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.

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Kathy’s Smilebox, Pictures of Cape Town

Smilebox_4107503118Kathy has put together a Smilebox slide show of her pictures of Cape Town and the surrounding area in South Africa, Oct. 2012.  Kathy and Richard, Rachel and Gene stayed in bed & breakfasts near Cape Town and did some extra touring for a week before we arrived.  What a great collection of photos.  Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

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.

Hello Africa!

Jim and Debbie, Richard and Kathy and Gene and Rachel toured South Africa, Swaziland, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe Park in Botswana with SmarTours in Oct/Nov 2012.  Seeing African animals in the wild has always been one of Debbie’s dreams.  Jim prefers cities, history, culture and food.  So the trip was magnificent for both.  South Africa, Swaziland, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe Park in Botswana are great places to tour, travel, visit. My wife and I, our friends and our tour group traveled safely, enjoyably throughout our trip. Our guide in South Africa was Ron McGregor.  There was no bad news to recount and lots of most enjoyable adventures.  I find southern African nations to be…. intriguing.  View News SA and News Zim pages to see what’s been going on in these countries since Feb. 2013.