Posts Tagged With: Kingfisher FM

Swellendam Explore Day 5

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It was pretty early, for people on holiday anyway, as we bundled into the Chrysker Grand Voyager, on this very cold Swellendam morning.

We were making our way to the Swellendam Backpackers, from where we would proceed to ‘Two Feathers’ for some horse riding.

Riding is something we love.

Horses.

Nature.

The opportunity to ride new horses & acquaint ourselves with the mountain forest adjacent to Swellendam, enough of an incentive to get up early & face the cold.

The Chrysler Grand Voyager’s heated seats & climate control a friendly reminder this morning that we are traveling, not on our own, but supported by friends & along with you.

We’re not accustomed to the opulence of this kind of vehicle – our somewhat ageing Defender offering nothing more than the very basics which could be expected from a hardy vehicle.

Windows to roll down for ventilation.

Wheels.

An engine.

A characteristically rattling sliding back window to create the ambiance of off-roading, even on smooth city streets.

As we turn off into Swellendam, the Voyager senses the first spatterings of rain, automatically switching on its window wipers to ensure maximum visibility.

Our Defender has window wipers as well.

They keep the rain off the windscreen whenever the left indicator is not engaged.

As we park the Voyager in front of the backpackers, as if persistent, the rain comes down in abbundant sheets.

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Inside we’re greeted by Stephanie.

This morning the bearer of disappointment.

The precipitation will persist, but tomorrow is another day & perhaps it would fulfill the promise of flying on horse-back, the smell of forest leaves a trail behind us.

Stephanie has been building the Swellendam Backpackers for seventeen years.

She knows what can & cannot.

What will be pleasant & what will not.

And so we headback to Stonehill River Lodge, the sponsored Chrysler Grand Voyager’s comfort a small comfort on this cold winters day.

We light a fire in the fireplace.

We make brekafast together.

We watch a little bit of Hawaii 5-0.

We play some cards.

We make lunch together.

Read some.

Talk.

Enjoy the warmth of comfortable accomodation.

Sleep a bit.

That luxurious afternoon nap for which we never have time.

More cards are played.

More Hawaii 5-0 watched.

More wood placed on the fire.

And we are reminded that not everything is always about activity.

That sometimes our circumstances expect us to wait.

To rest.

To anticipate.

And tomorrow we try again.

Perhaps with success.

Perhaps not.

But this is life & nothing will be gained by resisting her flow.

Not even when urgency overwhelms us.

Supper is a slow affair.

Conversation connecting us.

How hurried we are to do instead of be.

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How poor we are.

For not allowing the moment to be.

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Swellendam Explore Day 4

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“However you disguise it, this thing does not change: / The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.”

According to Dean Koontz, these are the words of T.S. Elliott.

He quotes it in relation to Odd Thoms’ latest epic adventure.

I claim it, for myself, as I consider the day’s experiences, making sense, or trying too, of the nagging feeling with which I came away from a little village on the banks of the Breede River.

We’re lounging on the couch, late afternoon, back at Stonehill River Lodge, after a full day.

The kids are playing outside.

Little Maddi is at our feet with a selection of pots & spoons.

I wonder if she is emulating Zuko’s prowess in the kitchen or just mindlessly clanging?

Zuko & I are enjoying a cup of Masterton’s.

Our Kindles the doorway to vivid adventures we can pause whenever we need or page over, should they be mundane.

” … and evil is not always that recognizeable, oft disguised as the good it doth despise … ”

The words echo in my being, as I digest the Odd adventures conjured by Koontz, mixed with my own.

Breakfast was a festive affair.

Everyone excited to make the journey to Malagas where we would cross the Breede River by Ferry.

Crossing a river by ferry is not so much a fireworks & orchestra playing the soundtrack of ‘ Chariots of Fire’ kind of occasion.

Although there is something stomach churning about driving a R500 000 vehicle onto a float, running the risk, even if ever so small, of having it float away into the Atlantic Ocean, or sinking to the shallow bottom of a once often traversed river.

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Malagas, it seems, was once a busy little harbour town.

A place from which farmers & traders moved goods between the Overberg and Cape Town.

‘Barry & Neefs’ making a decent living, while providing a much needed service.

Perhaps the 1800’s were a simpler time.

Perhaps not.

The Chrysler Grand Voyager,  kindly sponsored to us by Maritime Motors, impressed with its comfort & road holding on the 40 kilometre drive through yellow canola fields.

The video screens & sound system silent, as we watch a crop duster flying low, a mist at its tail.

Once across the river, we drive through the little town, now predominantly populated by holiday makers who enjoy boating & water sports.

The old stone Dutch Reformed Church & the white washed trading store the only reminders, alongside the ferry, that any kind of history is hidden here.

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The Church is locked.

The bell’s ring silent, until my children boldly call the good to come and worship to no avail.

