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92 Search Results for ""fall color""

  • Thanksgiving Color in Frederic Thanksgiving Color in Frederick

    • From: woobiecat1
    • Description:

      Autumn is still going on in Frederick, Maryland, the day after Thanksgiving.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 607
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  • The Colors of Fall The Colors of Fall

    • From: marianda
    • Description:

      Town Lake, McKinney, TX....i love taking pics each season at Town Lake...it's always beautiful out there, but Fall tops it off for color and texture...all while getting to enjoy an escape to nature with my camera and my dog

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 138
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  • Boston Color Boston Color

    • From: Linda Brannen
    • Description:

      Beautiful colors on recent trip to Boston.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1029
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  • Spectacular Fall Colors Spectacular Fall Colors

    • From: jaylemae
    • Description:

      Spectacular fall foliage is mostly found in the eastcoast, from Vermont to Massachusetts and others in between.  On a road trip last year, we witnessed autumn first hand---it's one of the most beautiful seasons!

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 692
  • Autumn Garden Autumn Garden

    • From: Donna Carroll
    • Description:

      Mohonk Mountain House garden taken October of this year.   Paths, hiking, hoeseback riding, boating are just a few of the activites at this beautiful resort.  Fall is my favorite season but it offers many activities for all 4 seasons in New York.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1374
  • 11 Days Experience China Tour 11 Days Experience China Tour to Beijing-Xian-Guilin-Shanghai

    • From: topchinatravel
    • Description:

      Day 1

      Arrival Beijing
      Arrive in Beijing, the capital city of China. Be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Free at leisure for the rest of the day.
      Meals: No Meals 
      Accommodation: In Beijing

      Beijing, China capital and one of the great travel destinations of the World, offers sights and cultural relics found no where else on Earth. The city has a character all its own; there are quadrangles, small alleys, tricycle, boiled mutton, roasted duck, arts and crafts, Peking Opera, The Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics venue and a vibrancy that is the distinctive flavor of Beijing.
       

      Day 2

      Beijing
      Depart from your hotel in the morning to visit Tiananmen Square, the World largest urban square and the Forbidden City, the largest and most complete ancient imperial palace in the world. Then visit the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon. Peking Opera is available for your optional night entertainment.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Beijing

      Forbidden CityAs the biggest city center square in the world, Tiananmen Square covering 44 hectares in the heart of Beijing. It is the place where history-changing events and ceremonies occurred. A few steps away, come to visit the Forbidden City, which was the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and, it is one of the largest, and certainly the most completely restored, ancient architectural complex in the world. Walk in the footsteps of Emperors; come to the museum and see with your eyes, and feel with your hearts; you'll begin understand what life in this richest of feudal realms was like for the Imperial Rulers, their concubines and their slaves.

      After enjoying a delicious lunch, continue on to the Temple of Heaven. Departing from the Imperial vermilion and gold hues of the Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven is decorated in blue, the color of the Heavens. The perfect harmony between the architectural environment and nature can be felt here; you might easily imagine the vivid spectacle of a great sacrifice to the Heavens for a good harvest. The magnificent Hall of Prayer of Good Harvest is one of the most important and impressive building in China.

      In the evening, we offer you an opportunity to enjoy Peking Opera as an optional activity. Expert performers convey powerful emotions to the audience through song, dance, facial make-up, exquisite masks and costume, skilled use of body language and sympathetically integrated musical accompaniment.
       

      Day 3

      Beijing
      Today you will have the opportunity to traverse the ancient steps of Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall first, then Ming Tombs (Changling Tomb), the once lavish burial chambers of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Peking Roasted Duck is available for your optional dinner.
      Meals:
      Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation:
      In Beijing

      Mutianyu Great WallMutianyu Great Wall was first built in the mid-6th century during the Northern Qi, making it older than the Badaling section.  It is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi and Jinshanling in the east. In 1569, the Mutianyu Great Wall was rebuilt, mainly with granite and is one of the best-preserved sections with the largest construction scale and best quality among all sections of Great Wall, being 7-8 meters high and 4-5 meters wide with 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long section. It served as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.

