Tag Archives: Life changing

Out of Africa – The holiday of a lifetime

29 Jun
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The stunning view from Rourke’s Drift Lodge, as the sun began to sink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ‘Twelve Apostles’ of the Drakensburg mountains on the way through the Sani pass into Lesotho.

South Africa to be exact.

So I’d say this is by some way the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited, it’s bursting with boundless terrain, Middle Earth-level mountain ranges, endless forest plantations and some of the happiest and friendliest folk you’ll ever meet.

This was a trip in which I breathed in a great deal of history, visiting battlefields predominantly from the Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu wars, as well as visiting the Nelson Mandela capture site where he was arrested in 1962. It was most interesting to hear accounts of these historic conflicts from a local perspective, as opposed to the largely ‘colonial history’ that so often dominates the global dialogue.

As a writer and as a person, it opens you up when you visit anywhere particularly unfamiliar. Absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of another country encourages you to think differently, and helps you embrace that ‘otherness’ of things you have never experienced before.

If you’ve never been on a safari, I highly recommend it. We set out at 6 AM around Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, which is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in all of Africa and we saw the most incredible sights. A herd of buffalo dashing across the road in front of us, several groups of giraffes hogging the road also as well as sightings of elephants, white rhinos, nyala, wildebeest, zebras, impala, monkeys and beautiful bird species such as the African fish eagle.

Of the most memorable moments from the trip was visiting Emdomeni Cat Rehabilitation Centre where I had the great privilege of stroking a fully-grown cheetah. The fur on the back of his neck was really course and fluffy and I learned that cheetahs purr really deeply. Completely unforgettable. It’s tragic though that the cheetah population is in such jeopardy, with infertility and inbreeding both posing huge problems for the specie. In a few generation’s time, I sure hope that people still have the opportunity to experience what I did these past couple of weeks.

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Welcome…to Giraffic Park!

The last-hurrah to this adventure was a two hour horseback ride through the ‘Forgotten Valley’ of the Drakensburg Mountains. I rode a horse once, about nine years ago, so I really didn’t know what I was doing when I saddled up. Despite this I ended up galloping – yes, actually galloping – across the flat fields of the valley. But not up the narrow winding paths up the hillside, no, we walked nice and slowly up those. It was a warm, dry day, with deliciously clean air and the smells of wildflowers all around as the mountains rolled off into nowhere.

I wish to thank Thomson’s Africa for an unparalleled holiday experience, and the incomparable Siboni, our guide, for sharing his vast knowledge of his country with us, driving us over a thousand kilometers and for making us laugh with his brilliant anecdotes and cheeky sense of humour. For now, though, it’s back to writing Robot Wrestler’s in Space, and marketing my steampunky Kindle E-book offering, ‘Voudou and the Machine,’ which as always can be found right HERE.

Thanks for reading, WordPressers! Keep on keeping on.

Before I go though, I’d like to ask; where have YOU been that you feel has really changed you as a person? I’d genuinely like to know what your experience was, and why it had such an effect on you. Just stick it in the comments. Nice one.

 

Photo credits: Evie Wolfe

 

 

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