Sunday, November 30, 2008

9 September 2008

Mata-Mata campground, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Well, we're back to camping after the excitement of last night. But once again, we have nice neighbors--an Afrikaans guy and his wife Winnie, from East London. They've been at this campsite for ~a week and this is their last night. They let us share their campsite so we wouldn't have to be next to Das Rollende Hotel--a massive bus pulling a cubicle hotel--looks like there are ~21 cubbies (14 windows on each of 3 levels, anyway) where people [German tourists] sleep. Apparently the whole contraption got stuck on a park road a few days ago and when they were rescued, after spending the night out there in the bush, the Parks people found the Germans wondering all over the dunes, never mind the lions, hyenas (some of which were apparently quite close), leopards etc. Quite the sight, their rolling hotel!

Das Rollende Hotel at Mata-Mata.

Today we had a very long drive from Gharagab to Mata-Mata--7:30 am to ~3 pm. The morning was very interesting--we had some serious 4x4 driving to do, over sand dunes. We got so stuck on one that I had to dig out the tires with our shovel and push the truck just to get it reversed down the hill so we could attempt it again. We had to try ~4 times, if not 5, and I really had to push the truck at times, knowing that lions had been in the area overnight (Jared tracked them to a waterhole, past it, then into the grass). At one point, I was left at the top of the hill with our shovel, with Jesse and the truck at the bottom. [I tell you, there's nothing like the adrenaline rush associated with the fear that a lion or three might pop out of the lion-colored grass all around you at any moment to get you to push a truck that's stuck--it would have made an awesome photo, since I was up to my ankles in red sand and nearly horizontal as I pushed the front of the truck to get it unstuck. Thank you Kirsty for getting me into the "100 pushups" routine--those push-ups paid off!] I then commanded the truck over the remaining dunes, doing some very fancy steering at times to avoid hitting objects as the truck slid around.

The almost impossible hill. Those tire tracks coming up from the left and ending in deep sand are from one of our failed attempts.

We finally (~30 km) got onto the main road and back to Nossob, where we got petrol and switched drivers. That's when we realized that the battery for the fridge had jumped around so much that it was on its side and had cracked the plastic case it was in. And there was battery acid everywhere--I could smell it too. So I had to clean that up. Also, one of the plastic bins they'd given us the camping gear in is totally cracked. Oh dear. Let's hope the R90/day "full insurance" covers that.

Back to driving over the dunes--I just want to mention that I had a LOT of fun doing it, though I was quite nervous (of getting stuck or destroying the truck) too. I was quite impressed by my dune driving skills! [I don't remember the last time I have had so much fun, nor been so scared. I was driving like a someone in an off-road race... we had to go fast to get over the dunes, then the road would turn just as we crested, so I'd have to make a quick steering correction, then another as the road turned again etc. I didn't know I was capable of it, I have to say.]

Anyway, after hours of driving, we finally got to see the giraffe that hang out near Mata-Mata and nowhere else in the park--some pretty small ones frolicking, and some big ones eating the leaves off the tops of trees. It was strange to see such large animals with such long legs after days of smaller animals. Also, saw some Springbok sleeping at the side of the road looking very unperturbed by us driving up to them and taking photos. Saw lots of Swallow-tailed bee-eaters near Nossob--gorgeous birds. Oh! And both Jesse and I scared Kori bustards into flight while driving [this is an old joke between us--the Kori bustard is the largest flighted bird, but you don't normally see them flying because they spend most of their time walking around. One day when Jesse and I were chasing sunset back to camp in Etosha in 2001 (the camp gates close at sunset), we almost hit a Kori bustard that was in the road, but it took off at the last second--so we had proved to ourselves that they do actually fly]. We also saw a whole bunch of ostriches.

A trio of giraffes (sounds a bit like a Heifer catalog, doesn't it?). The all-neck giraffe on the left is a baby lying down.

