The smoke that thunders

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and have the possibility to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

Early morning, we took the game drive vehicle once more to head out and find the buffaloes as well as hopefully the lions. On our way we spotted impalas, zebras, an elephant cow and kudus. 

The big herd of buffaloes was to be found at a waterhole, calmly drinking and relaxing. We spotted lots of lion and hyena tracks but no lions to be found. However we knew they must have been around, probably hiding in the bushes.

During the afternoon we went out for another lovely ride through the bush. We spotted the herd of sable antelopes between the trees and just enjoyed the sun setting in the vlei, while the fire place was lit up in camp and waited for our return.

Sunday was reserved for another conversation project, we visited the donkeys sanctuary build up in the small village of Dete by the help of MARESZim and Ride Zimbabwe. Any sick donkey of the village shall be brought to the Chief and he will then together with his son take care of the injured animals until they have recovered. The support, lots of hard work, medication, education and funding comes from the NGO, MARESZim with the support of Ride Zimbabwe. Your donation via MARESZim will save animal lives and support poorer communities in Zimbabwe.

On our way we shortly stopped at Hwange main camp to look after Nugget and Skanky, 2 horses from Ride Zimbabwe. Not far away we spotted about 6 – 7 old buffalo males. They were grazing just next to the main road.

The end of the holidays is coming closer and Monday morning started with the last ride through the vlei. We were lucky enough to see 2 secretary birds, tall birds that you will usually spot walking on the ground on the hunt for some food such as snakes, frogs, lizards and other small animals. The ride was fabulous and I enjoyed it a lot, still not wanting to believe that the 8 nights holiday in the bush will come to its end already.

The last afternoon was reserved for a game drive within Hwange National Park. When you enter these days your tires will be desinfected as well as yourself. After paying the fees you can drive through the boom and enjoy nature‘s beauty. The aim was to drive to Nyamandlovu pan that has a little hide lookout with lovely views on a waterhole. It’s an epic place for a perfect last night sundowner!

Unfortunately, the last day of my bush adventure had arrived and I packed my bags to hop on my transfer back to Vic Falls where I headed straight to PSMI for my COVID-19 PCR test. The results were ready within 2 hours, very efficient work. Afterwards, I enjoyed the vulture feeding at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge before I ventured off to see the mighty thundering smoke, the Vic Falls.

This time I was almost alone with the falls, due to COVID there aren’t many tourists around which makes the sighting very special and unique but of course the harder it is for the locals to keep their business up and running. It’s hard to see all the people that were depending on tourism and now have no jobs anymore. I so wish this will soon come to an end and change as yet again it’s the poorest of the poor that suffer the most! On the other side almost everyone has received their vaccine in this town and people are hopeful for the tourists to come visit their beautiful home.

The last night in Zim has arrived and I enjoyed my stay at Victoria Falls Safari Club that offers beautiful views into the bush and a waterhole where the baboons like to gather. During the evening hours there was also an elephant coming for its good night drink. Thanks Zimbabwe, for yet another unforgettable, peaceful holiday. It’s always special to visit and reconnect with nature. Happy to return soon!

My newest lessons learned in Northern Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls:

  1. Melting shoes – If you are smelling rubber at the fire place, your shoes might well be melting away already;
  2. Sunset views – Nyamandlovu platform is an epic place to enjoy a sundowner & 
  3. Fast testing – At PSMI in Victoria Falls you can get your PCR test results within 2 hours!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

The king and queens on the buffalo hunt

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park in Matabeleland, Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and have the possibility to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months in 2019.

Thursday was dedicated for the wire wire project from DARTWildlife Rescue where I helped to remove more than 11 kilometers in total of old telephone cable hanging around, non-functional anymore and not being taken care of by the company or the government. The work is very important to conservation as these cables get taken by poachers to make snares. And if poachers don’t take them, these cables are still a risk for animals as they get tangled up in the wire and could suffer an awful end of life. 

