The Great South African Adventure
Van & Vicki Pershing    
click on any picture to enlarge or play a video  
10 Nov 16: More outings to see the country side yeilded a walk with a cheetah, a rare hippo siting, a proper hamberger, and a lion that fortunately had already had his lunch.  
12 Aug 16: A day of down time took us to Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape for a nice tour of an ostrich farm. There was ostrich riding involved! Click on either pictures for some really exciting videos.....  
11 Aug 16: On our way to Kynsna to do a little mission business, we stopped at Tsitsikamma National Park and took a 2-hour Segway tour of the some beautiful country.    

25 Jun 16: We took a trip to East London and were able to tour the Mercedes Benz factory. In the lobby was a nice display of various models and years of cars, including a car made entirely of beads. The street vendors here in South Africa are famous for their beaded trinkets and Mercedes hired three of the best they could find to make a full-size 200 class car. It took them three months to complete the project. The headquarters in Germany liked it so much they kept the bead makers around for another three months to make another one which was shipped to Germany.    
21 May 16: We drove to Goerge to attend a branch conference. We always take the Garden Route along highway R62. It's beautiful farm country and there are many apple orchards. A lot of them are coveres with a white mesh material. We were tld that it protects the fruit (and the trees) from hail damage. Very strange to se arces and acres of fields with protective covering.  
May 16: This is our solar clothes dryer. It is two steel brackets bolted to the wall with rope tied between them. When installed they ask how high off the ground we would like it. Van said about 1.75 meters. He now wishes he had said 1.85 meters since he is 1.83 meters tall. Many scars to show. Luckily his hair covers them....wait, there is no hair!  
21 May 16: We rented new apartments for some of the elders and one didn't have a shower - only a bathtub. Since nobody likes to bath in their own dirsty water we had to think of some way to have a shower without involving plumbing changes. Amazing what you can do with a piece of tubing and some hose clamps. On our way home we came down the hill leaving the suburb of Bluewater Bay only to have a beautiful view of Port Elizabeth.  
11 May 16: Elder McCarroll, after having serveral surgeries and plenty of physical therapy, has retured to South Africa to complete his mssionary service. His hand is in great shape and he's as excited to be back as we are excited to have him back.  
2 May 16: Another visit to Kragga Kamma Game Reserve. This time we got see a couple of rhinos close to the car and then drove through the cheetah enclosure to get up close and personal with a few of these beautiful animals....didn't roll down the widows to give them a pat on the head....  
Mar 16: We took a trip to take care of some business in Knysna and George the last weekend in March. On our way home we spend a great day visiting three animal sanctuaries in the area. To have a look at some of our adventure, click on the picture to the right.  
Jan 16: How many people can you fit in the bed of a mini truck? Nobody knows what the record is, but this is a very common sight.  
31 Dec 15: We hopped on a boat and made the 45-minute ride to a little island that is the home to 22,000 African penguins. They used to be called Jackass Penguins because the make a noise like a donkey braying. There are a couple of buildings on the island that were used in 1948 for housing employees in an operation to remove guano from the island that was used to manufacture gun powder. The buildings are now used twice a year to provide protection from the weather for the scientists who come for their two-week stay to count penguin nests. By counting the nests they can estimate the population of the island. They figure one nest equals 2-1/2 penguins.  

