to tree or… Read more >

SANCCOB PORT ELIZABETH (PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS SAMREC)

SAMREC (SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre) is Port Elizabeth’s marine rehabilitation centre situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. At the centre you can interact with some African penguins, (also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin) a ganet and cormorant or whatever type of bird that they rescue and is on the road to recovery.  Once extremely numerous, the African penguin is declining in numbers due to a combination of threats and is classified as endangered. (In fact more endangered than our precious rhinos).  Penguins mate for life and they recognize each other according to the amount of black spots on their chests – it works something like the human’s fingerprints – not one penguin’s marking is the same than the next one.  Penguins have an average life span of 10 to 27 years, but in captivity they easily reach the age of 30. The African penguin is only found… Read more >

REVISITING BELVIDERE, KNYSNA

On an overcast morning, with all the holiday makers gone, and the schools starting today I took the drive to Belvidere near Knysna.  I had the streets almost to myself except for the garden services mowing the lawn and the odd resident walking their dog. As with so many places near your home you tend to seldom visit them, because they will always be there, but as I slowly drove into the village at nine o’clock a Knysna loerie was spreading its red wings as it crossed the road in the tree tops.  What a welcoming sight!  This alone was worth the visit. When I arrived at the Holy Trinity Church, designed by Sophy Gray, with its romantic setting and history there was a service.  So I strolled around the village to make up time, because I wanted to visit this historic church after reading its story.  Luckily the church… Read more >

ROAD TRIPPING TO PRINCE ALBERT

Today is the first day of 2015 – a new year full of surprises, laughter,  fun and hopefully interesting travels that awaits.  We set off in George at a leisurely pace with clear blue skies, travel over the Outeniqua Pass via Oudtshoorn and aim for Prince Albert on the other side of the Swartberg Mountains.   The road is quiet.  I think the people are recovering from the New Year’s parties … Once over the Outeniqua Pass the temperature rises to 31 degrees Celsius in the Klein Karoo.  It has been quite a while since I last traveled the iconic Swartberg pass, a gravel road, on the R328 but as all the previous times we were rewarded with stunning views of the mountains and yet again I am in awe of the skills of Thomas Baines – son of the famous Andrew Geddes Baines who built Bain’s Kloof Pass and many… Read more >

MAZEPPABAAI, TRANSKEI

Hierdie naweek gaan ons Mazeppabaai toe!  Waar is dit sal jy my vra?  Kom ek neem jou op my reis.  Laataand pak ons die bakkie en vat die pad met ‘n nodige padkossie, maak ‘n vinnige slapie in Port Elizabeth by ons dogter, dan weer vroeg die volgende oggend in die pad, want jy sien ‘n mens ry nie na donker in die Transkei nie.  Op die pad na Mazeppa  trotseer jy baie dinge – beeste, varke kinders, hoenders, bokke, onpadwaardige voertuie en onverskillige bestuurders – maar so elke nou en dan vir ‘n vlietende oomblik bewonder ons  die mooi natuurskoon van die Oos-Kaap.  Vroegoggend is die verkeer nie te sleg nie met die gevolg dat ons bietjie te vroeg in King Williams Town gaan wees vir ontbyt.  Soooo, dit beteken ons kan ‘n geocache of twee voor ontbyt inpas!  Ons eerste geocache vat ons na die ou staalbrug oor… Read more >

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