Plethora of Penguins – Betty’s Bay, South Africa

I left the Mosaic Sanctuary early the next morning so that I could take Marcelino’s advice and visit the penguin colony at Betty’s Bay. It was worth every minute. The last time I visited South Africa ten years ago, I saw the penguins at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town. I do love penguins.

After paying an entrance fee of 10 South African Rand, or about 1 US dollar, I stepped onto the raised wooden path. Penguins always put a smile on my face.

Betty's Bay Penguins

Betty's Bay penguins

Betty's Bay Penguins

Please excuse the rough video skills. I’m still working on it.

This little guy lives in Unit 53. He’s got beachfront property. We should be so lucky…

BlogBettysBayPenguinCondo

Betty’s Bay was beautiful and I’m glad I had a chance to visit.

Betty's Bay

Then it was off to the airport and on my flight to Namibia.

A visit to the penguin colony at Betty’s Bay and/or Boulder’s Beach comes highly recommended.

Three Days in South Africa

Recap: It was time to go to Africa, again, and Namibia was my first choice. My travel agent, Ian, from the Africa Adventure Company helped with the arrangements for the 16 Day Great Namibian Journey. It was originally scheduled for May and I got sick, so I after receiving my refund from Travel Guard Insurance, I was able to reschedule in August of this year.  As a change to the trip, I had the option to include three days in South Africa. After Ian suggested a cage dive with the great white sharks, it was confirmed.

I arrived in Cape Town and picked up my Budget rental car which had been upgraded to an Audi. NICE!

This was my first time driving a vehicle on the other side of the road and I’d been doing my best to think the process through. In other words, I was a nervous. I had spent a long time worrying about something that wasn’t such a big deal. I’m sure the rush of adrenaline that hit after I climbed off the airplane in Cape Town helped. I couldn’t stop smiling as I followed the other cars down Highway N2. I did get a bit lost as I turned off onto the dirt road, but I turned perfectly into the “other” lane.

This milk wood tree graces the entrance of the Mosaic Sanctuary lodge area. It was a welcome and beautiful sight.

Milkwood Tree at Mosaic Sanctuary South Africa

I loved everything about the lodge including my suite, the food and the people who made my stay so special.

Here is how Simone describes the Mosaic Santuary in one of her poems. She and her husband Marcelino are the sanctuary managers who live there.

” At Mosaic the sun rise can set your soul on fire, the mountains witness to a life time past, the Milk wood leaves moving to the rhythm of the wind. At Mosaic the fish eagle will call your heart to listen, your senses coming alive, at Mosaic a smile cross borders, at Mosaic the nightjar sings to the symphony in the sky. MOSAIC is a place of majestic beauty.”

I saw the fish eagles and the incredible beauty. It was a perfect place to begin my travels. I stepped off the deck of my suite to see this view of the Hermanus Lagoon.

Mosaic Sanctuary Panoramic Photo

My biggest disappointment was that the cage dive with the great white sharks had been cancelled due to weather. The wind was blowing and it was raining on and off. Still, I couldn’t have been happier with the location and the activities. Another trip back to South Africa for my appointment with the sharks doesn’t break my heart. I think I’ll probably be back a number of times, God willing.

So, instead I quad-biked with Vitalis. What a blast!

I’d never done it before, so it was a great adventure and I saw more really beautiful sights.

Mosaic Sanctuary, South Africa

BlogMosaicSanctuaryBird1

What’s a visit to South Africa without a wine tasting?

Creation Wines

So the next day, I was treated to a tasting at a local vineyard. Creation Wines had some fabulous options and treats to go with each of them. If I could have added a few bottles to my luggage, I’d be sipping on a glass right now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find it locally.

HRCreationsWine2

Then it was a quick trip to Hermanus. I’ve shared some photos already, but I needed to add one more for good measure.

Hermanus, South Africa

The crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean were magnificent. There was still one final visit to make and that was the beach near the Mosaic Sanctuary. I needed to step into the ocean just like the first time when I visited South Africa in 2004.

Atlantic Ocean

The wind was blowing and it was chilly, but still amazingly beautiful.

BlogMosaicBeachSelf2

The ocean was C-O-L-D! I was freezing and trying to keep the hair out of my face. Vitalis and I were laughing so hard, it’s amazing that we got a photo. Just looking at it makes me giggle.

While I was looking forward to leaving for the airport the next day and beginning my journey to Namibia, I was still sad at leaving such a magical place and the wonderful people I’d met along the way. I had another great dinner, joined by Marcelino. He’s originally from Namibia, so it was good to talk to him about what to expect.

Marcelino told me that with all the contrasts in Namibia, I couldn’t take a bad picture. I wasn’t sure that was true, especially in my case, but I was still excited to test out his theory.

I headed back to my suite and on my last night at the Mosaic Sanctuary, dreamed about Africa.

Hermanus Shoreline, South Africa

While I didn’t spend much more than an hour or two in Hermanus, South Africa, waiting to catch a view of the whales, I still appreciated the beauty of the area and the power of the Atlantic Ocean. The weather had been unpredictable with rain and wind, but I was lucky enough to catch some blue sky. This is a place I wouldn’t mind visiting again someday.