The removal of the cables is quite hard work and takes a lot of time but it’s very valuable. We collected several kilometers, about 11,5km along the main road from Vic Falls to Bulawayo. The local telephone company will not collect the wire however they are keen to collect money for the cable that must be returned to them as they are the owner. Some things are just hard to understand for my European heart but I guess things are just working very differently in Africa and you have to p(l)ay along.

Back at Iganyana Camp, I spotted some wildebeests hanging around at the waterhole along with some zebras in the fabulous golden hour light. Even a Kudu bull was making his way through the bushes in the far back before the light would fade away and give space to the star’s sprinkled sky that is so very calm and soothing. Only the occasional jackal or hyena calls disrupted the tranquility of the bush.

The next morning started with an early morning ride across the vlei. While we made our way towards the Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), we came across a huge buffalo herd grazing in the vlei. The herd was about 400-500 buffaloes. It was an epic sighting! Buffaloes watching us while we were watching them.

The rest of the ride took us through beautiful landscapes until we arrived at the PDC. The entrance building is build with wires that were collected in the bush and formerly used as snares, it’s impressive to see it and at the same time sad to know how much snares can be found in nature. In the building, gorgeous paintings explain the story of Eye Spot the painted dog that lived in the late 90s in Hwange National Park. Unfortunately he had a tragic ending and died with his pack when he was only 4 years old. The human wildlife conflict is not easy to be solved.

The center also gives home to injured wild dogs or others that are waiting to be released into the wild. At the moment there are 5 wild dogs that shall be released into the park once the park gives its ok, while 2 other dogs, Lucky and Peanut can no longer be released into the wild as their injury would make them a too easy target.

The afternoon was quite spectacular with the buffalo herd walking in front of the camp, making their way to the waterhole in front of Safari Lodge. With the game drive vehicle we followed them and enjoyed this very special sighting for a while. There were 2 herds joining up hence we saw about 1.000 buffaloes or so. Afterwards we took a guided walk through the bush around the area of the camp to spot some birds. We even found a pearl spotted owl, a tiny little owlet up in the trees.

Dinner had to wait for us this evening as the lions were seen in the vlei and we jumped on the game vehicle another time to find them. They were following the buffaloes and we spotted them walking on the road and in the bushes. We were so lucky as we could hear and see but mainly hear the lionesses hunting the buffaloes. There was lots of trampling in the bushes, lots of hooves running around and the lionesses would appear every now and then chasing the herd. No kill was made yet. But the males also arrived and the pride was hiding and lying in the bushes, surely waiting for a next attempt. On the way back to camp we were lucky enough to spot a small spotted genet.

Advice from a lion:
Roar with confidence. Be courageous. Take frequent naps. Let your mane loose. Show your pride. Live fiercely!


My newest lessons learned at Iganyana tented Camp:

  1. Wire Wire – antipoaching work starts in your neighborhood by removing valuable items that could be turned into snares;
  2. Spot the birds – those little flying species are hard to spot but even harder to catch with the camera &
  3. Follow the buffaloes – your chances are high to also find some lions around!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

Dinner with elephants

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and very happy to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

I landed at Victoria Falls Airport and the drive from Vic Falls to the Camp at Hwange National Park is about 2 hours. On the way, we spotted already some elephants next to the road, which is quite common in Vic Falls area. The camp is called Iganyana tented Camp and is situated just outside the National Park but since the boundary is unfenced, game can really wander everywhere.

The tents of the camp are great, tucked away in the teak bush. Main camp looks out over the wide, open grass plain that is a main highway for wildlife to freely roam around. Since there is no fence you must be cautious to not run into any wildlife, especially at night. Hence, during the dark hours you have to be escorted whenever you want to walk between your room and the main camp area as this is Big 4 area.

