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 ∞

Africa and Europe parted by a little virus

Hello, Bonjour and Servus still from Germany, unfortunately I couldn’t move to Cape Town yet. Mid-March I applied for my working permit at the South African embassy and I was very close of stepping into a plane and move to the African continent. Just before this vicious little virus, called Corona, had made an appearance in Europe. However, I had some hope that the embassy would still work its way through my visa application, even when I read the statement by president C. Ramaphosa that no tourist visa shall be further worked on. By mid-May I received a big letter that I recognized to be from the embassy. It contained my passport but no visa, no other explanations, nothing. I checked my passport 10 times and more but still no visa that I could find. Such a dissapointing answer.

By now, I still haven’t received any other Information from the embassy, they finally opened up again but can’t tell me anything. So, I suppose once they will start working on visa applications the whole process will start again. This is really frustrating. But luckily I get to start my new job for the company in Cape Town from my home office here in Germany. This surely won’t be easy as I don’t know anyone from my team or any other colleagues. And how it looks like at the moment, it seems there won’t be any international flights to South Africa any time soon. With the embassy still not working on any visa applications, I am a bit clueless when this journey will actually start.

In the meantime what am I doing during these times when I am fully ready to go, longing for Africa but can’t fly to any of the countries I want to? Well, I started reading plenty of guiding and tracking books that explain specific features for typical African animals, their tracks, calls and even the different grasses growing in Southern Africa. Also, I am glad to be able to participate in the fun digital tracking games by James Varden from Ride Zimbabwe. Every now and then he is posting tracks that he has found in the bush with the question which animal belongs to the spoor. It surely is fun and a challenge trying to match the picture to one of the tracks in my books. Besides, I exchanged with Josephin on my Cape Town adventure on her podcast, which surely was lots of fun. You can listen to it on her Bushbaby podcast channel.

Furthermore, I thought this is actually a very good opportunity to donate money to the ones that are in need. This crisis hits all of us, but some are just way more affected than others as they struggled already before the crisis for their well-being. There is so much help needed and it’s never easy to decide which project, which organisation or which person you would like to support. However, it’s important that the money reaches the specific group you have chosen. That’s why I have decided to support the „My Beautiful Home“ project in Matopos, close to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. This is an annual competition aiming to encourage and reward the practice of decorating huts in the traditional way using natural pigments such as ash, coal and soil as a mean of highlighting and maintaining the art and culture of the area. From my volunteering time in Zimbabwe I know that Ride Zimbabwe is engaged in that project and supports the local community. So, if you have always wondered how you can contribute to conservation this might be your call! Any donation will be much appreciated and help the Ndebele people in Matabeleland. If you are interested, please let me know until end of July.

And then, I also found a new way to travel through Africa, by cooking. The African kitchen has so much to offer and is really divers. I have tried already several dishes, such as Mbatata from Malawi, Sweet potato mash from Zimbabwe and Vipopo from Zanzibar. Mbatata is similar to baked minced meat with potatoes, a really delicious dish. The Vipopo however, wasn’t my favorite but I am sure it was probably the way I did it as I haven’t heard about it before.

Last but not least, it’s always good if you have some memories to dwell on. Hence the happier I am to have taken so many pictures from my travelling throughout Southern Africa that I can click through. The endless landscapes of Namibia never gets old, while I can still feel the beat of the elephant herd in the bushes when I drove through Moremi, this was definitely a highlight in Botswana. To feel the Victoria falls and see the sun setting behind the zambezi certainly is a must for Zimbabwe, while Hwange National Park shows you the true African wilderness. Hearing the hyena calls or the rumbling stomaches of the elephants next to your tiny tent will surely bring you closer to nature. I will never forget the feeling when I was sitting on my horse when I first spotted a big cat, a lioness with its teenage cubs. Unforgettable memories I am very thankful for.

If you want to see more pictures of Southern Africa, check out my gallery – enjoy!

