Suntanning – it’s a personal thing. 

You know everyone does things a little different. We all make sandwiches a little diff, like our eggs cooked a specific way, pack differently, etc.

Well for the most part Lana and I do things quite similar (same-same) expect when it comes to sun tanning.

Brande suntanning (aka reading book on deck after breakfast before I get rest for the day):

Lana suntanning (aka in pajamas doing everthying possible to soak up the amazing heat of the so far elusive sun here in Cape Town):

Sunny skies and 30s expected this afternoon when we can get our real tan on!

Brande

South Africa Garden Route is Amazing! 

 Wow and again wow.

We have just completed a lengthy but amazing and well worth it drive from Johannesburg down to Durban and then over to Cape Town where we spend the last of this adventure!

Some stats from our road trip adventure:

  • almost 36 hours driving
  • three days in Durban, a night in Port Elizabth, a night in Oudsthoorn, a couple nights in Hermanus
  • a few too many chicken pies for lunch (or breakfast) enroute
  • lots of laughs on the road
  • well deserved post drive pints  post all day drive
  • riding an ostrich
  • atleast 40 ‘ hurts do nuts’ (long story)
  • 2 different Quantum Toyotas (hedalgo, and hedalgo 2.o)
  • 18 glasses of wine with 18 pints of beer with a blue eyed husky in observation
  • 2 boogie boards (with much salt water drunk while laughing)
  • No wireless
  • 4 sea kayaks
  • Whales, penguins, seals, shy shark and grumpy Dussies (aka Scott’s  kindred spirits)
  • One Terrior dog named Terri
  • Too many gas stations and way too many pick and pay supermarkets
  • An almost riot / civil unrest
  • Too many Fantas
  • One gun ( no joke )
  • 2 big spiders
  • Too many silver fish
  • Lots of braais (BBQ) with way too much rice and the resulting meat sweats
  • 2 near miss head on collisions
  • 1 Hooters visit ( don’t judge us, there were playing the World Cup Rugby semi final and had ‘Big Daddy’ beer)
  • Lots of bedroom ants complete with no air conditioning and some random-not-our-body-hair in the sheets
  • Squall storm driving
  • Lots of card games, bananagrams, monopoly and a Cards Against Humanity game
  • Many morning runs
  • Lots of Gravol
  • Full Percy Jackson series read by many
  • Defending garbage against a troop of 20 monkeys
  • Way too much time on mapquest
  • Never ending Seinfeild references
  • A Ferris wheel

Well that’s probs enough to give you a good picture of the Garden Route, but here are some photos of this amazing route as well.

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Did I already say wow!?

We are now in an amazing beach house in the suburb called Kommetjie in Cape Town for our last week. Stories of beach time to come shortly!

Brande

PS I sure am craving me some aisle 5 scallop potatoes …. 🙂

Wifi vs Monkey Business

The wifi situation here in beautiful Africa is not for the faint of technical heart. Or those who have committed to keeping their blog updated with travel stories as a way to stay in touch with family, friends and followers.

I would apologize but it’s honestly not my fault – I blame monkeys and the wifi tom foolery! Monkeys, yup! I am for real!

The little fuzzy cuties broke the phone and electrical lines at our 4 night Durban, South Africa accommodation!

They use them as a tight rope to go from house to house to avoid the dogs yapping at them from ground level. The phone company had to come out and do a total repair! Don’t believe me? Well here is some proof via photo or you can check out my Facebook or Instagram account for a video of those cheeky monkeys tight roping across using their tail as a balance point!

monkey right rope

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Now once the line was fixed, the wifi was still a mess and yet I didn’t even care because the little dudes where so entertaining!

Look at them here sitting on the roof just above our bedroom window, or on the roof just checking out the neighborhood:

Monkeys sitting on the roof above our bedroom window

Monkeys sitting on the roof above our bedroom window

Monkey waiting for an opportunity to check out the garbage.

Monkey waiting for an opportunity to check out the garbage.

Ok and my absolute favourite … All these pictures of monkeys are from ‘garbage day’ in Dubran where we were staying in the ‘Bluff’ community. Most pics were taken as I defended our garbage to keep the monkeys away before the truck came to pick up the bags and before I could take off for my morning run. Well just shortly before I left for my run, the Monkey’s got the better of me and managed to tear into the garbage. What they stole was a bag of chips called ‘Monkey Gland’ flavor. Serious I am not making this up. It’s like an HP sauce. Well a monkey eating monkey gland flavor chips sent me and fellow garbage defender Lana into a total giggle moment!

