MaRen

MaRs BaRs

MaRen

This is a blog of the adventures of two sisters on a quest to see the world.



Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Munich May 17th 2019

Munich Stopover We left Johannesburg, South Africa on May 16th and arrived in Munich on May 17th. We had approximately 8 hours in Munich before we needed to head back to the airport for our flight to Toronto. Marienplatz With no time to spare we headed to the main square in Marienplatz. Right off from the train station we came across the Neues Rathaus and the Glockenspiel. Neues Rathaus The Neues Rathaus is the seat of the mayor's office, the city council and the headquarters of the city administration. The main-facade is ornamented in neo-gothic style. The Glockenspiel The Glockenspiel is in the tower balcony of the Neues Rathaus. Since 1908 figurines representing stories from Munich's history on two levels daily at 11:00 am. 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Renata and I got to witness the ... read more
Munich
Munich
Munich


Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary We woke up from our accommodation at Sondzela Backpackers to discover in our backyard warthogs grazing the grass. It finally dawned on us that we were in a sanctuary where animals had the right of way. The Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland's best known nature reserve. In 1961 Ted Reilly took action to save what remained of the kingdom of Swaziland's wildlife, converting his land into a sanctuary and rounding up animals from elsewhere around the country. In the sanctuary there are no large predatory animals like lions and cheetahs or leopards. Therefore, it is safe to walk around the sanctuary as long as you stay clear of the animals and let them mind there own business. After breakfast, Renata and I walked all the way up to the base camp where we ... read more
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary


Welcome to Swaziland Today we left St. Lucia and started to make our way to Swaziland. At the border because we were Canadian citizens we did not need to get a visa. However, one of the volunteers of the VESA African unearth group from Thailand had difficulty crossing the border because she did not have a visa. Apparently, the VESA leaders asked ahead of time at customs if the VESA volunteer needed to get a visa to Swaziland because she was from Thailand. The VESA leader was told that the volunteer did not need to get a visa to cross the border from South Africa to Swalizand. The volunteer was allowed to cross the border but she would have to go to the embassy in Swaziland to get a visa. We were all relieved because we ... read more
Ezulwini Handcraft Market


iSimangaliso Wetland Park In the afternoon the VESA African Unearth group headed of to the nearby iSimangaliso Wetland park for a nature walk with Johan, one of our group leaders at the Crocodile Centre in St. Lucia. Johan is very knowledgeable about Nile crocodiles and also about the St. Lucia wetland area. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a huge protected area along the KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is also Johan's favourite place as he shared with us some childhood stories such as the time a tourist went swimming in the Lake, which is not allowed due to crocodiles. The tourist was banned for life from the property. In another story, there was a bride cheating with another man swimming in the lake. A crocodile got her and she was later found downstream in pieces. After the walk we ... read more
Nature Walk
Nature Walk
Nature Walk


Morning safari at Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve Today we had to wake up extra early and leave Bibs Backpackers by 4:30 am to get on the bus to arrive at Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve for the morning safari. We had a packed breakfast at the safari courteously of Bibs Backpackers. Then we were off on our African safari, a highlight of our trip. I got to chance to sit in the shotgun seat which was pretty awesome and a new experience for me. The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa and is known for its rhino conservation. As of 2008 there are more than 1600 white rhino in the reserve and hundreds of animals have been moved from here to game reserves around the world. However, due to the increase in rhino ... read more
Safari
Safari
Safari

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 12th 2019

Hippo and Crocodile Cruise Today, the VESA group got the opportunity to enjoy a hippo and crocodile cruise along Lake St. Lucia. St. Lucia estuary park is home to around 1200 Nile Crocodiles and 800 hippopotamus. I find hippos intimidating as they are one of the most aggressive animals in the world. Nevertheless, I felt safe on the boat as I watched the various hippos interact with their families. There were baby hippos and their moms and dads as well. It was really interesting seeing the hippos families interacting in the water and also seeing them sunbathe on land. Hippos make this really distinct and interesting sound when they are trying to communicate with each other above water. I was really cool and a great experience overall It was more difficult to spot a crocodile as ... read more
Hippo Cruise
Hippo Cruise
Hippo Cruise

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 11th 2019

Meeting the iSangoma Today we got the chance to meet the Zulu iSangoma. The iSangoma is like a spiritual psychic which is in charge of protecting the clan against evil spirits. Bad luck is considered to be the work of evil spirits and the iSangoma gets rid of the spirits through communication with the help of prayer and herbs. It was pretty interesting seeing this aspect of Zulu culture and although I do not believe in fortune tellers it was interesting getting my fortune read by the iSangoma. For a small fee I was allowed to ask 3 questions to the iSangoma. I don't remember the questions I asked but the answers were vague something like I choose my own happiness or destiny. Nevertheless, it was pretty interesting seeing how psychics are able to answer questions ... read more
the iSangoma house
Inside the iSangoma house


Night Safari at iSimangaliso Wetlands Park On our last day of volunteering, we had the opportunity to go on a night safari at iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Some of the interesting wildlife we saw on safari include monkeys, guinea fowls, zebra, cape buffalo and kudus. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is South Africa's third largest protected area and the word iSimangaliso means "a miracle" in Zulu. The park is now a world heritage site because of its rich ecosystem and natural beauty. Other animals that you can see in the park include elephants, African leopards, black and white rhino, whales, dolphins and turtles. In December 2013, African lions were reintroduced into the park. Mission Rock Beach Halfway through our safari, we got the opportunity to leave our safari vehicle and go for a walk in the park. We walked ... read more
Night Safari
Night Safari
Night Safari

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 9th 2019

Teaching Grade 3 Math and English At the nearby Khula village school, Renata and I got the opportunity to teach one of the Grade 3 classes, Math and English. Although it was fun getting to know the children I found it extremely difficult teaching English and Math to the kids. Firstly, the class size was large and it was incredibly difficult tutoring even a small group of 8 students. Secondly, there was a language barrier. Although many kids could speak pretty good English it was still not their first language and my Zulu was minimal at best. Thirdly, I had to really think back to my English and Math lessons in elementary school in order to understand and explain proper English grammar to the children. I think in the end the kids were more excited about ... read more
Playing with bubbles at Mama Doris
Meeting the Teacher
The Grade 3 Class

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 7th 2019

Constructing Houses For the next two days Renata and I and the rest of group B volunteered in the construction of two houses. One of the sites was for the Gunede Family. Eddie is the father of the house. Currently he and his wife and 3 children live in a one-room house. The second site was for the Jobe Family. Currently on their plot of land there is ten residents living in three one-room houses including one grandmother, her two sons and six children. Cement and Concrete Flooring For the two houses we worked on mixing concrete for the concrete foundation in the two five room houses down the road from one another. Other member of the group worked on laying bricks for the septic tanks. It was an amazing and educational experience. I learned how ... read more
Construction Site
Construction site
Construction




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