Posts Tagged With: Addo

Blue Crane Route: Chief’s Log, Day 7

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At seven the phone rings in our room.

It is one of the Rangers.

During the night the rain had subsided & we’ll be able to go out and view some game.

Kuzuko Lodge, where we are staying, is a ‘big-5’ game reserve.

The children’s excitement soon invade our room, from next-door.

They’re dressed & ready.

They want to brave the cold & see the game.

We bite a quick breakfast.

A cup of coffee.

Then we’re off.

Zuko & Maddi stays behind in the comfort of Kuzuko Lodge’s Lounge & the care of their attentive staff.

We’re in the care of Freddie the Ranger.

The Tribe, the only South Africans on the Game Viewing Vehicle.

A German couple and a family from the UK accompanying us.

People travel great distances at a huge expense to experience what we take for granted.

We’re all impressed by Freddie, our Ranger’s knowledge of the animals & plants & environment.

I’m impressed by his manner.

His understanding of people.

His communication skill.

I ask where he studied.

And so we meet another student who found a living through Umziwethu & the Wilderness Foundation.

We see Bufallo & Cheetah.

Rhino & Lion.


Rooi Hartebeest.

Swart Wildebeest.

Freddie explains the value of ‘spekboom’ a succulent plant which is loved by elephant.

Somewhere he serves coffee, along the way.

He talks of his wife.

The home they bought in Somerset East.

The dream they have of sharing life.

Raising children.

To be.


Finally we’re back at the Lodge.

A proper breakfast awaits.

Then we pack our stuff while the children from Oppi Koppi play a final game with the children from the United Kingdom.

We settle bills.

Say goodbye.

Then find our way in the comfort of the Chrysler Grand Voyager to Somerset East.

We choose the scenic R335 slowly stumbling between farmland towards Boschberg, after consulting about the condition of the road with a fellow traveler coming from that direction.

It is beautiful.

We rush too much.

We see two jackals playing.

A herd of sheep grazing.

Some laborers loading lucern bales waving friendly as we drive by.

A deserted homestead.

What looks like a building which could have been a Church or a School building a long time ago.

Its white walls stained by the passing of time & wind & rain.

It is late afternoon when we arrive in Somerset East.

Beautiful Boschberg still watching.

Maddi needs attention.

The kind you cannot give while driving.

We make our way to the Mountain View Inn to find a room & a bed.

We meet Dafre Troskie.

And Jerry van Wyk.

We drink coffee & talk.

Jerry is an exceptional musician.

He’s been on the scene for the best part of four decades.

If not longer.

Playing live.

All over the country.

But even musicians grow old.

And somewhere we all need to find some warmth.

Before supper Jerry takes out his guitar & harmonica.

He plays Niel Diamond.

Some popular cover stuff.

Then he sings one of his own songs.

About the light.

Trying to find us.

Blind us.

About a life.

Trying to be lived.

Slipping away.


We’ve met through a mutual friend, in Nelson Mandela Bay.

It is a pleasant surprise to discover that Jerry is our host of sorts at the Mountain View Inn.

He makes the coffee.

Lights the fire.

Dafre embraces us.

We laugh about finally finding someone with more children than our Tribe.

She & Natie have six.

If we ever ‘have’ children.

Perhaps they’re merely entrusted to us.

To guide.

To share life with.

To become in relationship with, as we become alongside them.

We talk of the wonder of new life.

The devastation of loss.

We talk of making sense.

Of starting again.

Of resilience in the stead of giving up.

Dafre is a pharmacist.

Business woman.

Natie a farmer.

That is how they earn enough to care for their family.

What they do is much more.

They raise a family.

Love a people.

Find their way.

To themselves.

And each other.

Then Dafre is off to fetch ox-tail and her family.

Zuko & Maddi take a nap.

Theunsie & I play some pool.

The house erupts with children laughing, running up and down the wide hallways of this grand old house.

Mountain View Inn is more than a house.

There are apartments & a garden.

It is right at the heart of town.

You can feel Somerset East in this place.

We eat.


