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Our 3rd Blogiversary – in 3 Takes

The date of my 3rd blogiversary hit me by surprise this year. (Honestly, I’d totally forgotten about it!) I was doing a little site maintenance last week and noticed the date of my first post – November 29th. Right away, I knew what I wanted to do – show some of my favorite photos of the last three years but there was no way to weed through more than 2,500 images in two days and decide which ones to use.

I registered my blog about 3 years before I started blogging. Even though I was traveling, I couldn’t seem to get the writing part going. That is, until two of my friends and I made it to southern Africa. Three weeks in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho and I returned with so many wonderful and memorable experiences, I could hear myself telling the same stories over and over. I needed a medium that would allow me to share my stories and photos – my usual travel journal wouldn’t do. Then I remembered the blog I registered and never used.

Shortly after I returned home, I looked up my blog, downloaded my photos – almost 1000 images – and began writing. Surprisingly, the words flowed and even more surprisingly, they haven’t stopped.

My blog and I have grown considerably since those first tentative moments three years ago. I’ve met and befriended readers and bloggers and can proudly say there’s no group more supportive. It is because of you that this 3rd blogiversary is possible.

In Take One, I’ll go back to where it started – that trip to southern Africa. We visited Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, and Sani Pass, Lesotho.

If you can only visit two continents in your lifetime, visit Africa. TWICE! – R. Elliott

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Entrance to Victoria Falls

3rd Blogiversary, Vic Falls

Victoria Falls Rainbow

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Victoria Falls

Lunchtime at Makalolo Plains

Lunchtime at Makalolo Plains, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

3rd Blogiversity in 3 Takes

Lone bull elephant at Mbisa, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Mandela House, Soweto

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Iconic Soweto Watertowers

Looking down, Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Table Mountain Tablecloth

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town

Vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Vineyard, Stellenbosch, Cape Town

3rd Blogiversry in 3 Takes

M’hudi Wines’ Oupa Rangaka

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Durban trees

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Sani Pass Hotel

3rd Blogiversary in 3 Takes

Durban Rickshaw

Morning on the Golden Mile, Durban

Morning on the Golden Mile, Durban

 Some of the people we met…

It’s been a while since I saw some of these photos so that made it even more difficult to decide what to include. But it was great looking back at the wonderful time we had.

I still keep in touch with several of the people we met in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The first time I visited Africa, a friend told me it would change my life. It took the second visit for it to happen.

Coming up tomorrow, Take 2: London, Paris, Toronto, and New York.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Photo Thursday – Durban Rickshaw

A year ago, my friends and I traveled to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. When I was researching the Durban leg of the trip, I saw a photo of a rickshaw on Golden Mile Beach and decided I had to find one when I got there and go for a ride.

Durban Rickshaw

Rickshaw, Golden Mile Beach, Durban

On our way to the airport, I spotted this one near the beach and asked our driver to stop. We had only a few minutes but each of us got to sit in the rickshaw and have our photo taken.

The rickshaw was brought to Durban from London in 1893 by sugar magnate, Sir Marshall Campbell. At that time, there were only a few cars in the city. By 1902, Durban had approximately 1,700 rickshaws for more than 24,000 pullers who came to the city to work and returned home to the country with their earnings. Now, there are only about 20 registered pullers left.

Run by the Zulus, beautifully decorated rickshaws can be rented from pullers, who are dressed in colorful, handcrafted beaded headdresses and are usually stationed on the beach. They not only transport, they entertain in true Zulu fashion.

Rickshaw Rides on Golden Mile Beach cost between US$2 – $50.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website!

How about a braai?

About an hour after we left Durban‘s King Shaka Airport, we were at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Though only a short distance away, it felt like a different world.

As we exited, we noticed Stefan looking anxiously towards the arrivals gate then at his cell phone, as if trying to decide whether to make a call. We shouted his name and he turned and smiled widely. It was wonderful to see his familiar face.

Despite the fun we’d had in Victoria Falls, on safari at Hwange National Park, in Cape Town and Durban, Johannesburg felt as if we were returning home.

As soon as exchanged hugs and settled into the jeep, we – Sandra, Judith and I – began chattering all at once, like giddy teenagers tripping over each others’ words eagerly trying to get the stories of our adventures out to Stefan as quickly as we could.

