A Journal, with Pictures

Family

Singita Ebony Lodge a magic place

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Singita Ebony Lodge is the original location in the 19 lodge Sangita collection of top-end luxury “camps.” The private property is set within the 160,500-acre Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa. Sangita Ebony Lodge sits on a bluff overlooking the Sands River, where we had a two-family suite (four bedrooms) plus common area and a separate suite for Joyce and me. Our separate compound had its own Hostess, Chef, serving staff and we had two trackers and two guides assigned to look after us. The main lodge was a five-minute walk away.  Our routine was to rise at six A.M. have a light breakfast and leave on the game drive at seven. We would stop around nine A.M. for coffee, cocoa or tea, and a biscuit, then continue our morning game drive. We then would have a large breakfast/brunch around eleven and then relax or participate in activities until three P.M. We then would leave for the afternoon game drive, stop for a glass of wine or cocktail before returning to our lodge, where we would have a gourmet dinner prepared by our chef after cocktails. Singita is one of the biggest buyers of premium wines in South African and they served outstanding wines at every opportunity. Our Trackers and Guides were superb and became part of the family quickly.

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Singita Saturday July 20th

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

The word was that a lion pride had killed a Cape Buffalo next to Kruger Game Reserve, so we headed there first thing in the morning. We were not disappointed. The pride was still feeding on the second day with the dominate male doing the eating with two cubs and the mother and other females still there.

We crossed the river each day on our game drive and saw the more aquatic species at the crossing.

The afternoon drive serves up a big variety of species.

A great day of game viewing and enjoying Sangita incredible amenities and hospitality.

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Singita Sunday July 21st.

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Sunday turned out to be a leopard highlight day. In the morning our amazing tracker Vusi spotted a lone leopard in a dense bush, it then decided to pose for us. In the afternoon we followed a male as he walked along the riverbank near our camp. In the evening, again our tracker spotted a female near our camp who had killed an antelope and had hyenas steal the kill. When we came upon the scene the hyenas were fighting over the kill, and we provided enough distraction for the leopard to steal back part of the kill. With a few more interesting animals to photograph it was quite a day.

Tomorrow will be our last day and as usual, Our Singita Host, Chef and Staff prepare a great dinner, with great wine to celebrate a great trip.

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Final Day and Return Home Monday July 22nd.

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

We were ninety percent packed and had our normal six A.M. wake up call and seven A.M. departure for our last game drive. One of the naturalists had spotted a lone male lion so that was our challenge for the morning. Vusi our tracker picked up the tracks on a road and started tracking on foot in the bush and we circled to try to intercept our quarry. We soon spotted a magnificent young male traveling fast. The early morning sun was low and behind the lion but we still managed to capture some halfway decent images of this magnificent creature.

As we headed back to camp we stopped to photograph two Zebra who turned to say goodbye as we leave this incredible place. We enjoyed one last Singita lunch, then finished packing and headed for the airstrip. Our flight was a little over an hour and we checked back into the Intercontinental where we had a day room. Lunch, shower and relax until our eight P.M. fifteen-hour flight to Atlanta. We cleared customs and then caught our last flight to our home airports. We all arrived home before noon on Tuesday, July 23. Enjoying two fabulous locations, unbelievable hospitality and unforgettable safari experience with our family is a trip of a lifetime. We will be sharing memories for months and years to come.

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Thanksgiving 2018

by on Nov.23, 2018, under Family

Spring Island from the Cottage

The family started gathering at the Chechessee cottage on the Monday before Thanksgiving with Jennifer, Mike, and Alexandra arriving from Florida. Tuesday Caitlin and Kinsey arrived with Gil and Joyce and Heidi, Gary and Brenn completed the gathering Thanksgiving morning. Thanksgiving day was typical with lots of activities, starting with some working out at Spring Island, games, cooking, eating, additional games, football watching, more eating, more games, talking, relaxing, more eating, more cooking, giving Thanks and then feasting. It was a great Thanksgiving day surrounded by several days of family fun.

Black Friday activities started with exercise for everybody with some heading to the gym and others entering the 5K at Spring Island. Once that was done we resumed the eating, games, football watching Missouri won big, and there was some shopping. Gary left to coach his football team, who are in the playoffs. All but Gary went to the Oyster Roast at Spring Island for dinner.

 

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Christmas 2017

by on Dec.29, 2017, under Family

Christmas weekend started with Caitlin and Kinsey coming to Hilton Head on Thursday, with Heidi having outpatient surgery done Friday. Friday Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra arrived in the evening from Florida. Saturday morning Jennifer organized the traditional gingerbread house baking and construction and there as lots of other holiday baking. Kinsey declared that her gingerbread house was hit by hurricane Mathew, Caitlin’s was sturdy and nice but the prize went to Alexandra for prettiest house (pictured below).  Early Saturday afternoon we all traveled to the Chechessee cottage and to our surprise Heidi was there recovering. Gary and Brenn arrived Christmas eve morning. Christmas eve was spent playing games, watching college football, enjoying each others company, capped off by a fine dinner.

Christmas morning the excitement was high and yes Santa had delivered lots of gifts. There was lots of happines, but the highlight was Brenn shedding tears of joy when he opened his tickets to the Collage Football National Championship game. We all teared up and it capped off a great morning. We then had a big Christmas brunch then everyone enjoyed their gifts and socialized. In the afternoon we watched the San Francisco 49ers pull off an impressive win over the Jaguars who were favored. We then enjoyed a traditional prime rib Christmas dinner. We spent Boxing day doing more family things, with some shopping, working out and playing with new toys, before Gary and Mike arrived with Barbecue dinner. The Prado’s went back to Savannah on Wednesday and Montgomery’s to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. It was a great family Christmas.