      Then, you will have chance to visit the Ming Tombs which located in the northern suburbs of Beijing. Altogether there are thirteen tombs of Ming Dynasty Emperors from the period after the capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. You visit the Changling Tomb, burial site of Emperor Yong Le, the biggest and first built at this historic site. The Lingsi Palace in Changling Tomb's second yard really deserves a visit. This is unique, a magnificent palace made of camphor wood. The ceiling is colorfully painted and supported by sixteen solid camphor posts. The floor is decorated with gold bricks.

      For today dinner, how about taste the famous Peking Roasted Duck, as it is the best-known dish in Beijing. It is very tender and unforgettably delicious. You will visit a local restaurant to enjoy a full meal and learn the proper way to experience Peking Roasted Duck. From the whole roasted duck to the soup of duck bones, you will enjoy a banquet made from every part of the duck. Moreover, the chef will demonstrate his skill of cutting the skin of the duck for your entertainment.
       

      Day 4

      Beijing    Xian
      In the morning, take a Hutong Tour by rickshaw to visit the ancient lanes and alleyways of Beijing. Be transferred to the airport for the flight to Xian in the afternoon.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Xian

      HutongIf exploring the Forbidden City has improved your understanding of the lifestyles of China ancient Imperial Court, then this relaxing Hutong Tour will give you an insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese people and reveal their social culture in today Beijing City. The narrow streets of old Beijing are known as Hutongs. You will take a pedicab tour along the Hutongs and see the 100-year-old houses, courtyards and a vanishing way of life in today's Beijing.

      Wonderful time always passes so quickly, in the afternoon, you have to take a flight to Xian, the city that steeped in history and still giving up secrets, is your gateway to ancient Chinese civilization. In its 3,100 recorded years of evolution, it has been home to 13 dynasties. Xian was also the end of civilization for those setting out on the famous Silk Road. Today Xian is a vibrant, modern city, but surrounded by history, even underfoot! So there can be no underground railways due to the obligation to preserve the wealth of ancient treasure still awaiting discovery.
       

      Day 5

      Xian
      Enjoy your full day visit to the Terracotta Warriors, one of the world most important archaeological finds, with troops, horses and carriages in battle formation and the massive City Wall. Before dinner, have a nice walk in the North Square to view the fully illuminated Big Wild Goose Pagoda. There is also the option to attend fantastic Tang Dynasty Show (dinner included).
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Xian

      Terracotta WarriorsAs an ancient capital city to 13 dynasties, Xian has a rich recorded history, frequently enhanced by the evidence of new discoveries, like the 1974 unearthing of the fabulous Terracotta Warriors, the long forgotten army created to guard Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb. In accordance with ancient beliefs, this grand project was mounted at enormous cost by the cruel and tyrannical Emperor, only to be attacked, plundered, burnt and buried after his funeral by the peasants who'd labored under the whip to build it. Then, over two thousand years later, this 'Eighth Wonder of the World' was rediscovered by farmers digging a well. The fine troops, horses and carriages in battle formation are a National ancient art treasure. Three excavation pits are now opened to the public and a fourth is nearing completion. You can, like US President Clinton, now gaze in wonder upon this historic site, listed by UNESCO in 1987 as a world cultural heritage.

      The first landmark visitors will encounter in Xian is the ancient City Wall, which stretches round the old city. Xian was always a walled city, and today wall represents one of the oldest and best preserved Chinese city walls, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. The first city wall of Chang'an was begun in 194 BCE. The existing wall was started during the Ming Dynasty in 1370; it is massive, measuring 13.7 km in circumference, 12 m in height, and 15–18 m in thickness at the base. The South Gate and North Gate are the two main entrances to the inner city. The city itself is neatly arranged along the city wall. This impressive structure is just a precursor to the remarkable discoveries awaiting visitors to Xian. 

      The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and travelers Xuanzang. Now this well-preserved holy place for Buddhist has been the symbol of Xian. 

