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TRAVELBUCKET

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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 >

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES …

Once home after the epic journey from Johannesburg to George Livingstone (as the Landy was named) was taken to a friend’s shed where the restoration project started.  Rivet by rivet and bolt by bolt Livingstone was stripped of it seats, canvas canopy and all its panels, nuts, bolts and springs – right down until only the rusted chassis remained. Sometimes the surprise was big that something was still in such a good and original condition and the next moment the moods were down on the ground when rust appeared to be worse than expected.  There were also some mystery finds such as a couple of bones in the chassis … Every panel and part was stacked and packed in neat little heaps waiting for the time when it was ready to be assembled again. Within days the Haynes owner’s manual, which was ordered by mail from a bookshop in South… 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 >

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