TRANSKEI: MTENTU LODGE

So year three of our wedding anniversary has come and gone in a blink of an eye. We’ve had a super quiet year in terms of travelling. So quiet that we actually couldn’t remember the last time we went away (which wasn’t this year!) A lot of our time gets taken up by the Hluhluwe trips we do every month, that we didn’t even realise that this trip to Transkei was our first proper holiday of the year. Having said that, we do have a big year next year planned in terms of trips – watch this space!

It’s nothing new how much husband and I absolutely love the Transkei. There’s nothing about the Transkei that I don’t love. The people, the food, the hospitality, the views, the freedom, the ability to just let go, ag the list goes on! We have been looking forward to this trip for months and it sure as hell didn’t disappoint. When a friend told us about Mtentu Lodge and the natural waterfalls that flow directly into the ocean I knew this was a place that we just had to visit! And so we did.

We knew the weather forecast wasn’t very promising, so we planned to arrive early on our first day, as that was the only sunny day predicted for the weekend. We basically spent the entire day on the beach, making friends with the lodge doggies and just soaking up all the beauty that transkei beaches have to offer.

APND4771 (1) (Copy)

DQTN4232 (Copy)

GURG1088 (Copy)

IMG_9277 (Copy)

IMG_9279 (Copy)

IMG_9283 (Copy)

IMG_9285 (Copy)

IMG_9286 (Copy)

IMG_9290 (Copy)

IMG_9295 (Copy)

IMG_9297 (Copy)

IMG_9298 (Copy)

IMG_9300 (Copy)

IMG_9301 (Copy)

TZPO3722 (Copy)

WQAO5092 (Copy)

After a couple of hours on the beach, we headed back for some lunch and drinks and some chill out time. We took a quick shower in the outdoor shower, and literally got spoiled with whales breaching right in front of us. I cant make this stuff up. The rest of day one was spent relaxing, enjoying some drinks, beating each other at a game of Backgammon and soaking up all the beauty around us.

DMPX4773 (Copy)

FYLJ6404 (Copy)

IMG_9309 (Copy)

IMG_9310 (Copy)

IMG_9313 (Copy)

IMG_9304 (Copy)

GBAS5465 (Copy)

Next day we had some gloomy weather, so we hopped into one of the canoes available to hire and paddled our way up the estuary, and hiked our way through some traitorous grounds to get to the most magnificent waterfall i have ever seen. Word of note – this was NOT an easy hike. Also, turns out I really dont like canoeing.

CROY8620 (Copy)

EJJI5655 (Copy)GBHO5032 (Copy)

HIPI7685 (Copy)OEXC6842 (Copy)OUIZ7081 (Copy)

This is about a 5-6 hour canoe/hike adventure so we had to put the boat quite high up when we reached our destination in case high tide came through and washed our boat away (which would be so not ideal) – this was no easy task. That canoe weighs about 500kg and getting that thing far from water was a bloody nightmare.

BBPF6976 (Copy).JPG

Quick sip on some liquified sugar to get our energy levels up and we were off!

OSGD3117 (Copy).JPG

This walk can easily be done barefoot or with slops. Definitely get the lodge to pack you a little take away lunch, because your’e in for a long day. We climbed rocks, crossed waterfalls, hung off trees branches, did a lot of ass-grazing to get down some rocks, broke slops, saw chameleons, fell a few times, got some cuts and bruises and eventually, got to the most glorious waterfall. And it was all worth it.

AYJP2825 (Copy)BEBO7909 (Copy)

BFOQ8655 (Copy)

BJPD1551 (Copy)

CBDI3566 (Copy)

CDTV5623 (Copy)

DJWV4311 (Copy)EFJQ1646 (Copy)FMSY7967 (Copy)ILHY6829 (Copy)JLSE8188 (Copy)KAYF6851 (Copy)

LFMS5942 (Copy)

MDBQ2895 (Copy)

MMWR8027 (Copy)

OGQX8683 (Copy)OIXW4030 (Copy)

PGAX6091 (Copy)PJIN7162 (Copy)PQZI6749 (Copy)PWUV1149 (Copy)

PZSD3510 (Copy)QAFZ3402 (Copy)QGYC5404 (Copy)

QSDN4492 (Copy)RTDV0876 (Copy)

TFEQ3049 (Copy)

THSC0548 (Copy)

TQBA7313 (Copy)TQWQ9447 (Copy)UQHU5695 (Copy)

This was such an amazing walk that we did and as hard as it was, we enjoyed every second of it. Sadly, I don’t think this walk is for everyone as it was really difficult. But this place has so many other amazing adventures to offer that you definitely not missing out.

Unfortunately, the next day’s weather was even worse and super rainy that we didn’t get to do the hike to the waterfalls that flow directly into the ocean, but as the say – even more reason to go back! And that is something we will definitely do!

Some hints and tips:

cash is king – your entire bill has to be settled in cash (and you cant draw money) so make sure you take enough cash!

the lodge has no self catering facilities but you can take some snackies.

signal hill – there is zero signal in the entire lodge, except for signal hill – do NOT drive up this hill (there are tyre tracks so you would think you are allowed to – you are not) its a R2500 fine if you drive up this hill. dont do it.

cabin 6 – make sure you get cabin 6. Best views. ever.

you can take a normal car. The road splits between 4×4 and normal vehicles.

follow the directions back out when you leave – unless you want to add an extra hour to your trip and get very lost.

lastly – BOOK THIS PLACE.

Advertisements

The Hatchery

Husband and I started the new year relaxing in awesome pools, sipping on delicious gin and tonics whilst the sun was beaming down on our pasty white warm skins. It was the best way to say hello to a new year.

We took about an hour and a half drive to a little gem called The Hatchery up the north coast. Its right by The Prawn Shack, which sadly no longer really exists. We took a drive there to have some drinks on the beach but this no longer seems to be an option. At least husband got to take our little toy Jimny on a bit of offroading and managed to cake up quite a bit of mud on the car. (his highlight of the trip FYI). The Hatchery is rustic, but with a lot of quirk to it. You can spend hours wondering their  farm discovering little hidden gems all over the place. From chill lounges, to view points, to abandoned homes, old beautiful doors, and the list goes on. Its completely self catering with no option of purchasing any goodies there, but the nearest shop isnt’ far if you forgot anything.

