Monday, November 25, 2019

Part one of our trip to South Africa.

Maximum temperature today 12C, minimum 8C.  Very wet!  We were told it had hardly stopped raining while we were away!  The rain gauge was overflowing at 72 mm, so our annual measurements are therefore unreliable and we will never know how much we really had!  It continues to rain, and since being home we have had another 30mm. Today there are cold 19km/h northerly winds with gusts up to 40 km/h. Not weather to be out in, if you don't need to!

We have been back home for the last 10 days, but neither of us feels perfectly well and do forgive me if blogs are slow for a while, as I'm short of the energy needed to go through the many hundreds of photos that I took! HOWEVER, this malaise takes nothing away and did not detract at all from the fabulous welcomes, entertainment and trips organised by our generous hosts, Steve and Cathy, Patrick and Christelle and Gordon and Julie! We really enjoyed seeing them again and joining in with the arrangements. It was to be a truly memorable and varied holiday!

We arrived in Johannesburg on Friday 11 October. Our health problems emerged a few days later in the most unusually cold weather in RSA, which was generally the pattern for all but a couple of days in the Kruger Park, when the temperature rose to 46C; talk about extremes!  Airconditioning is always a concern for us both, and the long flights can be draining on the system.  Three flights going there and three coming home, plus a 9-hour wait in Gatwick to board the final leg between Gatwick and Bordeaux. This was perhaps a "too ambitious" schedule and age is not on our side!

  I didn't take a lot of photos in Johannesburg, as my telephoto lens was playing up! Thanks to an internet search and to Cathy for ferrying us, we managed to get an identical second-hand replacement in a nearby mall. It later proved not to be in perfect shape, but I think I have some reasonable photos to show you over the next few weeks!

Flying from Bordeaux to Gatwick on 10 October.  We then had to bus to Heathrow with all our suitcases!! No luggage transfers by the airline!

Arrival in Johannesburg on 11 October - wonderful Jacaranda trees!

In our friends' garden; some strelitzia flowers.

A distant shot of what I know as a Grey lourie - it seems now that the common name is simply the Go-Away bird due to its call. (Corythaixoides concolor).

Laughing dove (Spilopelia senegalensis).

 Common bulbul or Black-eyed bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus).

Hadeda ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), They are very noisy and had a liking for the friends' cottage where we were sleeping.  Not only with their call, but they seemed to enjoy jumping up and down on the tin roof (not this one!) as well!!

Our friends, Cathy and Steve's cat Leo.  He is a Main Coon, apparently the largest of the domestic cat breeds.  At just 5 months, he already weighs in at 9 kg!  So beautiful and with a fabulous temperament.

We took a trip to Steve's workshop to see what he was working on.  This is his race car, a Porsche 910, and.....

and he painstakingly restores other sports cars.  This looks like an interesting project with plenty of work to do!

Finally, more jacaranda trees! We caught them almost in full flower and before the heavy summer showers could drive the petals to the ground!

On Monday 14th, we flew to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, where Nigel was the first one to feel unwell and he spent the first two days there in bed!

I will be copying this post to My Life in the Charente 2 as well as some folk still follow that !


Sell also my Bird blog at
https://myafricanbirds.blogspot.com/


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20 comments:

  1. You really did return to winter. Think I'd have stayed in SA for summer. How lovely to see the Jacaranda in bloom. Leo is a handsome cat. Looking forward to more.

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    1. Thanks Gaelyn, Leo is quite beautiful. Hope you enjoy some of the later photos. Keep well and look after those wrists. Diane

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  2. Welcome home, Diane. Sorry to hear you were sick there and have still not fully recovered. I will look forward to hearing more of your exploits. I am a little puzzled by your route. When we went to RSA we flew Air France all the way - Toronto to Paris, then Paris to Johannesburg. Everything was on time, service was terrific and our bags were checked right through to Johannesburg. Was that option not available to you?

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    1. David it is quite simple BA were almost half the cost of Air France. All flights were on time. We knew we had a 9 hour wait in Gatwick as there was no morning flight to Bordeaux that day. With Nigel's feet I am afraid economy is out of the question so we really have to look hard at costs. Our bags were checked through on our return flight but they will not check through between Gatwick and Heathrow. Not the first time we have had this set up. Never the less we loved the trip and saw every animal and more on my wish list. Apart form that it was good to see our friends as well. Hope you are well Diane

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  3. So sorry to hear of your woes with health and camera lens, Diane, but it sounds as if you, nevertheless, had a good time, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it. I can't see anything wrong with the shots you're showing us so far - they look pretty splendid to me!

    Take good care, and don't overdo it. Most things will wait until you're feeling better. My very best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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    1. Thanks Richard, the photos were pretty hit and miss, it did not focus all the time and I found it very frustrating when it was an animal that was not going to wait for us!! I do not intend rushing things. The weather is horrible and I have plenty to catch up with beside the photos. I will not be adding to the number of photos I have either in this weather! You keep well, best wished Diane

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  4. I look forward to your posts about your vacation. Love these photos.

    We’ve had oodles of rain too this last month and very little snow.

    Welcome back.

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    1. Thankfully we have had no snow!!! Lots of wild life photos in the later part of our holiday. Thanks for the comment Diane

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  5. Stunning photos. I always love to see the clouds when I'm above them in the plane though these days I don't get that joy since I opt for the aisle seat so I can get up without bothering anyone. On long haul flights this is so important. I'm sorry to hear you and Nigel were not well for much of your travels. I had that problem on my last big trip. It's such a nuisance but I'm glad the two of you managed to enjoy and that you've made it home safe and sound. I look forward to catching up through your blog posts when you are able.

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    1. Penny we we both unwell but I am aware that air-con is a big problem for me and also it seems to affect Nigel as well. So lucky we got to see the big 5 and also wild dog so I could not have wished for more. Take care Diane

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  6. Hope you are feeling better by now. Do get well soon. Beautiful purple flowers and cute critters.

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    1. Nancy we are both OK but just not feeling 100%, of course winter weather on our return does not help! Hope that all is well with you. Diane

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  7. What a nice tree in the last photo.

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    1. The Jacarandas are stunning when in flower, sadly they do not like cold weather! Hope all is well with you and the family, Diane

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  8. Hi, this is a country I have not visited. I have been higher up and still recognise some of the birds :) Seem to have been a good trip.

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    1. Good day, I have been from the North to the South in Africa but not the West and East at the top. Having lived in Southern Africa for over 50 years a large part of my heart remains there. We had a good trip with animals and birds, I also have a bird blog as well. Thanks for the comment Diane

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  9. Hi Diane. What an interesting trip to South Africa! I am a little jealous! Ha ha! Well, the truth is that I have not been in Africa yet. But certainly I will visit one day.
    I missed your photos, my friend. I lllllllllllove the big cat Leo and the photo of the sky!!! Hugs!!!

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    1. Thank you Mia, Africa is a place you really must visit. Leo is beautiful ♥ Keep well. Diane

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  10. The jacarandas are in full bloom in Sydney right now too! Gorgeous.

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    1. We saw them there when we visited my SIL some years back. I do wish that they would grow in a colder environment but they are very thirsty trees so maybe a good thing we do not have them here. Cheers Diane

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