Monkey going for the Monkey Gland chips!

Monkey going for the Monkey Gland chips!

Monkeys! Too funny!

While the monkeys are one of my favourite experiences in Durban, overall the city was great too! We had an awesome AirB&B house in the Bluff, has a kick butt Braai (BBQ), went boogie boarding with the hubby, and had a day at the water slides that included a lazy river ride past a shark tank!

We are now on our Garden Route adventure to Cape Town and it’s already pretty damn epic! Tomorrow we are going to Monkeyland and doing a short ‘hike’!

Brande

All About Me in Victoria Falls

Today is an odd day for me …

I am adventuring Africa for 6 weeks with 7 people (husband and friends) and suddenly I find myself with a day all to myself. Perhaps a little lonely considering how much fun the 7 of us have together but also feels pretty darn amazing to have some ‘all about me time’. I am used to traveling alone from the past so it feels kind of neat to flashback to those days.

Here are the ‘all about me’ shenanigans I got up to today in beautiful Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe!

Morning Run: I have started each morning here with a jog about the neighborhood. The past couple of mornings I have either been spooked by or out right chased by local dogs (had to even hide in someone’s yard yesterday haha) – but today it IS all about me and I didn’t see a single dog on my run, no barking and no chasing. A great start!



Morning get clean and pretty: another great moment .. we have power and hot water today here in Victoria Falls! Yahoo my after a sweaty run morning shower was warm and there were even lights on in the room and air conditioning to boot!

Breakfast: my favourite meal of the day is breakfast, hands down! I love to find a super cute, quaint place for yummy breakfast and start my day journaling over eggs and toast. The best breakfast is a full Scottish Breaky but second to that is a full English Breakfast and that is the speciality of our Lodge here in Vic Falls!  Why yes I will have toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, fried tomato, fresh fruit and coffee. (Now you know why I run each morning!)


Post Breakfast relaxation: I have already accomplished a lot today so perhaps a little after breakfast nap / reading is in order. Ok!

Be a Tourist: Zimbabwe is a beautiful country and they do a great job making sure all the tourist sights are tourist friendly and the Victoria Falls Park was no exception. I have seen the falls from in the water in Zambia (Devil’s Pool), from a helicopter above, and now from the Zimbabwe side where you can see and feel the mist! Wow. I was speechless at the power of the water and its low water season. (Check out my Instagran for a video of the falls; the sound of the falls is awesome!)

Cafe Break: Well after 2 hours hiking in the heat (ok I will be honest I spent 30 mins in the mist of the Falls so I wasn’t baking the whole time) I needed a drink and some chill out time. So I hoofed it another 30mins to my favourite Cafe Africa and had me a yummy cold Hunter’s Cider and read my book. A good thirst quencher before strolling through all the markets in town.

Traffic Jam: even on vacation you can’t seem to get away from traffic jams. This one included a bunch of us pedestrians and a troop of 17 baboons! I will admit at one point I was surrounded and a little spooked they would go for my backpack but they just waltzed on by in baboon bare butt style.

Poolside finish: well of course I need some more relaxation! This is a vacation after all and I just walked over 5 hours in 40+ degree heat and there was even some shoe melting on the pavement. Even someone like me who loves walking and loves heat – I was melting! I felt like one of those old Smartie boxes that is left in the sun too long and all colour is drained out of it. The pool always helps!

Basically I love Victoria Falls and today was icing on the cake in this place! It’s like Victoria BC meets Oban Scotland with an Africa twist!

Off to watch some World Cup Rugby with the rest of my traveling band and hear about their white water rafting adventure today.

Brande

PS I ate worms yesterday, mopane worms that you fry up and dip in sauce. Much juicier than expected … or hoped for. Yick!

Hot Hot Hot Houseboat on Lake Kariba

Coffee at airport

Wow what an experience!

We just wrapped up 4 days / 3 nights on the African Queen houseboat on Lake Kariba booked with Rhino Rendezvous.

The boat was so great – we had a big table / sitting area on the top deck, complete with a small chill down pool and a big cooler full of cold drinks. There were 4 rooms on the main level (2 on each side) and a bathroom/shower on each side of the boat as well. Our captain Marco and deck hand Prince treated us to all the amazing sights of the Lake; and our cook Norman spoiled our taste buds with amazing fare.

