Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 2017 -- Peter Giddy Guided Tours -- Addo; Township, Cultural and Historic Tours; Garden Route and other adventures; Airport Transfers

Peter Giddy Guided Tours  --- December 2017

Contact me on
+27 82 550 3174
082 550 3174

Specialising in Addo Elephant Park; Garden Route; Airport and Hotel Transfers; City and Township as well as other adventure tours..

In association with SA Guided Tours --

I write a daily family blog and include the various people that I meet and places that visit. This is my blog for December 2017 ..... Should you wish to join me on a tour of the Eastern or Western Cape of South Africa -- From Port Elizabeth to Cape Town; From Addo to Townships; Adventures such as canoe Trails; Zip Lines; Sandboarding and many more -- Please contact me and we can set up a tour that best suits your needs.

After recent rains in Addo --the grasses are looking greener and the flowers even more colourful than ever. 

On Sunday we (Chloe; Josh and Michela) found this lion with its brother right next to the road.
Specialising in Addo Elephant Wildlife Reserve

Private Tours; Families and Backpackers -- International Visitors.
Historical; Cultural; Township and City Tours
Garden Route and other Adventures
Airport and all transfers

December 2017
Family and other activities during the last month of 2017

Friday 1st December.
I have been trying to swim after a long break during winter. 
So Megan and I meet two or three times a week at 5am.  We are swimming at the Newton Park Pool which is nice and warm.  On a bright morning the sun shines into the pool area and the reflections make swimming a real delight.
This morning the water feels so good.  Almost soft!  I use elastic bands on my wrist to count lengths.  I certainly don't try to swim fast as I don't have the ability or strength of the others but I go for a steady pace and this morning am satisfied with 1600m.
Michael's  Birthday -- he is being spoiled in bed.
Barbara and I collect the Nissan from the body shop -- a man had bumped into the rear of her car a few months ago. Insurance had been approved so we used the opportunity to have some other scratches and dents removed.
This evening I take Joshua and Daniel to Rugby.... Kings again losing but a good enough outing.
Andre; Gail; Leslie; Lynette; John; Tom and Peter. Also running were Matie; Mof and Jeanine
Saturday morning I run the Aspen 10k in Lorraine with Kelly and Maria.
Julia completes her first Marathon 5.22.  Coincidentally she has the number 1207 which is the same as my Comrades Permanent Number;
Barbara decorates a tree that she purchased.  It is a natural tree formed in a simple Christmas Tree shape.
Later I take Dave and LB to Pumba Game Reserve.
Josh is a chef and only good things to say about the lunch today.
Michela; Josh and Chloe.  Fortunately no lions at Zuurberg Lookout
Sunday morning.  Addo with Michela (Italian living in Austria where she is a Tour Guide in Vienna) from Hippo. Josh and Chloe work in a restaurant on a summer holiday island. The restaurant closes in Winter and they have a long holiday.  This year they will be overlanding up to Nairobi.
Sunday is also the 5150 triathlon.  People who we know are Claire Breedske; Angela Frazer; Shara and Keegan Cooke who was placed second overall.
Julia; Ally; Barbara and I went out for supper.  With the Yacht Club closed and Angelo's poorly organised we ended up at Blue Waters.  Both Barbara and I thought the meal to be less than excellent. Not a place we will visit again.
Remo; Ayanda and Romy (Swiss) who also visited the Airport Valley Creche and made a donation
Eunice and daughter (Stellenbosch Chemistry Student) Sasha at the Donkin Memorial site with the Mandela Cut out.
Monday 4th.  Start the day with a pool swim at Newton park.
Our Electricity at home is off.  I swim with Megan .... She does 2200m and I swim 1400m. 
I have a township tour with Remo and Romy from Millbury (Colleen).
This afternoon I have a City Tour with Eunice and Sasha Marais.  They live on a farm near to Bredasdorp.  Sasha is a Stellenbosch Chemistry Student. 
Early on today we spotted a pride of 6 lions.  Here is one of the cubs saying "don't mess with me"
Addo Tour with Lillian and Mark from Belgium. Ze
Tuesday.   Run / walk with Mike.  The rest of the walking group started early.
Addo with Mark and Lillian from Belgium.
Later Barbara and I meet with Paul and Rose to talk about the Portugese and the Spanish Camino which they have done.  They give us a huge amount of information and we are now best equipped to start planning.
Zebra and foal -- Addo has not looked this green and colourful for a long while.
Wednesday -- Swimming with Megan and Liesl.  I think that this is our 12th swim of the season.  I swim 1500m and Megan is doing over 2kay.
Lilian and Marc from Belgium enjoy a walk through the Historical areas of Port Elizabeth.
City Tour with Mark and Lillian.  They have, unfortunately, lost the key to the hired car.  So that added stress to the day. 
I also have some Dole Work to do for the first time in a few months.
Runners Foot!  Discoloured nails.  Too thick for even the toughest of nail clippers; so today I decided to use side cutters and managed to trim my toe nails.  Looks like they still need work done!Thursday.  I walk Target Kloof with Stefany. 

