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Drink Grape Juice in 4 different countries.
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Travelog for: Grape Ape

Origins, South Africa - 8th August 2008

By: Vicki

Today we visited the Origins Centre at the University of Witwatersrand. We went together with Mrs C and her children.

Origins Centre

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Vicki took a photo of us all sitting on the map of Africa.

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It was a wonderful place to visit, with lots of information about the origin of the human being ( the name of the place gives it away a bit!!) and then stories of the different people of Southern Africa, concentrating on the San People or the Bushmen as they are otherwise known.

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There was a hand made 'map' of Africa and of other continents of the world all made from wire at the entrance.

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Here I am amongst replicas of skulls of the famous 'Mrs Ples'
and the 'Taung baby' (with it's full set of milk teeth) that were discovered and used to help with the dating back of mankind.

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Sitting with the Eland, which was considered to have great symbolic significance in the San beliefs.

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We went into a hall that had wall hangings all around telling different stories.

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The various rooms have examples of rock art from different tribes and there is also a lot of rock carving. Some of the concrete flooring has copies of the art engraved into it.

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This is an example of Khoe art, which is different (more geometrical) to the San art which includes animals and humans.

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Here are some Shroda figurines found towards the north of South Africa in the Limpopo valley. This was a site found which dates back to the Early Iron Age!! Whew!!

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This was a very interesting story about the intitiation crocodile!

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The stories, tales and poems are written on bones and displayed in books and are very sad.

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Holiday Harry was up to his tricks again!!

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Well that was a bit of a depressing ending but I feel I have had an information overload!!
That was sooo interesting but I am exhausted!







* Posted Sep 3, 2008, 5:35 pm Last edited Sep 3, 2008, 6:47 pm by Vicki [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Randburg, South Africa - 10th August 2008

By: Vicki

Today we visited Mrs C to fetch Jubilee Bunny. We were going on holiday and she was coming with us. We all posed for a group photo!

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Sooo many toyvoyagers visiting in South Africa at the same time, it's great! We all chat and compare notes, talk about hosts and places we've visited.


* Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:37 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


George, South Africa - 13th August 2008

By: Vicki

We packed our bags, there was great excitement, everyone talking together.... we got on the plane (my second plane ride while visiting in South Africa!)and almost two hours later we were in a town called George, situated on the beautiful Garden Route in the Western Cape.

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Our first stop was the Wilderness Beach. It was beautiful but unfortunately the water was very cold! This is also the Indian Ocean like Durban.

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Nicholas and Juanita took us to feel the water which was freezing! We decided to sit on the car bonnet and admire the scenery rather.

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Holiday Harry and Sputnik were hiding from the rest!! Hopefully Vicki spotted them...

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This is the view from the top of the hill. Just hold on tight Juanita please! It is a looong way down! A really pretty place though.

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Here the Keurbooms River meets the sea and the railway bridge crosses the river.

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Sitting by the toasty fire at Vicki's step sister, Melinda's, house. It's quite chilly outside.

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Aaah! Another lovely day in Africa...

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:33 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Oudtshoorn, South Africa - 14th August 2008

By: Vicki

Woke up to this beautiful view of the mountains.

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Watched some of the Olympics on this huge television.

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We were off to Oudtshoorn for some sightseeing. First stop the swing bridge. Nicholas was shaking the bridge as we walked across and making it swing and Juanita was shouting at him, we were all laughing. Jump Nicholas,jump!!

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Went to buy ostrich biltong for Vicki's stepfather. Biltong is a dried meat that is eaten all over South Africa as a snack and here it is made from ostrich meat. This meat has become very popular as it is cholesterol free. It tastes very nice too.

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Oudtshoorn is full of beautiful old buildings built during the ostrich feather boom.

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The weather in Oudtshoorn was glorious and we drove through the Outeniqua mountains to get back to George, through the clouds.

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We stopped at a viewing point but it was so cold nobody wanted to venture out of the bag. We were all cuddled up and warm!

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Abeeku, the teeniest of us all, couldn't see a thing out the top of the bag, so he volunteered to come out and see the view.

And what a stunning view! Whew! Pity is was so misty and cloudy, you couldn't really see George in the distance. The dirt road is the old Montague Pass road which was the first road made to cross over the mountains. I decided I should brave the cold and get out and see too.



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* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:38 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Port Alfred, South Africa - 15th August 2008

By: Vicki

We loaded up the car and together with Vicki's mom and Juanita and Nicholas (the men had to stay behind and work!), Vicki drove us along the Garden Route to the Sunshine Coast and Port Alfred.

We drove over many rivers with beautifully designed bridges. The Storms River Bridge is one of the famous ones with it's deep gorge below. The story goes that the Italian architect who designed the bridge commited suicide by jumping off it because when the two sides were lowered they didn't meet exactly in the middle, there was a gap of a few centimetres!!

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We finally arrived (500km later...) at this most beautiful hotel. It was called the Fish River Sun

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Here we are getting some fresh air and admiring the fish pond at the entrance of the hotel.

