Day 110 Walvis Bay Namibia April 22, 2019

Because we had an extra day at sea, we arrived very early (4:17 am) in Walvis Bay on April 22nd.  Our tour was in the afternoon, so we took the complimentary shuttle bus to the mall




with our guide Wiebke Tietz.  Wiebke is of German heritage, and you can see from her badge that she speaks English, German, and Afrikaans.  She is third generation Namibian and has not been back to Germany although she believes she will visit one day.   


We go to the Dunes Mall to buy cough drops for our friend Janice.   Linda also picked up a nice top for a bargain price.   



Nice mall.  This is about 1/3 of the Mall.




Back at the ship, we pass through a series of water trays and towels to clean our shoes.  




What a mess for the ship’s crew.




The problem is that we are tied to a coal dock.


Not to worry, the crew is still happy and pleased to see us out and about.




We take an afternoon tour with Walki Fritsche.  She is also of German descent, but is very proud of Namibia, the country where she was born.  She came 400 kilometers to do this tour and spoke with pride about Namibia and what they have to offer.   

We pass the Rhenish Mission Church, which was prefabricated in Hamburg in 1879 and shipped to Walvis Bay.  Church services for natives were held here from 1881 until 1966 when it was taken over and restored by the Lions Club.  It is the oldest existing building in Walvis Bay.  


A Christian cemetery.




First stop is the dunes.  This dune is 682 meters high.





We are greeted by Mathew Fremantle the Beverage Director,




and Gami the Director of Service.  These two definitely qualify as “characters”.




We are served beverages and raisins and nuts by a friendly staff.



We greatly enjoyed this stop and I did climb 3 or more feet up the dune.





Other people went farther.





Everywhere you look is severe desert.  They measure their annual rainfall in millimeters.    


Train for cargo only.





Some nice homes.





And some very nice homes.  




by the bay.





Next stop is the lagoon with lots of flamingos to observe.





They are beautiful birds.




Distinctive black color under their wings.




They are fun to watch feed.  They do a dance with their feet to stir up the algae and then they strain the good stuff through their beaks.





Lots of flamingos to observe.




Bunches of Jelly Fish grounded by the tide.




These nice homes on the lagoon start at $500,000.





You can see our ship from here.





Next stop Walvis Bay Yacht Club.






with a restaurant.





and a substantial sailboat on the hard.



We return to the boat to observe the continuous duty of the crew to paint.



Here they are covering the black marks left by the tires used for fenders.  They paint in every port.

Namibia was a fascinating country to visit.   Pleased there were two stops planned so that we did get to go ashore.

Day 109 Luderitz Namibia on Easter Sunday April 21, 2019

Day 108 was a day at sea and on Easter Sunday April 21, 2019 we entered the harbor at Luderitz, Nambia.



We were able to see a beautiful Easter Sunday sunrise.   However, we were not able to go ashore.  The swells where 10 feet and forecast to go even higher with the 40 knot wind.  Cannot tender folks in those conditions.  So the captain headed back out to sea.    We had been promised a delightful Bavarian Village so we were a bit bummed.    

Fortunately Viking had delivered Easter baskets, so we consoled ourselves with chocolate.   Of course the Lord would take care of us on Resurrection Sunday.  We enjoyed the sunrise and celebrating first fruits.

We headed for Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Day 107 Cape Town South Africa April 19, 2019

Second day in Cape Town.  For April 19th we launch off on a tour with Salome Adams.






This will be primarily a tour of the country-side versus yesterday’s tour of the city.   

Nice day for photos.  





Lots of rugged terrain.   Love all the palm trees.




Next stop is Hout Bay with their marina.  Hout is wood in Dutch and the early settlers found much wood here that they used for buildings and ships.     



They have lots of souvenir shops



and kids that feed the seals for the delight of the tourists.




We now start to climb Chapman Peak to check out the view.




Shot back across Hout Bay.




Chapman Peak is very steep with impressive sedimentary rock exposed.