We chose the room with the best view (pump house) which looks out right onto the river which also had its own tiny little pool – not exclusively ours i must sadly admit. This trip was all about relaxing and doing as little as possible – in fact the most we did was row across the river to the other side, and back. And that was enough. Back to the pools!

When we left we decided to take a drive into Eshowe to the George Hotel for some yummy Zululand beer and Italian pizza but sadly they no longer serve lunch and the bar was closed (insert the saddest face ever). So we took a walk around and then, well just left.

Enjoy the pics!

IMG_3069 (Copy)IMG_3071 (Copy)IMG_3074 (Copy)IMG_3075 (Copy)

IMG_3076 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3078 (Copy)IMG_3080 (Copy)IMG_3081 (Copy)IMG_3082 (Copy)IMG_3084 (Copy)IMG_3087 (Copy)IMG_3089 (Copy)IMG_3091 (Copy)IMG_3092 (Copy)IMG_3093 (Copy)IMG_3097 (Copy)IMG_3102 (Copy)IMG_3103 (Copy)IMG_3106 (Copy)IMG_3108 (Copy)IMG_3111 (Copy)IMG_3112 (Copy)IMG_3113 (Copy)IMG_3114 (Copy)IMG_3115 (Copy)IMG_3125 (Copy)IMG_3131 (Copy)IMG_3132 (Copy)IMG_3136 (Copy)IMG_3137 (Copy)IMG_3138 (Copy)IMG_3148 (Copy)IMG_3149 (Copy)IMG_3152 (Copy)IMG_3154 (Copy)IMG_3162 (Copy)IMG_3164 (Copy)IMG_3167 (Copy)IMG_3168 (Copy)IMG_3169 (Copy)IMG_3182 (Copy)

 

ENDING OF 2016

For New Years we planned to go to the Drakensberg with a couple of our friends to see the new year in over some beautiful mountains. It had been a while since we paid the berg a visit and it felt amazing to be back. However, other friends of ours dangled the carrot in front of our noses with the proposal that they were going to the bush just before we were set off for the berg. We decided what the heck! Let’s just do both!

We quickly booked our spots and hit the road once again! First stop: Mkhuze. We decided to take the longer, scenic route and enter via the Ophansi Gate. We were aware of the entrance fee which we had to pay, but not aware of the fact that they don’t accept cards, only cash (they failed to mention this on any of our booking forms or websites). I was mad. I just don’t understand how game reserves as popular as these have such rigid rules. There was no negotiating of paying at the main camp and returning with the slips etc. It was, drive back 60km (on a dirt road) to the first available ATM and withdraw the cash. Luckily our friends had already arrived and they had cash on them. An hour later we were all paid up and ready to finally enter the park! (p.s. don’t bother entering via Ophansi Gate. It’s not that scenic.) We had booked into one the rest huts which were quite comfortable and enjoyable. It doesn’t have it’s own kitchen or bathroom, but it’s certainly comfortable enough to spend a couple of days in. It does at least have a fridge and a kettle though.

DSC08851 (Copy).JPG

DSC08853 (Copy).JPG

We arrived just in the nick of time before one of the most spectacular storms I had ever seen decided to break lose from the sky. Thunder, lightning, gusting winds, rain, hail – we had it all. It lasted a good hour before dying down, just enough time to water the park amply and cool off the park from the scorching sun.

IMG_2560.JPG

IMG_2577.JPG

IMG_2578.JPG

IMG_2579.JPG

The park was lush and green but animals were scarce. We suspect the park is still recovering from the dramatic drought it had been through. Nevertheless, we were very lucky to spot some wild dogs, as well as cheetahs among the few animals we were to able to find. We enjoyed early morning drives, with delicious warm Amarula Coffee (thanks garreth and heather – definitely a new favourite!) and rusks and again sundowners at the viewpoint overlooking the Vulture Restaurant in the afternoons.

16107481_197239267416202_8309780669683039777_o.jpg

IMG_0323.JPG

DSC08860 (Copy).JPG

DSC08863 (Copy).JPG

DSC08864 (Copy).JPG

DSC08866 (Copy).JPG

DSC08867 (Copy).JPG

DSC08870 (Copy).JPG

DSC08877 (Copy).JPG

DSC08921 (Copy).JPG

IMG_0266.JPG

I got extremely excited when I heard the call of a Bushbaby, as I hadn’t seen one in years! I absolutely love those little, wide-eyed furry animals. Turns out, they were right on our friend’s roof! And, the mother was transporting her tiny little babies from one tree to another. It was an exciting sighting and right on our doorstep! Literally.

The days went fast and before we knew it, we were ready for our next leg of the trip: the Drakensberg.

DSC08923 (Copy).JPG

DSC08929 (Copy).JPG

We took the very long, very scenic route via Jozini, Dundee, Vryheid, Ladysmith all the way to Bergville. What a beautiful route. It took us a good 7 hours to get to the berg, but it was well worth the trip. Having said that, we were chasing a pretty spectacular storm and had arrived just in time to set up our camp before the rains came pouring down. This route provides plenty of pit stops and fueling points which made for a must less stressful drive.

img_2595

IMG_2594.JPG

IMG_0270.JPG

IMG_0273.JPG

IMG_0271.JPG

 

IMG_0353.JPG

IMG_0354.JPG

DSC08935 (Copy).JPG

DSC08933 (Copy).JPG

The weather was rather extreme, from boiling hot days, to chilly nights, to the most dramatic storms yet again! The first storm we experienced wasn’t too bad. We had some water running through our campsites which made it a bit unpleasant but we stuck it out. The next storm however, on the following day, was a different story. The dam walls literally broke lose and our entire campsite got washed away. We were a group of 12 friends, each with either a spade or bucket or a tin cup in their hand, trying to scoop as much water away, digging trenches, blocking holes, you name it! It was damage control to the max. We eventually got known as ‘the family with the buckets’ amongst our fellow campers. The hail came down and by now we were all completely drenched but we didn’t care. We actually had a lot of fun and we came to the conclusion that we had the perfect group of friends who would survive any crisis. The weather eventually cleared up and we ended up having a beautiful evening. We showered, warmed up, and simply continued with our festivities.The next day, however, we all kind of felt that we couldn’t do another storm like that, and started talking about leaving a day early. With a few confirmed weather reports, the weather stayed clear. We spent the day swimming and playing in the river, making delicious food, and just chilling out.

