Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our Big Road Trip Through South Africa

We started our trip at Kuruman and our first stop was the Wonderwerk Cave just outside of the town. It is the oldest site in the world that shows evidence of controlled use of fire. This is the entrance to the cave.
It is an active archaeological site.
These are some of the cave paintings, still bright and easy to see.
One of the more recent occupants of the cave was Pieter Bosman who our guide for the day was most fascinated by. He was an Afrikaner man who lived in the cave with his wife and fourteen children from 1900-1907 while he was building his farm down in the valley. He was apparently a giant, weighing 200 kgs and towering to 1.98 metres. Below are a pair of his trousers.

The next day we were off to the Moffat Mission Station. Robert Moffat was the first person to write out Setswana and published the first Setswana Bible. He was a missionary. David Livingstone came to Africa first as a missionary and lived at the Moffat Mission Station where he met his wife Mary, Moffat's daughter.
Below is the church at the mission station. It is still operating.

This is Moffat's house.
This is the house that Livingstone lived in.
Here is the actual printing press that printed the first Setswana Bible- and it is still working!

From Kuruman we headed to Calvinia along a beautiful road in the Karoo.
In Calvinia we stayed at the historic Hantam House. The small town was all decked out in spring wild flowers including the Namaqua daisy.
This was one of the displays inside Hantam Huis, the less said about the scary lady at the back the better.
From Calvinia we headed to Sutherland, but on the way we came upon this goshawk finishing his rabbit meal along the road.
In icy Sutherland, we attended a star gazing night just outside of town run by one of the residents. The next day we climbed up the mountain for a day tour of the Southern Africa's Largest Telescope (SALT).

This was our beautiful bathroom at Skitterland Guest House in Sutherland.
And these folks graced our wall.

From Sutherland we set off for the sea. Our first stop was Lamberts Bay on the west coast of South Africa. This was the sun setting on first night.

And this was the rainbow we found the next morning.
Lamberts Bay has a large breeding colony of gannets at Bird Island. You can also find cormorants nesting there too.
 From Lamberts Bay we headed to Cape Town to see friends and visit the iconic Charley's Bakery.
The original point of the trip was to visit Hermanus to see the whales that breed there, the Southern Right Whales. We took the road along the coast and had a stop at Betty's Bay to see the African Penguins that nest there.
Hermanus is gorgeous and though we saw whales,they were nearly impossible to photograph.
...except for this one.
We spent a day in George and saw even more whales. We spent a long time out with a friend watching a mother and baby playing in the water. But again- no good photos, sorry.

From George we passed through the Meringspoort Ravine in the Swartberg Mountains. It's a beautiful area connecting the Great Karoo to the Little Karoo.
With the best rest stops and toilets in the world.
A friend later told me about the wonderful determined woman who built and cares for these rest stops, Sandra Africa. You can learn about her amazing motivating story here.

 We stopped in De Aar to see the largest solar power installation in the world.  It provides enough electricity for 19,000 homes. Learn more here.
From De Aar we meant to pass through Kimberly but got caught up at The Great Hole, a former diamond mine. They have such an interesting museum there that we spent a few hours and decided to spend the night in Kimberly.
Here's a car in their museum. It's the first car in Kimberly and was driven by the diamond mine's boss.

That night we attended an art festival and watched this Afrikaans rock band.
This was the Ferris wheel at the festival. We considered taking a ride but it was cold and the queues were time!
The next day we drove home.
South Africa is a beautiful country with nearly ever corner offering up delights.We had such an amazing trip- thank you SA!!!!

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