Friday... I am up early and drive through to George to collect the Make a wish family who are on a Garden Route Tour this weekend.
Saturday we spend the day in Tsitsikamma -- Canopy Tours Zip Lining and then Segway takes up most of our day.  There is a bit of rain but nothing to put us off outdoor activities. We follow this up with a stop at the Blaaukrans River to watch some Bungy Jumpers and souvenir purchases.
Craig; Elexzia; Isabella; Azryn and Miki on BI Beach -- Supper time at Moby's
Sunday is a full day starting with an Elephant Walk, Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and lastly the Jukani Big Cats.  We end the day with supper at Moby's on the beach.
Monday 11th.  -- Relaxed with shopping and then later a whale watching Sea Cruise out of Plettenberg Bay.

 In Israel Jacqui creates these beautiful pieces of art.
 I think that Jacqui is inspired by her own children when she paints these
 Ally goes off in a howling gale to Sundays River. We are all concerned but she reminds us: "I am 20 you know!"
 Michael takes Tom and Emily to a run in Zichron Yakov
 Tom runs his first race ever 2.5km.  And wins a medal
 Cathy builds a Puppet show for Blake.  This puppet is the narator
Blake creates stories in the finger / stick puppet stage.

Tuesday 12th
We are all up at 3am.  Pack and leave Plett to be at the PE Airport by 7am.  Craig; Miki; Izabella; Azryn and Elexzia leave for the Kruger where they are to spend the last 4 days of their holiday before returning to Nebraska in Mid West USA.
 Sketch done by Lady Elizabeth Donkin.  Her initials can be seen on the rock which is being used as a chair.
 This is a sketch by Lady Donkin. Drawn when she was Elizabeth Frances Markham.  Her initials can be seen on the stone on which the artists sits. She was born in 1790 and died in 1818. Her grave is in St John's cemetery; Meerut, India.
John and Mel on the Lighthouse Lookout.
I have a short break before picking up Mel and John from UK.  They were with Alan on Monday for an Addo Safari and this morning we look at the Historical and Cultural sites of Port Elizabeth.
Mel discovers something that I have missed for the past two years.  A sketch done by Lady Elizabeth Donkin that is in the Castle Hill Museum sitting room. We also visit the Lighthouse and Campanile making it a good morning of exercise. 
Nils and Trina -- Denmark -- Picnic lunch at Jacks in Addo.
This afternoon I meet Nils and Trina at the Yacht Club.  They spent the morning with Rod on the Stampede.  We have an Addo Safari this afternoon and are fortunate (At long distance) to spot a Rhino early on the drive. We go on to see good sightings of Elephant close up as well as a Buffalo. Towards the end of the afternoon we see two male lions also at a distance close to Rooidam.