IMG_0296.JPG

photo by Jules

It was an amazing end to a rather rollercoaster year. 2016 was emotional, and tiresome and I just know that 2017 is going to be an amazing year!

Next trip: road trip to Cape Town!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KOSI BAY, JOU LEKKER DING

The plan for our one year wedding anniversary was to go to Ndaka which is situated inside Nambiti and probably one of the most amazing places you could go to! Unfortunately, this year went by in a blink of an eye and so before we knew it, our anniversary was two months away and we didn’t save any money for this luxurious holiday. So we headed over to plan B – Kosi Bay.

We came across Utshwayelo lodge in the September issue of Getaway Magazine where they had an article of the 24 most affordable places to go to in South Africa. This place has actually been featured a few times so we decided to give it a bash!

We booked our leave and again, stayed over at the brother in-law’s place the night before, where we enjoyed a very larney dinner at The Chef’s table.

We hit the road fairly early the next morning, as we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us (apparently we drive really slow, as this is supposedly only about a 4 hour drive).

IMG_3716 (Copy).JPG

The drive went quick as it’s such a beautiful drive to that side of the world. We didn’t realise how far Kosi Bay actually was and almost wished we had taken another day’s leave considering the far drive. In case you were wondering, Kosi Bay is right on the border of Mozambique. In fact, we had to switch our data off on our phones as it picks up the Mozambique network and you could potentially sit with a hefty phone bill due to roaming.

When we arrived we had a couple of hours of precious sun left for the day, so we quickly checked in, threw on our cozzies and headed down to the beach. You can only get to the beach with 4×4. This was the first time we took our toy onto the beach and got a little nervous at all the soft, thick sand, and unexpected huge puddles of water as well as rickity wooden bridges.

IMG_3762 (Copy).JPG

It was quite a drive, and we were certain we had gotten lost as the terrain went all over the place at one stage. You definitely want to venture down to the beach during low tide, otherwise you would be stranded. But once we arrived, we were blown away by the beautiful beach!

DSC08767 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3731 (Copy).JPG

DSC08769 (Copy).JPG

DSC08782 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3753 (Copy).JPG

Unfortunately the sun didn’t last long, and we had quite gloomy weather over that weekend, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. That weekend was all about relaxing.

img_3718-copy

My favourite thing about the whole place was the ‘honesty bar’. The bar was completely unattended and you literally just helped yourself to whatever was there, and all you had to do was write it down in the little book provided. The local cats are super friendly too and a real joy to sit and watch. We had a massive storm on our first night there. We were having a yummy braai, and decided that with the first BIG drops, we would move. The words hadn’t even left our mouths yet when the heavens burst open and we had torrential rains pouring down on us (i see a pattern here with all our trips). Luckily there was plenty of shelter so we quickly moved our braai undercover. We spent the rest of the evening in the dining area, enjoying our dinner over a delicious bottle of red wine, playing some board games whilst the most spectacular storm was rumbling away above us.

IMG_3739 (Copy).JPG

 

IMG_3741 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3756 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3757 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3760 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3763 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3764 (Copy).JPG

The weekend went by quick so we decided on our drive home to stop over at Hluhluwe and drive through the park. I was extremely disappointed and mad when we arrived, only to find that their card machines didn’t work and with no cash on hand, they had no back up plan. This infuriated me. Hluhluwe is one of the most popular parks in South Africa, and to not have a back up plan to something as common as their card machines not working, was completely unacceptable to me. And so we got turned away. This was NOT how we wanted to end our anniversary weekend. So we drove back the way we came, in complete silence. Couple of km’s later, we got pulled over for speeding. R1200 fine which the husband managed to get out of. Now we had mixed feelings of joy of getting out of such a hefty speeding fine, but still disappointed that we had to drive straight home. So, we decided to go through Umfolozi, which was a bit out of the way. When we arrived at the gates, we told them about our ordeal at Hluhluwe and they were completely shocked and couldn’t believe we got turned away.

We spent the next couple of hours oohing and aahing at all the beautiful animals we spotted, and left the park at the Ulundi Gate. We were lucky enough to see a MASSIVE herd of elephants!

DSC08801 (Copy).JPG

DSC08808 (Copy).JPG

DSC08827 (Copy).JPG

IMG_3750 (Copy).JPG

The trip back took a good 10 hours but we got to see a beautiful part of our country that we’ve never seen and probably never will again which made the trip totally worth it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that husband and I are great travelling partners and no matter what journey we take, it’s always an adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

its me!

Gosh I have been SO quiet over here! Things have been rather hectic with our little picnic business taking off. We are constantly dealing with queries, updating our catalogue, sourcing more items, making more items etc etc. And now, we’ve added ourselves onto Groupon and we are being FLOODED with queries!! It’s very good, we’re not complaining. We would love for this little venture of ours to be a success, and who knows, maybe one day we can leave our jobs and do this full time (I do however feel that I already need an assistant just to deal with all these emails!). So we are very excited for the next couple of months to see where this little venture can go.

