2019 has been busy and adventurous. We've had seaside breaks, bush breaks, family beaks and some wonderful times simple 'at home' breaks.
We've celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and visited the Kgalagadi trans-frontier park for the umpteenth time Our trips now seem very tame in comparison to the ones we planned over thirty years ago. We travelled with my parents, our three children, all our luggage and food. That was strapped to the roof carrier of our G-Wagon with everyone else piled inside and my mother acting as the 'Tuck-Shop lady' handing out food whenever squabbles threatened to disrupt our journey. We stayed at the Van Zyl's Rus hotel where we enjoyed comfortable beds and delicious country fare after a journey fraught with exciting moments - some of them nail biting - as we passed closed petrol stations and often glided into the small town 'on the smell of an oil rag'.
This time we also stayed at Van Zyl's Rus hotel where we enjoyed true country hospitality and a visit to the meerkat colony which was both delightful and disappointing. We were taken out into the field by a Masters student from the UK who knew little about the environment and not much more about the meerkats. However I think that David took some good shots of the little ones before we headed off to the park.
We stayed in our favourite camps, Kieliekrankie, Urikaruus, Nossob River Chalets and Twee Rivieren dividing our stay over two weeks. We were privileged to see everything including a few attempted kill training sessions involving a mother cheetah and her very spontaneous young. We did see that elusive leopard down the Aub river who posed beautifully for us.
We also had a most unpleasant interaction where a research team captured four Kgalagadi lions to collar them. One evening we had beautiful creatures striding through the veld, the next morning we had four lions walking with collars around their necks who were none too pleased with life. While I do understand the need for research, perhaps it would have been more circumspect to do the darting out of visitor sight. We did visit the park manager who managed us very well and who 'would take the matter further'.
As always we met some interesting guests, most of them from Europe and the USA who now make their annual pilgrimage to South Africa to visit this special park. Yes, we are planning our 2020 trip already and may well visit at a different time of year.
We also visited Mokala where we stayed in the Tree House which was rustic but delightful as we had our own water hole which was visited my many different species of animal during the day. We enjoyed a white rhino and her babe at least twice and buffalo and other game too.
Just a few weeks after that we visited Mockford cottage at the Pafuri border in the Kruger. Friends of ours included us and it was a delightful interlude particularly as only visitors who are booked in at the compound are able to drive from early morning and late evening with other visitors from Punda only arriving in the area from 10h00 and who have to leave to get home at about 15h30. So many of the drives are 'tourist free. We will certainly visit that spot again. Thank you Jeff and Janine.
We then managed a very quick visit to Rose Cottage which gave us a special moment or two to capture the autumn colours in the eastern Free State. Not only that, but the Groot river was in spate after some exceptional, late season rains.
We drove through Golden Gate to ZInkwazi where we enjoyed special family time. Walks on the beach, early morning sun-rises and late evening get-togethers allowed re-connections and good conversations.
Where to next? Plans are being made. But I do know we continue to create adventures as David takes more and more time away from the surgery.
In photography there is a reality which is so subtle that at times becomes more real than reality.
Enjoy your photography. Till next time.
PS: please note that all these photographs are taken with A-MM's trusty iPhoneX