Thinking of South Africa

Well, I am finally done with my South Africa blog. Okay…I finished it  a month after we got home, but there was a lot to digest and even more to think about. In all, we spent five days in Cape Town at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, five days on safari at the &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge, two days in Johannesburg, and a week at the Zebra Cottage in Stellenbosch. Thank you, Marianne Birrell, of Marianne Birrell Safaris who arranged our Cape Town and Ngala stays. You did a beautiful and professional job.

I added a few more blog posts that yes, I know, are after the fact. Some of them took a while to write. Others took a movement of heart to say.

I packed my People, Places, and Palate pages full of stories, pictures, and memories. For a writer, a blog is a living scrapbook filled with words that represent experiences. However, if you are more of a picture person, come over for wine and we will show you the almost 2,000 pictures we took on the trip. There are at least 200 of a leopard named the Black Dame.

For the final post in this blog, however, here are a few memories I carry with me from South Africa:

  • Our hotel, The Belmond Mount Nelson, was painted pink to celebrate the end of World War I in 1918. It has stayed pink ever since.
  • Swirling in a handmade African dress made me feel more like a princess than wearing a prom dress.
  • Cricket and Rugby are just plain incomprehensible. We still don’t know how you can get 300 points in one cricket game or why a field goal in rugby is called a dropped goal.
  • We thought the six dogs that roamed the winery were sissy dogs until Paul jokingly told them to hunt up a bird. Mayhem ensued.
  • I spent three weeks learning how to conduct an African handshake. Children on the streets of Cape Town and Soweto were my patient teachers.
  • I bought Paul a leather safari hat which makes him look devastatingly dashing. He now wears it every day at home—“it keeps the rain off my glasses”—I know the truth. He looks like Indiana Jones.
  • We played a drinking game where we used giraffe poop pellets to see who could spit the farthest. They tasted like grass. Done. No more details unless you read the post “Ngala Meeting the Black Dame.”
  • Baboons and monkeys are called bush criminals.
  • I didn’t like hyenas going into my trip and I still don’t. They skitter sideways which I think looks creepy.
  • We almost got kicked out of Ngala. Read “Elijah’s Leopard” to see why.
  • The collective nouns for safari animals now resonate with me: a crash of rhinos, a thunder of hippos, a parade of elephants, a clan of hyenas, a leap of leopards, a parliament of owls, and most hauntingly—a journey of giraffes.
  • To be able to become a tracker on safari, one must be able to tell where a butterfly’s feet and wings left the ground in a square foot of sand. (Lovely, is it not?)

Thank you, friends–Thobeka, Edward, Katie, Pappy (even though you almost got us arrested),  Kaglia, Alti, Elijah, Allyn, Jimmy, Mama Connie, Given,  Benali, the Winery dogs (especially Girl, aka Cocoa), and Freddy–who made our trip not only memorable but now lodged in our hearts.

Come see us in the United States. We live in beautiful Washington State on a salt water inlet. We will take you on walks on the beach, hikes in the mountains, pour you South African wine on our deck, and share pictures of our trip and reminiscence on the kindness and hospitality you showed us in your country. Let us repay you.

Best Regards,


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