Monday, 12 July 2010

You Don't Have to Win to Be A Winner

The victorious Spanish team and head coach.

I think this morning we all need to shout Viva EspaƱa after last nights tussle to beat the Dutch by that single goal. The Italians have that wonderful (Latin) saying veni vidi vici the Spanish certainly came, saw and conquered the rest of the world. However, I think there was an even bigger winner overall who only won one match and exited in the first round. South Africa showed themselves to be up and coming Giants on the world stage in every direction, and if my own experiences are anything to go by this is a MUST visit country.

In 2006 I took a flight to Johannesburg and then backpacked through Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and back into South Africa. All 4 countries were equally friendly despite there being some difference in development, but throughout the infrastructure made for a pleasant and smooth trip.

Crossing the border from Swaziland back into SA in the mountains of Lebombo, I journeyed to Lesotho then to Bloemfontein before undertaking the extremely long coach journey to Cape Town.

The first views of Table Mountain were impressive to say the least,

but closer you were able to take the cable car to the summit via one hell of a queue.

There I met up with my mate Jim the Medic, spending a few days in the Lord Nelson at Simonstown (notice the notice),

giving us time to view the Jackass Penguins before heading east along the magnificent Coastal Highway.

A short stop at the Toe of Africa before moving on to the

Cape Agalhas Lighthouse built in 1849. (This photo is dedicated to the Lifton's of Lighthouse spotting fame).

Me and the Skinny Kid at the point where the force of 2 mighty Oceans meet, the Indian and Atlantic. It is possible to see the contraflow of tidal movement here. From there we toured the vast expanse of the Little Karoo for a few days, before coming to the picturesque village of Tulbagh. In the Cape Dutch Quarter the area is famed for its wine production, and I can tell you we took no time at all to prove this for ourselves - fan-blooming-tastic.

Each evening we dined under blossoming Jacaranda trees, serenaded by mine host who's forte was opera, and not to be outdone I fired in a few 60's songs for good measure. However, this is not all that the hamlet is famous for, as one of the residents is none other than Blues drummer extraordinaire, Peter (Ginger) Baker. We had no trouble locating him on our last day, as he is predictably at the same cafe each day at 13-00. Not what you would call an affable man, but we did sit next to the legend for all of our meal.

The next day we started to head south, and as we passed a stud and huge house we pulled up quickly to photograph this sign. No need to say who lived there?

A view through the fertile Stellenbosch Valley before returning to Cape Town,

Clock Tower waterfront Cape Town.

City Center, clean isn't it?

and of course a few Mammals

African Elephant

Lioness with young. Now come on kids eat your Gazelle and don't wake dad.

Oh gawd now you've done it!

Birchell's Zebra with Cattle Egret

Cape Striped Mouse

Black Wildebeest


Eland the worlds largest Antelope

Gemsbok, nervous but a joy to behold



White Rhino

So, my advice is get yourselves off to South Africa as soon as you can!
We even have readers there who may just pass the link on to others?