Wednesday morning -- swimming with Megan -- I do 1200m and she swims about 2km. 
 Thursday morning -- Target Kloof run with Steff; Adrienne and Chris.
 Michael; Priska and baby Rosa at Jacks Picnic area.
 We see this spotted Hyena next to its lair where she has a brood of babies.
 Adrienne and I run the Grassroof Sardinia Bay parkrun this afternoon
Here I am with Adrienne doing the Parkrun at Sardinia bay.
Thursday 14th.  Run Target Kloof with Chris and the group. Pick up Michael and Priska with baby Rosa for an Addo Safari.  I am sure that Rosa is the youngest child I have ever taken to Addo.  A delightful baby. 
Late this afternoon Adrienne and I run the Grassroof Sardinia Bay Parkrun.  Helpers Run.
Rogerio, Insa, Maria, Tatiana and Paul at the Algoa Bay Lookout in Addo
Friday 15th.  Swimming with Megan at the Newton Park Pool.  I had cramps in the night so swim just 1000m while Megan whips up a quick 1500m
Addo with Rogerio and Maria from Brazil;  Tatiana and Insa from Germany. Paul, also German, joined us at the last minute. 
Ally takes the Nissan and drives to Cape St Francis where she stays with Lara Odendaal. Always a worry for us when she is on the open road alone.
Saturday Morning.  Start the day with a 5k with Chris, Amanda, Adrienne, Stefany and Maria. 
Adrienne, Daniel and I then go off to Sardinia bay (Grassroof) to run Parkrun.  Adrienne is an official. Daniel and I finish together.
Also at parkrun today -- Johan the photographer; Di Nelson and her friend from Summies -- Tatiana; Gaynor and Roy; Tony Boardman; Bruce and Paulette and Percy; Treloar Childs and Mother.

Sardinia Bay parkrun results for event #38. Your time was 00:34:44.

Congratulations on completing your 56th parkrun and your 5th at Sardinia Bay parkrun today. You finished in 53rd place and were the 40th male out of a field of 248 parkrunners and you came 1st in your age category VM65-69. Take a look at this week's full set of results on our website. Your PB at Sardinia Bay parkrun remains 00:32:32.
This afternoon I have a city Tour. Jamiu is a Nigerian doctor in Johannesburg here on Holiday with his wife Delene and son Kyan.  Also a seaman Amit from India.

Sunday morning. 
We sort out some documents and logistics for Ally's trip to Israel and England.  As well as Barbara's trip to New Zealand.
I pick up David and Shirleen for their Shamwari Safari at Bayethe.  A rough drive in misty rain and insane drivers. Then the Dirt Road to Bayethe is full of pot holes and so becomes a very slow drive.
Monday.. I swim with Megan.  This morning is the first time that I swim 1500m without putting my feet down.  I cannot say non stop as I slow down after each 100m to turn.
 Today we had a real treat with this rhino .... shy but we saw it a couple of times as it emerged from the bush and onto the road.
Here the Rhino was close to the car.  The horn is cut short and there appears to be a blue dye on the horns.  It was moving quite fast and soon disappeared into the bush.
 Didiliana and Anel -- Picnic lunch at Jacks
Monday 18th I have an Addo Safari with Didiana (Macedonia) and Anel (Kazakhstan)  Aqua Marine -- Algoa lookout .  With an Elephant not more than 20m away.
Tuesday... Fetch David and Shirleen from Bayethe and drive to Plett with stops at Tsitsikamma and Blaaukrans. 
Ally about to leave for Israel.  At the PE airport. Flight short delay.  Then in JHB she is stopped and interrogated by passport control and Michael is phoned in Israel. But in the end all good and she passed their rigorous security controls.
At last -- Ally is cuddling up with her nieces and nephew after a VERY emotional greeting by Jacqui.
Ally arrives in Israel... Tel Aviv.  Clears passport control and then by train to Binyamina where Michael fetches her.  Jacqui has not been told of her coming so it is a huge and emotional surprise for Jacqui.  But within minutes its as if Ally belongs there spending time with the family.

I am in Plett staying at the Albergo Backpackers.  I meet Megan for a Robberg Beach Run on Thursday morning and we find five dead seal pups -- one with a green tag number 0364.  We also find what turns out to be the Egg Casing of a Cape Elephantfish.

Friday morning -- Leave Plett at 4am for Shark Cage Diving in Mossel Bay.   I agree to go on the boat and am horribly ill.  Later we drive to Hermanus.
Saturday morning -- Parkrun in Hermanus.  They have a little "office" where they keep themselves busy
There is even a Key Board in the Office

This will be my 6 or 7th Parkrun venue.
There is a huge group of people. I asked their maximum number and they said in the whale season they had 650 runners
And they stream in to the start of this parkrun
After the run... A good festive vibe.