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This is where we were staying for the next week, yay!! I could manage this luxury, I was sure!! There were lots of monkeys around but I was a bit nervous to talk to any of them, they are wild!

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:41 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Port Alfred, South Africa - 16th August 2008

By: Vicki

The Fish River Sun is actually 27km away from Port Alfred, so we took the little drive (after yesterday's 500km, it was little!!), and went to Port Alfred to do some sight seeing.

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The whole area is very picturesque! And Vicki took lots of photos...

We drove down the East Bank and the West Bank of the Kowie River, which the town is built around. Hey! The beach!! Stop! We want to get out! I bet this water is freezing too...

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Vicki did some fancy photo stitching. This is the beautiful marina. There are five islands with stunning homes on them and people get around by boat.

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Vicki said she could get used to this life, she wishes she could win the Lotto. Being a toyvoyager is the answer, we get to travel and enjoy all these highlights!

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:44 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Port Alfred, South Africa - 18th August 2008

By: Vicki

What many people don't know about Vicki, is that she is CRAZY about lighthouses! (And windmills but that's another story...). So here we are visiting the Great Fish Point lighthouse. I remember visiting the lighthouse in Umhlanga Rocks near Durban with Vicki too!South African Lighthouses. Lighthouse Adventures.

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Once again, we held on tight (what is it with these people and heights!?) and went up the 58 stairs to the top. This is the shortest lighthouse in South Africa. The guided tour was very interesting, the lighthouse keeper even showed us the original clockwork mechanism that was wound up every four hours. Now everything is automatic and generator driven.

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The view from the top. Wow!

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a little town called Bathhurst, which was established by the 1820 settlers who came from Britain to settle in the Cape. Here is the church that was built by them. The whole area has been declared a national monument.

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Enough for one day.... 'Home James'!

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:50 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Port Alfred, South Africa - 20th August 2008

By: Vicki

Aaaah! A beautiful sunshine day and we get to sit on the beach and feel the sand between our toes / hooves / paws/alien limbs, etc.

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Holiday Harry pulled out the towel and sunglasses and caught quite a tan!

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We walked down to the water and looked in the rock pools. The beaches are pristine, white, clean and untouched. Lots of shells around too. Wonder if I could take one with me?? It was lovely to be able to run across the white sand and enjoy the wide open spaces.

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The hotel estate had its own nature reserve and a guide took us for a ride around on a tuc-tuc to see the animals, etc. Once again, plenty of monkeys...

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Vicki's Mom couldn't help but feed this poor Vervet monkey. It didn't have any hands, poor thing.

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After the beach, we came to relax at the pool. The pool was heated, wooohoo!! We all had a lovely swim (and rinsed off the salt and sand!), even Vicki!!

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* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:53 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Cape St Francis, South Africa - 22nd August 2008

By: Vicki

Time to say farewell to Fish River Sun and Port Alfred and move on.... we will miss you, what a lovely stay.

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Vicki told us all to stop moaning about the driving in the car. 'South Africa is a big country guys, if you want to see the places, you have to travel the distances!' That's what she said, and it seems her children know the drill, they said nothing! Anyway today's travelling wasn't too bad, only about 250kms! We stopped along the way and bought pineapples, they were huge!
Twelve pineapples for R15! Now that's a bargain! Everyone knows I love grapes but pineapple isn't too bad either! Yum!

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Another stop in Port Elizabeth to visit the small oceanarium they have there. A bit disappointing but the dolphins were very friendly, they wanted to play with the ball all the time. Ushaka, in Durban, looked better even thought we didn't get to go in.

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And pengiuns...

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Back on the road again, not far to Cape St Francis.

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Hooray! The end of the road for today....

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 7:57 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Jeffreys Bay, South Africa - 25th August 2008

By: Vicki

Off to Jeffreys Bay, one of the famous surfing sights of the world!! Only the weather is a bit miserable and there don't seem to be too many waves to talk of. Not a surfer in sight!

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We had coffee and walked around the shops and then came back to our house which was called Anchorage. St Francis Bay, Port St Francis and Cape St Francis all make up the greater St Francis area. We are staying at Port St Francis, it's real pretty! Vicki s talking about going whale watching, I think I will stay at home for that trip. You should see the waves here!

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 3:41 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Cape St Francis , South Africa - 26th August 2008

By: Vicki

Another day, another lighthouse!

This one is the Cape St Francis Seal Point lighthouse!

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This time there were 157 stairs and Vicki made it almost half way and turned back. The stairs were too narrow and too steep. She gave the camera to Juanita who carried on up to the top but we came back with Vicki. Here's the view from the top though. The lighthouse is the highest concrete structure in the area.

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And the narrow stairs...

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We walked on the rocks beneath the lighthouse and collected some shells.

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There is a penguin rehabilitation centre next to the lighthouse but it was locked up and we couldn't go in, we saw the penguins through glass windows and a fence.

