When the planets align

A couple of weekends ago Rory and I decided to head out of town. It was a bit last minute. We needed somewhere close enough to be able to depart after work, but far enough so it felt like a holiday, not a day trip. We needed affordable, but not cheap Mr Price-circa-2008-Africa themed. Oh, and preferably some part of the country we haven't been. Everything matching that description seemed to be fully booked, no surprise.

So I Facebook googled. What better way to find a place than through your peers. And it was a very successful Facebook google. Is that even a term?

We found a few lovely places, some unfortunately fully booked, but in the end we booked at a brand new place in Groot Marico called The Hanging Garden Bushveld Eco-Retreat. What a gem! About 10km after the Swartruggens toll gate you turn onto a gravel road and meander passed bushveld farms and over the Groot Marico river. You finally reach a farm with a newly built solar and gas power cottage. Off the grid. No one to be …

The inexperienced hiker's guide to the Otter Trail

I've never been much of a hiker. I'm not a runner. I'm alright at swimming, not great on land. I have old lady knees. I exercise in airconditioned gyms, doing step classes on solid reebok steps. Yet somehow I found myself prepping for the most (in)famous hike in South Africa. Buying hiking shoes, fancy socks, micro towels. Borrowing trekking poles, backpacks, tiny pillows. And climbing stairs, doing squats and lunges with a sandbag on my back, and then some more stairs.

But it would never be enough. Nothing could prepare me for Escher's infinite staircase, the Otter Hiking Trail in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.

I read many a blog, good ones, and I don't want to repeat what they say. What I will do is give you list of the things I, an inexperienced hiker, found to be essential, and the things that were complete rubbish. I also want to share a few moments from each day, so this post might get long.

Things I could not do without
Obviously t…

Adventure is out there: Drakensberg revisited

It's so cliché but this year has simply flown by at an unreasonable pace. It is mid March and I am yet to complete my December holiday posts. It has almost reached that critical point where it feels well, pointless, to blog about it now. But then I realised that the Berg is still standing, the experience was had, and it was worth revisiting.

So here we go, Drakensberg part 2: Doreen Falls hike

The Doreen Falls hike is categorised as EASY, just what we were looking for. A relaxed hike to a beautiful waterfall to have a relaxed lunch.

We followed the marked trail and took in the beautiful scenery as we walked deeper into the valley. At some point we arrived at the river crossing listed in the direction booklet. A family of hikers were resting there and asked us if we knew where we were. We all agreed that we thought we were at the said river crossing. However, just a few steps after crossing the river we were not so sure anymore. An Australian couple joined the two of us and we cont…

Take a hike, in the Drakensberg - part 1

2015 did it's damage. It was time for a break. It was time to go to the mountains take a hike.

I have never been to the Drakensberg. Well, apparently I was there as a baby, but that doesn't count. I've been to Clarens, which is just around the corner. But that doesn't count either.

The (last minute) plan was 3 days at Didima Camp near Cathedral Peak, 1 day at the Smoking Dragon Festival at Amphitheatre Backpackers for New Years, and 2 days at the Tower of Pizza just around the corner from that, near the Royal Natal National Park. I took so many pictures that I might have to do this as multiple posts.

Didima Camp is not really a camp although there is a camp site. According to their web page it is located next to the upper Thukela in the north, Lesotho in the west, and Monk's Cowl in the south. I have no idea what this means, except that it is a really pretty area. We stayed in one of the 62 two-bed San Rock Art themed chalets that has an inter leading doors, so it c…

Get lost 2015! Year in Review.

I dared to ask, "What else could possibly happen this year?". Nope, don't do it. Don't tempt the universe/fate/whatever.

This year has been uhh, trying. I know it seems like every year we say that. But this one will go down in history, me thinks. It is a year characterised by loss and change. My previous two melancholy posts mentioned some of the heartbreak and sadness I and the people around me experienced. Enough was enough. It was time for change.

I took solo holidays. I switched jobs. I ventured into a new relationship. I was exhausted, but things were looking up.

And then, on the evening I was supposed to meet my boyfriend's mother and brother, we were met with the horrific news that they were involved in a fatal car accident on their way to Joburg. Just 30 minutes after leaving their house. Just a year after his dad passed away.

That was the last straw 2015.

Is this some kind of a sick joke? You have now taken everything. You have brought incredible, unfair…

Je ne regrette rien

I started writing this post three weeks ago, in Struisbaai, near the southern most tip of Africa. Three weeks ago was the anniversary of my now ex husband coming out to me.

I got divorced not because my husband didn't like me, but because he liked men more.

When I started writing this I was reliving all the details from the day/night it all came to light. I went into detail about the events and years leading up to the night we had a very tearful conversation and knew that the only way forward was to say goodbye, after 10 years, and give each other the opportunity to be truly happy.

But those details are not important right now. A lot has happened in the last year. I am convinced I lived more than 365 days. Maybe double that. Or triple. Time stood still, and yet whooshed by.

As I sat looking at the ocean, by myself, I cried involuntarily. I grieved one last time for what was lost. For losing my partner. For losing the person I knew. For losing the person I was. I wanted the tears t…