We spent our days sipping coffee at sunrise, some fishing for a couple of hours, then a big good ole English breakfast, card games and chilling on the upper deck while we sailed to a new bay, sunset cruise on the tender boat with some fishing again, some sun downer appies, more card games or reading, then an amazing dinner! Rinse and repeat!

Our nights were filled with sweat – yup you read that right. Zimbabwe is experiencing a crazy heat wave with temps in the 40s for us Celcius people or about 115 for those in Farenheit. During the day the boat was usually moving so you got a breeze (but still the wheelhouse was 35 C degrees on the thermometer) at night though the boat was docked and wow was it a scorcher. We literally had every window and door open in our rooms and laid stock still soaking the sheets. It was not surprising some of us could be found wandering the deck in the middle of the night trying to find even the smallest breeze. The mosquito nets on each bed didn’t help either – while you kinda feel like a princess in a veiled bed, they prevent both mosquitos from biting you but also any kind of breeze from cooling you down. The upside … every time you woke in the night you would be lulled back to sleep by the awesome laughing sound of hippos near by!

Here are just a couple of the views we sailed past or docked near:

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Hips, Lake Kariba

Highlights of the houseboat: jumping into the Lake from the top decks of the boat to cool off (don’t worry we were in the middle of lake where the crocs and hippos don’t go so it was ‘safe’), the sounds of hippos, and catching Breame fish which Norman would cook up for our afternoon appy!

We are now in Vic Falls for the adventure portion of our trip! Shenanigan stories coming soon …

Brande

Lions, Elephants, Zebras oh my!

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Well we did it! We climbed up and back down Mount Kilimanjaro and wow what an amazing yet really hard experience! No toe nails lost (yet), some gruesome blisters for one of us, a Kili cough for one of us, some sore muscles, lots of dirty clothes and all smiles for this crew!

As a reward, us Kili climbers all went on a 2 day safari here in Tanzania. We ventured to the Tangire National Park and the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Lands and again another amazing experience!

I am posting this from the boarding line up for our next flight to Harare Zimbabwe where the next part of our adventure begins – so I will keep it short sweet and full of pics of our safari! Did I mention it was amazing??? Wow!

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We saw so much more than these few pics but those photos are on the big camera. If you have never been on safari, put it on your list! Sure you are tossed around in a land cruiser like a human milkshake but you will be amazed at seeing animals out of a zoo. We even saw a pride of lions eating a water buffalo – a little graphic : circle of life for me but hey that’s the wild!

Updates on our Zimbabwe adventures coming soon … Assuming better wifi in Zim and than in Tz!

Brande

Mount Kilimanjaro – Track Our Progress

IMG_2758We are off to the complete our 7 day  / 84 km journey through 5 distinct climates, at the cost of an average 4 toenails each, up and over the highest mountain in Africa.

Would you like to track our progress? Or even virtually climb with us over this big rock? Well let us make that happen for you!

Team Kilimanjaro Blog:

Visit the Team Kilimanjaro Blog and you will see the updates and pictures our lead guide Leonard posts from his satellite phone on the Mountain while we are climbing. Yup, as we progress up the mountain and down again, Leonard and team will update the blog when able with the latest on our progress.

Team Kilimanjaro Blog

Team Kilimanjaro Blog

Open the link above, and once we are on the mountain our team will be featured on the home page. Our section will have the latest picture from the mountain and also have our reference HS-BRDA x 7. We may be unrecognizable after days without a shower so hang on to that reference. If you can’t see us this way, go to the right hand side and change Machame to TK Rongai and hit ‘view’.

Team Kilimanjaro – Track a Climber Google Map: 

Visit the Team Kilimanjaro – Track a Climber Google Map and you will be able to follow our little icon up and over the mountain, see which camp or major landmark we are at and more. Our guide Leonard will have a satellite device that sends in coordinators to our position so the map is updated in real time!

Track a Climber

Team Kilimanjaro Track a Climber

Open the link above, and look on the left side for HS-BRDA x 7. When you click on HS-BRDA x 7 the map will zoom in on our group and even put a little spotlight on our icon. How cool is that? I want to track us being tracked! Oh and that coffee mug is not a Starbucks, its a Ranger hut and they sometimes have Coca Cola to sell and its not on our route (sad face).

Team Kilimanjaro – Encourage the Climbers

Climbing this mountain is no easy feat and they say most climbers who attempt it can physically do the climb, feel good enough at altitude to do the climb but they just don’t have the will, heart, mind or matter strength to finish the slog.