Tell of where we come from & what we hope & what we struggle with.

Talk of freedom.


Dafre’s father is visiting from Mosselbay.

He talks of children faraway in the Americas.

Natie talks of their eldest’s growing up & going to University.

Zuko & I listen.


Dafre shows us her book.

Jerry does a last song.

Then goodbyes are said.

Natie has to be on the farm in the morning.

Dafre has a pharmacy to open.

Her father leaving early to drive back home to Mosselbay.

We have a day exploring the Walter Battiss Art Musuem, the historic town & perhaps even birding.

I remain astounded.

At the beauty of people.

And our ability to rise again.

Once more.

And live.

As we see, beyond the obvious.

Categories: Blue Crane Tourism, Weekend Destinations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blue Crane Route, Chief’s Log, Day 6

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Visiting places that carry your name.

I’ve not done that before.

In fact, I don’t think there are many places out there that carry our names.

Theunis & Zuko.

Today we visited two places, each carrying one of our names.

‘Theuns se Winkel’ (Theuns’ Shop) was the first.

We’ve driven past it many times.

Most recently, in December, on our way to the farm in the mountains between Cradock & Tarkastad.

We saw it come to life, after many years of standing empty.

Our curiosity triggered, we decided to visit it on our way to Kuzuko Lodge.

Incidently it is where you turn off from the N10, to make your way to Kuzuko.

Celeste & Alonzo welcomed us.

She took custody of ‘Theuns se Winkel’ in November.

She is married to a local farmer.

Drought had forced her to seek new ways of creating income.

At first she went to work in Somerset East, but being away from the farm & her family was hard.

Friends came alongside her.

They helped her raise the capital.

And new life came to this little stop along the N10.

There is a shop selling local produce.

A restaurant serving breakfast & lunch & supper, if required.

The place speaks of Celeste’s creativity & eclectic soul.

Baroque, Rock-‘n-Roll, old & new, as well as a dash of India & Africa mixed into a rich new personality.

As we breakfast, Quintin comes in, seats himself at the counter & orders breakfast.

He works for a truck-towing company.

A truck carrying sheep has fallen over.

He came to scout & is waiting for the tow-truck to make its way from Nelson Mandela Bay.

He says the shop used to be a shearing shed, where farmers from all over brought their sheep.

Then it was a shop.

And a liquor store.

It stood empty many times.

But it has always been a landmark.

The food is amazing.

Stuff you’d expect at an expensive restaurant in a big city.

The decor is stunning.

Something you’d not have seen before.

Celeste speaks of new beginnings.

Of taking risks.

Of never being able to make it on your own.

Rain is pouring down outside.

A friend sends a picture of a pure white Johannesburg.

Snow covering large parts of the country.

We say our goodbyes.

Certain that we’ll stop at’ Theuns se Winkel’, whenever we travel in this direction.

Hopeful that others would do the same.

Then we make our way to Kuzuko Lodge.

Zuko wasn’t born with this name.

Are any of us born with our name?

Perhaps we are, and our destiny is to discover its fulness.

One morning, a short while after we promised each other to spend our lives together, I woke up with this name in my heart.

And I started calling her it.

There was no ceremony.

No big fanfare.

It suited her.

Often our names are filled with something.

I see God renaming Abram.

I see Daniel & his friends re-named to become Sadrach, Mesag & Abednecho.

I see Josef carrying a new name as he becomes the Pharaoh’s right hand man.


‘Glory’, Ningi explains to me.

‘In Xhosa it means glory.’

‘In Xhosa-tradition, when a man marries a woman, he endows her with a new name.’

‘A name talking of what she has done for him.’

‘What she will be for him.’

‘What she has unlocked in him.’

‘She must be your glory’, Ningi says.

And she is.

For without her I was empty.

I did not know my being.

I was half.

Afraid to explore the deepest crevasses of my being.

My Zuko, my glory.

If I was to be grammatically correct, in Xhosa, I should’ve called her noZuko.  The feminine in Xhosa always takes ‘no’, but even Xhosa people seem to forgive me & understand that who she is & what the name describes is more important that grammar.

