The Drakensberg Mountains completely captivated me, and may just be the highlight of my entire trip around Southern Africa. After an early morning slog to Witsishoek Mountain Lodge, buckets of rain forced us indoors. Luckily watching creeping tendrils of fog curl around distant peaks from inside a cozy hotel room is my idea of a lovely afternoon. I went to bed that night crossing my fingers that the weather would improve enough for us to hike, and woke up the next morning to bluebird skies. I’ve never been more grateful for a good weather window, because the jaunt to Tugela Falls (Africa’s tallest waterfall, the second tallest in the world) was one of the most beautiful hikes ever.
I’m convinced there must be some sort of witchcraft brewing, because over a full month has passed since I visited eSwatini and I can’t figure out where the days went. At first I figured I’d just cheat and post a few of the best pictures from the trip, but then I re-read my journal. And I remembered the freshly born baby giraffe, and the rhinoceros (rhinoceri?) that followed us around like puppies, and the pet warthogs sleeping by the campfire, and I had to at least attempt to eke out a little post.
Spending two weeks road tripping around the eastern half of South Africa was incredible, but constant motion takes a toll on my energy levels these days. With three more weeks of travel still to come, I needed to press pause and sleep in the same bed for more than a night or two. To combat long-haul holiday fatigue we decided to post up at Waterval Boven for the week.
Continue reading “Rise to the Sun”
Eish! Our week exploring St. Lucia and Kruger was jam-packed, with plenty of early mornings, late nights and in your face wildlife. We kicked things off with a sunset river cruise down the St. Lucia Estuary, the biggest estuarine system in the whole of Africa. Famous for its abundance of crocodiles and hippopotamuses, we were not disappointed. Our boat got within a few feet of several different floating pods of hippos and creepy crocs, in addition to spotting plenty of zebra, waterbuck and bird life on the shoreline.
As much as I tried ahead of time to mentally prepare, the long haul flight from New York to Johannesburg still absolutely sucked. I know that flying is a privilege, and it’s incredible that we’re even able to soar through the air high above the clouds. But at a certain point, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to practice gratitude— you’re still just a sucker trapped in a metal tube, breathing someone else’s air.
It is not in sorrow that I am moved to speak or act, but in the beauty of what remains. -Terry Tempest Williams
After a delayed connection followed by a frantic, sweaty run between airport terminals, Gary and I just barely caught our flight to Tahiti… only to have the plane get struck by lightening. Throughout all the turbulence and the loud flash/bang that struck the wing right outside my window, Gary remained completely unfazed, barely looking up from Keanu Reeves’ riveting performance in ‘Point Break.’ I, on the hand, squirmed and sweated while compulsively tightening my seatbelt, until the pilot announced over the loudspeaker that we would be forced to turn back. After a night in a hotel and a long day twiddling our thumbs at the Auckland airport, we finally reached Tahiti at 3am, shuffling bleary-eyed off the plane into the balmy Pape’ete breeze.
Continue reading “Ripple”
‘Scuse the profanity, but goodness gracious great geezy peasy, this last week in Vanuatu was the best spontaneous decision I’ve ever made. To be honest, the stress of wrapping up our lives in New Zealand left Gary and I pretty exhausted, meaning that the trip was slightly ill-planned and under-researched. I’ve never flown to a new country knowing as little as I did about this one, and spent the flight frantically googling as much as I could about this South Pacific archipelago.
Continue reading “Shelter from the Storm”