This half tunnel is pretty cool and shows up in numerous action movies.



Hope the bus makes the corner.





Sea view on the other side of Chapman Peak.   




Some people keep horses.



You can ride horses on this beach.





There are some nice houses in the country near the city.



Flood evidence everywhere you look.




Next we went up on Silver Mountain to enjoy the view.




The red roofed building is the prison where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.



Even though it is fall, there were some flowers.




The new developments are gated and have security fences.





Many nice single homes that are also gated.



Back to the ship.



These are condos called the Silo Development.  They were made from grain elevators, proving you can make condos out of almost anything.  Cape Town was very enlightening.  Pleased we had the opportunity to spend two days here.

Day 106 Cape Town South Africa April 18, 2019

Here we are, arriving in Cape Town at 7:28 on the morning of April 18th.  Table Mountain is clearly in view in the center, and Lion’s Head to the left.  


We launch off on a tour with Alan Marsh.





Here we are in port directly opposite Table Mountain.  



Huge Southern Sun hotel complex next to the harbor.




Numerous skyscrapers in the downtown area.  South Africa has shown to be more prosperous with each port we enter.




Wide boulevards and round-abouts in Cape Town.  




Nelson Mandela waves from the balcony where he made his first political speech.


The Dutch Reformed Church is center left. Until 1803 The Dutch Reformed church was the only religion allowed in South Africa.  The Slave Museum is on the right.  South Africa had a slavery problem prior to their apartheid problem.    


St. Georges Cathedral.





We now enter the Company’s Garden Area which was the garden used by the original Dutch Troops for food and a place of beauty.  This garden dates to the 1600’s.   


The back of the old Parliament building as viewed from the garden.




An oils vendor going into competition with Allison.


This is the National Library of South Africa started with 5,000 books from the personal collection of Sir George Grey in the 1800’s.



There’s Sir George Grey’s statue in front of the library.




The gardens are beautiful today with numerous species of plants.




View of Table Mountain from the gardens which also shows a section of the extensive gardens.



Delville Wood Memorial (named for the location) is dedicated to the South Africans that lost their lives during WW I.




Egyptian Goose.  Many of these in the gardens.  



We toured through the Bo-Kaap area of town.



It is a Moslem area that is noteworthy for its very colorful houses




and business buildings.




Lions Head is a dominant geological outcropping above the city.



We headed for the beach with some nice houses along the way.





Wow. An important landmark.



Beach view from the Maiden’s Cove parking lot.  The beaches here are beautiful, but with water temperatures in the 40’s it is not a place to swim.  The water temperatures are controlled by a strong current that comes up from the south.  


Nice homes in this area.




There is a lot of kelp in the water which they harvest for fertilizer.



We stopped at the Victoria Wharf Mall.



Large, beautiful and modern mall.


This is one 6 to 8 bays in this mall.




Nice views from the front of the mall.  




Out the back of the Mall is the Wharf.  




A mall with a marina.  How can you beat that?





Street theater was fine with adults playing and kids dancing.



While waiting for me to get some steps, Linda waited by the marina and struck up a conversation with Bernadette.  Bernadette was in town to visit her 93-year-old grandmother.  She is a South African that is at least 3rd generation and she loves her country.

Day 105 Rounding the Cape of Good Hope April 17, 2019

Day 105 is a day at sea, and we will be rounding the Cape of Good Hope around 2:00 am (18th).  At 8:38 pm on April 17th we rounded the most southern point of Africa.  We stopped for a few minutes from playing cards with the Barney’s and took pictures. 


The cape.




The moon.

No great tales of rough seas.  It was actually fairly smooth.  Nonetheless, we were excited about this milestone.  We have now rounded both Capes on this voyage.  Qualified for earrings in both ears. 😊

Day 104 Port Elizabeth South Africa April 16, 2019

Moving down the coast,  we arrive in Port Elizabeth on the morning of April 16th.




Each of the ports seem more prosperous as we move south.



Lots of infrastructure built up near the port.  




