Alma van As


Alma van As

Alma and Paul's (aka Fox & Squirrel) travels, holidays and tours over the last three decades - wow, a long time - to a fair number of destinations and countries. Some of our hobbies are camping, overlanding, diving and snorkelling. We have been fortunate to see so much, and yet there is still so much more to see.....

Thank you for reading my blogs and please feel free to pass comments.

Africa » South Africa » Limpopo » Vaalwater June 19th 2017

May 2017 I’ve decided to add another job title to my CV. What do you do when friends ask you to look after their place for them for two weeks while they travel to a remote part of Botswana? Of course you oblige. After all, what’s the problem with looking after a few animals, their property and their house? That’s not so difficult, is it? Besides, it’s an enchanting place. A while back we camped at a peaceful place called Matamba Bush Camp. It is an exclusive bush camp in the Waterberg, just a short drive outside Vaalwater. A delightful couple, Alan and Sue, have made this place unique and very special. Once you’ve camped there you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to stay. There are only 2 camps, Tau and Mara. Tau ... read more
Autumn colours in the bushveld
Path leading to our campsite
Campers having fun

Africa » Botswana March 15th 2017

5 -12 July 2010 Continued from previous blog Day 5 – Half day mokoro trip or fishing for tiger fish. On day five at the delta there was a good chance that we could get very close to hippos, even though we hadn’t seen the one that had wandered around our camp the previous night. The morning was taken up by our mokoro trip, a dugout canoe. We were quite excited, because we have always wanted to experience this age old tradition of travelling on the waters of the delta. We’d heard many stories from mom and dad about their time in a mokoro and the fun they had. A slight disappointment that the mokoros weren’t made out of wood anymore, now more likely fibreglass, but it stands to reason that they want to preserve as ... read more
Magnificent beast
Hidden in the reeds
Another African sunset

Africa » Botswana » Kgalagadi March 15th 2017

5 -12 July 2010 Reminiscence of past travels My discomfort from sitting on the hard makeshift wooden stool was minimal. A dusty cloud of trepidation hung around me as I waited for my fate to be revealed. The Sangoma (witchdoctor) picked up a grubby bag and tipped the contents into his hand. He cupped his hands together, shook them, and mumbled a few words that I didn’t understand. Puffing through a gap between his thumbs, he whisked his hands apart. Polished bones tumbled and exploded in all directions to a standstill on the dusty red Kgalagadi sand. The Sangoma looked at me with sad eyes and shook his head. A few sluggish minutes ago, before I sat on the chair, my anxious utterings were “I hope he’s at least going to tell me that fortune will ... read more
Sangoma muti
Convoy on Makgadikgadi pan
Warthog family

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Wiltshire » Devizes September 16th 2016

Friday – 16/9/2016 Picking up from my last blog, in Bristol we picked up our dispersed travellers and returned to Bath, where we’d moored before on the river. The last time we were there we were wondering if we could continue with our trip. Thankfully, Paul’s back was considerably better. He was still in some pain but there was improvement. While chugging up the river, Susan tried her hand at the locks and did very well. Dale was a pro and a great help. One of the deeper locks was interesting to watch. Jill ducked inside, so that she didn’t get wet, but was like a coiled spring, jumping up and peeking at everything, wanting to see what was going on. The lock took ages to fill; such a great force of water. Another interesting sight ... read more
Reflecting beauty
Devizes locks
Street in Bath

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Wiltshire » Bradford-on-Avon September 13th 2016

Canal boat trip Join us for a canal boat trip they said. It'll be fun, they said. Not if you like your privacy and don't want to be living in confined quarters. You might have visions of sitting with your feet up while sipping a glass of wine or ale, drifting gently down a stretch of crystal clear water enjoying the sights along the edge of the canals, sounds perfect. You're likely to be kept busy hopping on and off boats and running from port to starboard. Yes, OK, the distance between the two sides are only about a meter and a half apart. That's the interior and the exterior width is all of 2 meters wide. But you would develop those biceps and triceps to look like Popeye's while winding the windlass to open and ... read more
Contemplating the lock
Tithe barn in Bradford on Avon
Peace and beauty

