Posted by yachtcamomile
The website has fallen behind again so I’m going to try to bring it up to date before we leave South Africa.
When we first arrived in South Africa and checked into Richards bay we had quite a few jobs to do on Camomile. We were able to arrange to come out of the water for a few days to repair the copper coat, anti-foul the keel, replace a bulging sea-cock, clean the prop, replace anodes, and polish the hull. Camomile looked very smart when she went back into the water on 31st October.
We went back to our berth in the marina next to Norsa, who had arrived while we were out of the water. The jobs continued with our outboard going to a local engineer for a much needed service and to sort out why it’s difficult to start sometimes.
Our new hot water tank arrived for Bill to fit which entailed emptying the deck locker of most of it’s contents and storing them in the forward cabin, disconnecting the seven inlets and outlets on the old tank and removing it, reconnecting the same and testing.
Fortunately it worked first time without any leaks. Hot water at last. I don’t mind having cold showers in the tropics but it’s cold in south Africa! Then we had to refill the deck locker. All this took several days. Meanwhile normal jobs like washing, shopping, cooking, having my haircut, refueling, boat maintenance continued.
I have already written about the hippos at the iSimangaliso wetland and our jeep safari in the iMfolozi safari park but we had a third day away where we explored the Hluhluwe park in our own car. If you’re short of time I would recommend going on a jeep safari because you see so much but if you have time it’s nice to drive yourself because you have more time to stop and look at the scenery. We spent two nights at the Leopard walk lodge about 20kms from the northern gate of the Hluhluwe section of the park. The breakfast ‘room’ was an open staging overlooking a private game reserve.
While eating our breakfast some wildebeest walked by. They also had impala, zebra and a giraffe although we didn’t see him. If you get up early enough and go with a guide you might see a leopard (we were told) .
We entered the Hluhluwe park through the northern gate and straight away saw a mother and baby Rhino grazing by the side of the road. They were both covered in mud so must have been wallowing some where. The mother was sporting a huge horn, hope the poachers don’t see her.
I love this photo. Right in front of us was a beautiful giraffe with some zebra just walking up the road. How cool is that!
We continued to drive around the park until we came to the Hilltop camp which is a resort within the park where it’s possible to stay. This would have been a nice thing to do but a bit beyond our budget but they did nice coffee. The view from the veranda was breathtaking.
We continued on our journey and came across a small herd of elephants with a very young elephant with them but the adults were shielding it from our cameras.
We saw more rhinos, lots of impalas including this chap with a pair of wonderful horns, luckily the Chinese don’t like them, some warthogs (pumba), some zebra with more babies and finally another pair of giraffes came to say goodbye as we left the park.
Once we left the Hluhluwe park we drove back towards the town on the main road to the Emdoneni rehabilitation center for Cheetahs and other game cats. Firstly the animals ARE NOT drugged in any way, this was not a Thailand tourist attraction. Secondly it’s not a zoo. Many of the animals have been taken there because they’ve been injured or orphaned. Of the animals they have or have breed, half of them will go back into the wild and don’t have any contact with humans at all. The other half can’t go back for one reason or another and enter the breeding programme and are kept in the area open to the public. Without the part of the center open to the public they wouldn’t be able to fund the part not open to the public which is having huge success in breeding, rearing and releasing cheetahs in the wild, which are in danger of becoming extinct because their numbers are declining.
The first animals we were shown were African wild cats, I know, I know they look like your average moggy but up close they are lighter than a normal house cat. As you can imagine there’s a lot of inter-breeding with house cats and the center has a breeding programme to try and keep the breed pure.
Next was the Serval, an absolutely beautiful creature, fabulous markings. The guided tour is also feeding time so they were all content to have their photo taken. This one was behind wire but his pen was huge. We also saw a Caracal but he wouldn’t stand still to have his photo taken.
Then we were taken into the cheetah enclosure. The center has two pairs of brothers who have been hand reared so can never go back in the wild because they wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves. The beauty of the Emdoneni centre is you are able to stroke this handsome chap, another tick in the box for me! The center is very strict and we were all given implicit instructions before we entered the enclosure for the two bigger boys. We had to walk in single file and keep together with a ranger at the front and one behind. Once they were sure he was settled we were given the opportunity to come forward one by one. Guess who volunteered first?
In the second enclosure are two much younger cheetahs who will stand more than one person touching them so we both had a turn. The rangers stroke them like pets and the purring was like a steam engine, so loud.
After our second night at the Leopard walk lodge we drove back to Richards bay to do some shopping and refuelling, picked up the serviced outboard and checked out of Richards bay before taking the car back at the end of the day. Friday 11th after a nice lunch with Divanty and Gaia we left at 4pm with Divanty for an overnight sail to Durban.
It was a good sail and we arrived at 7am. We anchored outside the marina at first because the marina was full but later we were allowed to go in and raft up next to Norsa, who had sailed there while we were on safari.
Not a lot can be said for Durban really. It was quite chilly while we were there and rained quite a bit. The problem with the rain was that it was full of coal dust that had come off the numerous piles of coal from the local mines waiting to be shipped out of the port and during the 2½ weeks we were there the boat became absolutely filthy. Quite a few boat jobs were completed including replacing the bearings in our wind generator and Bill and Norman replacing the bearings of Dons wind generator on Solstice.
The 16th we planned to have a braai (BBQ) one evening and almost called it off because it was raining again but we are British and a bit of rain didn’t stop us all!
On 17th I got my sewing machine out to adjust our new cockpit cover which hadn’t been right since it was supplied after our refit in May 2015. I also sewed the zip on that had been left off so we could put our aft cockpit cover on, normally for the winter!
Monday 21st Davina on Divanty suggested we all go for a ride on the big red hop on, hop off bus. The only difference for the Durban bus is you don’t hop off because it’s too dangerous but stay on until they stop in a safe area! The ‘good’ bits of Durban are few and far between and Delboy would have given this company a run for their money but it was nice to get off the boats for a day. I managed to take a couple of photos of some interesting places.
I think this was the town hall but not certain.
As we went past the forklift school all the men wanted to get off and have a go.
Most of the city looked like this, just streets full of modern buildings. The market areas looked interesting but we had already been warned not to go into those areas on our own without a local guide. A couple of cruisers had had little run ins with the locals trying to steal jewelery or other items. There was a lot of poverty in between the wealth.
This was interesting. The motorway hadn’t been finished and the road just came to an abrupt end. The locals had set up some stalls on it and a temporary bridge had been built to link it to a working area.
Once back on the waterfront we were driven past the stadium that was built for the 2010 world cup, looking like a giant picnic basket with seating for 56,000 people, it was very well used. The ‘handle’ has steps up one side or its possible to use the Skycar. Once on the top it’s possible to plunge off on the Big Swing. All around the outside were various sports areas. The seafront itself has a walkway along the waters edge several miles long. The problem was the area between the seafront and the marina isn’t safe so you need to take a Uber taxi to get there.
After our bus ride we made our way back to the marina before more rain.
Life continued until 29th when 7 boats had a meeting about the weather and sea conditions to Cape town. Later that day we all left on passage for the journey many of us had been dreading since arriving in south Africa – Cape Agulhas.
More in the December update.