We’re back in Marloth Park…The Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria…An important part of South African history…

The skyline of downtown Pretoria.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

On Sunday morning, we were surprised to see wildlife at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve we drove through in Pretoria with Don.
Wildebeest and their young lounging on the hill in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve.

The return drive from Pretoria to Marloth Park took us a little over four hours, with one pit stop along the way. In part, we traveled an alternate route that didn’t require more driving time but included stunning scenery along the way. We’d never driven this route in the past.

The Voortrekker Monument is an unusual-looking structure located in Pretoria, South Africa.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to stop for photos along the way due to traffic and lack of areas to safely pull over. Although, overall the traffic was lighter than we’d expected with the end of the holiday season approaching.

Upon returning to the house, within minutes we had visitors, six warthogs including Mike and Joe, and some unfamiliar females. We looked for Little but didn’t see him all evening.  

After walking up many flights of stairs, we entered the Voortrekker Museum with a wide array of historical fart forms, including sculptures.

When we set up the veranda for the evening, nine kudus and a male bushbuck stopped by, along with several unknown warthogs. Two noisy hornbills hooted from a tree in front of the veranda, asking for seeds. We complied. 

This morning the sightings have been sparse; mom and four baby warthogs who have grown since we saw them only days ago and a few others, none of whom we know. I’m confident that by this evening, more will appear.

In the interim, the power went out again this morning but only for an hour. We just weren’t in the mood for an outage but then again, when would anyone welcome an outage?

Similar sculptures lined the walls of the museum.

Supposedly, in the next several days, load shedding will begin again. Oh. Need I say how annoying this is, especially when it’s scorching and humid? If you don’t see a post, please know we’re experiencing power outages and can’t get online during these periods.

Collections of artifacts are displayed in glass cases.

When Kathy and Don asked us to stay an extra day, Don took us out for some sightseeing on Sunday morning.  As shown in the above photos, we drove through the Groenkloof Nature Reserve with fantastic views of the city of Pretoria from a high elevation in the park.

From there, we drove to the Voortrekker Monument. Don had been through the monument and its museum many times in the past and he decided to wander around the ground while we entered the unusual-looking structure.

Exquisite paintings and tapestries lined several walls at The Voortrekker Museum.

Exploring the museum required walking up more steps than we’d seen in a long time, even after entering the building when we ventured to other levels to see the various displays.

Here’s information from this site with details of the war is described as  follows:

“The Battle of Blood River (Afrikaans: Slag van Bloedrivier; Zulu: iMpi yaseNcome) is the name given for the battle fought between 470 Voortrekkers (“Pioneers”), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated “10,000 to 15,000 Zulu on the bank of the Ncome River on 16 December 1838, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Casualties amounted to over 3,000 of King Dingane‘s soldiers dead, including two Zulu princes competing with Prince Mpande for the Zulu throne. Three Pioneer commando members were lightly wounded, including Pretorius.

“The year 1838 was the most difficult period for the Voortrekkers since they left the Cape Colony, till the end of the Great Trek. They were plagued by many disasters and much bloodshed before they found freedom and a safe homeland in their Republic of Natalia. This could only be achieved by crushing the power of the Zulu King, Dingane, at the greatest battle ever fought in South Africa, namely the Battle of Blood River, which took place on Sunday 16 December 1838.”

In the sequel to the Battle of Blood River in January 1840, Prince Mpande finally defeated King Dingane in the Battle of Maqongqe and was subsequently crowned as new king of the Zulu by his alliance partner Andries Pretorius. After these two battles, Dingane’s prime minister and commander in both the Battle of Maqongqe and the Battle of Blood River, General Ndlela, was strangled to death by Dingane for high treason. General Ndlela had been the personal protector of Prince Mpande, who after the Battles of Blood River and Maqongqe, became king and founder of the Zulu.

The attention to detail by the artists is astounding.
From this site, the following was established to commemorate the Zulu soldiers who died in the battle:

“Finally, in December 1998, a memorial for the 3,000 Zulu soldiers who died in the battle, was inaugurated by Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi across the river from the Afrikaner monument. The historic anniversary of the ‘Day of the Vow’ has been renamed ‘Reconciliation Day’ in New South Africa.”

