Location: Joahnnesburg, South Africa Address: 39 Tyrwhitt Avenue, Rosebank Date: October 2018 Website: www.clhg.com
We travelled to South Africa in hopes of seeing as many different animals as we possibly could. The first place we visited when we arrived was the Rosebank section of Johannesburg. We stayed in a Courtyard Hotel across the street from a busy shopping centre. Little did we know that behind the gates of our hotel we would be introduced to so much wildlife.
Upon arrival, we checked out our room and found we were not alone. On our wall we spotted a spider. We generally like spiders as we hope that they will eat other flying pests. We took a photo for later identification. The best we can determine is it is a type of wolf spider and harmless. It kept to itself patrolling the walls.
Above the window we spotted another spider. This one appeared to be a black jumping spider. It didn't jump at us when we took a closeup picture. Enjoy your stay little friend.
Our favourite thing that we found on the walls during our stay in Rosebank was these three ladies. They were dolls designed to fit over the doorknob and let hotel staff know if we needed anything or just wanted to be left alone.
After settling into our room, we headed outside and walked towards the main entrance. Coming along the pathway was a leopard tortoise. He stopped and gave us a look and then lumbered along. This tortoise was a permanent resident. His shell was far too big to fit under any fences. He seemed perfectly content, but if he wanted to escape his only chance would be to make a break for it when security opened the front gate for a guest. Security opened the gate for us to leave. We looked back as we crossed the street and headed to the mall. We didn't see any tortoises following us.
As we returned to our hotel we were able to get a good look at the jacaranda trees that line so many of Johannesburg's streets. We were lucky to be visiting during September to November when the purple flowers bloom.
These beautiful trees are not native to Africa, but came from Brazil. The first jacaranda were said to be brought here and planted in 1888. There has since been a ban on planting more but every year the streets of Johannesburg still turn purple.
As we returned to our hotel we noticed a cape white eye sitting up in one of the jacarandas. These small greenish-yellow birds have a bright white circle around their eyes. We wished that we could see the jacaranda from the bird's vantage point high up in the branches.
Another bird we spotted up in the trees was this common myna. It had chosen a less colourful tree to make its perch. This bird is also known as the Indian myna and is now an invasive species found all over the world.
Sitting on the edge of a bench in our garden was a cape robin chat.
Up on an eavestrough was a cape sparrow. South Africa has many bird species whose names start with cape. It was done to represent that they came from the old Cape of Good Hope and Cape Province that made up a large part of South Africa.
The next morning we walked along the edge of the garden to see who was visiting today. We spotted the tortoise just sitting still in the leafy garden. His busy day had yet to begin.
This morning there was also another visitor walking through the grass. It was a hadeda ibis. They are named for their loud call of "HA-DE-DA" which many South Africans use as their early morning wake up alarm. We did hear them calling out at various times, but they never woke us up.
This hadeda did give out a cry as it flew away. We had returned to our room, but we rushed out and spotted the ibis now perched up on the rooftop.
We continued our walk along the edge of the garden. We heard another unusual noise and looked into the trees. There was a grey bird hidden in the branches making a sound that sounded like the last whirl of something that had been wound up. "Whirrrrrrrrrr". The bird sounded most displeased. It is called a go-away bird and perhaps this is why. We were happy to spot a cat lingering beneath the tree the bird was sitting in. At least the bird's displeasure was not directed at us.
As we walked along the garden wall we saw some dirt falling from up above. A small bird was busy kicking dirt out of the eavestrough. We didn't take this personally as we were quietly walking along so the bird probably didn't know that we were there. It did fly down to give us a closer look. The picture (above) isn't the best, but this is a karoo thrush.
Near the pool area we spotted this rather large snail. It was just hanging out in a drain. Thankfully no wildlife was taking a swim in our pool.
At the end of the garden we saw another grey bird and expected to get a good talking to. It turns out that this was not a go-away bird but a speckled mousebird. It is smaller than a go-away bird and has a different hairstyle and a darker face around its eye and beak.
The next day we were off to see some large animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants. We also enjoyed our time visiting some of Africa's smaller wildlife within the walls of our hotel. Map of Our World Courtyard Hotel Rosebank
Post # 314
Location: Hoedspruit, South Africa Address: Balule Nature Reserve Date: October 2018 Website: vivasafaris.com
We travelled to South Africa in hopes of seeing as many different animals as we possibly could. We travelled to the Balule Nature Reserve which is attached to the famous Kruger National Park. On our first safari outing we received a big welcome from the largest land animal on the planet.
The first animal we saw in abundance during our safari tour was impala. These small antelope seemed to be hiding behind every bush. Our guide shouted out "Impala!" at every single sighting. An impala in the photo above is standing beside some evidence that elephants may have been in the area.
Our guide stopped our Safari Jeep and jumped out. We had been told to keep every part of us inside the vehicle at all times and intended to do as we had been told. Our guide looked off into the distance to confirm what she had seen. "Elephant!" she shouted as she hopped back into her seat. There is indeed a single elephant in this photo as well as the one at the top of the blog. If the biggest animal walking on the planet could hide so easily we wondered about lions, leopards, snakes and more.