Kuzuko Lodge is ‘the place of glory’.

We arrive at reception after quite a drive.

The Chrysler Grand Voyager really impressing us with its ability to make its way across unfamiliar ground.

We’re welcomed in 5-star style.

Little warm napkins after the journey.

Our luggage taken to our rooms.

Our rooms fitted with every conceivable comfort & luxury.

We do high tea.

And when we return to our room, it is turned down for the evening.

Zuko enjoys a full body back massage & manicure.

I spend time with Maddi.

Precious time.

Theunsie, Wilhelmina & Sophia play Wii with two new friends who traveled thousands of miles from the UK to come to Kuzuko to make new friends.

Supper is a grand affair.

The duty manager caters for Zuko’s vegetarian needs.

African music fills the cold evening atmosphere.

Conversation is easy from the entrée to the desert.

Rain still pouring down we find our beds.

We talk late into the night.

About places that carry our names.

‘Theuns se Winkel’ is eclectic.

It is a mix of influences.


Still blooming into a flower.

Possibly a beautiful flower.

Only time will tell.

Kuzuko Lodge is well established.

An oppulent place of rest & nature & comfort.

My Zuko is all of that.

To me.

To everyone she meets.

And more.





Always lifting others high.

Always adoring the wonder of being.

Always radiant & resplendent as she sees the beauty in those fortunate enough to share life with her.

Expectant of what we’ll discover at Kuzuko the following day.

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Koffylaagte Game Lodge

WIN! Congratulations to Melissa Quanson on winning the weekend at Koffylaagte 4-star Game Lodge.  She and her family will enjoy becoming part of this story. 😀

Location:  130 kilometers from Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay on the R75 towards Graaff Reinett, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Date Visited: 27 -29 July 2012 (Winter)

Where we Stayed: The Bush Cabin, set somewhat aside from the main lodge area.  Koffylaagte offers a diverse range of accommodation, including 4-star luxury safari tents & 3-star self-catering units in the old farmhouse.

What we Drove: The Dodge Journey, complements of Maritime Motors .

What we did: We spent time enjoying beautiful sunsets.  We had a great bush-walk, a game drive, went horse-riding & met amazingly interesting people who filled the hours with interesting conversation.  We also took a drive to Darlington Lake Dam & had lunch in nearby Jansenville.  Koffylaagte offers a wide range of activities, including quad-biking & archery, a steam-room, pool-table, swimming pool & birding.

Recommendation: Koffylaagte is perfectly situated between Nelson Mandela Bay & Graaff Reinett.  It is ideal as a weekend destination or as a resting place on your way to discovering other places like Graaff Reinett, Nieu Bethesda or Baviaanskloof.  It is very family friendly.  I wouldn’t stay for less than two days, but could imagine that you could even stay a week at Koffylaagte, becoming part of this story.

Website: Koffylaagte Game Lodge

Koffylaagte is not a place.

Its location can be marked on a map.

Its environment could be described in all the words so many places are so often described.

Its accommodation could be rated.

Activities listed.

Game numbered.

That would still, however, not put into words what is already evident just from the name Koffylaagte carries.

‘Koffylaagte’ – Coffee Hollow, some would translate.  Or coffee lowlands, others would say.

In Dutch it should be ‘Koffie’.

But its not.

Its ‘Koffy’.

The story goes, a long time ago, travelers stopped here to rest.  Brew some coffee.  Perhaps gather wood, feed horses & cattle, precisely halfway between Graaff Reinett & Port Elizabeth.

The landscape scattered with ‘Perboon’ Trees of which the seeds might have been used as a coffee substitute in times of lack.

On the walls of the old, beautifully restored farmhouse, pictures of the Hurter family, who lived here in the early 1900’s bear witness to new generations resting in bedrooms.

Perhaps Koffylaagte is a story.

Of that resting place for travelers & merchants & ‘karweiers’.

Of a pantry for others, long before the ships dropped anchor at new harbors to carry away an unknown bounty.

A story of a tollgate erected by English, who wanted to show rebellious Dutch the consequence of their Protestantism.

