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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner in Soweto

The morning of our first full day in Johannesburg broke in a blaze of sun. Sandra fiddled with the dial on her portable radio until she picked up what sounded like a local station that, except for the music and accent of the deejay, could have been mistaken for a station back home. Why is it that no matter where you go, almost all deejays sound the same?

Our room at Shepherds Court was large, and comfortable for the three of us and our suitcases. But it was the bathroom that had us ooohing and aaahing, with its heated tiles, shower, and whirlpool tub that beckoned invitingly each time we entered. Regrettably, we didn’t have time to enjoy it.

We spent most of the morning sorting the school supplies that we planned to donate. It was Sandra’s suggestion and Judith and I signed on without hesitation. Unfortunately, the week we arrived, all the schools were closed because of a strike. We were anxious for it to end as we had no plans to take the supplies back to New York.

Lorraine’s brother, Roger, arrived soon after our late breakfast to take us to Soweto and to meet their mom, Thandie Klaasen.

watch?v=IeKfpGWpq90

Known as one of Nelson Mandela’s favorite jazz singers, Thandie Klaasen has performed with Miriam Makeba, Patti Labelle and Roberta Flack, among others.  This elegant woman, of proud bearing, lives in a suburb of Johannesburg surrounded by the awards and mementos of her 50-plus-year career. Several young musicians seek her out and the night we were there was no different.

Mercy Pakela, a singer who was appearing that evening with Japanese jazz saxophonist, Sadao Watanabe, was there when we arrived. We all crowded together in Mrs. Klaasen’s living room, talking with her about her life, her struggles and her luncheon with Madiba. And as if the evening couldn’t get any better, both she and Mercy sang for us.

From the outset, we knew the trip would be fabulous, we just didn’t know it would be this fabulous!

Dinner in Soweto

Marcia, Thandie Klaasen, Sandra, Judith and Mercy Pakela

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Sawubona! Finding Family in Johannesburg

During our meetings in the months leading up to our departure, Sandra, Judith and I decided to identify our three ‘must-see’ places in South Africa. Soweto was on each of our lists.

An abbreviation of South Western Townships, Soweto, is home to about 2 million people. It is recognized internationally as the seat of the Apartheid resistance, and for us, women of African descent, it holds a strong emotional charge. No visit to Johannesburg would have been complete without a trip to Soweto. In fact, if all we got to see was Soweto, we would have been happy. Anything more would be, as we say in Jamaican parlance, brawta, a treat.

We arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, on the last Thursday night in August after a lovely flight via Amsterdam on KLM. KLM’s flight attendants were extremely friendly and attentive, the meals delicious and so attractively presented, I almost didn’t want to damage the package by opening it. (Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, where we had a 2-hour layover and KLM’s service deserve separate posts.)

Thope and Hope, our new friends, were waiting to meet us at Johannesburg’s Oliver R. Tambo International Airport. Thope‘s a friend of my new friend, Montrealer and South African jazz singer, Lorraine Klaasen, and Hope is Thope’s friend and co-owner of Shepherds Court,the guest house where we were booked to stay.

We had met Lorraine earlier in the year, told her about our trip and asked her to recommend places for us to see. When I told her that we didn’t know a soul in South Africa, without hesitation, she whipped out her Blackberry and gave us the contact information of several of her friends and relatives in Johannesburg. We were deeply touched by her generosity.

Sawubona, Finding Family in Johannesburg

Sandra, Marcia, Lorraine Klaasen and Judith

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