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This was the view from our room at our apartment in Port St Francis. Anchorage is made up of various apartments and has a mediterranean look.

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This was the view from the balcony with the sea and the beach behind us, we could watch the boats come into the harbour. Vicki's stepfather (he met us in Port St Francis) went and bought calamari (chokka) from the fishermen and cooked it for us. Not too sure about the seafood...

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Here's the harbour which was a short walk away from our apartment.

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Vicki's stepfather collected mussels off the beach too (yes, you have to have a licence and for collecting shells too!) and they cooked and ate them too. Not too bad but still not crazy about this seafood.

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* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 3:46 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Cape St Francis, South Africa - 28th August 2008

By: Vicki

Our last day at St Francis, aaaaahhh! We were having a fantastic time. Relaxing on the beach (they had a pool here too but it was not heated, brrr!), taking walks, taking afternoon naps (yeah!), playing cards, games, etc. Vicki's stepfather taught us how to play 'Cucu', an Italian card game, and we had a lot of fun.

With Vicki around, we had to get some sight seeing done too! She found out that we missed visiting a lighthouse in Port Elizabeth (when we went to the oceanarium), and was most upset!
SO we decided to visit the Seal Point lighthouse one more time, at night time to see what it looked like in the dark!!

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Really beautiful! The beam of light can be seen 50km out to sea.

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 3:49 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


George, South Africa - 29th August 2008

By: Vicki

We packed our bags and back into the car (argh! Oops hope Vicki didn't hear that!), we drove back along the Garden Route to George. Luckily we stopped along the way to stretch our legs and see the sights!

First stop was the famous Bloukrans Bridge, apparently the world's highest Bungy Jump!! Wow! Holiday Harry and Sputnik were keen. Vicki said that there was an age restriction, you have to be over 18. What a disappointment, Juanita was also dying to go and Vicki's Mom said if she was 20 years younger she would have done it too!! Poor Vicki!!

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We watched a few people jump and my stomach jumped too!! Wooohoo! It was exciting to watch.

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We drove through the Tsitsikamma Forest (any apes in there? Nope only some elephants) and the next stop was Plettenberg Bay. Vicki drove us to Robberg Beach, (she knows the area well because her family used to come to the Beacon Isle Hotel for holidays when she was young), and there we saw a whale!! In the shallow waters rolling around and playing. Not easy to get a photo of though!

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In the car for the last stretch, remembered not to grumble!! We drove past George onto Mosselbay. I was confused, weren't we going to George??
Another very picturesque town. Vicki decided since it was only 40kms from George, we should get to see it too!

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And then we discovered why Vicki thought it was a good idea to see Mosselbay.....

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ANOTHER LIGHTHOUSE!!!
That makes it three in one holiday!! And Vicki reminded us it could have been four if we hadn't missed Cape Recife in Port Elizabeth! Juanita said she wasn't getting out the car!! I agreed, before we were volunteered to climb to the top and take photos! Unfortunately (or fortunately!?) we arrived too late and the lighthouse keeper had already locked up.

We did get out and walk around a bit, more beautiful vistas...

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There were Rock dassies everywhere. They lived in the rocks around the lighthouse.

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Back home in George, we had supper and prepared for the journey back to Johannesburg on Saturday. Vicki was not keen to go back to the 'rat race', she was happy to keep on driving, looking for more lighthouses.... nobody commented!

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 3:55 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Randburg, South Africa - 31st August 2008

By: Vicki

MrsC was coming to fetch Gilbert so that he could spend some time with her before leaving South Africa. We hid in the Brunsfelsia that grows outside Vicki's front door. It sure smells pretty... can you find all eight of us?

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This was  a photo we posed for to welcome Barnardo and to say farewell to Gilbert.

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I have been here the longest but the time is coming nearer for me to pack my bags too. Vicki says she will miss me very much... anyway I won't be leaving for a little while still.

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 4:02 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


Randburg, South Africa - 4th September 2008

By: Vicki

Today we visited Museum Africa which is housed in the old fresh produce market.

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There was a whole section on the prisoners who were tried for treason during the apartheid era.

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Newspaper cuttings with headlines from days gone by...

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There was a scene of a shebeen (the old illegal drinking houses) in Sofiatown, an old 'black' suburb from which the blacks were evicted to make way for 'whites'. Luckily all the bottles were empty!!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3120/2834824283_2245e49db4.jpg?v=0

There were also replicas of shanties or 'jondolos' (as they are commonly known). This is how some of the squatters live in the squatter camps. A lot of the people living like this are illegal immigrants coming from neighbouring countries to try and make a living.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3007/2834824837_756caf7bd3.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3118/2834825841_4e3444bc56.jpg?v=0



Signing the register...

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3182/2834828307_182bef510c.jpg?v=0

Vicki went to the tourist information office and there we met Mr Mandela, or Madiba, as he is affectionately known here in SA, standing next to the South African flag!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3098/2835668816_9224b2ed72.jpg?v=0

* Posted Sep 12, 2008, 4:08 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page


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