The first afternoon was reserved to say hello to the horses at Iganyana and at main camp right at the entry of the National Park. On the way to main camp we spotted a big herd of buffaloes and a few hippos at a waterhole. The light was stunning, surely showing off its best!

I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same

Suzanne Evans

There is a fireplace just in front of the main camp at Iganyana, it’s close to a waterhole that serves plenty of wildlife during the dry months. The first evening, held something special for me: candlelight dinner with the elephants. That’s definitely something very magical, devine! The moment with the elephants that drank just across the little wooden barrier was so special, I couldn’t even believe to be so close to these big, wild cows. They came with their babies, which were really funny and cute, one was still figuring out how to use its trunk.

During dinner we also heard a lion roaring at close distance and were lucky enough to be able to go on a night drive. We were looking for the lions but instead found the herds of elephants again, impala, springhare and even a pair of bat eared foxes. The latter are very seldom so this was really a treat! However, the lions moved on and we couldn’t spot them that night. Still hoping to find them during the next days though!

The next morning started with an easy morning ride around camp to get to know the area. We spotted impala, a huge herd of sable antelopes, also rather rare to spot them but it does seem as if the herd tends to hang around in this vlei. We also spotted some Marabou stork, first time that I saw those big birds in the wild that made it into the ugly 5. No lions to be seen even though I did hear them throughout the night, they were busy calling through the dark air.

My lunch time got interrupted by the herd of sables that came down the bushes to enjoy a drink at the waterhole. These antelopes are really beautiful and gorgeous to look at!

During the afternoon, a lovely ride was waiting for me. It started at the main camp at border of Hwange National Park, where we mounted the horses and took off towards our base camp at Iganyana, about 12km away. So nice being back and seeing the horses and the stable where I had been 2 years ago with Ride Zimbabwe. We spotted a steenbok running away from us, besides it was a calm, easy ride during the golden hour.

The elephants came again during the evening time to enjoy the waterhole. It’s just such a magical moment to see them calmly drinking a few feet away from me.

My newest lessons learned at Iganyana tented Camp:

  1. Candle light dinner with visitors – if you are lucky, the elephants will join you for dinner;
  2. Wild basil – is used to cure the flu & 
  3. Always be on the lookout – if you are in camp, have one eye on the waterhole to not miss some action going on!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

Discovering my new home

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work since December 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than it was planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

I have started my work in January and I am still settling in, buying all items you need to have in order to sleep well, make your life easier and drive around town. It has been already 3 months since my last blog, as time just flies by when one moves continents and ends up in Cape Town, a city with plenty possibilities for outdoor fun!

Since February I am renting my apartment where I am living at now, which is a piece of heaven to me. Some of my furniture have arrived via sea freight after being postponed and postponed for about a month. Apparently that was due to the weather and wind that was too terrible in Cape Town. To me the ocean looked very clam in that period but well, I guess with my views until the horizon, I can probably not judge correctly…

Surely, of all the wonders of the world, the horizon is the greatest

Freya Stark

In the meanwhile, another short hike waited for me on the edge of Signal Hill. The path starts directly at my apartment and goes along the side of Signal Hill leading eventually to Lion’s Head. However, I didn’t yet hike the whole path as I am still recovering from an injury when I had a horseback riding accident a few weeks ago. All is healing well, but it takes also some time and I have to be patient. This accident has brought me already the second time into the South African hospital, I am a good customer now and I hope I won’t have to go back so quickly. Hence, no riding for me at the moment, but I try to keep up with walking, easy hikes and a few little running rounds in between. Thus, it is incredible convenient to have a stunning hiking path just next to my place, it makes things so much easier if you love hiking.

