In Afrikaans, the yellow mongoose is called rooimeerkat or witkwasmuishond. The ‘meer’ in meerkat is derived from the word ‘mier’, which means ant or termite. Mongooses and meerkats use termite mounds as shelter and the termites themselves as food. This yellow meerkat in Rietvlei Nature Reserve was digging away, looking for some nice grubs to eat.
40% of all fossil finds of hominids come from a relatively small area 60kms from where we live. It has become known as the Cradle of Humankind. Today we visited the Sterkfontein Cave in this region. Under an unassuming hill we found an impressive network of deep and roomy caves. At the end of the 19th century, these caves were mined for limestone. This limestone, made into quicklime, was used in the goldmines on the Witwatersrand. In the 1930s, the first Australopithicus (literally Southern Apeman) were found. The excavations continue until this day, and up until now some 500 hominids have been found. The hominids did not use the caves to live in. The most complete skeleton seems to have been from a boy who fell into the caves through a crack – but I’ve not been able to find whether all of them came into the caves in this way…
The Sani Pass is the only route passable for motorvehicles that connects the east of Lesotho to Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. The beginning of the Sani Pass road stands at 1544 meters, and at the top the height is 2876. Especially the final kilometers of the Pass are steep and tricky to drive – which is why only 4×4 vehicles are allowed on the road. In winter, parts of the road are always in the shadow, and streams of water turn into ice. A real adventurous journey!
On the Lesotho side of the Sani Pass, there is a small Pentecostal church. Siphiwe, the pastor, showed us a traditional homestead and how to wear the traditional Lesotho blankets His wife had prepared some delicious bread in a pan on a cow dung fire. The church was not officially part of this cultural expierence, but we were allowed to look inside as well. Inside we found Siphiwe’s wife washing clothes – the church doubles as the pastor’s house and living room. On the wall there was this mural of a shepherd carrying a sheep. Most of the congregation consists of shepherds who come to the Sani Pass area in summer to graze their sheep. This image of the Good Shepherd clearly touched them. I think it’s a really strong, contextual image of the Gospel!
Boulders and rugged rock formations in the Drakensberg Mountains. This must be the entrance into a fairy land!
A beautiful hike in the Garden Castle section of the Drakensberg Mountains. The hike goes up to a cave called Pillar Cave. Although we didn’t make it all the way to the cave (still struggling with my back…) the scenery was amazing. The smoke in the background is from controlled burning of the grasslands to create firebreaks, protecting the World Heritage Site of the Drakensberg.
I don’t care who you are, the pressure is on to go to the next task immediately. What happened to the days of hanging out in the hammock all afternoon?
– Josh Brolin