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We lunch at the Malagas Hotel.

A pleasant enough lunch.

A kind waitress.

The owners somewhat aloof.

As we pay our bill they reluctantly divulge the little bit of information that they’ve lived here sixteen years, building the hotel from a guest house into the many roomed accomodation it now offers, with house boats for rent & green lawns for children to enjoy.

At the trading store we encounter a more talkative resident.

The ‘Tannie’ (older lady) eager to share conversation.

The businesses has been in her husband’s family for more than one hundred years.

They’ve been living here, selling goods, for almost three decades.

She speaks of how life has changed.

How businesses has slowed.

Of the young ones leaving for Cape Town.

The old ones stuck with memories & they’re own sad conversation.

Theunsie & Wilhelmina buy sweets.

Zuko gets some milk & cheese & cooldrink from the fridge, while Sophia & Forest study a display of old cameras.

When Malagas was settled a camera was a rare commodity.

Theunsie takes pictures of a display of old cigarette boxes with his mobile phone, then WhatssApss it to the group of friends he created before we left Nelsin Mandela Bay.

Replenished we point the Chrysler Grand Voyager towards Infanta.

Sophia wants to know if that is where they make Fanta.

At the end of the road we find a deserted holiday village, where the Breede River runs into the ocean.

Some homes are new & oppulent.

Some old & dilapidated.

Population 56, says the website on Zuko’s tablet.

They must all be in town for the day, I think to myself, as we pose for  picture at the entrance to this village, before we head back home.

At Malagas we cross the river by ferry again.

And now we read.

And think.

“However you disguise it, this thing does not change: / The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil” … and evil is not always that recognizeable, oft disguised as the good it doth despise . . .

Images of ‘Barry & Neefs’ loading cargo, of that old Tannie’s in-laws one hundred years ago, perfectly dressed on Sunday, to worship at the stone Church, shabby in blue overalls on Monday, to make their living, the children at the school we could not find – they play vividly in my imagination.

A ferry relentlessly moving people & cargo & carriage from one side of the Breede River to the other.

I wonder, do we even consider, as Elliot & Koontz do, the strughle of good & evil, as we make our way from one generation to the next?

Do we question our motivation?

Or is it simple?

A bit of money earned.

A bit of respite enjoyed.

A bit of bitterness in our age, before we pass it on.

So that our children may prevail.

A few old buildings.

A few stacked shelves.

A display of neatly preserved cigarette boxes our reminder.

Perhaps it is.

Simple.

But as I sit here with my Zuko, the sound of children emerging into their own adulthood outside, little Maddi unaware,  clanging at pots & pans with mass produced utensils,  I hope it could be more.

More than just a bit of prevailing.

At least for us.

I hope our lives could spill some meaning.

Beyond a living earned or the bitterness of age.

Perhaps relationship could be our building.

Connection our trading store.

Perhaps we are constructing.

Even as we live.

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Swellendam Explore Day 3

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Every time we travel, we are reminded of how ‘loose’ life can become.

Every time we travel, we are reminded of how important it is to choose time spent together, with the people we value, to grow our connection.

In the end, after all is said & done, our relationships are all we have.

They’re the most important.

Our life partner.

Our children.

Our friends.

As our third day in the swellendam area comes to an end, I make a knot in my ear. Another in my heart.

To remember.

Balance.

As the sun sets I look at little Maddi running around, I think of our son, who was smaller than a toddler, less than a wink ago.

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Today we didn’t drive anywhere.

We rented bicycles & cycled through the Stonehill Reserve.

We played some cards.

Another game of chess on the large outdoor chess board.

We read some.

We slept some.

We walked some.

It is interesting how our concerns can consume is.

Isolate us.

Even if we re physically present.

Lost in that maze of worry & striving.

Under the bush, like a hopeless prophet.

We need to intentionally engage.

Each other.

For it is in our collectiveness that we succeed.

We need to slow down, create opportunities to talk, listen, think.

Sitting was frowned upon as I grew up.

‘Why are you doing nothing?’ the question always came s I was sitting, staring into my being, dreaming, thinking.

That is industrious too.

Now.

At 42.

I think it would be good if I could recapture that.

Think more.

Be more.

Take time to taste.

Allowing the moment to touch me.

Seep through my skin into my being.

Theunsie handles the braai while Zuko & I talk, sipping slowly from the moment.

After supper we read.

Zuko is enjoying a Steampunk Fantasy Sci-Fi Adventure.

I’m lost in the world of Odd Thomas.

Taking a breath.

That is good.

Taking a breath alongside people you love.

By whom you are loved.

That is better.

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Swellendam Explore Day 2

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Odd Thomas, my favorite character in Dean Koontz’s repertoire,  has this ‘ability’ of being ‘drawn’ to stuff he concentrates on.  I think Odd himself calls it ‘psychic magnetism’.

On our second day exploring Swellendam, we experienced this.