We head out with our guide Nelson who does not take off his coat until it approaches 80 degrees.  



Fine housing 



and accommodations as we approach the beach.



Port Elizabeth is named the “Windy City” and I had to take my hat off and hold it just to walk out on this pier.



I’m sure the wind also keeps this end-loader busy trying to put the sand back where it belongs.




The beach views here looking South and



North are very nice.







The wind also makes the wave action


enjoyable to watch.






Nice brick-work.




There is a Boardwalk here that leads to shopping and a Casino, which we skipped.  


Next was the Nelson Mandela University of which they are very proud.



It is a large complex




with extensive student housing.




Our guide expressed frustration that everyone wants to go to University and not enough students are going to trade schools.  Sounds familiar.



There is nice housing surrounding the University.



Most of which is gated.  




We went back to the center of town.  Old jail.  






Public square with the Public Library.  The statue is of Queen Victoria.


City Hall.






Anglican Church.



This is a shopping area off that main square.  In the days of apartheid blacks and colored were not allowed.  Now anyone can go there but now the shops are owned by Indians and only blacks shop there.  According to our guide, us white tourists are the only white people that visit or shop here.  



Shoprite is one of three major department store chains in South Africa.



We visited Fort Frederick (British) which was active from 1799 to 1868.



It overlooks the harbor and you can see the Viking Sun.  A commanding position in its day.



A monument area.  Linda shaking hands with the statue.




The pyramid was erected to the memory of Elizabeth Frances Lady Donkin who died at age 27.  The city was named after her. 


There is a large mosaic leading up to the memorial.





This dung beetle was included because he is a re-cycler.




Near this site, The Hill Presbyterian Church.




I think pigeons are universal.




A different war memorial.  A soldier is giving water to his trusty horse.


We were told KFC is their favorite fast food place, preferred over McDonalds.



This was an interesting sign, but I was not able to determine what the rules are for private ownership of firearms.



Major car port.




This ship was directly across from us.  They are loading it with coal using large buckets and those cranes.  According to an Able Bodied Seaman on our boat, he used to work on a similar boat and it will take them at least a week to load it.  That’s dirty and dusty work and he was delighted to be working on the Viking Sun.  


Nice looking tugs.




We fly the South African flag while in port.

Another nice visit and it is time to move on.

Day 103 East London, South Africa April 15, 2019

We arrived in the Port of East London on the morning of April 15th.   





Port building erected in 1904.





Headed out on a bus tour of the city.




These are the taxis that are popular with the locals.  Inexpensive, take multiple riders and drive fast.




Typical city street.  





Numerous street vendors.




The city hall is a beautiful Victorian Renaissance-style building constructed in 1897 with the clock tower added later to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.



First City Baptist Church.  We were told we might not recognize the service as Christianity is mixed with a form of ancestry connection.



The first stop on the tour was the East London Museum.




As is frequently portrayed, Nelson Mandela is a revered national hero.


The major claim to fame of this museum is this display of a model of a Dodo bird with the only known remaining egg from this species that is estimated to have gone extinct by 1693.  

The Coelacanth is a large fish (1.65 meters), thought to be extinct until one was discovered in 1938 in the Comoro Islands.  They have the remains of this one and highlight this fish in their museum.  



There is a boat section of the museum.  





Nice model.



This is a concrete structure called a Dolos and is a design of which they are proud.  They used to place square concrete blocks on the break-walls, that would then get washed away.  These stay in place as they remove energy from the waves.


These are wagons used during the colonial times of South Africa.




Examples of the many types of rifles used during the frontier wars.  Most of these are of the flint lock variety.




They had displays of




African culture from this area.





A model of a manta ray caught in 1948 in the Buffalo River Harbour in East London after it became entangled in a steel sounding cable.


Outside exhibit at the museum.






Next stop is the beach.  



This is the German Settlers Memorial




which offers spectacular views overlooking the Indian Ocean 


and the break-wall.  If you look closely, you can see Dolos installed on the break-wall to protect it.





