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TRAVELBUCKET

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FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE

With the ongoing ebola outbreak in West Africa I am pretty sure most of the world now knows where the once forgotten Sierra Leone is located.  My first experience of Sierra Leone in 2011 was ten years after a bloody civil war (1991- 2001) and before the horrendous ebola outbreak in 2014 which is the largest in history.  Sierra Leone – a struggling country filled with friendly people with warm and welcoming hearts. Crossing Africa on my flight from Johannesburg (via Nairobi and Accra with Kenya Air) to Freetown I sat next to a proud soldier who was on holiday from Afghanistan. He was super excited to see his family back home in Freetown after an absence of three years from his home country.   His eyes were shining bright and he could not wait to put his feet on home soil and hug his family once again. Oh yes, and… Read more >

GRYSBOK TRAIL @ NMMU

It was an early rise and shine on a Saturday morning for a walk on the Grysbok trail.  The whole of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) campus was declared a Private Nature Reserve in 1983. The 830 ha is dominated by the St Francis Dune Thicket vegetation.   This fynbos vegetation is highly threatened due to agricultural clearing and coastal development. Despite some problems with invasive Australian Acacias the vegetation is in very good condition.  The trail meanders through the reserve, providing opportunities for observing the exciting fauna and flora of the area. Do take time to visit the reserve on different times of the year to experience the whole spectrum of the flora and fauna.  There are two trail options that can be walked, a 3.2 km or a 2.5 km loop. Both trails cover relatively flat terrain and are suitable for moderately fit people and no bundu… 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 >

‘n BESOEK AAN OUDSTHOORN

Vandag moes ek weer ‘n paar uur in die Klein Karoo spandeer en het ek my ma in die ouetehuis gaan haal om die dorp te gaan verken.  My roete vat my eers tot by die Rooms Katolieke Katedraal net so ‘n entjie vanaf Nostalgie en Gotland Huis.  In vergelyking met die glorieryke standsteen geboue is die katedraal wat in 1964 gebou is nie baie indrukwekkend nie.  (Ek het vandag eers uitgevind daar is  ‘n Rooms Katolieke Katedraal op die dorp). Ek het begin oplees oor die geskiedenis van Oudtshoorn en vind toe uit dat daar  ongeveer 100 Joodse gesinne in 1877 hierheen gevlug het tydens die Russies-Turkse oorlog – meestal vanuit Lithuania wat op daardie stadium ‘n Russiese provinsie was.   Vandaar dat die sinagoge  in Baron van Reedestraat in 1881 opgerig is met die hulp van die Afrikaanssprekende gemeenskap van Oudsthoorn.  Die sinagoge is vandag nog in gebruik en… Read more >

SANDSTEEN ROETE, OUDTSHOORN

Terwyl ek tyd moes verwyl in Oudtshoorn het ek besluit om my lyf bietjie toeris te hou en deur die dorp te stap en die sandsteen geboue te bekyk. So begin ek onder in Baron van Rheedestraat en stap verby die indrukwekkende CP Nel museum wat ongeveer 122 jaar oud is.  So leer ek dat ook Cecil John Rhodes hier op Oudtshoorn ‘n draai moes gemaak het toe hy die hoeksteen in 1892 gelê het. Net ‘n klein entjie daarvandaan geniet toeriste ‘n koppie koffie by wit gedekte tafeldoeke op die bekende Queens Hotel se stoep.  Na bewering ook die derde oudste hotel in Suid-Afrika!  Maar ek is nog nie lus vir koffie nie en stap nog verder af in Baron Van Rheedestraat. Dan kom ek op ‘n interessante oudhede winkeltjie af met die gepaste naam van Die Neelsie – dit is mos CJ Langenhoven wêreld die – waar jy… Read more >

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