The sun had already set when we arrived on Friday evening.

Saturday morning we woke up to a stunning view of the Breede River & fresh Canola fields.

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We’re staying at Stonehill River Lodge, just outside Swellendam.

Or rather, perfectly positioned between Swellendam, Barrydale & Malgas.

We hope to discover all these places, but today we’d prefer not to go anywhere.  Stretching our legs & enjoying the tranquillity of Stonehill, just for a moment, before we plunge into the rest.

As we prepare breakfast, Zuko reminds us that we need to get some fruit & vegetables.   We read about a lovely organic market in Swellendam & so we pile into the Chrysler Grand Voyager for the short drive to town.

Swellendam is very beautiful.

Settled in 1745.

The 4th oldest town in South Africa with many original buildings well preserved.

You could spend a whole day walking from museum to museum, enjoying the architecture,  taking in the history, getting a feel for a South Africa of long ago.

We’re just hunting fruit & vegetables.

We find the market.

Zuko gets stunning fresh produce, including organic heritage seeds to take home & rusks & nuts & an interesting quince extract created by a Korean family who settled here many years ago.

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Satisfied that we’d be able to feed a Tribe for the next few days, we load the Voyager’s spacious boot & start heading out of town, back to Stonehill.

We turn, turn again.

Swellendam is not a large town in which you should get lost.

The next moment we’re driving past this beautiful Village’s Fearie Sanctuary.

We stop.

We go in.

We get lost in time, space, love & peace.

The Fearie Mother eventually finds us.

We listen to the story of how the sanctuary came to life over 22 years.

About children growing up.

Neighbours infected with love, as everything the sanctuary represents spills across boundaries & fences.

We drink from the fountain of people who just gave themselves to being.

Everything which was alive inside of them.

We all desire love.

Peace.

We all hope to be connected somehow.

We express ourselves differently.

Use different words & language.

Our hope is not that different.

To be loved for who we are.

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To be known.

Truly known.

To be part of something.

Something greater than the sum of our individuality.

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As we say our goodbyes, the Fearie Mother puts a spell of happiness on us.

We each receive a tiny bottle of fearie dust & the instruction to sprinkle it wherever we go.

Some sprinkle water.

Others sing songs or whisoer words.

We all express hope.

To bring happiness.

To taste what is beautiful.

When the Chrysler Grand Voyager comes to a stop at Stonehill it is afternoon already.

We walk.

We play chess.

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We talk.

As the sun sets, Theunsie lights a fire in our fireplace.

Zuko cooks the most beautiful meal.

We talk about how we were ‘drawn’ to the Fearie Sanctuary.

How we are ‘drawn’ to each other.

How we could ‘draw’ others close to us.

As love, happiness & kindness spill from us into our world.

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Swellendam Explore Day 1

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It has been a while since we’ve done publicized travels.

Its not that we’ve not traveled.

We’ve been to the beautiful Kromme Island Estate, we’ve spent time in Somerset East & we’ve visited Bloemfontein, as well as the magnificent Kingdom of Lesotho.

Beautiful journeys, shared with beautiful people.

Travel is in our DNA.  its as if we can’t help ourselves.

But we’ve not blogged about it.

There were no competitions in which you could win your own travel experience.

No pictures or video or radio interviews.

In the past few months quite a bit has happened.

Maddi has gone from a new-born baby to being a toddler who runs all over the place & vociferously expresses her every desire.

Theunsie turned thirteen.

We held his l’homme de la liberte, his coming of age, where he told us about his being, who he is & what he values.  Since he has been living in freedom, making his own decisions with us around him, guiding him, advising him, so that he can learn about life & becoming in a safe environment, making mistakes, and choosing beautifully,  for life is a magnificent combination of both.

It is good to remember that we are an ‘us’.

It is good to be reminded that love & acceptance has nothing to do with performancemor compliance.

For us this has worked well, as Theunsie (and even Wilhelmiena) emerges into adult-hood, through puberty and being teenagers,  avoiding the typical rebellion parents so often complain about.

Its a different way of doing.

Theunsie also found his first girlfriend.

The beautiful Hannah.

She calls herself Forest & we oblige.

It is pretty innocent.

Holding hands.

Sitting close.

Beautiful to see him slowly, yet confidently exploring this new world of becoming ‘us’.

It is stunning to be witnesses to this natural progression from being child into being man.

It is scary too.

As we wonder if we ‘did well’ as parents?

If we ‘gave him what he needs’ in the few years he was entrusted to us.

When they are born, we think we have many years.

But we don’t.

It is a moment since weld held him in our arms for the first time.

And now he is reaching forward.

Into life.

And we have the privilege of sharing it with him.

Hannah, or rather Forest, is joining us on our Swellendam Explore.

We tried to do this 2 years ago – not the bringing along of Forest thing – the exploring of Swellendam & surrounds.

