Kathy’s Smilebox – Walking With Lions at Horseback, South Africa

Smilebox_1352515549Some of the SmarTours group took advantage of an optional walk with the lions tour on their last day in Johannesburg, at Horseback which is about one hour north, northeast of Pretoria.  There they joined the MacRae family who are raising lions on their farm, free of the feline variety of AIDs which is decimating wild lion populations.  Lions are raised in captivity to 18 months, then placed into reserves where they can breed naturally and whose disease free offspring will be released back into the wild.  For more information about this program, click here to visit the MacRae website.  While viewing Kathy’s Walking with Lions Part 1 and Walking with Lions Part 2, click on individual pictures to enlarge them on your screen, and on the right facing arrows which will start each video.  Have you ever seen a serval cat?  Thanks Kathy for sharing your experience with all of us!

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Kathy’s Smilebox, South Africa Road Trip to Johannesburg

Smilebox_3823211883The third step of the South African journey was the road trip leaving Kruger National Park over the Drakensburg and across the veld to Johannesburg.  This Smilebox slide show is once of contrasts. Click here for the spectacular scenery of God’s Window to the urban scenery of downtown Jo’burg and nearby Soweto.

This blog has changed…

Something was bothering me about this blog. The topic is our 2012 tour of SA, Swaziland, Kruger Park, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe Park in Botswana.  It wandered off topic when I started adding links to news articles.  I consider posts about places we visited such as Cape Town and Johannesburg to be fair game, as are links to articles about wildlife in the southern African countries.  But links to news about Zim diamonds? helicopter gifts? juju and witchcraft? Zim reform impacts on livestock farming?  Although extremely interesting, I no longer think that they belong in this blog.  The posts I have removed included: “Dear White People“, a controversial essay by Gillian Schutte; the South African death rate found in the CIA World Factbook; South African miners’ debt levels contributing to social unrest.  Before we left on our tour to South Africa, I watched the news stories about the truckers’ strike necklacing and miners’ strikes. I have watched the farm workers’ strikes develop and the demonstrations against municipal boundary changes since then.  There’s a pattern of violence such as white farmers under attack and attacks on journalists accused of spying for the state reminiscent of the last days of apartheid.  Confrontation signals the underlying tensions of a fractured society.  Jobs disappearing and shanty towns next to cosmopolitan cities.  The horrific rates of violence against women.  What is the new South African reality?

I read an excellent article, “Christmas in Zimbabwe” as that country gets ready for a constitutional referendum leading into a potentially dangerous election later this year.  I found a disconnect between Zimbabwe requests foreign aid for food while mineral export values exceed $1.8 billion.  There’s so much money in platinum, palladium, gold and diamonds and yet poverty is rampant, food and water is scarce for many and this week the government claims it has $217 left in its bank account!

So by all means I encourage you to do as I do, set up a couple of Google Alerts to receive the news from these countries, and be prepared to be astonished.