On a more personal note, we getting a new car! yay! Husband and I have had the same cars for the last 6 plus years,  but due to unforeseen reasons (drunk #&*$ crashing into husband, with no insurance) we’ve had to look at buying a new car. We decided we might as well splash out a tiny bit and get something we really want – a 4×4. So we opted for the little tiny Suzuki Jimny. It really is a toy car and I can’t wait to go out and play with it! I’m trying to convince husband that a trip to Clarens is the perfect place to try it out, seeing as Sani Pass is practically around the corner. I think I might`ve won him over. After our honeymoon, all I want to do is travel and am bursting inside with all the places I want to go to! Clarens, Botswana, Austria, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Cape Town just to begin with! All this talk is making husband extremely nervous but he will thank me one day 🙂

 

c4723ac045138df24deb56472377050c.jpg

photo courtesy of Dan Ashbach

A lesson learnt in Yoga

8 Morrison street is a hip and happening hub in Durban. Loads of events get held there, they hire out office pods and are just always busy cooking up something. The latest is their Yoga in the City. Every Wednesday night, they have a brilliant yoga instructor, give us an hour long session, for FREE. Now for anyone that knows, i love yoga. I feel that people have such a warped perception of yoga. It’s not all hippies, eating grass and swaying arms around all day. It’s a genuine work out, that makes you feel amazing, that’s honestly good for the mind and body. I always leave yoga feeling refreshed, positive and extremely stiff the next day.

Now, yoga is a practice for yourself. You are there with your own intentions and reasons. But for some reason, with yesterday’s practice, I felt my ego trying to take over. I’m not great at yoga. I have no hamstrings which means i have zero flexibility. Zero arm strength, and just a general lack of panache and poise. But that’s ok. I know this about me, and I don’t let it stop me. But with yesterday’s class, I definitely felt intimidated. The rest of the class all looked like a bunch of gym bunnies and somehow, I ended up right in the front of the class. All eyes on me. I felt so self-conscious. Everyone is going to look at me and see how I suck. I was also there by myself, something I’m generally very comfortable with, but last night it felt like I was walking into a huge house party by myself where I knew no one. And this eventually annoyed me. Since when do I care what strangers think of me. They probably don’t even know I’m there. Eventually, I shrugged off these ridiculous feelings and started to relax, feel in the zone. And once the practice started, I realised that some of them were just as inflexible as me. In fact, the little girl next to me was quite a hoot to watch out the corner of my eye because she had no idea what was going on. But I left there feeling great. Which is what yoga does. I felt completely different leaving there, than what I did when I arrived. And that’s what I love about yoga, and why I want to keep doing it as much as possible. It makes you forget about your stupid ego. It really bothered me that I felt the way I did, and felt that I had to write about it, to put it in perspective.

2601f237caf5067bb61349fe5058614e

image from Etsy Clarafornia

Let’s talk business

With the wedding, we pretty much made and bought everything ourselves. There were very few items that we hired. Now, with the wedding over and done with, we are sitting with a lot of these items still. So, instead of them just lying around going to waste, the mom and I have decided to try make a little business out of it. Either, we cater full picnic parties for you, or we hire out our items. Simple.

When I planned our wedding I was disappointed in how little picnic items were available to hire in Durban. There are lovely websites out there to hire from, but mostly in Cape Town. I would’ve loved to not have to stitch 91 pillow cases and 21 blankets. But I did. And they are mine to keep forever. So why not get a little something in return for all my sweat and tears (I’m exaggerating, it was more sweat and wine).

Most of you know that I had a picnic wedding and it was a massive success and we received very positive feedback.

To give you an idea of what one of our picnics look like:

IMG_0177.JPG

IMG_0179.JPG

12235120_10153676706840242_6134410406553384542_n.jpg

So if any of you are interested in having a little picnic party, be it for your little ones, with the girls, a romantic one with you and your partner, give us a shout. We cater for all needs.

For further details, hop over to our website : Picnickity Picnics or Facebook page. Or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Discovering the traveler in me

Dear friends of ours are currently doing a massive trip through Botswana (follow their adventures here: gazandleighbucketlistadventuresblog) and it just took me straight back to my own adventures. It’s a distance memory and it’s been a very long time since I’ve thought about those adventures and even looked through all the pictures. It inspired me to rekindle those memories and look back on the awesome adventures I got to experience. I look forward to swopping our stories over some delicious wine when they return.

Some of you might not know this but I lived in Zambia for two years. It was quite a spur of the moment decision and seeing as I was still young when presented with the opportunity, I figured I had nothing to lose. Packed my bags and a couple of months later I was in deep dark Africa. This was probably one of the best things I could’ve done for myself.

Everyone has this inclination to always go overseas. And why not. It’s so beautiful over there and the culture is just something everyone has to experience (not to mention the food! honeymoon still has me drooling over the deliciousness my taste buds got to enjoy). But I also believe that every person MUST make the effort to travel Africa, because the rest of Africa (well the countries I’ve experienced) is NOTHING like South Africa. Nothing.

Africa is full of quirkiness that’s on a whole ‘nother level. I’m not talking Freedom Cafe quirkiness, but general every day quirkiness. One saying, that I absolutely loved, was whenever there was a car accident, they would describe it as: the one bumper kissed the other bumper. I mean some were like R-rated make out sessions looking at the state of the car, if you know what I mean, but they had such a positive outlook on most things. During my stay in Zambia I got to travel quite a bit, which is the main purpose of this post.

5170_96999900898_613630898_2454615_1483323_n.jpg

050.JPG

one way of making a fire

059.JPG

hope you got good eyes

I stayed in the capital city, Lusaka. I believe it has changed quite a significant amount since I’ve been there. Shopping centres have upgraded to double stories, which meant they got escalators. This led to school field trips to the shopping mall, just to get to experience an escalator. Life is simple in Zambia. That’s what I loved most about it.

Initially I flew to Zambia and eventually flew back home to drive back our Land Rover, so that we have transportation. Well, better transportation. Most cars there I’ve never heard of and let’s just say, we didn’t exactly splash out on the car we bought for the company.

045.JPG

So, first road trip was through Botswana. We set off early and stayed over in a little town called Zeerust, just before the border.(800 km distance) I will most highly recommend to NEVER stay in this town. It’s not nice. Let’s leave it at that. With a quick hop skip and jump we crossed the border and spent the night in Gaborone to visit a friend. Distance wise you totally don’t have to stay in Gaborone if you’ve stayed somewhere near the border as it’s about 20 mins from the border.