As for the development of the Voortrekker Monument, see this section below from this site:

Voortrekker Monument

“The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.
The idea to build a monument in honour of God was first discussed on 16 December 1888, when President Paul Kruger of the South African Republic attended the Day of the Covenant celebrations at Blood River in Natal. However, the movement to actually build such a monument only started in 1931 when the Sentrale Volksmonumentekomitee (SVK) (Central People’s Monuments Committee) was formed to bring this idea to fruition.
Construction started on 13 July 1937 with a sod-turning ceremony performed by the chairman of the SVK, Advocate Ernest George Jansen, on what later became known as Monument Hill. On 16 December 1938, the cornerstone was laid by three descendants of some of the Voortrekker leaders: Mrs. J.C. Muller (granddaughter of Andries Pretorius), Mrs. K.F. Ackerman (great-granddaughter of Hendrik Potgieter), and Mrs. J.C. Preller (great-granddaughter of Piet Retief).
The Monument was inaugurated on 16 December 1949 by the then-prime minister D. F. Malan. The total construction cost of the Monument was about £ 360,000, most of which was contributed by the South African government.
A large amphitheater, which seats approximately 20,000 people, was erected to the northeast of the Monument in 1949.
A wide array of artifacts are available for viewing.

The Cenotaph, situated in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, is the central focus of the monument. In addition to being viewable from the Hall of Heroes, it can also be seen from the dome at the top of the building, from where much of the interior of the monument can be viewed. Through an opening in this dome a ray of sunlight shines at twelve o’clock on 16 December annually, falling onto the centre of the Cenotaph, striking the words ‘Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika’ (Afrikaans for ‘Us for you, South Africa’). The ray of light is said to symbolise God’s blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. 16 December 1838 was the date of the Battle of Blood River, commemorated in South Africa before 1994 as the Day of the Vow.

The Cenotaph Hall is decorated with the flags of the different Voortrekker Republics and contains wall tapestries depicting the Voortrekkers as well as several display cases with artifacts from the Great Trek. Against the northern wall of the hall is a niche with a lantern in which a flame has been kept burning ever since 1938. That year, the symbolic Ox Wagon Trek, which started in Cape Town and ended at Monument Hill, where the Monument’s foundation stone was laid, took place.

At the foot of the Monument stands Anton van Wouw’s bronze sculpture of a Voortrekker woman and her two children, paying homage to the strength and courage of the Voortrekker women. On both sides of this sculpture, black wildebeest are chiseled into the walls of the Monument. The wildebeest symbolically depicts the dangers of Africa and their symbolic flight implies that the woman, carrier of Western civilisation, is triumphant.

The flash of my camera appeared in the photo of this beautiful tapestry.

On each outside corner of the Monument, a statue represents Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter, and an “unknown” leader (representative of all the other Voortrekker leaders). Each statue weighs approximately 6 tons.

At the eastern corner of the monument, on the same level as its entrance, is the foundation stone.

Under the foundation stone is buried: A copy of the Trekker Vow on 16 December 1838. A copy of the anthem “Die Stem.” A copy of the land deal between the Trekkers under Piet Retief and the Zulus under King Dingane.

In the years following its construction, the monument complex was expanded several times and now includes:

An indigenous garden surrounds the monument.
The Wall of Remembrance is dedicated to those who lost their lives while serving in the South African Defence Force.
Fort Schanskop, a nearby fort built-in 1897 by the government of the South African Republic after the Jameson Raid and now a museum.
The Schanskop open-air amphitheater with seating for 357 people was officially opened on 30 January 2001.
A garden of remembrance.
A nature reserve was declared on 3.41 km² around the Monument in 1992. Game found on the reserve includes Zebras, Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, Springbok, and Impala.
A Wall of Remembrance was constructed near the Monument in 2009. It was built to commemorate the South African Defence Force members who died in service of their country between 1961 and 1994.
An Afrikaner heritage centre, was built to preserve the heritage of the Afrikaans-speaking portion of South Africa’s population and their contribution to the history of the country.”

Note: Many English words are spelled differently in South African text such as centre, civilisation, etc. As such, these are not misspelled. 

A miniature model of the wagons was used to make their way across the rugged terrain.

After our sightseeing tour, we drove back to the house, where a short time later we took off for further celebrations of Don’s birthday which we shared in yesterday’s post as indicated here.

Summing up the three days and nights we spent in Pretoria with Kathy and Don…it couldn’t have been better!  We look forward to seeing them one more time before we depart Marloth Park in a mere 37 days. Wow! The time is flying by!

