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TRAVELBUCKET

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THE CHIMPS OF TACUGAMA

On one of my trips to visit hubby in Sierra Leone we explored around the sprawling city of Freetown and heard from the locals about the chimp sanctuary high up in the hills.  My daughter was excited – she wanted to visit.  So we set out to find it.    The trip there in itself is quite a bit of an experience as you travel through dust trodden streets littered with old wooden houses high up on the hills.  The travel is slow going so enjoy the ride.  It is all part of the experience. Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is tucked away in the threatened Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserves on the edge of Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone.  The sanctuary spans about 100 acres (+- 40 hectares) of lush indigenous rain forests. In 1995 Bala Amarasekaran felt in his heart the desire, and had the vision, to rescue, confiscate and… Read more >

MELACCA, MALAYSIA

I stepped back in time when we visited this UNESCO world heritage site that looks out over the Straits of Melacca.  This town, which is situated about two and a half hours’ drive south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, is filled with history and many other influences.  Once we arrived in Melacca a lot of things looked familiar yet slightly different which immediately reminded me of my home country, South Africa.  Then it dawned upon me that this is where a lot of the influences in South Africa come from as a lot of South Africans are of Malay decent. We had a weekend to spare after hubby concluded his business trip to Kuala Lumpur so we hopped on one of the many long distance buses which runs between KL and Melacca. Driving out of KL I noticed many kilometres of rubber and palm olive plantations.   At first it is… Read more >

GIANTS OF KUBU

It is the month of August and the end of the winter or rather dry season in Botswana.  After dropping off my 76 year old mother (who was on safari with us)  at Francistown Airport to take her first international flight home we took the A30 towards Orapa and Kubu Island. Shortly after we picked up our camping permits – after the lady in the office gave us a wrap over the knuckles for not making reservations in advance – our first glimpse of Sua Pan, part of the 16 000 km² pan complex, appeared on the horizon.  I am excited!  This will be another first  for me – a  visit to the vast pans and ancient Baobabs. As Kubu Island is a national monument and a pristine wilderness area the rule of take everything in and take everything out applies (and that includes taking your own firewood and water). If… Read more >

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 >

NONG KAI (THAILAND) & VIENTIANE (LAOS)

Late afternoon we boarded the train at Don Muang train station in Bangkok for an overnight trip to the less touristy Nong Kai in the Nothern parts of Thailand. The purpose for the trip is a surprise visit to one of hubby’s Aussie friends who lives in Nong Kai with his wife and children and at the same time hop over the border to renew our visas as it was about to expire the day before we were scheduled to leave Thailand. First trying to find the right train and coach at Don Muang  tested our nerves because not a lot of the locals who use the long distance train system actually speak English.  So a lot of hand signs and Nong Kai, Nong Kai was going around and at the order of the day!  At last we did find the train and our clean compartment that we booked via… 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 >

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