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Showing posts with label Photo Blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photo Blog. Show all posts

Giants Castle Nature Reserve - Central Drakensberg South


A Scenic Drive Towards The Giants Castle Nature Reserve...

Turning off from the Estcourt N3, winding through Wembezi ...




Giant's Castle is a mountain peak in the southern African Drakensberg in KwaZulu Natal. Giants Castle offers visitors to the regions hiking opportunities with panoramic views. The Nature Reserve offers secluded accommodation, bushman rock art with easy access for everyone and about the best base to start a Drakensberg hiking experience. The area is one of many of South Africa's adventure areas, and plays host to the Giants Challenge MTB marathon in April each year.

Lying at the southern end of the central Drakensberg Giant’s Castle, which gets its name from the outline of the peaks and escarpment that combine to resemble the profile of a sleeping giant, is essentially a grassy plateau that nestles among the deep valleys of this part of the Drakensberg.(Wikipedia)




Giants Castle Game Reserve is considered the home of the eland as well as the bearded vulture. Another Giants Castle highlight is the superb bushman rock art at main caves which is easy to get to and well presented.(Wikipedia). Formerly the renowned Lammergeier Hide was open for visitors to watch bearded vultures and other endangered bird species. This facility has since fallen into disrepair. (Wikipedia)





The Giants Castle Campsite and Chalets offer the best Base for all Eager Hikers and Climbers wishing to venture deeper into the Drakensberg Mountains. The Bushmans River can be fished for many Kilometers however only Fly Fishing is Allowed... Giants Castle Fly Fishing



The iZimbali Restaurant provides delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners with comfort, cleanliness, warmth....






Drakensberg Hiking Trails from Giants Castle ...

There are in excess of 25 walks in the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve. The 285 kilometres (177 mi) network of trails here includes 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to 30 kilometres (19 mi) hikes, spanning from 1 hour to overnight.

There are currently 14 recognized escarpment passes in the region (listed north to south):

Corner Pass
Around the Corner Pass (variation route on Corner Pass with alternative summit) 
Judge Pass 
Gypaetus Pass (opened in September 2012) 
Bannerman Pass 
Thumb Pass 
North Hlubi Pass 
South Hlubi Pass 
Langalibalele Pass 
Bond Pass (opened in 2014) 
North Jarding/Jarateng Pass 
Central Jarding/Jarateng Pass 
South Jarding/Jarateng Pass 
Giant's Castle Pass...

The Bushman’s River Trail is one of the most popular walks in the reserve. Points of interest along this route include Sandstone View and the historic Rock 75, where a cook from the 75th Regiment on Foot carved the figure 75 into a boulder during the Langalibalele rebellion in 1874. The highlight of this trail is the Main Caves, with one of the best known rock-art sites in South Africa... (wikipedia).




Article by: GeoSol Earth Staff  

Contact us if you want to be featured on our Earth Blog - GeoSolEarth Contact


A Gorgeous Drive through the Central Drakensberg - South Africa - Towards the Cayley Lodge Resort and Monks Cowl - Fishing can be done at Bell Park Dam as well as Drakensberg Sun - The Yummy Valley Bakery as well as the world famous Waffle Hut are must stops. 







Central Drakensberg Adventure Through Winterton



A Gorgeous Drive through the Central Drakensberg - South Africa - Towards the Cayley Lodge Resort and Monks Cowl - Fishing can be done at Bell Park Dam as well as Drakensberg Sun - The Yummy Valley Bakery as well as the world famous Waffle Hut are must stops.



The Best Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menu can be found at Drakensberg Sun. Other resorts include Champagne Sports Resort, Dragons Peak and Monks Cowl Campsites, Champagnes Castle Hotel, Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort for Golf and Relaxation Sunsets - Cathedral Peak Hotel and the Didima Campsite.



The World Famous Drakensberg Boys Choir lies En-route. Cathkin Estates allows investors to purchase a small piece of this paradise for the price of a body part. So if you can afford the home you will die a happy soul.






The Monks Cowl Campsite allows hikers and climbers to venture deeper and higher into the Drakensberg Mountains. It is also the last of the Tar Road as 4x4s would now be required to progress further.