We had just arrived, when we were told a wonderful friend had passed away & our Swellendam Explore turned into a trip to the Kalahari Thirstland, a funeral in the shade of an ancient ‘Kameel Doring Boom’ & the very surprising news that at 41 we’re expecting another child.

Now, as I write, that child has emerged as little Maddi-Boo, who is sitting on my lap, in the lounge at Stonehill River Lodge’s lounge, as I share these thoughts.

We arrived here just before 7 last night.

The drive was stunning.

The Chrysler Grand Voyager, sponsored to us for this trip, by Maritime Motors, a truly magnificent vehicle.  Spacious. Comfortable. Responsive. The interior designed to take a Tribe like ours (and all our luggage) on an unforgettable voyage.

After a bit more than 6 hours traveling we weren’t tired at all.

We unloaded.

Lit a fire.

Started relaxing.

We shared supper.

Slowly flowing into the rhythm of being on an explore.

The kids spoke about the things we’re looking forward too: going horse riding at Two Feathers, crossing the river by pontoon at Malagas, cycling through the reserve here at Stonehill River Lodge and exploring a fairy land in Swellendam.

We hope to see some old friends too.

In Gansbaai, perhaps on our way home in Knysna.

We hope to make new friends.

As we share this journey.

This moment in a journey much larger.

Maybe, along the way, we could become together.

More of who we are.

Exquisitely woven soul & matter.

Beautifully born, to taste, experience, connect & share.

We hope you will travel with us.

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Season 2 about to go LIVE!

yot 2013Never did we imagine it would be so much fun, when we started with Traveling Tribe Season 1.

Zuko was pregnant.

Maddi was born.

And amidst all of it we discovered beautiful places.

We met stunning people.

We shared awesome experiences.

And we were able to give it away.

If I think back, other than the time spent with my Tribe & the memories made, being able to get so many families traveling, with R150 000 in family travel experiences given away, was probably the greatest experience of it all.

So we look forward to Season 2.

We hope to venture into more remote parts of the Eastern Cape this year.

To discover hidden gems.

To meet diamonds of beautiful souls.

To share it all with you.

We’re hoping to start with a bang: a 10-day trip from the 19th to the 28th of July.  Off course we’re bringing back prizes.  And we’ll follow that experience with regular weekend trips from August through to December.

Let’s see how much family traveling we can cram into the rest of 2013.

Let’s make 2013 the Year of Family Travel & Adventure in the Eastern Cape.

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Mountain Zebra National Park

CONGRATULATIONS  to Natalia Venter on winning a two nights stay for a family of four (2 adults + 2 children), including accommodation, a game drive and guided walk,  to the total value of R3 400.00 at the Mountain Zebra National Park.

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Location:  305 kilometers from Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay & 12 kilometers from Cradock on the road between Cradock & Graaff Reinette, in the beautiful Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Date Visited: 16 – 18 November 2012 (Summer)

What we Drove: The Jeep Cherokee, complements of Maritime Motors .

Where we Stayed: The main camp, in a two bedroom chalet.  Mountain Zebra National Park also offers camping & mountain cottages, as well as a luxury six sleeper guest-house.

What we did: We took the opportunity to just be together as we cooked, walked, watched game, swam in the Park’s beautiful swimming pool and saw magnificent game.

Recommendation: This is an amazing and very affordable weekend for a family who wants to do something wonderfull.  Instead of going on a guided game drive and walk, as much fun could be had as you self-drive through the park.  The roads are in exceptional condition.  The restaurant & shop stocks whatever you forget to take along.

Website: Mountain Zebra National Park

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Friday afternoon.

We’ve become accustomed to traveling this year.

Weekend road trips.

Breathtaking moments shared.

This was our twenty-second one in less than ten months.

‘The year seems full & meaningful, despite what challenges may have presented themselves’, Zuko speaks the thoughts filling her mind and heart as we hit the open road, driving past the Port of Nqura.

The Jeep Cherokee’s 2.8 liter diesel engine is inaudible.

The climate control keeps the summer afternoon’s heat outside.

The kids laugh & talk, filled to the brim with excitement.

‘We’ve seen so much.  Done so much.  It feels like we’ve had two years since Christmas.’

Zuko smiles.

I can see how her mind looks at pictures of the places we’ve been & the things we’ve done.

Holding up a snapshot of our family at Tsitsikamma in front of the guesthouse at The Garden Route National Park.

Little wrinkles forming at the corners of her mouth as she looks at us horse riding at Addo Elephant National Park and sliding down the waterfal at Bergrivier.

‘What was your favorite trip?’ she asks the kids, including them & me in her reliving of our experiences.

‘I loved Lalibela‘, Theunsie is quick to answer.

‘The surfing trip in Jeffreys Bay‘, Wilhelmina is quick on his heels.