      Tang Dynasty Show with Dinner that was created for "emperors only" in ancient China. You can enjoy the sumptuous dinner while watching a fabulous dancing and singing performance of the Tang Dynasty. This is not only a performance of Chinese traditional dancing and singing, but a re-enactment of Chinese ancient ceremony and culture.
       

      Day 6

      Xian    Guilin
      Finish up your Xian tour by visiting the famous Shaanxi History Museum. After lunch, you will be transferred to the airport to board a short flight to Guilin.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Guilin

      Shaanxi History MuseumAs the regional capital and doorway to the Silk Road, Xian was one of the richest, most well-protected cities in all of China. The famous Shaanxi History Museum introduces the visitor to area rich culture, from Emperor Qin Shihuang to the present day in this walled city. The museum is house in a striking Tang Dynasty-style pavilion and features an enormous collection of 113,000 historic and cultural relics. This is where you experience history, with chronological dynasties exhibits that take you through the ancient dynasties.

      After the tour in Xian, you will have a different experience for the visiting in Guilin, which is famous for its serene landscape, Karst limestone formations, mist-covered hills and bamboo groves. It is home to more than ten ethnic groups. On the way from the airport to your hotel, you will find dozens of pretty hills everywhere in the city of Guilin. It is a city of hills and green trees and boasts one of the most photographed areas of China.
       

      Day 7

      Guilin      Yangshuo
      In the morning you will be driven to the Pier for the Li River Cruise (about 4 hours, lunch served on board). Savour the fairy-tale scenery while cruising down the meandering river to Yangshuo. After disembarkation, have a walk along the famous West Street. In the evening you can enjoy the optional night show of Impression of Liu Sanjie.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Yangshuo

      Li RiverIn the morning, be driven to Pier for your Li River Cruise. A double-decker river boat is waiting for you. The landscape from Guilin to Yangshuo is truly a masterpiece of nature. The crystal waters, straight-out-of-a-painting mountains, peaceful farm fields, hard-working-but- ever-smiling fishermen and wandering water buffaloes inspire poetic musings of Guilin charming life. Under the blue sky, your river boat transports you in an unending daydream.

      You will end up your cruise in Yangshuo, is a small oriental but Western-influenced town with a history of 1000 years. The West Street in the town earns its name since almost every one in West Street can speak fluent English and every restaurant or bar offers menus in several languages. You will feel no borders or distance here and will soon fall under the spell of this charismatic, welcoming small-town atmosphere. Moreover, West Street is flanked by fascinating little shops and vendor stands selling a broad variety of superior quality souvenirs, perfect gifts for friends and relatives. West Streets charms increase when night comes; countless bars, cafés and bistros open till midnight with dynamic music and live bands to ensure you can have a really memorable night with your new-found friends.

      Some guests may also hear about the night show- Impressions of Liu Sanjie performance. The site is only one mile from West Street in the world's largest natural theatre which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, flanked by twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop. Mist, rain, moonlight, the hills and their inverted reflections in the river all become the ever-changing natural background, so you will enjoy a unique experience each time you attend. In the 'Impressions of Liu Sanjie', you will be presented with stylized scenes and events from the daily life of the Zhuang people living around the Li River. From these pageants, you will gain a realistic sense of Sanjie's birthplace and appreciate the beauty of the folk songs. If you are able to take photographs under low-light conditions, you are assured of some stunning images from this performance.
       

      Day 8

      Yangshuo    Guilin
      In the morning, have an excursion (if you are interested, can have a biking) around the countryside of Yangshuo to admire some of the most stunning scenery like the Moon Hill and the Big Banyan Tree. Drive back to Guilin after lunch
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Guilin

      Yangshuo's scenic and quiet countryside- flora, fauna, rice paddies, small bridges and so many awaits you to see. Taking mini van or bicycle is an ideal way. Besides the beautiful rural scenery, you can also enjoy farm food and explore the ancient way of planting rice, which has been practiced by Chinese for thousands of years. 

