mandag 12. januar 2009

Safari in Welgevonden-Waterberg

We arrived at the Clearwater lodges 28.12.2008. We spent two days at the Kudu lodge and three days at Thsethsepi lodge. Two good but different lodges. The Kudu lodge were on a large open savanne where Zebras, wildebeest and warthogs were plenty, and were we saw elephants and a jackal. The Thsethsepi lodge were at a stream with lots of shrubs and threes and we experienced baboons and monkeys and klippspringers.

We have been in Madikwe last year, but this was a different experience since the landscape were so different. In Waterberg there were mountains and valleys, and we never knew what would be around the next bend.

For us it was a lot to learn. Neither Olav or I knew how good elephants were at walking in the mountains. At one occacion the ranger stopped his car and sain elephants. We all looked to some trees close by believing that they were hiding there. Instead they were above us, almost at the top of the mountain, a big herd. We could see them moving around, we heard them breaking down threes and saw some of them climbing upwards with ease.

Ever since I was a girl I have wanted to see a dassie. I read about them on some animal-cards I used to collect. And I was facinated by the idea that these small animals were the closest relatives of the elephant! So last year we went looking for dassies on Table mountain were it is said that they were easy to spt. When we did not spot any we were told it was because we were there on such a cold day. The same happened this year so I had given up the hope of seeing one. Then one evening on our way home from a game drive I saw something cat sized move on a cliff. The ranger reversed the car and then I saw this big Guineapig shaped animal that moved around on the rocks! It was a Dassie. And then we all saw more of them. I still can not believe that they are at all related to the elephant. But they were fun to watch, they were active and moved around and seemed to have a good time.

søndag 11. januar 2009

Christmas vacation

Since we are living in Africa - our choices for Christmas would be going home to Norway and celebrate the Christmas there - or going somewhere else and celebrate the Christmas. We decided to go to South Africa. We were there last year with our three daughters and our son-in-law and had a good time. So this year we went only the three of us, Olav, Monica and Sofie.

We started out in Cape Town. The two Oceans Aquarium were great for Sofie, and we spent our first afternoon there. She enjoyed taking me to the aquarium were Olav took her last year. So she showed me all the things she enjoyed last year, and found some new exhibition, or alternatively, some she had forgotten. Small colourful fish is still much more interesting than the predators. Starfish you can hold and colourful creatures are on the top of her list.

The 23. we went to Kirstenbosch botanical garden and enjoyed the weather, the smells, the view and the plants. A great place were I would like to return and take a closer look at all the parts of the garden we did not visit this time. We spent our time in the medicin garden and the herb section as well as taking a walk around the garden looking at the pond, and the threes.

Lunch we spent at Bertha's in Simonstown. The food were good but service was very slow..... Sofie had been looking forward to a visit to Scratch Patch in Simonstown, and begged for the biggest plastic bag to fill with beautiful rocks or "gems" when we got there. She enjoyed filling up the bag, and spent close to two hours there doing so. i guess when there are soooo many rocks, you take a longer time than if there were fewer.

Then we drove north towards Kalk Bay and had a nice stroll there enjoying the small town before we went back to our hotel.

Since we were away for Christmas we had opened the Christmas gifts just before we left, and agreed that while on vacation we would get one gift each. Olav and Sofie had bought me a picnic backpack for Christmas, and now they wanted me to open the gift before Christmas so we could go on a Picnic. I did, and the hotel prepared a lovely picnic meal for us and we went to Table Mountain. The weather had changed a bit - and it was cold at the top of table Mountain. Young Sofie insisted on us enjoying a picnic outside, on the mountain, instead of going to the restaurant. So we tried to find a small corner with some shelter for the wind were we ate our food and had some orange juice. Olav had a bottle of wine with him, but it was so cold that none of us wanted a glass of wine with the food. But again the weather changed and we went for a walk. Sofie were eager and wanted a long walk. Not at all a bad way to spend the day before Christmas.

Christmas eve we spent at restaurant called Hildebrand. It was at the waterfront, easy to find. We had good food and wine and a good service from experienced waiters. A place to recommend for sure.

From Cape Town we went to Franshhoek. There were so many wineries and top restaurants in that little town, that it made it very difficult to choose were to go! 8 out of the top ten restaurants in South Africa is in Franschhoek! Well, we had a lovely time, and walkingdistance to everything - even if the locals told us that it was to far to walk.