Tag Archives: South Africa

A cold Easter in the Free State

As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent the long weekend away from home visiting the beautiful Golden Gate Highlands national park in the Free State. Other than gushing about the beauty and complaining about the bitter cold, I thought I’d share my five tips from the weekend.Yes, and some (mostly HDR ’cause I’m a little obsessed at the moment) photos.

  1. If you’re visiting Clarens (which you should!), don’t pay R60 for a pretentious breakfast. Go to the Roter Hahn Bierstube Und Deli and enjoy a very wide choice of German beers with an even better meal.
  2. Pack lots of blankets. Then another one. Also, a hot water bottle.
  3. Take a good single malt with, it fights off the cold.
  4. If you’re camping in a spot that doesn’t get a lot of sun, stay in bed ’till the sun hits your tent.
  5. Visit the vulture restaurant on the Oribi loop drive. Maybe you’ll have better luck than we did and see some of these amazing birds.

 

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2014. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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Golden Gate in HDR

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We’re spending the Easter weekend in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Stunning mountains and freezing temperatures are the first two things that come to mind. These two panorama images, taken on my HTC One, were a spur of the moment experimentation with HDR. I’m quite happy with the results.

Full report back at a later stage (when not posting from my phone and dependent on patches of signal).

UPDATE: Photos and a few tips in the next post.

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A night tour at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria

We spent Saturday night at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, better known as the Pretoria Zoo. They offer night tours with knowledgeable guides, focusing on nocturnal animals. The tour starts at 18:30 and ends at around 20:30, where after groups may proceed to designated picnic areas to braai and spend some time relaxing around a bonfire. If you’d like to make a bigger trip out of this, you may also book a camping tour.

The Pretoria Zoo stretches over 88 hectares (roughly 217 acres) and celebrates its 114th year in 2013. The night tour is well worth the effort, as there are only a few other guided tours in the zoo at night and there’s no jostling for a view. The tour is however very focused, so if you want to see a bigger variety of animals it might be better to visit in the day. Photo opportunities will also be better then 😉

I managed to get a few pictures, but with my ISO set to 3200 most of them are very noisy.

An exotic buck seen in a spotlight at the Pretoria Zoo A flock of flamingoes settling down for the night at the Pretoria Zoo

A juvenile eagle owl sitting on a log at the Pretoria Zoo

A male bengal tiger seen at night in the Pretoria Zoo

A view of the union buildings and the city of Pretoria in the background, with a sundial in the foreground at the Pretoria Zoo A pack of wild dogs sleeping under a tree at the Pretoria Zoo

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Look at those feet!

I usually get annoyed with people who post about their pets, but I can’t help it this time!

We’ve been on a waiting list for a new staffie for months now. A new litter has finally been born, and the breeder we’re buying our new addition from sent me some pics yesterday. I cannot wait to bring this little thing home! I know our 2 year old staffie, Gelos will love having a friend (other than the terrified cat).

Red staffie bitch puppy held in her breeder's hand

So very tiny and immensely cute. (Photo by Yolandi van der Linde)

Litter of stafforshire terrier puppies

Only a few days old and fast asleep. (Photo by Yolandi van der Linde)

 

Black staffie dog at age one and a half

Gelos looking attentive at age one and a half. Gelos was bred by Nickelback Staffies.

Brindle staffordshire terrier dog on the lawn

Eating a palm seed on the lawn of our flat in 2012.

 

All images by the author, unless otherwise specified: © catterflyworx 2012.

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I’m bad at updating this blog and I suspect it’s because I
a) over-think things, and
b) feel that I need to post new items that are relevant to what’s on here already.

Clearly, this approach is not getting us anywhere. Inspired by Jen Christie‘s (slightly mad) #30dayblogs challenge, things are changing around here.

Stacks of coins or change

Change is good (get it?)

I’m not quite up for the epicness of Jen’s approach, but I do need to get things going again. I have a vast and very diverse interest (and slight obsession, at times) in many things, which has not been reflected up to now.

So prepare yourselves, minions. From here on forth, there will be a great deal of #randomness going on here, which I believe will be awesome.

For the travel junkies who originally started following my Eurotrip2012 reminiscence… We are planning a trip to Iceland and Russia in December 2014, so I promise you’ll still get something out of me!

A change in Pace

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Turning our house into a home: the before & after

In December 2012, we moved into our very own house. As first time home owners, the first week was filled with excitement. The four months following that first week, has been filled with a lot of hard work.

The reward has been worth it though, as this past weekend was the first one since the beginning of December last year that there was no ‘To Do’ list. No more walls to paint. No builders tramping through the house and no more small little things niggling at my conscious to get done.

Door to master bedroom

Well, I’m lying. There was one more thing. It read: “Take and post some before and after photos.”

Done.

For those of you who want more info, our work regime was roughly as follows:

  • Remove all carpets, replace with laminate wood flooring in all bedrooms and study. Sand and varnish parquet floor in lounge, dining area and hallway.
  • Resurface the bath, basin and toilet (changing the colour of the enamel from blue to white).
  • Move into the house.
  • Unpack most of the boxes. Don’t unpack everything, as we’ll have contractors in the house for the next two months.
  • Remove all curtain pelmets.
  • [DIY] Paint the bathroom, WC, hallway, master bedroom, lounge, and dining room.
  • [DIY] Mount curtain rails and hang newly made curtains in lounge (YAY!!).
  • Pack the kitchen back up and use the study as a temporary kitchen.
  • Demolish kitchen.
  • Start replacing the kitchen.
  • Remove tiles from wall in study.
  • [DIY] Put cornices up in kitchen.
  • [DIY] Paint cornices, kitchen walls, study.
  • Unpack the rest of the boxes, including the kitchen (again).
  • Build and [DIY] cover frame for TV mount to hide cables.
  • [DIY] Mount TV-cable-hider-frame and TV (at 2am the night before your housewarming).
  • Enjoy fabulous new kitchen while preparing food for said housewarming 🙂

All images by the author: © catterflyworx 2013.

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But, before I go

We’ve planned a lovely weekend away at the beach. Thursday is National Women’s Day in South Africa and we’ve taken leave for Friday, looking forward to KwaZulu Natal‘s mild winters, sunny skies and city-free living. However, the Winter Queen had one last thing to say before she leaves the southern hemisphere, and she chose to send her message in white. Snow white, to be exact.

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