Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tent Camping in Kapama Game Reserve Day 1

When the trip was planned for me to visit South Africa, the only thing I could think of was a safari. Why else could you possibly want to do while you are there. My itinerary was roughly 20 pages of information and small photos describing what I would be doing for the two weeks. Needless to say it was not light reading, so I did not read any of the itinerary for Kapama until the night before we headed out. Here is part of the information that my travel agent provided to me in the itinerary:
"Ten luxurious newly built canvas tents are set on wooden decks built on stilts over a steep sided riverbank."

This first thing that came to my mind is that I was going to be eaten by a lion in South Africa while sleeping in a tent. I grew up near San Fransisco and move to a teeny cow town in Oregon when I was 21. As I have aged, I have learned that camping should include a coffee pot, a mattress, a heater, and preferably should not be in a location with animals that eat raw flesh.

When we landed at the small Hoedspruit airport, we were immediately greeted by an employee from Kapama and transferred to Buffalo Camp. I felt like I was climbing in the car to be served on a platter to wild animals. The ride to Buffalo camp was quick and easy as the entrance to Kapama is directly across the street from the airport.

About 2 minutes into my "death drive" the driver stopped the car and pointed out a giraffe standing a few feet away. Okay, now I am feeling that my death drive may be worth it. I had just found an animal that has longer and skinnier legs than I do and he was just hanging out on the side of the dirt road.

Once we arrive at Buffalo Camp, we are quickly greeted and given a quick rundown of how Buffalo Camp operates. We were then escorted to our tent. You know, the one that I thought I would be eaten alive in a few hours before my arrival. As we are escorted to our tent and shown the amenities of the tent, all of my fears disappeared. The best way to describe the tent at Kapama Buffalo Camp would be to tell you that if the Ritz Carlton had tents, this is what they would look like. There was all of the standard items you would find in a hotel room and more! My tent has a down comforter and a Nespresso machine! Everyone should camp this way!

As far as my fear of being eaten, the campground (if that is what you want to call it) has fencing below the tents to prevent animals from entering the campground and there are cattle grates at the entrance to prevent them from entering also. No need for me to worry about becoming a meal or a toothpick during my stay.

After we settled in to our room, it was time to head out for our first game drive. Since my expectations of the tent were off, I tried to throw all of my other expectations out the window. We get to the safari vehicle and meet our ranger and tracker (Joe and Foster). We climb into the vehicle with one other couple staying at Buffalo Camp and off we went.

The first stop on the game drive, a quick pit stop by a water hole to see a lion resting in the afternoon sun. She was tucked in the brush and really did not want to be bothered, so we moved on to bigger and better things.

The next stop on our game drive, elephants. We drive down several dirt roads while our ranger and tracker follow the tracks to locate the elephants. We finally come to a stop, shut off the engine, and listen. We could hear the cracking of trees, but still no visible sighting of an elephant. Then out of the trees steps an elephant, followed by another, and another, and another.... Holy (insert expletive here)! I am sitting in a vehicle with elephants about 10 feet away! Who would ever think that you could get so close.

We sat in the vehicle ( and moved if necessary) while a group of elephants ate trees and baby elephants played. Who could ask for a better way to spend your first day looking for the big five? Two down, three more to go!

The next stop on our game drive was for a quick sundowner in the bush. A small table it set up, a white tablecloth is placed on the table, and drinks are served. On this particular night, I had a beer with the jackals in the bush. How cool is that? I need to do this every night!

Once we are done with our sundowner, we move on. It is now dark and the spotter is using a light to try to locate animals. We drive until another vehicle locates a lion and we head over to look. Two lions, a male and female, lying in the bush relaxing in the dark. The perfect way to end the first game drive.

 My mother and I use a small amount of time to take about our excitement and what we might see on our next drive and then head to dinner. When you sit down for dinner, you sit at a table with the other guests that are in your vehicle and the ranger. That means that when you eat, you get to know the other guests in your vehicle and also the ranger that is driving you around to see the animals. These are the same people I will be spending the next 3 days with. This is a great way to get to know everyone.