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Thanksgiving 2017

by on Nov.29, 2017, under Family

Joyce and I flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before Thanksgiving. Great flight and then time for Jen and Joyce to spring into action preparing for tomorrows feast. Dinner out a fun Italian restaurant, eat light so you are ready for turkey? Thanksgiving day was great, with the traditional dinner and quality time with family. Alexandra was in charge of the official picture and did a fine job.

Friday after Thanksgiving we drove into Miami to the Wynwood Walls area to me Dennis and Jill Haber and Dennis’s sister Arlene for lunch. We had a great lunch and a great visit. We then toured the area visiting a neat little car museum and taking in the incredible street art.

We then returned to Jen and Mikes home, and Jen did some shopping (Black Friday) and Mike and Gil went to the shooting range. Dinner at home and Saturday we flew back to Hilton Head another great flight. Another super Thanksgiving with family.

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Weddings in Oregon

by on Aug.03, 2017, under Family

We flew to Oregon for two joyous events, the weddings of Brian Littlefield (nephew) to Lynda Mathews and my brother Mike Williamson to Laticia Stryker. We stayed in Bend, Oregon, where my brother lives, then traveled to Salem the site of the rehearsal dinner and wedding. We stayed in Salem at the beautiful Oregon gardens.

Oregon Gardens


Rehearsal Dinner

The wedding was outdoors in a beautiful setting, followed by dinner.

Brian and Lynda’s wedding

We traveled back to Bend stopping at the Willamette Valley vineyard to taste wine and have lunch with Mike, Laticia and cousin Kayle. We liked the Pinot, and sent a case back to South Carolina.

Oregon Wine Country

On Monday we traveled to Camp Sherman, Oregon for Mike and Laticia’s wedding in a beautiful wooded setting, followed by dinner. Laticia had a fabulous photographer who did not want competition so these images were taken with my spy camera. It was a wonderful wedding enjoyed by the whole family.

Mike and Laticia’s wedding

We returned to Bend with my sister Patty and her husband Lenny and the next day had lunch with Mike and Laticia. During the week end we had the occasion to reunite with our family in Oregon including my three sisters (Suzy, Patty and Tina) and their husbands and children as well as of course Mike. We decided it was time to have a family reunion and include all of the east coast contingent next year. Patty is in charge so we know it will happen. Joyce and I got up very early Wednesday and flew back to South Carolina. It was a great weekend which we will be reminded of as we sip the very nice Oregon, Pinot Nior that is on its way.

 

 

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Christmas 2016

by on Dec.28, 2016, under Family

Joyce and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale to spend Christmas with Jen, Mike and Alexandra. We left a day early due to weather, arriving on Thursday. We enjoyed Thursday afternoon and Friday in the Montgomery construction zone as Jen and Mike are in the middle of a renovation project and the progress is impressive, with more to come. Some shopping, Mike and Gil visited the Wings over Miami aviation museum Friday, but mostly relaxing and enjoying family. Oh did I mention eating, yes eating is our strong suit, lots of food all the time, with a great Christmas eve dinner, then another feast on Christmas day. Back on the diet next week. Christmas morning was great with everyone enjoying the gift exchange and of course Alexandra was the epicenter of the gift giving storm. She loved it in a very mature and Christian way.  We talked on the phone with Heidi who was with the Prado branch of the family in Myrtle Beach this year, and all was well.

Joyce and I flew back to Hilton Head on Monday to prepare for the New Year. It was a great Christmas, we are so blessed as a family.

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2016 a great family Thanksgiving

by on Nov.27, 2016, under Family

This was the first Thanksgiving celebrated at the Chechessee cottage by our family and it was a great one. Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra arrived late afternoon on Wednesday and Heidi, Gary, Brenn, Caitlin and Kinsey on Thursday morning. Gary and Brenn launched their boat and caught a bunch of sea trout, the rest played games, watched football and enjoyed each others company. Joyce, Jen and Heidi were at work in the kitchen preparing the dinner. We all sat down and gave thanks for our many blessings then enjoyed an incredible feast. After dinner more games and football plus pumpkin pie to top off a wonderful day.

Friday was filled with activities for everyone, more fishing for Gary and Brenn, then they joined Alexandra and Caitlin in a fishing tournament. At the same time Heidi and Kinsey participated in a 5K fun run. Gil worked out and played photographer, then after lunch watched football, Ohio State vs Michigan, what a game. There was a young persons fun night at Spring Island and the adults had dinner a Chechessee Creek Club. Saturday there were more activities at Spring Island with the owners market, various kids activities such as face painting, barbecue lunch, a presentation of raptors by a visiting naturalist, as well as a dog show. Alexandra’s dog, Autumn’s brother was in the show so he got lots of cheers from us.  Again, it was a perfect fall day and everyone had a great time.

Jennifer, Mike and Alexandra left for Fort Lauderdale Saturday evening to beat the traffic and the rest of us enjoyed a  fresh caught sea trout fish fry at the cottage then watched a little more football. Sunday morning we watched another great sunrise over the Chechessee river, had breakfast then reluctantly left to go home. This was truly one of the best Thanksgiving ever at a very special place for our family.

 

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