We visit interesting towns in South Africa…Thoyandou, Bocchum, Dendron, Pholokwane, Palaborwa, Kremetart, Giyani, Soekmekaar, Marken, Marble Hall, Sannieshof, Kameel

The Naked Barista March 2019

So, after being at home on the farm for only a week, we departed once again on Sunday the 10th of March…lock, stock and barrel with our workmen and a full trailer…

It was such a blessing to have been at home with family and friends celebrating our children’s wedding. We still felt elated with joyful love.

We love driving on a Sunday as we found that the best music of the week is played on the radio and the bonus is that there is no ad breaks.

Weather always plays a role as to how we feel and this trip did not disappoint…we had four seasons in a day as we took the long road from Wilderness in the Garden Route to Montana, Pretoria. En route, we even encountered a hail storm…just after we were questioning with curiosity as we passed an area which seemed to be under snow. The landscape were scattered with white, (which looked like snow covered patches)

On closer inspection though…we saw that it was hail. We felt superblessed that we were not around for that extreme downpour, but a few kilometers later, low and behold, we were being pelted with (luckily smaller sized) hailstones. Just enough for a nostalgic feel and luckily no damage to the body of our vehicle.

We also encountered some heavier clouds and rainstorms along the way.

We arrived in Montana around nine that evening and slept at our usual spot with Andre, owner of Coral Tree Guest House.

I love sleeping here…mainly because of the frivolity of such a lovely bath…

The next morning we were off before breakfast (included in the price) again to Dendron.

While eating breakfast…

Dendron (the word), means tree and refers to the ‘abundance of indigenous trees’ in the area. B had a site in the little town of Bochum, which is a 15 minute drive from Dendron.

We stayed at Bosveld Guesthouse and not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised with this jewel. Everything we needed were there and more. Eddie, has been the owner of this establishment for the last 16 years. He admits to always being busy with improvements and this absolutely shows.

Furniture for sale as well!


Lovely outside area!

Decor combination of vintage and modern.

The food was amazing and even the load shedding could not stop the kitchen from performing their very best. We stayed for only one night as the riots in Bochum meant that B could not finish work on that site. B decided that we would go to work on the next two sites, one close to Haenaertsberg and the other in Polokwane and then only come back, hopeful that the riots would be over.

So, once again…as often happens when plans changes abruptly…I had fifteen minutes to pack up and go. We are used to this by now, we have learned to be very flexible and it helps to know that we are always in the flow.

After a full day on site in Polokwane, we headed for our new accommodation for the night. We booked closest to site as B had to finish work the next day. As often is the case, we did not know what to expect.

Our friends, Adriaan and Blom were close by and invited us for a braai and to meet her family. Sadly, this proved to be too difficult as B were very tired and needed the rest more. We invited them to come and braai with us the next evening, which, unfortunately also had to be cancelled as B completed the work on site earlier than anticipated.

So we arrived around seven at the Silver Mist Resort, a horse farm near Haenertsberg and we were blown away. We mostly try to save money by not paying too much for accommodation and this were a self catering cottage. We had a real homey evening as I cooked, (for the first time in a long time), a lovely pasta dish paired with some good red wine.

Absolutely stunning…

Odd bins from Checkers, is the best wines at a fraction of the cost…the most snobby wine lover would be impressed…

Next morning this view…superblessed indeed.

Sadly we had to leave early next morning, but we would love to stay there again in future. It was absolutely gorgeous and we found a good rapport with our hospitable host, Rob, who even invited us for a free horse ride when we would be in the area again next time.

After only a few hours on site in Polokwane, we headed back to Dendron to try and complete the site in Bochum, hoping that the riots would be finished. B had phoned the locals and they concluded that it would be safe to resume work on site.

We stayed at the Bosveld Guest house again for two nights. There is also a well stocked shop and I had a delicious salad made up for us for ‘padkos’. They also sell hard boiled eggs and Avocados. We were superblessed with our lunch en route to Phalaborwa which were absolutely delicious.

We definitely took the scenic route as we were superblessed with natures eye candy.

Beautiful plantations all round, but we passed the turnoff to the town of Haenertsberg which I would have loved to see…next time.

This road is stunning with touristy pubs and stalls everywhere, but alas, we could not stop as we were on a mission to get to the next work site.

We took the turnoff to Tzaneen on the Ebenezer mile. Stunning views of mountains and greenery entertained us and I feel so much gratitude for our lives as we manage to see our country while earning.

We only arrived on site around four and managed to find accommodation for our workers. Only after setting them up and sorting out food for them, could we continue to the town of Phalaborwa to find accommodation and food for us.

We phoned ahead and booked at the Travellers Palm for accommodation. As they do not have a restaurant, we ate at the Bushveld Terrace restaurant and we were well pleased, not only with the food, but the architectural building amazed us. We felt free enough to indulge in a lovely bottle of Graham Beck’s Waterside Chardonay.

We went to have dinner at the same place the next evening…

We were so grateful to just sit for a while and be able to chat and relax. We made plans for our new log home which is to be build up in the forest on our farm which we share with five other partners. We are superblessed to have this work to supplement our finances for this.

Gratitude begets gratitude and we are truly grateful for where we are now with life…

From Phalaborwa, we went back to Montana, Pretoria, where the head office for Telebuild is situated.

Two days later, we headed to Phuthaditjhaba, which is past Bethlehem and about 80km from Clarence. The road there were a pleasure as natures eye candy were something to behold. All along the roadside as far as the eye could see, were sunflowers and pink and white kosmos/Costlots. It was absolutely beautiful and we felt superblessed…the best was yet to come…

So much beauty…

As Phuthaditjhaba were only a tiny township, we booked accommodation at the Metsimatso lodge about 20 minutes drive from site. We were amazed at what we found. Situated on the Metsimatso dam with the Drakensberg mountain range looming all round us. It was the perfect spot, especially for writing my book. We were there for a week and I got a lot of writing done.

Our view.

The weather played along nicely as it was cold and we had a lovely fireplace. Perfect spot also for my yoga as they have a lovely carpeted area where I could place my mat and overlook natures beauty. Cows walks by with their bells, adding a lovely calm to enhance the experience.

Vusi is the most amazing manager there, soft spoken, but absolutely in control of everything. I saw him multitask under extreme circumstances and were very impressed. We had lots of power cuts, but we were never uncomfortable as he brought us a battery operated light and even a heater.

On a Sunday morning, we took some time for a breakfast in Clarence while the men were doing some mundane work. This is the second time for us visiting the stunning town of touristy Clarence. There were so many people and cars with various number plates as it is close enough for the city folks to have an awesome weekend excursion.

