adrian is rad


part one

Filed under: — adrian @ 10:40 pm

I guess this is my first real update about my South African trip with Jon, Helene and Dug.

My goodness, it’s been quite a trip so far.

I started in Jo’burg for a few days, mostly running errands and spending time with my aunt and uncle. I did go to the Apartheid Museum in Soweto, though, and it’s really good, a very well done museum.

Once everyone arrived we headed out to Graskop (hint–not pronounced with a ‘g’ sound at all). That was our home base for exploring the Blyde River Canyon. The views from God’s Window and at the Three Rondavals were amazing, both in the foggy evening and the clear next morning. We also saw some beautiful waterfalls and swam in some of the natural forming pools.

We had our first braai of the trip too (though I’d had one with my aunt and uncle already). mmmm lamb boerewors and steak. delicious…

It was a fairly long decent drive from there to Kruger Park, Satara Camp the next day. We found an elephant before we’d even gotten into the park–it’d trampled the fence at a neighboring private reserve, it appeared. We didn’t even stop for that long and, as you might expect if you expect irony, that was the only elephant we saw. The night drive was a bit of a disappointment, but the drive right as the gates opened the next day was amazing, with fairly close encounters with lions, rhinos, buffalo (not bison), zebra and giraffe. We just kept on driving south from Satara, out of the camp, through that little stretch of Mpumalanga and into Swaziland. It was a long drive that day, with a stretch of KwaZulu Natal after Swaziland to get to Ingwavuma.

Ingwavuma is a rural town up in the Lebombo Mountains on the border with Swaziland. It, like much of the rural towns in that area and much of southern Africa, has a massive problem with AIDS and unemployment. A family friend is working up there with an NGO called Zisize, who are doing some great work with the children of the village. We also visited a couple income-generating groups for the local women: Fancy Stitch and Ingwavuma Women’s Center. We bought some of their beautifully made, locally produced goods.

Bridgie, the family friend, and everyone else we met there was really great to us.

Yesterday was our last big drive of our trip was yesterday, from the dry heat of Ingwavuma to the hot humidity of Durban. We’re still figuring out what we will be doing these next two days before our short flight to Cape Town, where I’ll meet up with my family.

Since my South Africa/ Tanzania trip of 2004, I’ve thought a lot about how lucky I am, but I’ve been reminded once again. If you’re reading this, you are probably quite lucky, too: you are reading the internet. You are probably sitting comfortably in a home or apartment. You can probably open the tap and get fresh, clean drinking water. You have electricity. You probably are able to purchase food for dinner and earn a reasonable wage for your work. This isn’t the norm of the world, not at all. I don’t mean to preach.

2 Responses to “part one”

  1. Sarah Louise Says:

    Preach away! While it is very cold in Pittsburgh, I often forget how easy my life is. I am also very glad to see you have taken a few pictures. Keep writing!!

  2. adrian is rad » the mythical expanse of the karoo Says:

    […] almost mythical. Can it possibly live up to the description? I’d say it can’t, but my time in Blyde River Canyon, another mythical-sounding area of SA, proved that such areas can live up to […]

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