About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

02 April 2011

Hiding inside a tree

Tree-Top hide, Mapungubwe

01 April 2011

It's a bird, It's plane, It's ... an Impala

The Maloutswa Pan Bird Hide, at the western part of Mapungubwe, overlooks a small waterhole (which seems to be part of a non-perennial river). On my first morning in Mapungubwe, I followed two huge herds of impala and wildebeest to the waterhole - and discovered that it was teeming with animals and birds. It was a great place to watch animals and take photos, especially of the impala prancing around.

Mapungubwe Landscape

View of Mapungubwe Valley, with the Limpopo river in the far background. The combination of rocks, riverside forrest and the savanah makes it quite unique in some respects.

31 March 2011

Owl on the hunt

Owl, taken on a night drive at the Punda Maria Rest Camp, Northern Kruger National Park

29 March 2011

Classic FM Presents - Composers H - M

Last year, Richard Cock, presented a weekly series called "Composers A - Z" on Classic FM, where he played music from composers whose name started with a particular letter of the alphabet. Later, this was converted to a live concert, where selected works are played with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra. Sunday afternoon, was the second of such concerts.

The selection of works veried from the very well known to the obscure, from very serious to the fun and frivolous; and apart from the absence of Karl Jenkins, most of the well known composers were represented.

The highlight of the concert was the arrangement of a few pieces (mostly Mozart) to use a concert marimba, played expertly by Magda de Vries. In between the pieces, Richard Cock (as the conductor) gave a few words overview on the selected piece, and in certain pieces (such as the theme to the Pink Panther, composed by Henry Mancini) he also got the full house audience to participate (and in this case, click along).

It was a great Sunday concert, and the orchestra got a deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance. While the JPO is fairly serious music, I think that this is the type of concerts that can truly get more people interested and supporting music.

28 March 2011

Graskop - A Culinary Delight

Graskop, a tiny town in the rolling hills of Mpumalanga is well known as the gateway to the Blyde River Canyon. But for me, the highlight of Graskop is the food. Even Mpumalanga Tourism's map giveaway for the "Panorama Route" lists "Eating at one of the restaurants on Graskop's Main Road" as one of the main things to do!

There is an obvious affliction for pancakes in this region - and Graskop spots no less than 3 pancake shops within 100 metres, and the other restaurants seem to have pancakes in their menus too! According to the locals though, Harrie's is the place to be - and their pancakes are amazing.

But Harrie's is not a Graskop phenomenon; the main highlight for me, is The Glass House. A small restaurant, with walls of glass, the Glass House is a "South African" restaurant, with a small menu composed of mostly South African delights - lamb chops, malay curries, bobotie and malva pudding. The food is simply amazing - the flavour, the taste is way better than anything I have had in Jo'burg - and I include some very expensive and well rated restaurants I have been to in that comparison. Perhaps it is to do with the freshness of the ingredients, perhaps it is to do with the freshness of the preparation; I do not know - but it was simply amazing.

But more than the great food, it was the great atmosphere and the friendly people. The decor is fairly simple in most parts, with a number of very impressive traditional African wooden carvings. We went there twice in our stay at Graskop last week, and both times, the restaurant was mostly full. The two persons serving the patrons were obviously the owners - and there was constant banter between them and the guests. The service was amazing, and all guests were given a handshake or even a hug before leaving.

It is one of the cases, where you trully leave the restaurant as if you were friends and not just another business transaction.