This run turns out to be a toughy.  We start in a Westerly direction and then are soon climbing a hill.  Up for a while then a steep down.  From there there is a series of climbs..   I lose track of the time and distance but I know that I am sucking air.
Finally I see the One Kay to go.  They use wood carvings for their direction markers. And they have a Water Bowl at about half way for the dogs.
At the one kay to go we start a climb and then head towards the finish.  I think that they have miscalculated as I know that we have not run a kay. But I was wrong.  There is a detour and we have another uphill and up and up. Finally down.  No.... More ups to the finish.  Nasty course but worthwhile.
I hope I can do it again soon.
When I receive the results I see that there were over 750 runners today while I had asked earlier the highest number had been 650.  Yay -- parkrun rules.

 At 4k I am thinking we are nearly finished .... But there are still some serious hills to be done before we finish.
When you see the word HILL... Know that you are going to be climbing some toughies!
Hermanus parkrun results for event #111. Your time was 00:32:07.
Congratulations on completing your 57th parkrun and your 1st at Hermanus parkrun today. You finished in 179th place and were the 141st male out of a field of 768 parkrunners and you came 4th in your age category VM65-69. Take a look at this week's full set of results on our website. Well done on your first parkrun. We have set this as your PB.
Saturday morning -- Hermanus Parkrun and then drive to Agulhas and Struisbaai where their Springfield farm houses estate is.
I take the road to Stanford and then on towards Gans Baai.  Turn left at Grootbos and then the dirt road short cut to Elim.  Here turn left towards Bredasdorp but continue on the dirt road to Springfield and Struisbaai.
 Elim is this neat row of houses near to Bredasdorp.  It is on the road from Gansbaai to Bredasdorp.
Patrick and Marianne have the old Milking shed for their room.  A single room where they create a Kitchen, Dining Room, Sitting Room, Study and two bedrooms and fortunately the bathroom is closed.
The Stoep of their house is a sunny area on the east side and moderately sheltered from wind.
Meet Patrick; Marianne and Thomas.  They are staying with the greater family -- 27 people for dinner.  Patrick is in the old Milking Shed. A single room made into two rooms; dining area; Kitchen and Bathroom.  Very cosy.
Patrick; Thomas and I drive to the beach and walk to where we see some kite surfers.  We meet Sheila and Alex also walking the beach.
After a delicious lunch of freshly baked bread and Tuna I have a lie down before dinner.

Saturday afternoon -- Patrick and I walk up to the Windmill which draws water from an underground source and pumps it into the Reservoir which is currently about half full.

 Up on the hill behind the homes is an array of colour. Pincushion Protea.
 Purple flowers.
 Patrick adds to a Cairn.
White flowers in the Coastal Fynbos.

Saturday evening at Springfield with Maria the Head Cook and Head Housekeeper; Marianne; Cara and Patrick
Peter And Patrick in the communal Braai and Swimpool area
I was able to find a couple of bottles of Springfield Wine.  Whole Berry.
Springfield Wines... I understand the name of the wine came about as the Agulhas Springfield estates family was friends with the Robertson wine making family.

Set in the heart of the mountain-ringed Robertson Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa, Springfield Estate is a family-run wine farm owned by ninth-generation descendants of French Huguenots, who came to South Africa from the Loire in 1688 with bundles of vines under their arms. The present generation to tend the rocky Springfield soils, brother-and-sister team Abrie and Jeanette Bruwer,
The Dinner Table where we would later have our supper as well as a series of Family Traditional Games such as the Mafia; Angel and Villagers Game.  Also the Celebrity guess who game. These games took us till late to finish.
Patrick was head Braaier this evening. In the background is Roxie; Simon and Rebecca.
Simon and Caz.. we ran the 3.75kay to the T junction on Sunday morning.
These signs make finding Patricks Springfield home easy.  Brandfontein is the name of the beach 12km from Springfield.
At the Springfield Turn off.  You are able to see all the homes underneath the hills.
On my way back to Hermanus on Sunday morning... Elim after 20km of dirt road.
The Moravian Church gave this land to local people.  They now farm and live in this area in  clean and neat little town called Elim.
Emile is the local guide and will take you for a short tour.  He explains that the Moravian church owns and manages the whole town. There is no individual home ownership.
Many of Elim’s residents descend from slaves, who found their way to the town of Elim after slavery was abolished,  Here you can see the country’s only slave freedom memorial that stands just across the road from the Moravian church in front of the original school building Here in Elim there is a pattern to life. You are born, go to the local primary school, on to Bredasdorp to high school, and then you do set off for Cape Town. After this you are encouraged to marry a local and settle down again in one of the cottages, or at least return here to retire after your working career in Cape Town is over. 
To the left is Welgemoed and to the right is Gansbaai where I am headed and from there to Hermanus on the R43
Baardskeerderbos ___ Beard Shavers Bush. A little village with a single Restaurant. Marietjies.