My newest lessons learned during the COVID-19 mess:

  1. What’s going on – Confusion is the new normal;
  2. Stocking up – Stay well connected with your neighbours, they might be the only ones providing you with toilet papers;
  3. Hang on – One day you might have a visa, next day it’s being revoked.

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives, let’s hope for some quick recovery from the COVID-19 – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

How to manage the visa struggle

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from my newest adventure of moving from Europe to South Africa, Cape Town. Corona virus is not a friendly helper, but that’s a whole different story. In this blog I want to focus on advices how to get a visa, which is already an interesting battle itself.

When deciding to leave a continent with family and friends that you know behind, you go through many stages; from being euphoric to worried to happy. And then it comes: the naughty visa application. Some say it’s worse than going to the dentist, some say it’s random and unfair, I say it’s a struggle to survive even if you think you might be prepared for it.

First things first, you have to find out which visa application form is the one you need to correctly fill out. This really is a bigger step than thought if you have no one with experience to tell you. Afterwards, you need to gather all documents and proofs demanded by the application form. Now this really is a masterpiece of its one, almost impossible if you don’t have any competent help and leading to lovely, time-consuming trips to the embassy. Most of the time you can’t rely on help of the employees of the embassy so make sure you got all your paperwork done correctly.

Every visa application process is different and it even differs from embassy to embassy for the same country. So here my advice if you want to survive the visa application process efficiently when applying for an intra-company work visa from Germany to South Africa, Cape Town:

  • Check out which embassy is the one you need to go to (Berlin for whole Germany except Bavaria. If you live in Bavaria, Munich is responsible for you).
  • Make sure the intra-company work visa is applicable for you. This should always be the case if your German employer sends you to Cape Town to a branch or subsidiary within the group and you don’t quit your job in Germany but will be re-employed after the expatriation time in South Africa.
  • Download the application form from the SA embassy website.
  • Get a folder ready for all documents to come.
  • Gather all documents mentioned in the visa application. This is:
  1. passports from all nationalities you have,
  2. copies of all your passports,
  3. download and print the form DHA-1738 and fill it out,
  4. biometric picture not older than 6 months,
  5. a letter of the branch / affiliate in South Africa confirming the transfer and specifying whether your position is junior or senior. This needs to specify your new occupation and the relationship between your German employer and the one in South Africa. Documentary proof is likely to be asked, so better be already prepared with the registration documentation issued by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPS) for the South African company. Furthermore, a translated trade register excerpt for the German company will be needed. Most likely you will also be asked to present an organogram to show the relationship between the German and South African company, best to show as well your current and future position and how they are related,
  6. a written undertaking by the South African company so ensure all points mentioned under this number in the application,
  7. a plan developed by the South African company to transfer your skills to a local citizen incl. currently certified copies of their identity with their ID numbers. If you don’t present the original letters but copies that are sent to you via email, the HR person signing all those letters need to present a certified passport copy as well,
  8. a confirmation of your German employer that you will be transferred to the South African company, mentioning the time period for your stay,
  9. your original contract translated into English and certified by a sworn translator incl. an attached copy to it. As a back up take a copy of your original contract. Moreover, you need your original assignment letter or contract for your new position in South Africa,
  10. original police clearance certificate,
  11. a signed medical report as provided on the website of the embassy,
  12. a signed radiological report as provided on the website of the embassy,
  13. if you have children accompanying you, take a proof of parental responsibilities with you,
  14. if a spouse is accompanying you, take your marriage certificate translated into English and certified by a sworn translator with you,
  15. if you travel through a yellow fever country, take your vaccination proof with you,
  16. proof of payment of the application fee 5 working days before your application in the embassy,
  17. an A4-size envelope franked with the Express easy DHL online label (0,5kg).

Make sure all HR departments from all countries involved, provide you the right documents. Check and check again bevor booking your transfer to the embassy. YOU need to go to the embassy and YOU will be the one who needs to go again if anything is missing. Keep that in mind.

Print your documents in good quality, the embassy won’t print anything for you.