With the power back on, the temperature warm but not unbearable, we’re having a good day. Today, I’ll be working on the menu and grocery list for Rita’s upcoming birthday party following Monday.  

Tomorrow, I have another dentist appointment at 9:00 am after which we’ll grocery shop; thus, the post won’t be available until later in the day.

May your day be filled with wonders!
                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2018:

This dish may have looked messy but it was the best meal I’ve had since we arrived in Buenos Aires at the Rave Restaurant. It included white salmon, prawns, mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, onions, garlic, all cooked in real butter. It was perfect for my way of eating and delicious.  For more photos, please click here.

A lunch for 10 in a Mexican restaurant…What a fabulous time we all had!…

We’ve had such a fantastic weekend celebrating Don’s birthday while staying at their gorgeous home in Pretoria.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Kudus came to call on Friday morning before we left for Pretoria.

As soon as we upload today’s post around 10:00 am, we’re on our way back to Marloth Park, planning to arrive around 1500 hours (3:00 pm). We’ll unpack, start a load of laundry and decide what to do for dinner.

How sweet!  Tom and Don were sharing a sip of a Margarita!

Most likely, we’ll dine at home if our food in the freezer survived the 17-hour power outage. The food in the chest freezer will be fine, but we’ll see how the items in the refrigerator survived. Luckily, we didn’t leave much in the fridge or its side-by-side freezer.

Don’s weekend birthday celebration continued through Sunday at Salsa Mexican Grill.

We considered dining out tonight, but Jabula is closed for three days, and, not surprisingly, I’d like to stay home to see our animal friends, should they be returning to see us.  

Our party of 10 consisted of (from left to right) Kathy, Linda, Tom,  Don, Keith, Ken, Cynthia, Robin and Karen with me taking the photo.

The holiday season isn’t officially over until a few more weeks, but many will have already left with school starting again today. Colleges don’t reconvene for the new school year (after summer holidays) until around February 1st here in South Africa, and some college students may still be vacationing here in Marloth Park. We’ll see how it goes.

Kathy had a chicken burrito. My mouth was watering when I saw this (former) favorite.

We’ve had a wonderful three days at Kathy and Don’s gorgeous home with the two of them and their friends and family. It was a pleasure to see Linda and Ken, who’ll come to Marloth Park following Monday to spend a week with us. There again, more good times are on the horizon.

Linda and Ken shared this tasty-looking plate of nachos with cheese and guacamole.

Plus, following Monday is Rita’s birthday party at our house. On the return drive to Marloth Park, I’ll be planning the menu and grocery list for the items we’ll purchase this upcoming week for the special day. 

Tom, who doesn’t like beans and spicy sauces, opted for these three mini burritos with cheese, chicken, beef, and pork. Don shared a piece of his quesadilla with him.

As for yesterday, we had another great day when 10 of us dined at an authentic Mexican Restaurant, Salsa Mexican Grill, located in Kyalami Corner Mall. There are 11 locations of this superb restaurant with information on their website.  

Keith’s seafood tostadas with a side of stuffed avocado.

Not only was the food hot, fresh and thoughtfully prepared, and delicious, the presentations, service, and ambiance were as authentic as any Mexican restaurant we’ve experienced anywhere in the world. The food was “designed” with the California “flavor” so well known in the USA.

Don’s giant quesadilla looked delicious.

This was especially appealing for us, having always enjoyed dining on Mexican dishes. Tom’s taste buds are picky, but he could find something great that fit his desires. Everyone else at our table thoroughly enjoyed their chosen meals.

My over-the-top chicken salad was with roasted fajita vegetables, cucumbers, grilled onions, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and seasoned chicken. I’m going to try to duplicate this salad one day soon.

The menu is exceptional. We’re handed pens to tick off the boxes of the items and ingredients we’d preferred and place our names at the top of the page. The food arrived perfectly prepared for our choices, and even the bill came with a breakdown of the names showing who ordered which dishes and the cost.  

Tom was having a great time with “the boys” at one end of the table.

The service was exceptional, including the servers’ fuss over Don’s birthday, which only added to the festivities. Once again, this lovely group of people engaged in uproarious laughter and exciting conversation.  

We all were served shooters, hosted by owner Tony.  Tom drank mine. I’ve never done a “shot” in my life.

The drinks flowed as the participants savored the attractive drink menu options. I stuck with plain sugar-free tonic water since I prefer not to drink wine during the day.