A nice area on the way back to the ship




and an OK but slightly poorer area.





We now depart East London around 6:00 pm.  Interesting visit.

Day 102 Durban South Africa April 14, 2019

On Day 102, we are in Durban South Africa.  This is the Durban port area.  We are starting to see more prosperity than the previous 3 stops. We arrived here on Day 101 on a charter flight from Neispruit SA to Durban SA.  The flight was on an AVRO RJ85 which is fine, except they managed to lose our luggage and then as I was filling out lost luggage paperwork the tour bus abandoned us at the airport because they don’t know how to count apparently.  Got back to the ship on another bus, complained to the Excursions Manager and they sorted it all out.  Got my bag back and a complimentary bottle of $100 wine.  OK, they are forgiven.

So today we launch off on a tour with Bruce as our guide.

Dick King statue on the waterfront.  King is best known for his epic 10-day ride from Durban to Grahamstown in 1842 to round up reinforcements for the British.  At the time, Durban was in danger from the Boer forces.   He covered a distance of over 950 km riding around 125 km a day on horseback (on two of the days he was so sick he couldn’t ride). Locals battle to do this trip today by car in under two days, so the utter dedication he must have applied to do it in under 10 with no formal road ways, and in danger from attack from tribesmen and wild animals along the way, is nothing short of heroic.  He is credited with saving Durban for the British.

Victorian style building erected in 1885 as Durban’s first town hall.   


There are still some street vendors.




St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.




First stop is the Durban Botanic Gardens.    



Even though it is the beginning of fall, 




they have lots of blooms.   


Linda and Dale enjoying this beautiful day.




Their indoor portion really had a lot of blooms.



Nice sunken garden.  




Five senses section.  



Beautiful purple flowered tree.



Lots of walkways and paths to explore.




That garden was a great place we enjoyed.



They like their sports.  From a look out area we could see the golf course




and the Moses Mabhida Stadium.




The stadium has this




track that provides for tram viewing of the city.




Between the look out point and the stadium,




we went through a nice area of the city.




Next stop was the beach.  I took a walk 



and Linda enjoyed the view.





Large shallow area and lots of waves.




Dunham is a popular vacation area for South Africans.



It is stated that your Rand (dollar) goes a long way here.  Much farther than in Cape Town.




Market in the beach area.




Back to the port with a pleasure craft marina.




Large shoal in the middle of the port.  That’s tricky.


Durban was a nice visit.

Days 99, 100, 101 Safari at Kruger National Park South Africa April 11, 12, 13, 2019

We arrived at Pestana Kruger Lodge on Day 99 April 11, 2019.





We had a nice room.





At a great lodge.





Complete with gift shop





and pool  




with lounge area 




a creek runs through the grounds



with a warning.




A super feature of this lodge is a large deck with these entertainment monkeys,





but most importantly it overlooks the river in Kruger Park.






We saw these elephants,











and antelope from the lodge deck on the afternoon we arrived before we had even entered the park.


Over the three days at the park we took these 4 X 4 Toyota vehicles into the park for morning and afternoon safaris.  We also had a night visit.  We took over 1,000 photos and the highlights are presented below. 


So the animals we were able to see included the giraffe. 




We saw giraffes each day we were in the park.  It was fun to watch them walk






and eat.  According to the guide the trees have a protective mechanism built into the design, such that if a giraffe eats to much from one plant the leaves become toxic to them so they have to move around and eat and thus not destroy a single tree.


We saw tons (pun intended) of elephants.







Also saw them with their babies.











This old bull was huge.  Can hardly believe how close he came to us.







This was really fun.  The elephants had formed a road block.  Since the guides are not allowed to disturb the animals, we had to sit and wait, which was great since we were able to watch them close-up for 15 to 20 minutes.  This baby was cute as he decided to just lay down and take a nap.


As the sun moved, the roadway became in direct sunlight, so they decided to move on and then we went on down the road.  That was fun.



Here are some hippos wandering through the bush. 