Stefan had some news of his own. While we were gone, Shepherds Court, the guest house he owns and where we had stayed when we arrived in Johannesburg, had seen a flurry of new arrivals and was fully booked so he decided to put us up for our last night in Joburg at his pool house. He dropped us off then left to do some shopping.

We settled in and made our way to the kitchen of the main house and opened a bottle of Tall Horse, a local wine we had fallen in love with. The door bell rang unexpectedly. It was Thope. She had several bottles of wine with her and told us that Stefan planned to have a braai – a kind of a barbecue – for us before we left. A braai? We were excited!

In our two weeks in Southern Africa, we had not been to a braai. We hadn’t thought about it — it wasn’t even on our must-do list.

Finally, Stefan returned and more friends arrived. The men went about setting up and cooking ribs, pork, beef and boerewors (sausage) while we women remained inside drinking and chatting.

Once everything was ready, we moved outside to the covered porch area where the huge braaier was located and the party began.

We had eaten so much beef in Southern Africa, we’d joked among ourselves that we’d  have to take a vacation from meat when we returned to the States. But what’s a braai without meat? The beef was surprisingly tender and flavorful and hours later, almost all of it had been washed down with several bottles of South African wine.

After the braai

And several bottles of wine

Just before dawn

If we didn’t have plans to go to Soweto later that morning, we would probably still be there, chatting and laughing. We had a fabulous time. It was about 3 a.m. when we finally stumbled into bed on our last night in South Africa.

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Durban’s Miles of Smiles

Our last morning in Durban began with us watching the sun as it rose over the Indian Ocean.

Golden Mile Awakening

And watching as the area known as the Golden Mile, Durban‘s popular stretch of beach came to life with vendors, tourists, swimmers, people out for their morning walk and workers cleaning up the beach.

Golden Mile Morning

One of the things we wanted to do was dip our toes in the ocean. The sand was almost golden brown and soft under our feet. It was our only time in the water since we had been in South Africa.

We waded in, stepped back and screamed almost at the same time when the water hit our feet.  It was a nice, bracing cold. But just wetting our toes wasn’t enough. We walked further in as the water lapped our calves. It felt great.

The water was a little brisk!

When we returned to our room, our clothes were wet and flip flops full of sand. Disappointingly, I didn’t get any shells on the beach.

Near the street, a few people had gathered to admire this artist’s rendition of a cheetah

Golden Mile Cheetah

and a lion made from sand.

 Golden Mile Lion

Durban’s artistic flair.

Garbage?

What’s DSW doing on the side of this garbage receptacle? Sorry, Sandra, it’s not the shoe store.

Sculpture

During our last drive through Durban, we came across these sculptures that I just loved.

Golden Mile Sculpture

Before we left the U.S., I had seen photos of Durban’s rickshas and the drivers online. I knew I had to see and ride in one.

And as Don drove us around, we spotted this one. I was so excited, I started to jump out of the car before he even came to a stop.

Golden Mile Ricksha

The driver obligingly put on his elaborate headgear but we didn’t have time for a ride. I could only take these photos.

Ricksha ride?

Color infected even the fence of this building

And this tree

This cube caught our eye

Then we saw this tree in Sandra’s favorite color

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Named for a former general secretary of the South Africa Communist Party, Moses Mabhida Stadium, played host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Another view of the stadium

Coastline and highrises

Sibaya Casino from the highway

On our way to the airport, we noticed this building from the highway. It was the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. It looked impressive, if a little out of place.

Sibaya Casino Entrance

This would be one of my last photos of Durban. It had been a whirlwind three days. We had done a lot, racked up several thousand miles and made friends.

Compassline Africa, our travel agent in Durban, had taken fabulous care of us. If you ever plan a visit, send Tanya or Alison an email. They left us in the capable hands of Don “How’s ya Granny” Botterill who proudly showed off his beautiful province and shared personal and family stories, including the one that a distant relative was one of the first people to open the Sani Pass route through the Drakensberg Mountains to Lesotho.

Our goodbye to Durban was bittersweet – it meant we had just one more night in South Africa.

Goodbye Durban, till next time.

Back to Joburg.

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