Baby giraffe having a good gallop.

An unperturbed Springbok.

A swallow-tailed bee eater. No really, there's a bird in front of that tree. It's just to the left of center.

Writing by the light of the moon, as this entry has been, is getting tougher, so I'm quitting here [you should see my hand writing! Remember how our flashlight died a few nights before, the same night our lantern died? Well, we were preserving the last of our other lantern's faint glow for important things, so I had to use moonlight to write.]

Jesse at our Mata-Mata campsite. As far away as we could get from Das Rollende Hotel and a campsite that seemed to be full of the partying types. Of which type we are not. 

8 September 2008

Gharagab [a camp within Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park]

We're low on water and cash. Saw a couple of bat-eared foxes this morning, but nothing else of particular interest. The drive to Gharagab was partly on a 'jeep track'-like road...

...BIG break here... got distracted by various things, including a brown hyena at the watering hole (after 2 jackals and some Gemsbok and a very wary Ostrich earlier), sunset from the lookout tower, gin-and-tonics with our neighbors Susan and Jared and the 'tourism assistant,' Eric, a leopard (!!!!!!!) at the watering hole in the rapidly fading light, then again in the pitch dark, and also a Steenbok (I think) and a Gemsbok. And, dinner of fried potato cubes, naartjies, and mint crisp Cadburys [chocolate]. Yummy.

Okay, back to the drive--definitely needed a vehicle with good clearance on that road, and 4x4 would have helped at times (we drove with 4x2)... we almost didn't make it up the last ridge to camp, then we got stuck near Eric's cabin when we checked in. Eric had to drive our vehicle for us to our cabin, after we switched to 4x4 and were still stuck in the sand.

The 'jeep track' leading to Gharagab.

It was the hottest it had been get when we got here [found out later it had been 35°C (95°F)], so we had lunch (got here just after 12 pm, I think), then sat around until I got so tired I had to have a nap (!!) [this is remarkable because I don't nap]. I can see why there are siestas in hot countries! The nap lasted ~1/2 hour, then Jesse has a shower, then me. For the time when I was wet, I was actually cool (the 'windows' (screens) let in a nice breeze). But, I dried pretty quickly! Then, more sitting around, going through our bird lists and reading the park brochure we bought. I saw the pair of jackals while Jesse was in the shower, and he saw a pair of Lanner Falcolns while I was napping. The ostrich (a male in breeding colors, pink on his shins) took ~1.5 hours to actually get water--very wary. 

Our chalet and 4x4 at Gharagab.

Around sunset, Jesse suggested we go up to the observation deck, so we did. Just before sunset (~6:30 pm), the neighbors got back from a game drive (didn't see anything, though we saw the brown hyena here--very cool) and Susan, the woman, came to join us. She met Jared ~10 years ago when they were both working on a rich person's yacht (he as a marine engineer, she as a stewardess) but had recently got back together (she lives in Sydney, Australia, he in Paulshof outside of Johannesburg) and are now engaged. Jared will emigrate to Sydney, and it sounds like kids are planned. 

Brown hyena approaching the watering hole.

Susan invited us over for gin and tonics, including Eric when he showed up on his evening rounds. Jared is very into photography--he has a massive zoom lens with camouflage around the hood [I found out later it was a 600 mm lens!], and a professional Nikon body and an SB-800 [fancy Nikon flash... I'd recently bought myself a used one on eBay]. He passed us at a couple of waterholes yesterday and took out the big lens and mounted it on a door mount for stabilization. He took photos of the immature Bataleur Eagle we saw yesterday (when they pulled up in their 4x4, it flew away, so Jared tried to photograph it in flight) and of the pair of Lanner Falcolns we saw on the ground. They had come all the way here after we saw them at that waterhole, which was the last one before Grootkolk [it was a long way still, and not too long from sunset]. Susan was very chatty, and it was interesting to hear about life on yachts (some >100 meters!). RICH clients, by the sounds of it. 