We were quite hungry when we arrived as B had to be on site first to show his workmen what to do. So we decided to have breakfast/lunch first and then only did we do a walk through a few of the many colorful shops around. Something of everything can be found in Clarence.

After hearing from our friend, Stephan, about his cousin’s bookstore, we had to go introduce ourselves. I found a lovely little book for R20.

We had a glass of white wine with a cheese platter before leaving the bustling busyness of the stunning town surrounded by Nature.

I really enjoyed our accommodation with Metsimatso. The food is really good to and our host, Vusi were such a gentleman.

We returned to Montana, Pretoria and stayed for three nights at Prinshof manor. This is a well priced rest place with good food and the convenience of a shower and bath.

A walk through the well established gardens makes for an instant mood lifter. As usual the dogs adopted me once again and this always makes me feel right at home.

And he likes to swim…

After being in Montana, Pretoria for three days, we road tripped to Giyani for the next work sites. We found a home in Kremetart, which is a tiny suburb very close to Giyani. Neil van der Merwe, a businessman who rented a room to us in his home for about a week. I could cook again and have use of a full house. Neil made us feel right at home and it was a pleasure to get to know him too. He is a generous man with a heart for cats. All the neighborhood’s cats seem to know this and arrives on his doorstep more often than not. We had some meals together and made a connection with a new friend. I had time to feel settled and could do more than a fair amount of yoga which made me feel so good.

I read one of Neil’s awesome books, an autobiography of Christopher Reeve, which attributed to me getting quite a bit of my book’s writing done. I am working hard as I would like to publish my new book ‘Open Doors’ the beginning of 2020.

Gratitude to Neil van der Merwe and if you ever need a place to stay in Kremetart, phone this number, +27 72 577 7474.

Then we visited the area of Soekmekaar.

We stayed at Full Moon Paradise for two nights.

What a change of scenery.

B has worked out that we have stayed in around 80 different rooms in the span of a year. Superblessed to be travelling, sometimes a bit tiring, but never a dull moment.

Back again to Dendron and then onwards to Marken.

On the road again…

From a fancy bedroom all in white…to a tent in the woods with a bucket shower in the middle of a Ntubu Nature Reserve.

Adventurous…
A lovely walk revealed this…

And what a peaceful yoga experience…

Very blessed to have time to ‘smell the roses’…for appreciation.

We have learned to take time for appreciation.

After this adventure, we stayed with Njala Lodge for two nights which is close to Marble Hall.

As we drove in, we were superblessed to see some giraffes.

We could also hear the other animals close to where we stayed. The hosts are awesome and food were great.

We drove through Sannieshof, on a six hour journey. This is quite a lively little town with much too many signs.

Our last two sites were en route home through Kimberley and we were accommodated by Vetra Amore Guesthouse.

Supreme accommodation it was, but we looked forward to going home after six weeks of many different rooms.

We would be able to be in time for Echo Gathering and Africa Burn.

Superblessed with gratitude…

Yoga???…is life…♡

…the Naked Barista                                                                February/March 2019

Long overdue…this article…as I believe that I write to inspire…more often myself than others…

We are all on a journey, whether we know it/believe it or not…

I have been doing yoga since the age of 38.  I am now 51…and no, I still cannot pretzel…and after all these years, I am still trying ‘to flow graciously into a good peacock pose’.

This is just it…we have so many expectations from ourselves. The spells of expectations we weave around ourselves and then get depressed as we believe that we, (or our circumstances) are not living up to it…we get sick…in our bodies…then we try and cure our bodily ailments, when it is our minds that we need to start with.

I have however, learned how to stand on my head for quite some time – not only a good party trick, but seriously helping me to see situations better from a different ‘point of view’.

When I started yoga and why I started is quite the story…

My husband and I were very involved in church at that point and this ever since we went to live in Sedgefield, which was the year 1996.  We were actually facilitating self improvement courses within our church…mostly because we were the ones in need of these courses.

And, no,…these courses definitely did not encourage me to start with yoga, in fact, because of its Christian based content, it spoke 100% against it.

At that point, I was struggling very much with my health and were in fact told by more than one doctor that I needed an operation – again – to remove painful growths.

Since the age of 19, I have had confirmation of these growths around the area of my womb.  At age 19, I was admitted to hospital with severe pain and a sonar confirmed a tiny growth.  I must admit that at that time I was too scared to have an operation and after some hospital time and pain medication, signed myself out of the hospital.

After that episode, over the years, I suffered with pain more often than not, but relied on self medication.  It really did not help that I have always been very cautious of  trusting doctors opinions.

I have observed that most of the human race are a lot like sheep when it comes to medicine and being diagnosed by a doctor.  The reason for this is how we are raised in this belief that the doctor is always right and we are not taught to think for ourselves.  Our education for most of us, is to follow and not to think.

Yes, off course there are good doctors, but there are definitely more not so good doctors and over the years I have seen a few.

For me, it is still not a normal concept to put a knife to our sacred bodies.  Don’t get me wrong…sometimes it is definitely necessary, but I have come to believe that more often than not our ailments comes from our lifestyles, our beliefs and what we tell ourselves.

Medicine is a huge industry (a business therefore and a very profitable one at that and doctors are human enough to find opportunities to capitalize from this).  In saying this, doctors are not really to blame, if we buy into this very profitable business.  No, we are ultimately the only ones to blame if we just ‘accept a diagnose of a disease’.

I have a recording on my phone made 8 July 2015 – a conversation/contract with myself which states:

“I promise to accept myself, I am going to recognize my own needs, define what is most important and have gratitude for my health and all that is good in my life.  I am going to live more in the present.  I am letting go of my feelings of guilt when I am resting and learn to rest even more.  I do not want to live against myself, but in harmony and peace with myself.  To do this I have to find that which makes me happy and do more of this to gain my happiness. 

Even after that promise to myself nearly five years ago, I am still striving to keep up with it…and I believe this is why the lesson circled again and whispered even louder…

So… now, I firmly believe that we should accept responsibility for ourselves…as I decided to do when I became really ill a year later, in 2016. (hit on the blue link to read more of my illness)

For me it was a wake-up call just as dis-ease is supposed to be.  The word dis-ease really describes being sick…dis ease…meaning we are not at ease.

This is where yoga comes into play… mind, body and soul needs to be in harmony.