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Wiltshire » Bradford-on-Avon September 10th 2016

Going on a canal trip had been on our bucket list for ages. The time had finally arrived and it was difficult to curb our enthusiasm. Three days into the trip, it was another story. Having your husband collapse in agony, not certain if we could continue and a possibility of him spending some time in hospital was a sure way to put a dampener on that excitement. Having flown with Virgin Atlantic, which was a pleasant experience, we arrived at Heathrow. We needed to get to Paddington station then Bradford on Avon, which meant a few change overs of trains. Our first mistake was being ‘assisted’ by a lady selling tickets from Heathrow to Paddington. Very helpful, she sold us the most expensive 15 minute train ride – the Heathrow express. Be warned; ask if ... read more
Picturesque outskirts of Bath
Narrow boat going over aqueduct
Bridges and reflections

Africa » Mozambique » Southern March 12th 2016

People ask us why we always go back to Mozambique and specifically Ponta Malongane. After all it is quite far to drive (about eight hours from Johannesburg), you have to cross a border (which can sometimes be somewhat of a schlep and then still bounce around for about another half hour on a sand road to get to the campsite. Furthermore we take malaria prophylactics which can also be tiresome. We ask ourselves the same question time and time again while undertaking these journeys but once we are there we sigh with satisfaction as we look out over the sea and say this is why we return. Who can complain about a shady camp, sheltered from the onshore and off shore winds, just a stone's throw from the beach? A couple of steps through the coastal ... read more
Blue bubbles
Great view

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales June 18th 2015

AKA Looked around, saw lots & depleted the budget. We hit the ground running when we landed in Sydney. Just enough time to have a shower and dinner then we headed to Canberra for the weekend. As we flew in it was raining and we thought this was going to be the norm for our holiday, but we were pleasantly surprised. Most of the time it was sunny except for the odd cloudy day and shower. Can’t complain about that in the middle of winter. We had some cold weather, though and some pleasantly warm days too. Unfortunately our drive to Canberra was in the dark so we couldn't see any of the scenery but we had a good tour guide colouring in the dark expanse. Did I forget to mention that it was great to ... read more
Beautiful sunset
Frosty paddock

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town January 13th 2015

What does Cape Town have to offer? Plenty! Beautiful beaches, rugged dramatic mountains, spectacular scenic drives, delicious wine farms and a howling South Easter! And that’s just scratching the surface. On the down side there is crime as well. Drugs and gang wars are rife in Cape Town, like anywhere in SA or indeed the world. There have been a few high profile murder cases recently on the news - one of them took place on the Cape flats - not a place we frequent. The minute we stepped off the plane and into our airport shuttle and we were greeted with a friendly typical Cape accent, it brought back memories of our childhood as we both grew up in the Cape. ‘Nay meneer (no sir), youse ah not supposeds to lifts a finger! Sits beck ... read more
Wine o' clock
Scenic coastal road towards Betty's Bay
Seaforth at sunset

Africa » South Africa » Limpopo » Messina September 13th 2014

Mapungubwe has been on my bucket list for a while. Why? For a combination of reasons: it’s a World Heritage site where the Golden rhino was found so the significance of its history plays a part, heard the scenery is really beautiful and if you are camping you may hear some animals at night. So off we went on a short safari, camping for 8 days at Mazhou camp. We didn’t plan to go to a Heritage site when it is Heritage month in SA, that was quite coincidental but appropriate. Mapungubwe is a strange conglomerate of conservation area, farmland & mining. We camped on the wild side, only 10 stands with limited ablution facilities that were kept clean and always had hot water, except for one night when we had NO water, but I’ll get ... read more

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