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Riding a Rhino at Bekkersfontein Game Farm

Sunday 11 May 2015

The kids woke us at 7:30 ish and then we got up and had breakfast.  We’d packed up the night before and we were on the road by 8:45.  We got a little lost after Queenstown but realised our mistake and went back, took the Takastad turn and followed Nicoline’s map until we reached Bekkersfontein.  It was a bit chilly but we were warmly dressed.   We unpacked then relaxed for the rest of the day.  The stone cottage is lovely.  It is solar powered most of the time but the generator is put on in the evenings.  However, the lights are always very weak.

We braaied for supper and then Boudewyn came home.  He’d been in Hogsback.  We invited him to eat with us but he’d had a big lunch in Hogsback.  He is very busy with the farm as he is only here when on leave from the oil rig – one month on one month off or something like that.

Monday 12 May 2015

We got up and went for a drive around the farm before breakfast.   It was lovely.  We saw lots of different animals and some birds.

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Sable Antelope

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Grey Heron

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Blesbok

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Hoopoe

Back at the cottage we found that it was being serviced by a maid! This we did not expect as we are not paying guests.   We cooked breakfast and then went for a walk trying to find the river route.   We found a few nyala.   When we returned I had a mid-morning nap!

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Female Nyala and baby

Boudewyn came to collect us in the afternoon and took us for a ride on the Rhino.  I sat up front with him and Earl stood on the back holding on for dear life.  It was exhilarating.   If I thought Abri’s cowboy driving on the Namibian farm was terrifying I still had to experience this!  It’s an open vehicle with strict safety rules nailed to the dashboard which nobody obeys!   I rode minus seat belt or helmet and there were no safety doors either!  I read the rules and shivered. I just made sure to keep my limbs inside the vehicle! But I needn’t have worried we didn’t turn over once.

We did, however, see loads of game.   We stopped to go into blinds and Boudewyn kept a running commentary of what the farm was all about.

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Beautiful and gentle waterbuck

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Stripy

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The Earl waiting on the Rhino

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The dogs enjoy every second

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Me in the front seat

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The ride up the mountain over roads littered with rocks and deep potholes was like riding in a moon buggy as the rhino is designed for just such off-road conditions.

Thank Goodness we’d put on an extra jacket for the ride as by the time we came down from the mountain it was pretty cold. Yet Boudewyn was dressed in shorts a shirt and a padded waste coat.  “ Do you ever wear a jacket?” I asked. “This is my jacket,” he grinned patting his waste coat.

We braaied again for supper and Boudewyn went off to do all sorts of chores as he is leaving for the oil rig tomorrow – a very long flight awaits him!

Thanks Nicoline for organising this amazing stay with your brother.  Thanks Boudewyn for making it so memorable.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

We left after breakfast and had a pleasant drive to Port Elizabeth.  Before checking into our B&B we stopped for lunch and then went shopping at Woolworths.

Our B&B Almani is lovely.  Our double room has tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and a microwave oven.  Everything is immaculate.  There is a television and an enormous double bed. The en-suite has a bath and separate shower.   The rooms open onto an enclosed stoop which opens onto the pool area of the lush garden.   The service is excellent and friendly.

There was load shedding from 3:30 to 6:30 today. Earl had a nap while I caught up on my diary and blogging and when the battery died I read my book!

We went to Ocean Basket for dinner and it was great! The restaurant is a little noisy but it is spacious and clean and the service is good.   Our food was excellent.  I had grilled calamari and stir fried vegetables. Earl had a seafood platter for one with stir fried vegetables. Of course he couldn’t eat it all – fish, calamari, mussels and prawns!

We did not have dessert and went home to make tea.  We were short of Rooibos tea so I went to “Die Voorkamer”to ask for more.  The daughter of the house was there and called to her mom that we needed tea bags. “Is dit die mense in Kamer 3 ?”  she called back.  “Nee – dis die pretty auntie” came to reply.  I didn’t know whether to be flattered at being called pretty or insulted at being called aunty!  Anyway she brought the teabags to our room and all was well!

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Australian Adventure – Day 15 – Cradle Mountain to Hobart via Strahn and Queenstown

It was freezing when we woke up and I didn’t want to leave the cosiness of my bed to get to the bathroom.  But we had a long drive today so I braved the chill, packed up and persuaded the almost naked chef to cook us an ‘Early’ breakfast which of course he did to perfection

As it was our last full day in Tasmania we wanted to make the most of it and Earl was keen on seeing the West Coast town of Strahn.  Everybody had told us that the West side of the island was boring and not to bother with it.  But we were blown away.  The mountain passes were spectacular and once again we passed through tiny and interesting villages, eateries in remote places, rivers, lakes, trees, interesting vegetation and of course the occasional interesting bird!  We also drove through the copper mining town of Queenstown and over the incredibly scary mountain pass but the spectacular views made the journey all the more entertaining.

We left at 8:30 in the morning and did an average speed of 45km per hour arriving in Hobart at 7:00 pm.   We stopped frequently and now that the road trip is over feel we’ve really taken in almost the whole of Tasmania!

