One of the highlights of our Cape Town tour was visiting Kristenbosch Garden. It was established in 1913 as the first indigenous botanical garden in the world. Kristenbosch is part of the Cape Florisitc Protected Areas Site,one of only 154 natural World Heritage Sites, and the only natural World Heritage Site to include a botanical garden! There are over 4,500 plant species being cultivated in this 528 hectare estate,many of which are rare or endangered, and the Cape site boasts the world’s highest levels of endemism(species that occur nowhere else): 31.9%. Although you can access Table Mountain from the garden,
we took a more gentle walking tour. Thanks to careful labeling (and our knowledgeable guide),
we were able to learn a lot about the various plants, and I particularly loved the huge King Proteas, South Africa’s national flower. Egyptian geese and other unusual birds grazed quietly on the lawns,
reminding me that there is no garden quite like this in America! One recently added highlight of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is a graceful aerial walkway that glides like a snake twelve meters up through the tree tops.This gleaming structure has been nicknamed the boomslang
because it’s shaped like a snake’s skeleton.
It’s a whooping 130-meters long and made from galvanized steel and timber. However, the walkway reminded me more of a sky-high swinging bridge
than a snake, because it moves when you walk!It also twists and turns in artful suspension so it can withstand the winds but still let you feel the breezes while enjoying a birds’-eye view of Kirstenbosch Garden below, distant Table Mountain, and the Hottentots-Holland peaks. As a lover of beauty and the out of doors, I was entranced!
Although I was delighted by everything, I was particularly excited when our guide showed us a spotted Eagle-owl snoozing in the sun with her little chick. We have owls around our home, but in twenty-three years of searching, I’ve only caught a few dim glimpses on dark nights. To see owls in their natural environment unperturbed by our presence was a unique experience I never even thought to hope for. Africa was full of great surprises! “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 2:20-21).
Posted in African Adventures, Beauty Around the World, Gardens, Parks, Travels Around the World
Tagged Area with highest endemism in the world, Boomslang canopy bridgeway, Cape Florisitc Protected Areas Site, Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway, Ephesians 2:20-21, Hottentots-Holland peaks, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Owl with her chick photo, Photo of a King Protea, Table Mountain
South of Cape Town is a spectacular peninsula,
most of which is part of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. From the nearby lighthouse on Cape Point, you can see beautiful vistas of the entire area. Baboons, ostriches, cormorants, and seals roam freely.In the spring the hills are lush with wildflowers.
Sometime during childhood I was taught that the southernmost tip of Africa was called The Cape of Good Hope, but I didn’t know why it was so named until we visited. Near the end of the fourteenth century, the Mongolian Empire was crumbling and the Ottoman Turks gaining power, making passage along the Silk Road unsafe for Europeans and putting pressure on traders to find sea routes to the East. In 1487, the Portuguese navigator, Bartholomew Diaz, took three ships to explore the southern extent of Africa. They were gone over sixteen months and first encountered the cape during fierce December storms, so they named it The Cape of Storms. However, after further exploration, they realized that this cape marked the beginning of the end, so to speak, because at the cape the warm Mozambique-Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean seemed to converge with the cool Benguela current from Antarctic waters and the Atlantic Ocean. Once this was understood, the cape was renamed The Cape of Good Hope, because European sailors were overjoyed to think a route to India and the East had been discovered. Diaz was lost at sea in 1500 during a storm off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope, but he had a grandson, Paulo Dias de Novais, who founded the first city in southern Africa and governed Angola a generation later. Today, Bartholomew Diaz is considered the greatest Portuguese navigator to explore the Atlantic during the fifteen century, although we now know that the Cape of Good Hope isn’t actually the southernmost point in Africa; that honor goes to Cape Agulhas, some miles ninety-three miles to the southeast. Did you know that? I did not! Here it is, nearly five hundred years later,
and misinformation is still being circulated as fact! How does that happen? Knowing exact details of geography aren’t critical to life, but some facts are. In particular, the existence of Christ and his resurrection from the dead are facts that are often misrepresented or denied, but they are critical to spiritual life, faith, and hope. Do you know the truth about Christ?“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Posted in Adventures, African Adventures, History, Religious Issues, Salvation
Tagged 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Bartholomew Diaz, Benguela current, Cape Agulhas, James Mellick's Wounded Warrior Dogs, Mozambique-Agulhas current, Paulo Dias de Novais, The Cape of Good Hope
Once Thanksgiving is past and winter sets in, do you struggle with what to prepare for Sunday dinner? While I was in Africa, our guide (Dutch/German heritage) said his favorite Sunday dinner was a beef pot roast. What do you know? That’s my oldest son’s favorite too, so maybe westerners the world around love their Sunday pot roast. However, to switch things up a little, in our family, another treat is a German-style, seasoned pork roast with potatoes, onions, and apples sprinkled with cinnamon. To pump up the veggies, you could add a layer of red cabbage and acorn squash on top. Pour in a cup of water, pop in the oven, and let it bake while you’re at church for a couple of hours at 350°F. We love sauerkraut, so I heat some up after we get home, add a little salt and pepper, butter, sour cream, and brown sugar (for the acorn squash), and presto! A great meal with lots of flavor and very little prep!
If you’ve found other roast/veggie/fruit combos that you enjoy, I’d appreciate your sharing ideas in the comment box. My kids have noticed that many of their friends don’t know how to cook, so that’s inspired me to share a few basic ideas for the young adults of the world who are now fending for themselves. Thanks!
“The eyes of all wait upon thee;
and thou givest them their meat in due season” (Psalm 145:15).
May your Thanksgiving is blessed with joy this year! If you’re an American, I hope you’re able to celebrate with loved ones,
and maybe enjoy a turkey dinner too! If you’re not an American,
I still hope you will take a few minutes today to count your blessings. Right at the top of my list is God and all those with whom I share love. I can’t think of anything more wonderful! I’m also thankful for the scripture, which feeds my soul. Somewhere way under that, but still exciting to me are beauty and color, so today I want to share with you some of the lovely flowers I saw in Africa, paired with a few of my favorite verses on the subject of thankfulness: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1). “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “I will praise the name of God with a song,
and will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his,
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 30:4). “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2). “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4) “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). “We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1).