      Day 9

      Guilin    Shanghai
      Before flight to Shanghai, you will have a half day city tour to Elephant Trunk Hill, the symbol of Guilin City and then the colorful Reed Flute Cave, the showcase of distinctly-colored stalactites and stalagmites. After lunch, be transferred to Shanghai in the afternoon by air.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Shanghai

      Elephant Trunk HillReturn to the city center for the next tour attraction, pagoda-capped Elephant Trunk Hill, or Xiangbishan, the symbol of Guilin. Observed from a distance, you will see an elephant-like form standing majestically at the confluence of the Li and Yang Rivers, with its trunk arching into the clear waters, a fantasy elephant eternally quenching a gargantuan thirst; lifelike in shape and energetic in posture.

      Reed Flute Cave is named for the special reeds, used for making flute instruments that grow near the cave entrance. The caves are a feast for the eyes. The natural beauty of a profusion of stalactites and stalagmites, stele, stone pillars, stone curtains and stone flowers creating an infinite variety of extraordinary scenes, creatively illuminated, is bound to evoke gasps of admiration. It is fitting then, that Reed Flute Cave is commonly praised as Nature's Grand Art Palace.

      Wonderful time always passes so quickly, in the afternoon, you have to take a flight to Shanghai. From scenic place Guilin to that modern city, you have a lot to expect. It is the bustling economic heartbeat of China that enjoys all of the comforts and amenities of a fully modern metropolis. But at the same time, it still has scenic ancient sites reminding the rich history of old Shanghai
       

      Day 10

      Shanghai
      Today, enjoy your full day city tour that start with the visit to the Jade Buddha Temple, then move to Yuyuan Garden, a Chinese classic garden in city downtown, and the nearby old street. Next have a bird-eye view of the city after ascending Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the World. The highlight of the day is perhaps the stroll along Shanghai's famed waterfront promenade, the Bund, to admire the illuminated buildings lining the Huangpu River.
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
      Accommodation: In Shanghai

      Today you'll find a Buddhism shrine - Jade Buddha Temple, which is located in a crowd of Shanghai City. It was first built in 1882 in Jiangwan on the southern outskirts of Shanghai. In order to make it convenient for the adherents to visit, it was bodily moved to Shanghai City at the present sire in 1918. It is named for its two bejeweled white jade Buddha. It receives thousands of visitors and worshipers everyday while keeps its sanctity and charming. Carved from a whole piece of white jade, the sitting jade Buddha statue is translucent with a solemn expression, displaying the excellent skill and extraordinary art of Chinese people.

      Oriental Pearl TV Tower Night ViewYuyuan Garden has a lot of stories for it was severely damaged in the 19th century and was restored in 1961. This garden was first built in the 16th century by provincial governor, Pan Yunduan, in honor of his father who was the then government minister. It has many scenic courtyards decorated with baroque rockery, pools, and flora that are all connected by corridors and passageways. The delicate design and exquisite layout of the whole garden reveals a strong impression of 'garden in the garden, whole in the part.

      Completed in 1995 to a highly innovative design, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower has become a symbol of excellence in architecture and is a favourite sight for tourists in Shanghai. At 468 meters, it is the third tallest TV and radio tower in the World.

      The tower is composed of the tower base with three batter posts, and three standing pillars, within which are elevators, holding 11 steel-structures creates the poetic conception as described in the old line "large and small pearls dropping onto a jade plate".