3140_78056540898_613630898_2184539_4190056_n.jpg

From Gaborone we ventured straight up north through Francistown and spent our first night a tiny little place called Nata (600 km in distance). We just stayed for one night but thoroughly enjoyed this place. A couple of months after we stayed there it completely burnt down due to a run away veld fire but am happy to report that they have rebuild it since. Curious to see what it looks like now.

nata lodge

129.JPG133.JPG136.JPGn613630898_913083_3011.jpg

lost shoe.jpg

keep an eye on your shoes.

The further north you are in Botswana the much more wild it becomes as there are no fences. So you can most definitely expect to see plenty of these buggers on your long drive:

n613630898_913095_3542.jpg

n613630898_913111_8736

this is NOT the kruger national park people.

5170_97000980898_613630898_2454634_7034335_n.jpg

massive ground hornbill

55 (2).jpg

oh just a couple of sable on the side of the road.

If you’re not busy dodging wildlife on the roads, you busy dodging shocking bad road conditions:

3140_78056085898_613630898_2184537_476012_n.jpg

3140_75903840898_613630898_2150234_6161370_n.jpg

we were better off driving OFF the road

We then headed to Elephant Sands, which was actually an impromptu stay over as we didn’t plan on staying here but I’m really glad we did. (55 km in distance) We got ridiculously close to Africa’s biggest land animal, in fact, we had to ditch the tent and sleep inside the car. That might also have been due to the lions just on the border of the ‘camp site’. oh and did I mention that it was baby season, so every kind of bug, animal, bird, you name it, had babies. There were, however, some really drunk American tourists mucking about at 3 in morning trying to get himself back to his tent. We figured that’s safe bait for the lions. Because it was at this same point, that we had to try and get ourselves from the rooftop tent, inside the land rover, without getting eaten by lions, who were now uncomfortably close to our camp site.

elephant sands.jpg

 

3140_75603575898_613630898_2146310_547734_n.jpg

46 (2).jpg

view from the fire pit

3140_75606930898_613630898_2146356_8213809_n.jpg

really big ellie footprints, making it’s way right through our camp site.

big foot.jpg

3140_75606495898_613630898_2146350_6194722_n.jpg

3140_75606500898_613630898_2146351_1509216_n.jpg

the little ones were very playful

3140_75604620898_613630898_2146324_7209741_n.jpg3140_75605630898_613630898_2146330_6045803_n.jpg

Next stop was the big bad Chobe national park (280 km in distance). What a magnificent park. This is wild Africa, in it’s purest form. You don’t get national parks like that anywhere in South Africa. There are no ablutions (at least not when I was there), the roads there were more of a guideline of where to drive. It was intimidating, raw, scary but breath taking all at the same time. We stayed in the campsite called Ihaha, which I believe has changed quite a bit since we were there. It was still new and under developed but I believe is a lot more tourist friendly these day. We were literally the only people staying at this camp which is quite scary really. There are no office staff etc. You are literally on your own. But as I say, this was many years ago, I’m sure some changes have been made.

3140_75336425898_613630898_2142502_8179763_n.jpg

3140_75325885898_613630898_2142299_4651981_n.jpg

36 (3).jpg

3140_75328380898_613630898_2142338_2446846_n.jpg3140_75328375898_613630898_2142337_7908016_n.jpg

37 (3).jpg38 (3).jpg3140_75323190898_613630898_2142250_7981088_n.jpg3140_75325870898_613630898_2142298_5474746_n.jpg3140_75328385898_613630898_2142339_1411706_n3140_75331380898_613630898_2142399_7545467_n.jpg

3140_75336435898_613630898_2142504_3698554_n.jpg

our humble home. the tent’s just for show. we slept inside the car. again.

3140_75331395898_613630898_2142401_2927535_n.jpg

tiny baby elephant

3140_75598880898_613630898_2146271_556949_n.jpg

not so tiny elephant

3140_75598870898_613630898_2146269_5083577_n.jpg

they see me rollin

3140_75598875898_613630898_2146270_16878_n.jpg

beautiful letchwe sighting

069.JPG

089a.JPG

108.JPG

3140_75599645898_613630898_2146278_941171_n.jpg

3140_75599655898_613630898_2146280_2543469_n.jpg

we got charged quite a few times by elephants. lucky for us this was just a tiny mock charge

41 (3).jpg

3140_75599630898_613630898_2146276_483981_n.jpg

60961_162995080379701_1775265_n.jpg

Chobe stole a little piece of my heart. Although we had quite enough of aggressive elephants, making it quite clear they don’t want us around, and me fearing for my life every 5 minutes, I will happily return. In fact, now-husband and I are most definitely adding this to do our to-do list.

Next up was the Vic Falls (233 km in distance). I actually went there twice and it’s just a sighting you will never get tired of. What I loved about this place was that there were no restrictions. No fences and banisters and no-entry signs to keep you from experiencing this rumbling power. Which, when you think about it, is actually quite hectic. Our second trip through Africa we went to Namibia. This time round, my brother and dad joined us. I’ve mixed the pics up a bit, adding from both trips.

 

71.jpg

60 (2).jpg

you can see the spray from the falls from quite far away

65.jpg

5170_97652510898_613630898_2463362_4033871_n.jpg

69.jpg

jip, that’s the edge right there

n613630898_916378_1224.jpg

72.jpg

5170_97653875898_613630898_2463400_4992446_n.jpg

60037_162998090379400_6797291_n.jpg

n613630898_916439_6838.jpg

scariest bridge to cross EVER

5170_97653860898_613630898_2463398_7530130_n.jpg

Vic falls is situated in a town called Livingstone, and features in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. We didn’t cross over to the Zimbabwean side, although I believe the view is quite spectacular regardless of which side you are on. Livingstone is a very nice little town, slightly more up-market than Lusaka in my opinion. It’s very affordable to stay in tourist places like these if you are camping, and would definitely recommend it. We stayed at some amazing places which was only possible due to the camping option.