After dinner, it is bedtime. With a 0530 wake up time and the cold weather, I waste no time to run back to my tent to bury myself under the down comforter and to crank the heater up!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cape Town: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Today was a self guided tour to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. If you are a gardener or enjoy seeing lush and beautiful gardens, this is the place to go.

The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden starts off with a succulent garden that would make the plants in my home extremely jealous. There were plants in the space that were over 100 years old and would make any gardener green with envy.

Once you walked through the succulent garden, you entered the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the view was the most amazing and green view I have ever seen. The immaculate landscaping was a gardeners delight. I imagine that this was the ideal place to hold a family picnic or a beautiful wedding in the warmer months of the year.

When we paid to get into the garden, we splurged the extra money to have a guided tour via a golf cart and tour guide. The golf cart takes you though the main entrance and through the majority of the garden while a guide explains the importance and history of the plants within the garden. The guided tours was a must to ensure that we covered as much of the garden as possible.

If you like protea flowers or spectacular gardens, this is the place to go for a day during a Cape Town visit. I cannot imagine that it would be easy to beat the garden views that Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden provides.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back To School Cash Back Giveaway

With back to school season here, who could use a little extra cash for school supplies? Here is your chance to win a little extra cash just in time to purchase those much needed school supplies.

Welcome to the Back To School Cash Back Event

Ebates is the pioneer and leader of online Cash Back Shopping. The company was founded in 1998 by two Deputy District Attorneys in Silicon Valley who used to prosecute online fraud & identity theft before starting Ebates (so you can be sure we are very into secure online transactions!). So go ahead, sign up and start shopping now. Joining Ebates is always free - you'll never pay us anything. And four times a year or more, they will mail you a Big Fat Check, transfer the money to your PayPal account or even offer you an Amazon E-Code if you'd prefer. They can even send the money to your favorite charity. How cool is that? No matter your choice it will always be 100% free.

How Ebates Works:

Ebates pays members cash back every time they shop online as well as provide them with the best coupons and deals online. To date, Ebates has paid over $85,000,000 in cash to its members. That's is lot of pocket change and why over 12 million people have joined Ebates. So why wait? Join Ebates today!

Here are just a few of my favorite Back To School cash back deals:

If you haven’t joined Ebates yet, this is the time to do it. Ebates offers refer a friend benefits where you traditionally earn $5.00 for every new qualified member you refer. Right now in addition to this they are offering,: Refer 3 new friends and we’ll add a $30 bonus in your Ebates account! That’s $45 in total!

Signing up for Ebates is easy and membership is free.

In fact it only takes about 15 seconds. Just enter your email, selected password and who referred you. Then click start shopping and you are ready to start earning cash back bonuses.
Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Three lucky readers will receive a bit cash to get you in the saving spirit {$100, $75 and $50 winners}!

Giveaway ends August 12th at 11:59pm, open to US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Grammy2Kaiden did not receive compensation for this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Reading Kingdom Review

As a parent, I know that early learning is essential. Now that I have first hand experience with a special needs child, I know that early learning requires repetition and ease.  I am always on the hunt for a program that will fit into my families schedule and requirements. Sometimes I feel that I am a little strict on my requirements since I need to educate a special needs child. But, I know that I am not the only parent out there that requires a modified educational program.

Reading Kingdom is a program that is designed to teach children to read and write by using items that are familiar to children and easy to follow. The program determines your child's level based on a skills survey. The skills survey can take a while, so be prepared. But once your childs level is determined, the program will adapt to your child's learning.

The special needs child that I have been using online program with has been asking to sit down at the computer to "play his game."  He loves to sit down, listen, and interact with the program. The best part is that he is not aware that he is learning while playing.

As your child reaches their goals they are awarded points and a certain number of points would open a Reading Kingdom Passport. Once the Passport opened there was an interactive reward waiting for the child.  These rewards were not very exciting to me, but my young child really liked them.

