Why I love Africa

I had planned to post pictures of cute Easter eggs, bunnies and fun manis this weekend, but I changed my mind. I spent the Easter weekend in the bush with my mom and brother (dad didn’t fly in from Indonesia this time) and we got to see some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets while out on game drives. I wanted to share these pics with you as I believe nothing beats an African sunrise or sunset.



Sunrise part 1

Sunrise part 2

Sunrise part 3





Sunset part 1

Sunset part 2

Walking with lions

lions walking

cubs walking 1

While at Sondela Nature Reserve my mom and I decided to walk with lions. My mom has walked with lions before and played with tiger cubs and I have always longed to do that. We arrived early and met with the 2 handlers who would take us for the walk. They called the 3 lion cubs who knew exactly what activity was up next. They ran excitedly out of their enclosure and lead us on our walk (occasionally getting  a little distracted by more interesting things in the long grass).

tan with cubs 6

tan with cubs 2

tan with cubs 12

mom with cub 5

These 3 lion cubs are 3 months old and were abandoned by their mother. The rehabilitation centre is raising them. The cubs are 2 sisters and a brother. While on the walk I kept thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I was walking with 3 lion cubs – up close and personal! They were quite happy to let my mom and I scratch them, tickle them and talk to them.

At the beginning of the walk we were warned that they could bump us over. The looked so cute and fuzzy and were about the same size of my two dogs. I didn’t believe they would knock me over as my dogs can’t. Well I got such a surprise when one ran into me and I nearly fall on my tooshie. We were also told that if they tried to bite us or jump on us we were to smack them on their nose. They took a liking to my mom’s leggings and jumped up on her a few times.

cubs with bowl 6

cubs with bowl

We walked for a while and then stopped to give them some water. They lapped it up and then ran to the shade. Two of them enjoyed chewing on the branches of a thorn tree while the third one enjoyed jumping up and down a sand mound.

cub resting 4

This mindblowing experience was so much fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Sondela. We paid R100 (about USD10) which really was affordable and the money goes to the rehabilitation centre where they live.

A week in the bush at Sondela

welcome sign

dung beetle sign


In February my mom and I packed the car and headed out to Sondela Nature Reserve, near Bela Bela, for a week in the bush. All we wanted to do was get out of the city for a bit, put our feet up, read, do arts and crafts and do some animal watching. We’d had such a crazy busy week before we drove out on Monday afternoon and on the drive there we couldn’t wait to get there and have a G&T. We stayed in a gorgeous chalet and made ourselves at home immediately. The patio was my favourite and where we spent most of our time relaxing.


2014-02-04 01.16.40

main room

We couldn’t get over how tame the animals were! On our first night there the Nyala females walked right up to us and I fed them pellets that the reserve had left in the chalet for us. The next day my mom and I bought some more pellets in anticipation of many more visits by the Nyala. It was such an awesome experience as they ate right out of my hand! The animals all came right up to the patio and during the heat of the day would sleep under the trees surrounding the chalet.

me feeding nyala

nyala females 5

feeding male nyala

nyala males 2

We had a few other visits from a family of warthogs, male nyala and some birds. It was extremely hot there and the one morning the cleaning lady filled a bucket of water and put it outside. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was giving the Nyala some water to drink. As she walked away from the bucket the Nyala walked right up to it and started having a drink. I am sure they were only too grateful for that in the heat. We went for a drive through the reserve but found that we saw more animals while sitting on our patio.


nyala drinking water

At night while we sat on the patio we could hear all the sounds of the bush especially the zebra calling out to each other. The bush sunsets are breathtaking and the peace and quiet so relaxing.

evening in the bush

me braaing

Another mindblowing experience for me was walking for an hour with 3 lion cubs! I have ridden an African elephant as well as an Asian elephant, walked with a baby hippo and held a vulture and bushbaby. I grew up in the bush and was exposed to many amazing animals. I’m going to do another post all about walking with the 3 lion cubs with some great pics.

tan with cubs 6

The week away was exactly what we needed and when it got to the Friday we wished we had one more week there. I will definitely head out there again before the end of the year.




