Animal encounters in KwaZulu-Natal

During our holiday in South Africa in March, we organised a one week trip to KwaZulu-Natal province (KZN). The idea was to do some hiking in the Drakensberg and see some animals in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi national park. They say KZN is the wild province, but we had even more adventures in store for us that we had imagined…I’ll do separate posts about the hiking, but in this post I’ll focus on our animal adventures! Continue reading

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Lesotho: the Mountain Kingdom

A visit to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho has been on my wishlist for a long time, and in early March we finally made it there, even if it was only a very quick visit. We were visiting the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province of South Africa for a week, and as part of our visit to the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg mountains we took a day tour up Sani pass and crossed the border into the heights of Lesotho. Continue reading

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Walking the Suikerboschfontein Hiking trail in Carolina, Mpumalanga

This time while visiting South Africa, we decided to get off in Joburg to visit a friend before heading down to my family in Cape Town. She suggested we do one of her favourite hiking trails in Mpumulanga over the weekend: the Suikerboschfontein 2-day hiking trail. The hike was wonderful and I’d highly recommend everyone try it! Continue reading

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Leaving home – again

We just returned from three weeks in South Africa – my home. After one week back at work, I’m already ALMOST back in Berlin mode, but arriving back to the cold and dark was difficult. Here were my thoughts the first day back.

It  never gets easier leaving home. As I walk down the tunnel onto the plane, my heart is kicking and screaming inside. But the reality is, I work away from home (South Africa) and my husband is European (Czech), so I can’t just pack up and leave Europe when I feel like it. As it came up in conversation with another South African-European couple over the weekend – one of you always has to make sacrifices. The family of one of you will always be far away. One of you has to live outside your comfort zone. There are times I regret ever coming to Europe in the first place, because now I feel I am stuck here – at least for the moment. Of course, I cannot regret meeting my husband, and I have enjoyed our travels around Europe. We live in Germany, and while there are plenty of things I like about the place, it’s just not home. I miss the blue skies and sunshine of South Africa, and the (mostly) relaxed, friendly people. Continue reading

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Crunchies (a South African biscuit)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of many German foods and drinks: Lebkuchen (and all the other Christmas cookies), Stollen, marzipan, anything with Holunder (elderflower), Knödel (dumplings), rye bread, quark, Mohnkuchen (poppyseed cake), Bergkäse (a smokey cheese), Mandelhörnchen (an almond confectionary), and so on. But as an expat, sometimes you just feel like eating something from home. As a result, every now and then my mother gets emails asking for recipes for things we used to make, and my latest craving is for Crunchies, an oaty baked square that is great for a quick breakfast or in-between snack. I honestly didn’t realize it was a South African thing until I noticed you can’t find them anything else. The closest thing we ate to them outside of SA was in the UK, and it was also good, but not as crunchy and a bit sweeter.

Here is the recipe she sent: (complete with her notes) Continue reading

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Easy Boiled Fruit Cake

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but this is a good one! While busy in the kitchen tonight making this fruitcake it occurred to me to share this quick and easy recipe on my blog. Although it’s called “boiled fruitcake”, it’s baked – the name comes from the fact that some of the ingredients (fruit, butter, sugar) are boiled together beforehand, giving the cake a more complex flavour. It’s a lovely, light fruitcake, perfect for tea or a snack. This recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me.

Continue reading

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The Garden Route, South Africa

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The Garden Route is a popular road trip that many tourists take when they come to South Africa. Officially it stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms river in the Eastern Cape, but many people make the whole road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. ending at Addo Elephant national park.

Why is this drive called the Garden route? The simple reason is, it’s very green. This region has the second mildest climate in the world, with temperatures rarely falling below 10 degrees C or rising above 28 degrees C. The route lies between mountains and the Indian ocean; inland on the other side of the mountains it is hotter and there is another driving route with beautiful mountain scenery called Route 62.

Why is this drive so special? There are many nature reserves and coastal towns on this drive, which makes it easy to find great stopovers for exploring. For example, you can visit the forests and rivers of the Tsitsikamma national park or the Knysna forests and lagoon, where once a year there is an Oyster Festival. Activities like hiking, canoeing, surfing, sailing, wind-surfing, and fishing are all popular in this area. The area from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is also great for whale watching, and in the De Hoop nature reserve you can walk the Whale Trail, passing through fragrant fynbos and over white sand dunes. At Addo Elephant National park you can watch families of elephants hanging out at the waterholes, and see many other animals such as warthogs, zebras, kudus and even some lions.

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Our Garden route stopovers: When we visited South Africa last year, we spent five days driving from Cape Town to Addo Elephant park and back again. We had planned stopovers for accommodation at night and unplanned stopovers while driving along. Five days is not so long and we could have spent longer in all of our stopovers, but we had a great time nonetheless and saw many amazing places. This was our itinerary: Continue reading

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