Article by: GeoSol Earth Staff 

Contact us if you want to be featured on our Earth Blog - GeoSolEarth Contact




Tugela Ferry - Msinga - Muden Adventure

The Kwazulu-Natal Department of Public Works has undertaken a school sanitation project to construct new toilet blocks for male and female, grade R learners and teachers in the Umzinyathi District Municipality located within the Kwazulu-Natal province.

Various schools were identified within the Muden, Tugela Ferry and Msinga areas for geotechnical investigation studies. The Ramgoolam Group together with Naidu Consulting Engineers have requested Geotechnical Solutions (Pty) Ltd to carry out geotechnical investigation studies for selected schools.

Here is our Adventure...




Tugela Ferry is a town on the northern bank of the Tugela River, in central KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. During the apartheid era it formed part of the KwaZulu homeland, and at present it is included in the Umzinyathi District Municipality....

Schools included:



GeoSolutions List of Learner Schools
Emachunwini - Holwane - Mzomusha - Ntshishili - Sibumba - Nomaqulu - Bethulo - Pano - KusaKusa - Zizi - Osuthu - Mabedlana - Nomahaye - Makhankana  - Mfunzi - Zimiseleni - Mhlangezulu - Mhlumba - Kwavulamehlo - Gayisani - Phumela - Mpikayizekanye - Fabeni - Ngongolo - Mabizela - Nkamba - Mbondweni - Mfenebude - Umbonje - St Benards Julwayo - Mashunka - Ntokozweni - Themane - Nyoniyezwe - Kwazenzele - Emkhuphula - Mathinta - Mpompolwana - Bhekabantu




The Stories were endless and the little learners provided us with tons of comfort and warmth. Clean Drinking Water remains a problem as most schools and learners have none. The delivery of water is totally reliant on water trucks which seem to speed past the schools with little consideration for the children.





Emkhuphula Learners with the most stories... There are Zero to No Maths and Science Teachers.






The areas are deep rural and forgotten by the big city politicians....
The schools and areas are lacking electricity, water, roads and sanitation...


Our Geotechnical Solutions Crew...


Geotechnical Investigations - Compaction Testing - Mod AASHTO - Soil Grading Analysis - Atterberg Limits - DCP Testing - Concrete Cube Crushing - Concrete Strength Testing - Block Strength Testing - Water Quality Testing...



More Adventure Videos... GeoSolutions Adventure Videos


Lions Rock Bigcat Sanctuary - Bethlehem - South Africa

On Safari at Lions Rock Bigcat Sanctuary located in Bethlehem, Free State Province, South Africa...

The location is Really Stunning... As part of FOUR PAWS’ work for wild animals in captivity, we focus on the situation of big cats in zoos, in private captivity and in the entertainment industry. The area was was taken over by FOUR PAWS in 2006. During the early days at the newly acquired big cat sanctuary, huge demands were placed on the local team. Massive structural changes had to be made to the area to bring up to FOUR PAWS´ rigorous quality standards










LIONSROCK is also home to a variety of game - Wildebeests Blesbuck, Burchell’s Zebra, Duiker, Eland, Impala, Letchwe, Mountain Reedbuck, Red Hartebeest, Reedbuck, Springbuck, Steenbuck and Waterbuck. There is also a wide variety of bird species that have found refuge on the farm.



Other Big Cats include Tigers... All cats have been rescued ... Four Paws...






Zaheer Bux - Youtube
Zaheer Bux - Twitter




London at Night


London is a city that has seen considerable change in the last 20 years. Of course, many of the capital’s most notable buildings such as St. Paul’s and the Palace of Westminster have been around for centuries, but two decades ago there was no London Eye (completed in 2000), no Gherkin (completed in 2003) and no Shard (completed in 2012)… not even a Millennium Dome, of course.

A great time to see the city’s changing skyline is at night so, armed with my DSLR and some warm clothing I headed down to London to spend a few days unearthing some of London’s most iconic views after dark. But of course I wanted to enjoy some of the best bars and restaurants that London offers while I was there, so I connected my American Express card to my TripAdvisor account and sought out recommendations through its network of exclusive ‘Amex Traveller’ reviews, which you can access along with some great ‘top 10’ content for major world cities and a range of offers.

Cheval Three Quays

Whilst on assignment, I stayed at a beautifully appointed two bedroom serviced corner apartment at Cheval Three Quays. This has to be one of the best views from any accommodation in London. Below to my left, I had the Tower of London and to my right a view of the Shard and, to the far right in the distance, I could see the top of the London Eye. But straight ahead of me was the highlight – a superb view of the Tower Bridge.