Of soldiers shoeing horses & new farmers claiming land & goats being shaved & little Dorothea dying of a unkown illness at the age of two.

A story of parents standing at a grave.

Of land abandoned in drought, as traveler-farmers find their way to cities & new generations put their hope in industrialization.

A story which began centuries ago in Africa.

A story which began in Turkey in the 1950’s and in England a little while later.

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They met in York.

They lived in England & Turkey.

In East Africa & West Africa.

In Russia & Nigeria.

When the time came to turn a page in their own story, the new chapter opened onto Koffylaagte.

A place where they could sink the roots of their souls deep into Karoo soil.

And as they settled, they were drawn into the Koffylaagte story.

First the old Farmhouse was restored.

Right down to the original iron-gate keeping animals off the ‘stoep’.

Then the hunter’s lodge evolved into a dining room to become a restaurant.

A lounge and swimming pool appeared.

Luxury safari tents.


Buffalo & wildebeest.

All the time more travelers drawn into a story written with the ink of time on the pages of hope.

To belong.

To experience.

To become.

And so we are drawn near as well.

We travel past little invitations posted along the R75 as we make our way to Graaff Reinett & Nieu Bethesda & Bloemfontein.

Curiosity whispering.

As if carried on the wind, a silent desire infesting our wanderlust.

Eventually finding our way to Cem & Jane and little Lilly.

Rebecca & Alistair.

To a little bush cottage with a massive rock fire-place overwhelming its kitchen.

To meals created from organic venison & vegetables, bread slowly kneaded & covered in honey harvested from wild mountain hives.

To people who’ve been drawn into the Koffylaagte story.

One by one.

Each a word.

A paragraph.

A chapter.

Rebecca was a brand manager in England.

Disillusioned with sails filled with uncapturable wind she is drawn to the Kalahari.

A little closer.

She falls in love with a boy from Upington.

They come to visit friends at Koffylaagte.

Drawn closer.



Living here.

Dreaming of a place of wellness.

Where city-dwellers could come to experience more than game.

To re-discover beauty.



To re-connect.

In ways never before imagined.

We ride on horses right up to a family of Giraffe.

We walk in Karoo veldt.

The smell of soil fresh from rain.

We talk to travelers from as far as Switzerland & as close as Nelson Mandela Bay.

We touch our own dreams.

Painting them.

Folding them.



We eat.

Scrumptious Food.

Warm friendship.

New friendship.

As Friday flows into Sunday Koffylaagte does what she seemed to have always done.


Perhaps answering her own need.

To weave.



For a moment.

Into a lifetime.


We say reluctant goodbyes.

The Dodge Journey finds its own way to nearby Darlington Lake.

To Jansenville for lunch.

The pull of Koffylaagte not wanting to let go.

A story.



For you.

To become a part of her.


Into the rich texture which is Koffylaagte.

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Kudu Ridge Game Ranch

Location: 50 kilometers from Nelson Mandela Bay, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Take N2 in direction of Grahamstown.  Just past Blue Water Bay, take the turn-off to Addo.  Kudu Ridge is approximately 22 kilometers before the village of Addo on the left hand side of the road.

Date Visited: 8 – 10 June 2012 (Winter)

Accommodation: We stayed in comfortable safari tents.  Kudu Ridge also offers chalet accommodation.  The tents are neatly furnished and each tent have its own bathroom with shower, as well as coffee-making area & veranda.

What we Drove: The Jeep Wrangler from Maritime Motors

What we did: We lounged, talked, read, drove through Addo Elephant National Park & enjoyed the company of friends & family.

Recommendation: Kudu Ridge is very well positioned in proximity to the Addo Elephant National Park.  It is well suited for a relaxed family weekend and perfect for conferencing or team building in groups of forty or less.  There is no ‘self-catering’ option, which is nice, since Brian & Jenny create wonderful food and not having dishes or clean up is part of the fun of spending time at Kudu Ridge.