During Easter time I took some holiday to enjoy one of the game farms in the Western Cape and spent 2 nights at the Garden Route Game Lodge, which is about 4, 5 hours driving from Cape Town. I stayed in a little Bush chalet with an amazing view on the waterhole. Every morning and afternoon I joined a game drive through the reserve where we spotted zebras, springboks, buffaloes, giraffes, lions and even 2 cheetah mums with their 9 little cubs in total. I was so lucky to see the older cubs come walking towards the vehicle. They just laid down very closely to it. However, the younger cubs that were about 8 weeks old only were all tucked up in the thick bush and it was hard to get a close shot of them. But I could still see their honey-badger like fur. These special sightings really were the best.

The lions were a bit lazy I must admit, they were only laying around in their enclosure, so it wasn’t such a hard job to find them as they have a smaller area just for them. The cheetahs however roam freely in the biggest enclosure, which is a bit of a challenge to spot them. But they do wear a collar around their neck, so there is always a good chance to track them.

The getaway weekend went by very quickly and on my way back to Cape Town, I shortly stopped at the most Southern tip of Africa in Agulhas and the little fisher’s village, Struisbaai. It was such a lovely trip and journey through the Western Cape.

Back in Cape Town, I visited the Cape of Good Hope and Boulder’s Beach to see the little cute penguins. This time I was so lucky to spot a few ostriches, elands and even a zebra in the National Park around the Cape of Good Hope. It surely is worth a visit if you want to also see some wildlife. Also, you should stop at Kalk Bay, which itself is a cute little village with a harbour were you can get good fish. I can recommend Scirocco as a little outdoor restaurant, where you sit underneath a big palm tree that is the heart of the place. The atmosphere is quite special with the light decoration and life music, something you don’t want to miss if you are in that area.

During one morning, I went kayaking with Kaskazi Kayaks & Adventures, which was an incredible adventure. There were whales close to the shore and I was so lucky to see them quite close during the kayaking tour. Sometimes, it even felt a bit too close to my kayak and I tried to make sure to not be in the way of these huge creatures. It’s magnificent to spot them from this angle and they seem even bigger than I thought.

I also went for an incredible tandem paragliding adventure from Signal Hill. The start was so quick that I didn’t even recognize what was happening, all of a sudden I had this huge backpack on and was already running down the hill with two men on each of my side helping to get the momentum with the heavy paragliding thing behind me. I flew over Sea Point right towards the ocean where the sun was about to set. From above, I could even spot my apartment, it was such a great adventure even though it was quite quick. All in all, I might have been 5 minutes in the air only before landing on the grass next to the Sea Point promenade. Next time, I would love to fly from Lion’s Head.

My newest lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Chalet number 27 – that’s the best one to have a magnificent view towards the waterhole at Garden Route Game Lodge;
  2. Windy excuses – blame it on the wind if you are late seems to work in many businesses here & 
  3. Be late – enter Boulder’s Beach shortly before it closes at 5pm and you will enjoy the penguins on your own!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

Moving in to see sea views

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

I have started my work by now, so my adventures are concentrated to the weekends, next to buying all items you need to have to sleep well, make your life easier and drive around town. One weekend, I visited Camps Bay and ended up in the Chinchilla roof bar. Incredible how empty the restaurants are, I was basically the only customer. I remember the time when I had to book a table to actually be sure to have a seat in the restaurants, COVID definitely changed a lot.

I walked to Camps Bay retreat to enjoy a drink with the view, but I had to learn that with COVID now you must make a reservation in this place to be able to enter, so this one has changed as well.

The parking situation is quite relaxed at the moment plus you can park now most of the time without paying, this used to be different. So there are also some positive changes with this ongoing pandemic, even though I must admit I would rather go back to the old normal than enjoying these new privileges.

With my horse lease, I try to be in the stables three times per week. It’s just gorgeous there, a lovely and well managed place with a fabulous jumping horse I ride and lounge. We also started with some dressage lessons that I enjoy a lot. Plus the views towards Table Mountain are magnificent from the stables.

Africa is an extraordinary opportunity at the moment

David Adjaye

I have finally found a longterm rental apartment where I am living at now. And can’t wait to settle in finally with my own proper furniture to feel like home. However, only a few things will come via sea freight but this keeps being postponed and postponed. It should have been arrived a month ago but I still get the same stories that the weather and wind is too terrible in Cape Town.