Also I have made it my mission in life to get well and be well…but first we have to get to a point where we believe that this is even possible.  Whatever we choose to believe, becomes true for us. This sounds really easy, but, believe me, it will be the most difficult part of your journey to a healthy and happy life.

As I have mentioned, we have not been taught to think for ourselves and to believe that we are the architect of our own lives.

We absolutely create our own reality.  These are definitely not school subjects and I believe this is the direct cause of lives spinning out of control.  We are taught what to become to make money (which is after all only a tool), but we are not taught how to apply/use this ‘tool’ with gratitude. 

I believe that gratitude begets more gratitude, which applied means that being grateful for money or rather what it can do for us will beget more money or what it can buy.  It is as simple as that.

One of my best inspirations in this quest, is the teachings of Louise Hay.

I recently watched her movie and it is well worth watching…

Louise Hay brainwashed herself when she decided that she needed change in her life.  She did this with affirmations.  One of my favorites is:

“I lovingly forgive and release everything in my past. I choose to fill my life with joy…I love and accept myself.”

Whatever we believe, we can achieve…

After many a lesson with teachers like Louise Hay, Oprah, Helen Keller (a blind woman) and other extra-ordinaries, I have come to the conclusion that so many years ago, I was led to yoga…

Why?

Lets begin right at the beginning…examining my entering into this world…

I was born with asthma.  When I came along, my Mother did not want children anymore as she had many a miscarriage before having me.  She had also carried to term and birthed a baby boy who sadly died after living for a day.  One can only imagine that nobody would want to chance going through such a sad loss again…

…but…

…alas, there I was…asthma and all…

I have researched and believe that my asthma actually stems from the fact that I knew even as a fetus in the womb that I was unwanted.

My lungs frequently left me in a bind from day one as research shows that children with asthma experience daily emotional roller coasters in their home environment…

…for me this makes a whole lot of sense only now looking back…as my Mom definitely did not want a baby anymore and that made my Dad my primal caregiver… which would not have been that bad, save for the fact that my Dad were an alcoholic.

…and the penny drops…

Research have found that children with asthma who blamed themselves for family disturbances were at increased risk of asthma attacks…and believe me, we had some ‘disturbances’.  I had asthma nearly every day and mostly at night.  My parents had their hands full as they raced me to the Rooikruis Childrens Hospital more often than not.

Research have also shown that it is not simply conflict or arguments that trigger attacks, but rather an “over-reaction, self-blaming” response in the child that can increase risk.

I am an only child…luckily, but this only made me feel more isolated and even more aware of the feeling that I were to blame for our dysfunctional family.

Louise Hay explains that the emotional cause of asthma is suppressed crying or feeling stifled…

Superblessed am I to have ‘journeyed’ through and past all of that…and now…with so much gratitude.

So…getting back to the topic…

…yoga and what it means to me…

When I went to my first class at age 38, I seriously went with the fear of Godthis because of the Christian courses that we facilitated which warned 100% against such practice.

I remember sitting on the mat and praying that if I were doing something wrong, the good lord would give me a sign and I would just as soon get up and leave.

I also clearly remember the fact that I did not want to go for an operation...again...and somewhere I had heard that yoga were a good practice for the healing of self…

Needless to say…I am so happy I stayed and after all these years I am filled with gratitude as I am healthy without having needed another operation and fully capable of breathing…yes…no asthma.

Yoga benefits the mind, body and spirit. Yoga will help tone your body but while it’s doing that, it also helps you to be truly in the present moment and infuses your spirit and mind with positive energy.

According to prevalent data, walking for 1 hour burns around 242 calories. One hour of power yoga on the other hand burns 340 calories.

Undoubtedly, yoga is a better option than walking when it comes to weight management and diabetes control. … Scientific data reveals that yoga is a better mood elevator than walking.  (I have been a serious speed walker over the years and it is absolutely awesome too.)

If you love to gym, just add a yoga class after.  This will stretch the muscles that have just worked, which lessens worked muscle pain. Best to do the body building part first, as body building will help build the muscles to hold your postures even better in yoga!

The very best time to practice yoga is first thing in the morning before breakfast. Upon waking, empty the bowels, then commence the day with your regime of yoga practices. The second most conducive time is early evening, around sunset.

Yoga builds muscle strength. Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility.

Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.

The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters. Yoga most definitely does more than calm you down and make you flexible.

Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years. Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

“Regular yoga practice can influence weight loss, but not in the “traditional” sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. … Many yoga practices burn fewer calories than traditional exercise (e.g., jogging, brisk walking); however, yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and the way one relates to their body.

You don’t have to practice Hot Yoga or be able to bend double in a yoga pose to lose weight. An everyday gentle yoga practice will fuel the metabolic system and will help burn fat, leading to weight loss. Daily yoga can also help restore the hormonal balance in your body, which can normalize your body weight.

Yoga postures, or asanas, work muscles in two ways. … The muscles doing the work get stronger by moving through a range of motion while supporting the weight of the body. Other poses, such as trikonasana — triangle pose — strengthen muscles by engaging them for balance and support.

With all these advantages, I would love to inspire you to give yoga a chance at any age and see what I am on about as with Yoga:

I have learned to breathe down to my core.  What a pleasure after all my challenges with asthma and my other health issues.

My ‘mat’ time is ‘my’ time.  Specially when we are on the road, it is so easy to access any program or class that suit you on ‘youtube’.

There is a false belief that if we enter into yoga practice, we will accept a different religion.  After all these years, I can safely vouch that this is total ‘hogwash’.  I have done a full variety of yoga practices over the years and I have not converted into a religion.  Some words are different, but the meaning it conveys is absolutely beautiful, but only if we take the time to find out, before again just buying into a belief.

Namaste for me is one of the most honorable greetings and humbly means: “I bow to the divine in you” or “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”.

We do travel a lot, but when I am home, I am superblessed to have the best Yoga teacher.  Not only is Katja, at Pure Yoga, the best teacher I have ever had with the most beautiful studio in Sedgefield, but I am privileged to now have her as my daughter as well as she recently married my son, Juan.

…Superblessed with Yoga for life…

…I love my life…

Stoffberg/Tonteldoos and wait…there is more…our son’s wedding! Part 3

…The Naked Barista…                                                        February 2019

On the first of February 2019, we had a full day of driving away from Stoffberg starting at five in the morning.

B had to visit a couple of sites around Giyani and Thohoyandou. I love driving this early as we were greeted around six with the most beautiful sun striving to fill the sky with its brilliant light.  What a stunning show nature  provided!

We went through Lydendburg, Orighstad, around Tzaneen and over The ABel Erasmus pass which forms part of the birding route.

