When it comes to dreams of travel, there’s an outright war being waged within my soul.

While one side yearns to explore places unknown – inhale their strange air, indulge in their exotic cuisine, listen to the unfamiliar song of the languages the locals speak – the other side desperately longs for a grand return to so many I’ve been before. To retrace the footsteps of the woman I was back then, to see what she saw and maybe even point out a few of the things she missed; to sink my teeth into the delicacies I’ve never been able to find back home; to stake my claim for some sort of familiarity; but mostly just to be there again.

Portugal is one of the places I wish to return to most poignantly. Porto, in particular.

Continue Reading "Take me back: Porto"

About a month ago, we headed to Wilderness for Andre and Danielle’s wedding – a wild and wonderful beach-meets-forest affair.

Despite a storm breaking out in full force on the afternoon of the nuptials, it was a truly beautiful and joyous occasion.

Apart from celebrating their promises of forever to each other, we also got a chance to rediscover a few of the trails in this lush section of the Garden Route National Park.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Walking in Wilderness"

Taking time out to admire the natural beauty all around you while hiking a particularly tough trail can be pretty hard.

When your backpack straps are cutting into your shoulders (still tender from the previous day’s abuse), your legs are burning and all wobbly, and you can’t quite seem to catch your breath, the last thing you want to do is veer off course in pursuit of an even rarer view.

Most hiking trails, of course, discourage – nay, flat out forbid – you to leave the main trail for your own safety, as well as the conservation of the fauna and flora that would suffer underfoot.

However, when setting out on the five-day Otter Trail between Tsitsikamma and Nature’s Valley, you will have a couple of opportunities to take legal – and highly recommended – detours to some pretty damn magical spots. Because most of them come at that time of day when your energy levels have reached a real low, you may be tempted to skip them and just forge ahead.

But let me tell you: they’re totally worth it! Shrug off your backpack and leave it on the path – with no one else on the trail except your group, they’re 100% safe – and go have some fun. You’ll feel refreshed and inspired when you return, ready to take on the road ahead with more vigour.

Here are three of the Otter Trail’s most noteworthy detours you simply can’t miss out on:

Continue Reading "3 Otter Trail detours worth taking"

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” – Mary Oliver

When I first read this line of poetry a couple of years ago, it rang so pure and true in my soul, it became my life’s motto in an instant.

Not that I’ve always been super successful at this – sometimes the slog of daily life becomes so all-encompassing, it’s all too easy to lose that sense of wide-eyed wonder.

That’s kind of where I found myself at the end of 2018: looking back on a year of incredible opportunities and fulfilling projects but just completely exhausted to the bone. I felt an overwhelming longing for simplicity and the need to immerse myself in nature.

So, when a spot opened up in the group my cousins had organised for the Otter Trail, I grabbed the opportunity without a second thought.

Sure, I only had ONE week to get my gear together (fortunately I’m kitted out with most of the basics).

And no, I wasn’t fit at all (in fact, I think this is the least fit I’ve been in about 10 years).

But, let’s face it – when you get the chance to piggyback on another group’s booking for this trail with its notorious 1-year waiting period, you take it!

This also, of course, put me in the advantageous position of having absolutely no time to burden myself with too much reading and research; conjure up any unrealistic expectations or think too much about the dangers (like the Bloukrans River Crossing) lying ahead.

Fortunately, I still had a roll of expired Kodak Gold and decided to put it to good use snapping some of the spectacular scenery that surrounded us for the five days we were on the trail.

While I love the mood and grain of these images, no camera can capture the true magic of these pristine spaces. In a world where truly wild places no longer seem to exist, the Otter Trail offers an unforgettable taste of somewhere almost ‘untouched’.

Continue Reading "Snaps: The Otter Trail on 35mm film"

Way back, when we used to live in Pretoria, my parents would ever so often pack us all up into the combi and head to the Kruger National – or Marloth Park for the weekend.

I loved it. And a big part of my heart still resides there, in the bushveld.

Living in Cape Town now, weekend trips are obviously no longer an option, so when I get the opportunity to set out in that direction, I jumped at it!