With two outside balconies to choose from, I could have simply sat and watched all night as boats drifted up and down the River Thames. Instead, though, I was had a quest ahead of me… to find other great views that were a match for this one!

Vertigo 42 Champagne Bar

Dusk is a magical time to observe the city transform from day to night, and a great location to see this happen is at Vertigo 42, on the 42nd floor of Tower 42. You’ll have to take two lifts to get there, changing on the 23rd floor, as well as climb just one flight of stairs, but this bar is well worth the visit for the views alone. You can get a close-up view of the Gherkin which is only a stone’s throw away as well as an amazing panorama of the heart of the city.



To help you with your orientation, the words ‘tower’, ‘bank’, ‘big ben’, ‘eye’, ‘st pauls’, ‘bt tower, ‘wembley’, ‘barbican’, etc. are etched in the glass table that surrounds the bar. Whilst you settle down and get your bearings, it would be rude not to choose from the unique collection of Champagnes, wines and cocktails. They even have a tapas menu should you be feeling a little peckish.



Tate Modern

Tate Modern is pretty much directly opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic buildings. Entry to the gallery is free and if you head for Level 3, you will find a balcony offering a wonderful view across the River Thames. Note that the gallery closes at 6pm most days so if you want to see this view at night, you will need to be prompt. Alternatively, visit on a Friday or Saturday when the opening hours are extended until 10pm.



If you’re out of luck, then the view from nearby Millennium Bridge isn’t a bad alternative.



London Eye

For stunning views of the city – day or night – the London Eye is a must. A single revolution takes around 20-30 minutes but the time seems to fly by as there is so much to look at and take in.



Please note that you are not allowed to take tripods, multiple lenses or long lenses on to the capsules so taking good photographs, particularly at night when there can be lots of reflections coming back off the glass, can be a little challenging. (If you do happen to have a tripod, don’t worry… there is the means to hand it in for safekeeping and then claim it back after the ride.)



Make sure you also visit the 4D experience either before or after your ride as it is included in your ticket. This is a groundbreaking three minute 3D film with spectacular in-theatre effects including wind, bubbles and mist which add a breathtaking fourth dimension.

Paramount

I’d heard great reports about the views at Paramount and it didn’t disappoint. Located at the top of Centre Point, on the 32nd floor, you are in for a real treat here. There is a viewing gallery on the uppermost 33rd floor, accessed by a single flight of stairs. This offers truly 360-degree panoramas (you can walk right the ay around) with near-floor-to-ceiling windows and occasional clusters of low seating where you can relax and quite literally drihnk in the views.







Speak to the very friendly and approachable Marco, the head barman at Paramount, who’s responsible for about 80% of the cocktails on the menu. And they each have a story… pictured is the Femme Fatale – which he told me is “everything he looks for in a woman” – but on the menu is described as “Mysterious and seductive whose charms ensnare, this base of Bowmore 12 year old boasts a higher proportion of sherry-matured malt in its make-up which together with St Germain Elderflower cordial, lemon juice and egg white, and garnished with an edible flower makes a tantalising temptress.”



Westminster Bridge

Of course, you don’t have to scale tall buildings to enjoy some of the best views of London. If you don’t really have a head for heights, the views from Westminster Bridge at night – whichever direction you choose to look – rival those from some of London’s highest landmarks. From here there’s a great view of the National Theatre lit up in different colours, the London Eye and the chain of lights along the South Bank.



OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie

At the top of London’s famous OXO Tower is a restaurant, bar and brasserie. Formerly a power station for the Post Office, the building was saved from demolition in the 1970s and 1980s, you can now dine in this 8th floor restaurant and from there enjoy access to a long terrace overlooking the banks of the Thames.



Whist you enjoy the views, the restaurant offers a fine dining experience with beautifully presented, modern, seasonal British dishes with an innovative twist. For a special treat, try the roast Chateaubriand for two, with beef fat chips, béarnaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon salad.

Radio Rooftop Bar

Located on the 10th floor of the ME London hotel is the lovely Radio Rooftop Bar and is another bar with superb views of the city. From a fairly expansive terrace, the panorama takes in Tower Bridge, the Shard, London Bridge, Saint Paul’s, Tate Modern, Somerset House, Southbank, the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and the Theatre District of Covent Garden.



