Hi to all… I’m back for a while…

It seems so long since I was able to get on-board here. Been busy at Wingate and Sishen Golf Club with their OH and Safety induction. What a wonderful experience to be back up early everyday preparing for work before sun up….

We had a weekend off last and my son took us to Witsand, a place we had as yet not been to, this is what they say about it on a website…

“Witsand Nature Reserve in the Northern Cape is an exceptional eco-destination featuring geological and climatic anomalies that cause the desert sand to ‘roar’. This natural attraction is one of the Green Kalahari’s best-kept secrets. The birding here is exceptional, and you’ll see plenty of dry land wildlife.”

You have to know we went there full of excitement and I made the cardinal sin a photographer can make… I went with low batteries, no backup charged ones and of course forgot the charger at home. My video camera had just enough for me to capture something Linda and I would not have believed if we did not experience it….

It happened whilst sitting at the camp fire latish in the evening, having eaten well and just enjoying the noises of the bush, also feeding the genet cat that came to visit. Three springbok came up to the fire to visit with us. Linda and I kept quiet at first and stared in disbelief. ANIMALS ARE SCARED OF FIRE my brain screamed.

One started to lick on the braai grid that was cool, then came and started to lick in the ash of the fire. “THE FIRE IS HOT” I screamed under my breathe…. these springbok actually started to seek out pieces of charcoal that were not still glowing red, but warm and ate them.

This all happened within two to three metres of us and when we started to talk to each other in disbelief they carried on totally ignoring us…. I captured this on video and when back in civilisation I will download it to “youtube” and add a link for you to see…. here are a few photos first from Witsand and then a few from yesterday which I had a chance to get out and capture…

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We leave tomorrow for Pretoria for a short while (a week) and then on the road again… but this will give me a chance to catch up a bit with you all… look forward to that… and to the odd blog I’m going to be able to post…

Wonderwerk Cave.. or Miracle Cave

I have not got the time to write out a long splurge of this site we discovered in our trip around the Northern Cape, but if you are ever between Danielskuil and Kuruman, do yourself a favour and visit the cave..

Thanks to Wikipedia..

Wonderwerk Cave is an archaeological site, formed originally as an ancient solution cavity in Dolomite rocks of the Kuruman Hills, situated between Danielskuil and Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It is a National Heritage Site within a servitude ceded to and managed as a satellite of the McGregor Museum in Kimberley. Geologically, hillside erosion exposed the northern end of the cavity, which extends horizontally for about 140 m into the base of a hill. Accumulated deposits inside the cave, up to 7 m in depth, reflect natural sedimentation processes such as water and wind deposition as well as the activities of animals, birds and human ancestors over a period of some 2 million years. The site has been studied and excavated by archaeologists since the 1940s and research here generates important insights into human history in the subcontinent of Southern Africa. Evidence within Wonderwerk cave has been called the oldest controlled fire. Wonderwerk means “miracle” in the Afrikaans language.

Thanks to the Bulldog for the photos…

From the outside….

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Just on the inside….

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and this great big stalagmite…

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the Bushman paintings are fascinating and even show an elephant.. so they must have roamed here in the past…

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and now we go and have a look at some of the dig sites all they way down to the back of the cave…

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The Long Road to Augrabies…(1)

We went to the “Oranjerus Resort” for two nights… it is a resort on the banks of the Orange River. From there it was a short drive to the Augrabies Falls, but this was to be our central accommodation for short journeys to see the area…

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The road is flat and straight…….

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And seems to go on forever…

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But luckily the Social weaver, gives one a little respite with the nest forms and sizes they build on the telephone poles…

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And when one stops to have a look, it is surprising the other little things that are there…..

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The area has had rain this year.. (not that it happens too often) and the veld flowers are out in magnificent shows…. the area actually is beautifully green..

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The first stop was at Keimoes to get a few forgotten provisions… like milk and such… the drinks were accounted for…

with a quick climb I managed to get a panorama of the small “dorp” (Afrikaans for village)..

(A close up that appears on the left of the panorama)

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More to follow Tomorrow…

Kimberley, Northern Cape…

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, this city has considerable historical significance due its diamond mining past. As well as the siege during the Second Boer War. Notable personalities such as Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes here, and the roots of the De Beers company can be traced to the early days of the mining town.

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In 1871 a 83.50 carat (16.7 g) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzigt belonging to the De Beers brothers. It’s told that the cook for prospector Fleetwood Rawstone, made the discovery on Colesberg Kopje after he was sent there to dig as punishment. Rawstorne took the news to the nearby diggings of the De Beer brothers, and this sparked off the famous "Rush" which, was more of a stampede. Within a month 800 claims were cut into the hillock which were worked by two to three thousand men. As the land was lowered, so the hillock became a mine, and in time, became the world renowned Kimberley Mine.

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From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds. The Big Hole has a surface of 17 hectares (42 acres) and is 463 metres wide. It was excavated to a depth of 240 m, but then partially filled with debris reducing its depth to about 215 m; since then it has accumulated water to a depth of 40 m leaving 175 m visible. Beneath the surface, the Kimberley Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres.

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Kimberley was the initial hub of industrialisation in South Africa in the late nineteenth century, transforming the country’s farming economy into one more dependant on its mineral wealth.

The old town is still well preserved and has displays depicting the olden days… I’m sure the Pub never looked so clean and tidy… more dirt and spilt beer, I’m sure, was the order of the day…..

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On 2 September 1882, Kimberley became the first town in the southern hemisphere to install electric street lighting….

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The town even had their own Fire house equipped with the latest fire fighting equipment…. wonder how often this worked.??? For that matter I wonder how long it took to get to the fire…????

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