Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tuesday 27th February 


We were gone from Joburg by 11am, flying to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
The hotel that we were booked into, the Ilala Lodge, was lovely, and we had been given an upgrade to the executive suite (I had told my South African booking agent it was Geoff's birthday, so she had obviously passed this on to the hotel).  The suite was lovely,  we could see the fall's mist rising from our veranda,  Warthogs in the gardens below, & many birds in the trees around.

We did the 10 min walk to the Falls National Park, and walked several kms around to the various lookouts.  There was progressively more and more mist as we headed up the gorge towards the bridge across the Zambezi River to Zambia. We also walked onto the bridge and across into Zambia (just).

Dinner at the hotel on the veranda was lovely. It was a warm summer evening, with a sunset behind the hotel which just got better and better.

Archie is ready for he falls

Two wet boys

Cataract Gorge

Carved walkway rails

Dr Livingstone & Dr Geoff I presume... 

The boys again

The path in the mist

Zimbabwe/Zambian bridge-border crossing

Vervet Monkey 

Archie with the Zimbabwean
national bird - Bateleur Eagle or
African Fish Eagle

Our suite, top level centre of photo

A Warthog family comes visiting

Mist rising from Victoria Falls at dusk

Geoff gets his 1st birhday card for his 50th

The Palms Restaurant


Vic Falls is a very impressive place. The water is still building up from the wet season. We got rather wet from the spray, which can come at you from any and all angles.

We then wandered across the bridge to Zambia. But as we never made it to the border station we were really in the no man's land between the two countries. There were plenty of hawkers flogging cheap trinkets, but we resisted their charms and sob stories and finished our 8 - 10km walk unburdened.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sunday 25th February


Since arriving here in South Africa we have been interested in the facts of the country; for instance there are many more provinces now than when I lived here in the late 1980's.  Transvaal doesn't even exist now, and the Orange Free State is now just the Free State! Johannesburg, Joburg or Jozi is over 1700 m above sea level, way higher than we expected.
The very high level of "fortification" of the houses everywhere was quite a surprise. I don't have any strong memories of this, but I guess it was like that when I was last here.
We have experienced several Uber trips now; all have been good, very quick to arrive, friendly drivers and it is easy to use.
Today we had maybe an hour walking around the President Ridge Bird Sanctuary seeing a few African birds, then it was on to Blanford Manor for lunch with Nina. 
She is my aunt's sister who has lived in South Africa since 1970. I had met up with her several times when I was living in Pretoria in a "previous" life.
We had an almost 3 hour lunch, with plenty to talk about. It was a lovely afternoon with a short rain shower which had us dashing into the main building from the lawns where we were eating lunch.

Me with Geoff & Nina

Egyptian Goose

Me in the gardens of Blandford Manor -
Where we met Nina for lunch

Geoff checking out Blandford Manor

Weaver bird nest

Red Bishop seen at the
President Ridge Bird Sanctuary 

Helmeted Guineafowl

Go-away-bird or Grey Loerie

Nina & me

Masked Weaver

Hadeda Ibis

Blandford Manor

Creek that runs through Blandford
Manor grounds


Pretty much everything is new to me, so I gawped at everything.

Lunch with Nina was very nice. We'll be meeting up again on our return to Joburg.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday 24th February


We were both awake early, so headed up to Grant Street for breakfast. We found  a nice restaurant at The Factory and had a tasty and very reasonably priced meal.

After getting groceries we headed in the opposite direction, to the Norwood Mall, to sort out the mobile phones.

The rest of the day was quiet, as we are still rather pooped from the flights. I contacted my aunt's sister, who we are meeting tomorrow, and my friend Tina, in Cape Town, who we will be staying with when we get there.
Dinner was a short walk to Grant Street; it's much cheaper to eat out here.

Breakfast spot

Nice tea...

And good coffee 

The nine hour time difference had us trying to sleep at 1am local time, while our bodies thought it was 10am. We were really tired, so slept, but it was very broken. We'll be right in a day or two.

There are many noticeable differences for me here, and it has only been one day. Plenty of new experiences ahead!

Friday 23rd February 


We had an uneventful trip with Qantas to Johannesburg; watching movies and eating being the main activities. The service and food was surprisingly OK; you never know quite what you will get with Qantas!

The trip to the BnB was, however, a little more "adventurous". We were unable to use the airport wifi to order an Uber "taxi", as you need a mobile phone to register for the wifi. We had to get a taxi, which charged us double what we had been told it would cost! Then there was nobody home to let us in...we had to borrow a phone from a kind lady at restaurant to call the owners and arrange access. (They were away for the weekend, and had organised her parents to let us in, though they weren't there when we arrived). Anyhow, all sorted eventually.
Knackered, we had showers and were out like lights by 8.30pm.

At Murrays coach station awaiting departure

Geoff, Archie & l settling into the Rydges Hotel
at the airport 

Enjoying our 1st "holiday" beverage 

Almost gone!

It was a long day, with our 14hr flight and transfers etc getting us to bed about 5am Canberra time. The lack of anyone to let us into the BnB was the biggest hassle of the trip. Being tired and lugging our bags around as we searched for a way to contact the owner as dusk approached was not fun. I was even too knackered to nip out and buy beer!