      The Bund is the showcase with the old buildings of colonial-era leftover along Huangpu River. The renowned waterfront district is the city's most famous landmark. The word BUND is of Anglo-India origin meaning embankment on the waterfront. It is also the popular site to enjoy the night view of the city
       

      Day 11

      Departure Shanghai
      Your China Experience is over all too soon as you transfer to the airport and board the homebound international flight, bidding a fond farewell to this ancient land.
      Meals: Breakfast

      Service Ends

    • Blog post
    • 2 years ago
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  • Reflections of Autumn Reflections of Autumn

    • From: Donna Carroll
    • Description:

      Photo taken at Butermilk Inn in Milton NY.  Early in the season for peak colors but still beautiful scene.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1421
  • Fall Street Fall Street

    • From: rschoeff
    • Description:

      Fall in Madison Wisconsin. The leaves are in full color on the first day of October. Some streets are a canopy of color. This street is my favorite because each year it puts on a spectacular show, but it only lasts for a few days.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1244
  • Vermont fall color Vermont fall color

    • From: paulhurd
    • Description:
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 618
  • Beautiful Fall Colors as viewe Beautiful Fall Colors as viewed from Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Sept. 2008

    • From: mmiwig
    • Description:

      The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad  ( Steam engine) runs from Chama, NM to San Antonito, CO.  We rode it in September of 2008 and was treated to incredible vistas with golden Aspens adding lots of color to the green pine trees.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1478
  • African Star Chestnut Tree African Star Chestnut Tree

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      The beautiful African Star Chestnut tree showing Fall color in Namibia in southern Africa. 

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 947
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  • September color in Oxbow Park. September color in Oxbow Park.JPG

    • From: verdoonie
    • Description:
    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 550
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  • Spot of Color Spot of Color

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      There is beautiful Fall color in New Mexico in October.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 846
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  • Fall color Fall color

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      Driving on a country road in New Mexico, we turned a bend in the road and were met with this beautiful Fall color.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 926
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  • Bosque del Apache Bosque del Apache

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      Migrating snow geese set against Fall color at Bosque del Apache in New Mexico.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 982
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  • Color Along the Rio Color Along the Rio

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      Beautiful colorful cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 928
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  • Color Along the Canyon Color Along the Canyon

    • From: jfenson
    • Description:

      Beautiful Fall color in New Mexico, set against a colorful canyon.

    • 2 years ago
    • Views: 1268
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  • Autumn waterfall Autumn waterfall

    • From: Donna Carroll
    • Description:

      Waterfall in Marlboro NY. 

    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 706
  • Aspens in Peak Color Aspens in Peak Color

    • From: dbrown1793
    • Description:

      The Valle Vidal is located just below the border of Colorado in northeastern New Mexico. It is the home of wide grasslands, desert mesas, mountains and hiking trails. In mid-October, the aspens were just reaching their peak colors.

    • 3 years ago
    • Views: 534
  • SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA SIX WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    • From: Dan Beamer
    • Description:

           My wife and I arrived in Johannesburg on a mild spring afternoon.  Our bed and breakfast was located in Little Linden literally yards from the old Linden farm where Nelson Mandela and the ANC  plotted the demise of the white South African government in the early 1950’s and 60’s.  Being in our mid sixties we were a little hesitant in our plan to drive around South Africa.
        DSC02654 - Copy - Copy_edited-1.JPG Our first full day, we visited the Apartheid Museum which was a fascinating look at the history of Apartheid in South Africa. It is really a tribute to Nelson Mandela. DSC02648 - Copy - Copy.JPG From the museum we had our driver take us  to Soweto where we visited Mandela’s first house and learned that Desmond Tutu was a neighbor of the Mandelas. Two Nobel Peace Prize winners were living a block away from each other.  While in Soweto we walked over to the Hector Peterson Memorial.  This plaza commemorated when the students of Soweto walked out of their classrooms on June 16, 1976 to protest the mandatory teaching of all subjects in Afrikans language,  the language spoken by whites in South Africa. Thirteen year old Hector Peterson was killed at this demonstration which led to a prolonged walk out by black South African students and triggered the fall of Aparteid.