In the meanwhile, another short hike, waited for my on the edge of Signal Hill. The path goes along the side of it and would eventually lead to Lion‘s Head. However, I didn’t hike the whole path as security is always a topic here and I am not confident the whole trail is secure. This topic is unfortunately a downside in this magnificent country, so many epic places but one must always be aware that not everywhere is a safe place to wander around. This is still something I must get used to it, if I ever will. But I already understood why cars will always leave a good amount of space between them and other cars when waiting at a robot. You should always give yourself the extra space in case of emergency and you need to take off.

My newest lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Free parking – during the ongoing pandemic the parking is free in town;
  2. COVID changes – inform yourself which restaurants require a reservation upfront due to COVID-19 & 
  3. Safety First – leave some space between you and other cars when at a robot, so you will have an emergency exit if needed !

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

Between hikes, horses and loadshedding

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

Every now and then it happens that I don’t have any electricity anymore. This doesn’t happen only to me but to everyone in South Africa, it’s commonly referred to as loadshedding where Eskom the supplier cuts off electricity for some hours in some areas. There are schedules in place to check when your neighborhood won’t be supplied with electricity. Shortly explained: there is not enough electricity to supply the demand of everyone, we don’t need to go further into the details of corruption and mismanagement…

I learned to be more aware of the loadshedding schedule as some restaurants can’t serve food, you won’t be able to pay with card and during evening time you find yourself in the dark. Loadshedding is a concept one must integrate into life here!

I still enjoy very much my horse lease as well as the lovely views from the stable onto the Table Mountain National Park. It’s gorgeous every single time.

So far, I still haven’t found a final longterm rental apartment place but I hope by next week I will. Can’t wait to settle into my own place with my proper furniture to feel like home. We will see what the time will bring.

Another short hike waited for me along Signal Hill. The path goes along the side of it and would eventually lead to Lion‘s Head. The views from here offer the epic Lion‘s Head view and also the ocean side with Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay along the Waterfront to be spotted.

My newest lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Cold and dark – be organized for loadshedding or you must eat cold food,
  2. Free space – parking lots are free of charge and plentiful during COVID times &
  3. Be fast – if you want to eat out, order before 6.30pm or you won’t be served due to the current curfew!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

Capetonian views

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

By now I believe I am the queen of apartment hunting, I have seen lots and lots of apartments. It’s time to get one longterm rental now and I think I know which one I prefer, we will see if and how it will work out though as it seems as if COVID-19 is making up its own plans without me; again!

I found myself a gorgeous horse lease in Constantia, a lovely gelding, a former racing horse that loves jumping. We get along quite well so far and I am looking forward to get to know him better and to our dressage and jumping lessons.

The past days were either windy or very hot, proper summer days that I experienced here. During the days it could hit something in the 30 degrees celsius with a little wind breeze it was actually nice. Some of the evenings however the wind decided to pick up and do it’s own crazy dance! During one afternoon, I decided to have a look at the roof top bar on top of the Silo hotel but underestimated the wind. The views were stunning but my food was flying everywhere except into my stomach.

Due to the current pandemic you don’t need any reservation you can just show up, there will be plenty of free seats to choose from. Nevertheless, you should remember that there is a curfew in place so the last food order will only be considered before 6.30pm. I will surely go back once there is less wind to enjoy my food.

My last week of holidays has started and I spent the time at the pool and in the gym as much as I could. I explored the waterfront and found the baby seals again. They are very sleepy and always lay around on one of the platforms. The parents are much more playful and I spent an afternoon just watching the adults catching fish and enjoying themselves in the harbor. I enjoyed my time at the stables and wanted to go on some hikes.