As well as the drinks and wide selection of cocktails, there’s a choice of international tapas (try the calamari or the goats cheese crostini) and a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere.

Palace of Westminster

Finally, one of the most iconic views in the world. If you aren’t one for heights, the view from the opposite bank to the Palace of Westminster is a sight to behold at night, with the glow of the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower (more commonly referred to as Big Ben) reflected in the Thames.






Alternatively, venture on to the bridge, armed with a tripod, and see what you can capture as the vehicles trundle by.



Enjoy these views, and do let me know what you consider to be the best views in London. Don’t forget to visitwww.americanexpress.co.uk/tripadvisor if you have an American Express card and would like to find out more about the content and offers.


 on Dec 29, 2014                                        A Luxury Travel Blog

Australia's Most Dangerous Animals

I've wanted to visit and live Australia for as long as I can remember. The weather is always beautiful, and the word "snow" pretty much doesn't exist. I've known plenty of people who have moved there from Canada. Once they go, they never want to come back. And if they come back? They want to be in Australia again.

Then there are the crazy things in Australia. I would tell you but it's easier to just show you. Here are 30 photos proving Australia is the most insane place.

1. In Australia, pythons eat flying foxes.

Pythons eating everything. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via imgur 


2. Pythons in Australia are so big, they can pick up wallabies, which can grow up to 41 inches high and weigh up to 53 pounds (24 kilos)!

Pythons so big they can lift wallabies. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via reddit /u/PostModernPost


3. Snakes are on the loose in shops. 

Pythons on the loose in op shops. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Huffington Post


4. Snakes are in toilets.

Snakes on the loose inside toilets. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via imgur


5. A snake eating iguana, which grow up to six feet. 

Snakes eating goannas. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via reddit /u/1eyed

6. Snakes are seriously everywhere, like golf courses.

Snakes on golf courses. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via reddit /u/Montey187
Advertisement


7. Two words: Flying. Foxes.

20 Unbelievably Giant Animals 6 - https://www.facebook.com/different.solutions.page - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Diply

8. Sharks swim at golf courses.

Sharks eating golfers. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Sky News

9. In Australia, Great White Sharks love to surf.

Great White Sharks surfing. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Fear Beneath

10. Same with crocodiles.

Crocodiles surfing. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via ABC

11. Crocodiles, they're like snakes in Australia: everywhere!

Crocodiles in swimming enclosures. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via imgur

12. I mean, they're in creeks...

Crocodiles in creeks. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Facebook / Meanwhile In Australia

13. On the streets...

Crocodiles in the street. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Facebook / Meanwhile In Australia

14. Inside a snake's stomach...

Crocodiles EATEN by snakes. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via ABC Queensland

15. Sometimes they're just simply enormous. 

Just goddamn MASSIVE crocs. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Rex USA

16. What a paralysis tick looks like before and after eating.

Paralysis ticks. Before and after feeding. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Murdoch University
Advertisement

17. Spiders grow like flowers.

Spiders. Lots of spiders. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via Reuters / Daniel Munoz

18. Army men found a bucket of Sydney funnel-web spider, which are some of the most venomous spiders in the world.

Bucket full of funnel web spiders collected from a Blue Mountains campsite: each one can deliver a fatal bite. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via reddit /u/spotty82

19. Flies...there are A LOT of them.

Flies. Lots of flies. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via imgur

20. Same with millipedes.

Plagues of millipedes. - https://www.facebook.com/diplyofficial
via imgur
Advertisement






Gold Exploration - Central Rand Goldfield - Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG'S gold mining industry was established when a large gold reef was accidentally discovered on a remote farm in 1886, triggering a massive gold rush by thousands of speculators.
Within 10 years, there was a fully fledged town on the same spot; within 30 years it was South Africa's largest city. Today Johannesburg is Africa's biggest city, ringed by the deepest gold mines in the world.