Eric joined us, so I learned that he spends two weeks here, then has one week off (during which time he lives in Twee Rivieren and enjoys playing soccer--he had a Kgalagadi Eagles shirt on) and his favorite animal is the cheetah. He went to Etosha ~1 year ago. I think from something Susan said that Eric has been doing this for ~2-3 years. Strange lifestyle!

The leopard was amazing--drank LOTS of water and took its time. Moved around the water hole, then drank some more. Left for a while then came back... apparently it lives with a female and cubs nearby and the female has brought the cubs to drink in the morning before... they only need to drink every 2-3 days. My first leopard, that I remember!

We have a helluva long drive tomorrow (~9 hours?), which I'm not looking forward to. Let's hope Mata-Mata is worth it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

7 September 2008

Grootkalk [a camp in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park]

Yesterday, we entered Kgalagadi and spent the night in Nossob (camping). We saw lots of eagles (Tawny (various shades) and Marshall (immature and adult)), but not much of interest in the way of mammals (Springbok and Wildebeest mostly, but a few hartebeest at a distance too). And then the troubles started in earnest--we'd been suspecting that there were problems with the fridge/freezer we were renting--it didn't get cold all the way (only down to ~18-20°C) and had a flashing error light. The battery it ran off never seemed to get charged...

(break--lots of commotion here because a Pale Chanting Goshawk [P.C.G.] that was in the tree over the watering hole swooped down to catch something, then flew back up into the tree (didn't see if it got anything), setting off alarm calls in a flock of sparrow weavers and/or red-headed finches that is hanging out in the tree next to me. I was too busy watching an adult sparrow weaver feed a younger one by our outdoor sink to notice the P.C.G.).

The Pale Chanting Goshawk above the waterhole at Grootkalk.

...When we got set up in camp (in Nossob), our neighbor came to see if it was okay that he plugged into our campsite's power outlet because his was in use by his neighbor and his fridge/freezer wasn't working off his battery! So we asked him for advice on ours and we tried his plug-in cord on ours, and it ran! He tried to clean our battery leads for us (didn't help) and ultimately let us use his cord the whole night, so our stuff finally got chilled for the first time in 1.5 days [wasn't that nice of the guy? So, his fridge wasn't plugged in at all, but he said it was okay because he was near the end of his 8-day trip through the park (still had to drive back to Pretoria) and so didn't have much fresh stuff anyway. We ran into other helpful people in the park too]. 

Our rooftop tent at our campsite in Nossob (the fridge is the beast in the wooden frame in the back, with battery in front of it).

Then, Jesse realized (within half an hour of the fridge problems and the realization that Kalahari 4x4 had given us a bum setup) that he had lost his pocket knife [that he'd had since he was ~12] somewhere along our trip, and soon after that, our lantern started going out (presumably because the rechargeable battery was low) and of course Kalahari 4x4 hadn't given us a cord for recharging that either... and then the flashlight we'd brought from the USA died... and it wasn't the batteries (we had spares) but probably the bulb (no spares of that). And we both had headaches. Not a good evening!

[A note to me delicate readers: Kalahari 4x4 did refund us the money we'd paid for renting the fridge/freezer when we got back, but we were stressed at this point in the trip that we were going to lose all our fresh food AND that we would end up paying for something we didn't get to use but yet took up a lot of space. And don't worry about Jesse's pocket knife... I found it in the console of our 4x4 a week later when I was making sure we'd got everything out of it before returning it... but imagine for the sake of the story that you don't know that either. And our kind cord-loaning neighbor loaned us a gas lantern for the rest of the evening and we managed to get by without needing our own reliable source of light at night for the remainder of our trip, because all but one of the places we stayed had light, and there was a second, very weak, lantern that we used sparingly. All's well that ends well?]