However, sometimes life has a different plan. The hiking didn’t happen. One morning I drove to Alphen trail in Constantia to meet a group of people that go hiking together 3 times per week. Before we wanted to start I collapsed unfortunately and found myself laying on the ground with lots of worried faces. Even a security guy was there with guns and a big dog. He took care of me until a friend came around to pick me up and drove me to the hospital. So, I checked out the South African hospital from the inside much earlier than I wanted. They took well care of me, did blood tests and heart tests and luckily didn’t find anything except of low blood pressure.

After 2 hours, I came out of hospital with luckily only a bruised knee and hand, which I guess I must have fallen onto. I was very relieved I could go back home as during these COVID times I surely don’t want to be in hospital. Despite the ongoing pandemic I must admit the situation in this particular private hospital was not too concerning. Everything was kept clean, there were empty beds and no one waiting in the entrance hall. I am unsure how the rest of the rooms looked like but what I had seen was ok.

Since the incident, I enjoyed the views from my apartment during the last days of my holidays before my first working day in Cape Town will start.

My newest lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Cheeky birds – the seagulls will share your food plate with you even if you disagree,
  2. No reservations needed – you can spontaneously get a seat at the roof top bar on top of Silo as not many people go out during COVID-19 times &
  3. Early dinner – last order for a meal outside is before 6.30pm due to the current curfew, otherwise you must cook on your own!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

The mystery of things disappearing in Africa

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

Saturday morning is market day at the Oranjezicht farmer‘s market that I visited. I was amazed how many people they let in during COVID-19 times with cases going up here these days. The market was very crowded, at least in my opinion. However, it’s a beautiful one and I thought to be in paradise. They even had Flammkuchen!

Even though I am 13.000 km away from home, there are many people that speak German here. When I said in German „this is paradise for me“ a random girl just answered in German „for me as well“, so always watch out what you are talking about in any language here 🙂

Besides apartment hunting, I went for a hike in Kirstenbosch. It was planned to be a short hike before an apartment viewing but turned out to be three hours walking up and down on the edge of Table Mountain. I had to run every now and then just to make sure I will be on time for the next apartment appointment. The silvertree trail surely turned out to be not so easy as I wished for, but some of the views were gorgeous. I could almost see until Muizenberg!

While being amazed, I suddenly heard the noise that is the only one that will always give me a freight: bee sounds, many. I just walked by a tree that was home for a bee hive, there must have been so many that I was too afraid to actually turn and look at them, I just ran past by. Luckily they didn’t follow me. Now, I had enough of this hike and just wanted to be back in Kirstenbosch, after crossing rocks, small waterfalls and another few bends hiking up and down again along the Table Mountain I finally found the parking lot. I will surely come back to view more of the garden and do other hikes.

„There is always something new out of Africa.“

Pliny the Elder

I moved to my new temporary self-catering home at the V&A Waterfront in the Marina or also called Fort Knox by me; it takes time to get in and out, even with appropriate badges and keys. The views from my new home are magnificent though, palm trees and the canals just in front if my windows! Every morning I wake up to the calling of the seagulls, it’s lovely. Nevertheless, here are too many mosquitoes that sometimes turn my nights into days.

From the gym class, I can watch and hear the seals playing in the ocean just in front of me. This is about the best view I can get when exercising. Definitely something to be enjoyed as long as I am here!

My first grocery shopping in Cape Town was on my list as I have to stock up food. It ended up to be a bit of a desaster. First, I realized that I was running late, by 6 or 7pm many of the stores close and it was already 6.30pm. Then, I was feeling not so comfortable to park on Main Road and to jump into Woolworths, so I just drove by without buying anything. Lastly, I parked in the V&A Waterfront to be looking in this huge mall for a Pick‘n‘Pay. I finally found it and ran through the supermarket, grabbed everything that I thought would be helpful to cook a decent meal. But I had time running against me. In the end, I didn’t buy much and had to realize at home that some items I put in the trolley hadn’t found their way into my kitchen. 