           The following day our South African friends drove to Jo’burg to visit us before we departed for Cape Town.  Our friends are Zulus and live in the province of the Free State, south of Johannesburg. We met them while they were on a Fulbright teacher exchange in the states a couple of years ago. We enjoyed a traditional Braai (barbeque),  with sausages, fruit and mielie pap (a starchy corn meal like mashed potatoes).
           DSC02772.JPG From Jo’burg we flew to the Cape Town region.  We picked up our rental, a Chevy Spark, from the airport and drove 30 minutes to Stellenbosch.  Our rented apartment was located in a nice neighborhood  with shopping and restaurants within walking distance.  We spent two days exploring the wineries and sampling the various products.  Our favorite winery was the highest one, Uva Mira winery, with its spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. DSC02826.JPG
            From Stellenbosch we drove to a small town just south of Cape Town called Hout Bay.  Our bed and breakfast was outstanding and our hosts pointed us in the direction of Table Mountain.  After a  short scenic ocean side 20 minute drive, we arrived at the funicular tram that took us to the top of the mountain in 5 minutes while rotating  360 degrees for fabulous views en route. Fortunately, we had a beautiful day for viewing Cape Town and the environs. Some days a “table cloth” cloud hovers over the top of Table Mountain making viewing doubtful.
           The following day was also a bright blue  day so we drove into the Victoria and Albert Harbor and booked the ferry boat to Robbin Island.  We were accompanied on board by a class of middle school students who were going to learn aboutDSC02868.JPG Nelson Mandela and the role he played in ending apartheid and developing  South Africa's democracy.  The students had perfect comportment standing in silence waiting for directions from their teachers, something that no American class of middle school students could duplicate. These students were born after Apartheid ended and were excited to visit where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. The tour of the prison was informative and former inmates guided us around the facilities showing us where Mandela mined limestone as well as grew his garden located outside his cell. The guides told the visitors numerous personal stories about their own incarcerations. 
           During our last day in Hout Bay we spent visiting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. DSC02975.JPG Since it was early spring, the flowers were in full bloom.  Even the spectacular Protea flower (South Africa’s national flower) was bursting with color and variety.
           Our last dinner in Hout Bay was at the Italian restaurant, Cassaricci. It was a delicious meal and  similar to traditional Italian ambiance (loud and crowded).  Earlier in the day we came across the famous Hout Bay twins who sell soap for DSC03016.JPGcharities.  They were quite the sight dressed in bright yellow raincoats and it was intriguing watching them impersonate each other listening to  them both speak and repeat the same words at the same time. (You can see them on YouTube at Hout Bay Soap Twins).
          From Hout Bay we drove south to Simons Town, which is a South African navy port on the Indian Ocean.  We rented an incredible beach house (from VRBO.com).  It was located just a few meters from Boulders Beach.  The house could sleep 12 and had  fantastic balcony views of the bay and Indian Ocean all for the price of about $85 per night.   Boulders beach is a colony for DSC03215.JPG3,000 penguins where you can mingle with and snap close up photos of the South African penguins.
            The following day we drove south to the Cape of Good Hope National Park.  Here we encountered baboons with their young (we had been warned to keep our car doors closed if we got out of the car because the baboonsDSC03153.JPG would enter the car and attempt to start it.), ostriches and their young, numerous birds and a variety of antelopes including  Spring Bok and Impala.  The highlight was when a brilliant gold “Cape Cobra” coiled up and opened his hood in the road, and then vanished just as quickly, before I could focus my camera on it.
           The following day we began our extended drive along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Durban.  This was a five day drive which took us first to the town of Knysha where we stayed in a  gorgeous  bed and breakfast with  a lovely room overlooking the sea.  Our land lord told us that Dave Matthews had stayed in the room we were renting. 
           The next day we were off in the morning and drove as far as Grahamstown.DSC03282_edited-1.JPG  This was a university town where we enjoyed a good dinner and rest at the 137 High Street Bed and Breakfast before departing the following day for Umtata which is in the Eastern Cape Province.  It was in this region that Nelson Mandela was born and lived his early years. Umtata is also a university town where one of the campus’ of the Walter Sisulu University is located.  This area of the Transkei was beautiful. We noticed that as we drove from one region to the next, the economy changed from fishing along the coast, to farming in the higher veld and also logging as we DSC04619.JPGapproached Durban. We saw lots of tribal farms with colorfully painted sod houses with cattle and sheep grazing in fields as well as along the highways.  As we would approach small rural villages we would notice an increase in the number of people walking or hitch hiking into town.  Often times we would see young children (6-8 years old) and elderly women (70’s or older) standing on the highway attempting to sell small bags of fruit.  Never, in our six weeks of traveling, did we see one person begging, despite the fact that unemployment is around 42%.
           From Umtata we drove to industrialized Durban.  In Durban,  we decided to go north and head towards Kruger Park. If we had continued Northeast beyond Durban to the beach side resorts, we would have driven through Swaziland further on enroute to the park.  Our route took us to Pietermaritzburg and then to the town of Ermelo after we passed through Lady Smith, home of the Black Mazombo musical singing group and a coal mining district. In Ermelo, we stayed at a gorgeous bed and breakfast called Angie’s  and were served a great breakfast by Angie, the owner.
          Our final stopping point before arriving in Kruger National Park was in the town of DSC03404.JPGNelspruit located near the south end of Kruger Park.  Here we stayed at the Utopia in Africa guest house.  The spectacular guest house  was built by a world famous architect with African ambiance and served outstanding cuisine for both breakfast and dinner.  We splurged and had both a three course dinner with a bottle of wine as well as requesting laundry service which was extra.  The entire bill was about $135.
           After a quick tour of the nearby Jane Goodalls’ Chimp Conservancy where we had lunch, we were off the next day to Kruger National Park. DSC03923.JPG We arrived at the park entrance (there are several) around 8:00 am.  We were surprised to learn that it would take us about 6 hours to drive up to the Oliphants Rest Area where we had booked five nights in a park rondell. This is a cement round thatched roof cabin grouped near an outdoor kitchen in the campground. Linens, baths, and porch refrigerators were provided making the accommodations comfortable and reasonably priced. In the campgrounds, there were stores, restaurants, gas stations, and tours available.
         DSC03941_edited-1.JPG  Kruger National Park is an intriguing wildlife park.  It is not a zoo.  We discovered that after we had only driven about 2 kilometers.  This was when we saw a group of vultures finishing up on the remains of a giraffe carcass! 
            For the next six hours we drove and stopped at numerous places to observe the wildlife.  By far the most numerous were the Impala.  They wander at the DSC04296.JPG
      side of the road in large packs and cross the road without much regard to the driver. Their nurseries of young are guarded by females and adolescent males.

