Fab Five Reunion

Larry visited from Ohio back in 1996, so we arranged to meet up as the Old Fab Five musketeers down in Cape Town, where Steph and Tuffy were living. He had been Harrismith’s Rotary exchange student back in 1969 and had returned to South Africa twice before – once in 1976, down through Africa fromContinue reading “Fab Five Reunion”

Mfolosi Day Trip

Jess and I have been sussing out the Zululand game reserves COVID-19 scene and phoning and today was the day. We left soon after 6am. My gauge showed how little I have driven in lockdown – I filled up on the 24th March: Less than 100km in three months! We got to the gate beforeContinue reading “Mfolosi Day Trip”

Okavango Delta – the 2020 flood

Last year Maun received none of the floodwaters that usually arrive in winter. The summer rains in Angola 1000km to the north had been poor, and the flood just didn’t get right through the Okavango Delta to Maun; Well below average summer rainfall added to the drought. Rainy season is December to March in AngolaContinue reading “Okavango Delta – the 2020 flood”

Vilanculos – Sunny Spot!

Vilanculos, said Jaynee J, is a beautifully sunny spot . . . . with the odd shady person! When she was about to leave Joburg for her paradise in Mocambique; to find another atmospheric cottage to inhabit and love; move into a new town, in a new country; and change the place – Vilanculos, notContinue reading “Vilanculos – Sunny Spot!”

Lockdown Lookback -4

Here’s a stirring tale of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and my family. It also obliquely references a lockdown and social distancing. In fact a much longer lockdown than we have endured: From 13 October 1899 to 17 May 1900, the people of Mahikeng – which the Poms called Mafeking – were locked down andContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -4”

Lockdown Lookback -3

Another random re-post from way back called: “Uh, Correction, Mrs Bedford!” from my pre-marriage blog vrystaatconfessions.com – chosen as I was recently sent 48yr-old evidence by a classmate! In 1969 a bunch of us were taken to Durban to watch a rugby test match – Springboks against the Australian Wallabies. “Our” Tommy Bedford was captainContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -3”

Kosi Bay with a Boat

Kosi Bay is a wonderful place and the campsites are superb. Good birding and great habitat. It’s an estuary system comprising of four lakes – Amanzimnyama (dark waters), Nhlange (reeds), Mpungwini and Makhawulani – the system is connected by meandering channels and fringed wetlands before it runs into the Indian Ocean via a shallow channelContinue reading “Kosi Bay with a Boat”

Fogg's Folly

or Destiny Castle Driving through the beautiful Eastern Free State you see many flat-topped sandstone kopjes like these. But suddenly you say, ‘What’s on top of that one? It’s a CASTLE! Can’t be. But it is!’ Truth is, you knew it would be there – as you’ve been invited to visit it – to beContinue reading “Fogg's Folly”

Careful Where You Step!

Recording and reminiscing; with occasional bokdrols of wisdom. Possibly. Random, un-chronological memories after marriage, children and sundry other catastrophes. My pre-marriage blog is vrystaatconfessions.com. Bachelorhood! Beer! River trips! Beer! bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

Simes' Cottage in Lotheni

There’s a lovely old sandstone cottage in the Lotheni Valley, one of the Drakensberg / uKhahlamba’s beautiful valleys. We had some great adventures with good friends and our kids up there. As an adult retreat it’s my idea of paradise: no electricity, no cellphone reception, no wifi. Peace. Plenty of hot water, a gas stoveContinue reading “Simes' Cottage in Lotheni”

Botswana Safari with Larry

(this blog is about happenings, disasters, surprises and chaos since I caught marriage and kids. But every now and then I re-post a story from my blissful, trouble-free, beer-fuelled bachelor days blog. Here’s one): Hey, let’s go on a safari! Great friend Larry Wingert is out from the USA and we hop on a flightContinue reading “Botswana Safari with Larry”

She Spotted Janet. Or Did She?

I thought the nervous client had spotted Janet also looking at the scorpion and the puff adder in her room. But it wasn’t like that; Janet wasn’t there. The lucky, nervous – and ‘happy at the same time’ – client had spotted a scorpion, a puff adder AND a spotted genet like this one: AllContinue reading “She Spotted Janet. Or Did She?”

Sheila at Fugitives Drift Lodge – Sit Still!

Sheila worked at Fugitives Drift Lodge with David and Nicky Rattray for a while and met many interesting people and characters from all over the world. She should write about the weird folk she met – the judges and military men and colonial types and rich folk and historians and chief constables and all theContinue reading “Sheila at Fugitives Drift Lodge – Sit Still!”

A Mystery Unraveled – Platberg Report

A guest post! A more factual and detailed report on this day by Nigel Hemming. This year’s Mystery Tour took us to Harrismith in the Free State where, amongst other things, we were to visit the Platberg Nature Reserve (PNR) and take a drive up to the top of the mountain before descending partway forContinue reading “A Mystery Unraveled – Platberg Report”

Explorers 15. Galton

Francis Galton, (1822–1911) was an English polymath, geographer, meteorologist and much else. We are mainly interested here in his 1850 expedition to Namibia. For the rest – and there is a lot of it! – refer to the sources at the bottom. Grandson of Erasmus Darwin and cousin and contemporary of Charles Darwin, Galton isContinue reading “Explorers 15. Galton”

Nibela on Lake St Lucia

What luck! friends couldn’t make their timeshare for happy reasons (grandchild due) so we took over! With pleasure. Nibela is in prime Broadbill sand forest territory and I have dipped out on seeing a Broadbill, coming close a number of times, but no sighting. I was keen, so was Jess. Tom considered the fishing optionsContinue reading “Nibela on Lake St Lucia”