Friday, September 29, 2006

Capetown (day 7)

today was exciting, more for the anticipation it created..
I booked my tour, that leaves from Jo-berg on monday.. that leaves me with today and the weekend, where I leave for joberg on a bus on sunday afternoon, arriving early early in the morning, to begin the tour.

No idea where and when i'll have internet during the tour, when I do i'll try and update, but i'll be on the move, so who knows how its going to turn out.. anyways here's the itinerary..

Day 1 South Africa Swaziland – Malolotja Nature Reserve
We depart Johannesburg and travel through scenic Mpumalanga until we reach the border to the Kingdom of Swaziland. Entering Swaziland we travel to the Malolotja Nature Reserve where will be spending the night. There are a number of wonderful walks in the area as well as some optional excursions accompanied by a local ranger. Optional Activities: Hiking, Nature Walks.

Day 2 Shewula
Traditional thatch and stone houses scatter the hillsides around the Shewula Mountain Camp. This community- run eco-tourism facility has been a great success and here you can experience some of the traditional Swazi lifestyle. A fantastic option is to arrange a traditional Swazi meal and join in with the preparation. Optional Activities: Traditional Dancing, Traditional Meal, Walks in Reserve.

Day 3 Moçambique – Praia do Tofo
Today we will leave Swaziland behind us and cross in to Moçambique. We will be traveling north alongside the ocean and experience the beautiful vistas of the Moçambique coast. In the late afternoon we arrive at our first camp at Praia do Tofo where we can take our first swim in the warm Indian Ocean. Optional Activities: Snorkeling, Fishing, Scuba Diving.

Day 4 Morrungulo
A short drive up the coastline takes us to Morrungulo where we will spend the night. There are many optional activities here such as fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. In between activities there is time to relax on the beautiful beach. Optional Activities: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Fishing.

Day 5/6/7 Vilankulo Bazaruto Archipelago
Today we depart Morrungulo and drive north to Vilankulo. There is an opportunity to cross by dhow or speedboat to the islands in the Bazaruto Archipelago where we relax 'island style', snorkeling or soaking up the sun. Should you decide not to go to the islands then Vilankulo offers many interesting sights. Those who went to the islands will arrive back in Vilankulo fairly late and so we spend the night here before returning to the Inhambane area the next day. Optional Activities: Bazaruto Excursion.

Day 8/9 Inhambane
Driving south through beautiful coconut plantations, we pass through the Old European settlement of Inhambane, haunted by the memories of the old slave trade along the coast. In the early afternoon we arrive at our campsite, right on the beach, for the next two days. We will have a full day to partake in the various optional activities here, including horse riding and Quad biking. Optional Activities: Scuba Diving, Horse Riding, Quad Biking, Snorkeling, Fishing, Boat Cruise.

Day 10 Maputo
From Inhambane we drive further south to the bustling capital of Moçambique. We arrive in Maputo in the afternoon where we will have time to explore and experience this true African city.

Day 11/12 South Africa – Kruger National Park
Today we return to South Africa to the world famous Kruger National Park where we will do our best to see Africa’s Big 5. Two nights are spent in this magnificent area viewing game and taking photos. The South African National Parks offers informative dawn game walks and night drives in the park (accompanied by a ranger). These are excellent for seeing the smaller animals and experiencing the wilderness. Optional Activities: Night Drive and Dawn Game Walks.

Day 13 Panorama Route Cheetah Breeding Centre
Sadly we leave Kruger behind us, but our visit to the Cheetah breeding centre more than makes up for any disappointment felt. We will also be traveling the Panorama Route through some spectacular scenery on our last full day of tour. Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes will be some of today’s highlights.

Day 14 Johannesburg
Today the tour ends. Depending on our time and sightings the day before in Kruger, we might use the morning to catch up on any of the highlights that we might have missed yesterday. We return to Johannesburg where you will be dropped off. Most groups will arrange dinner together this evening in one of Johannesburg’s many excellent restaurants.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cape Town (day 6)

Today i went into town mid morning and wandered while waiting for my township tour to begin at 2... ((REMEMBER, NONE OF THESE ARE EDITED YET, AND I'M SAVING THE BEST PICS FOR THE BOOK))
I sat having lunch and saw a very unusual looking man with amazing dreaded hair, who i asked if I could take his picture..