Website: Kudu Ridge

Tribe Special: Mention the ‘Traveling Tribe’ & claim free accommodation & meals for your own children under the age of twelve for a 2-night stay, for a family of minimum two adults, until the end of August 2012.

We met the Stevnsons at the corner of Westmead & Old Seaview Road.

It was just after two on this cold winter’s afternoon.

We’d been looking forward to this weekend.  For both our families it would be a weekend of firsts.  Our first time to travel together.  our first time to stay in safari-tent accommodation.

Our children were ecstatic.  They were looking forward to the opportunity to spend a whole weekend with Gary & Jane’s daughter.

Our worlds are somewhat different.

Ashleigh is schooled at one of our city’s well-known private schools.  Our children find education under Zuko’s guidance in the privacy of our little wooden house on the not so little hill.

Gary & Jane both run their own companies.

Gary runs Organic Footprint.

Jane runs with Jane Stevenson & Associates.

I do radio & Zuko, when she’s not guiding our four children in the world of discovering knowledge & insight, takes pictures.

Even though our worlds are somewhat different, our values or what we value is surprisingly similar.

This is something I’ve noticed more & more.  People finding each other in what they value & not so much in where they come from or how they would be defined in archaic social terms.

We all value our children’s education.

We give expression to this in different ways, but our high regard for the education our children receive & our willingness to adjust our lifestyle, so that an exceptional education may be had, is something we share.

As is a love for our environment.

An awareness of how contaminated life & living could be.

Of how central relationship is to our being & joy.

How often this is less than what we hoped for & yet exceptional and surprising in other ways.

We all believe fiercely, but despise cheap lip-service & empty religiousness.

Or so we see our friends & experience them this weekend as we talk & share & discover throughout this weekend at Kudu Ridge.

That is the wonderfulness of spending time with friends & family in a place which is not familiar.

It is as if, in a new space, we are more relaxed, more willing to share and be honest & intimate.

It is only three in the afternoon as we arrive at Kudu Ridge.

The Jeep Wrangler which Vaughan hand-picked for us from his sales floor for this weekend, was an easy & comfortable drive.  The powerful 3.8 liter engine accelerating easily.   The automatic gearbox shifting almost unnoticed on a very short drive to a very lovely destination.

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Brian & Jenny gives us a warm welcome.

They show us to our safari-tents & allow us to settle in.

We meet up at the main lodge area where we find steaming hot coffee & a warm fire.

Brian explains the menu for the evening.

Butternut Soup & freshly baked bread.

Kudu Fillet with hand-cut chips & fresh vegetables and salad.

Ice cream & chocolate sauce is desert.

The afternoon dwindles into evening.

We discover that coming to Kudu Ridge is returning to his first love for Brian & his family.

They’d been here no more than a year.

He spent years in the corporate world.

Before that he was a game-rangers for the Natal Parks Board.

That is what his heart hankered after winter after cold winter spent in offices & board rooms.

Now they spend time in nature.

Entertaining guests.

Growing their flock of antelope.

Over supper we talk of the joy Brian & Jenny find in their refound passion.

The evening is cold, but the conversation is warm.

It is evident that this couple hope to come alongside corporates & companies as they create a fresh environment in which people can rediscover themselves, unwind, dream & plan.

‘What we have to offer, is a completely new environment, a place where people can get in touch with who they really are,’ he explains as we enjoy desert.

Then it is off to bed.

Our first night in our safari-tented accommodation.

The kids are tired.

Andrew, Brian & Jenny’s son who shares this dream with them, took the children for a discovery walk in the late afternoon.  Then they fed the latest addition to the Kudu Ridge Family.  A baby owl who was rescued & is being hand raised by the falconer who hopes to establish an activity with falcons & a very interesting pointer which he is training.

‘Soon we’ll be able to hunt with the pointer & a falcon.  Man, bird & dog in the perfect collaboration.  Perhaps it would unlock something in people’s minds of how we can collaborate in the workplace & in families.

In their family collaboration is certainly the norm.

The meal is cooked together.  The guests are cared for alongside each other.

Saturday morning is slow & easy.

We hide from the cold in the warmth of our safari-tents.

