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TRAVELBUCKET

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SUNSET ON CHOBE

There is no other word that I can think of to describe the sundown cruise on the Chobe River better as magical. This is not going to be a very long entry into my blog. This will be short and sweet.  Either you like the scenery or not – I am just going to do an overload of pictures, because it is difficult not to. By now you will probably be thinking well an elephant, is an elephant, is an elephant. – been there, done that, seen that! There are just so many animals and birds in large numbers that it is unavoidable not to take hundreds of pictures as your eye constantly takes in the view every time that the boat  maneuvers to get close to the animals without scaring them. For me the most impressive part of the three hour boat cruise is the golden hour at sunset… Read more >

THE LITTLE CHURCH IN THE WOODS, KNYSNA

San Ambrosio Church is tucked away in the green heart of the Knysna forest.   It is not glamorous or architecturally impressive, but rather tells the story of 32 pioneering Italian families that were brought to the forest to start up a silk farming industry, but then suffered unexpected hardships. In May 1881 the Italians were brought to Gouna with the intention and under the impression that there were an abundance of mulberry trees in the forest.  They were to start up a silk industry on the African continent.  It turned out that the mulberry trees that the woodcutters referred to were not related by any means to the real mulberry at all. After the project failed the families were abandoned by the government and had to make a living out of agriculture, cattle farming and some also became woodcutters.   Thus in 1891 the small San Ambrosio Church was built to… Read more >

CHRIST CHURCH, BEAUFORT WEST

I have driven past this little stone church situated in Donkin Street probably hundreds of times and never noticed it until I stumbled upon Sophy Gray and started tracing her footsteps throughout South Africa. This is another one of the famous Bishop Gray’s churches dotted all over South Africa, but it seems according to the records that the Bishop was not that happy with the building process – goes to show that even in those early days architects were  hard to please.  🙂  Building work started in 1851 and lasted until 1854. It is recorded that the church was not built in accordance with the approved plans as provided by the Bishop and his wife.  The cause of the dismay was apparently that the roof was lowered and the length of the church was decreased and some other nitty gritty stuff.  According to the Bishop this resulted that the Christ… Read more >

CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE (CKGR)

We were camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in Botswana.  It was our first visit to CKGR and I did not know what to expect at all. I expected barren, flat, open areas with sparse vegetation.   How pleasantly surprised I was!  The Kalahari was not green, but the yellow grass was waving in the wind and trees dappled the hills. After filling up at the Shell Petrol Station in Rakops (only three pumps for different types of fuel. We could luckily fill up before they ran dry a couple of days later. Thereafter, we set off on the sandy road leading to Matswere gate.  After driving about 500 meters we decided to deflate the tyres to enhance a more comfortable and easy ride on the corrugation with the fully laden bakkie. As you have to be self sufficient in all aspects, we took 40 litres of diesel and… Read more >

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, KING WILLIAMS TOWN

The first and foremost thing that struck me about King Williams Town, as we drove into the centre of the town, is the abundance of steeple chases complimented by the purple jacarandas  that was coming into bloom dotted all over town. King Williams Town started as a mission station on the banks of the Buffalo River in 1834 and boasts a number of old and interesting buildings.  This probably also explain the abundance of steeple chases that you can see when scanning the horizon.  While having breakfast at the Spur I had a good vantage point to admire yet another Sophy Gray church.  When reading up on the history of the stone churches I became hooked on this remarkable and inspiring woman that Sophy Gray was and now try to find as many of her churches as  I possibly can.  It seems they just have the habit of popping up in… Read more >

DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, GEORGE

Situated in the main road of my home town a visit to the church is a relaxing and peaceful outing and is open to visitors, but take cognizance that it still is an active church so be respectful, please. Here you can witness the incredible history, architecture and craftsmanship that are present at this stately building which is also declared a National Heritage site. The church’s story starts a decade or so before it was inaugurated.  On 14 April 1832 Rev Ballot laid the first cornerstone of the building, but because of financial problems the building took twelve years to complete.  But then the church suffered the unwelcome event on 13 September 1905 when the steeple collapsed after 10 inches (+- 250 mm) of rain fell in three days.  The congregation bravely started with reconstruction work and the present bell was bought at the time. The London firm, Philipson and Stow, presented… Read more >

ST CUTHBERT’S, PORT ELIZABETH

Tucked away in Westbourne Road in Port Elizabeth is St Cuthbert’s Gray Memorial Church, which was consecrated in March 1884 and commemorates two saintly men St Cuthbert and Bishop Robert Gray.  (Grays’s wife is the legendary Sophy Gray who designed and built numerous other small chapels dotted around the country). It is called St Cuthbert’s because of Bishop Robert Gray’s connection with the See of Durham. With the expansion of Port Elizabeth’s residential area to Westbourne Road and surrounds the need for another Anglican church was seen and in June 1882 the Town Council granted a piece of ground for the erection of a church in memory of Bishop Robert Gray. Due to lack of funds the first building was of wood-and-iron, designed by Mr WT Miles, the municipal architect. The new chancel (the area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir) was built in 1889… Read more >

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