What happened to Scottie?

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Scottie, from Scotland, is still with us.  With a constant threat of wild animals he is usually kept in the safety of the car, but every once in a while he pops his head out for a quick pic.

 

 

 

In Zambia we left out while we set up for dinner, and when we turned around a local lab pup had a firm grip on his ears and was taking him for a run around the campsite.  Thankfully no damage done.

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End of our journey

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We are now at our end destination, J’burg South Africa, which means our amazing, thrilling, and at times, challenging, road trip through Europe and Africa (and that first leg on the Trans siberia through China, Mongolia and Russia) has come to an end.   We have a month left to enjoy time with family and friends, then a few days in Perth, and a family reunion back in Emerald and then in Brisbane.  Our journey of a lifetime is sadly coming to an end, but we have loved all of it…and doing it together has been the biggest reward.

31 countries in 9 months…with perhaps one more to go if we can sneak in Swaziland before we head home.  Sadly we missed our 39 country target due to lengthy delays (and costs) in shipping from Italy to Kenya, which have seen us drop our America leg, for now anyway.

Highlights, more pics, and some post trip comments will come, but for now, we are safe and well here in South Africa.

Catching up with friends

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Our trip south to Capetown also allowed us to catch up with lots of friends including meeting Charlene & Steven’s new bub, opening night at the Beach House with Gideon & Mandie, Waldu’s family friends in the sleepy quaint town of Kleinmond, and his aunty and cousins in Worcestor.

Fortunately Clarissa was stopping over in Capetown so we managed to squeeze in a trip to the wineries in Stellenbosch and Franshoek, and a little shopping (of course).

 

 

Elephants playground

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Recalling the crazy, huge, angry elephants of Chobe (Botswana), Nic was a bit hesitant when Waldu suggested a visit to the Addo Elephant Park.  “Not again,” said Nic. “Do we have to camp with them this time or can we stay in a lodge?  Maybe we should drain the water tank.”

 

Much to Nic’s surprise the elephants were nothing like their angry cousins up north.  These ones were placid and didn’t even mind when we over took them on the dirt road.  They posed for the cameras and went about their daily routine with no concern over us.

From the national park’s under ground hide we were able to also watch the elephants playing at night, and catch a rhino drinking from the water hole.  So we can now tick off the big 5!  Plus there was the usual (for us) other creatures to be seen – warthog, zebra, lots of boks, pofadder snake, hyenna…

We left Addo and headed down to the Atlantic Ocean to make our crawl around the coastline to Capetown.

PS.  We did camp, and the elephants came nowhere near us.  No lions either.  We could only hear the cry of the jackals through the night.

The owl lady’s house

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This weird, intriguing stop required a blog post all of its own as nowhere on our travels have we seen anything quite like the owl lady’s house, as it is affectionately known.

In the sleepy little village of Nieu Bethesda is the home of (now deceased) Helen Martin.  This little lady made a major impression on the area, and the art world, with her garden of cement sculptures of owls, pyramids and angels, which she sculptured for her own pleasure more than that of the fans and critics.  The eyes, made of bottle ends, grab you as soon as you step foot in this maze of a garden.  Much of the work was completely by Helen and her helps, who later succeeded her when she sadly died, having lost her eye sight and the ability to see her artwork.

 

Holding back the hands of time

Some say she was a genius and others say she was just plan mad, but either way you are drawn into her garden and a visit leaves you talking about the owl lady and her house long afterwards.   Thanks to Waldu’s Mum recommending a visit, we too can know comment on Helen’s world too.

Off again

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After a 10 day stop over in J’burg to catch up with family, refuel and fix a broken cam shaft (something major in the engine) in the car, we were off again. Instead of continuing our journey via the west coast, we decided to do the last leg of our trip, through South Africa, backwards and head east first.

This gave Nic the perfect excuse to revisit her favourite town, Graff Reinett in the Klein Karoo.

Not surprising, and much to Nic’s delight, nothing had changed much since the visit in December. But, this time the new Camdeboo National Park was open and because it was so new, the baboons and monkeys didn’t know about it. Thankfully this meant a peaceful night’s sleep. We did get to meet some meerkats on the way…at least they don’t steal your food.