Sharon Mock Whitaker and Valerie Mock

RamblingRosies

Sharon Mock Whitaker and Valerie Mock

We are sisters who began our love of travel with our parents when we were in grammar school. We grew up in Northern California and had traveled most of the Western States and Mexico before the 8th grade. Sharon traveled to Europe the first time when she graduated from high school to be a Girl Scout camp counselor and Valerie lived in Europe 7 years teaching the US military community at the graduate level. We rarely take a tour and usually travel on a low budget, by car, plane, and train. We have recently both retired and Sharon bought a Roadtrek RV, that we named Rosie II after our parent's "Rosie (Rambling)" that they drove to the Panama Canal from San Francisco and all around the US. You may see some of our non-Rosie II travels here, but we will be using this space to keep family and friends informed about our journeys. We hope you enjoy traveling with us.

More videos will be posted on our YouTube Channel: Rambling Rosies.



Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia March 17th 2014

St. Lucia, Surgarloaf Camp to Pongola. Monday, March 17th. We all drove our RVs down to the St. Lucia dock and parked so that all 14 of them would fit in the parking lot. We boarded the river boat and off we went to look at hippos mainly, but also to see what other wildlife we could see along the shore. Approximately, 1/3 of the world’s hippo population can be found in the area surrounding St. Lucia. It wasn’t too long chugging up the estuary before we were shown pods of hippos in the water. Lots of pods, with lots of hippos—generally 25-30 animals stay in a pod made up of females and young with one territorial bull who stakes out a section of the water. What you see is mainly a rough circle of heads ... read more
1403-332 Our first spotting was a hippo nursery near the landing
1403-333 Then came the monitor lizard
1403-334 An African fish Eagle

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia March 16th 2014

Ballito Bay to St. Lucia Sunday, March 16th. Very overcast with low clouds and fog. First thing this morning, is a stop at Wimpy’s for breakfast and to use the internet there. We then got back on the N-2 heading north paralleling the Indian Ocean. We are traveling in the sub-tropics now and the vegetation is like that of Mexico or Central America—palms, bananas, huge sugar cane fields. Labor is imported from other countries (in the past a lot from India) to work the cane fields and conditions are very poor with wages very low. The cane is still cut by hand here and when a field has been cleared, it is then burned. The drive was through planted forests as well as the cane fields with lots of cops out with speed cameras. Even with ... read more
1403-311 iMfolozi Game Reserve--Cape Bufflo
1403-312 iMfolozi Game Reserve--European Roller
1403-313 iMfolozi Game Reserve--Rufous-naped lark

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Durban March 15th 2014

Durban, Friday, March 14th At 8:30 we walked up to the campground’s reception area and caught the tour bus for an all day tour of the City of Durban. The tour guide gave us some information about what we would see and do as we made our way back onto the toll-way in the reverse direction and on the same roads we had traveled the day before. She filled us in a bit about the City. It is a rapidly growing urban area and is the busiest port in Africa and is currently ongoing expansion. Sugar refining is Durban's main industry. Sheep, cattle, dairy, citrus fruits, corn, sorghum, cotton, bananas, and pineapples are also raised. Vehicle assembly, tanneries, and oil refineries are also found here. Before driving as far north as Pietermaritzburg, the bus turned to ... read more
1403-255 Ballito Bay growth--construction and new developments everywhere
1403-256 Urban Durban growth--construction and new developments everywhere
1403-257 Urban Durban--Middle class houses

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Howick March 13th 2014

Howick, Midmar Nature Reserve to Ballito Bay (146 km or 90 miles), Thursday, March 13th. Left the campground and went back up highway 103 to the Nelson Mandela capture site to look at the museum there. The museum consisted entirely of large photos blown up with writings and sayings on them, hung along the walls. The photos detailed his youth, his family, his education, and other aspects of his life. After walking through the museum, we looked at the craft shops where the women were doing pictures out of beads and some other craft work. Valerie took pictures of the very interesting large, imposing, metal sculpture that stands in the front entrance by the road. It is a picture of Mandela’s face behind bars, but you only see his face in the work if you stand ... read more
1403-240 Mandela Capture Site Museum-B
1403-241 Mandela Capture Site Museum-C
1403-242 Mandela Capture Site Museum-D