29 Dec 15: Addo Elephant National Park and Scotia Game Reserve. During the Christmas down time we made a nice visit to these two parks. The excursion started at 9am and we weren't back home until after 10pm. A great experience. Click on the picture to see more.    
17 Dec 15: Nurse Vicki at her finest! One of our elders , Elder McCarroll, received an electrical burn on his hand while trying to help a family fix their oven. Today he went in for surgery to have the wounds debreeded and some tendons repaired. He'll have some skin grafts in a couple of weeks. Having the world's finest nurse by his side was a great comfort to both him and his mother in Colorado.  
16 Dec 15: A two-zone Chrsitmas conference was held in Port Elizabeth with all the missionaries from the PE Zone and the Kwa Nobuhle Zone were trained and fed. 40 people in all. A balanced mixture of training, music, videos and food. A proper Chrsitmas party indeed!  
19 Nov 15: We joined the Silver Sonic Car Club. We do the occasional parade and car show. Actually, all the couple missionaries drive silver Chevy Sonics except one white one. They must have had a sale on them and the Church bought them all up.  
9 Nov 15: We took a tour of the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage with the KwaNobuhle Zone missionaries. We boarded a trolley made of VW Polos for an hour tour of the manufacturing plant. There is a nice museum on site that was filled with many exhibits including a display of a VW-powered hippy beach buggy and a 1951 Beetle split-window couple which was quite possibly the inspiration for the 1963 Corvette, not!  
7 Nov 15: The Mission finally listened to reason and got us a new pickup truck so we could do our work without renting a trailer. Okay, maybe not "new". It's only 70 years old! Actually, we only WISH we had a truck like this one....  
3 Nov 15: This common for of transportation is called "Taxis". These little vans drive around hooting their horns to attract customers and when they're full they take off. They are quite possibly the only reason that whitewall tires are manufactured in this country.  
26 Oct 15: We asked a couple of the elders to show some nice spots in the area and we ended up here at Sardinia Bay. Not a bad Prep Day adventure!    
23 Oct 15: A slow day for us, so we went into the old downtown area of Port Elizabeth for a self-guided walking tour. This is a picture of the Donkin Reserve lighthouse and pyramid which immediately adjacent to the largest South Africa flag and tallest flagpole in the country at 60 meters (198 feet).    
17 Oct 15: We just can't keep these things out of our back yard!

Actually, we had a little down time today so we took a drive to the Seaview Predator Park just down the road.
06 Oct 15: It has been a real hassle trying to move furniture from place to place or having to set up deliveries for new replacement furniture for the elders' living quarters. Hardly anyone has a pickup to borrow and if the did it would be too small to hold more than a toaster oven. To pay someone to do the job is quite expensive. So we took matters into our own hands. We had a trailer hitch installed on the Sonic so we could just rent a trailer to do the job. The trailer only costs $15 a day. We rented a storage unit where we can keep things until they are needed again. The head-snapping power of the 1.6 liter Sonic pulls the trailer just fine as long as there are no hills involved.    
01 Oct 15: We took a trip to the town of George and on the way home we stopped in Jeffery's Bay, a town on the coast know for its excellent surfing, to eat. We accidentally heard of a place called The Mexican which was supposed to have great food. Sure enough, it was great but not very Mexican, Duh, we're in  South Africa!    
19 Sep 15: We took a trip to Grahamstown and Port Alfred which are located to the northeast of Port Elizabeth about a 90 minute drive. Vicki is with Sister Taim at their flat in Grahamstown. After our visit with the Taims and the other missionaries there, we headed to Port Alfred to visit the missionaries there. This region of the country is ideal for growing pineapples. You can see how big they get here! There's a shot of Vicki on the stairs inside the Big Pineapple which is actually an exhibit on the history of pineapple farming in South Africa. Also a photo taken from on top of the pineapple with Port Alfred in the distance. Also included is a photo of part of a pineapple field. The tall reed growing in the fields are to protect the pineapples from the wind.  