This route is well covered with plantations and orchards.  It seems that everything just wants to grow here… cabbages, bananas, oranges, mielies.  It was a lovely sight to behold such a healthy mix of fresh grown food.  It excites us even more now that our son, Juan and his wife Katja, also grows food for their hometown, Sedgefield.

We made the 2Ten hotel our home again.  This is the oldest hotel in Thohoyandou and we are received and cared for very well.

On the 4th of February, we left on the R524 at the foot of the Soutpansberg through the Levubu valley (aptly named the fruit basket of Limpopo), on our way to Louis Trichardt.

This is such a stunning piece of earth with Macadamia trees as far as the eye can see.  Avos, Mango and Banana orchards in abundance.  So many mielies too.

Amazing purple and pink trees make for unbelievable gorgeous eye candy.

We visited the Royal shop en route especially again for another 5l of macadamia oil for under R300 as we depleted our last stock over New Year’s with all our guests.

Back on the road again, all our senses were superblessed with majestic mountains covered in an abundance of natures own stunning bounty combined with farmer’s best planting efforts.

Around the 7th of February, we were in Thabazimbi once again.  We arrived in the evening and had a lovely dinner with Wynand and Jannelie, where we slept over as well.  Always a pleasure to add in such a lovely evening spend with our amazing friends at their beautiful home.

The site proved to be a bit of a challenge as it were an hour and forty minutes drive from Thabazimbi out on the Dwaalboom road.  We slept in town at El Shadai Guest House in a stunning garden only for one night.  I must admit that I found it to be just a little bit expensive for what we got.

We found a Game Farm about a km from site and also a little grocer store a little bit further for the bare essential foodstuff.

Schoongezight game farm were busy with renovations as it is not hunting season yet.

 

This lovely family, George and Genie Potgieter gave us accommodation and we were spoiled for four days with lovely views of various exotic wildlife.  So much gratitude for this lovely couple.  For all the hunters, we recommend this stunning farm with its lovely accommodations.  We were blessed with birdsong during the day and I had some of my best yoga sessions of this trip upstairs in their loft area as well as a simple stretch outside when we just arrived with some four legged spectators in the background.

Swartruggens were our next stop for work.  I loved our accommodations with Jenny de Kock at Villa Finesse.  I was superblessed as Jenny and her son Gerrit has a printing business right in their back yard.  I could get flowing again with my photo project and this is exactly what I did.  I had so much printing done in the few days we were there.  As my website were busted again, the photo project were flowing as it should.  Jenny had her family come and help me with my website and within an afternoon, Danie (0766357146) fixed it for me.

It was around Valentines while we were there and we had a lovely sexy time on the thirteenth when B finished the site early afternoon and brought a bottle of champagne for us to celebrate.  We would be on the road on the 14th which were Valentines Day.  So, best to start early!

We arrived in Pretoria on Valentines Day, but Andre (0834577895) at Coral Tree Guest house were fully booked for accommodation.  This is our usual spot, but Montana seemed to be full everywhere.  Eventually we found a space at Morgenzon .   They had a Valentines picnic and we were invited, but after much driving, being tired, opted to eat in our room.  I already bought some takeaway and we kept to ourselves.  We can definitely recommend these accommodations and we got a good nights rest.

The next day, a Friday, B dropped me off at the Mall as he had to service our vehicle.

I found time to at last cash my Dis-chem birthday voucher for last July.  I had my nails done and made a new friend (my therapist), Precious Sakhile Khoza.

Later, B came to fetch me and I were so surprised when we hit the road to Sabie where we were going to join our friends for Skillie’s birthday.  We were invited, but did not know if work would allow us such an extravagance.  We stayed in a chalet at The Krantz.  Our friends were in the main house and we had so much fun at the annual Round Table Sabie Tube race.

We have never heard of this event, but it was definitely one for the books.  This day were even more adventurous as it was raining the whole day.  We were quite a number of friends which made this day super special.  After the race, we joined in the fun as Jacaranda had some bands and there were even a second stage with Techno music.

We had such a blast that Sunday check-out time were much later than supposed to be, but our host were very decent with us and we were the last to leave.  We decided that we wanted to drive to Dullstroom and overnight there as we could only receive the tools we needed for the next job on Tuesday.

We were superblessed to spend some more time with our new friends of friends made at our New Years party.

Martin and Cari Mari is a married couple who decided to join us on our road trip.  So we set off towards Dullstroom, but not too far down the road, we turned in for a craft beer tasting at the highest brewery in the world, Hops Hollow Country House

After the beer tasting, we had some lunch…the best lamb curry we have had in a long time.  Then some folks came in also for some lunch.  We were amazed that they were the same people whose fire we used to warm ourselves at the tube race event.  What a small world.  We had a good chat and then we went to the cigar lounge where we shared some cigars.  Hops Hollow is such a nice place, but beware as it is a trap, once there, you would want to stay.  We stayed over in the beautiful accommodations and sat chatting at the huge fireplace with some good red wine until our eyes wanted to close.  It was just perfect and the following morning we were blessed by a gourmet breakfast

 

Our next stop were Dullstroom where we had a beer at Anvil Ale House and Brewery.  We then went to the info and booked a chalet at Woollybugger farm in Tonteldoos.  Yes, we were going to show our friends our latest marvel… Tonteldoos.

First we did a whisky tasting at Wild about Whiskey in Dullstroom.  This is an awesome place and we highly recommend it.  The lady who facilitated the tasting for us, were very impressive too.  She knew exactly what she was talking about and we had so much fun.

Afterwards, we just had to eat and had a lovely meal across the road at Duck and Trout (where we were surprised to see one of our friends from Pretoria, Zenobia) before heading out to Tonteldoos.  It is a 40 minute drive at least.

We arrived just after the sun had set and started a fire immediately as it gets really cold when the sun disappears.

The stunning stone chalet had two double beds with lovely white bedding, one of these beds, were upstairs in a lofted area.

The next day only could we see the beautiful surrounds, but then we were in a bit of a hurry to get back to Montana for work and could not do the hiking trails.  We shall leave this for a next time…

The 20th of February we booked in at The Khoroni Casino Hotel (a junior suite as it were the only one available) in Thohoyandou.

The 2Ten Hotel were fully booked.

B had to take down an old site just about 10 minutes from town.  The next evening we went back to 2Ten Hotel as we definitely prefer it.

B worked hard the next couple of days trying to finish on site and I could get some writing done and other admin.

