October 28, 2011

South Africa 2011

During the last week of September and the first week of Octovber we made the long journey to South Africa.  My parents are on a mission there so we went to visit and see some of the country. It was the furthest from home any of us had ever been and was truly an adventure and educational experience. Here are photos:
Ansel standing in Regina Mundi, Soweto--the church central to the 1976 protests

Nelson Mandela's house/museum in Soweto, Johannesburg

Walls in historical photo exhibit, Rengina Mundi

Street in the Hillbrow neighborhood, Joburg

Not  a lot of bikes and limited public transportation
We left the city shortly after we arrived and headed to the northeastern part of the country where there is a large national park and many private game reserves.  We enjoyed a 4 day safari--which means we rode around in the back of a modified truck looking for wild animals.  We toured in at least two different private game reserves and Kruger national park.
One of the safari trucks

One of the safari vans

Waterfall to the right of center.

Roadside giraffe

White rhinos

Nonplussed lion

More rhinos



Tame/wild cheetah at a game lodge

More rhinos.  Their horns were cut to discourage poachers

Cape buffalo

Red-billed horn bill

Wow, more rhinos

African sunset

Monkeys in the trees above our cottage

V and sleepy kids, driving in the safari truck
Photo safari in action
African elephant
African clouds at sunset
Green acacia

It was surprisingly fun.  Seeing animals in a zoo will never be the same.  On the way back to the city we drove over the Drakensburg mountains and stopped at Blyde River Canyon and the three Rondavels.  I usually plan the details of our trips by poring over maps and reading books and searching the internet.  This time I didn't do hardly any planning and our safari was a package deal where transportation was provided.  It was nice not to have the stress of driving, but I didn't like not knowing exactly where I was.  More and more I find that knowing place and geography is important to me.  But wherever it was, it was a nice view.

The kids at a road side souvineer stand

My Dad snapping photos of the view
We made our way back to Johannesburg and stayed for a couple days before heading to Capetown.
Crazy police vehicle that is parked near my parents' building

We walked around Soweto a little bit on Sunday afternoon
We flew down to Capetown for a week.  The country is surprisingly large, making driving impractical for the short amount of time we had.  We arrived around noon and went straight to Table Mountain. Apparently it is on the short list for one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.  Sounds like some sort of tourism scheme to me, but it is a beautiful place nonetheless.  We rented a car and I did the driving, which was another adventure as they only like manual transmissions and they drive on the left.  All in all I did pretty well save one or two instances.
Downtown Capetown from the Table Mountain hillside
I hiked one of the many trails to the top and met everyone else, who took to gondola, at the top.
Looking south to Camp's Bay from Table Mountain

Fun playing on the rocks

Ansel above Capetown

The Cable Mountain Gondola, takes you straight to the top

Clifton Bay

Camp's Bay beach with the Twelve Apostles behind

We stayed in Capetown proper for two nights before heading down the peninsula and the southern Cape.

The Castle, oldest building in South Africa

Capetown City Hall

St. George's Cathedral, where Desmond Tutu was Archbishop
Incidentally, Bono was in Capetown while we were there to celebrate Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu's birthday.  Vanessa could feel his presence.
Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront

Sign on V&A Waterfront

Clifton Bay

Reading on Camp's Bay beach
We headed south and stopped in Hout Bay.  We enjoyed a short boat ride to Duiker Island, which is a small island with a large colony of South African fur seals.  We also had some really good seafood that was cooked in a shovelful of butter.
Hout Bay panorama

Noordhoek beach
We found a very cozy hotel in a small village called Noordhoek.  We stayed there a couple days and made short trips to other beaches and the south Cape.
The Sentinel, at the mouth of Hout Bay

The boogie bus, Hout bay via New Mexico

African Penguins on Boulder beach

Sand lines, Noordhoek

Playing with grandpa, Noordhoek

Map of the Cape

Southern Cape

Cape of Good Hope

Elephant Eye cave
Vanessa and I hiked up to this cave one late afternoon.

Looking east from Elephant Eye Cave
The last night in Capetown we stayed at a bed and breakfast in Muizenberg, a nice beach town on the False Bay side of the peninsula.
Surfer's Corner, Muizenberg.  Red flag means shark sighting

Ansel loved jumping from the railings of these bright dressing shacks

Emmy joined in

All in all it was time well spent visiting with my parents and seeing someplace completely new.  We dabbled in the culture somewhat, learning more about the brutal history of the place and seeing firsthand some of the major problems still facing the rainbow nation.  Ansel and I got turned on to rugby as the World Cup was taking place in New Zealand and the Springboks (the South African team mascot) were the defending champions--people everywhere were wearing their jerseys on game day.  The food wasn't amazing, or even all that foreign, though we did have a few traditional African dishes and an authentic English breakfast.  We did talk to a few locals, especially in Capetown, and Vanessa had a good time photographing interesting people.  I would certainly go back as there are many beautiful places still to see, and possibly hike, along the southern coast/Eastern Cape.


  1. Great photos. Looks like you got to see quite a bit.
    That photo of Emmy petting the cheetah is eerily similar to a photo I have of me petting that friendly cat we met in Amsterdam when we picked up Marne from her mission. Just the angle of the photo and her position, it almost looks like me at her age. Just thought I'd tell you.

  2. Great photos, Corey. I'm glad you guys had such a great experience.