Pippin makes coffee.

Zuko & I talk.

Of what we hope for.

What we dream of.

Then a hearty breakfast welcomes us in the dining room.

As we eat we decide to drive to the Addo Elephant National Park for the day.

Brian unfolds a map & shows us where he believes we’ll spot the lion & the elephant & the buffalo.

We enjoy a last cup of coffee & then we’re off.

We huddle together in the Jeep Wrangler.  It is no fun to go wildlife spotting in separate vehicles.

The girls jump in the back.

Zuko & Jane take the back-seat with Maddi & Theunsie.

Gary & I take shotgun & driver’s position.

10 minutes later we’re in the park.

Despite the weather we see herds of elephant, Kudu, Zebra, Blesbok, Hartebeest & Blesbok.

A black backed jackal surprises us & a secretary bird takes notes on our arrival.

The drive is easy & comfortable.

The Jeep Wrangler as at home on tar as it is on gravel.

We stop for a late lunch at the Park’s Tiger’s Eye Restaurant.

Every time I stop here, I am surprised by the quality of service.  The excellence of the well-trained staff & their friendliness & knowledgeably.

I am also astounded by the effort & investment we make as a country into conservation.

And I am proud to be an African in general & a South African in particular.

It inspires hope.

If we can get this right (conservation & tourism), then there is hope that we might get the other things right as well.

If only we would believe it.

Dream it.

Reach for it.

Imagine a South Africa in which our education & healthcare resembled the same excellence so very evident on this Saturday afternoon in one of our National Parks?

Gary orders a venison hotpot.

Jane takes the fish of the day.

Zuko chooses a vegetarian wrap & I go for the Thai Chicken Salad.

The children enjoy chicken nuggets.

We eat slowly.

Talking.  Remembering.  Sharing the moment.

We’re in no hurry.  Kudu Ridge is a few minutes away.

We resolve to take an afternoon nap as we get home & we take our resolve seriously as the Jeep Wrangler brings us home to our weekend-destination, each family heading off to their respective tents.

The hunger for time together and conversation is too strong though & moments later we’re together again at the warmth of the fire at the lodge-area.

Conversation is easy.

We talk of how we came to where we are.

Of what we face from day-to-day.

Of what we hope for, dream of, for our own tomorrow.

The optimism in our circle makes me smile.

Where there is hope, there is hope.

That we would still be journeying.

That we may even one day find our dream a reality, as Brian & Jenny found it at Kudu Ridge.

The afternoon becomes evening.

Supper is served.

The children play pool & darts, hide-and-seek and truth-or-dare.

Theunsie beats me at a game of pool.

Then his mom.

At the dinner table we share stories from our lives.

Beautiful stories of exquisite experiences.

In the silence of a moment I think about how no one is talking about what they own.  Everyone is talking about what they shared.  A moment.  An emotion.  A disappointment.  A breakthrough.

Perhaps we need to hang on to that more tightly.

That it is in moments shared that life exists.

It is late & cold when we head to bed.

The rain pours down throughout the night, but we sleep warm & dry in our safari-tents.

Even Maddi only wakes once for a midnight feast.

And then it is Sunday.

The day I always dread, for it signals the end of another journey.

And it always comes too soon.

Breakfast is intentionally slow this morning. Brian & Jenny & Andrew act like old friends who do not want their loved ones to go just yet.

The sun is out for the first time this weekend.

After breakfast we take a game drive on Kudu Ridge.

They show us the ‘Bus Bar’ created by Andrew.  The excavation area where fossils were found.  A Kudu & some Impala greet us on a clearing.

Brian talks with love of this wonderous new place they are transforming into a getaway for corporates & families as we drive along the ridge.

Then it is time to pack & greet.

Ashleigh still has a project to finish.

Zuko wants to stop at her parent’s before we go home.

We say our goodbyes.

And as we drive off in the Jeep Wrangler I remember moments shared & I hope for more.

More moments.

Of honesty.

And intimacy.

For it is in moments shared that life unfolds.


