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Archive for September, 2011

30th September
2011
written by Hazel

This post has been a while coming partly because the amazing awesomeness of Chobe National Park is so huge that it’s a pretty intimidating post to write.  This, for me, was a completely magical day.  I wanted elephants and I got ELEPHANTS.  Tiny baby elephants, elephants having mud baths, a huge herd of elephants crossing a river, and even sunset elephants.  This park has the highest concentration of elephants in the world.  In fact, they like it so much that if they try to take the elephants elsewhere to redistribute the population the elephants will walk back over 700 kms to get back to this park.

We got up in the morning in Livingstone, in Zambia and had to wait for some new people to join the tour.  There was a bit of a miscommunication between the head office and our tour leader (the didn’t tell him that some people were not going to show up!) which resulted in a bit of a mad dash to get the ferry across the border.  Fortunately, our guide was looking out for us and arranged for our game drive vehicles to meet us straight off the boat and take us directly to see the animals.

We had a really nice game drive vehicle and driver and had about 2.5 hours of driving up and down the Chobe river looking for wildlife.  There were so many amazing sightings, so if you want to see all the pictures click on any of these and it will take you through to the gallery.  But here are some of my favorite things!  (EDIT: ok, there are about a million pictures below.  But it really was that great!)

First view of the Chobe River

First view of the Chobe River

Hippo!

Hippo!

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29th September
2011
written by Hazel

In the afternoon after our walking safari we headed out to see the famous Victoria Falls.  They were on the low side since it is the dry time of year, but still impressive.  We had about three hours of walking around and taking photos, so I’ll just share a few here.

The spray was pretty intense!

The spray was pretty intense!

Mom and I hiking around

Mom and I hiking around

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18th September
2011
written by Justin

We got up early again – around 6am – to depart for our walking safari which started at 7:15 and was to last 3 hours.  Fortunately the chefs at the Waterfront opened the restaurant early (sweet!) and we were able to eat before loading up on the safari vehicle.  It was our first safari 4×4 – seemingly a converted pickup truck with 4 rows of 3 seats in the back.  They very considerately provided poncho-like blankets for the drive to the park, which was fairly cold in an open-air vehicle early in the morning.

En Route to Safari

En Route to Safari

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17th September
2011
written by Hazel

I can’t believe I forgot to post this with all of the Turkey posts!  But better late than never, so here is the lowdown on Turkey’s contribution to our wedding quilt.  We knew that we wanted to look for fabric in Istanbul’s famous Grand Bazaar.  You can read about the rest of our shopping trip here.

Even though Istanbul is known to have amazing textiles we had an epic quest trying to search for something that would be appropriate for use in a quilt.  In general the fabric we would like to find would be made of cotton or something similar, be a strong, thin fabric that isn’t stretchy, see through, or too coarse.  In the USA you can buy fabric specifically designed for quilting, but this is not the case in most other countries.

The first thing we found that would maybe have worked was a table runner.  We would have needed to cut it up and only wanted a small bit of it.  It was expensive though and we ultimately decided that we could probably do better.  It wasn’t easy though and even our final choice will be quite a challenge for my mom to put it into the quilt with so many other different types of fabric.

And here is our choice!

Turkey Fabric

Turkey Fabric

It is a pashmina made of cashmere.  We loved the pattern and the colors and it is incredibly soft.  Perhaps it can even be used in one big piece on the back of the quilt or it will just mean that there are little soft patches on the front!

17th September
2011
written by Hazel

We had a great first night camping and slept really well in the nice, sandy campground.

First Safari Campground

First Safari Campground

We had to get up really early, but it meant that we got to see a beautiful sunrise before breakfast!

African Sunrise

African Sunrise

Right after breakfast we got going because we needed to finish driving through Botswana and get into Zambia this day.  The landscape wasn’t that interesting, but we did see a little wildlife before we made it to the Kazungula Ferry that crosses into Zambia.

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15th September
2011
written by Justin
HUGE Termite Mound

Huge Termite Mound

After our time in Hermanus, we had a day where we just did mostly nothing and got caught up with laundry and other things, because then we headed back to Joburg for our overland SAFARI into Botswana and Zambia!  We were super stoked, even though we had to fly to Johannesburg, stay one night, and immediately hop back into the car for a long drive.  But it was worth it!  Nobody ever said that it would be easy to be on safari.  We booked our night at the Backpackers Ritz, which seemed to be affiliated with our safari company, Acacia Africa.  We were happy with the hostel; they upgraded us from a 2-person room and a dorm bed to a room that could fit all of us and helped us to order food from Nando’s (my favorite South African chain restaurant).  We didn’t see too much of it because we left the next morning at 5am to embark on our safari! (more…)

14th September
2011
written by Hazel

The day after we visited the penguins I drove us down to Hermanus, a small town on the coast, where we spent the night and searched (mostly unsuccessfully) for the whales which are supposed to be plentiful there.

Our trusty rental car

Our trusty rental car

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13th September
2011
written by Hazel
Boulders, home of the African Penguins!

Boulders, home of the African Penguins!

We’ve done really well on penguins on this trip!  Yellow-eyed penguins here and here, and hundreds of Magellanic and Gentoo penguins here.  We hadn’t had enough though and continued our trip from Cape Town with a stop at Boulders to see a colony of African Penguins.  It was a good time of year to be there because the babies were not finished molting and still had big hunks of fuzz.  They were adorable.  We also loved seeing the penguins surf in on the waves and waddle up the beach.  This is a really good spot for viewing penguins because after you pay your entry fee you can walk along boardwalks that get you right up close to the penguins.  There are lots of great photo opportunities!

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13th September
2011
written by Justin

The day after we went up table mountain, we had another beautifully clear one – perfect for exploring Cape Peninsula, the bit of land that juts out to the south of Cape Town into the Atlantic.  Many people think that this peninsula is the southernmost tip of South Africa, but it isn’t, so you aren’t able to touch the Indian Ocean from anywhere near Cape Town.  We rented a car (thanks for driving, Hazel!) and started off along the coast.

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

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11th September
2011
written by Justin
Table Mountain

Table Mountain. Photo courtesy of Maggie Ball

We didn’t spend too long in Pretoria – in fact the same day we flew over to Cape Town. We were picked up by a local quilter – Maggie was going to teach there – and taken straight to our hostel. After a relatively quiet night, the next day was a beautiful one so we went straight up to Table Mountain. Since the weather is so fickle on top of the mountain – including the ubiquitous cloud the locals call the “tablecloth” – we knew that we’d have to book it if we wanted the best experience possible.

View from Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain

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