As we looked closer at the trees and bushes the shape of an elephant started to reveal itself. Here is a close-up of the photo from the top of this blog. There it was, our first wild elephant.
Another Safari Jeep joined ours as word of the elephant sighting spread.
As we watched in silence, the elephant slowly moved out from behind the trees and started to get closer to us.
The elephant moved closer still and into some nearby bushes. The grey skin of the elephant started to blend in with the plants and ground and we could see how if it stood still, it might be hard to spot standing there.
The elephant started to trot quickly towards us and the safari jeep decided it was time to move. A full grown elephant can weigh over 5,000 kilograms and stand about 10 feet tall. The elephant suddenly stopped and struck a pose. We were able to admire the beauty of a truly wild elephant as we drove by.
Elephants never forget and we will never forget the elephants. Especially our first.
Location: Soweto, South Africa Address:Klipspruit 318-Iq Date: Oct 2018 Website:www.gauteng.net
Two towers stand tall above anything else in the Soweto area of South Africa. The 33 storey tall Orlando Towers are the last remaining structures of a coal fired power station. The power station was built in 1935 and closed in 1998.
These days the towers are now completely painted with murals. These murals have changed through the years but when we visited one was sponsored by local brewing company Soweto Gold and the other by telecom company Vodacom. One tower states "We are in Soweto and Soweto is in us". The other is for empowering education.
Other cooling towers that we saw as we travelled stood out against the skyline, but they were just plain looking.
Some of these power plants were still in operation.
The towers are also famous for being the world's first bungee jump between two cooling towers. Brave souls can jump from a little bridge that spans the two towers. Between the artwork and the adventure it is safe to say that these are the most exciting cooling towers in all of South Africa, perhaps the world. Map of Our World Orlando Power Station Cooling Towers
Post # 254
People born in the Year of the Pig are said to be thoughtful, polite, reliable, courageous and ready to help others. They can also be naive, and self-indulgent. 2019 is the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac. To celebrate here are 10 of our favourite swine encounters. Oink Oink.
1 )Hawaiian Pigs
Dan's Green House is located in the town of Lahaina, on the island of Maui, in Hawaii. They have exotic plants and rare birds as well as mini pigs. We got a chance to spend some time with these two little guys. Aren't they just the cutest?
Speaking of cute, we are sorry but babirusa are just the opposite. They have long legs, weird curvy tusks and look like all of their hair just fell out. They are only found on a few islands in Indonesia and are unforgettable. We saw this pair at the Toronto Zoo.
3) CNE Pigs
When the Canadian National Exhibition comes to Toronto at the end of each summer so does "The Farm". You can experience the sights and smells of livestock. There are always lots of pigs and usually one big sow who spends her day constantly feeding her litter of piglets.
4) Miss Piggy
In Queens, New York the Museum of the Moving Image has a Jim Henson Exhibition. Miss Piggy is one of our favourite Muppets and favourite pigs. Here she is in her wedding gown ready for her big day.
5) Miss Piggy
This Miss Piggy is a crashed freight plane. It can be found in Churchill, Manitoba still sitting where it crashed in 1979. Miss Piggy the Muppet made her debut in 1974. We have read that the plane is named after Miss Piggy because it was overloaded or it once carried a cargo of pigs.
We think it should be called Miss Piggy because of its flat snout.
By the way Miss Piggy, your engine is way over here. Also watch out for polar bears hiding amongst the rocks and wreckage.
6) Red River Hog
The red river hog is a colourful African pig. We like its whiskers and red coat. It turns out that we have a fondness for animals with red coloured fur.
7) Tamworth Pigs
Based on our previously professed love of red furred anuimals you can see why we like Tamworth pigs. They are one of the oldest breeds of pigs. You can also see the curly little tail in the photo above that makes pigs even more appealing. These pigs are from Toronto's Riverdale Farm.
8) Pig Pot at the ROM
This pig shaped vessel was at the Royal Ontario Museum. We imagine it could be filled with some sort of liquid which could then be poured out of the spout in the snout. We didn't make note of what was listed as its intended purpose and often the museum uncovers artifacts whose purpose is only assumed.
9 )Pigman at the Campbell House
We took this photo of the Campbell House Museum in Toronto. The Campbell House was built in 1822 and was actually moved to where it sits today. Looking at our photo later we noticed something odd.
There was a well dressed pig man on the grounds. We hope he was there for an event or promotion at the museum.
We took a trip to Africa and encountered many wild warthogs. We watched them come and go at a waterhole in Greater Kruger in South Africa. We also watched them mow the lawn in Zimbabwe beside the mighty Zambezi River.
Because warthogs have such short necks they usually have to kneel down on their front legs to eat grass. In the video below, various African animals eat beside a waterhole until the warthogs come and take over.
That is our list of favourite pigs. We took part in some celebrations at the Scarborough Town Centre for the Chinese New Year. You can celebrate and enjoy pigs all year long.