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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moholoholo Activities

Hand-carved and decorated bowls
As part of the South Africa Expedition, Coyote Trails wants to introduce students  to the Shangan culture, so on August 7 we climbed into the rental car and traveled to the Shangan Cultural Village.  On our way we stopped at several points to view the scenery, and to do a little bit of shopping for lovely things to bring home. I was much taken with these handsome bowls we found at one stop. 
The Three Rondevels
Moholoholo Reserve is under the eastern edge of the Drakensburg Escarpment (a steep uprising along a fault), and the village is up over the top and to the west.  The scenery was awesome, including this view overlooking The Three Rondevels (a rondevel being a small round, thatch-roofed African house).   
A eucalyptus plantation

Along the way we saw eucalyptus plantations, from which are logged the slim poles used in building houses and other structures. The poles are the trunks of the spindly trees, 2"-5" in diameter.

We also stopped at a place called The Potholes, if I remember correctly, a magnificently carved stretch of stone carved by the Blyde River (that's pronounced Blee-deh) into swirly shapes. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it.
The Shangan Cultural Village

Arriving at the Shangan Cultural Village, we were given a tour of the village, including a talk on the family structure of the village, which consists of a chief, his many wives and their children.  
The Shangan shaman
The photo shows the communal cook house and one of the lesser wives' houses, I believe.  I could envision a swarm of children playing amongst wives pounding maize to make "pap", a sort of stiff polenta porridge). 

But there were no children there ~ only our guide, the chief, and the shaman, whom we were taken to visit.  After our tour, we were served a traditional meal, which we were advised to eat with our fingers. I  enjoyed scooping up the pap (it's pretty bland, but not bad) cooked vegetables, and other food, then licking my fingers ~ it does create much more of a connection with the food, somehow.
House with a rondevel in the rear

On our drive back, I noticed that many of the small houses, many of them built square with wood and with metal roofs, had small round rondevels in the back yard as a connection with their old village roots.  You can see one in this suburb of Klaserie (I think that's where I took it).

I examine the dung beetle for sketching
Sandy studies tracks on her laptop
That night, tired but driven by our respective agendas, Sandy studied tracks which she had uploaded to her computer, and I sketched the dung beetle Joe had found earlier. This picture was taken by Sandy, as I examined the beetle under magnification with my botanical loupe. Both of us were snuggled down into the covers on our beds. By the way, if you want to see more of Sandy's photos, look here:  Sandy's Photos 
The boat down the Blyde

Another suggested activity for the Expedition  was tubing down the Blyde River.
The Three Rondevels from the river
Johann, Alessandra and I weren't into tubing, (well, Johann might have been), and we decided to check out the river via a boat trip. The water was a luminous green and the scenery was spectacular. 
Cormorant nestlings
 I particularly enjoyed the colony of nesting cormorants at the far end of the trip under the cliffs.  Even though it was winter, they were raising their young in nests perched on the limbs of dead trees.  The water was warm enough for tubing, I think, although cool and bracing, for sure!

Nyala buck and doe at waterhole
 Our time was almost over at Moholoholo Mountain View. Joe and Sandy had earned their tracking certificates; Johann and Alessandra were scheduled to return to the States; and I was booked at Marc's Treehouse for my 11th day in South Africa. 
Giant millipede sketch
I spent my last morning frantically sketching whatever I could, including this giant millipede Sandy had found in several pieces out in the bush. 

Grey Duiker at the rehab center
 And then, I was driven down to the Moholoholo Rehab Center, where I had some time to photograph this sweet little grey duiker (DIE-kur) female and draw the beautiful Serval cat while I waited for my ride to Marc's Treehouse to arrive.   

And that's the end of today's entry!  Next time you can come along with me to dwell in a charming treehouse high above the Klaserie River.

1 comment:

Iris said...

Sandy could be your daughter! She looks like you!

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