I cooked up some of our vegetables with stock and made up some rice to eat with it. For desert, we had fruit salad (to use up the pawpaw [papaya] and guavas that weren't being kept cold by the fridge). Oh, and we also ate a lovely avocado that Anne Kotze had given us (she lovingly ripened the avocado and pawpaw for us while we were in Hermanus). We slept in our rooftop tent last night and found it quite comfortable.

This morning, we set off for Grootkalk, after waiting for a petrol attendant (to sell us petrol since it was going to be two days before we saw a petrol pump again) to get back from looking at the camp water tank that was acting up. Since we were in lion country, we looked and looked for lions to no avail, but finally someone in a vehicle heading the other direction told us they'd just seen lions mating at the next (for us) water hole. It was 15 km away so we sped off towards it. But, we couldn't see a lion (or two) anywhere. We headed back to the road to try to find them from a different view (some Gemsbok were looking especially wary in the vicinity), also to no avail. On the way back to the waterhole for one last look, I thought I saw a leopard-like shape in a tree at a distance and resolved to get a better look at it as we left. Again, no lion at the waterhole, so we went to leave and I asked Jesse to stop so I could look at the leopard-like shape. It was just a pile of twigs. Then I casually looked our the other window and saw a lion! Just its head, then it lay back down again. They really are quite well hidden in the grass!

There's a lion under that there tree (about 1/3 rd in from the left).

(Another interruption--just watched the P.C.G. get a sparrow/finch and eat it... and now it's trying to get another one!)

Anyway, we finally got bored of waiting for the lion to lift its head again, so continued on our way. Saw loads of secretary birds before finally reaching Grootkalk, where the "tourism assistant," Eric, showed us to our lovely chalet, with an anti-leopard door and separate anti-snake door. Thankfully, it has a gas-powered fridge/freezer, so we can chill our food again! we also have our own bathroom, and there are (solar-powered) lights, so we don't need to worry about our lamps running out. 

Our tent at Grootkolk, with anti-leopard door leading onto the porch (more just deters leopards/lions, since they could of course jump over the wall/gate).

The local leopard came to the watering hole here yesterday at 4 pm, and it's 4 pm now, but no sign of it yet. Apparently it visits a different watering hole some days. And the lions that are usually here have moved on to Gharagab, according to our neighbors. Let's hope we see some big cats soon, since Jesse and I are currently a bit disappointed in Kgalagadi (Etosha [where we went together in 2001] and Mata-Mata [where Jesse went in ~1998] are better).

5 September 2008

Safari chalet at Kalahari Trails, just outside Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

After breakfast at Libby's Lodge this morning, we went to Elron Motors and met up with Neil Nel to take possession  of our 4x4. Niel was a bit of a chatterer, so it took a while, and my credit card was declined because it looked like "fraudulent activity"--had to call USBank and have them remove the block. Then, off to the airport to drop off our trusty VW Polo. After that, a ~R400 shopping trip at Pick 'n' Pay, followed by a cinnamon-sugar pancake (crepe) in aid of a laĆ«rskool [primary school] (R4 each). YUMMY! Wish we'd bought a few more! Then, off on our big adventure to the real Kalahari. 

Imagine our horror wen we'd used up a half tank of petrol in about 1.5 hours! At 80 l (tank size) and ~R10/l, that adds up. We already miss having a small car! We filled up with petrol at Ashkam, a teeny town along a dust road. A police truck filled up with petrol ahead of us (one working pump) and spent R1060 on petrol! We saw ~20 people total in the town and the only one working was the petrol attendant (the two police were sitting in the shade drinking water).

Our receipt for petrol in Ashkam. Sweet, hey?

