Cycling to Cullinan to tour the diamond mine.

Waking early to a quiet morning, but of course there is always an early bird chirping in the trees. Took a quick shower in the open air stone shower. Such a cool experience and everything is swept clean.

Cycled off to Cullinan, only six miles away, for a lovely breakfast of a ham and cheese crepe with banana inside and maple syrup, at the Whispering Oaks sidewalk cafe. Plus rooibos tea, which is from a South African red bush. Somehow it tastes better here than at home. Perhaps it is the experience that goes with it.
The underground tour of the working Cullinan Diamond mine was absolutely fascinating. Our guide was the retired Head of Safety for the mine. He was filling in for the regular guide who family to attend to for the day. He spoke three languages needed to work here. The two official languages of English and Africaan, which is Dutch with an accent after 300 years of being in South Africa. The third is a common language developed amongst the eleven local tribes so they can basically communicate, although I can’t recall  the name of this.
He would go quickly back and forth between languages, as I heard others do also. There was a young French couple on the tour also, speaking French to each other and struggling to understand the new words of the mining industry.
After the tour I enjoyed a late lunch of a hamburger and s few fries. One of my main concerns is keeping my bike from being stolen, so I locked it in front of the cafe while I ate and told the staff I would walk to the grocery store, the Spar, and be back to collect it. 
Everything went smoothly and I cycled back to my campsite with a few snacks for the evening and breakfast. When cycling into Somabula Game Reserve there was a big impala buck alone in the field who looked up and then went back to grazing. It was just beautiful. Another’s lovely sunset I watched from my tent as the wart hogs snorted through the campsite.
Others had arrived in campers and lit fires, so I was not totally alone. 
As had happened the first night, about midnight there were drums and singing in the distance. It sounded like live music and I could imagine the dancing. It was an exotic sound and I lay awake listening until it stopped. 

Cycling in Pretoria to warm up.

Assembling my Bike Friday and taking it out for a spin to make sure everything works, and I am so very pleased it does. It is a new bike and first big trip for it

I took it for a spin to Austin Rogers Bird Sanctuary right in Pretoria. The altitude here is about 4,550 feet so I can feel it. 

A woman I had been corresponding with through contacted me and we met for lunch in a deli at the lovely Magnolia Park. (That is a website dedicated to cyclists.) We shared cycling stories, her latest big trip was taking her bicycle to Japan and solo cycling and camping for three months.
She was encouraging but not so sure it is saife for a woman to cycle solo in South Africa. Which is exactly what I am going to do.

After lunch I cycled to downtown Pretoria to see the city hall and perhaps a museum but things were closing when I got there so I cycled back to my lovely guesthouse. It was an adventure in a totally black neighborhood with people of all ages out and about. One little boy about nine years old followed me through the park, really wanting his dad to get him a bike like mine, but in blue. His little sister just smiled and ragged along. Cute kids! I mostly walked my bike on sidewalks to avoid the busy traffic.
The guest house is more like a home stay as we get to eat with the family at their outside dining table, on a very large porch.
Tonight Delma was a newly arrived guest. She is just finished with her two-year volunteer job with the Peace Corps as a nurse in an area north of Pretoria, and had a month to explore before going back to her home in Queens, New York City. The Peace Corps here is focusing on the very large problem of AIDS.
Our host thanked her more than once for her work, saying we cannot deal with it ourselves.
Tomorrow I start cycling and am looking forward to it. 

Cycling from Pretoria to Somabula Game Reserve, South Africa.

By 7:30 am my bike was packed, breakfast was eaten, plus a peanut butter and jam sandwich stowed in my front pack for a hunger attack on the road. Using the app I was off. In about five days I would figure out how to let it direct me verbally but with a few wrong turns, like heading onto the interstate highway, where no bicycles are allowed, and backtracking to a stoplight so I could cross the busy street, I was heading out, about an hour later. 

Fortunately it was cloudy and cool, because it had been sunny and really hot the first few days. The Map. Me app has special routing for cycling, which takes one off the busy fast, high traffic roads. For the first ten miles it was only slow, heavy traffic through black municipalities with frequent road construction, causing  traffic snares, which I often walked my bike around. The sidewalks were always crowded, so I would walk my bike there, too, just to avoid the potholes and traffic.
Passing through one community with double lanes in each direction, a bull and cow leisurely strolled across all four lanes without one horn beeping. Drivers wove around them in an even flow of traffic. It was all so casual, I was more of an anomaly than that.
Being the only cyclist and a white granny in a neon yellow cycle top with black cycling shorts on an expensive bike, all bikes here are expensive to the locals, but mine is a new custom-made Bike Friday and quite dear, I drew stares. I tried to nod and smile when I could. Greetings to me varied from Hello, how are you? To Sista! And a hearty cheer Go, go, go as  I cycled up a rolling hill. I felt cheered and welcome.
At one point the misty drops turned into larger splatters, so I pulled off the road and took shelter under a plastic tarp propped up with large branches, occupied by two twentish black men. They made room for me, and asked if I was cold. No, I am warm from exercising. I asked their names and introduced myself. Daniel, One of the young men, was eating a sandwich, so I pulled mine out and ate half. Looking back, I wonder if he bought it from the other man, whose name I simply could not understand, had a loaf of bread there. And perhaps I should have done so also.
Soon it cleared and as I prepared to cycle on, Daniel asked if I was cold. I laughed, no, I am cycling and waved goodbye.
The main, and very efficient, form of public transport here are white mini vans. These can pull over to the curb at any moment to pick up a signaling pedestrian. The vans are cheap, plentiful and vie for passengers by honking, most all the time. Usually only used by black people, and there are only black people here, these are busy picking people up from the road-side markets with shopping bags. Thankfully they are careful not to crowd me and I must watch carefully to avoid them as they start and stop. It was a little disconcerting at first, but I did want to see the everyday life of a black community and soon adjusted. It was just a glimpse but I was happy with only that.
One interesting sight in a field, all this area is strewn with garbage, so not lovely, was a small group of women, children and men standing close together and just in front of them were a few people kneeling before nuns dressed in white habits. 
Shortly after that I saw two nuns in the same white habits walking down a sidewalk, so I was not just imagining the sweet scene. 

Safari in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa.

Our ranger, who also drives the truck, stopped so we could watch this old bull in musk eat, turn towards us, eyeball us and actually scratch the truck before she finally pulls away. It could have easily tipped us over, being twice as heavy as the truck. Meanwhile she keeps yelling at us to stay calm. A truly scary moment!

Also, they have been known to put a tusk through a radiator. We all held our breath.