           By 2:00 P.M., we reached Oliphant's Rest Camp.  After checking in and taking a short siesta we had dinner at the Oliphant's restaurant.  The food was average with the prices moderate.  Families on a budget could prepare meals in the campground kitchens.
           The following day we awoke early and took the road to Letaba.  Along the way we spotted hyena and their young,  as well as Kudzu and other antelope.  Later that evening we took an evening guided tour.  Our guide David, did an excellent job of pointing out various species of birds and animals including giraffe and hippos. DSC03683_edited-1.JPG While we were returning to camp in the dark we had a male lion run along next to our truck.  David slammed on the brakes and the lion ran in front of our truck.  David explained that the lion had been out marking his territory after an afternoon rain and if he had not stopped quickly, the lion would have jumped into our open sided truck!DSC03769_edited-2.JPG
          Over the next several days we arose early for morning drives and in the evening left the camp around 4:00 pm for drives so we could be back when the gates closed at 6:30 pm.  During those days we saw, varieties of antelope,  giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, rhino, lions, hippos, elephants,DSC04094_edited-1.JPG baboons, impala,  water buffalo, cheetahs, and numerous birds including storks and the African eagle.  Because it was spring most animals were with their young.  This was one of the highlights of our trip.  We even extended our Kruger tripDSC03668_edited-1.JPG by two nights and moved to a more southern rest camp named Satari.  The results were the same with  sightings of numerous animals. 
           Before leaving the states my wife requested that we  book a safari.  Upon looking at safari prices, I found the average prices were in the $1,000 per night range per person.  Doing some internet research I found that you can rent a rondell at a rest camp in Krueger Park for around $85 per night.  We chose the least expensive "drive yourself safari". The results were the same and we noticed several private safari trucks touring at midday when the animals were asleep or out of view in the same areas of the park where we had sighted animals earlier.DSC04085.JPG
           Upon leaving Krueger we drove to central South Africa and stayed in the community of Clarens.  This was an interesting town where we stayed at the Lake Clarens Guest House (Where your car is washed every morning).  Big Bad Bruce owns the guest house and also one of the restaurants in town.  In fact, some believe he is the founder of the resort that is Clarens.  He was a pleasant individual and gave us many good tips on seeing things in the vicinity.  On his advice, we drove through the Golden Gates Highlands National Park and to the Basotho Cultural Village.  Both were delightful to visit and learn about the Basotho tribal history.
           The following day we drove to the country of Lesotho.  This was a fascinating day trip into a nation completely surrounded by South Africa. DSC04477.JPG  Fortunately, the citizens of Lesotho were never subjugated by the Dutch South Afrikaners.  They are still very much an agrarian  society.  DSC04481.JPGWe saw numerous
      women carrying goods on their heads as well as men plowing fields with oxen.  As we drove up the mountain to the Katse Dam we encountered women washing clothes in the river, young children caring for cattle and sheep herders attending their flocks.  Unlike South Africa where virtually DSC04467.JPGeveryone speaks English, in Lesotho very few spoke it. Unfortunately, we encountered storms in the mountains and were not able to reach the dam. Rural people in Lesotho wear blankets due to the changing mountainous weather conditions.

