Page 6 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » East Coast » Napier February 26th 2015

Geo: -39.4917, 176.916Hamilton and Napier 13th - 26th FebruaryI forgot to mention that when we first arrived in NZ I downloaded the GeoNet App. It is an App which sends an alert when there is an earthquake in or around New Zealand. That night I was awoken every couple of hours by a bleep from my iPad, as each earthquake was recorded. I had no idea that earthquakes are so frequent here! They are constant and even on a higher level setting (ignoring the 2 weakest levels of quake) they occur every 2 to 3 hours. I did not make the same mistake again and switched it off between 11pm and 7am for the rest of our stay.The Hamilton Arts Festival was very enjoyable. It burst open with the Soweto Gospel Choir which filled the stage ... read more
Bridge reflection in Hamilton Park.
The Lunch -Slightly French Impressionist?
Perfect weather as always

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Waikato » Hamilton February 14th 2015

Geo: -37.7871, 175.283There wasn't going to be a New Zealand blog because this is our fourth visit and we are staying with Beverley and Richard again for much of the time.I have blogged about it before and I have been lazy here while Richard and Jim go off to chop down trees, dig out thistles or move the cows. I leave such jobs to them! However we managed to find a few new things to do which we wanted to share so I am pulling myself together.Last visit we went to South Island but missed it's most well known area, the Sounds. It is a long drive from Hamilton approximately 1500 kilometres to Te Anau, close to Milford Sound. We had only a week for the whole trip as that was the maximum time Beverley could ... read more
Mount Cook peeping above the clouds
Reflection Lake
Another Reflection Lake

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai January 9th 2015

Geo: 25.27, 55.3328 December - 3 January DubaiThis is going to be a short blog, mostly photographs. As we have said before we generally do not like cities but we did want to see Dubai which is part of the UAE and the hub for Emirates Airline, so we decided to stop over en route to New Zealand.Was it worth it? It is interesting to see and we were lucky in having chosen reasonable accommodation close to a metro station and then luckily being upgraded to a one bedroom apartment with sitting/dining area, kitchen (including a washing machine), large bedroom and bathroom. So we were very comfortable especially appreciated as Jim had a cold requiring us to stay in one day.When it comes to describing Dubai I have difficulty knowing where to start! It is an ... read more
Go with a penguin friend for stability
The Dinosaur from the States
Shark in Aquarium

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town December 18th 2014

Geo: -33.916, 18.4222We really enjoyed the enforced extra day in Cradock, and felt refreshed and ready to carry on the following day. Albert had made good time and had arrived about midnight in the Mercedes Benz replacement vehicle so had a reasonable night's sleep. The car is very comfortable and together with the trailer provides much more space than we had previously.We set off to Addo Elephant Reserve for the night and surprisingly saw no elephants, but did see Buffalo, Kudu, large tortoises, a Jackal trying to eat a tortoise and some very large mice. Three black rhinos turned up at the waterhole together with a spotted Hyena.From Addo we travelled on to Tsitsikamma Park through a rather dull area of mixed seaside dormitory towns, shopping malls and industrial units.Our pitch is very dramatic here in ... read more
Connecting the trailer electrics
Dassies everywhere.
Rock Dassie, cut but with big teeth!

Africa » South Africa » Eastern Cape » Cradock December 5th 2014

Geo: -32.1695, 25.6168Blog 423 November - 5 DecemberOur transfer from Lusaka to Jo'burg all went according to plan. From Jo'burg we are due to travel overland back to Cape Town with Ark Safaris run by a couple, Ruth and Albert. Our friends Paul and Sheila had travelled with them previously so we hoped that this trip might give us more time to go at our pace rather than travel with a group. Ruth called round to meet us the day before we were due to set off on our final trip. Unfortunately Albert has been caught up with a Sunway tour and will catch up with us later in Cradock. In the meantime Chris is going to be our guide.The first day was a long drive through the coal fields of Gauteng. I was amazed at ... read more
Pilgrom's Rest
God's Window
Bourke's Potholes river

