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”

Explorer 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 “Explorer 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”

Swinburne, the Lost Valley and Nesshurst

First we went to Swinburne, to Jenny (Mapp) and Steve Cleverley’s Hound and Hare on the far bank of the Wilge River, across the old 1884 sandstone toll bridge where we had launched a canoe journey many years before; There we watched a bunch of large blokes with odd-shaped balls shove each other around, playingContinue reading “Swinburne, the Lost Valley and Nesshurst”

The Descent of One Mans

Charles Darwin wrote The Descent of Man. I’m going to write far more briefly and light-heartedly about The Descent of One Mans Pass. His is 900 pages long and has sex in it. Mine is one page and only has suffering. It was Barbara’s fault, of course. She was the instigator and in a fairContinue reading “The Descent of One Mans”

We’re Famous!

Us Blands have published a book. One of us was the author and one was the photographer. OK, it was tenth-cousin Hugh that actually did both! Mind you, I do play my small part in keeping this particular trappist monastery afloat by testing eyes there mahala every second month! Who’da thunk I’d ever help theContinue reading “We’re Famous!”

Sheffield Beach Tribal Gathering

When I found them they were huddled together like Vaalies on a beach. Oh, wait! They WERE Vaalies on a beach. I should have taken a picture of Brauer’s beach outfit: A double-padded fluffy anorak. Sort of a Tshwane Tshpeedo. And a hoed. We soon scurried off the dreaded sand in search of lunch. InContinue reading “Sheffield Beach Tribal Gathering”

Mfolosi Day Trip

This trip was notable for the worst lunch ever: Jess usually makes a great lunch. Fresh rolls, mayonnaise, freshly-sliced tomatoes. This time she had plastic rolls, viennas – and chicken viennas at that – and tomato sauce. Ugh! She has undertaken to work with me in raising the standard.

Explorers 13. Chapman

James Chapman (1831-1872) – our first South African-born explorer, hunter, trader and photographer. Enough Swedes, Scots and Frogs, here’s a homeboy! Again, if you want really accurate history, you’ve stumbled on the wrong place – but check the sources! A son of James Chapman and Elizabeth Greeff of Malmesbury, he was educated in Cape TownContinue reading “Explorers 13. Chapman”