February 4, 2011
Honeymoon: Our Cottage in the Mara
Back to the photos from our honeymoon in August! I should really get through all of these sometime soon before the details slip away.
While in the Masai Mara, we stayed at The Lodge at Saruni. This wasn't a rustic camp at all. It was a beautiful lodge with six cottages overlooking the planes. As an open camp, animals were free to wander through the area. We saw elephants on the first day, saw water buffalo off in the distance another day, heard hyenas one night, and I saw a zebra steps away from our actual cottage (it saw me, we stared at each other for a few seconds before it snorted and ran off with its group).
These luxurious cottages weren't without their drawbacks — it would get really, really cold at night. When we were in Africa, it was winter and colder than we expected. While it wasn't cold like much of the United States is experiencing now, it was still pretty cold. You have to keep in mind that there was no heat and the sides of the cottage were essentially canvas with screens for windows. One thing's for sure, the cool temperatures meant we got dressed very quickly before our morning game drives.
November 9, 2010
Honeymoon: Day 2 in the Masai Mara
Finally, the photos from day 2 on safari. This was our first full day on the Mara — waking up at 5:30 AM in a freezing room, heading out before sunrise, a bush breakfast, heading back out in the afternoon after a nap and watching the sunset with a sundowner. The long day was not without some great sightings.
It seemed like this day was a lesson on the lifecycle of the Mara. While we would head out each morning hoping to witness a kill (predators hunt in the early morning and evenings), we didn't see one this morning, but we did get to see hyenas feasting on the carcass of a wildebeest.
The previous night at dinner, we were told about a lioness who had her cubs killed by a male lion that recently took over the pride. In the morning, we spotted her walking across the plains calling out for her two cubs, which all the other animals took note of (3rd photo). Our bush breakfast was cut short when our guides heard that someone spotted a leopard. We quickly made our way to the scene to look at the rarely seen cat. There wasn't much to see as the leopard was just lounging around on the rocks.
In the afternoon, we saw two lions mating (the same lioness looking for her cubs). Let me tell you, if you weren't watching, you would miss it. Except for maybe the fact that the male lion lets out a furious roar at one point. On our way up to our sundowner, eagle-eyed Shannan spotted a cheeta. It turns out that cheetahs are very rarely spotted in the mountainous area where this pregnant cheeta was spotted.
October 11, 2010
Honeymoon: Wines and Cheetah in Stellenbosch
Our final stop on our whirlwind tour of the Cape Town area was Stellenbosch, the "Wine Capital of South Africa." It was an awful day, weather wise, with rain, rain and more rain. Despite the rain, we were able to visit the cheetah outreach project at Spier winery. At Spier you can get close enough to pet a cheetah — something that you obviously can't do while on safari.
In addition to cheetah petting and lunch at a winery, we sampled the wines of several wine farms, including Delheim (the 3rd picture).
September 25, 2010
Honeymoon: Lion's Rump in Cape Town
After recovering from cage diving with great whites, we made our way to the Lion's Rump, also known as Signal Hill. This flat-ish hill is right next to Lion's Head and Table Mountain. The hill offers views of Cape Town and Table Bay.
September 16, 2010
Honeymoon: Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Also in Cape Peninsula National Park is the Cape of Good Hope. As you can see in the sign (taken at the tail end of golden hour) is that it's the most south-western point of the African continent! Yep, we can say we were there.
Not only can we say we were in the most south-western point of the continent, but we also saw ostriches walking next to the road. Shannan was a big fan of the park (and the ostriches).
September 15, 2010
Honeymoon: Cape Point, South Africa
The destination that we were driving to on our first day in South Africa was the Cape Peninsula National Park, which is home to Cape Point. Cape Point is thought to be the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, but the actual meeting point varies in an area between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas in the Western Cape of South Africa.
But what Cape Point does have is a lighthouse (ooOOOooohhh)! Two, in fact! One is still in operation. The historic lighthouse, which has many visitors and signs marking distances to other cities, was in service from 1860-1919. It was found to be somewhat ineffective during fog, causing some ships to come dangerously close to land. In fact, a 1911 wreck of the Portuguese boat Lusitania resulted in a new lighthouse being built that is closer to the water and closer to sea level.
If you visit the lighthouse, you can also walk on a path that gets you very close to the new lighthouse. You can easily see the new lighthouse in the last photo.
September 14, 2010
Honeymoon: Boulders Beach, South Africa
After our stop in the surf town of Muizenberg, we made our way down the coast to Boulders Beach, home of an African Penguin colony.
The penguins roam the area around the beaches, but are largely fenced in. Despite that fencing, park signage asks those visiting to check under their cars for the birds.
September 13, 2010
Honeymoon: Muizenberg, South Africa
Ahh. Wedding done and we're back from our honeymoon in Africa. Now you get to live through all the photos I took! We went from South Africa to Kenya and finally onto Tanzania.
On our first day in South Africa, we drove south from Cape Town towards the Cape of Good Hope. On the way, we stopped in the beach town of Muizenberg. On the beaches of Muizenberg are these colorful beach huts that weren't open while we were there. Perhaps it's because they cater to people during the summer months (it's winter in the southern hemisphere).