We didn’t get back to Kathy and Don’s home until around 1630 (4:30 pm), and at that point, none of us could imagine eating dinner. But, around 1900 hours (7:00 pm), we all pitched in and made an excellent dinner of pork chops on the braai, potato salad, green beans, cooked spinach, and salad with avocado and dined at their formal dining room.

Dining at this fantastic restaurant is well worth a drive if you’re anywhere near the Johannesburg’/Pretoria area or passing through on the highway. We chatted with the owner Tony, who ensured we had an extraordinary time. Here’s their link.

We’re grateful to Kathy and Don for hosting us so graciously. It was straightforward for the four of us to be together, and the addition of friends and family only added to our excellent weekend.

Next time you’ll hear from us, we’ll be back in Marloth Park with only 38 days remaining until we leave Marloth Park. We’ll treasure every remaining moment we spend in the park, savoring the beauty of the bush, our wildlife friends, and of course, our human friends as well.

Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, January 7, 2018:

A decorative pond with a statue at a botanical garden, Jardin Botanico. in Buenos Aires. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic days and nights in Pretoria…

Tom and I hid in the bedroom, and once the others arrived, we suddenly appeared, surprising everyone. In the background are Keith (Don’s brother) and Ken, with Don and Linda in the center and Robin and Karen in the foreground. It was a fun surprise.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Two hippos we spotted when visiting Rita and Gerhard’s temporary condo at Ngwenya on Thursday evening.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity and socializing. It couldn’t have been more fun. Kathy and Don are perfect easy-going hosts, and every moment with them and friends has been an over-the-top experience.

For the first time since we can remember, we’ve slept in comfortable twin beds with exceptional bedding. We got some much-needed sleep last night after a fun-filled day for Don’s birthday.

In attendance were Karen, Keith’s daughter and his adult granddaughter Robin (Don’s niece and grandniece, respectfully), friends Linda and Ken, who’ll be staying with us in Marloth Park for a week beginning on the 14th, and Don’s brother Keith and the four of us for a total of nine. 

The lovely table setting on Kathy and Don’s veranda.

The birthday party began at noon for a birthday lunch and continued well into the evening. By 2100 hours (9:00 pm), the others left, and we stayed up chatting with Kathy and Don in their comfortable living room until we all drifted off to bed.

Kathy had prepared a delicious lunch of prawns on the braai, chicken wings and chicken pieces, potato salad, and an excellent avocado lettuce salad. With plenty of leftovers, in the evening, we finished off the remaining food.

The champagne and drinks flowed with ease, and the conversations around that table on the veranda were a mix of somewhat controversial subjects and world travel experiences. It was fun watching and hearing Tom and Robin’s hands flying as animated voices expressed their views on many topics.

The beautiful pool in Kathy and Don’s garden.

Linda and I chatted enthusiastically, anticipating their upcoming visit. Later, after she and Ken left to tend to their dog at their home about 40 minutes away,  Keith and I got in a huddle and chatted for hours. 

This morning, I was up, showered, and dressed for the day by 7:00 am, and Tom slept in a little longer, which is unusual for him. Kathy and I took off for Click’s Pharmacy this morning when I needed a few cosmetic items I hadn’t been able to find in Komatipoort.

Soon, we’re taking off for a bit of sightseeing, and then at 1300 hours (1:00 pm), we’re heading to a Mexican restaurant a 30-minute drive from here. The entire group, the nine of us, are meeting for lunch. 

View from their top floor veranda.

We haven’t been to a Mexican restaurant since we were in the US in 2017. We’re both looking forward to savoring Mexican food, much of which I can eat, such as the meat, veggies, and guacamole.

Tonight, we’ll dine at the house again, and tomorrow morning, we’ll be returning to Marloth Park. It’s been a fast and fun several days, and yet, we look forward to returning to Marloth Park. We’ve seen on Facebook; there were some fires in the park and power outages.  