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Addo Afrique

Location: 72 kilometers from Nelson Mandela Bay.  Take N2 in direction of Grahamstown, proceed to N10 towards Craddock/Paterson, at the town of Paterson, turn left onto the R342 towards Addo, Addo Afrique will be visible on the left after 5km’s.

Date Visited: 25 – 27 May 2012 (Fall)

Accommodation: We stayed in a beautifully appointed 4-bedroom 5-star lodge with a kitchen,  lounge & four bathrooms.  The lodge is exquisitely furnished with magnificent art on the walls & every possible creature comfort catered for.  The main bathroom has a jacuzi-bath & outside shower.  The lodge also has an outside lapa & swimming pool. Eight adults are comfortably accommodated.

What we Drove: The Jeep Patriot from Maritime Motors

What we did: We lounged, talked, cooked together, went for a long walk, did a game drive, read, made the most of the jacuzi-bath & outside shower & savoured time in each others company.

Recommendation: Addo Afrique is exceptionally positioned as upmarket accommodation from which to explore the Addo Elephant National Park & surrounding areas.  It provides exceptional private, serviced & luxury accommodation for the traveler expecting a bit more.

Website: Addo Afrique

Tribe Special: Mention the ‘Traveling Tribe’ & claim 40% off on a mid-week stay and 30% off on a weekend stay, until the end of August 2012.


It is our most precious commodity.

It passes unnoticed as we work & struggle & strive.

A decade goes by without us realizing it is slipping away from us.

We assume we will grow old.

We assume our children will bury us.

We assume too much.

We should savour every moment.

We should embrace every opportunity.

To embrace & be embraced.

To be.


To talk.



As we travel, we create the opportunity to step out of the ordinary.

It was Africa Day, this Friday as we left Nelson Mandela Bay.

It was a particularly long week with a lot of work and business consuming my time and energy.

I neglected my family by spending twelve & fourteen hour days at the office.

I was hoping to catch up some.

Although we cannot catch up.

Time which has passed is gone, never to be had again.

We should keep this top of mind.

We should write it on our doorposts & our mirrors.

It should be our screensaver & gravatar image.

Lest we turn sixty or eighty, only to be overwhelmed by the bitter realization that we spent everything afforded us on something we do not value that much.

What do you value?

If it is relationship, then you should consider spending more of the time at your disposal on relationship.

Nobody who loves Jeep, goes out & spend their money on Ford.

Why would we who love our partner & children, our family, spend the bulk of our time on something other than them?

Africa Day.

We celebrated the day in-style with music & poems & dreams of hope from all over the continent.

It seemed fitting that we would spend this weekend at Addo Afrique.

At twelve I picked up the Jeep Patriot from Vaughan at Maritime Motors.

A beautiful vehicle.

A somewhat smaller engine than the Cherokee, but at 2.4 litres still powerful & an easy drive.

Zuko loves the comfortable heated seats which seem to be standard in every Jeep.

I love the smooth gearbox.  The easy handling.  The silent interior, allowing us to talk & laugh & discuss as if we’re in our lounge.

The load space was enough to fit the Tribe’s weekend luggage, including Maddi’s baby-stuff & our supplies.

We left Nelson Mandela Bay at just before five.

We arrived at Addo Afrique at just before six.

It was dusk.

The lodge’s butler had already lit a fire for us; just in-case we wanted to braai.

We unloaded & discovered that we’d forgotten our drinks.

Not a problem.

Moses quickly produced every drink our hearts desired.

He is from Zimbabwe.

He’s been in the hospitality industry for a long time.

He understands service.

And privacy.

As well as people.

The children explore every inch of the lodge, running to us at the fire, every now and then to report on something exquisite they’ve discovered.

Eventually they get comfortable on the leather couches with some TV.

Zuko and I talk.

Of Africa.

Of our dreams.

Our hope for this continent & this country.

We talk of finding a new way.

A way in which our time-spend will reflect what we truly value.

This weekend a good start.

It isn’t filled to the brim with activities.

It has space for us just to be.

When we get up on Saturday morning, our butler had cleaned everything & tidied the lodge to perfection.

