Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sightseeing near Pretoria

We had a relaxing day; the teens went off on a zip line adventure arranged by the US Embassy, while our host Craig spent the day working on a report. Nancy and I joined our host Susan for a visit to the Irene Country Market a few miles south of Pretoria (it wasn't until later that I figured out that the US team was staying in Irene).  The market combines a “deli” section, where a variety of artisanal foods are sold (and almost was available for sampling), and an arts and craft market.  We picked up some interesting cheeses and feasted on local delicacies including milk tart, a light baked custard (I found the recipe for this dish after I got back to DC, and I serve it periodically) , and Wetkoek, a fry bread stuffed with bobotie or savory ground beef stew.   In the crafts section, we picked up a nice table cloth and painted metal tray for ourselves

 and a variety of other items that might end up as gifts and might end up in our own household.  On the grounds of the market is the historic home of Jan Smuts, a former president of South Africa and a very interesting figure– the visit made me want to take up the History of South Africa that Nancy was been reading.

In the afternoon, visited the Rietvlei Nature Reserve, also located a few miles south of Pretoria.

 We saw our first rhino,


and waterbok. 

We had seen ostrich, duiker and African buffalo at a distance in Kruger, but here we got within 10 to 15 yards of them

(a bit scary in the case of the buffalo, given what our guides had told us in Kruger, but happily he was uninterested in our vehicle).  Eland and zebra were also plentiful, and a number of interesting birds. 

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