Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our family trip to South Africa

Well, we're finally over our jet-lag, we've unpacked all our goodies and now it's time for a look back on the adventure of a lifetime!  We took lots of pictures, which Andrew has categorized and included in this post below.  But first, check out our 3D fly-by movie of the major places we visited.

We spent lots of time with extended family and enjoyed a landscape and culture that although is in a developed country, is quite different to the United States.  We went to visit Cheryl's grandparents and Aunt Sheilagh and Uncle James.  But while there we also went to the game reserve and the beach.  We spent just over two weeks there.  Below we'll tell stories with photos depicting each activity.

Beautiful vistas

There is an energy and rhythm in Africa that is alive in the people, the art, and the sunrises.  We went from Johannesburg's busy market places through the plains and farmland of the Orange Free State to the gorgeous beaches of KwaZulu Natal.   

Cheryl hasn't seen her Aunt, Uncle or Grandparents since she was 11 - if you're smart you'll work out that that's 15 years!!!  It was wonderful to catch up and introduce them to Andrew and Luke - both of whom were an instant hit!

Game reserve

We spent a few days in a game reserve to see the animals.  We had a lot of fun.  We saw giraffe, antelope, lots of cheeky warthogs and rhinos and yet, it seemed as though 433 elephants were successfully hiding...until on the way out of the reserve, Cheryl spotted several in a row at a great distance.  We went on an early morning walk in the bush with an armed guide and a night safari drive too.  One night we even heard hyenas outside our chalet while we lay in bed! It was amazing!

Andrew's beach accident

There were several days that we spent near the beach and I got to boogie board every day -- until I had an accident.  A storm was on its way, and the waves were much larger than they had been the previous few days.  No one else was swimming.  Still, the waves were only about as big as a good day in California, so I decided to go for it.  Although Cheryl was napping, her dad, aunt and uncle were with me at the beach to watch.  It took a long time to even get out into deeper water because the waves kept pushing me back.  When I finally got out there, a side current swept me quickly away from the safe beach so that when I caught the next wave, I was smashed into some underwater rocks.  Ouch!

Luke moments

Luke had a blast.  He ate sand, tried some local delicacies like biltong and rusks, and dance any chance he got.  Even though we are well stocked with great pictures of this kid, we captured several shots of Luke being really cute.  Here are a few:

Stunt show

We saw a very impressive show while at a flea market:

Cultural differences

South Africa is a developed country, but there are issues.  Theft and violent crime are much more common there than it is in the US.  Luckily we weren't personally affected by either of those.  Mostly what we noticed were just unexpected subtle (and not so subtle) differences.  Here are some of the pictures we took that captured unexpected things:

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

Wow. What an experience! I love the pictures. Someone must have been picture happy when you were surfin' the waves or something cause it was like a full movie. Glad you're alright ang!

Can't wait for you guys to come visit and tell us more!

Lewis Family said...

Things I didn't know about Cheryl (granted I don't know her that well!): she has family in South Africa, cool! Glad you are all well and safe.