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”

Jess Cooks a Curry

Petrea said to Jess, Cook a curry for your Dad. Jess said, ‘I’ve never done that before.’ Don’ worry, says Petrea and delivers a box. Leaves it at the gate. All you have to buy is chicken, Jess. On the day, Jess marches into my office, ‘Dad! There’s no recipe!’ Petrea says read the backContinue reading “Jess Cooks a Curry”

Let’s Watch The Comrades, comrades!

This year’s Comrades Marathon has been CoVidded – no go. This was the 2013 Comrades ultra-marathon. The route runs past our doorstep, and I have a houseful of hooligans, so I hatch a plan . . ~~~oo0oo~~~

Spotter of Note

Jess is my spotter in the game reserves. ‘Dad What’s That?’ she’ll say time and again. And it’s always something interesting. Once she said ‘Dad What’s That?’ and I peered and peered and eventually saw it after she’d told me exactly where to look – a snake in a tree as we were driving past!Continue reading “Spotter of Note”

Childless Cathedral

Aitch needed a break and Barbara Jeff, LindiLou and Robbie agreed to have the kids on their Umvoti Villa farm. So off we went to a luxury stay in the Cathedral Peak Hotel. The breast cancer had spread to liver and bones and the treatments she opted for were severe. Here was a break fromContinue reading “Childless Cathedral”

A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage

Shepherds’ cottages in Lesotho are often quite primitive affairs, used itinerantly as their flocks graze in that area; then moving on to pastures new, where – especially in winter – a new shelter may be built, or an old one re-roofed with available grass or shrubs. We enjoyed their hospitality there when we went upContinue reading “A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage”

Tom at the German Club

You can tan me hide when I’ve died, Clyde, and hang it up in the shed. ‘Cos I have developed a quite – not a very, but a quite – thick skin. I meet Bruce for a beer at The German Club, which has become a bit more like an Old Rhodesians Club. This isContinue reading “Tom at the German Club”

Tommy’s Hilfiger Genes

Thomas Tommy Swanie junior was slightly hypermetropic for years but now he has finally inherited my fine genes and is now -0,75. Slightly short-sighted. Like me, he can also see into a lot, read between the lines, has great insight – and while his foresight is still developing, he has strong hindsight where he canContinue reading “Tommy’s Hilfiger Genes”

Glorious Self Isolation

So I’m at home in self isolation. It’s like I’m underwater in a diving suit, ‘cept this suit is full of holes. The holes being my kids and their friends and their gregarious, roving ways. Yes, Dad, they say earnestly after getting my full explanation of what gives, having gazed deep into my eyes, noddingContinue reading “Glorious Self Isolation”

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”

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”

Lion Kills and Weddings – Live Footage!

Jessie discovered and avidly watched live-streamed game drives on the internet. Most were from the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and the Sabi Sands in our South African lowveld. Then she found out ‘her connection’ to it: The producer was a big supporter of hers when she first arrived in our home as a little girl!Continue reading “Lion Kills and Weddings – Live Footage!”

Mfolosi in March

Just a day trip. Late start, so it was already warm and quiet by the time we got there. Bird list: Barbets, Crested and Acacia Pied; Bulbul, Dark-capped; Greenbul, Sombre; Eagles, Long-crested and Brown Snake-; Shrike, Red-backed and Fiscal; Bush-shrikes, Gorgeous and Orange-breasted; Starlings, Cape Glossy and Violet-backed; Swallows, Wire-tailed and Lesser Striped; Kite, Yellow-billed;Continue reading “Mfolosi in March”