Day one - Johannesburg,
3rd October 2007

The continuation of the longest day.

I was sad to see that the rumours were true and that Jan Smuts International Airport had now been renamed OR Tambo International after the current black Prime Minister Oliver Tambo. There is so much more important work to be done at the very basic levels than the glorification of the new leadership in this country!

The photos I took while visiting an African slum (risky but insightful) gave me a new perspective on the great divide. How far the country has to go - yet tens of millions have been "wasted" on the practical impact of renaming a city, shire or, even, an airport to feed a political ego! I would have thought that HIV/AIDS would have been a more important issue. Okay... I'll stop grandstanding now!

I got my rental car and set off to Klip Kop cottages run by Hantie and Les Joubert. Now anyone who has followed my various travels would know that I always hit the jackpot when it comes to finding these hidden gems... Hantie and her husband's cottage that they have opened up to guests in the "regte ou" (real old) highveld between Johannesburg and Pretoria is a haven of peace. As I type here as the hands of time approach 9pm the only sound is the stillness of the night. No traffic, no nothing...  even Lady Diana would have escaped the paparazzi here! During the day the bird life here is amazing and the extremely rare crimson breasted shrike can be found - so for bird lovers... this is where you go!

The gardens at Klip Kop are beautiful as you will see in the pictures below - as is the two bedroom cottage. So if you want to experience something really different in the "old Transvaal Highveld" contact Hantie on (JHBG) 011 9641278 or mobile 082 7823278 or email her here. The cost per person is just ZAR180 - it cost me ZAR720 (or just over Au$100) for the four nights here!

After unpacking, showering and settling in I set off to Sandton and had a lengthy lunch at the Buchers Grill in Mandela Square with three good numismatic friends of mine. We covered everything from the Larkan "dunny" tokens to the latest finds in Mocambique and South West Africa... if you had not been into numismatics you would have been bored out of your mind!

Image right: L-R: Nigel McClean; Stephen van Niekerk; Allyn Jacobs and Scott Balson enjoying a "numismatic lunch"

Allyn Jacobs kindly presented me with an original copy of "Africana Notes and News" (September 1978) which carries a copy of my earliest report on the F C Larkan tokens. The boys then signed my special copy of the book "Children of the Mist" and I received my new S African mobile phone for book orders thanks to my old friend Allyn Jacobs before we parted.

It was a wonderful lunch....

Then I hand delivered and signed ten books to Exclusive Books at Mandela Square.

Later I set off back to Klip Kop and after being given the use of my hosts computer to check emails retired to update this travelogue.

It is now nearly 9pm and I still have an hour to go before I have my first sleep in nearly 48 hours... tomorrow I meet with Pick 'n Pay.

The airport's new name

and how it is justified

This is the shanty town!

More...

And more

The beautiful Klip

Kop hideaway and gardens

Beautifully maintained

Lovely bed

The beautiful gardens

surrounding the cottage

This is real

Highveld country

Where thatch is plentiful

Sunset on the Highveld

Sunset on the Highveld

Sunset on the Highveld

One word sums up how
I feel - buggered!

Return to Scott Balson's 2007 book tour