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”

Lochinvar Park in Zambia

In 1297 the Gordon family arrived at Lochinvar from Berwickshire. They established a castle on an island in the lake – or loch, as this was in Scotland. Lochinvar. In 1908 another Scot, Mr Horne, a cattle farmer from Botswana, arrived on the banks of the Kafue river in Northern Rhodesia long before it becameContinue reading “Lochinvar Park in Zambia”

Mkhuze Peach

Date: 13 January 2013 We stopped in at the Hluhluwe Spar to buy provisions on our way further north to camp in Mkhuze. Busy, crowded, more basic than city Spars, we gather our stuff and pay at the till. As we cross the road to the bakkie, Tom looks up at me, lugging his SparContinue reading “Mkhuze Peach”

Cape Vidal Camping

So I took these – . . to here – and when they saw these harmless creatures – they squealed and ran out of the campsite shouting “I’m taking an uber home!” We saw kudu, nyala, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, mongoose, zebra, warthog and hyena. Sindi pipes up on a drive: “There are no animals here!”Continue reading “Cape Vidal Camping”

Maputaland Meander

Aitch was impressed: Luxury with Wilderness Safaris at Ndumo, grub and game drives laid on. Aitch had fun with the giraffe’s dong. So where we going next? she asks. “You’ll see”, I say. Hmm, she said, knowingly, raising one eyebrow but saying no more . . .   We were in a magic Isuzu TrooperContinue reading “Maputaland Meander”

The Old Pont

It’s 2015 and I’m on the banks of the Umtamvuna on the border of the old Transkei  and old Natal. It’s paradise. There’s a broad deep river, a great sunset and the sounds of herons, guineas and francolin settling for the night. Also a black cuckoo complaining he’s feeling indisposed. All of it drowned outContinue reading “The Old Pont”

A ‘Bhangladeshi’ Christmas

My bad. We arrived at the Mocambique border with Tommy’s passport, birth certificate, Aitch’s death certificate, my application for Tom’s unabridged birth certificate plus the receipt for same. No go. They wanted his unabridged birth certificate itself, or a letter saying we’d applied for it. “But here’s the application and the receipt”, I protested. InContinue reading “A ‘Bhangladeshi’ Christmas”

Mkhuze Camping

While I was pitching camp Jess came running to me with a horrified look on her face. She must have seen a snake or a leopard, I’m sure. “DAD!!” she says breathlessly, horrified, stricken. “DAD!! There’s no wifi here!!” Her idea of hell. =======ooo000ooo======= Embarrassing note:I am good at giving advice. If you ask meContinue reading “Mkhuze Camping”

Happy Wanderers. Again. Like Boy Scouts.

This time in winter. Tom loved it. Caught many small blacktail, karanteen, bronze bream, one shad and stayed on the rocks for hours. I had to fetch him and march him to the showers threatening not to feed him till he smelt civilised. Jess and friend Jordi lay in their tent and watched videos. CouldContinue reading “Happy Wanderers. Again. Like Boy Scouts.”

Wilderness Walk Mfolosi: The Big Six

Lunchtime high on the Momfo cliffs overlooking a great bend in the Mfolosi river. Our guides lit a fire and began to prepare our lunch. We shucked off our light daypacks and settled down for another ‘well-deserved’ break after our gentle amble up the hill. From our high vantage point we had already seen aContinue reading “Wilderness Walk Mfolosi: The Big Six”

Wilderness Walk – Mfolosi 1985

The Umfolosi Wilderness is a special place. Far too small, of course, but its what we have. I’m reading Ian Player’s account of how Magqubu Ntombela taught him about wilderness and Africa and nature. The idea of a wild place where modern man could go to escape the city and re-discover what Africa was likeContinue reading “Wilderness Walk – Mfolosi 1985”

A Week in Mkhuze

We saw lots of bewilderbeast droppings and lots of bewilderbeasts – many with tiny calves, meals on wobbly hooves to the lions and cheetahs. The big male lion had helped himself to a giraffe calf, so fat pickings this summer. The lions were recently introduced to shake things up in Mkhuze, (four in Nov 2013Continue reading “A Week in Mkhuze”

Fishermen’s Tales

Two avid fishermen, Lungelo and me went down to the sea. Or to the Umtamvuna River at The Old Pont. Lungelo and I were not the avid ones. That was Tommy and Ryan, passionate, persevering pêcheurs. Fishermen in blue.     Luxury accommodation on the banks of the Umtamvuna.   Besides the river fishing IContinue reading “Fishermen’s Tales”

Mkhuze’s Great

Some things I love about Mkhuze: Those dirt roads between the fever trees (there’s lotsa tar too, these days). Few people. Polite people even at a lion kill (‘After you! No, after YOU!’). Lots of birds. African time; African efficiency. We had electricity – at times, but not at our site, which I found outContinue reading “Mkhuze’s Great”

Canada in a VW Bug

Larry drove me up to his home town Cobleskill NY from Shreveport in Louisiana. His sister Ginny was there and we camped our way northwards in a grey VW bug with a big U-Haul box on the roofrack. Then Sherry Porter, twins Dottie and Dale Moffett and Aussie Jonathan Kneebone arrived In Cobleskill and IContinue reading “Canada in a VW Bug”

Thutty Yizz! (that's '30yrs' to you)

Aitch never held my culinary skills in high regard. Her favourite meal to mock was my chicken-onion-n-potato-in-a-pot special which she described as pale and tasteless. It wasn’t. It just looked bland. With a touch of salt and black pepper and enough red wine taken internally it was fine. She was right about my braaiing skills,Continue reading “Thutty Yizz! (that's '30yrs' to you)”