Tag Archives: travel

Chilling in China

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We recently returned from a rather magical trip, travelling China.

As promised, here’s a little post and some pics.

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Packing for China

 

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Eek! I leave on an adventure with my boyfriend this week.

Seeings as I’m obsessed with packing and travel, I’ve already put together checklists and game plans for the best pack possible. Here’s what I’m taking along…

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Into The Wild

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I went on my first hike this past weekend, up into the misty Drakensberg Mountains. Here’s how I got a little piece of my soul back…

Since coming back from my Grand Indian Adventure, I lost touch with my wanderlust and need for nature. While I have loved trying out the young-professional-rents-own-apartment life, I began feeling off-kilter without some sort of hippie happiness to keep me grounded. I’ve been on a few missions around the country to some beautiful and raw places since, but this hike into the wilderness really reminded me how much I need these sort of getaways and man, I feel better for it.

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I was lucky enough to go with a group of really great, seasoned hikers who helped me learn the ropes and remained patient when I got complete stage fright crossing the rivers. We signed in at Didima Camp in Cathedral Peak (for a grand total of R55 each) and headed out despite the rainy, misty weather.

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The hiking experience was incredible and rather unreal to be honest. The weather may have been cold on the hike up, but it was so very beautiful seeing the mountains and vast expanses of greenery all draped in thick mist and juicy rain drops. 

It’s surprising how quickly you get used to carrying a huge backpack over rocks and up hillsides although we did stop a few times to swim in natural pools, drink fresh berg water and feast on snacks. On the very last stretch before the cave, we spotted a little puff adder hissing bravely at us next to the trail, but the rest of the berg creatures remained tucked away from the rain.

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What fascinated me the most was the unofficial Hiker’s Credo. For example – out of respect for other hikers, you must dispose of fruit peels etc, out of sight so as to not leave any sort of trail behind you. There are also these sporadic man-made pebble pyramids called cairns, that signal to other hikers that they are headed in the right direction. I got a kick out of adding rocks to them as we went past, as an unofficial signature in an unofficial guestbook.

After 5 hours of trekking, we finally made it to Xeni cave and set up camp by decorating our abode with candles and getting hot water for coffee on the boil. Surprisingly, I slept like a baby that night – snug in my sleeping bag, only waking occasionally to see more and more of the candles burn out until just one soldier was left glowing in the darkness.

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We woke up the next morning to a misty view, shared some breakfast and washed up in the waterfall that runs over the front of the cave. Mama Nature presented us with a beautiful day of sunshine and breezes, perfect for river swimming and picnic pit-stops on the hike home. Luke and Richard (both talented videographers) set up their drone to fly overhead and got some insane shots of us hiking through the valley –  I seriously can’t wait to see the footage!

The berg was pretty much flawless and I had precious time to take pics and get some journaling done. Yes, I may be absolutely buggered and stiff in the most bizarre joints, but it was completely worth it to just disappear into nature, silence and stillness.

Here’s to the year of the Cave Dwellers!

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Dames Of The Dargle

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Well, this post is a little late to say the least. But life has been considerably chaotic at the moment – which is exactly why a little Midlands getaway, was exactly what I needed.

A couple weekends back, we “road tripped” up to my friend Emma’s incredible farm for a girls weekend complete with cheesy sing-alongs, gossip and wino. 

Needless to say, we had a rather amazing time feeding the animals, picking strawberries, getting drunk in a field and kickin’ it country style. You can imagine how in my element I was with a calf and Em’s Motley Crew of hounds running around! On Saturday night, we were treated to a rather spectacular thunderstorm as well as killer pizzas from Il Postino – with me being the only weirdo who ordered a banana pizza. Man, it was good though and totally worth the teasing that followed. Girls are mean.

Here are a few happy snaps from our mini meander. I still get excited that fairytale places exist on our doorstep – KZN is one hella beautiful place!

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Mantis and Moon Backpackers

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Down the south coast, past kilometers of coastal bliss and into a tropical paradise, you’ll find the hippie folk of Mantis and Moon.

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This rad backpackers in Umzumbe is the most perfect getaway for Durbanites. It’s not too far from home, cost effective and makes you feel like you’ve traveled to a Thai island. No passports needed, just pack your  cozzie, some mozzie spray and snacks!