I don’t know what it is in Africa but it’s always here where things just disappear that I know exactly I had placed into my trolley or vehicle. It reminds me on the life saving jackets that were in the car in Joburg but were never to be found again or the pump that I used to deflate my tires on a gravel road in Mozambique that I had put in the car but also was never to be seen again (read the border crossing into Mozambique). It seems to be my story with Africa.

Again, in this new incident no root cause analysis is possible as I just don’t know how this could have happened. I know exactly that some of the items I placed them into my trolley but for whatever reason they were just no where to be found at home. To summarize it up, it was just a big fail and next time I got to plan this grocery shopping thing to hopefully find food I like in my kitchen. Things are surely running not as smooth as back home.

My newest lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Grocery shopping for pros – make sure all grocery items in your trolley find their way over the cash counter,
  2. Names, names, names – familiarize yourself with the names of the housing blocks when hunting for apartments as the street name is rarely mentioned &
  3. Bee alarm – you might find a bee hive in the tree next to you closer than you would like when hiking in Kirstenbosch!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

2021 starting off with a Lion‘s Head

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

Just before New Year’s Eve, I moved to the waterfront on the other side of the mountain. Very convenient as it’s much easier to organize my apartment viewings from this side. I truly want to live by the ocean and hope to find a great place to stay.

However, I must admit on this side of the mountain, people really need to learn how to social distance. Sometimes it’s just frustrating how they behave as if there is no COVID around here.

During the past few days, I walked around Green Point, Sea Point and Mouille Point to see which area I like most. There is a good amount of stock of apartments on the market these days and I have seen quite a few already. Some of the views are just unbeatable! 

„Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.”

William Burchell

Besides, I spent an afternoon at Constantia Glen, a wine farm that is about less than a thirty minutes drive from the waterfront. The sun was shining when I left the hotel but by the time I arrived at the farm, it was quite chilly, overcast and it even started raining. Nevertheless, it didn’t spoil the views at all! 

Unfortunately, we are in adjusted lockdown level 3, which means that no alcohol can be served anywhere and restaurants must close by 8pm due to the curfew. However, the food and tea was still delicious at Constantia Glen!

My first New Year’s Eve under the warm sun came very quickly and I enjoyed the warmer evening nights than I am usually used to when waiting on the new year to start. There was only a very short fireworks highlight as it was forbidden to have it this year. But does it actually matter if you are in a beautiful city with the views on the marina?!

2020, you were kind of a special year and I have to say even though you ended with a gorgeous surprise, I am keen for 2021 to start kicking in. Hopefully it won’t make the same mistakes as 2020, I pray it has learned from the previous year!

1 January 2021 started off with a good Capetonian windy day, where I had to learn to hold on tight to my breakfast or to find it on my clothes instead my stomach! Afterwards, I started the day with a beautiful hike up to Lion’s Head. The views were stunning from every single point and not many people were there, which made the hiking a lot more comfortable! At the top, I spotted some very cute dassies, some naughty sterlings and shy lizards, while indulging in the epic views towards the ocean, Camps Bay and table mountain. What a lucky girl I am to call this city my new home!

„It’s really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else but lives in Africa.”

Will Smith

My new lessons learned in my new home town:

  1. Warm starting – You can enjoy the last seconds of a year without a big winter coat;
  2. Space, space, space – During COVID times you will easily find a parking lot at the Lion’s Head parking lot & 
  3. Windy dance – Hold on tight to your glasses when the wind starts his own dance!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring my new home town – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞

Moving 13.000km in 35 hours

Hello, Bonjour and Molweni from Cape Town where I live and work for two years. Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have arrived about 9 months later than originally planned. But I think all of us have realized by now that planning and COVID-19 are not much compatible.

