07 June 2007

Polokwane, South Africa

Once Chris arrived in Pretoria, we headed north to Limpopo Province to the town of Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg). Polokwane has the largest municipal game reserve in South Africa. The guy at the gate said that there were no wild animals, so it was safe to walk around. "Watch out for the rhino, we're not responsible for that." That's debateable. White rhino, giraffe, zebra, impala, lots of birds, hartebeest, etc. all make their home very close to the rugby stadium (that was the big local landmark). The town is preparing (i.e. lots of construction) for the 2010 World Cup as one of the game venues. I expect that the animals here will get lots of viewing.

We also visited an open air museum featuring traditional Sotho culture. The houses are all plastered in smooth cattle dung. It feels like plasterboard. They have just begun excavating the central kraal. They have only found one pot (in many pieces), but I expect there will be other interesting finds. It is the chiefs kraal - there may be human burials, sacrificed cattle, and certainly some everyday trash to help build a better picture of life in that place hundreds of years ago. It has been very cold in South Africa - see your breath in the morning and frost on the grass kind of cold. I asked our guide how people kept warm during the winter since they worn mainly skin clothing. Sitting around the fire was apparently a very popular activity. It still is. :)

Baby Zebra