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There are tree houses, double rooms and teepees all scattered around the dense palm jungle. I took the boyfriend for a romantic weekend, as a birthday prezzie and we had such a jam that we’re returning with friends later this month. Not only do you meet interesting travelers at the bar, but you can also relax in the jacuzzi, dip in the pool and share the communal kitchen. The beach is only a walk away so Paul and I set up camp, brought out his guitar, had a smoke and sang silly songs until sunset. 

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Tips: Make sure to stop at the epic fruit stands along the drive home or venture a little further to The Waffle House.

You can also book breaki and dinner at the backpackers if you’re not keen to cart along your own foods! They make mean meals every night.

Stay in the Taj Mahal double room, if you want your own roofless en suite bathroom, where you can bath under the stars. 

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Click here for their website!

Transkeing

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Happy month of extended weekends and wasted work hours looking forward to them! It seems the rest of the country spent the long weekend exploring, catching up with friends and celebrating 420. Well, we did all of that and more at a little slice of paradise I like to call, Shark’s Point.

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A group of us headed to the Eastern Cape in the early hours of Friday morning and after 9 hours of driving, plenty of dirt roads and questionable padkos later we arrived at our destination — self catering chalets conveniently situated somewhere in between Heaven and Utopia.

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Thanks to the super planning/spreadsheeting/food-buying and meal-planning skills of our team lead, DJ Fuego Heat, we ate like kings in between the sundowners, camp fires, mesmerising sunsets, sunrise swims and evenings of stargazing. Two of my favourite meals included freshly bought local crayfish (ten rand a pop!) and braaied bananas stuffed with chocolate. Yes, you heard meh. 

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We dossed in rustic cabins in amongst spiders and goats and spent our days snorkelling in rock pools, hiking up hilltops, sucking at bat-and-ball games and getting our tan on. The boys insisted on surfing despite the fact that:

A. We were on one of the world’s sharkiest coastlines with a fatal attack occurring at Port Saint John’s, three weeks ago.

B. The place itself was called Shark’s Point.

C. We saw an actual shark, in the water, where they were surfing.

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We were however also blessed with occasional schools of dolphins and fantastic weather. On the very last night we all sat on the hillside during a power outage and watched the lightning over the ocean before a beautiful thunderstorm broke out over the valley. This place was pretty much the best parts of a Drakensberg and beach holiday, rolled into one setting.

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This post isn’t actually a #humblebrag, but rather encouraging you all to get out there and explore this country! If rallying up a group of mates, roughing it up in nature and meeting the friendliest locals in all the land sounds like your idea of a good time, then check out www.sharkspoint.co.za for your next long weekend.

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Things I need for a long weekend.

A comprehensive list of things to get before I head out with the homies for the upcoming long weekend to the Transkei.

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1. A dramatic beach hat to rival anyone on the beaches of France

2. Enough mosquito repellant to use for myself as well as a genius bargaining tool with my camp-mates.

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3. A tanned, toned bikini body, with washboard abs. And legs that could be mistaken for hotdogs.

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4. A realistic realisation that point 3 (ibid) cannot be achieved before Saturday. Especially not while drinking craft beer at the drop of a dramatic beach hat.

5. Medicine for every problem I might face out in the middle of nowhere. There are no hospitals to drive this immune system-lacking pill-popper to! 

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6. A book that looks challenging and impressive, to read while I try to achieve point 3 while wearing the item discussed in point 1.

7. My head around the fact that I will be ingesting mild narcotics and that I might get naked and run frantically into the wilderness as a result thereof.

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8. Rescue tablets as part of said medical aid kit, so that I can relax while watching my boyfriend surf in one of the world’s most sharkiest stretches of coastline. 

9. Something to braai other than mushrooms. I can’t get drunk and eat meat. Again. 

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10. A head to toe wax, a manicure and something tropical and classy(er) to drink like vodka and Appletizer. Out of a coconut or pineapple. 

JHB via iPhone

Hope you all had a righteous Human Right’s Day. For the long weekend, the boy and I travelled up country to JHB to watch the legend that is Frank Turner and spend some time with the bestest.

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Here’s (some of) what we got up to:

Parklife SA

Far too much beer and good, good music. 

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Neighbourgoods Market + Braamfontein Area

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Why yes, I would love an Adidas van.

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Spontaneous b-boying!

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People just randomly set up their DJ gear and jammed on the street!

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Living Room

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And lastly, sunflowers on the drive home

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