‘No, picking those humungous apples’, she changes her mind.  ‘Where was that?’

Grootnek in the Langkloof,’ I help her find the name.

‘Grootnek!  That was fun.’

‘It was.  Taking the Jeep Wrangler up into the mountains was exciting.’ Theunsie remembers.

‘Sophia?  Which was your favorite trip,’ Zuko opens the door for one more experience to flood back into our hearts.

‘I’m thinking.  I loved them all,’ she quips.  ‘My favorite was Die Lapa, with the horses & the little cowboy village.  Yes.  If I must choose that was definitely my favorite.’

We talk about our ten day trip exploring the Blue Crane Route.

The stunning walk to the waterfall.

The snow.

‘O, going snow hunting was fantastic!’ Wilhelmina laughs.

Then we talk about Somerset East.

The friends who joined us as we shared the ‘Biltong Festival’ and decided to find snow on the spur of the moment.

A stop at the Nanaga Farm Stall interrupts our conversation.

We get some biltong, droë wors, water & nuts.

As I point the Jeep Cherokee towards Cradock, engaging the cruise control, Zuko takes out another snapshot.

‘I loved Nieu Bethesda‘, she says.

‘And Graaff Reinet.’

What an amazing year.

Filled with tasty experiences.

And then we are at the entrance to the Mountain Zebra National Park.

Originally started, in order to conserve the Mountain Zebra.

Now home to a variety of game on 28 000 hectares of conservation land.

Every time we get to spend time at one of our South African National Parks, I am impressed by the ammount of time & energy & resources we invest in conservation.

And how possible it is for South Africans & International tourists alike, to enjoy the beauty of Africa.

Friday night we settle into our very comfortable chalet.

We light a fire.

The conversation keeps on drifting back to our year’s travels.

Fond memories were made.

This we cherish as more memories take shape.

Saturday morning we meet Richard.

He is our ranger.

We go out on an early morning game drive.

We see lots of game.

A short walk to an ancient cave with Koi-San Paintings.

Their way of claiming this ancient land as their own, long after they’ve been driven into a lonely existence.

Lunch is followed by an afternoon at the swimming pool.

As the sun sets a fire comes to life again.

Black Backed Jackal the musicians who entertain is late into the night.

As I drift off to sleep with little Maddi lying on my chest, I hide some new memories in the crevices of my being.

I love it when we cook together.

We should do more trips where we cook our own food, I think, as dreams of beauty & wonder overwhelm me.

Sunday morning we head out on foot.

Richard is with us again.

This time he shows us the plants.

Excitedly talking about their medicinal value.

The old wives’ tales believed.

He shows us the little five.

Hidden amongst leaves & branches.

He’ll tell you about it as well, when you go and visit.

When the sun is high, our walk ends at the Park’s cool blue swimming pool.

We play.

We laugh.

We cook together.

And then we’re off.

The Jeep Cherokee comfortably taking our luggage and our dreams on a slow cruise through breathtaking Karoo.

The Cherokee is quiet.

As we each touch a last bit.

We’ll travel again, we agree, as we unload travel bags.

We’ll travel more.

Together.

If it be our gift.

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Lalibela Too

Congratulations to Penny Morris!  She won a two nights & three days stay,  enjoying Lalibela’s beauty, valued at R9000.00
enabling her to take 2 adults & 2 children on an awesome adventure.

The Tribe hopes you will create amazing memories.

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Location:  90 kilometers from Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay on the N2 towards Grahamstown.

Date Visited: 12 – 14 October 2012 (Summer)

What we Drove: The Chrysler Grand Voyager, complements of Maritime Motors .

Where we Stayed: Mark’s Camp, one of the three four-star lodges in the Game Reserve, this one specifically designed with families and children in mind.

What we did: We had scrumptious food, awesome game viewing from open vehicles with knowledgeable guides & fantastic African entertainment alongside great conversation and time together.  This time round we had the opportunity to meet the team behind the scenes & get a better feel of what motivates them, even getting some golden nuggets about life & business.

Recommendation: This is an amazing African weekend for a family who wants to do something very special.  The proximity to Nelson Mandela Bay and the malaria free environment makes it especially wonderful when traveling with children.  Lalibela comes highly recommended.

Website: Lalibela Game Reserve

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We’ve been to Lalibela before.

We’ve experienced the luxury accommodation.

The exquisite safari cuisine.

The exceptional service.

The knowledgeable rangers.

The very helpful staff.

This time we experienced all of that along with the opportunity to get to know some of the people who created this & keeps it growing.

This time we made our way to Lalibela in the extremely comfortable Chrysler Grand Voyager.

As you get into this vehicle it is very evident that the interior was designed by Boeing.

Attention to detail, comfort & space is overwhelming.

It is a family vehicle.

The Tribe with our luggage & all of Maddi’s paraphernalia fitted into this vehicle with space to spare.