If you think you got all the papers together and are ready for the application, check again if you really got it all correctly together before heading to the embassy. The one in Berlin opens at 9.00am every day but make sure to be there no later than 8.30am to avoid long waiting queues. Anyways you must be in the embassy before 11.30am or your application will not be processed that day and you need to come again. Keep also in mind that no visa application will be processed on Wednesday in Berlin.

So when you have finally arrived in the embassy and received a waiting number, be patient and just give a short prayer to god. This might raise your chances. Once it’s your turn you will need to hand over all documents you have gathered in the correct sequence as mentioned according to the application form, this is essential to have the employees‘ goodwill at least. Then you be patient and wait until your application is thoroughly checked and you are called again.

This now is the moment of truth, was all your preparation good enough or will you go back home and redo your homework more carefully again? Whatever will be missing or additionally required by the embassy is going to be highlighted, so hope for no highlights at all. If your application will go through immediately, count yourself as very much privileged and well organized while understanding the language of bureaucracy to the highest standard. Congratulations! Now you walk out the embassy and spoil yourself with some bubbles before a long period of patience, patience and patience.

If you have to come again to the embassy, don’t worry this is the normal case. For the next time however, bring the same forms with you where the employer of the embassy has left the marks, highlights and information. Do not use a new version. This time when walking into the embassy, pray again that it will be all to the satisfaction of the embassy. If this will be the case, you can be happy and be patient as well. From now on it might take a while until you hold your visa in your hands – if no corona virus comes in between to make a perfect mess.

My newest lessons learned:

  1. Rely on help – relocation agencies might know the interpretation of bureaucracy language or even a sworn translator,
  2. You can’t check enough – not even your own helpers,
  3. Be an early bird – arrive early at the embassy and wait patiently until they open in front of the gates.

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

Moving not moving

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from some uncertain times all over the world. Friday the 13th of March seemed to be such a lucky day for me. I was at the South African embassy in Berlin trying to apply for my working permit visa for a second time. This time my request went through, I could provide all documents to the satisfaction of the embassy and was as happy as I could be (I will post my advices on my next post). Now, just a couple of days later, it looks all so different.

Ramaphosa declares National State of Disaster, enforces travel bans amid COVID-19 pandemic

Cyril Ramaphosa, president of the Republic of South Africa has announced the inevitable raft of measures to come: the cabinet has decided to enforce travel bans on foreign nationals from high-risk countries, such as Germany. The ban is effective from 18 Match 2020. First of all it does feel weird to see that Germany is being declared as a high-risk country in many parts of our world. Second, which is even more important, with 61 confirmed cases as per today, the numbers of infected COVID 19 cases keep rising in South Africa as well. When thinking of the living circumstances of a huge number of people in the townships it is of utmost importance to get this virus under control.

However, it hit me quite hard when I read the next few words that the cabinet has also decided to revoke visas of foreign nationals from high-risk countries and that South Africa will not be issuing visas to foreigners from those countries. Well, this really are some news to be digested as I struggled so much to finally apply for my working visa and a few days later the effort was actually worth nothing. Here I go, not knowing to the full extend what this will mean for my move to Cape Town. The next weeks, I believe I, will have to make a plan just as about the whole rest of the world.

I hope everyone stays safe, thinks of others that might be very much in danger if infected with this virus and our small to medium sized operators (e.g. in the tourism branch) that are at risk to survive this crisis. I know it’s not easy to think about holidays and it might be easier to cancel it all instead of postponing. But keep in mind that cancellations could mean for small operators that we will not find them on the market anymore after the world has overcome COVID 19. There will hopefully be a time after the virus full of joy and holidays. When postponing instead of cancelling you would also have something to look ahead already now while saving others as well.

Until I know what this travel ban will bring to me, I keep reminiscing about my last holiday in Cape Town, the city I will hopefully call home one day.

My lessons learned:

  1. Visas are fragile – they can open you doors on one day and close them the next;
  2. Making a plan – becomes suddenly a new important part of life in Europe;
  3. Embassy struggles seem to be easy – when you compare them to corona.

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