Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Protea, proteas

February 8th, 2010, posted in Flora

The King Protea is South Africa’s National Flower and I enjoy them. I only once saw a Protea Farm and was amazed at the way these flowers grew from week to week and then suddenly they would open, revealing the most amazing colour and patterns within the flower.

I believe a dried Protea flower is just as beautiful as when it was living, truthfully I speak only of the giant or king Protea (Protea cynaroides), even though there are a number of other Protea flowers in South Africa.

There is something to be said about flowers that don’t last too. It is as though they feast your eyes for a short season. Whilst on the plant, the Protea welwitchii is very pretty in its own way, however unlike the king Protea that will last for weeks in a vase and then make a beautiful dried arrangement, picking these flowers results in a brown wilted mess!

This is why, taking a Bush Trail can be very special, walking in the Waterberg during early summer allows you to get up close to these Proteas that only bloom for a limited time, we watch and wait for the flowers to appear and then we look, admiring the insects that take in its nectar and pollinate it. This season also allows us to reflect upon our life here on earth, we too are limited with the time we have and these flowers are a reminder to us to make an impact whilst we can

The Protea welwitschii is called the Cluster-head sugarbush or Troshofiesuikerbos and from the Book, Bushveld, Lee Gutteridge, has this to say about the flowers…

The Flower can be very messy, lacking the fine structure of many protea species. It also does not grow very tall. Root infusions are used for treating diarrhea in both humans and young cattle. The species is hybridizing with the Sugarbush protea in certain parts of the Waterberg and Magaliesberg regions.

Reconciliation and Travel

December 16th, 2009, posted in Educating You

I am amused by the public holiday in South Africa, called Day of Reconciliation. Whenever visitors to our country want to find out more about South African culture, it opens the door to truly travel our land. It is difficult to fit the full cultural experience into one visit as this country has so many tribes, all rich in culture!

So how do South Africans partake in the Day of Reconciliation at heart, what do they tell their children? We live a life very different to those that lived here over 100 years ago and in history terms, 100 years is not that long ago!

Today’s post is my version of how I see Reconciliation related to Travel. War stories are gruesome and cruel but they are a part of history and something we should not ignore, only because I do not want history to repeat itself. If we can openly discuss what happened, no matter where you are from or what your beliefs, only then, can we truly experience Reconciliation.

How can we reconcile with the San or “Bushmen”? Nearly every African tribe and European settler had something to do with the annihilation of their race. Do I thank the Dutch East Indian Company for bringing my husbands’ ancestors to this country and applaud the Voortrekkers for taking on Die Groot Trek, fighting the Zulu’s and British and establishing the Boers so that I could meet my husband, a descendant of theirs? Shall I thank the English for their Colonialism and ships that brought my descendants from Scotland and England to South Africa? Shall I thank Shaka Zulu for establishing such a proud and hard-working culture, from whom descendants now live and taught me their language, and is there a way for me to understand why Dingaan would kill him? What happened to blood being thicker than water? My life is now touched by the Pedi and Sesotho tribes who tell me of the medicinal plants that grow freely for our benefit and they tell stories of how they made San children their slaves, how their children became slaves on settlers farms and how they became a part of life and death in the concentration camps alongside their employers.

We need to reconcile everyday of our lives and travel opens your eyes to see each culture for who they really are, why they are there and what their dreams are for their future. Travel by tribes and settlers is how South Africa came to be. We need to take reconciliation to the next level and acknowledge travel to be the reason for everything – explorers, messengers, battles, rallies, marches, travel is how word gets out whether it be in person, by note or even via cyberspace.

In closing, my request to each foreigner that visits this Southern country on the African continent, is not to blame anyone for anything done in the past, but rather to examine today and realise the hope tomorrow holds if we do the best for our land, its plants, animals and people so that the history we become is in our descendants best interest.

up-and-coming game ranger

December 11th, 2009, posted in Uncategorized

Is Joshua an up-and-coming game ranger?

The clever people say a child will grow up in the way of the parents… mmmm, I as a mother think Joshua is a great athlete, mountain biking 5km with ease, running, swimming, rock climbing etc etc. But, it is his “Bush-wise” comments that interest adults and perhaps it’s because we are always around him that we don’t always appreciate this.

Although I am still convinced that Pieter is one of the best field guides in South Africa, based on the knowledge and way he is able to communicate with guests giving them an overall excellent safari experience, he has some competition!

Our 5yr old son proved his ability to spot animals on our holiday to the Kruger Park last week! (Yes we live in a game reserve and choose to holiday in a game reserve!!!) Anyway, Pieter and I were looking at birds, when Joshua casually said, “There’s a spotted hyena”, not ‘I see an animal’, or ‘a hyena’, no; he goes on to name the species! It was not a clear, animal-crossing-the-road sighting either! The Hyena was behind the bushes walking with a mission, so we only had a short sighting in the open patches along his path before he moved into thicker bush.

All in all, it was special!

No picture was taken, our hands were filled with our binoculars, so here are some black and white shots of a hyena I took a few years ago for those of you who have not yet seen a spotted hyena.

spotted hyena

spotted hyena

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, near den

spotted hyena, kruger national park

spotted hyena, kruger national park