Then, we arrived at Kalahari Trails and were almost immediately led on a ~10 minute drive to our tent. A British couple (Karen (?) and Richard) followed behind us and have the tent next to ours. We all sat in the shade of our respective tent porches for the next two hours, seeing a few Springbok venture to the water source [we saw a herd of wildebeest there on our way in, and had also seen a jackal... Kalahari Trails is a privately owned piece of land with some animals (no big cats)]. We then invited the Brits to come join us for supper, since they were going to have pasta and the same brand of cheese sauce as us, and had no way of cooking without heading back to the "lodge" kitchen. I made us a big pot of pasta with the two cheese sauces, and added in a can of mushrooms and a can of baby corn (their contribution) and a fresh tomato and grated cheese (our contribution). They washed the dishes and then we sat around watching the stars and chatting. Now, am lying on a very droopy mattress [on a camp cot] and am about to go to sleep.
The view from our safari tent.

Some critter trail in the sand dune behind our chalet.

PS. Spoke to mom last night and Roger [my grandfather who lives in New Orleans] is safely back in his house post Hurrican Gustav and the only damage is the loss of his pecan crop for the year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

4 September 2008

[Part of my continuing series on my day-to-day adventures during my trip to South Africa earlier this year. Full photos on my photo website]

Cosy Mountain B'n'B

Had a nice breakfast yesterday at Heidi van Niekerk's (at Kliprivier), sitting with 2 very English-sounding Joburghers. We then went to see the surprisingly very impressive Nieuwoudtville Waterfall then packed up the cottage and headed to the kokerboom forest a bit further down the road.

Our entrance ticket for the waterfall (all in Afrikaans... "Hantam Municipality. Waterfall admission ticket. Adults R4").
The reverse side of the waterfall ticket.

Jesse admiring a succulent plant near the Nieuwoudtville waterfall.

A kokerboom with the kokerboom "forest" in the back.

(The morning sun just rose over the mountain behind me and hit my back... my shadow is currently very long)... time for breakfast now.

[Later] ...Was a bit surprised to get charged R16 for "tea/coffee" in addition to the R900 we paid to stay and eat at Cosy Mountain... would have thought that would be included with dinner/breakfast. Oh well.

We met some nice people at both Cosy Mtn. (a couple from Joburg traveling with a couple from Hermanus) and at Kliprivier, over breakfast (a couple from Joburg). All retirement age... perhaps because we were there during the week? There was also a woman from London staying at Cosy Mountain... a bit strange. [She] was there to see Michell, the manager. Michell had previously been a home health care worker for her in London, when her husband had had a stroke and she'd had hip (and knee?) replacement. There was an assortment of dogs and cats there too--one of the dogs, Riley, is a cross Rhodesian Ridgeback and Border Collie. Odd combo! Michell's boyfriend (? "Ben-John") studies leopards in the nearby mountains and lives there too with his 20 y.o. big-haired assistant (who is doing her Master's year and finished matric [12th grade] at 15 y.o.... home schooled). They are doing research for the "Cape Leopard Trust" or something. Michell showed us photos from their camera "traps" yesterday--in addition to leopards, they've got photos of many other cool animals--aardvark, aardwolf, two kinds of foxes, etc. etc.

Me closing my eyes against the sun at Namaqua National Park (near Cosy Mountain), with a carpet of orange flowers in the background.

Flowers at Namaqua National Park, near Cosy Mountain.

Jesse at Cosy Mountain at sunset.

We left Cosy Mountain and went to Goegap, where we had a quick walk around to admire the flowers and birds. Then we began the long drive to Upington, with a 30-minute stop at Augrabies Waterfall, and enjoyed white bread, cheese and Simba tomato chip sandwiches as I drove. [YUMMMY!]
Me in the shade of a Kokerboom at Goegap.

Augrabies Falls.

Now having a nice last night of 'luxury' at Libby's Lodge in Upington before our ~week roughing it in the Kalahari.

Business card for owner of Kraaifontein cottage. Highly recommended, but know what you're getting yourself into (no electricity).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2 September 2008

Kraaifontein Cottage

Here I am, writing by the light of an oil lamp--Kraaifontein Cottage does not have electricity, which isn't a problem for anything other than the cell phone, which needs to be charged. 

