Sunday, January 18

Beverly does Africa


That's it.  Beverly has done Africa.  Overnight we departed Victoria Falls and joined our connecting flight back to Sydney.  Mum is now waiting to board her flight home to Auckland.


We made the most of our final day in Africa with a grand finale helicopter flights over the Victoria Falls.  The view was spectacular. The spray was covering only a small section of the falls giving us a a chance to experience their majesty and the surrounding area. and so we had a terrific view of them and the surrounding area. Mum loved every moment of it.  She told me it was one of the highlights of her entire Africa adventure.


Our flight included ten minutes of safari flying over a nearby national park.  From the air we spotted several giraffe herds and a large herd of elephants.  It was very cool to see them from this perspective after spending so much time with them at eye level over the last week.

Saturday, January 17

Almost homeward bound


Tonight is our last night in Africa.  Tomorrow afternoon we'll begin retracing our steps back to the Antipodes and real life.  It's been an amazing vacation.  Mum has learnt so much about Africa that her head is at risk of exploding.

Friday, January 16

Thursday, January 15

Wednesday, January 14

Pretoria


Today we explored two extremes of human history.  Our day started with a tour of Sterkfontein Caves , 60kms northeast of Johannesburg. The caves are famous for the discovery of early humanoid fossils found inside them. This includes “Mrs Ples”, a fossil skeleton at least 1.5 million years old and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton dating back more than 3-million years.


Mum loved the caves.  They're huge with large spacious caverns.  We even saw an archaeologist examining the rock face and could see an active excavation site carefully mapped out in an orderly grid. A small museum at the entrance houses some excellent exhibits on early humanoids.  Its artifacts include some replica skulls cast from the original fossils found here.



We then made our way to Pretoria.  We spent almost two hours at the monolith Vortrekker Memorial standing on a hill overlooking the city. We also visited Church Square and looked inside the old Parliament Building before making our way up to Union Hill.  This is home to the nation's Administrative branch.  Outside in the gardens can be found a new, giant statue of the late Nelson Mandela.

Soweto


A quick photo essay of our day tour around the streets of Johannesburg.  We began our day at 8am and continued sampling this city's many faces until after 6pm. It was ten hours of of the most extra-ordinary contrasts.  We saw wealth and poverty in equal measure. History came alive as we watched video of riots and security forces shooting into crowds before we stood in the same location ourselves.

We drove past the city's wealthiest suburbs where the local live hidden behind five-metre-high security walls crowned with deadly electric wires.  We stopped in Soweto and visited the shanty town hut of its poorest residents. It was rather shocking to see inside one of these temporary structures.  It's owner and six other people had lived in this humble two room shack with it's leaking corrugated iron roof since 1994.


We stepped inside the Constitutional Court to see where the world's most inclusive constitution is constantly debated and upheld. We drove through the rapidly rejuvenating suburbs of Downtown Johannesburg and delved deep into the roots of racial politics at the Apartheid museum.

More details in the days ahead.