The media system, climate control & safety features are something we’ve not experienced.

The intuitive cruise control makes the 90 kilometer drive seem like a moment.

At reception we are welcomed by Marimba players & Xhosa singers serving high tea.

At Mark’s Camp, Lalibela’s Lodge, specifically geared towards families beautifully appointed rooms & personal service await.

Lalibela can accommodate 120 guests between its three lodges.

They employ 60 staff members.

You can imagine how personal & exceptional the service is.

Friday night we cook with Nomakaya & Evelyn.

Evelyn has just joined the team at Lalibela.

Nomakaya has been there for eight years.

While the kids peel vegetables & stir various dishes slowly frying in butter, Nomakaya tells us of her journey.

How she left for University after completing school.

How she did not have enough money to complete her studies.

How she found employment close to home.

Starting in the kitchen, washing dishes.

Soon making salads & learning the skill of preparing exceptional food.

The past four years she has been running the kitchen at Mark’s Camp.

Filling orders.

Creating menus.

Impressed with her own development at the hand of Linda, Lalibela’s Food & Beverage Manager.

Saturday evening we’re in for a surprise.

We’re out on a game drive.

The vehicle makes a stop at a huge ‘bush’ of indigenous trees.

Ranger Dave walks us into a fairy tale land.

Lanterns lighting our way to huge fires and magnificent food.

There we get to spend time with Linda.

She tells us of how she came from Port Elizabeth, where she was a lecturer, to Lalibela, where she discovered the joy of working with a team of ladies, collectively discovering the joy of creating tasty meals for travelers from every part of the world.

Lalibela is an exporter in many ways.

Without processing or packaging this game reserve takes South Africa to the world as foreign tourists come to be on safari.

Bringing valuable foreign currency to our shores.

And positive reputation.

At the ‘Bush Boma’, in the light of friendly lanterns we talk to a couple from England.

It is their first time at Lalibela.

They are blown away.

By the experience.

By South Africa.

They are resolved to come again.

A couple from Germany joins the conversation.

They’ve been to Africa before.

They’ve never tasted Africa as they’re tasting it tonight.

It is an experience about which they will talk for decades to come.

They take pictures as the Xhosa dancers entertain us.

Over supper an Irish couple speak of the troop of elephant they encountered.

About the pride of Lion they watched.

About the hippopotamuses & the giraffe.

They cannot believe how close they came to the animals.

How much of them they could experience.

Every single expectation has been exceeded.

‘Conservation is about much more than the animals,’ explained Vernon Wait, one of the owners, on Saturday afternoon as we spent some time at one of the swimming pools.

‘Conservation is about conserving & creating a livelihood.  It is about conserving a way of life.  It is about affecting our world.  Positively.’

Lalibela was recently the victim of Rhino poachers.

‘You must understand, we tend these animals.  We look after them.  We know when they are ill or expecting.  When one of them is hurt, we are hurt.  It is like losing a child.’ Vernon explains .

Yet they continue.

Undeterred.

Evil will always be there.

In this world.

Trying to prevent us.

Discourage us.

Steal our hope.

The best way to defeat it is by forging ahead.

Always hopeful that our efforts would be more.

Earlier I went out Cheetah-tracking with Kelly, Lalibela’s Head Ranger.

A girl in a man’s world.

Heading up a team of male rangers.

Planning the wildlife management.

Patrol routes.

Care for patrons.

We track a female Cheetah who is new to the reserve.

She’s recently had cubs.

Kelly wants to check & make sure the cubs are healthy & well.

This is what a reserve like Lalibela does.

They make sure the conditions are optimal for wildlife to flourish.

As naturally as possible.

In a world in which urban areas expand relentlessly.

‘Tourism is our best product,’ explains Rick van Zyl, the founder of Lalibela over Sunday morning coffee.

We drove to Tree Tops, another exceptional camp to meet with Rick.

We wanted to hear his story.

Of how they came from the Merryman Hotel to Lalibela.

Of this place for which the bees have foretold greatness.

I am reminded that no business appears in a moment.

It takes years, decades even, to build a successful business.

Rick & his family worked since the early 1908’s before they had enough to purchase a piece of land which would be the seed of Lalibela.

Then they worked some more.

Often seeing it through, even if it seems it just cannot continue.

‘You need people around you,’ Rick explains.  ‘I had built a network of relationships over thirty years.  And you need a bit of luck.  Someone who would believe in you.  That is the only way.  And persistence.  And resilience.  And the willingness to work and work and work some more.’

So often we listen to the stories of successful entrepreneurs & we think it was a stroke of luck or a moment of genius & they had they cake they could eat.

That is a lie.

It takes time.

Work.

Effort.

Energy.

Resilience.

To build a successful business.

It takes sacrifice as well.

‘We were fortunate in that there were quality boarding schools where our children could go,’ Rick says with a bit of reminiscence in his voice.  ‘That freed us up to work every minute of every day.’