Jesse and I went for a little birding walk at Enjolife this morning after breakfast. Saw some weavers over the river, a barbet in a thorn tree, a longspur in a bush near the farmhouse and both a fiscal flycatcher and a fiscal shrike. We then checked out and headed on our way. 

Morning light from our Enjolife chalet.

We first went to Wupperthal and bought some overpriced soap made with rooibos [red tea... the area we were in is where most rooibos is grown. Also where Hoodia, a "diet supplement" currently popular in the US, is grown]. Then we visited the veldskoen [field shoe... simple leather shoes] factory but didn't buy anything. Jesse got a Stony Ginger Beer from the Mission Winkel [store... it was a *very* Afrikaans town] and I bought a loaf of fresh white bread from the bakery, the taste of which took my back on my Parkview days [Parkview is the suburb of Johannesburg I grew up in, and our local Spar store carried fresh, government-subsidized bread loaves. I would sometimes buy a fresh loaf and rip it open to eat the soft, warm innards]! Jesse liked it too, so we ate slice after slice of it as we drove back to the Biedouw Valley turnoff.

Me at the Rhenish Mission church in Wupperthal.

Sheep at a farm at the turnoff to the Biedouw Valley.

Just past the turnoff was a rooibos farm and packing shed, so we went in at the same time as a car full of Swiss and I tracked down the owner to see if we could buy some tea [I just thought to add that there was a bench-full of cute kittens and cats sitting in the sun outside the farmhouse door]. We got a kilogram (!) [~2 pounds] of loose tea for R35 (!!) [that was something like $4.50 at the time] and bought a few boxes of bagged tea as gifts for a bit more money. Then we stopped a zillion times for me to take photos of flowers and scenery ;-)
Jesse took this photo of me at one of our flower-photo-taking stops.

We slowly made our way to Nieuwoudtville, stopping at a single-lane river crossing  next to a very remote farm for lunch. We passed (and were passed by) the same motorcyclists numerous times--we saw them on the way to Wupperthal, in Wupperthal (they were looking for the tea room), at our lunch site, and a few other places.
The one-lane bridge where we stopped to have our lunch.

Finally around 4:30 pm, we made it to Kliprivier Guesthouse, ~1 km from Kraaifontein, and where our hostess, Heidi, lives. I hadn't realized that the cottage doesn't have electricity, but it does have gas stove and hot water. We have a fire going again too, since it is quite chilly here.

The entrance road to Kraaifontein Cottage. The light was beautiful that evening.

The front entrance to the cottage.

The cottage looked a little rundown from the outside, but it has quite a bit of charm and is nicely stocked [and was really nice inside]. And, it has a good supply of blankets, unlike Enjolife! Speaking of Enjolife, Andrea and Moritz Conrad, the proprietors of Enjolife, came over from Germany 3 years ago and have a 2-year old, a 2-month old kid, and a dog, Rocko, who barks at rocks, chases after them, and drags them through the dirt! Cute dog. 

Off to my chilly bed I go.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

1 September 2008

[This is a continuation of my journal entries from my recent trip to South Africa].

Large wave hitting a rock at the New Harbour the day after the big storm.

[I] was trying to read an article on mitochondrial DNA in National Geographic that Anne had recommended last night, so no diary entry. [I now think the sentence would have been better as: "Last night, I did not write a diary entry because I was reading an article in National Geographic that Anne had recommended.  The article was about mitochondrial DNA and one interesting thing I learned from it was...(insert interesting thing here)." Just the other day, my advisor teased me about my attention to grammar etc. I do love editing, even if it is my own work].

Yesterday was another stormy day, with hail, rain, and wind. And the night before that was ridiculous! Thunder and lightning and a helluva wind. In the morning, we went to pick up our rental car--a VW Polo "Playa." Can't even fit both of our suitcases in the boot (trunk) [we had this problem in all the South African cars we were in... Americans just work on a larger scale, apparently. And we really had packed light.]! We also did a bit of shopping at Fruit & Veg and Spar for our west coast trip. Then, lunch with Anne and Ouma. 

