Friday, December 3, 2010

Speak up against canned lion hunting!

As a nation we South Africans take great pride in our rich biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. Many tourists travel here to experience the abundant wildlife in the beautiful surroundings of our private and national parks. However, there is an ugly side to the wildlife industry that most tourists do not get to see, but that would probably shock them into reconsidering their decision to support South African tourism: trophy hunting for "sport".

Canned lion hunting, although controversial from the start, has grown over the past couple of years into a million dollar industry that allows wealthy overseas hunters to add a lion to their collection of exotic animal trophies for up to R250 000 per animal. These animals are bred captive specifically for this purpose and kept in confined enclosures - habituated to humans - until the day the price on their heads are claimed and they are hunted within close quarters, without any hope of escaping their already-sealed fate.

Our previous Ministry of Environment and Tourism took a hard public stance against this industry, effectively banning canned lion operations. Unfortunately the already-powerful industry lashed back with an appeal to courts, bringing the legislation to a standstill until this week, when the court ruled in favour of the South African Predator Breeders' Association.

This is a huge blow to the lions and the South African public, the vast majority of whom do not support this practice. In fact, the only people who stand to gain are the ruthless, money-hungry breeders and the cowardly so-called hunters who support them. There is no gain for conservation and certainly no gain for the reputation of our beautiful country.

Please help us stamp out the unethical practice of canned lion hunting! We need to put pressure on the South African government to declare this activity illegal once and for all. Please sign this petition and forward it on to your friends.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Famous Cape Town landmark comes crashing down (no, not THAT one)

This past Sunday morning at 11:56am, a very familiar part of the Cape Town skyline was changed irrevocably when the 48-year old Athlone Cooling Towers came crashing down in a planned demolition.

Although not visible from The Green Room Gardens Self Catering Apartment, the towers were a famous landmark on the N2 Highway en route from Cape Town International Airport to the Cape Town CBD and Gardens, and were often referred to when giving directions.

Watch the video to see how it all unfolded in the blink of an eye:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Before and After (Part 2: Almost Finished)

We finally managed to finish the renovations at the apartment, almost a month after the end of the World Cup! Oh well, still in time for the summer holiday season, which is just around the corner.

Here are some pics of the renovated flat plus most of the furniture, sans decorations. As soon as I can get a hold of a camera with a wide-angle lens, I will post more pictures of the completely transformed, modern and relaxing Green Room Gardens - a far cry from the 70s-style, DIY disaster it was when I bought it.

This is the actual view!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Before and After (Part 1: Before)

Who'd have thought this scruffy-looking place (as depicted in the pictures we took before starting renovations) could ever amount to much? Especially when the work, which was supposed to take only 3 days to complete, was unnecessarily dragged out by our unscrupulous project manager to about 11 weeks in the end, completely obliterating my hopes to have it ready in time for the World Cup?

After lots of nail-biting and hair-pulling, it finally got done in the end, and although we missed the soccer crowd by about a mile, I'm certainly glad it doesn't look like this anymore:

Before Renovations 1

Before Renovations 2

Before Renovations 3

Before Renovations 4

Before Renovations 5

Before Renovations 6

Before Renovations 7