We were really pressed for time as our son, Juan and his fiance, Katja, were tying the knot on the 2nd of March and we had quite a stressful time not knowing if we would be able to finish in time.

B were facilitating their forest wedding on our farm in Wilderness and we were very far from home.

Praying for a miracle, which with gratitude manifested, we could get on the road back home.

On our long way home I did all the different sites, filing as to be free from admin when we arrived.  Then I helped B ‘study’ for the wedding ceremony.  We were definitely in the flow as we made it back home in time and ready for all the guests to arrive, most of them were setting up camp all over the farm.  There were lots of preparation going on, but there were also a real good flow as our children are superblessed to be well loved and there were lots of helpers.

I am still in awe and still get goosebumps at how lovely this forest wedding were orchestrated.  Katja’s brother and his girlfriend flew in from Germany and many other friends too.  One of our best friends, Barry Bierman from Canada were informed too late to have arrangements made, but true to Barry (as always in keeping with his accustomed celebrity status), he made an awesome plan.  A cut out poster of him fully suited for the occasion arrived with our friend, Pieter Smit, from Cape Town and were placed among all of us.  This 6 foot poster kept everyone well entertained.  We ourselves were just so very happy and blessed to have made it in time.

Gratitude to Katja, beautiful woman, for entering our lives and especially being an amazing partner for Juan, our awesome son.  May love and honor for each other be constant companions on your life journey.

…Superblessed and loving life…

 

Stoffberg/Tonteldoos and more… – Part 2

The Naked Barista                                                             14 January 2019

We were driving as usual heavily packed to the brim with workmen and trailer. Gratitude once again to be on the road and gratitude for a great vehicle – not only our wheels – but a vehicle for success – an income generated travelling job.

We were well on our way as we needed to stop in Bloemfontein during business hours for B to purchase some tools at Adendorffs.  As it were, our estimated time of arrival that night in Stoffberg were only at ten.  I booked a room for our workmen as well at Die Pers Kombers to make life easier for B.

We have once again accommodation with Rykie (+2782 3383507) on their farm.

In Part 1 I shared about the recent fires on our farm.  This time, it was absolutely fabulous to see – as we went over the Outeniqua pass – how the color green has once again taken over. This view makes for an interesting contrast of black sticks where trees once stood, combined with fresh new greens emerging.

It was still early as we headed out towards Stoffberg.

The clouds and mist still covered the mountains, as the sun tried it’s utmost best to peek through…creating for us a lovely show. Gratitude  for such magnificent eye candy.

Around seven we saw an amazing sunset…amazing as we were driving away from the sunset into a heavy downpour of rain. So the colors ranging from deep grey were growing rapidly darker in front to pink hues disappearing ever so slowly at the back…

It has been a whirlwind December/January and B mentioned that it felt like we were going on holiday rather than off to work.

We left our farm with some friends still visiting and they will stay there for a while. Joe, our friend of many years and Nadine his girlfriend are still relaxing in the tranquility of Lochloerie (farm). Joe works in Lesotho now and it was such a pleasure having a few braais together again.

Adriaan and Blom is also still on the farm. They have been away for three years teaching English in Thailand and Vietnam. We had some really good times before we left.

The busy December started right after I came back from Cape Town.

Yes… we have a brand new handsome grandson, Maddox and I am so proud of my daughter Maryna who handled this new blessing with so much courage and finesse. We are superblessed with such a lovely family.

 

Maddox’s daddy, Rico is such a proud father and it has been so amazing for me to be a part of their journey. He is also a good Dad to Alexia.  (Her daddy died of cancer when she was two)

Alexia…of course is simply over the moon with excitement and I have seen this look before…many years ago when my daughter held my son when he was born. Such a proud big sister.

I landed in Cape Town on the 25th of November and had two amazing weeks with my daughter and her family. What an absolute blessing to have had this spending time together.

Maryna has been through a very tough time and I have so much gratitude for just being available.

It was also a busy time having to take Alexia to school…hair, teeth and lunches… and then up and down in the Cape Town traffic to hospital, just to start all over the next day with more of the same.

 

 

 

 

Superblessed to have been to Alexia’s first ever school concert. Being entertained by my first grandchild while holding my second grandchild…so much gratitude.

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Absolutely loved having a few hours for myself on the last Sunday in Cape Town and spending this valuable time with our friend of many years, Coenie.  He spoiled me as always…taking me to some wine farms nearby…

Durbanville Hills were obviously on the list and we had so much fun.

 

Back at home we got packing for Vortex.

This has been our annual festival since 2012. Every year we have our same camping spot.

This year has seen many changes as most of our friends who usually join us, could not be there. Our camp was filled with only a few old friends, but more new friends and it was an amazing feeling to be part of Vortex once again.

After Vortex a few of us decided to spend some more time together by visiting Caledon Spa. This was exciting for me, as I have always wanted to visit Caledon Spa.  Needless to say, we had an awesome time spend together.

 

We told our granddaughter, Alexia, that we would go and fetch her in Cape Town as it was school holidays. Our daughter, Maryna could do with some alone time with her newborn, Maddox.

We decided to fetch Alexia the next day, but we arranged first for another night at the Caledon Spa. Then only did we drive through to Cape Town. B got to meet his grandson, Maddox,  for the first time.

That afternoon we hurried back to the Spa and needless to say Alexia had the best time. We are so grateful to be able to spend time with our granddaughter.

(photos of before and after)

The next day we drove to our farm in Hoekwil/Wilderness where Alexia had even more fun as Reinhardt and Nadine  were already set up for camping.

We got busy organizing a New Years party on our farm. As there were not much time left, we really had to work hard to get this organised. Our plans changed dramatically, because of the fires. We were going to have the party in the Bluegum forest, but as it were still in ashes and very smelly with smoke, we decided to have it closer to the river. This worked out extremely well. For me it was even better as Maryna and her family could be a part of the festivities. Little Maddox could be well looked after as well. We took turns and we had the most amazing time spend with our children, as well as our grandchildren.


Alexia had the best time on the farm. She is all of four and very strong willed.

Before the festivities could begin, we had weeks of working at building showers and toilets as well as making fire pits where we could cook food to feed around a hundred mouths.


Luckily we had a very good workforce, but maybe not this one in the pic. One of our partners, Reinhard and his family were there to help. Our friends, Willem and Ben were also helping as well as Malcolm (one of our Djs).

They were all camping on the farm way before the party. As we were working, day by day more helpers as well as campers (party goers) arrived.

It was absolutely amazing to be a part of our first New Years on the farm. After such a horrific experience with the fires, this was all such an overwhelming contrast. It felt as if balance to our lives were slowly being restored.