Chinese New Year at Nan Hua Temple

entrance 2

me with ash copy

Every year my mom and I try to get out to the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstpruit for Chinese New Year. Nan Hua Temple is the largest temple and seminary in Africa. This year, on 2 February, we managed to get out to it and I am so glad we did! The first time I went to the temple I was blown away by its beauty and all of the cultural festivities for new year. It’s definitely become increasingly popular with tourists because every time I go there are more and more people. You have to get there early so that you get a good spot with a view of the dragon and lion dances in the morning.

dragon 2


When the show is done you can walk around the grounds, try out different foods, do some shopping at the little stalls and go inside the big temple. One of the things I love doing at Nan Hua is sitting inside the big temple where you can sit quietly, take in your surroundings, watch people who’ve come to pray and say a little prayer yourself.

big temple 3

big temple 4

buddha 4

I got some dumplings for lunch, one of my favourite asian foods, and I finally got to try out bubble tea also known as pearl milk tea. I quite enjoyed it! After visiting the big temple and taking photos my mom and I settled on the grass and enjoyed stir fried vegetables with noodles and sushi. At two of the stalls I bought a beautiful tea cup, with a strainer that fits on top, for my green tea and a lucky bamboo plant for the house.

bubble tea 2

bamboo and cup

Envelopes were handed out to all of us for new year which had a coin, a card with a message and a golden card. The paper in mine said “Show happiness with your expression. Bear responsibilities with your shoulders. Make a better life with your smile. Embrace the world with your heart”.

new year card

There is also an amazing wishing tree where you can make a wish. I first made a wish there in 2011 and made another one this year for 2014. You get a coin with a ribbon attached and you are supposed to write down a wish and then take the coin and ribbon and throw them into the tree. A man who works at the temple told me that your wish begins as soon as you write it down on the ribbon. He also told me that my mind is very powerful and can make my wishes come true. I’m looking forward to my wish this year.

wishing tree 3

wishing tree 2

All in all it was a great day out and I can’t wait to go back next year again! Wishing you all a prosperous year of the horse!

buddha 3

buddha 2

Enjoying the bush

Hi everyone

The reason I’ve been so quiet this week is that I am away in the bush at the moment at Sondela. It’s a gorgeous nature reserve near Bela Bela with charming chalets, peaceful surroundings and amazing wildlife. The Internet connection here is quite erratic so I haven’t been able to post anything. While I have some signal now I’m posting this quickly to keep you in the loop. I have some great posts coming up of the Chinese New Year celebrations that my mom and I went to last Sunday at Nan Hua Temple as well as some pics of Sondela and my highlights here – feeding Nyala pellets from my hands and going for a morning walk with 3 lion cubs. I will put those up this weekend when I am back in the city.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!

Minimal Internet connectivity

I am enjoying every minute of being in Asia again! It really feels like a second home to me. I haven’t been able to post anything because my folks’ internet connection in Papua was definitely anything but speedy (what the locals call it). We have spent time in Papua, Bali, Singapore and are now off to Vietnam. I haven’t been there before so I’m really excited that we are lucky enough to be able to get out there before flying home to South Africa again. As soon as I am home I will upload some photos and do some posts.

Life is too short not to travel…

Going on holiday soon

I have really neglected my blog the last while and this was not by choice. Life has simply been chaotic the last 6 weeks! The good news is I am going on holiday in 2 days and while I soak up the sun in the jungle where my folks live I plan on posting a few things.

On Saturday my brother and I fly out to Papua Indonesia where our folks live. We haven’t been to the island for 5 years and are really looking forward to going back, enjoying the jungle air and sights and clutching out a bit. After a week we are heading to Vietnam for a few days and I can’t wait to explore there. I also plan to do a few posts on the sights there and let you know what it’s like where my folks live. Such a fascinating place!

2 more sleeps until I climb on a jet plane to jungle heaven!