The City of Johannesburg is littered with Defunct shafts, Old Mine Workings and Mine Waste Dumps... all a history to the name Egoli - The City of Gold... The Powerhouse of #Africa...
The two towers...
The Central Rand Goldfield
Consolidated Main Reef - Diamond Drilling - Bird Reef
Diamond Drilling - Consolidated Main Reef - Kimberley Reef
Crown Mines



RC Drilling - Crown Mines











Ai Ais and the Richtersveld

If you have not been to the Ai Ais and Richtersveld Transfrontier Park then it should be on your bucket list! The area is nothing like anything else on this planet and in fact at times you feel like you are not on earth at all. The only thing that makes you realize that you are indeed still grounded is the familiar sounds of birds chirping, the sun embracing your shoulders and the bright blue sky above your head.
richtersveld-views
I could not count the amount of times I mumbled “gosh” and then had to remember to breathe as my brain struggled to make sense of my surroundings.
sunset
The Richtersveld is regarded as the only Arid Biodiversity Hotspot on Earth with an astonishing variety of plant, bird and animal life of which much is endemic. The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere and a wonderful sight to behold. We sat on the edge of the canyon eating lunch and telling stories of wild horses and a German war grave.
fish-river-canyon
The German war grave is that of Second Lieutenant Thilo von Trotha who died in the canyon in 1905 during a confrontation between German soldiers and native Namas (one of South Africa’s earliest known people). We discussed the origins of the wild horses and some speculated that they were left by the German Soldiers after the war however it seems a more plausible explanation was that the origins of the Fish River Canyon horses can be traced back to a farm in the canyon area that I believe was called Kochas. It is said that the farmer, a Mr Pieters, brought horses into the canyon in the ’70s and as it was impossible to fence off the area, the horses soon escaped and became wild. Some forty years later approximately thirty horses live in the Fish River Canyon. They live as their long lost ancestors did, wild and free.
canyon
The area is a favourite amongst nature lovers and much of it is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles, something that is a blessing as you trundle along alone in the wilderness. In fact at first glance you do not see anything other than the vast and beautiful landscape. Though barren and desolate, closer examination reveals the area to be rich in desert life forms, with an array of unique species specially adapted for survival.
richtersveld
It’s as important to look down at one’s feet, as it is to look out into the horizon. When one does look down the ground is littered with animal spore. We saw the tracks of leopard, wild cat, antelope, mongoose, monkey, baboon and then a what looked like the drunken party of numerous smaller critters. I could not help but sit and wonder where each was going and what their story was.
beetlewormbirds
At night I would setup my camera trap to see who would come and visit. At the Kokerboomkloof campsite I placed the camera, on some boulders, right next to our tent and that evening we had a visit from an African wild cat that we had no idea was in the area. How much we miss.
wild-cat
Sitting and looking at the landscape I would often wonder how these 650 something plant species manage to survive. One can see from the unusual shapes and colours that the plants in the Richtersveld have developed the most extraordinary adaptation strategies to the harsh climate. The kokerboom or quiver tree is just the most wonderful plant and is known as Choje to the indigenous San people. The quiver tree gets its name from the San’s practice of hollowing out the tubular branches to form quivers for their arrows. Then there is the rather bulbous butter tree or botterboom that looks like a miniature baobab and always brought a smile to my face. If it had cheeks you would want to pinch them!
richtersveld-tree
The other unique and rather special “tree” is the halfmens. Legend has it that the Richtersveld halfmens derives its name from the ancestors of the Bushmen who were driven south by warlike tribes from the north. Some turned to look back across the Orange River and were turned into halfmens or half people, forever gazing northwards. It is said that when the spines on the halfmens stem are stroked, the plant produces a series of clicking sounds that is said to mimic the clicks of the Nama language. I tried this but think the sounds I heard were more as a result of my imagination, as just sitting by one of these trees and considering the legend conjures up a whole host of images and feelings.
trees
As wonderful and awe inspiring as the nature is, the added joy of the journey was the people we shared it with. Friends and strangers, we shall all hold this time together in a special place in our hearts. You also realise after punctures, breakdowns and getting stuck in deep sand that this is an area in which one should not travel alone. Not only for the reason that you may need to be towed or share water, but also to be able to say “gosh look at that….” and then hear the chorus of murmurs.
sunset-richtersveld
Find a way to go and if you need a traveling companion to come with to help you find firewood, give me a call. We will have stories to tell around many a campfire.
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Mike Visagie
I am an explorer, poet and photographer who's passion is not only to explore the world in which we live but also our own inner world's. I do the later by working within the field of organisational psychology and human development. My own exploration is done either by sitting still, deep in thought or moving forward, camera in hand and a smile on my face. I know no better place on earth than the African bush shared with friends. See my website here.
- See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/ai-ais-and-the-richtersveld/#sthash.vzIGuBtI.dpuf