Mostly we saw them enjoying themselves in the watering holes. 






We were very fortunate to come across this pride of lions.  It was on an evening drive.  The lions sleep during the heat of the day and hunt at night.  Here they are starting to wake up.

Rolling over to get some energy to start moving.  How cute.




Everyone is up and ready to start the night shift.





We saw this older male right on the road.



Their manes get darker as they get older.




Loved seeing this one so close.





Saw zebras every day



each one with their own set of stripes as distinctive as a fingerprint.













We saw impalas several times on every safari.



They are so prevalent that the guides hardly want to slow down for a good picture.




At night we saw large herds (several blocks long) bedding down together.  We loved it because they are such a beautiful animal, even if the guides saw no skill in finding them.  


Rhinoceros were great to see, and we were within a few feet of some of them.








The sightings went on and on.



We saw a few cape buffalo and the guide said one way they are dangerous is they will lay like this seemingly not paying attention



and then charge when you get close.





Our favorite sighting was this cheetah.



He was walking along the road and marking his territory. 




The Kruger National Park covers one million acres and there are only 120 cheetahs so we were very fortunate to see this guy. 



Great day.   That was awesome.  





A kudu.




Magnificent looking animal.








The Common Duiker.





The Warthog.



As our guide stated, seldom accused of being pretty.
















We also saw lots of smaller animals and birds.









And other ugly ones.





Like these crocodiles.




Lots of great birds.









Saddle-billed stork.  Very colorful.




Swainson’s Spurfowl.






White Backed Vulture.







Trumpeter Hornbill.





Great Egret.




Right next to this egret was a water monitor.




White fronted bee-eater.





Brown Hooded Kingfisher.




Crested Guineafowl.




Wahlberg’s Eagle.



We also went out for a night safari.  We saw a lot of animals and with the spot lights, it was pretty good viewing.  Difficult photo environment however, so only a few photos to show from the night.   This hyena was a great add to our list.



Elephant at night.







Found Cape Buffalo





grazing at night.




Loved this owl photo.

Wow!  That was an amazing 3 day safari.  We saw so many animals in their national habitat.  We learned so much and enjoyed it greatly.  Setting aside one million acres for a national park was wise planning and so many people can enjoy it today.  Definitely a great highlight for our trip.



Day 99 Maputo Mozambique to Kruger National Park in South Africa April 11, 2019

Days 97 and 98 were sea days crossing from Madagascar to Maputo, Mozambique.  The Indian Ocean continued to treat us kindly with two more smooth days.   Day 99 we arrived in Maputo early on April 11, 2019.  





We quickly jump on our coach for transfer to Kruger Park  

with our guide Jenny.  We will be traveling through the city of Maputo and then across Mozambique to South Africa.





There are some large old buildings in the port area


and then we quickly transfer to the city street scenes.






The streets are lined with street vendors.




The streets are crowded and the town does not appear to be prosperous.









This construction site shows the red clay soil you see everywhere in this country.



At least one large hospital in Maputo.




Bay and port shot.






Living conditions at the edge of town are not good.




















A rare gated community that looks fine.




A large cemetery also at the outskirts of town.




The roadside shops seem to go on forever.




Another example of nice housing.




We now transition to the country side.




New immigrants often build corrugated steel shacks like this to just get a roof over their heads.  After they have earned some money,


they build a stone house but keep the old tin one to rent to the next immigrant.








This results in a range of housing buildings.








The country side here is mostly undeveloped and used for grazing.


 Mozambique border town.




We clear customs and immigration at both the Mozambique and 



South African facilities.  Long ques for each crossing.  Our second country for the day.  Great progress to be into South Africa.

Immediately after crossing into South Africa the area seems more prosperous with sugar cane



and bananas growing in great abundance.  They cover the bananas with these blue bags to keep the bugs out and to aid in ripening.



Interesting landscape as we approach our destination.




We arrive at the Pestana Lodge just in time for a late lunch.  Our three days of Safari wonderfulness will be covered in the next post.