My township tour started, and it was bittersweet.. you'll see by the pictures, your heart breaks to see people living like this, but then again you envy them, their lives are simple and happy, they're all so happy with their lots, its almost unbelievable. The kids all smile, and everyone loved having their picture taken (i asked first, of course), they were just happy that I showed them how they turned out on my camera.. anyways.. on to the pictures..

We started off in the district 6 museum, which tells the story of how 60,000 people were removed from district 6 and sent to live in segregated townships based on their colour so that whites could inhabit the area, and then the whites chose not to, so the district six is left as a clump of unused grass: its such a waste and it was so cruel. The museum is covered in letters from the former displaced residents who returned to help put the museum together.. i saw this tile and found it funny..

one of the first people greeting us as we entered the township was this woman, preparing sheeps head to sell to her customers, its the cheapest part of the animal. It looked inedible, with flies all over the place, but the lady shouted at me for blocking the view of the product to prospective customers..

here another girl is working on carving the sheeps head, after having already removed all the fur. she wears white paint on her face to avoid the sun's heat.

there's something about the faces of black people, they're so very expressive. I can honestly say I could take their portraits all day. They really are beautiful, with all the lines and markings showing how much they've lived. This man loved having his picture taken, like most of the residents who let me take their pictures, they all had poses in mind.

this lady was dead set on posing kungfu style, she made little exclamations of excitement when she was being photographed, as well as when she was looking at her self in the pictures..

this is by far one of my favourite pictures so far.. I cant wait to colour correct a bit on it. Look at her face.

anyone who knows me knows I hate kids.. but not african ones. These children are beautiful. they have no concept of personal space, so they touch and pull and grab at anything they can on your body, they're not polite, they're just kids, completely inquisitive and joyful, spending all their time running around barefoot playing with eachother.

this boy's friend just dumped a bucket of water on him during some sort of game they were playing, and he's still smiling.

This lady owns a street stand in the township selling masks and other curios, i loved the solemnity in her face.

This is another absolute FAVOURITE of mine. This boy was beautiful, his eyes just seemed to be so white and hopeful incontrast to the dingy one room home he lived in. His red cap looked amazing against his black skin, with the blue background and windowlight illuminating him. He was just so unbelievably beautiful.

this girl was adorable, such a little plaything, she loved posing for the camera, constantly coming up with different faces and expressions. she was so happy.

We went to see a traditional healer/herbalist/doctor in the township, who hit me over the head with buffalo tail and told me i wouldnt have bad dreams at night because of it. He wore skins on his head and his "office" had roots, animal skins and dead animals, living turtals, candles, bottles filled with various potions and elixers, and so many other spices and herbs and pieces of plants that you couldnt begin to imagine.

this shows how the homes look.. they're pieces of metal, cars, anything really stuck together, some have hopeful attempts at a garden in the front, with makeshift windows looking out onto their humble view.

Kids being Kids.

spot the whitey.. okay, so again, anyone who knows me knows you wouldnt catch me dead around children, let alone TOUCHING one of them, but they were just irrisistable, like little pieces of sweet chocolate, so friendly and huggable and lovable, i was inspite of myself.

They decided to be models and go for my sunglasses..

and I loved how when one of the school kids didnt want to walk around and play anymore, one of the minders bundled them up and stuck them on her back.

not bad, eh?

I took so many pictures, more than 500 (thanks for the gig memory card dad, lifesaver), and these arent even the most moving. I cant wait to start putting together the book full of images, its becoming an ever growing concept as i come up with more things, ideas and formats I want to put across in it.
Anyway, enough with my ramblings and ponderings.. Tomorrow i'm heading back into capetown to book a tour, i think it'll be my last day in capetown, as the day after I want to start moving further into africa, rural africa that is.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cape Town (day 3, 4 and 5)

WRITER's NOTE: I've added the missing photo's to greece, i'll be adding the missing italy ones soon, slowly but surely this will be complete!,

Day 3 was spent hanging about with Maya and her friends doing not much really, except watching "lolita" at night, where i managed a nice picture of Maya and Amy..

but on Day 4 I headed into cape town center by taking the Jammy (student shuttle between campus's)... some random guy named Pat decided to talk to me on the bus the whole way, and was kind enough to walk me into the town center, so we wandered through the pan african market together, where I bought some beautiful african hand carved wooden bowls and other curios.. ((already nest building.. mom, there's wooden bowls that are beautiful just like the one you have in the kitchen for fruit, you'd like them)).
I wandered into the greenmarket square after going to tourist info to sort out my capetown pass, and this guy was wandering around singing about africa and being generally cool looking, so a photo had to be taken..