Africa » South Africa » Free State March 12th 2014

Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Glen Reenen Rest Camp to Howick (266 km or 165 miles), Wednesday, March 12th. This clear blue morning we started out driving the Blesbok Loop where we encountered many long tailed Widowbirds and watched them fly around and then into the long grass. It is hard to see how they can possibly fly with so long a tail--almost twice the length of the bird. We saw two different kinds this day: the Long-tailed Widowbird and the Red-collared Widowbird. At the first junction, we turned towards the Langtoon Dam, but very shortly the water was crossing the road and we couldn’t tell how deep it was, so we backed up and continued up the hill to the Zuluhoak Lookout. Very pretty view of the red/cream mountains across the way. Finished driving the ... read more
1403-214 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Blesbok Loop scenery-A
1403-215 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Blesbok Loop scenery-B
1403-216 Golden Gate Highlands Park--Yellow canary enjoying grain

Africa » South Africa » Free State » Bloemfontein March 10th 2014

Mountain Zebra National Park to Gariep Dam (245 km or 152 miles), Sunday afternoon, March 9th. Left the Park behind and traveled on N-10/R32 named the Merino route for the breed of sheep raised in this area. The countryside in this part of South Africa seems very arid and reminds us of Utah, Montana, and Arizona with lots of butte type formations. Lots of sheep and cattle ranches. Seems strange to look out among the cattle and see an ostrich or two. Lots of construction along this route. We were fascinated to watch the women personing the “right of way” haul a yellow plastic barrier on wheels back and forth across the lane to be stopped. About 200 km into the day’s drive, near the town of Colesburg, we came to an Engen One Stop with ... read more
1403-171 Rocks carefully laid to shut down already paved road
1403-172 Wyoming or Montana perhaps
1403-173 Or maybe Nevada

Africa » South Africa » Eastern Cape » Cradock March 8th 2014

Addo Elephant National Park to Mountain Zebra National Park (222km or 138 miles), Saturday, March 8th. Completely overcast today. Before leaving Addo, we stopped at the gift shop to buy T-shirts and to look around at the various items for sale. We then hit the road going out the Park Gate and turning right toward the community of Paterson. Just outside the gate, was a troop of vervet monkeys, a herd of impalas, and several spur-fowl with red feet and beaks. We continued driving along the Park fence line for several miles. Fencing for these animal parks and reserves, in this part of the world, is FENCING in all caps. They must withstand a bull elephant leaning on them and keep antelope from jumping over and out and hopefully deter poachers, so they are about 6-8 ... read more
1403-141 Cape Mountain Zebra
1403-142 Red Hartebeest
1403-143 European Roller


The Addo Elephant National Park, Friday, March 7th. Sunny day. The third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park covers about 180,000 hectares or 444,700 acres. The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only sixteen elephants remained in the area. Today, it is sanctuary to over 550 elephants plus lions, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique and rare Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. We drove around various dirt and tarred roads looking for animals first thing this morning. This is the wildest we will ever be able to see these animals even though they are in a fenced and gated area for their protection. Animals that have historically been in this environment ... read more
1403-117 Leopard Tortise alongside the road
1403-118 Looking out over parts of Addo NP and neighboring reserves
1403-119 Flightless dung beetle

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Gordon's Bay March 6th 2014

Tsitsikamma to Jeffrey’s Bay (113.8 km or 71 miles)—Wednesday, March 5th. Bright sunny day We made our way back onto the N-2, still heading toward Port Elizabeth. A couple miles down the road, we pulled into the parking lot for the “Big Tree,” which is a 1000 year-old yellow wood tree. Parked the RV in some partial shade and showed our “Wild Card” at the entrance. We then set out to walk into the forest for “ just a short way” on a boardwalk. As was usual, the “just a little walk” was quite a ways along with many steps going up and down. We could have been walking in any moist forest environment as the ferns and other woodland plants growing here looked really familiar to us. When we got to the tree, it was ... read more
1403-83 Walking along the path reminds us of Oregon
1403-84 Interesting fungus
1403-85 And Spanish Moss

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Oudtshoorn March 4th 2014

Oudtshoorn to Knysna (127 km or 77 miles)—Monday, March 3rd. Rainy and overcast today. The whole group left the park basically together as we needed to be at the Cango Caves at the same time for a tour there. Climbed straight up and then up some more for about 27 km. The Cango Caves were formed 20 million years ago by acidic ground water chemically eroding the limestone rock forming the rooms. The stalactites and stalagmites started growing in the rooms when the water drained away the same way they formed in Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Here the opening was large enough that the caves were used for shelter by ancient peoples, but were only historically described in 1780 by Dutch settlers. We assembled in an entrance hall while tickets were purchased and then walk ... read more
1403-55 Van Zyl's Hall
1403-56 Stalagmite illustrating dryness of formations
1403-57 Cleopatra's needle




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