On our first trip, we headed back to Lusaka from Livingstone. There are no other places to stay between these towns and it’s about 6:30 hours drive. We did, however, take a little day trip to Zimbabwe a couple of months later. I didn’t enjoy it. Well, the scenery was beautiful and it was exciting to see, but the locals were very unfriendly. Almost threatening. It made me just want to get out of there. It was really sad actually. We didn’t go very far into Zimbabwe but what we saw was heart breaking. There no shops open because they had no supplies to stock the shops with. All the accommodation places have closed down. There was nothing. We eventually found a little place where we stopped and had lunch, but again, there was absolutely no one there. This was just our experience and I know Zimbabwe has a lot more to offer. You just have to find the right spot.

3140_75907775898_613630898_2150323_4387854_n.jpg3140_75907755898_613630898_2150321_4317433_n.jpg

3140_75907785898_613630898_2150324_5575013_n.jpg

lake Kariba

3140_75909145898_613630898_2150344_2104902_n.jpg

3140_75908380898_613630898_2150335_2678798_n.jpg

28 (3).jpg

3140_75909150898_613630898_2150345_1423828_n.jpg

On the next trip back home, we decided to explore Namibia a bit. My dad stayed there for a few years so it was nice to go and see him. On our way down, we stayed in the Caprivi Strip, where my dad and brother joined us (800 km in distance from Zambia, 1270 km from Namibia). This strip is squished between Botswana and Zambia, but still falls within Namibian borders. It’s quite close to the Vic falls, so we popped in there one of the days to show my dad and brother.

3140_75903855898_613630898_2150236_1963309_n.jpg

We stayed in a place called Kalizo lodge, which has also had quite a few upgrades done since we were last there. Not that it needed it, as it was quite a lovely place. Although the road to get to it was quite horrendous actually. This place is super amazing as it’s literally right on the banks of the Zambezi. The tranquility and wildlife that this place has to offer will keep you mesmerized for days. I must go back!

5170_96988710898_613630898_2454452_6928805_n.jpg

DSC01015.JPG

DSC00986.JPG

4 am wake up call and en route. not impressed.

7.jpg

10 (2).jpg

16.jpg

0565170_97007045898_613630898_2454828_595813_n.jpg

17 (2).jpg

5170_96999895898_613630898_2454614_7484026_n.jpg

5170_96987645898_613630898_2454445_4237124_n.jpg

one way to never get lost

5170_97651375898_613630898_2463346_4051168_n.jpg

11 (2).jpg

might be small, but it still a tiger fish

5170_97651395898_613630898_2463349_8387059_n.jpg

DSC02809 (Small).JPG

This was a wonderful holiday and will definitely make the effort to go back here. At least at this place we got to sleep inside the tent, and not the car, which was quite the upgrade.

From here we ventured off to Etosha (680 km). What a different experience. This place is nothing like any game reserve I’ve been to. Where you usually find dense bushes and trees to hide all the animals, you find open plains and a sense of vastness. It’s one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to in my life.

23 (3).jpg

24 (2).jpg

3140_75895600898_613630898_2150114_1115401_n.jpg

15 (3).jpg16 (2).jpg

19 (3).jpg

21 (3).jpg

these lions were so far away. we took this shot with a 500 mm lense and could only just see them. But see how high above the ground they are – these are huge lions.

22 (2).jpg

3140_75900305898_613630898_2150162_434745_n.jpg

3140_75896425898_613630898_2150119_2658599_n.jpg

3140_75896445898_613630898_2150122_8223270_n.jpg

3140_75897650898_613630898_2150130_8311225_n.jpg

3140_75898355898_613630898_2150132_5094693_n.jpg

3140_75897660898_613630898_2150131_6930096_n.jpg

3140_75898360898_613630898_2150133_1949614_n.jpg

3140_75899430898_613630898_2150146_5097449_n.jpg

it took us a while to figure out what this little chap was, and to our delight, realised it’s a tiny baby Gemsbok.

63324_163009557044920_6709204_n

This place was a real treat. Just because it’s so different to most game parks. The wild life is abundant and the setting picturesque. We didn’t end up staying over here, and was planning on staying over somewhere just outside the reserve. We didn’t really plan our trips and never made any reservations. Our only plan was that we had to reach a certain town by a certain time. I can’t quite remember the town, but we ventured about 100 km, making the decision that we need to set camp for the night. We drove and drove and drove and just couldn’t find a suitable place to stay. We did find a campsite but it had ‘rape alley’ written all over it, so we decided to move on. It was now getting really late and we desperately had to find a place to stay. We eventually stumbled upon a place called Uris Lodge.

3140_75905190898_613630898_2150261_4669682_n.jpg

What a jewel. This place is just heavenly! Girls – make a plan to get married at this place! It’s out of this world. Well maybe I spent too much time sleeping in the back of a land rover but it was like the heavens beamed down on this place with angels singing. It was heaven. And way out of our price range. We got there, and due to heavy rains (yes, it never rains in Namibia, but WILL rain when we go there) the campsites were in bad shape and the donkey (pretty much a steel barrel with water in, over a fire, which makes hot water) wasn’t working which means no shower, and they had leopard sightings in the area which made it unsafe for us. But the management at the time was so amazing, and decided, after giving us a grand tour and showing us their amazing underground wine cellar, to let us stay there at half the price in their super luxurious rooms. I wanted to kiss his feet. It was a well deserved luxury after spending many nights camping.And not only that, we had to leave really early the next morning so I had to forfeit our breakfast, but when we got to the reception, they had packed us a little lunch bag to take with us, filled with sarmies, fruit, juices and some yummy snacks. Never in my life have I experienced such hospitality. And we got to see a little aardvark on our way in:

60356_163010990378110_8114423_n.jpg

We hit the road, revived and refreshed and made our way to Walvis Bay, which is where my dad lived at the time (600 km).Man I love Namibia. This place is just so darn beautiful and there is so much to do there! I went to Namibia twice so will add some mixed photos of both trips. The first lot of photos as when I went alone to visit my dad. We did so many things from sand boarding down dune 7 (google that) to four-wheeling in the deserts, going on catamarans, road tripping. It was such a wonderful holiday and am so glad I got to experience it.