In March this year I applied for my visa, which was just before the lockdown. It was then unsure what‘s the next steps to be taken. However, South African government made it very easy as no steps were to be taken at all until September, when SA finally opened up its borders again. Of course in a very COVID like manner; with much confusion which countries can enter, what requirements need to be adhered to and the possible chance of finding yourself in front of closed borders the next day. 

In the meanwhile I had started my new job in Cape Town remotely and worked from home while I was in a hustle of trying to apply again for a visa. Until one morning in late October I got a call from Berlin, which was someone from the embassy asking me if I am still interested in my visa. Of course I was! I was desperately waiting to apply again. All they needed were new medical certificates that I got to send them over.

While I was waiting for my visa to be issued I asked myself how will that visa actually come into my passport that the embassy had sent back to me in April? No one from the embassy responded to my emails and calls so I took my passport, gave it a last hug and sent it via courier to the embassy, just hoping for the best! 10 days later I was to find my passport including the visa in my postbox, what a day.

So by mid-November, I held the hardest paper to get in my hand. I booked my flight for early January 2021, little I knew that COVID would surely have new surprises for me. I must admit there is never a dull day during this pandemic!

20 December, I heard about the plans from the German government that wanted to ban all flights from UK AND South Africa! I checked my calendar, just making sure it was not April fools’ day. All countries are open to fly to and out of the 2 ones Germany wanted to ban, 1 is my future home country. How lucky must I be! Chances were low that anything between mid-December and mid-January would come across – I thought. Surely enough COVID thought it got a bit too easy during the past days.

Next day morning was Monday 21 December and the news told me that since midnight the borders for UK were closed already and the plans were for SA to follow as well. What had happened in the last few hours? I  could just not believe it. I rebooked my flight to the 28 December but I was not feeling so confident it would take off. Here comes next morning, Tuesday 22 December where Germany announced its new regulation with a ban for all flights for UK and SA. No time to think twice, things were just running much quicker than I could act. Hence, I rebooked my flight again, I told the agency to book me on the next flight possible, which was next day 23 December.

The decision was taken: I shall spent my first Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere 13.000 km away from  my family.

4 things you can‘t recover: The stone, after it is thrown; The word after it is said; The occasion after it is missed; The time after it is gone!

Deanna Wadsworth

Luckily my PCR test showed I was negative and I was praying that I will manage to get everything done in under 35 hours. I am quite positive that I won’t find many people that emigrated in under 35 hours, in a pandemic! With lots of support on both countries, my home and future home country, I made it on time to the airport with all essentials being organized.

My flight took off just as scheduled with a fraction of passengers than the A340 could carry, a miracle how the airlines can operate like that. Plus, flying back from SA to Germany with no passengers at all due to the new German regulation in place to fight the unknown mutation of COVID. 12 hours later, I landed in CPT, got off the plane, sanitized my hands at least at 3 different stops before I handed over my negative PCR test and my COVID immigration form.

Before the passport control, came the last obstacle, my temperature was taken and oh my word it was luckily below 37 degrees Celsius. Anything else I also would have probably just not accepted.

I don’t know where I am going but I am on my way

Carl Sandburg

The passport control was quick and easy, no queues at all and quicker than I could realize I had my luggage back and was ready to see Cape Town and my hotel for the next few nights. I was welcomed very warmly and had about the best start one can wish for if you move to a different continent. Lovely days of Christmas were ahead of me that I spent with some colleagues, I got to experience my first African Christmas under the warm sun and next to the table mountain. Nothing I thought of just a few days before. 

Happy that I had such a blessed start, I look forward to a fun time to come that surely will have some unpredictable adventures waiting for me!

My new lessons learned while moving to a different continent during a pandemic: 

  1. Plans, no plans – COVID-19 and plans are just not best friends;
  2. Warm Christmas – Christmas Day and sun does fit together very well, and
  3. Mix it – Mixing up several languages in one sentence seems to be a thing here.

Cheers to wandering the world and moving to a different continent during the pandemic – bye bye, salut and hamba kakuhle ∞