 Garagister Brewery
 Nicky; Werner; Paulo; Isabelle and Steve (the Owner) wife.
 Pizza evening at Riebeek Kasteel
 Chris with a variety of toppings
Paulo Rolling the bases
I pick up my Guests -- David and Shirleen -- In Hermanus and with a stop at Betty's Bay to see penguins we drive to Sea Point (Bantry Bay) where I drop them off at the Clarendon Hotel and continue to Riebeek Kasteel where I meet up with Nicky; Werner; Paulo and Isabelle at the Garigisters Brewery. 
And then on to stay the night with Chris and Estelle.  Since I was last here they have built and extra house and cultivated the back yard into even more of a farm from which they harvest fresh produce and eggs.
This evening we have Pizza for supper -- Dough made by Estelle; Pizza bases rolled by Paulo; Toppings are optional and then baked in the Pizza Wood fired oven.  A variety of toppings from Ham to Vegan make this a delicious Supper.

Monday 25th.  Christmas Day.
Nicky and I start the day with a walk around Riebeek Kasteel.  We had planned to run but once we were in the groove of walking it became difficult to start running. A wonderful cool morning.

 Chris; Nicky and Estelle at Riebeek Kasteel
 Barbara; Isabel and Nicky at La Petit Ferme

 Lunch was simply amazing.  Far too much to eat but we took a total of about 5 hours from the time we arrived to when we left.  And then we had to take the Desert home in take aways. And only two bottles of wine through the whole afternoon
 The chefs showing off the desert
Isabel had a Vegetarian Dish.  So delicious.
 Nicky and Werner
 Nicky; Werner; Paulo; Barbara and Isabel
 Nicky; Werner; Peter; Barbara and Isabel
 Mountain in the background behind the farm house
Desert.. We took ours home as it was simply too much and too late to have it there.

Nicky and I drive to her house, off load the dog and some stuff and then go to the airport to fetch Barbara.
The three of us then go to Franschoek where Paulo and Werner are playing at the La Petit Ferme (The little farm) on the mountain side of the Franschoek Pass. An amazing setting.  We are there from about 12.00 to 17.00 -- listening to music, drinking wine and having a wonderful lunch which the restaurant gives us as the Musician Family.
This Christmas --- I do not often go for a run on Christmas day.  Today was a little different... Nicky and I decided to walk the five kays around the Riebeek Kasteel Village.  Then the full day at the La Petit Ferme was also a deviation from the norm as Barbara and I had not "opened presents" although she had done so earlier with Lene in Port Elizabeth.  Presents today, In Cape Town, were not a feature of Christmas.  Our day consisted of listening to and supporting Werner and Paulo as they entertained the diners.

Once Home, Nicky found some on line movies.  I promptly fell asleep.  Barbara watched for a while.  Nicky stayed the distance.

Ally and Jacqui (and her family) are staying with Michelle in London.
 Christmas lights in London
Jacqui and Michael sharing a coffee moment
London skyline behind Michael; Tom; Anabelle; Jacqui; Emily and Ally

 Michelle and Ally on an underground train.
 Tom; Michael; Ally; Emily and Annabelle on the High Street
 Chilly but the warmth of love warms them up.  Emily; Ally and Annablle
Emily and Ally share a foody moment.
 Zara sketched these two girls from a pic she had.
 In Port Elizabeth Jessica is playing bowls on Christmas day.
 Christmas eve with Joshua; Jessica; Lene and Daniel.
Jacqui; Ally and Annabelle with a street Christmas tree.
 Covent Gardents Market with Ally and family.
 Jacqui and Ally -- Such good friends -- A Christmas lane in London
 Ally taking care of Tom
 Michelle -- So kind to Jacqui and her family by taking care of them this Christmas.  And her love for Ally is clear in her invitation and hospitality.