1930167_18037435898_6636_n.jpg

245_18146585898_3136_n.jpg

1930167_18145895898_5785_n.jpg

1930167_18145900898_6629_n.jpg

245_18146570898_189_n.jpg

this is not a place where you want to get lost

1929775_15895655898_4395_n.jpg

1930167_18037440898_7639_n.jpg

1930167_18037795898_212_n.jpg1930167_18038215898_3135_n.jpg

1930167_18039070898_2194_n.jpg

that’s a crazy wild seal people.

1934319_16916735898_8690_n

1934319_16918365898_2642_n.jpg

1934319_16918370898_3492_n.jpg

1934319_16919925898_2929_n.jpg

1934319_16919940898_5643_n.jpg

restaurant called The Raft

I didn’t have nearly enough time in Namibia and knew I just had to go back. Which is exactly what I did:

3140_75651295898_613630898_2147106_433523_n

56.jpg3140_75649455898_613630898_2147075_4459929_n.jpg3140_75651285898_613630898_2147105_1186608_n.jpg1934323_17526260898_4313_n.jpg

There are these caves in Namibia, that’s a natural phenomenon. It’s completely free and anybody can go there and camp out for the night. Of course when this is the case, you have to take extra care as to not loose that luxury.

Swakopmund has such interesting architecture and I really enjoyed taking photos of the pretty buildings.

3140_75640620898_613630898_2146906_8039669_n.jpg3140_75640640898_613630898_2146907_4818806_n.jpg

3140_75641380898_613630898_2146915_3164548_n.jpg3140_75640650898_613630898_2146908_845702_n.jpg

3140_75641390898_613630898_2146916_3876472_n.jpg

not much of a golf course

3140_75642230898_613630898_2146931_6375598_n.jpg

people literally living on the beach, on the side of the road.

3140_75642220898_613630898_2146930_1165711_n.jpg

The road literally splits the ocean from the desert and at any point can you pull over and make your way onto the beach.

3140_75640610898_613630898_2146904_6033843_n

3140_75640615898_613630898_2146905_3023720_n.jpg

Once again, a visit too short. From here, it was homeward bound. Now, I’m not quite sure what happened, except the worst planning known to mankind, but we ended up driving a solid 25 hours, from Walvis Bay, all the way to Jhb. We cut across Namibia and headed for Windhoek. I’m not a fan of Windhoek. It’s just another city and reminds me of Jhb. Now, Windhoek is about 400 km away from Walvis Bay. That already is a fair distance but we decided to push on. From there we headed straight East to the Botswana border, which was about another 300 km. Where we entered there was nothing. Nothiiiing. But luckily the sun was still out so, we pushed on. We had nowhere to stop anyway. The sun was setting and it was now getting dark. Our options for places to stop over have rapidly ran out. Let me just say, never, at any point, do you want to drive at night in Botswana. Not because of elephants, but because of those dam donkeys. Donkeys love spending time on the road at night as the road is nice and hot from baking all day in the sun. You do not want to hit a donkey, on a straight open road, driving 120 km/h. We were a wreck trying to keep our eyeballs peeled for any possible donkeys, and there were quite a few. We’ve missed our chance to stop anywhere and pulling off onto the side of the road isn’t much safer either as there are no road lights and visibility is pretty bad even with your 20/20 vision. So, we pushed on some more. We had to choose a route that takes us to a 24 hour border post, which meant we skipped going through Gaborone. We’ve probably driven a good 20 hours as we were close to Jhb. We were exhausted, but even worst, our petrol was worryingly low and there are no places to stop and fill up. Luckily we had a long range fuel tank but even this has it’s limits. We reached Jhb. Well, somewhere in Jhb. We were horribly lost. Had no petrol and no money. We’ve just driven all over southern Africa, yet we will get lost in our country. We’ve hit panic stations. We drove around for three hours. It was about 3 am now. Eventually, we got hold of family members who came to rescue us. Never have I been this relieved.

25 hours of driving and approximately 1800 km later, I hit the bed, and slept for what felt like a lifetime.

henne party

Let me just say, I thought I was a very difficult person to surprize. My brain constantly ticks, never stopping. Like the now-husband likes to say, ‘your mouse never stops. make it sleep’. It was no different with my hens party. I had all the theories of when the party would be. I was convinced, 100000%, that it would be on my birthday weekend. Convinced. I even had this smug conversation with the now-husband. Gah! they cant surprize me! Im too clever. I laugh now at how ridiculous that was. Well, my awesome girls got the last laugh. They got me good.

The now-husband had his bachelors three weeks before the wedding and it was a weekend away affair. The Friday night I was all ready. Waiting. I got a few messages but nothing exciting. Then I started feeling a bit meh, because all the boys are gone, why aren’t any of the girls meeting up to do something?? Oh well, I went to bed. Saturday, I had a planned day. I decided stuff it! I’m keeping myself busy today. In fact, I even had a spit braai to go to that afternoon. So I started getting all these invites from my bridesmaids to do stuff with them, but had to decline due to the spitbraai. And at that point, I accepted that I wasn’t going to have my party, and started feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I had a pity party for one. My beautiful MOH and I were going to the spitbraai together so I was waiting for her to pick me up. (typing this, I realise how obvious it sounds that it was quite clear that they’ve been plotting heavily against me, but I was clueless to it all). The invites to do stuff was what threw me off completely. Because what if I said yes?? Not aware of the fact that they were all very well informed of the spitbraai I was planning on going to. I don’t know what they would’ve done if the spitbraai wasn’t happening that weekend?? Anyway.

Just before my MOH was about to pick me up, I received a call from one of my other friends, telling me she was outside, and put the phone down. I quickly peeped outside the window and saw no one there. Meh, must’ve dialed the wrong number. I heard a car hoot outside, and thought that that car hooter sounds very familiar. When I went outside, there they were. My mom and my MOH, millions of balloons and a big smile on her face. They got me. I immediately burst into tears and got the shakes. They rallied me up, tied all the balloons to me and got me in the car. I had no idea where we were going.