Originally we were to fly from Hobart to Melbourne and then get a connecting flight to New Castle on the same day.  Before we left Discover Australia changed this as the flight to New Castle was cancelled so we were booked on a flight the next morning necessitating a stay in a hotel in Melbourne.   At the last minute we decided to ditch those bookings, get a flight to Sydney and then hire a car and drive to Cardiff.  Now that I am sitting comfortably with a glass of excellent Australian Sauvignon Blanc in my aunt’s home I am delighted that we made that choice.  It was a fabulous trip but another day of travelling would just have spoilt it all.

I am posting the photographs which I fear will not do justice to the amazing experience we had while taking them.   But I shall let them do their best to give you an idea of  what Tasmania has to offer.

One of the amazing rivers we crossed

One of the amazing rivers we crossed

Passing through a village near Cradle Mountain we found this teddy bear house - we went in for a gold coin donation and were blown away by the amazing home made teddies

Passing through a village near Cradle Mountain we found this teddy bear house – we went in for a gold coin donation and were blown away by the amazing home made teddies

Earl couldn't get enough of the boats at Strahn

Earl couldn’t get enough of the boats at Strahn

More Boats

More Boats

We had lunch at this restuarant.  I took out a R100 not and showed Aunt how similar it looked to a $10 note - same colour.  A man came over and asked - Is that S.A. money - Please may I swap it for Australian because I will visit South Africa one.  I got $10 Aussie dollars of it!

We had lunch at this restuarant. I took out a R100 note and showed Aunt how similar it looked to a $10 note – same colour. A man came over and asked – Is that S.A. money – Please may I swap it for an Australian note because I will visit South Africa one day. I got 10 Aussie dollars of it!

Old railway station

Old railway station

Old Railway Car

Old Railway Engine

Police Station!

The  Police Station amused us!

Two female Superb Fairywrens

Two female Superb Fairywrens

European Goldfinch

European Goldfinch

Yellow-throated honeyeater

Yellow-throated honeyeater

We saw a few of these Tasmanian Native-hens along the side of the road but when we stopped they disappeared very quickly. We managed to get this one and some friends because they were quite far from the road although they too vanished as soon as they realised we were watching them

We saw a few of these Tasmanian Native-hens along the side of the road but when we stopped they disappeared very quickly. We managed to get this one and some friends because they were quite far from the road although they too vanished as soon as they realised we were watching them.

Another pair before they scurried away - they are flightless but run fast

Another pair before they scurried away – they are flightless but run fast

The wild flowers were beautiful

The wild flowers were beautiful

Copper Mine Equipment in Queenstown

Copper Mine Equipment in Queenstown

Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass

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Copper Mountains

Back in Hobart

Back in Hobart

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Dinner at The Loft Bistro – Wrest Point Hotel

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Delicious Dessert

Today was spent travelling so not much to report other than it was great to get back to Aunt’s home where Colette had prepared a lovely supper for us and we could just relax and let the past two weeks sink in.  What a privilege to have taken that amazing road trip.

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A great start to 2011 Part 1 Kokstad to Mountain Zebra

vSaturday 1 January 2011

Well another year has begun.   What are my plans for this year?  I have absolutely idea.   We had such a crazy 2010 that I think we should just take this year as it comes.  I have not planned any holidays except for the ones we are about to take on our way home from Kokstad.   Will we do Kruger again this year?  Probably but who knows – we shall see what comes up. Perhaps an overseas trip – perhaps just chill at home!

This is the year that Jay starts High School.  That is the one big thing on my mind. He will no longer be just metres from school, he will have more than one teacher, I won’t know them intimately and will not be able to give him as much help, as I have been able to at Primary School.   I will talk to the Student Counsellor and ensure that he has a facilitator for exams but he is going to have to take a lot more responsibility for his own progress than before.  I can only pray that he will mature sufficiently to make the most of his high school years.

The weather improved today and it was quite warm.   I read in the morning then went to Murray Mackenzie for lunch as it is also his birthday today.   We had a very pleasant time sitting outdoors and watching the kids in the pool and chatting – a good family time.

The thunderstorm came preventing Earliebird from taking the kids to the dam to fish.  I popped over to Barbara to see if I could fix her computer problems but it seems she will have to take it to an expert.

We got home at about half past three.  Earliebird and I read and he finished his book.  I only managed to finish The Help later in the evening after supper and watching Sherlock Holmes on T.V.

Sunday 2 January 2011

We slept in quite late this morning then spent some time sorting out our packing.  Earliebird got the kids roped in to clean the car –what a difference after two weeks of farm dirt and mud! After lunch we had nap and when I woke up there was thunder, lightning and heavy rain – it had been raining on and off all day and now it was pouring.   We were meant to go to Barbara and Andrew for afternoon tea but Earliebird was not prepared to go out in the storm nor to get the car sullied againJ

Lauren and Allan did a chicken in the Weber – under the thatch boma – and after supper we watched Alice in Wonderland then went to bed.

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