I feel that this farm has been healing in so many ways and especially to me.

David, our friend (and now also a farm partner) who always decorates our camps when we are at festivals, were once again a master at decorating for us. He thought about everything and were running around in the shops, even buying storage bins with lids for our toilet rolls in our open air toilets.

After all the rush to ready ourselves for the party…this is what happened on New Years…

 


I am still getting goosebumps as I am writing this. New Years eve, I stood on the dance floor and soaked in the glorious beauty surrounding me.

By this, I do not mean just the decor or the natural beauty of nature…the indigenous trees surrounding us…the stunning dream catchers,

made by Katja…the tranquility of our river running past…no…it was all of that and so much more…more because we could share all of this with our handpicked friends…the most beautiful souls we share our life with…

This was the epitome of happiness.

Most definitely my best New Year of my life until now and here is wishing for an even happier 2020.

 


We are superblessed to be planning the next exciting gathering on our stunning farm, Lochloerie in March. Our son, Juan and his fiance, Katja, is having their wedding ceremony.

I would like to thank all our friends who volunteered to help with our New Years party as well as all our party goers. Gratitude for such amazing friends. Gratitude for all our gifts…even home made cookies…delicious. Thank you very much beautiful Rhodi-Anne.

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The weather changes very quickly in Stoffberg. One day it was extremely hot, but by midday a very loud crack of thunder could be heard and then a huge downpour of rain fell from the sky which turned immediately to an ominous dark grey. All of a sudden hail rained down. The lightning also took out the electricity. It felt strange to have four seasons in a day.

That evening Rykie told me that the weather were so bad the previous week that the farmers suffered…crops were destroyed as well as roofs of homes.

We are quite used to not having electricity on our own farm, so we were totally prepared with our own headlamp and torch.

Thankful to be able to get back into my morning yoga sessions. So grateful to have time to gift to myself. Such an important message to take time for oneself. I even sneak a ten minute meditation in after. For me it is so much easier to get on my yoga mat in the morning before I talk myself out of it. Afterwards I cannot believe why I would want to talk myself out of feeling so good. Even B is back on the mat and feeling so much better for it.

One day after B took the workmen to site, I went with him to inspect another site near Nebo.


Interesting to see the economy blossoming, with little businesses popping up en route between somewhere and nowhere.

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On a weekend, our friend Jannelie had a 40th birthday party and we drove more than three hours to get to Koedoeskop where it was held on one of their beautiful family farms.

We partied under the most stunning trees and danced on a carpet of lush green grass…

So many of our friends were with, some all the way from Cape Town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The band also came all the way from Cape Town and is called Willem Welsyn. So much fun to meet them and become acquainted.

The weather all through the weekend were stunning and that evening most of us could not resist sleeping under this enchanted canopy of lush green trees.

Earlier Dean, who lives on this beautiful land, drove us up in his vehicle to show us the view from the ‘koppie’.  We could hear the band perfectly from up there and we had a lot of fun…


Back at Stoffberg, we had to check out from Die Pers Kombers  for the next weekend as they had a previous booking for a wedding.

We booked in at The Lighthouse and were very well received by Kobus and Mellinda Botha.  Inside the beautiful cottage scented with fresh flowers, were a personalised welcoming note.

 

The cottage overlooks a most stunning dam and to add to the serenity, horses were grazing and sheep were being herded into camp as we arrived.

All of this and situated in the loveliest garden.  Complete, with cats and dogs making us feel right at home.

 

B had to be on site as I nestled in as the sun were setting…

walking in the garden and getting a few lovely pics.

 

I can definitely recommend staying here and as a bonus, we received a lovely breakfast on the ‘stoep’ the next morning.  After breakfast, we had a tough time leaving as we got to talking with the lovely owners.  As they have had the farm for more than 23 years, everything were neatly in its place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop not too far from there were a little town, (actually  smaller than a town and called a little hamlet) Tonteldoos.  As we found out that a village were supposed to have shops and Tonteldoos has a pub, a tiny shop, a restaurant and The Barn which boasts some books, plants and antiques.  The closest town is Dullstroom some 20 km away.

A storm were expected and we booked The Silver Kudu…a little church which over time were converted into accommodation.  This stone building were perfect for the stormy weather and we were ready armed with all the necessary.

Donkeys welcomed us and surrounded our accommodation over the course of the weekend.

 

 

 

We had such a relaxing time even standing on the biggest rock watching as the storm rolled in.  What a sight to behold as we could see and feel the stormy weather rolling down the mountains towards us until it was so close that we just had to run indoors.  Magazines kept us busy as we chilled under a blanket with a glass of red wine.  It was just perfect…

Sunday we ventured into the town of Tonteldoos for lunch, but we were a little late as everything closed around two.  Luckily, we always have some provisions and I could whip up a quick pasta with red wine.

But first we visited The Barn where the Botha family raised ten children.  We were told that there were some graves on the farm as well, even some dating from the Boereoorlog.

 

The owner told me that her folks bought the farm around forty years ago.  We also had the pleasure of meeting her eldest brother, John.

Tonteldoos has its own registry of births and a published book about the history of Tonteldoos also exists.

While we were visiting The Barn, our friend, Johan, who has a farm close by, also popped in for a quick coffee.  We visited Johan and Karen the previous week and they were the ones who told us about The Silver Kudu and Tonteldoos.

Tonteldoos is known for Arum lilies growing in abundance, especially the yellow one as in the pic.

Superblessed as Tonteldoos were for us such an awesome experience,

more in Part 3…

 

My Fabulous Friends – Ann Jangle

Queen of Hearts

23 January 2019

My Fabulous friends is about just ordinary people doing the extraordinary and so I love sharing their heartfelt stories…

I have been wanting to write about this wildly extravagant friend of mine for quite some time… but as with everything in my life…when we are in the flow the right timing will be just the right timing…

…And now is the absolute right timing…for a good cause…and who does not want to be part of a good cause…

A few months ago Ann decided to sell everything she owned and embarked on a journey:  “AFRICAN DREAM PARADE”

“This mission is based on a quest to find absolute freedom. Freedom from time, freedom from reoccurring relationships. Freedom from the questions I have about myself and questions I have about society. Freedom from my ego. To top it all off, freedom from paying someone else’s mortgage at a ridiculous amount because I chose to stay in an area where 4 million other mother humans beings also chose to.
So far, it has been the biggest and most humbling experience of my life.”