Some information about Reading Kingdom:
  • Most kids can use the program on their own after just a few lessons.
  • It's fun so children think they're playing a game and want to practice.
  • It was created by Dr. Marion Blank, Director of the Light on Learning Program at Columbia University and one of the world's top experts in reading.
  • It works with any other curriculum a child may be using.
  • It's the only program to offer customized online reading instruction for each child.
  • And, it's the only system that teaches all 6 skills needed for reading & writing success!   

 Is Reading Kingdom right for your child? Find out here. Are you ready to help your child become a better reader? Check out Reading Kingdom and give it a whirl! Sign up for the FREE 30 Day Trial.  After trying the program, should you decide that you can't financially fund it - you have the option of signing up for the scholarship program. If you have any questions about Reading Kingdom, please contact the company. Don't forget to read through the company's FAQ section to read about frequently asked questions you may also have about the program.  I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cape Town: Table Mountain Tour

The tour for today is the Cape Town Table Mountain tour.

Table mountain is one of the new seven wonders of nature and the scenic wonder from the Cape Town area. When we headed out for the day, there was a nice cloud at the top of the mountain that is referred to as the "tablecloth."

We had to get all the way up there!!

After a quick drive to the mountain, we climbed on to the cable car and started our journey to the top. Small warning for anyone that gets motion sickness, the floors of the cable cars going to the top of the mountain rotate 360 degrees as you travel up or down. This means that you cannot hang on to the handles inside once you are moving.

Once we were at the top of the mountain we had  spectacular view of Capetown. We could see Robin Island, Green Point Stadium, and the V and A Waterfront off in the distance. The direct view on top of the mountain is the rocky cliffs and protea flowers. If you are lucky when you are at the top you will have great views of Cape Town and sneak a quick glimpse of a dassie.

If you are not interested in scenic views, this is not the place for you. There is not much to do other than sit down and take in the view or sit down for a quick bite to eat.

Our Table Mountain tour did not end with Table Mountain. Our tour guide took us to a local park where we caught a hang glider taking off and also caught our first glimpse of a guineafowl. A quick informational tour on diamond cutting and polishing was also included.  I could have done without both of these stops, but they provided a little insight to the culture and industry of Cape Town.

We stopped at a local garden and fed the squirrels peanuts while we took a casual stroll. Once were were done walking through the local garden, we returned to the car to take a casual drive through some of the colorful communities that can be found in Cape Town.

The day ended too early for me. I was enjoying learning about the history of Cape Town and seeing the culture and diversity in action. Of course the highlight was the view from Table Mountain, but the rest of the tour provided a view of Cape Town and its residents that was insightful and enjoyable.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cape Town: Cape Peninsula Tour

As many of you know, I recently took a vacation to South Africa with my mother to celebrate my recent graduation. Our first stop was Cape Town. Our first tour, was the Cape tour.

On the Cape tour we traveled along the southern cape of South Africa in a small minivan with one other couple. Yes that was it, no bus tours in the off-peak season. Woop woop! During the tour, we visited the Cape of Good Hope, boulder, and made several other quick stops to view marinas and local dairies for a quick cup of liquid caffeine.

To start off the day, we were picked up at our hotel by the V and A Marina in Capetown. When we stepped outside, there was torrential rain that was immediately making the streets flood. The only thought that was running through my head.."This is going to be a long day." I was very wrong. It was an eventful day full of surprises.

The tour took up along the Western portion of the cape and then back up the Eastern side before returning to our hotel. The views along the way were magnificent and not at all what I was expecting from South Africa. The grass was green, the hills were full of rocks and green trees and flowers. For the start of winter, everything was very pretty and lush.

First big stop was the Cape of Good Hope. The most South Western location of South Africa. There are wild ostrich and baboons by the sides of the roads and parking lots. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, the wild baboons, were a welcome sight. The beach at the Cape of Good Hope is rocky and majestic. This was a great place to step out and enjoy the South African coast line. It was a little windy and cold outside, but well worth the visit to take in the scenic view of the cape.

