Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 97th birthday. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, or ‘Madiba’ as he is affectionately known, may not be here anymore in person, but it is heartwarming to see how he lives on in everybody’s lives.
To commemorate the 67 years Mandela has fought for social justice, Mandela Day is actually a global call to action to recognize that each individual has the power to change the world into a better place, the ability to make an impact. The Mandela Day campaign message is: “Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes.”
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” – Nelson Mandela
Mandela Day was recognized in a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly.
If you go to Mandela Day’s website (www.mandeladay.com) there is an overview of things you could do, activities you could join, or just general ideas of what you can do to make this world a better place.
If you happen to be in New York City this month, you can join in the festivities for the whole month! New York is celebrating the birth of Nelson Mandela with a series of volunteer opportunities in New York City during the month of July which are jointly being coordinated by South African Tourism and the South African Consulate General.
Mandela will be commemorated with a schedule of events created in the spirit of Mandela’s leadership in inspiring community service and initiatives for positive change.
Now should you – literally – wish to follow in Mandela’s footsteps and visit South Africa, you may want to familiarize yourself with some iconic places which either had a big influence in Mandela’s life, or which commemorate to this date the great man that Mandela was. There is a – what we here would call – ‘lekker’ app available in both the App Store as well as on Google Play: it is called Madiba’s Journey and takes you to Madiba-inspired tourist attractions and points-of-interest across South Africa. Interesting to read and listen to before you get here, or handy to have available once you are here.
One of our latest posts on the Platinum Golf, Tours & Accommodation Google Plus page had the link to a virtual tour of Robben Island. Again, well worth a visit and most realistic – should you not be able to visit in person…
Now let’s all go out and make this world a better place! Let’s make every day a Mandela Day!
#MandelaDay #time2serveRead More »
Eight South Africans have qualified for the 2015 Open Championship! They are Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Thomas Aiken, Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Retief Goosen and Jaco Van Zyl. As I write this the 2nd round has yet again been suspended early this morning, due to high winds. But at this point Branden Grace – after a great first day – sits in 25th position on -3, Retief Goosen and Charl Swartzel are tied 9th on 6 and Louis Oosthuizen is tied 4th on -7.
‘King Louis’ as he is affectionately known, hails from Mosselbay, on the Garden Route, best known for the Pinnacle Point golf course. He was runner-up in the 2012 Masters Tournament and the 2015 U.S. Open. But he is here to defend his 2010 Open Championship. Will he be able to hold the Claret Jug again this year?
Charl Schwartzel is currently playing on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and the Sunshine Tour. He has won one major title which was the Masters in 2011. He was born in Johannesburg, and when he is not playing on the tours, he resides in Pretoria, in the commercial heart of our country. Most of our visitors land in neighboring Johannesburg, only to catch their next flight to the coast, or to get into their rental vehicle and move away from the Big City to visit the Big Five. But actually Gauteng has some nice golfing experiences on offer as well….
Retief Goosen who was in the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking for over 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007. Must admit, I did not know this either, but came across this ‘fun fact’ about ‘the Goose’ when surfing the next. He was born in the Limpopo province, and although that is known by most visitors because of the Kruger National Park, again there are some fabulous golf courses in this part of the country! The Legend Golf & Safari Resort – with its famous ‘Extreme 19th’ – is probably the most well-known, alongside the Leopard Creek Golf Course, which for years has been the No. 1 golf course in South Africa.
Last but not least I want to mention Branden Grace. He was born in Pretoria, but spent a lot of time on the Garden Route, where his parents still reside. He was selected and later on graduated at the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, which recognizes and helps nurture the careers of young golfers. He is still being sponsored by Fancourt, which is home to The Links at Fancourt, the current No.1 golf course in South Africa. Branden plays on both the European Tour and Sunshine Tour and in 2012 he became the first player in the history of the European Tour to win his first four European Tour events in the same year.
We wish all ‘our’ gents the best of luck! And fly that South African flag high!Read More »
The history of the Addo Elephant National Park is relatively young and has undergone several phases before the park became what it is today: one of the highlights on any South African holiday, both for local as well as international visitors alike.
In the late 1700’s, when the first European settlers visited the area, their sightings of elephant, buffalo, lion, rhino and eland were often and varied. Wildlife was in abundance, and it did not take long before especially the elephant hunt became popular and widespread, with a roaring ivory trade to go with it.
When the English in the 1800’s started settling in the greater Port Elizabeth area the land surrounding this growing city was not only used for hunting parties, but farmers also divided the land for agricultural use. The game population came under severe pressure, as their natural habitat got smaller and smaller. Combined with the increased social hunting and farmers shooting the wildlife off their land, the number of game started diminishing.
By 1853 the last rhino in the area was shot, and another 26 years later also the lion was exterminated. The elephants in the area raided the farmers’ crops, and in 1919 government bowed for their demands to have all elephants killed… It was 1919 when a Major Pretorius was contracted to kill the remaining elephants. He did a thorough job and managed to shoot 114 elephants within a year after his contract started. Only when 2 young calves were sold to a travelling circus did the public react, and the elephant hunt came to an end. Sixteen elephants remained.
These 16 elephants found refuge on a Mr. Harvey’s land – who is nowadays remembered by his own ‘loop’ within the park. By 1925 two substantial pieces of land, the Strathmore and the Mentone Forest Reserve were earmarked as elephant refuges, which – in 1931 – resulted in the proclamation of the actual Addo Elephant National Park. By that time there were only 11 remaining of the original elephants which roamed the area.
Although this was a major achievement in the elephant conservation in the area, they were not safe as yet. Fencing around the original park was not adequate, and the elephants kept on breaking out and destroying nearby farmers’ crops. To the extent that in 1933 Mr. Trollope, who was the then Park Manager, started feeding the elephants to keep them within the boundaries of the park. With certain feeding times visitors were then invited into the park to enjoy this spectacle. The elephants got used to being fed at certain times of the day, and consequently started harassing the feeding trucks. Furthermore they would no longer roam around the park, but rather stick to the feeding area, afraid as they were to miss out on the next feeding session. The area got depleted; elephants got stressed and started becoming aggressive towards each other. Slowly but surely the feeding sessions stopped, and this practice was abandoned altogether in 1975.
In the mean time other game species, as originally recorded in the area, were being protected byt the establishment of the park, in particular the Cape buffalo and the flightless dung beetle. In 1957 eland was being reintroduced, followed by the Burchell’s zebra and warthog in 1996. Last but not least the reintroduction of (Kalahari) lion into the Addo Elephant National Park was completed in 2003, together with the extension of the park to the more than 180,000ha it currently covers.
Click here to read about our visit to the Addo Elephant National Park.Read More »
We were in the Addo Elephant National Park (in the Eastern Cape) today. We had arrived late afternoon yesterday, too late to go into the actual park itself. Not a problem whatsoever, as we were staying in one of the cozy, yet comfortable rondavels, overlooking the waterhole, in the Main Camp. The Main Camp is near the Main Entrance into the park, with a restaurant, souvenir shop and mini supermarket for the folk like ourselves, who had booked self-catering, but then forgot to bring the milk… Or firelighters, or torch. Those basics one needs when going self-catering.
Our rondavel was one of 6 rondavels overlooking the waterhole, which was floodlit at night. We could see where the elephant would come down through the bush, with clearly well-travelled elephants paths disappearing well into the bush. We saw kudu and warthog, and different bird species, yet no elephant.Read More »
Shall I tell you what I did today? I played one of the most scenic and challenging golf courses South Africa has to offer: The Links at Fancourt on the Garden Route. A course which should be on anybody’s bucket list of golf courses to play!Read More »