Monday, October 17, 2016

Sterkfontein Caves, a world heritage site.

A bronze sculpture at the exit to the Sterkfontein caves.
My picture.
Last week my friend Wynand came to stay with me while he was attending lectures at the university of Pretoria. He's an ear nose and throat surgeon and of course all doctors in this country have to undergo yearly medical upgrades. This, in my opinion, is not a bad thing at all. Anyway he was here from Monday night until Thursday night and it was fantastic having him here.
On Thursday he finished his lectures early and wanted to do something other than just sitting around talking. When he got here he asked how far the Sterkfontein caves were from here and how long it would take us to get there. Well it's about fifty kilometers or so but how long it'll take depends on traffic and how fast you drive. We decided to take a chance and go for it, the last tour group leaves at four pm so we had to rush.
Heading down into the Sterkfontein caves.
My picture.
We only arrived at two minutes after four after having gotten lost by following the sat-nav's directions but with a bit of running and haste we caught up to the tour group just as they were locking the gate. Phew.
Wynand is a big man and in his own words, "Unfit and fat too." I didn't think so but hey, I'm just me a skinny little man. This was going to be an interesting experience for him as in some places you have to crawl through very small tunnels and he suffers from claustrophobia. I had my camera with me and do not suffer from any form of small place stress, my focus was more on trying to get decent pictures in very low light. I had to set the ISO at maximum but that didn't really make much difference so I landed doing something I very rarely do, I switched the flash on. So, if my pictures seem to be a bit weird please forgive me, it was very dark down there.
A long way down in very dark conditions.
My picture.

Our guide was a young man who was, in my opinion, a bit arrogant. At one point on the tour he started bad mouthing Christians who do not accept the scientific insistence on the validity of evolution. While we were at the underground lake that is there he pointed out some mold growing on the rocks and started telling everyone that that was our ancestral beginning. He said something like those who don't believe in evolution have to be kept out of the caves because they will destroy the evolutionary evidence that is there because they think it was put there by the devil. There is a big gate wired up to shock anyone who touches it. I think the area behind the gate was where there are fossil remains.
The electric gate, bad picture sorry.
my picture.
Wynand chirped, "I don't believe in evolution," which brought a rather sharp reaction from the guide. I turned to Wynand and said, "Ask him if he believes in the "Tokoloshe." You need to understand that (almost) all black people in South Africa believe in a malevolent small creature that causes chaos in their lives. Our guide was no different and so if you believe that everything came from that slime on the rock walls then you come from the same place as the tokoloshe, Right? Ha, ha, ha. That's how you put someone in their place. I think it was a bit of a paradigm shift for him and he didn't chirp very much after that.
The rock formation with the green slime
 from which  we all descended.
My picture.
Well we went on with the tour through various tunnels and along long pathways but, since we were the last tour group for the day, I think the guide just wanted to get it over with and go home. He pointed out a few stalactites and other interesting features like the Calcium carbonate but in general it wasn't a very interesting discussion. Most of the other people there were of oriental origin, there was one American chap, a colored lady from Port Elizabeth, Wynand and I.
This is a very big cave system.
My picture.
 I think there is a whole lot more to these caves that we didn't get to see but I also think these other areas can be accessed by booking a special tour. I do know that there are excavations still going on there and some interesting fossils have been unearthed like Mrs Ples, little foot, and I believe there have been remains of saber toothed tigers found too. Nearby is the Museum known as the cradle of humankind Maropeng, which we didn't get to visit, maybe next time.
In general I would go so far as to say this was a very interesting and enjoyable trip and well worth all the rush and effort. On the way out of the cave system our guide was sitting on the wall and as we walked past I just had to chirp him, "You are in the home of  the tokoloshe, be careful." It was said with a smile and a laugh, not to offend him but to remind him he must think very carefully before judging other peoples beliefs.
We left and Wynand turned to me on the way home and said "I'm feeling in a much better mood now, that was great."
He left that evening to go back to Cape Town.
God bless Wynand, his visit was really enjoyed by both of us.

8 comments:

  1. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to your home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at SiteHoundSniffs.com.

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  2. Hello Jerry.
    Yeah sure you can use it. I like your site and think it's a good idea. Actually I've enjoyed your writings for years now and am a follower of yours.
    Blessings and good luck, Geoff.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Thank you so very much for giving permission. Aside from the All category and the slideshow on the Home page, you can see your header under Beliefs, Daily Life and South Africa. Thank you also for the encouragement. Alas, being rejected by so many really gets to me, but I think it is better to suffer some than become calloused.

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  5. That sounds like a really interesting excursion, except for the tour guide. People do need to not be judgmental, no matter what their beliefs.

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  6. A fascinating post, thank you so much for sharing, and I agree with Cynical Sailor's comment.

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  7. Hi Ellen (Cynical Sailor for those who don't know who I'm replying to.)
    Yes it was a surprising and thoroughly enjoyable outing. The guide? Well when you have believed in the existence of God and the impact He has on our lives for many years then people who are not intelligent enough to go and find out the truth no longer worry one. It was very easy to show him how arrogant and offensive he was. No problem.

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  8. Hello Linda, welcome to my rather bizarre view of life.
    Sharing? I think that is what blogging is all about.
    While living in Cape Town I, at one stage, had more than two hundred geese living on the farm with me. You do get to know them after a very short while, they make sure of it.
    Hey girl, don't be depressed, Jesus loves you and that can only be good.
    Huge blessings from South Africa, Geoff.

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