Once at Cape Point, With the help of a funicular, we went to the top of the lookout and had a spectacular view of the blue ocean crashing against the beach full of rocks. Only to descend back down on the funicular to have a wonderful lunch at the bottom.

The last stop was a small area in town called Boulder. Boulder is known for a small section of beach that houses African penguins. Yup, I said penguins. There is a small park at the edge of the town along a beach that has been fitted with wooden walkways for visitors to see the penguins nesting on the beach.  While we were there, there was over 100 penguins running around and nesting in the sand with their young chicks. This is the place to go if you want to get up close to a penguin. Do not expect to touch or interact with the penguins, but know that they will walk right past you, or even under you on the walkways. This is the place to go if you love the little guys in tuxedos and want a great photo opportunity.

When the day was over, I was ready to head back. I felt that the tour covered more territory than expected and I went back to my hotel very gratified with my first days excursion.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor Review










As the people in my household age, I am finding that we need to monitor our blood pressure more and more. In fact, just recently my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

 The Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor could not have come at a better time. With high blood pressure a major concern for my husband and me suffering from a long illness, it was the perfect way to monitor our health.

Ozeri has taken the features that are nice and the features that are wanted and combined them in one easy to use, portable machine without any added expense. 

I love that there is a case to carry and store the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor. That means that you will have it in one piece every time that you need it. I also found that having the ability to store information for more than one person is extremely helpful. 

Not only can I keep track of my blood pressure, but i can keep a nice record of my husbands blood pressure and provide quick and easy data to his physician. It will record up to 60 blood pressure readings per user. That is a life saver! If you are anything like me, I lose the paper that I record my husbands blood pressure on all of the time. Now I can just grab the information of of the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor.

The other feature that I found incredible is the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor's ability to detect an irregular heartbeat. Fortunately, no irregular heartbeat was detected with any of my family members, but this feature would be very helpful in tracking anomalies under a physicians care.

If you or a family member have health issues this is a great way to track your blood pressure and your pulse and it is available at a very affordable price. Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series BP3T Digital Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Intelligent Hypertension Indicator is available at Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Advanced Mineral Make-Up Review

I received the product described below free of charge to facilitate my review. 

I had an opportunity to try Advanced Mineral make-up in a loose powder. The process of choosing the right make-up from Advanced minerals was made super easy by making only 4 colors and  naming the shades after celebrities. 

The loose powder that I received was the Angelina Jolie color. I chose to go up a shade since summer is here and my make-up needs to be a shade darker with exposure to summer sun. The Angelina Jolie color was perfect for my normally light skin shade with a light tan. It is also plenty dark enough to make it through the summer with a little darker tan too. 

I am always a little nervous about switching my foundations for fear that my face will freak out and break out.  I have been very happy with the Advanced minerals foundation. It is very lightweight on my skin and has not caused any breakouts at all. 

The foundation left a nice glow on my skin and blended perfectly. The powder is lightweight and cannot be felt at all. The best part, it takes very little powder to cover, so the loose powder will last a long time for those of us that like to wear make-up all of the time or tend to refresh our make-up through the day.

The container that the Advanced Minerals foundation came in was also nicely designed. The container has a screw on lid to prevent the loose powder from spilling out of the container. There is also an insert inside the container that allows the powder to be dispensed slowly to help control the amount that is used or exposed when in use. 

What I did notice is that when I wiped my face at all the make up wiped off. Not that there was a visible section missing from my skin, but the type where the make-up showed up on a napkin or a shirt that rubbed against my face. So to reduce the rub off,  I used a make-up setting spray.

So which celebrity are you?

Some information about the Advanced Mineral Makeup:

  • Advanced Mineral Makeup is a 100% natural makeup line. Unlike other makeup brands, it contains no parabens, preservatives, or harsh. chemicals that would irritate your skin.
  • Products are used on the set of Grey's Anatomy and NCIS because it's so camera-friendly.
  • Natural looking makeup that just enhances the appearance of your skin.
  • Can be purchased Here
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.