After a quick 2 minute drive we pulled into my moms place where I thought I was going to just get all dressed and ready for what lies ahead. But what I got instead when I walked in, were a million happy smiles of all my beautiful friends! SURPRIZE!

I was so overwhelmed. It’s quite intimidating having all that attention on you that I went all stupid and didn’t know what to do! Saying hello to everyone is probably a good start. I retreated to my mom’s bedroom instead. Only to get dressed. Not hide. Well maybe a little. The ladies got me a beautiful black lace dress, which they forced me to try one whilst we went outfit shopping for them. I must be the dumbest bride ever for not picking up on any of this.

12190043_1032033356817877_5559603469257578678_n.jpg

I went to say hello to everyone, when the next minute I had two familiar faces peep out around the corner: two of my favourite JHB girls! I couldn’t believe they came all that way to celebrate this special time with me. Getting married, really is one of the best experiences ever. The amount of love you receive is just so overwhelming. I quickly looked for my other favourite jhb girl’s faces but sadly they couldn’t make it.

12247092_10153676716460242_4733330937132134631_n.jpg

12190085_10153700743487236_6077366345588509699_n

The girls and my mom threw me a french-themed hens party. I love the french and even went for french lessons to learn the language. It was so beautifully done and so much effort was put into it!

12052585_1032034930151053_8181697669149554376_o.jpg

12034261_1032034003484479_5985728030984204199_o

12049292_1032036283484251_9136522741369669688_n.jpg12049698_10153700743387236_8281290014106877832_n.jpg

IMG_0652.JPG

IMG_0637.JPG12185529_1032039053483974_1289583186199635090_o.jpg12189149_10153700743367236_6429491927289126553_n.jpg12191634_1032035613484318_2086011005059815111_n

1604615_10153700743372236_7811042071790897166_n.jpg

It was so exciting to see everyone! Everyone made such an effort in dressing up and looking gorgeous. We played a few games (in which I sucked so badly), drank a lot (I got fed charcoal tablets. I still don’t know what those are), had lots of yummy food, took hilarious photos, and eventually hit the town in our very gangster party bus.

12122584_10153700742192236_4149422825862602241_n.jpg

11064840_1032037533484126_4782620730632738404_o.jpg12186634_1032036566817556_6586518359148881024_o.jpgIMG_0644.JPG12186591_1032036313484248_4912115915616677500_o12219609_10153141706122651_7676780334765703859_n.jpg

12032241_1032034756817737_1512299532324180051_n.jpg

12009604_10153700742937236_3807010966520773753_n.jpg

11218911_10153700742312236_1698784422601487205_n.jpg

Our first stop was S43. Generally, I love this place. It has the coolest decor and vibe and you can always rely on having a good time there. But for some reason, no one was feeling the hens party vibe. We had a few drinks and shooters but swiftly moved on to our next stop. Maybe it was all the hipsters. Or the fact that we lost the rugby. Meh.

12187680_1032038400150706_1632358611994507329_n

IMG_0647

Next up was Drop Kick Murphys. Now this place, is a hens party’s dream. Loads of vibey people, friendly staff and just always guaranteed a great time. It’s your super upgrade from billy the bums when it comes to hens parties. I don’t remember much from here on, but I do remember stealing the ridiculously large menu, sticking it inside my dress, and making all my friends touch my ‘menu boobs’. It was awkward.

IMG_0648.JPG12065574_1032039863483893_6937184126354306635_n.jpg

OFF TO THE CLUB! At this point, I remember nothing. Now apparently, if you pre arrange with Tiger Tiger that you are coming over with a hen and all her little henlits (i have no idea what that word is) they arrange free entry for your whole party and a free bottle of champagne. What a win. All I remember vividly from this part, was eating a hot dog, outside, with my dear jhb friend.

The next morning, I heard it all. I woke up with my MOH next to me, feeling a little broken. We were reminiscing over the night’s activities when she mentioned ever so nonchalantly: wow you rode a giant penis. Um excuse me. I thought she was testing me and how little I remember. But no, this was a true story. Tiger Tiger, has a mechanical penis ladies.

IMG_0610.JPG

Nailed a down down like a BOSS!

IMG_0612

I actually have a video of this where I end this down down off with a little victory dance. What a champ.

And that, was the end of me.

IMG_0641.JPG

What a spectacular hens party. I’ve come to the realisation that I am certainly not the young twenty-something party animal I used to be. It now takes me two days to recover from a hangover. My body is now old and frail (dramatic, I know) I have the memory of a gold fish but I have the best friends any girl could ask for! And the best mom who was a true sport in partying with us.

now-husband, wasn’t any better off either:

IMG_0614.JPG

 

wake up

so, this is another wedding post, because, well, my whole life is just wedding now with less than a month to go.

I’ve realised, that with all the time in the world to plan your wedding, there will always be drama. no matter how prepared you are, and got everything covered, there will always be outside forces that infiltrate your life, and become drama. drama that isn’t even your drama, but suddenly becomes all the drama in your life. that’s a lot of drama in that sentence, and that doesn’t even cover all the drama that can go on.

so we’ve been hit with a lot of crap in one day which is completely out of our control and totally unexpected. the fiance and i got every emotional. angry. but at the end of the day, we actually realised that everyone has their own troubles that they go through that we don’t know about. our whole life is the wedding right now so that’s all we are accutely focused on. but for everyone else, life goes on. and we kind of lost track of that. there are lots of factors that are out of our control and the frustration of that can completely consume you. you always hear about all the drama when it comes to wedding planning, but from a planning perspective, it was smooth sailing for us. but there’s always the human element and with the human element, nothing is perfect. you forget about the stress that outside forces bring in.

so at the end of day, we told ourselves, that everything will work out. because it has to. situations cant always be ideal, but you deal with it. and theres a much bigger world out there, than our wedding.

a57b8f47a8ed7196409feb8d126cf59b