While Ouma was napping, we (Jesse and I) drove to Onrus to see whales, but instead we saw a very stormy high tide--sea foam on the roads and benches, part of a road closed off with water over it , and water up to the bathrooms at Davie's Pool [a beach I've swum at, and bathrooms I've changed in before]! Quite a sight. When we got back, we had tea with Ouma, which I skipped most of to visit [my great aunt] Elise in frail care. I only cried when I said goodbye [that is significant, because Elise and I have been known to just sit and cry with each other the whole time we're in a room together. Elise lived in the same neighborhood as my family did when I was very young, and I said my first two words to Elise... I said "hello Elise" when she came over to see me and my mom one day, or so I'm told. Elise is very sentimental, as am I, so bring out the tissues when we're together]. She talked about the Alaska trip she did with my mom that she loved and said she "only regrets that she won't see your [my] parents again." I told her that my dad would be there in two months! [In 2001, when I went to say goodbye to Elise at the end of my visit, she told me that it was the last time I was ever going to see her, meaning that she would die before I saw her again. I cried for days about that idea. Well, I saw her in 2004 (and cried the whole visit with her) and now 2008, and she is still doing well-ish.]

Then, Anne drove me, Jesse and Ouma's neighbors, Arthur and Emsie, to the New Harbour and to Onrus to see the stormy sea--crazy! In was no longer high tide, so the sea wasn't quite as crazy as it had been earlier, but there were some massive waves at the harbour and we got to see why the road was closed in Onrus--rocks and bricks strewn all over the road and into people's lawns and into their garages, with door bashed in! I took some photos of the mess [I hadn't taken my camera with me earlier in the day.]

Dented-in garage door and debris from the storm that was carried over the road and into this yard in Onrus.

Anne made us lovely cheesy omlettes for dinner. I spoke to mom--hurricane Gustav was still bearing down on New Orleans, but Roger, Betty and Gabriel the dog were all safe in Baton Rouge (?).

Today, we set off on our "big adventure" trip at ~10 am. Anne provided very well for us--2 large jars of fruit salad, full of guavas and kiwi fruit and bananas and pineapple with orange juice, 2 plastic containers and spoons to eat the fruit salad with [and boy did those plastic containers come in handy--we rented camping equipment later in the trip, but they only had plates, no bowls! We used those plastic containers over and over and over. One had been the cover for a hamburger someone had bought at the grocery store sandwich case... still had the label on], a large pawpaw (papaya) [that Anne had been lovingly trying to ripen for us the whole time we were in Hermanus], an avocado, a box of firewood, which we used tonight, an extra sweater for me, a cold bag [I meant insulated bag], and much more, I'm sure! 

We left Anne and headed north--over the Franschoek Pass on Anne's suggestion (breath-taking!), down through Franschoek and Paarl, then up the N7 [highway] to Clanwilliam. At this point, we thought we might have ~30 minutes to an hour to go... we arrived at Enjolife [the farm we were booked to stay at] 2 hours later, having been almost entirely on muddy, potholed dirt roads, and having forded a few small streams [the rains we had experienced at the coast also affected the interior of the country].

Franschoek valley from the pass.

Unfortunately, the sun set right as we got to our chalet, and it got quite chilly again (we'd been positively warm for the first time in days not long before that!). So, I started a successful fire in the fireplace and put on a pot of water to boil for our supper of pasta and sun-dried tomato mix. Jesse and I had dinner around the fire, then admired the stars for a while before climbing into bed, where I am now. Oh, and Andrea, the Enjolife proprietor, told us we missed flower season by 2-3 weeks--it was a particularly short and early season. Oh dear!

Jesse at our Enjolife chalet.