           After leaving Clarens the following day, we drove North to Frankfort and reconnected with our Zulu friends, the Mokoenas.  They live in the township of Namahadi  outside of Frankfort.  Here we spent three nights with their family.  Next from Frankfort, we drove with our friends to the Drakensburg Mountains. DSC04650.JPG We spent a night in the town of Underburg.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Flower Inn restaurant and did some hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains  before returning to Frankfort the following day.  The views from the vistas were spectacular.  We never imagined South Africa to be lush, mountainous with flowing mountain streams.
           Upon our return to Frankfort it was time to drive back to Johannesburg.  During our final weekend we included several trips to the Bruma Cultural Market. DSC04876.JPG Here you can find all the souvenirs you could imagine.  Prices are good and bargaining is encouraged. 
           We were also invited to our Zulu friends' cousins’ baby shower.  It was great fun as we were the only whites eating barbeque boerewors (sausage) mielie pap, chakalaka, and salad while laughing at the funny stories the guests were telling about the expectant mother.
           Our last day in Jo’burg  we were chauffeured to the Cradle of Mankind cave and the Maropeng museum.  This is where the earliest humans were found.  They have discovered a human skull which is more than 3 million years old.  All modern day humans can trace their DNA back to central Africa.  In the museum you are greeted by a large sign in the lobby that proclaims “Welcome Home”!  The museum demonstrated how the earth was created and the scientific evolution of mankind through the eyes of Charles Darwin.  In the end the visitor was left with several perplexing questions.DSC04854.JPG “ The world is faced with a dilemma: countries need to develop economically and to do this they need to use natural resources, but at the same time, they need to preserve the environment so that future generations can succeed.”  As Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa said, “ A global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, characterized by islands of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty is unsustainable.”  Southern Africa has the highest proportion of people living on less than $1 a day.  About 40% of the regions 190 million people live in extreme poverty.  The World Bank estimates that 1.1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.  Humanity’s ecological footprint grew by 150%  between 1961 and 2000.
           South Africa has it’s share of problems including 42% unemployment, high crime rates, and lack of health care in the rural areas.  Our six week journey through South Africa was a real eye opener.  We were encouraged by the friendliness of the people.  All were well dressed and expressed a sense of hopefulness.  They were a proud nation trying to overcome serious problems.  A sign on one of the buildings in downtown Johannesburg summed up the feelings of this nation after the successful 2010 World Cup Soccer championships:  “TODAY THIS IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD”DSC04862.JPG

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