Team Kilimanjaro Encourage The Climbers

Team Kilimanjaro Encourage The Climbers

Sending love, encouragement, motivational messages, and even heckling on who can make it up to summit would go a long way for all of us!

Visit our page on the Team Kilimanjaro Blog and scroll to the bottom below the latest update and any pictures that our guide has posted and you will find a comment box. Your comment will be posted on our page and read to us by our Guide next opportunity he has to access the site by cellular service or satellite!

A big thanks for all of your support as we planned our crazy adventure!

Brande 

The Day Before the Mountain

We are officially in Africa!

We landed at the Kilimanjaro Airport  in Tanzania at 7:40pm (after an easy 8hr flight from Amsterdam) and immediately our African experiences began. Stepping off the plane onto the Tarmac the warm breeze of the “cool”evening hit us, smelling of both hot sand and green leaves, topped off with an amazing full moon with wisps of cloud cover in the distance. Complete with bats dancing under the few lights  and the outline of jacaranda trees on the horizon. Wow!

After an hourlong line to get our Tanzania Visas for $50USD, completing a retina scan and finger prints for customs, we collected our bags and were met by Freddie our super friendly transport driver arranged by Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He crawled up on the roof of our classic African Safari like van/truck and we tossed our packs up top and he expertly tied them down. Then we waited .. and waited and waited some more while he stood in a crazy long and slow line to pay for parking before we could go. Me thinks we should get used to slow and long lines while here in Africa.

Finally on our way from the airport to Arushu and the Outpost Lodge. Freddie told us it would be about an hour and wow what an entertaining hour it was. As expected their road habits are a little different than hours. Such as: when you pass a vehicle going in the other direction you ARE supposed to flash your brights, and when you want someone to pass you I guess you just turn on your ticker as if you are going in the lane they need to tell them it’s safe to pass, and do use the shoulder to pass slow moving vehicles. At one point going up a hill we were passing a big lorry in the oncoming traffic lane and another van was passing him on the shoulder, while a motorcycle was weaving between us, and a vehicle was oncoming and all with sad road kill as a speed bump.  Welcome to Africa! So glad there are no roads on the Mountain!

Arriving at the Outpost Lodge was a treat, this place is amazing! We all have these little cabin like rooms, the landscaping is quintessential Africa plants and buildings complete with the beautiful purple Jacaranda trees! We arrived too late for any food so had a little Cliff bar party in one of the garden lounge areas before hitting the hay.

Waking up this morning, we met for a yummy breakfast of omelettes and crepes (they called them pancakes) and coffee with warm milk mmmmm. The highlight … three monkeys playing in the trees above the cafe! Seems they are always about the lodge and can actually be quite a pain in the butt if you leave your room windows open. They look to get in there and look for treats.

The sign in the reception area warning of pesky monkeys!

The sign in the reception area warning of pesky monkeys!

The pesky monkeys- so cute!

The pesky monkeys- so cute!

Mid morning, we headed into Arusha. It’s a bustling city and not a place any tourist should go alone. They have special Tourist Police even that make sure visitors have a guide, and are not getting into any bad situations. We had our guide Moses from the Outpost Lodge with us to keep the lovals selling stuff at bay and take us to the places we wanted to see and he suggested.  Moses is from a local Massai village and works in town 6 days a week. He took us to this amazing cooperative market (I could have bought every painting in there) and Tanzanite Museum which was pretty cool.

Back at the hotel, after a yummy lunch with any kind of Fanta or Coke in a ‘God’s Must Be Crazy Bottle’  we are now spending a chill afternoon either reading, blogging, napping, prepping for Kili or all of the above.

Here are some random photo highlights:

Mmm coffee in the morning in our rooms.

Mmm coffee in the morning in our rooms.

Princess bed! I want misquote nets at home so I can be a princess all the time.

Princess bed! I want misquoto nets at home so I can be a princess all the time.

All kinds of Fanta and Coca Cola in glass bottles!

All kinds of Fanta and Coca Cola in glass bottles!

This makes me happy - Kili water for Kili!

This makes me happy – Kili water for Kili!

We just finished  our prebrief with our Team Kilimanjaro / Mount Kilimanjaro Guide Leonard (Leo the Lion he tells us). Wow this is happening. Now I am really excited and a little nervous but good nervous. We are off to  have some dinner and then to our beds for the last time not in a tent.

Brande

PS  we are actually climbing the highest peak in Africa tomorrow!