Whilst walking through the resort gardens behind the Cascades hotel we came across this unusual tree, large thorns up its trunck. We had never seen anything like it. Chorisia speciosa.
Fondest memory: The gardens and rain forest are a very fond memory of our visit.
Favorite thing: Behind the Cascades Hotel there is a lush rain forest bordering the Gary Player Golf Course. We walked the trail on several ocassions, magnificent variety of trees and plants, waterfalls and stream. This is certainly a most enjoyable walk on any day.
When I think of Africa my mind has a vision of wild animals in open space and not confined to being behind bars in a local zoo.
My dream came true when we had 4 days at Sun City Resort and took a late afternoon safari into the Pilanesberg National Park. The photos you see are some of the wild animals we saw during our 3 hour journey through the park.
Something I will always remember and treasure.
Fondest memory: The safari into the Pilanesburg National Park.
Everywhere you look, there is texture and pattern... whether animal, man-made or vegetation.
Whether it be the spots on a giraffe's neck, or the zig zag design on an ethnic cloth, or the interweaving of a Xhosa basket...
each are beautiful and special.
Zebras have particulalry beautiful patterns, and it is amazing to think that every single zebra has a different pattern... there are no two that are the same!
This is the same for other animals too... leopards, giraffe, tortoises etc... they all have patterns that are so similar and yet inherently different from eachother.
All quite amazing and rather beautiful.
Something that is so special about being out in nature, is actually stopping and SEEING what goes on around you.
No, not just looking out for that elephant or rhino around the next bend... but actually stopping and taking in all that's around you.
We are really happy with the Christmas gift we bought ourselves last year, a new Nikon camera :)
It has a couple of lovely lenses and one we use for close ups, like in this photo.
I love the depth of field and the detail.
It brings to life the smallest and seemingly insignificant things...
Everyone has their own idea on what is 'romantic'... whether it be a quiet candlelit dinner, or gazing across Paris from the Eiffel Tower... we are all different in this way.
For us, being in the wild, in nature.. is where we feel we belong.
We would happily live in the wild, with no-one around for miles... all we would need is our own vege patch and an internet connection ;)
As we cant have this little dreamt-of piece of heaven.. coming to game parks and nature trails is the next best thing!
There's something about being out here in nature, in the still of the night, with the stars shining brightly down on you, the animal noises in the background.. their eyes glinting through the tall grass, with a slight wind against the nape of your neck.
Heck, if that aint romantic, then I dont know what is ;)
This is a wonderful place to learn.
About life (and death... if you happen to see a kill, or see a kill being eaten), about animals and their young, about vegetaion, trees and flowers, birds, people from different countries (all the visitors), different types of transport, weather, water etc. etc.
It's the best kind of education too in my opinion...it is outdoors and it's about real life experience.
Little Cayla (our niece) loved everything around her, when the wind blew her hair to when the animals were standing close by.
She was absorbing everything around her. Even the use of binoculars was part of her learning :)
A game park is a magical place ... for adults and children alike.
I have been very fortunate, in that, growing up, I have had the opportunity to visit game parks often.
I loved them as a child and now as an adult too.. I think I probably appreciate them more as an adult though.
But the thrill of seeing huge elephants and lions when a child is amazing :)
On our last holiday here we were 4 adults and a child (two year old niece). I think she did fabulously well... staying in a car for quite soem time with not much complaining.
We can sit there for hours, watching and waiting... but it's different for a child. So we did our 'long runs' early in the morning or later in the afternoon sans her.
When we had huge rhino come close to the car, she was avidly watching them and got quite excited... but, in typical two year old fashion, this wore off after about 3 minutes... the attention span isnt that long.
So, yes, bring children a long. But be thoughtful re what you show them and the length of time you might be out.
In my humble oinion, the world is a photographer's paradise... there is something different and compelling at every corner, telling a different story.
I always find though, when coming to a game park, that that paradise is that much more tangible.
When going to a game park, always take a couple of cameras.. for those wide angle shots as well as those close ups.
Many animals can only be viewed from afar, so a zoom lens is essential to get a decent picture... but you may be in luck and get really close up (with your camera).
Two of our favourite places to take pictures is at bird hides and water holes.
Our favourite times? Sun up (dawn) and sun down (dusk).
This is the time and place when most animals look for water, when the sun is not at its fiercest.
Zebras have tightly knit family groups, which is fundamental to their survival.
A lone zebra is a very easy kill! She is not nearly as speedy and agile as leopards, lions or cheetahs.
Each stripe on their body is different, and this helps them recognise one another.
Their very own barcode :)
This photo is a scetion of the wall of the old rest camp area, that is currently under renovation in Pilansberg.
What they reveal, as they peel back the layers of the paint, is that it used to be a pink colour, and was a beige colour after that..
I love the Cape gable, a lot of this is seen in the Cape region, but there is some to be seen elsewhere throughout South Africa too.
Whe we lived in Randburg (Johannesburg), the house next door was a huge place, with Cape gables. Very fancy and gorgeous!
I also love the detail of the port hole.
It's that peculiar mix of colonisation and the Dutch and Africa... still very much a part of South Africa.
I cant wait to see what this building looks like when it is finished!
Favorite thing: Well if you head for the Valley of the Waves don`t dispair as you can rent anything from a towel , locker and the tubes for the tube rides and for the roaring lagoon. You can`t miss it as its situated next to the Toilets and Change Roooms and they have a small arcade centre on the right hand side.
We were driving along the one side of the valley bank, and across the valley, we spotted a white lioness sunning herself, all splayed out under the burning sun.
What was truly spectacular was that she was sunning herself on a deep red rock outcrop… and the contrast between her pure white fur and the rust red of the rock was absolutely gorgeous.
We sat and watched her for a while, but then had to go as the park gates were closing soon.
Unfortunately I never got a photograph of it, but the picture is still firm in my memory.
I wish I had had a lens good enough to capture this, and next time we go (early 2007), we are going well equipped with a really long lens!
Yes. you might think I am meaning watching the pretty lasses on the beach in the Valley of the Waves, but I am talking of the feathered variety :)
The wild bird life here is simply amazing. You CANNOT come here sans your camera!!!!
I particularly like the aviary area, it’s not huge but there is a decent array of birds there. I far prefer seeing birds in their natural habitat though.
This is quite a long link, but is the one which shows the rather long list of birds found in this area! It is rich with wildlife.
Sun International Bird list
The Pilansberg Nature and Game Reserve is not a National Park, although many think it is. It is a popular game park for various reasons in my view:
- It’s really close to one of the tourist hot spots in Africa (next door in fact!) – Sun City and the Lost City are flocked with visitors from abroad and locals all year round.
- It is not expensive to visit, unlike many of the private game parks in the country. It is excellent value for money.
- The park is not too big, but is large enough, so that you are ensured of seeing a decent amount of animals. Even though the Kruger National Park is my favourite Game Park of all, it is really large, and you may see everything you want to in a visit, or you may see nothing much.
- As with the majority of game parks in South Africa, it is very well maintained and a pleasure to visit. Roads are good too, which makes a huge difference to your enjoyment, never mind how good your suspension is!