Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Travel to Swaziland Nov 2015

Our first stop on our land travel adventure trip was at the ostrich farm we'd seen earlier.  This one is all black, indicating it is a male.
Our little Nissan Micra that took us over 6000 km in 3 weeks through 7 countries.
A fire in a sugar cane field as we bounced along a gravel road towards the border to Swaziland just to check it out.
The border between South Africa and Swaziland.  We ended up back and forth through this border a couple of times in an hour.  First we just walked across, but then decided to drive through Swaziland and had to come back and then exit and enter again with the car.  It all got quite confusing.
A dust storm as we drove through Swaziland.  We got caught right in the middle of it and it just blasted us  for a bit.  It's been so dry this year that the wind just howled through a gap in the mountains and stirred up all the red dirt as it scoured across the landscape.
Our 'beehive' accommodation for the night.  These were actual forms of accommodation out here and these are billed as a "cultural village".  No windows so they can be suffocating on a hot night.
The tiny doors to get into the beehives were new for us.  Had to crawl in and out.
Nisela Lodge also kept a pen full of guinea pigs and rabbits.  They were very friendly and swarmed the fence expecting food.  They're so cute.
The inside of the beehive with our electric lamp
The wall next to my bed.  You can see the sticks are tied together and bent to form the rounded shape.
Inside the men's shower, Jason found this white frog perched on the shower rod.  He never moved.
Mr. Hobbs, the resident zebra.  He's a cheeky dude that they've had to contain in the pen since he was caught wandering into a conference room full of attendees and ate their muffins and pastries and coffee.
The entrance to our group of beehives.
Karen feeding apples to Mr. Hobbs.  He gobbled them so quick, you don't even see it here.
The bunnies also liked the apple bits we tossed in for them.
Mr. Hobbs giving Jason the evil eye.
Do you have any more apples for me??
A cool roof on a building at the lodge.  That's all thatching grass and they sculpt the edges on some buildings to be quite ornate.
A group of wildebeest trotting away from the road at the Hlane Game Sanctuary.
Bits of chewed up backpacks, tents and such that line the fence of coils of barbed wire at the entrance to the Hlane Royal Game Reserve.  I imagine the animals that must've ripped some of these up.  You aren't allowed out of the vehicles for good reason.
White-backed vultures hanging out near the old elephant carcass.  Lions killed the oldest bull in the park a couple of weeks earlier and these guys are still feeding on the carrion.
Lions killed a baby elephant two days earlier and this slab of ribs in the road is all that is left of it.
White rhinos in a corner of the park. The 'white' is a misunderstanding of the local's pronunciation of "wide" as the white rhinos have wide lips that look quite square.  The 'black' rhino has pointed lips.
A young lioness resting in the grass as we drove through the park.
A young male lion, his mane isn't yet big and shaggy.
The group of two females and the male wandered around and settled in to rest in the coming dusk.
An young female elephant feeding.
The female elephant in the background was known to our guide to be aggressive and he didn't want her approaching us.
Unfortunately, the battery in the safari vehicle was dead and we couldn't get the vehicle started as the elephant noticed us.  The guide got very concerned and made the three guys get out and push-start the vehicle so we could get out of there.  Our cold beers are in the cooler.
Cool yellow eyes in the shot as they lazed in the dusk.
These are holes probably dug by wart hogs or some other animal.  The snakes like to live in them,  We were warned not to stand in front of any hole where you see hoofprints as the warthog within could come charging out and would shatter your leg bones before you could move out of the way.  Always look over into the hole from behind the mound.
Jason holding two weaver bird nests.  The one onthe left is complet but has been ripped off the tree by a dissatisfied female.  The greener one on the right is newer and not totally complete, but already it has been deemed no good by one of the birds.  How they weave such intricate nests with just their beaks is amazing.
A family of warthogs at the border post.
The warthogs aren't concerned as they cross the parking lot at the border.  When they trot away with their little skinny tails straight up, it is quite cute.
This wood kingfisher was a gorgeous metallic blue.
A couple of impala lock horns in play near the road.

Chobe to Polokwane Dec 2015

A cape buffalo stares as us from the roadside.
A family of elephants crossed the road in front of us.  We gave way.  There were a few young ones in the group as they hurried away.
The family nibbles on the trees.  Elephants knock down big trees to get at the inner bark and the destruction in areas is almost total.  They can level a landscape in no time.
Another elephant strides across the road.  Gotta keep the speed down.  And a good reason not to drive at night!
Another baby in the bunch, munching the shrubbery.
A little one follows the other elephants across the road and into the trees.
This one is stuffing her mouth with clumps of tree leaves.
This guy flapped his ears at us, a sign of annoyance.  We took off before he could get angry and charge the car.  They can move pretty quick when they are upset and Jason stalled the car one time as we tried to hurry away, giving me heart palpitations.
This big guy keeps himself between us and the baby.
Perhaps she is only half annoyed??
A baobab tree that has been ravaged and still lives.  They are incredible trees!
The border to Namibia at the edge of the Chobe National Park in Botswana.
A white baobab at the border crossing.
Another fat baobab in leaf.
The butt shot we got a lot of.  These cape buffalo were feeding along the roadside.
The mass of keratin that makes up their impressive horns is kind of ugly up close.  But hard--you don't want a head butt from this guy.
What a nice set of horns.
Our last night in Kasane, Botswana was spent in this tent.  It is on a concrete slab and has electricity, so it wasn't 'roughing' it so badly.  We enjoyed a few cool beers on the front porch before sunset.
Jason found this snake skin nearby.  A local cat wasn't much interested in playing with it.
The road signs were great!  They had ones for hippos, impala, and cows, too.
The famous Limpopo River forms the border between Botswana and South Africa.  This truck rumbled across the one-lane bridge over it.  I think a sign warned of a 7-ton limit.  Must've been my imagination as this truck was well over that weight.
The trucks waiting to cross the border lined up for miles and miles!  Border crossings can be a real time chewer.
Our little apartment-style room in Polokwane, a gated accommodation, after a very long day's drive.  We treated ourselves to a triple-decker pizza and retreated to the safety of the room for the night.
Waiting for the pizza to get done, I wandered down the sidewalk to the art centre.  This giant slab was outside the doors.  It is a slab of melted guns that had been burned and buried at the end of the Boer wars.  It was unearthed during excavation for the art gallery and is now a monument to peace.
The big new roundabout in downtown Polokwane.  It makes a good landmark and our hotel was just off the road here.