Got back to the res with some other dude offering to walk me to the university, this one being white and from the UK, bizaar.. But managed to get back intime for Maya to tell me that Desmond Tutu, a key political figure and the first black archbishop of south africa was giving the steve beku memorial lecture, and it was free.. so off we went to watch that..

after that we went out with all of maya's friends to a burger joint that did amazing milkshakes.. then off to bed so i could get up early today and begin using my capetown pass.

Day 5 began with me heading to catch the sightseeing hop on and off bus, that took me all along the town and to the outskirts, and climbed to the base of table mountain so i could see the beautiful view of the bowl..

from the bus these kids were waving at me, and I took their picture.. I think black kids are so beautiful, even the ones in westernized areas still retain a visual innocence about them.. I cant wait to go to less developed urban areas, though no one in the cape area seems to be able to suggest WHERE that may be!

I went and wandered through the National Art Gallery, which had some lovely photographs, and then Maya's mother picked me up and took us to Boulder's Beach to chill out with the penguin colony that's there.. they were formally known as Jackass Penguins (because of the sound they make) but have been renamed southafrican penguins now..

they really are magnificant! and no, i'm not using a zoom lens, he was literally within a foot of me! THIS makes me so glad i brought my good camera!

another animal that hangs out with the penguins in the colony (which is free for the penguins to come and go as they please, its not like a zoo or anything) is the Dussy, the closest living relative to the ELEPHANT! (i cannot believe it!), they look like little beavers!

soo cute!

I spent ages staring at the penguins, they're just so unbelievable! I want to take one home!

though they also spent some time staring at me.. this one became friendly and decided to humour me by being my model for a good ten minutes, striking tons of poses and walking slowly beside me.. I call him Elmo.

Mayas mum managed a nice shot of me and maya both staring at a penguin out of the shot.

And maya thought it looked funny when i was trying to run out of the surf to make footprints and then quickly photograph them so as to have my footprints in the sand in each beach i go to.. so she took a picture of my labours.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cape Town (day 2)

Today was fun and frolicking all day, went to the Kaut Bay with Maya and her father's cousin, and saw the beautiful views even though it was raining stupidly.. Maya's aunt took us to an awesome cuban restaurant with really ecclectic stuff all around it, and told us stories of her hitchhiking/backpacker days.

Freshly caught fishies

Earlier I spent the afternoon with Maya and her friends in Coffee Bean drinking a Milo, which is kinda like a hot chocolate, but not, and no one seems to be able to tell me what the difference is..

Steph, Maya and Dan all pretending to do work, since they're still in term time..

tomorrow i'm doing the open top tour of capetown to get my sites sorted and everything clocked on the radar.. hurrah

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Intermission 2 and Africa

Okay, so its been a month since the last update, and with very good reason: i had nothing to update. I stayed still. I took the two day ferry to venice, arrived late missing the train to nice, and ended up staying in Milan for the night with a lovely girl called Sofia who let me sleep in her spare bedroom.. By the time i got to Nice i'd had enough of travelling, my wanderlust had expired, so i stayed put and stopped moving...
Plus, look at my flipflops, this is after my travels, the soles were coming off, they just werent up to more movement..

I went back to scotland for a bit, and went to visit an old friend from canada in buckinghamshire, and then did the trek to africa. three plane journeys and one early 5am arrival later found me in cape town airport, sleeping on the chairs waiting to be picked up. Maya came and met me, and kindly let me sleep on the matress at her university residence room. Yesterday, after arriving and crashing out for a long needed nap, she took me out to meet her friends in the pub for a pint, and then back to their residence room for wine and music and random games. This morning was spent at Clifton Beach, absolutely beautiful, but freezing cold because we were on the west side of the cape.. Hopefully tomorrow i'll venture into cape town, as i'm staying in the suburb called rondebosch where the university is..

the beautiful beach we went to, clifton four

my foot prints!

I've developed a fascination with taking pictures of my shadow.. who wouldnt when they're travelling alone?

my feetsies in the gorgeous floury sand.. yum