I sip my coffee and wonder how much I will be willing to sacrifice.

For that illusive success.

Perhaps we need to decide on that before we embark on the journey.

‘The journey is everything,’ Rick remembers.

‘The journey is exciting & enjoyable.  You should savour it.  It is new & fresh & exhilarating.  The destination isn’t what life is about.  It is about how you got there.  Through all the challenges & obstacles & hope.’

The journey.

I am on it.

For that I am grateful.

Perhaps we should not fret so much?

Perhaps each road has its own destination & all we can do is travel?

Perhaps how we travel is what counts?

And so we load the Chrysler Voyager at Lalibela, saying goodbye to foreign tourists & dedicated tourism operators, and head home on a different route.

Via Salem & Kenton-on-Sea.

In Salem we see the graves of many children at the Methodist Church built in the mid 1800’s by optimistic British Settlers.

How sad our journey can be?

Marked by graves along the way.

Of children.

Of hopes.

Dreams.

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Nelson Mandela Bay – weekend 5

WIN! a set of five x day passes (valued at R1000), complements of Kingfisher FM & Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism .

The day pass gives you access to a whole range of activities & discounts.  It is a fun & affordable way to travel Nelson Mandela Bay.

Answer this question in the comments section at the bottom of this post: ‘Where did the Tribe share a festival?’

Entries close on 4 October 2012, at midnight.

Winners announced on 5 October 2012 on Kingfisher FM’s Big Breakfast.

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LOCATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  It is 763 km east of Cape Town.

DATE VISITED: 28 – 30 September 2012 (Spring)

WHAT WE DROVE: A Jeep Cherokee complements of Maritime Motors

WHAT WE DID: We visited the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall, The Campanile, No 7 Castle Hill, Settler’s Park & The Red Location Museum.  We also attended the Afri-Save Marathon & The Bird Street Bash on Trinder Square.

WHERE WE STAYED: The little house on the not so little hill

WHO GUIDED US: Craig Duffield from Mosaic Tourism

RECOMENDATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is the ultimate family destination.  There is a whole lot of history to be discovered.  This was our fifth weekend exploring our city – a tourist could easily spend a whole week experiencing new & interesting trips.  Come visit Nelson Mandela Bay!

WEBSITE: Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism

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How caught up we can become in busyness?

Entrapped, almost.

Not in life.

In work.

In worry.

Rushing from one thing to the next.

Never stopping.

Trying to achieve.

To obtain.

To survive.

Even our holidays, a rush to the next thing.

And then we stop.

To experience.

What we thought was familiar.

For 5 weekends in a row we’ve been traveling our own city.

Nelson Mandela Bay.

Beautiful she is.

Exquisite.

Breathless she left us as we discovered her to be more than we ever imagined.

Filled with a new optimism we come away from the experience.

We approached our last weekend with hesitation.

Would she have more to share with us?

More to awaken in us?

We walk through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

Stunningly creative.

Hear soldiers of centuries past practice discipline on the tidy space which is the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall.

We stand at the foot of the Campanile, beautifully kept, considering the remembrance of a previous generation.

1820 settlers.

That evening we walk the corridors & rooms of No 7 Castle Hill.

Another remembrance.

Of life as it was.

For a few.

A surgeon and his family.

Two children schooled at home.

The furniture.

The art.

The decor & amenities of 180 years ago.

Conserved.

A family who left their land of birth.

To begin again.

In a new place.

We think of our new global village.

Families beginning again in many places.

Far from home.

We wonder if, once left, home could ever be found again.

We smell the ordered beauty of Settler’s Park.

Learn of the trenches, once dug to protect a city against attack.

We sit in memory boxes.

Built from rust-red corrugated iron.

Empty boxes.

Remembering the many who sacrificed.

And we think to ourselves: governments have immense responsibility.

To govern.

On behalf.

So that freedom, justice, equality & fairness may prevail.

Perhaps the history of South Africa is not so unique?

Someone always trying to take control.

To own.

To use.

Perhaps the history of South Africa is unique?

A new nation born.

Peacefully.

Slowly.

Drenched in values.

Beyond the skin & eye which divide.

‘Divide & conquer’, the warrior believes.

Imagine what would be if undivided we embrace the shared values alive in our being.

Freedom.

Justice.

Equality.

Fairness.

Imagine a society, kind & gentle.

Not controlled.

Enabled.

To live.

To be.

To do.

Create.

In Nelson Mandela Bay you will meet this society.

This people.

As we are.

And will be.

Beating a new rhythm.

On new African Drums.

Here Govan Mbeki left his footprints.

Vuyisile Mini the marks of fingers on his world.

Uncle Ray.

Ernest Malgas.

Idealists.

Dreamers who believed anything was possible.

And it is.

Even now.

As we stumblingly find our way.

