It’s been years since I last went to a KwaZulu-Natal game reserve, but the three days I spent in Mkuze (part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park) were bliss.
The most unexpected part of the trip was the lack of fences around the camp (bearing in mind that the park has all of the Big Five). This meant that on two out of the three nights we were there, we had enormous bull elephants munching leaves right next to our tents. So close in fact I could hear their teeth grinding and their bellies rumbling. It was quite wonderful!
The park teems with delicate nyala and impala, and you’ll be visited at night by delightful bushy tailed bush babies. Another highlight was a teeny weeny rhino, still wobbly on its short, fat legs, and glued to the side of a very wide, very protective mum.
The KwaZulu-Natal parks seem pretty under-resourced and are, like all of SA’s parks, under attack by poachers. Two rhinos were killed the week that we were there, and a large male lion was caught in a bush meat snare (and thankfully rescued and repaired). That little rhino was such a lovely sight, but so bitter-sweet. It’s hard not to feel a little hopeless when you look at the stats, not just of poached rhinos, but elephants, lions, and just about every walking, climbing, swimming creature.
Fever trees everywhere
Hello little one!
Fancy hairdos from the resident crested guineafowl
Spot the kudu!
Bloody Marys in the bush
Is there anything better than time spent in the bush? I love big cities and I love travelling to foreign destinations, but the quiet serenity, expansive space and clear ebb and flow of life found in a reserve like the Kruger is impossible to beat. I love the excitement of driving around the park, never knowing what you might come across around the next bend (spindly legged impala? lumbering rhino? clucking franklin?). I feel like an utterly privileged guest in a place teeming with life.
I’m a sucker for the SAN Parks camps inside the park. The smell of the thatch bungalows, the green tiled bathrooms and the SAN Parks emblem on the sheets and tiny teacups all invoke such strong memories from my childhood, and I still prefer to stay in camps like Letaba, Shingwedzi and Shimuwini than in the camps on the edges of the park. This time though I stayed at Ngwenya Lodge, which looks out over the Kruger (and the Crocodile River, which attracts a huge amount of game), and is a 10 minute drive to the Crocodile Bridge gate.
My goal for this trip was to take as many photographs as possible. I have a bit of a thing for elephants – the more time I spend with them and observe them, the more I want to integrate and interact with them – and this trip was all about elephants! I saw more ellies than I think I’ve ever seen in my life! Over the course of the four days we must’ve seen about 300 elephant in total, and some really huge herds with lots of babies (you’ll notice plenty of different sized ellie bums in my pictures!). It was quite amazing, and has further entrenched my wish to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya … as soon as possible!
Amongst all the large eared and liquid eyed antelope, some highlights were seeing rhino – less than normal though, which makes me so incredibly sad and indicates the extent of the rhino poaching crisis in the park – and three lionesses with very distended bellies on a wildebeest kill. The Kruger remains one of my favourite, and one of the most soul soothing, places on earth and certainly one of the best wildlife destinations in Southern Africa.
I’ve long had grey hair. And by long I mean prematurely – literally since I was teenager! It started as a shock of white on my front hairline, and I’ve coloured my hair ever since (every shade imaginable).
At the beginning of last year I decided I wanted to experiment a little and see how much grey hair I actually had (long before this article on grey hair becoming the hallmark of cool … ha!). The answer is I have a lot of it! Luckily for me it’s silver, not yellow, but it still takes some getting used to!
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, I’d suggest keeping the ends dark (if you’re brunette). I think it gives the look a more deliberate feel (as opposed to ‘she rather let herself go, didn’t she?’). A great, edgy cut is also essential, as is hair in peak condition (I use vegan friendly Kevin Murphy). Polished personal grooming is a good idea (a work in progress for me), but most important I think is an eccentric personal style. (You’ll probably also have to have a pretty thick skin … it’s amazing how many people have strong opinions on ageing and letting your grey hair out, feminists included!).
I’m not really what you’d call ‘green fingered’, but I do try with my veggie garden and my house plants (and I think that in this instance practice does make perfect).
I’ve long had a soft spot for terrariums and their mini landscapes. They are so beautiful and intricate, and meet all my requirements of both form and function ;-)
I stumbled across Angles & Earth the other day, and their terrariums are pretty mesmerising in their exquisiteness. They’re based in Cape Town, and you can buy online, or take a terrarium class, which sounds dreamy.
I’ve been a fan of Erica Weiner for a good few years now, and when I saw these antique rings I had a real swoon. I mean, how magnificent? I think any one of them would look just lovely on one of my fingers.
Some days I get the heady kick of feeling accomplished and in control. To-do list is checked off, work has been done well, laundry is washed, emails are answered, nutritious meals are cooked and mascara is applied, all while seeing the bigger picture and not swearing at anyone in traffic.
And other days (most days) I’m eating peanut butter on toast for every meal, plastic is mixed up with glass and paper in the recycling bin (and I don’t care), I’m slurping down caffeine while anxiety eating chocolate, all the while pondering if I’ll ever be a successful human being.
I’d love to juice every day, as much as I’d like to consistently grow my own food, go with the flow, meditate (more on than off), and not waste hours of my life wondering about other people’s curated existences on social media. But in a world where grocery shopping sometimes seems an impossible task, and just keeping my legs hair free is not always possible, Bliss Juicery saves the day.
Bliss has opened a small store a stone’s throw away from my home and they offer every manner of fresh cold-pressed juice, from the fruity, to the green. The almond milk variations are super delicious too! They deliver throughout Joburg, and they offer juice cleanse programs, which is a real win. I like to do a juice fast (feast) every autumn and spring, but sometimes find the admin of buying enormous quantities of vegetables, and juicing what feels like the whole day long, a little overwhelming. Now it’ll be super easy :)
Back in Dullstroom, and more warm weather! I don’t know the place in all its balmy sunshine and t-shirts and shorts!
It was a deliciously lazy weekend with old friends and midday naps and tears induced by Cards Against Humanity. The sweet resident farm dog (renamed ‘Sally’ by our crew) joined us for most of the time, exuberant and grinning from ear to ear on river jaunts.
Time moves a little slower out of the city (and when there’s no wifi or cellphone reception!), and I was able to fully enjoy the heady scent of pine needles, the squawk of guinea fowl and the background babble of the Crocodile River. I sat for a while with my feet in the cold water and watched the frothy river run over my skin, and in that moment I felt a little lighter and a little more connected to the flow of life.
There are also some resident fallow deer on the farm. When I first saw them and there gorgeous antlers, I did a serious double take … it’s like I’d stepped through a doorway into the English countryside!