At the end of July, I was lucky enough to be part of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency’s brand new #myMpumalanga campaign (working behind the scenes mostly), which included a quick sho’t left to Jaci’s Sabi House in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and made me super happy.

However, the trip also gave me an opportunity to explore a whole lot more of the ‘place where the sun rises’. Mpumalanga is really an amazing province, offering a range of diverse experiences – from fly-fishing and horse-riding in the chilly highveld town of Dullstroom to glamping along the Sabie River with Africamps at Mackers.

Instead of writing about each of the experiences, I thought I’d just share a couple of pics of the most memorable.

Continue Reading "Snaps: #myMpumalanga road trip"

Earlier this year, Traveller24 asked whether I would be available to represent them on a whirlwind mission to Maputo.

The trip was hosted by Google Africa and brought journalists, bloggers and influencers from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria together to explore the Mozambican capital and share their experiences.

We were only there for about 48 hours, so really had to squeeze in A LOT. In some ways, however, this just added to the thrill of the adventure and really whet my appetite for a more extensive visit.

I loved the eclectic mix of Portuguese heritage and true African city bustle, the robust tropical vegetation and the way it seems to take over buildings that have been left unattended just a little too long.

Of course, it’s really difficult to get the feel of a place in just two days, but amid the sensory overload, I did manage to pick five favourite things:

Continue Reading "My Maputo top 5"

In my last post, I mentioned that Guillaume, Jasper and I had taken a quick two-day break in the Cederberg from Wednesday to Friday last week.

After googling ‘pet-friendly accommodation in the Cederberg’ (to coincide with flower season), we stumbled upon Enjo Nature Farm in the Biedouw Valley and were instantly charmed by the pictures of quaint white-washed cottages, quiver trees and star-studded night skies. We booked the most adorable Cabin and started counting down the days.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Mid-week break at Enjo Nature Farm"

This past week, Guillaume and I decided to take a little mid-week break and headed to the Cederberg for some flower-spotting and a quick two-day digital detox.

We stayed at Enjo Nature Farm in the Biedouw Valley and spent a full day hiking, rowing, swimming, reading, eating and laughing (mostly at Jasper).

I’d like to tell you more about this magical little place in a next post and show you some of my photos, but first, I thought I’d share some observations from the road. Observations that somehow stirred new hope and eased the tension that has been building in my belly from an overdose of news and opinions, fear-mongering and negative talk on social media.

Continue Reading "Report from the road: there is more good than bad, don’t forget"
gypsified, bangkok, mermaid castle siam

Bangkok has – what I guess we’d call – a reputation.

Mention the city to almost anyone and images of saucy Khao San road and The Hangover 2-esque ‘big nights out’ come to mind.

While this experience of the sprawling city is perpetuated by the young and reckless tourists who flock there from all corners of the globe, I was happy to find that there’s actually SO much more to it.

During a far-too-short visit with my cousin, Nikola – who’s been living there for just more than a year now – I caught some serious feelings for Bangkok.

Getting to see the city from her and bestie, Kelly’s more settled perspective was really special, serving up all sorts of surprises I would have missed out on entirely, had I been left to my own devices.

One of the most exciting things I found during my four days in Bangkok was evidence of a vibrant creative community, using its diverse talents to add value and breathe new life into this ancient city.

As with Taipei, my time there was jam-packed with all sorts of experiences, so I’ve decided to focus on a few of our off-beat adventures in this post and then a few more tourist-y things (that everyone should do when they go) in the next one.

So, here are five Bangkok favourites to start off with:

Continue Reading "Bangkok favourites: Moomin, Mermaids and Mega Markets"

If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all over the past few years, you’re probably quite familiar with those motivational travel quotes sprawled across majestic landscapes.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Well, this post is not like that.

My aim is not to motivate anyone to travel, to ‘find themselves’ or to see the world. Some of us have that desire and will act upon it in one way or another. Others don’t, and will live perfectly fulfilled lives without ever setting foot outside of their home town. It’s really none of anyone else’s business.

Instead, this post is just a collection of things I found useful, clever, heart-warming and enriching in the various elsewheres I’ve found myself recently.

So, here you go:

Continue Reading "Life lessons my recent travels taught me"