We make breakfast together.

Without a rush.

Then we take a walk.

The children often running out in front, hoping to spot the giraffe first.

We don’t see them on our walk.

We see Njala & bushbuck, as well as a very tame Ostrich.

Late that afternoon, as we took the Jeep Patriot on a game drive, we did spot the Giraffe & some Gemsbuck.

The walk is enjoyable.

We laugh.

Theunsie plays comedian.

Pippa explorer & Sophia tour-guide.

It is almost twelve as we return to our lodging.

Moses had made the rooms.

He’d sorted the breakfast dishes & made sure there is enough ice in the fridge.

The kids brave the swimingpool despite winter’s chill cooling the water.

Then we start working on lunch.

Cooking together is something we enjoy as a family.

It is as if our thoughts & joy is unleashed with knives slicing & food roasting.

We enjoy lunch outside.

Moses appears from nowhere, assuring us that we shouldn’t bother with taking the dishes inside.

‘You’re here to relax.  I’m here to help you.  I do this, because I enjoy it.  Go rest or read.’

And we do exactly that.

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I finish my book about ‘contentment’ not agreeing with the author that contentment is always such a virtue.

We should be discontent if we spend the majority of our time on stuff we do not value most.

And this discontent should motivate us to find a new way.

We should be discontent with injustice.

With mediocre education & failing healthcare.

With millions of children living in poverty & hundreds of thousands of adults satisfied with receiving hand-outs & perpetuating the cycle of contentment.

Zuko remind me that not everyone share my thoughts & heart.

I graciously accept her reminder, but forge ahead with dreams of hope.

For our dreams determine our future.

And if we do not dream of a tomorrow in which we spend our time on relationships, tomorrow will turn into yesterday & we’ll still be working 14 hour days & be absent fathers & incompetent partners.


My thoughts, Zuko, I know.

Late afternoon, as we return from our game drive, the fire is burning warmly with drinks chilled & a table beautifully laid for supper.

Everything is clean & tidy.

We cook our meal on the open fire.

We express gratitude before we eat.

To each other.

To the Creator whose grace is a good kind of grace to be at.

As we eat, we speak.

Of responsibility which comes with blessing.

Of the opportunity to be different in a world which desperately desires to force everyone into its mold.

Pippin serves desert.

Theunsie serves coffee.

A perfect day ends with a perfect meal.

Sunday morning isn’t as slow as we had hoped.

We looked forward to tasting Addo Afrique till late afternoon.

On Friday, just before we left Nelson Mandela Bay, we received an invitation to attend a function in Kirkwood.

The MEC of Human Settlements invited us to be part of the launch of a Youth Build-project.

We couldn’t resist.

Moses helps us to get all our stuff together & load the Jeep Patriot.

We make our way to Kirkwood, which is an easy 40 kilometer drive from Addo Afrique.

The lodge is really perfectly positioned for anyone who would like to explore the area from a comfortable base.

We meet MEC Helen Sauls-August.

She speaks passionately about a country in which people take responsibility.

A country in which parents raise children who will be eager to build.

We meet some young volunteers.

In ‘Youth Build 2012’, 120 unemployed volunteers build 100 homes for families who live in shacks.

Along the way they’re taught skills.

It is a joint venture between government & the private sector.

As we wait for the official program to start, I talk to Mark from Makhana Bricks.  They donated the bricks for the first home to be built.  The children play on the grass.  The dignitaries explore the site where most of the work will be done.

The atmosphere is excited.

There is a feeling of hope in the air.

Perhaps, just perhaps, something wonderful is yet to come.

As lunch approaches, we start our journey home.

An easy drive.

A good weekend.

We stop at Zuko’s parents as we drive into Nelson Mandela Bay.

Her father admires the Jeep Patriot.

Her Mom magically makes lunch appear.

We spend time with them.

For they too are precious to us.

Then we make our way home.

To unload our weekend stuff.

To look back on time spent together.

To dream of hope.

For Africa.

And South Africa.

For our little bit of world.

And our family.

Categories: Weekend Destinations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

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