The ‘struggle’ which left such a deep impression on our being was never a struggle against.

We realize as we take time to spend inside the Red Location Museum.

It was a struggle for.

Freedom.

Equality.

Justice.

On Trinder Square, that place where colonists watered their horses almost two centuries ago, we share a festival.

It is being renewed.

Into an emotion filled space.

Filled with the optimism of this city’s people.

And so we are grateful.

For being allowed to meet her again.

In all her history.

In all her present.

To be courted by her.

Invited to dance.

Without inhibition.

And so we resolve – in her we’ll come to life.

Hopeful dreamers.

Like Mbeki & Mhlaba.

Believing, without a moment’s doubt, anything is possible.

And so we invite you to come share her awesomeness.

And be wowed!

 

Categories: Nelson Mandela Bay, Weekend Destinations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Nelson Mandela Bay – weekend 4

Congratulations to Robynne Bosch & Siziwe Mnukwa!  You each win a set of five x day passes (valued at R1000), complements of Kingfisher FM & Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism .

There’s otwo more sets up for grabs, those we’ll give away next week.  😀

The day pass gives you access to a whole range of activities & discounts.  It is a fun & affordable way to travel Nelson Mandela Bay.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

LOCATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  It is 763 km east of Cape Town.

DATE VISITED: 21 – 24 September 2012 (Spring)

WHAT WE DROVE: A Fiat Punto complements of Maritime Motors

WHAT WE DID: This was an exciting weekend.  We visited the South African Airforce Museum, Bayworld, The Donkin Reserve, Ron Belling Art Museum, St Georges Park & St Croix Motor Museum.  Monday the 24th was a public holiday & we took part in an exciting Travel Quest, a race against time from clue to clue.

WHERE WE STAYED: The little house on the not so little hill

WHO GUIDED US: Craig Duffield from Mosaic Tourism

RECOMENDATION: Nelson Mandela Bay is the ultimate family destination.  There is a whole lot of history to be discovered.  This was our fourth weekend exploring our city – a tourist could easily spend a whole week experiencing new & interesting trips.  Come visit Nelson Mandela Bay!

WEBSITE: Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism

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Afropolitan.

A good word to describe Nelson Mandela Bay.

Urban.

Culturally savvy.

Aware of European influences.

Deeply rooted in the soil of this continent.

This past weekend, as we experienced re-invented urban spaces & vintage museums, it dawned on us: Nelson Mandela Bay is utterly unique.

Johannesburg is the New York or London of our continent.

Cape Town our Paris.

Nelson Mandela Bay has no twin.

Nothing to compare it with.

It was in this city that the South African Airways was born.

It was here that motor manufacturing started on our continent.

This we learnt as we spent time at the South African Airforce Museum & St Croix Motor Museum.

Our city’s Bayworld is nothing like Florida’s Marineland.

It does offer an intimacy nowhere else to be found.

And perhaps, as tomorrow comes, this intimacy will be retained, even if it grows into a large-scale ocenarium.

Anyone interested in Africa’s past, would do well to spend time at the Donkin Reserve.

Here you’ll discover one of Africa’s oldest lighthouses.

A love-story of an officer who became a gentleman while longing for the partner who died too soon.

You’ll experience the story of freedom, creatively depicted in art & sculpture, walkways & picnic spots.

It is a positive space.

A meeting place.

Loaded with emotion.

Opportunity.

Remembrance.

Hope.

Perhaps none of the tourist brochures & websites speak of Nelson Mandela Bay & art in the same breath?

They’ve not been to the Donkin Reserve or the many other spaces with public art scattered everywhere.

They’ve not spent an afternoon at the Ron Belling Art Gallery.

Or the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

Or the Epsac Art Gallery.

They’ve not taken in a show at the oldest Opera House on the African Continent.

Or the Ford Little Theatre.

Or Manville Open Air Theatre.

They’ve not been mesmerized by the sounds of talented musicians busking in surprising places, un-affected by the commercialization of an industry too easily consumed by money & fame.

Culturally savvy.

More than you could ever imagine.

Have you walked St Georges Park?

Sheltered by trees planted lifetimes ago.

This city has a Campenile, which commemorates the arrival of the British Settlers, comfortably co-existing with three Mosques in close proximity to each other.

It has a Red Location Museum, which remembers the injustice of apartheid, comfortably co-existing with two Concentration Camp Commemorative sites, which remembers the injustices of the South African War (1899 -1902).

This city is more than just more beaches.

It is the heart of African optimism.

The rhythm of a new way gradually infecting new souls.

It is a good place to live.

A good place to visit.

A must experience for any traveler who wants to taste more than the plastic of piña colada‘s on overcrowded brochure-beaches.

We are fortunate to spend our days here.

To travel from this city.

To always come home.

Categories: Nelson Mandela Bay, Weekend Destinations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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