May your Sunday be filled with good friends and good food!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2018:

One year ago, there were no photos when we described the upcoming cruise on which we sail on March 24, 2019, from Santiago, Chile. Instead, we posted the itinerary as shown below:

San Antonio, Chile to San Diego, California
15 nights departing March 24, 2019, on Celebrity’s Celebrity Eclipse
Our price:  ZAR 
54252.98 ($3,885.68 tips included) 
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees)

Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, March 24 Santiago (San Antonio), Chile 9:00pm

Monday, March 25 La Serena, Chile 10:00am 6:00pm

Tuesday, March 26 At Sea

Wednesday, March 27 At Sea

Thursday, March 28 Lima (Callao), Peru 7:00 am 5:00pm

Friday, March 29 At Sea

Saturday, March 30 Manta, Ecuador 10:00am 6:00pm

Sunday, March 31 At Sea

Monday, April 1 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00 am 4:00pm

Tuesday, April 2 At Sea

Wednesday, April 3 Huatulco, Mexico 10:00am 8:00pm

Thursday, April 4 At Sea

Friday, April 5 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 9:00 am 5:00pm

Saturday, April 6 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 9:00 am 5:00pm

Sunday, April 7 At Sea

Monday, April 8 San Diego, CA 7:00am

What???…We’re where? …Five hour road trip?…

Don, on his birthday, knocking lemons off the tree in their yard for us to take back to Marloth Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Zebra butts on the side of the road when we left Marloth Park yesterday morning.

It’s odd that, as world travelers, we don’t care for long road trips. What can we say? Tom despises traffic which causes him considerable angst and stress.

For us, driving long distances, even for a day, doesn’t hold much appeal. Sure, we often embark on shorter trips to investigate various points of interest, but all-day trips inspire us to fly as an alternative.

Tom, at dinner at MooMoo Restaurant at the Brooklyn Mall.

Last Saturday night, with the nine of us at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, Don suggested we drive from Marloth Park to Kathy’s home, Pretoria, for his 66th birthday party. I looked across the big table. I said to Tom, ‘Want to go to Don’s birthday party in Pretoria next weekend.”

I looked to Kathy, hoping she was OK with Don extending the invitation before discussing it with her. She was smiling from ear to ear, making us feel at ease, knowing this was a good idea for her as well.

My already-tasted fabulous filet mignon, cooked rare, with roasted vegetables and a small side salad.

Tom, engaged in lively conversation with his talking hands flailing about, stopped chattering long enough to look at me and state an emphatic “Yes!” without hesitation. 

That night on the way back to our bush house, I asked him if it was OK about the long drive. Our friendship with Kathy and Don was motivation enough for him to make the long drive.

Interior of MooMoo Restaurant.

We left the house at 10:20 am and arrived at the security gate to their home at 1640 hours (4:40 pm), and they warmly greeted us as they opened the large metal gate.

Their home is stunning, exactly as they expected. The grounds, the décor, and the ambiance is warm and inviting. Tomorrow, we’ll be posting photos of their house here in Pretoria, which happens to be listed for sale currently. Of course, we’ll include the link for the price and the listing information. 

The name of this shooter is a “Soweto Toilet.”  Tom gulped it down in one fell swoop.

Kathy and Don own a gorgeous bush home in Marloth Park, overlooking the Crocodile  River and several homes in Oahu, Hawaii. By selling this house, it allows them to spend more time in Marloth Park and Hawaii.

Being here at their modern, gorgeously decorated home in a lovely suburban area reminds us of being in the USA. There are few insects, no dust covering every surface, the temperature is less humid and considerably cooler, and the availability of shopping and services is overwhelming.

Tom was reaching to grab lemons off of the tree.

Last night, we headed to the Brooklyn Mall for dinner at the famous restaurant MooMoo for a fantastic meal. We all ordered delectable steaks cooked to perfection with attractive and deliciousness. After dinner, we assembled in their beautiful bar area for more lively chatter and nightcaps after returning to their home.  It couldn’t have been a perfect afternoon an

We’d intended to drive back to Marloth Park on Sunday morning, but Kathy and Don asked us to stay until Monday. So tomorrow, Sunday, they will show us some of their favorite sites in the big city.  

Kathy’s birdhouses. Without the wildlife in Marloth Park, Kathy spends time feeding many birds that visit the garden.

We enthusiastically agreed to stay, and Monday morning, we’ll head back to Marloth Park, thrilled for the time we’ll have had with Kathy and Don and excited to return to see our wildlife and human friends who’ll hopefully be returning to our garden. 

Today is Don’s birthday party, and friends Linda, Ken, and Don’s brother Keith have no idea we’re here. We saw them constitute a fun surprise for the birthday party when we all enjoyed

their friendship.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back, as mentioned above, with photos of Kathy and Don’s beautiful home and details. Please stop by once again.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2018:

Tom ordered a barbecue pork sandwich at La Panera Rosa in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, with three onion rings. It was as dry as it looked. For more photos, please click here.