In the over 15 years in which I have visited this National Park I have never seen it as dry. Nsumo Pan is almost dried out completely and except for the two waterholes which are filled by humans there is no water anywhere on the Mkuze Game Reserve.
Here are a few of the images I took during my visit yesterday morning at the two waterhole hides.
Pakamisa, as most of KwaZulu Natal, is still suffering under the very dry weather conditions. There has not been any substantial rain for a long time and this winter (dry season) will continue to be very difficult for “man and beast”. It is not the lack of water but the lack of food which is the major threat to grazing species during a drought. Pakamisa is now supplementing food to help its grazer population to survive the winter.
These are a few pictures I took during this relaxing stay. I have a few more days to myself before I will be back to work at Thanda Safari!
From Pretoria to the Drakensberg
I love choral music and especially music from choirs with boy sopranos, the purest of all singing voices. The South African Drakensberg Boys Choir (http://www.dbchoir.com) is one of the best in the world. Since I heard of them in 2002 I wanted to take a trip to listen to one of their weekly concerts at their school in the Drakensberg mountains, which is located in the eastern part of KwaZulu Natal.
It took me 14 years to accomplish this 🙂 and I was very lucky, as this week they gave two concerts with two different programs on two consecutive days. It was magic and I can only recommend this to any ‘choral music lover’ as a ‘must’ if visiting South Africa.
Before I left to drive to the Drakensberg region I spent an extra day in Pretoria with an excellent lunch at a Chinese Restaurant called Gwe Fey (http://www.gwefey.co.za) in Johannesburg. I also bought a new 12.9″ iPad Pro, which I will be using for teaching and guiding. An expensive, but very exciting new toy!
A very pleasant place called Spion Kop Lodge(http://www.spionkop.co.za) was the ideal base to visit the Spioen Kop Battelfield (http://www.britishbattles.com/battle-of-spion-kop – one of the battles of the second Anglo-Boer war, in which the young Winston Churchill and the young Mahatma Gandhi participated), to enjoy the Spioenkop Game Reserve and to explore the Drakensberg mountains regions. I visited the battlefields with very good friends from Pretoria. The commanding Boer general Louis Botha was actually of their great-great-grandfathers.
Raymond Heron (Well known battlefield historian and owner of the lodge) took us on a very good narrated tour of the battlefield and his son Ashley was my guide on a game drive in neighboring game reserve and showed me the Spioenkop dam. I got some great images of species which we do not have at Thanda (Hartebeest, Blesbok, Eland, …). [more to follow …]
Before one the concerts I enjoyed a bird of prey presentation at a place called Falcon Ridge (http://drakensbergmountains.co.za/falcon-ridge.html) with great information about these large birds and good photo opportunities [more to follow …]
One thing is certain, I will return to the Drakensberg region with its beautiful scenery and its many special attractions!
Now I am off to my last stop of this year’s travel: Pakamisa (http://www.pakamisa.com)
There and back again!
Day 17 – QI lunch on the terrace
As many of you know I normally do not watch TV, and certainly no quiz shows. But there is an exception – it is a BBC 2 show hosted by Stephen Fry called QI (‘quite interesting’). All episodes are available online on YouTube. It is a great combination of British humor and many interesting facts about ‘all-sorts’. I watch episodes on my iPhone 6 Plus when I have a bit of spare time.
One of the pictures below shows my delicious ‘QI lunch’ on the terrace of my parents’ house in Germany – with poopy seed rolls, Bündnerfleisch (dried Swiss meat), Emmentaler cheese and Fleischkäse (traditional German lunch meat), followed by some of my mum’s superb poppy seed cake.
Day 18 – Last day in Europe
Today was my last day in Germany – tomorrow morning I will leave from Zurich, Switzerland, to South Africa.
I spend a bit of time in the town of Bad Saeckingen, having a look at the cathedral and the old wooden bridge crossing the Rhine river. I grew up in this area and I went to school there for nine years – a long time ago 🙂
PS: My today’s flight to South Africa got cancelled. Now I flying on a day-flight tomorrow morning – which I am looking forward to – seeing Africa from the sky during the day 🙂
Day 19 – Over the African continent
I enjoyed my trip over the African continent. I departed Zurich around eight in the morning and I landed after dark in Johannesburg.
This very good flight marked the end of an excellent Europe trip. As every year the highlight was seeing all my family and friends (and gaining a few kilos while having many excellent lunches and dinners). Thanks!
Picture marked with a * were taken with my iPhone 6 Plus or my iPhone 5s
Keep travelling …
Day 14 – The wet weather did not stop me enjoying my day at the Zoo in Arth Goldau, Switzerland, which features many indigenous species. And on the evening of the same day I was invited by good friends to a superb dinner at their home. We started with pate de foie-gras de canard with brioche and Austrian red wine salt, followed by an Asian vichyssoise with five spices duck breast. As the main course we had thinly slices veal filets with port wine tomato cream sauce and lentil pancakes and we finished the meal with a rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb vanilla yoghurt timbale, chocolate covered strawberries on a strawberry coulis, accompanies by grand mangier and cherry amaretti. A night to remember!
Day 15 – My yearly visit to the Zoo in Basel, Switzerland, which is located in the center of town; this zoo is providing a beautiful oasis to relax.
Day 16 – On the way to meet more Swiss friends in Sempach, Switzerland, I stopped at the Schloss (Castle) Heidegg. It is a beautiful place in the middle of a vineyard with an amazing rose garden. The large collection of roses was started after a visit of Germany’s first post-war-chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in 1951. He remarked during his visit at the castle, that a place as beautiful as this should have roses!
Good friends, who have recently visited me at Thanda, invited me for an evening at their home in Switzerland. Their house is one of the most spectacular and most unusual private places I have ever visited. It manages to be very modern, but very comfortable at the same time!
Day 17 – After a few days travel I now am back at my parents place in Germany. Heavy rains all day make me very envious (as we could use all this water at home in South Africa), but I enjoy sitting on the covered 🙂 terrace, having a drink and reading a book.
A few more exciting days in Europe. I visited the Zürich Zoo, I enjoyed Gregorian Vespers Chants and beautiful architecture at the Einsiedeln Abbey, I had more excellent lunches and dinners with friends and family, and I have visited my ‘2000-2007 home town’ of Zofingen in Switzerland over the weekend.
Enjoy the images – more to come!