For all my firefighter buddies, here's a picture of a typical fire hydrant. We drove around for weeks wondering what the FH on the concrete markers meant.  We figured it might mean Fire Hydrant, but there wasn't a hydrant to be seen. Turns out the actually valve and hook up are in the ground under the matching yellow cast iron lid.    
12 Sep 15: We had an assignment in George, a town about 3-1/2 hours to the west of Port Elizabeth. Rather than drive along the coast we took the back road through farm country and saw some absolutely beautiful country. Along the way we fruit orchards, cattle and sheep farms and a herd of ostriches......  
Watch a video         
After passing through the beautiful farming valleys we needed to get back over the mountain range to get to the coast and George. The GPS decided we should take the scenic route and accidentally took us over Montagu Pass. By far the best mistake the GPS has ever made!    
As we left the Pass we ran into  troop of baboons that we peacefully hanging out by the road. We stopped the car, I handed Vicki the camera, she rolled down the window to take a picture and they all went crazy. They were hooting and hollering and began to cross the road in front of us so I took the camera back and starting snapping pictures....and this is all we got. So close, yet so far.    
In the gated subdivision where the George branch president lives, they have released a heard of springbok antelope and several zebras. They just graze around the neighborhood, and since there are no lions and no hunting they should be there for awhile.    
05 Sep 15: We have strange things in our back yard. Click on the picture to the right to see.....  
25 Aug 15: Nobody can tell us why all the plumbing is on the OUTSIDE of the houses. All the houses are that way.  
21 Aug 15: We hade a nice Zone Training Meeting today. Here's what the Port Elizabeth Zone looks like. Full of beautiful missionaries.  
18 Aug 15: A 2-foot gauge railroad runs through Port Elizabeth. At first I thought it was a carnival ride, but they ran full-size steam locomotives and diesels as well. Here's a man commuting to work. The Aventuur Railway is a closed railway line between Port Elizabeth and Avontuur in South Africa. The Avontuur Railway is a closed railway line between Port Elizabeth and Avontuur in South Africa. It is the longest 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge route in the world at a length of 285 kilometers (177 mi). "Avontuur" is the Afrikaans and Dutch word for "adventure". Talk is that they plan on reopening the road as a tourist attraction.    
03 Aug 15: The weather was absolutely beautiful today. Clear skies and 70 degrees. We had some free time so we took a drive along the Port Elizabeth coast line. Vicki is standing on the beach in Port Elizabeth proper. The next picture was taken a little further west a few kilometers. The road between beach spots was lined with vegetation on both sides of the road.

The picture of the bird shows perhaps one of the ugliest, most annoying creatures on the face of the earth. It's the hadeda (hadeda ibis). These birds are everywhere in South Africa and are about the size of a chicken. Usually about five in the morning they fly around squawking so loudly that sleep is impossible. This one is on the wall in our front yard. We're thinking about sneaking him home in our suitcase!

27 Jul 15: The South African government has selected big plots of land and subdivided them into postage-stamp-sized parcels. These areas are called townships. Through some sort of selection process they give these parcels to families who then built houses on them. In some townships the houses are just thrown together with tin, wood and whatever they can get their hands on, while other have houses made of concrete or some other more substantial material. The picture to the right show a house right across the street from the chapel in Kwa Nobuhle township and is one of the houses built of concrete. There are two pictures of the KwaMagxaki township and the picture showing South African free-range beef was taken in the Motherwell township.  

09 Jul 15: Finally in our place in Port Elizabeth. This small 3-bedroom town house in a small gated community of about 25 homes.  

04 Jul 15: We headed back toward Port Elizabeth and stopped in Keton-On-Sea for a cruise up the Kariega River. Beautiful country but all the plants and birds are different than what we're used to.  
01 Jul 15: We arrived in Port Alfred for a Seniors Couple gathering. This is the view from the condo on the beach. That's the Indian Ocean.  
25 Jun 15: A nice P-day drive down to the Cape Peninsula yielded a nice visit with small South African residents.  
17 Jun 15: We arrive in Cape Town, South Africa. Right off we were given a tour of Cape Town by President and Sister Merrill which included the traditional visit to Signal Hill.  
08 Jun 15: We entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo for a week of orientation.  
07 Jun 15:  We were set apart as missionaries to serve in the South Africa Cape Town Mission by President Zane A. Kartchner.  
31 May 15: We spoke in sacrament meeting with our entire family present. The sacrament was administered, prepared and passed by all of our grandsons of Aaronic Priesthood age. What an honor!  
06 Mar 15: Call to the South Africa Cape Town Mission received 6 March 2015 to report to the MTC on  8 June 2015.