 A real friendship between Jacqui and Michelle.
 The Christmas tree at Michelle's home

Blake loves his supermen toys.
Christmas in London with children and toys.

 Peter and Nicky at La Petit Ferme in Franschoek on Christmas day.
 Ally -- Tea in London.
 Nicky; Peter and Barbara loving the outdoors and the music of Werner and Paulo.
Nicky... Christmas day in Franschoek.
Werner loads a huge trolley of Vegetables and Fruit for the anticipated "pantry raid" of children
 Mia received a Christmas gift of a Lego Set.  It is this "dolls house" and she managed to complete it in just one day.
 Aaron had to build this Space Station with all kinds of moving parts and rocket launchers ... He too built it on the same day he received it.
Driving to PE through Du Toits Kloof. The Hugeunot Tunnel.  The mountains in this area are quite spectacular.  The road takes me to Worcester; Robertson; Ashton; Swellendam and on to the N2 back to Mossel Bay and George before it becomes dark and I drive the last 3 - 4 hours in the dark.
On Wednesday 27th; This morning we visit the Access Park in Cape Town.  Here we find the Go karts Track where everyone has a go at karting. I was surprised to see how quickly Christian, Aaron and Zara take to this. Werner takes Mia on a tandem Kart. As the day progresses, I realise that there are all kinds of things to be done at home.  The most pressing is the work for Dole where there are complications and a real urgency created by the long weekend of Christmas and boxing day.  Elmarie had assisted me doing the printing and delivery of documents.  So at 4pm I decide to leave for home.  I had a half idea of sleeping over somewhere but as I drove on I decided to simply press on.  The drive with two stops for coffee, took me 8 and a half hours. I arrived home just before 1am.
Thursday 28th.  I have to sort out the Dole stuff -- Which I am finally able to clear by midday.  I receive a request for a City Tour with a family of three.

Friday 29th.
Jacqui and Ally are by now back in Israel.  Barbara is in Cape Town with Nicky and will leave for NZ this afternoon.  I have an Addo Tour.  I decide to leave early as there are now long lines at the gates.

Barbara leaves for New Zealand on 29th
Flying Qatar Airlines... Later reports a comfortable flight
Ally is in Israel with Jacqui; Anabelle' Tom and Emily
Ally and Tom fooling around
Long Line of cars at the entrance to Addo
Wounded buffalo -- I wonder if the Lions will find this animal
Barbara and Ally give me a Comment Book -- This is my first day and first entries.
 Blake goes to the Airport to meet his Granny
 Barbara relaxing with Cathy
 Cathy always looking at her best
 Nicky has this mischievous look while Werner prepares the New Years Eve supper
Ally with her family in Israel.. Jacqui; Emily and Anabelle

Bob; Gill; Laura; Elizabeth; Eunic and Peter... Travelling on the Crystal Symphony -- In Addo with me today.

 New Years Eve with Chris; Gerald; Peter; Adrienne; Di and Stewart Hill; Barry and Joan Malborough; Pat and Elmarie
 Chris; Ronel; Gerald; Peter and Adrienne
 A wounded Buffalo at Lismore -- Could be a Lions meal soon?
 Warthog Piglets -- two families.
Bente; Emily; Leona and Christina with me at Addo.  Lunch at Jacks Picnic Spot.

Sunday 31st December
I collect two families from the PE Harbour -- Crystal Symphony
We do a successful Addo Tour... Very hot at Hapoor so we cant stay long but hundreds of Elephants are gathered there.
Later Adrienne has invited us for a New Years eve Celebration at their home.

And so Ends 2017
Looking forward to 2018

Addo Elephant Park  -- Guided Tours by Peter Giddy Guided Tours.  Port Elizabeth.