Africa » Zambia » Lusaka November 21st 2014

Geo: -15.3982, 28.2937In Livingston we had time to visit the David Livingstone museum. Despite the very basic style of presentation and lack of air conditioning it was so interesting we stayed well over 2 hours. It covers everything, the geology, land formation, prehistoric times, migration of peoples, fauna and flora of the region, the hunter gatherer lifestyle, village life through the ages into modern times including the role of traditional healers, witchcraft and rituals, the development of towns and the modern history of Zambia.They certainly did not pull their punches on topics like slavery, (I had forgotten that Arab traders were the first and largest slave traders who almost depopulated parts of Eastern Africa), colonialization and recent conflict with their neighbours. It is always fascinating to get non Euro-centric views of events.Our new group is the ... read more
Terrace of Royal Livingston
Zebras by pool at Roayal Livingston
Traditional homes in Zambia

Africa » Zambia » Livingstone November 8th 2014

Geo: -17.8573, 25.8429Maun to Livingston 27 October - 8th NovemberOn the Namibia/Botswana border we stayed at Ghanzi camp in San country. The San people (bushmen) of the desert are fascinating. Their life, like that of most aboriginal people, is changing quickly. It is more difficult if not impossible to remain nomadic as their children have to attend school. However, they want their children to retain the Bushman skills so they go off into the bush whenever they can. They move around the Ghanzi camp area and our guide arranged for a group to take us for a walk and show us some of their skills. Robert from the camp came to interpret as these San do not speak any English. What I really liked was the San spoke to us directly, and we to them asking ... read more
Inside our big red bus, cool boxes for beer!
The San people
Plant to protect against mosquitoes

Africa » Namibia » Windhoek October 22nd 2014

Geo: -22.5648, 17.0931As it is difficult to write a blog while camping and impossible to post for at least 14 days I shall try to make a few notes in the van so please excuse note form and any errors. It is not easy to type as we receive our 'African Massage' in the van travelling on sand and gravel roads.The evening before we met up with our companions for the trip Jim and I went to the nearest restaurant for a meal. We were surprised to find game such as Warthog, Impala and Springbok on the menu. We were not sure if it was a good thing to indulge as it seemed somehow to conflict with the purpose of our trip. We tried it anyway. Jim had a slow cooked warthog and I took the ... read more
Colourful Grasshopper
Seal off Cape Peninsular
The Sunway big red van beautifully equipped

Geo: 10.4594, -84.0039 We have now completed the circle, starting from San Jose in January, down through Costa Rica to Panama, back up and through CR again and then into Nicaragua before finally returning to CR.As we only had a few weeks left after Nicaragua we decided to visit the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, then the volcanic Arenal area and before finishing off in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.On the Nicoya Peninsula Samara is a small town on a pretty beach and a pleasant place to spend a week. Tico Adventure Lodge, where we stayed has a small pool to cool off in and a television in Reception where we managed to see a couple of the Italian Tennis championship matches, including the Final. However, like many of the small Costa Rican towns, people from the ... read more
El Castillo pool and jacuzzi
View from pool, El Castillo
Rescued porcupine, with acid green spines.

Geo: 11.94, -85.96Granada and surrounding area, 30 April - 13 MayWe used Granada as a base, leaving one bag here as we visited first the Caribbean coast as described in the last blog, and then Lago de Apoyo, a crater lake quite close to Granada, where we spent 2 nights. Unfortunately we had 2 bouts of minor illness during this time, a flu type virus and then a stomach bug. We suffered in tandem! It was one reason we retired to the lake, to rest and recover in a slightly fresher spot by the water. Our problems were not too severe but lasted a long time and left us feeling weak.Despite that we love Granada, it's delightful colonial buildings and churches, it's fascinating history, restaurants, little central square with trees and cafes and the people. It ... read more
Elegant interior
Internal courtyard garden
Tradional way of carrying goods, frilled 'pinny'

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