Hermanus Shoreline, South Africa

Black Headed Heron, South Africa – Re-Cropped

After my last post, I kept returning to my photograph of the Black Headed Heron taking off. It’s one of my favorite photos from the trip, despite the fact that it is far from perfect. The bird lifted off much more quickly than I expected so I missed getting the perfect composition and had to resort to cropping the image. There’s no way to fix the fact that the tip of the wing was slightly cut off, but I just wasn’t happy with the cropping I’d done.

Luckily, I always save the unprocessed original, so here’s my second attempt, along with another photo of the heron as it flew away in the distance.

black headed heron in South Africa

 

BlackHeadedHeronblog2

Much better…

Here Birdy, Birdy- Mosaic Sanctuary Birds

Between the quad ride and driving with my guide, Vitalis, around the Mosaic Sanctuary, I not only enjoyed the beauty of the environment, but found myself fascinated by the birds.

Flamingos in the wild? Beautiful.

Flamingo Birds

One of the funniest birds I’ve seen in South Africa, the Guinea Fowl.

South African Birds

But my favorite was definitely the Black Headed Heron. Vitalis knew the habits of this magnificent bird and put me in the right position for each shot. Thank you, Vitalis!

The Black Headed Heron is one of the most beautiful birds.

 And in flight…

Birds Black Headed Heron in Flight

These were just the first of the trip. They make me smile as I remember how speechless I was. I know, a first time for everything. 🙂

Waiting for Whales – Hermanus, South Africa

There is something about whales that I find amazing. The only opportunity I’ve had to see them in person is when I traveled to Antarctica in 2009. So, it was a delight to see a Southern Right Whale just off the shores of Hermanus, South Africa on my trip last month.

I imagine if I lived in or near Hermanus, my butt print would permanently be etched on one or more of these rocks.

Wait for it…

Hermanus, South Africa

Sometimes nature just takes my breath away.

Hermanus, South Africa

Dipping My Toe into the Solo Travel Waters

The freedom of solo travel

The first time I ever traveled solo was the day I stepped off the train into Salzburg, Austria in the fall of 2000. I broke the first rule of solo travel safety by demonstrating that I was an obviously lost tourist as I opened the large noisy map and studied it closely. Thankfully, a small older woman quickly pointed me in the right direction and I was on my way. I loved Salzburg. I had a wonderful time viewing areas I’d been long admiring in the movie The Sound of Music. I returned to Munich and reunited with my friends later that night.

While I’m not quite a solo travel virgin, my upcoming trip will challenge my ability to travel without anyone I know. My first few days, I’ll be on my own just outside of Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve been to the Cape Town area before. It’s a beautiful city where people are very friendly. This is where I have scheduled the cage diving with the great white sharks. There is a BIG smile on my face just thinking about it.

Then, I head to Namibia where I’ll meet up with fellow travelers I’ve never met who are joining me on the safari. There will be a maximum of eight people and our guide. So, my first solo trip isn’t really solo. It was a good compromise to help me begin the adjustment.

My love of travel has taken me to many exotic places, some of them are locations where very few people I know want to go. The trips are usually about two weeks long and can be expensive. I save and plan my vacations around these opportunities to travel. For me, the choice is to learn to travel on my own for those times when my travel buddies can’t come, or to just not go. I don’t consider delaying or missing an opportunity to travel a good option, so I’m on the path for solo travel.

I’m not someone who minds being alone, as a matter of fact, I’m an introvert so I need this time to recharge. I’m also single, so I’m used to doing things alone at times, like eating out and going to the movies. Still, I am a bit nervous about not having someone else to rely on when traveling in other countries.

Luckily, there are women who have already traveled this road and are very happy they did. Here are just a couple of my favorite solo travelers who inspire me and provide great information for those of us on the same path.

Journey Woman

Solo Travel

This trip is an adventure in many ways and I’m excited to get started. Let the countdown continue…

Is solo travel something you’ve ever considered? Any tips?

I’m About to Experience a Jaws Moment

Jaws Great White Shark
DA…Da

DA…Da

DA…Da

DA…Da

I can hear it. The music intensifies the sense of horror involved when something you can’t see is swimming up from beneath you. I was sixteen years old when Jaws was released in theaters. It was a terrifying movie and I loved every minute. I saw it many times then and I watch it at least once a year when it’s on cable. It’s still a great movie.

I contemplated going to school for marine biology after being introduced to the great white shark. Instead I researched wild life management and then settled on business related classes. Still, to this day, I’m fascinated by the oceans and great white sharks.

So, when I rescheduled my trip to Namibia for later this summer and ended up with a few extra days on the front end, my travel agent, Ian at Africa Adventure Company, suggested cage diving with the sharks as one of several alternative activities. Cage diving with great white sharks off Dyer Island in South Africa? Count me in!!

Cage diving with sharks has always been on my bucket list and thanks to Ian, it’s been booked. It’s more like cage snorkeling, but still, I’ll finally be face to face with the incredibly beautiful and dangerous creatures of the deep. Shark diving at 55? I’ve been waiting a long time. Sounds perfect.

DA…da

DA…da

DA…da