My name is Ann Jangle and this is my story: 

They say people come into your life for a reason. After meeting a guy, who is now cycling to Morocco to raise awareness for endangered Donkeys, due to the Chinese “mannetjies” and their need to kill everything that moves, in order for them to receive super powers and prevent the inevitable thing called aging, I started meeting more and more crazy adventurous souls, who stick out from the norm, yet keep a very low profile because they know, that to live a life outside of what society tells us, they bravely need to go off grid over long periods of time, to cleanse, to figure things out, to reboot and drown in the pure ecstasy & healing energy that nature provides. (Go check him out on Facebook / Instagram – “A Donkey’s Life” / Keegan Horn & support his cause)  Continue reading “My Fabulous Friends – Ann Jangle”

After the Fires! – Stoffberg, Douglas, Olifantshoek and a few more… (Part 1)

6 November 2018

We are driving as usual heavily packed to the brim with our bags for a month or more, workmen with their bags and trailer full of equipment and tools.

We are ever so grateful for our Ford, not so new anymore – we actually need to upgrade as we are putting on the miles fast and furious. This vehicle has been good to us and makes driving distances much easier.

I also feel so much gratitude for being alive right now as we battled the recent fires on our farm together with so many others. It is estimated that the recent fires were four times bigger than the Knysna fires of last year and around 90 000 hectares were recorded burned. Tragically eight people died.

As we drove through the Outeniqua pass towards De Rust, as far as the eye can see is black, everything visible along the road burned. It makes for a sad view, but then we just think how fast nature restored itself after the raging fires last year and I am sure that within a season all will be green again.

We had a week and a bit of hair raising experiences on our farm and we are feeling quite traumatized. I believe that going far away for work at this point in time is a definite blessing in disguise…more ways than one…

We were right in the middle where the two fires met from Jeffreys Bay on our right and Mosselbay on our left.

At first we were just about the only spot that were not under fire, until the fire jumped into our Bluegum forest. When this happened, my husband, B and some awesome friends who volunteered were fighting fires with a vengeance.

It was just a crazy, bizarre time. We had to evacuate twice in the morning hours and did not get much sleep.

Because of the efforts of B and our amazing volunteers, our Bluegum trees are still standing. Now we are just being forced to start with our buildings even sooner. It is said that Bluegum trees should be used within six month after burning. Well, this is a blessing in itself as our building plans for our storeroom has just been approved.

The story of how we became aware that the fire were on our farm…also quite scary…

We arrived back in Wilderness from an epic festival, Echo . We were very chilled although we had to drive around the closed Outeniqua pass.

We really did not think that our farm were in danger, so we decided to have a burger at The Blind Pig  in wilderness, before heading home.

I must admit, it felt quite ominous as we ate with ashes flying everywhere and dark, smoky skies, but still we were unaware of danger on the farm.

B were checking the media all the time and we thought we were in the know.

As we arrived on the farm, we heard a weird sound, some noise we could not pin and we decided to leave our bags in the car and drive up our only road to our forest. We had to walk the last bend, the noise grew so much louder and we found the hair on our body rise. Half way up we found one of our farm workman, Clifford and together we tried to make sense of this ominous sound. As we could not see anything because of the dark smoky sky, we stood around for a bit and stared at the hidden hilltops.

All of a sudden a light breeze pushed away the smoke and we were horrified to see three raging fires running down the opposite hill towards us. Immediately, we turned and ran down as fast as we could. While running we saw a snake, three scorpions and a chameleon fleeing towards the river. This scared me even more!

We decided to ready ourselves for the fire coming close to our little farmhouse which we are living in. Clifford cleaned the gutters and soaked the earth with water all around the house.

The farm had just purchased a bulldozer and we decided to drive this and our other vehicles to safety.

As there were quite a few vehicles, some from our partners, B and I continued doing this for the afternoon and finished around five.

We lost our brand new branch cutter to the fire…as well as our inherited BMW’s engin.

During our evacuation, everyone around us were in distress and contacting us…it felt super unreal and chaotic.

 

 

 

 

 

As there were nothing else we could do, we decided to spend the night with our son, Juan and his fiance, Katja, in Sedgefield.

It is in times like this when we see how caring humans can be and I would like to thank all our friends who volunteered…Jody and Bronwyn, Lupi and Jackie, Reinhardt and Dries, Ben, Wilmarie and Driaan, as well as Craig and John.  Andre from T Junction, the lovely tea garden down the road, also stopped in and kept me calm.

We were very scared, when two of our volunteers, Wilmarie and Driaan, who have never been on the farm before, went missing during the fires raging in the Bluegum forest.

At that point the fire brigade (without water) were on the farm and because of the two volunteers disappearance, it became a police matter…total chaos.

Thankfully, Dries, who knew the farm as Reinhardt and him went looking for fires the previous day, (before the raging Bluegum forest happened), were sent to look for the missing volunteers. Hours after disappearing, Dries brought them to our house by way of the river.

At this point we were still waiting for a helicopter to drop water as we were told they would after numerous phone calls to the authorities. We found out later that the helicopter bringing the water to us, were diverted to a home that were on fire…which is understandable.  At that point it would not have made a difference as the Bluegum forest were already burning out of control.

A very scary experience as I only heard afterwards how B ran through raging fires to get to our bulldozer to free some of our other volunteers who were trapped in their vehicle in the forest as trees fell across the road. He made a path with the bulldozer which led their vehicle out to safety. At that point they knew it were futile and it was when we just had to let go…

Reinhardt and Dries were watching throughout the night to see if the fires would reach our little home, but thankfully we were spared such a tragedy.

At our cottage on the farm, we could barely hear the fires as we sat the next morning having breakfast. It felt surreal sitting with birdsong and a tranquil river view knowing that the fires were still raging…

And…that is enough of the fires…moving on…
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When we drove through Meiringspoort, we were welcomed with fresh new eye candy moving away from disastrous black to vivacious greens…everywhere.

We felt superblessed as if we were slowly waking up from a very bad dream…

With music blaring in our car and a beautiful scenery, it felt like we were simply driving away from our traumatic experience.

We heard the song “Drie Susters” and it was funny as it happened to be on the cd just as we were passing the town, Drie Susters…

We were listening to cd’s inherited from B’s Mom who sadly passed away in July…

That evening we were far away from fires and slept peacefully at La Rose Guesthouse  in Douglas .

The next day, after washing our hair and feeling that we were getting rid of the last bit of smoke, we were ready to move on. (We want to thank Amanda and Abraham from La Rose Guesthouse as the shower head in our room, were just right for washing our smoky hair).

It really does not need to be the most expensive, just the most efficient.

See my 10 tips to guesthouses.

After sorting one of our workman who had also helped fighting the fires – we are all still suffering from smoke inhalation – we were off towards Kimberley .

Everywhere the eye could see were flatlands of healthy, golden, corn plantations which extended on either side of the road.

Amazing eye candy…
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It has been a whirlwind of work sites…a few per day and as it were just maintenance, we only stop for one night at an accommodation and leave the next day for the next work sites.

As we are going along, the workload has been increasing daily as new sites gets added. B is on a mission to get the work done and dusted to get back to the farm.

I felt superblessed indeed when B had to work on some sites close to Potgietersrus and I could have a whole day to visit my ex-mother in law (for lack of better wording).  This amazing being is the closest Mother figure that I have ever had.  I had an Estate Agency in Potgietersrus for seven years and Ma Margaret worked with me from the start of the business.

Our day was definitely one of my highlights of this trip.

B’s job requires a lot and I do mean a lot of driving. We have been superblessed with amazing views of not only stunning sunrises and sunsets, but also with lots of wild life.

 

On one site, an Emu even came up close to inspect the inside of our vehicle.

When driving through the drier regions, wild fig plantations were everywhere, being of the cacti family, they survive well in the hot, dry regions.

 

 

 

We slept at Maselspoort Resort next to the Modderriver and as we arrived around five, we were very tired.

After checking in, we wanted to check out the restaurant and wow! We were blown away by it…a river frontage and just at the right time to view a lovely sunset. Amazing to just sit and absorb (for me, as B were still on his phone busy with work).

The next morning we woke up around six after a good nights sleep. We found that we were quite sleep deprived from the fire trauma as we were on high alert on our farm for quick evacuation.

It has been awesome to just succumb to sleeping soundly for the last couple of nights.

On the road we were so surprised to view some amazing lions, Benquel tigers and even white lions. What a an amazing wildlife spotting. Very exciting for me as these cats are my absolute favorite animals.  Sorry, no photos as we were rushing to get to a site off course…

We know B is doing well with the workload if we arrive at eight am at Olifantshoek work site close to Kroonstad. He has been handling more than four sites per day with a lot of driving in between.

To give an idea, one day B maxed R3000 worth of diesel.

How in the flow are we, as we could even meet up with his cousin, Jaco who had some of B’s tools still from previous work sites. One of the sites were situated on the farm which Jaco now manages. We would have loved to visit him properly, but alas, no time.

We arrived in Pretoria on Friday night after seven. After sorting the men with accommodation and food, we stayed at Zambezi Lodge . We were very tired, but Saturday morning we left at three in the am to arrive at a school near Gyani in time for the hired crane truck (which we soon found out had a flat tyre).

We arrived at a locked school gate as the tower to work on were situated inside the school grounds and so B had the run around for the key. Luckily the principal were found and the gate could be unlocked.

We are very adaptable as plans keep changing, especially in the rural areas B has to work. What makes up for the fact that we got up at three am, is the absolute magnificent pink hues we saw as the sun were rising just after four.

Nature close to Giyani were really beautiful so early in the morning and we saw two extremes…majestic mountains on the left covered in the thickest dark clouds as the sun were rising in the most magnificent pink on the other side. When the sun had risen completely, it was claimed by the misty clouds and could only be seen as a ball in the sky once or twice trying to show itself. The pink by then had disappeared completely.

B remains the best driver I know, but being on the road so much, we do have an encounter every so often and at one point, an SUV came into our lane and headed straight towards us. He really misjudged himself as he were trying to overtake on a straight line. B were shaken up, but handled the situation very well as we had to veer off the road onto the gravel to miss the oncoming vehicle…again, we lived to tell the tale.

It was absolutely awesome to have had time to read a book as I waited on site. I started reading a book at last that were sent to me by my friend, Zel and the timing were just perfect. I love it when those moments arrive and I know that I am in the flow.  This book is called: “The subtle art of not giving a f#ck”, written by Mark Manson. The title reminding me of the book that B and I started a few years ago and have not worked on for the longest time.

I read to my hearts delight in that school yard and so many of my life questions of the moment were answered by that little e-book.

I always thought that I should be busy with something other than reading…felt like I was wasting time, until my friend, Debra  taught me that it is like studying and it really is.  Nowadays, I even work on reading a light book for relaxation as well…

As I am an Angel Card Reader, by trade, I could also identify others who would benefit by reading this book and subsequently shared it with them.

After all, we are all so very connected.

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A bit of caution with accommodation near Nelspruit…steer clear of Mbombela Lodge before even entering the town. I do believe we visited at the wrong time…maybe they were busy with revamping or something else.

Everything looked really beautiful at first glance. The man at the reception were really nice…but there were no hot water or even water pressure. We had one cup, the lamp were broken and quite a few other things.  Worst of all were the water situation, so looks can definitely be deceiving. There were a spa and restaurant at some point, but was not in use when we were there. We think that there might be some mismanagement going on…anyhow…moving on…at six in the morning, we left to Mahlalane.

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As we were driving back to Pretoria again after some more sites close to Mahlalane, we tried to book our room in the Zambesi Lodge, but as there were a wedding, it was fully booked.

I phoned another establishment and we were superblessed by Andre, our host at The Coral Tree in Montana. We have definitely found our home away from home. Such old world elegance wonderfully integrated into the modern. We love it and have been back a few times on this whirlwind trip.

One Friday we checked out from The Coral Tree and were geared to leave early to Pretoria to spend some time with friends…only B got busy with admin for some new sites and we decided to grab some take-away food from Ocean Basket (one of our favorites) and just have an evening of relaxation back at The Coral Tree.  We had a feast with a bottle of chilled white wine, sushi, calamari, fish and chips and to round this of, even some delicious deserts.  Ocean Basket is truly amazing.

The next day we were well rested and ready to drive to some of our friends in Pretoria. We spend a lovely afternoon with Camel and Anetta. We had Eland steaks and delicious salad for lunch. Obviously desert as well as Camel is a bit of a desert connoisseur. I don’t know how many of these delightful visits we are still going to have in future as they have put their lovely home in Rooihuiskraal up for sale.

Afterwards, we drove to our other friends and had a lovely dinner with Skillie, Alda and her brother, Juan. We had Moussaka, made with love and an amazing salad (inpakslaai)…very delicious. We brought a bottle of our favorite…Saronsberg. It really was a serene and warm evening and we spend most of it outside in their lush garden.

We were invited to stay over.  We were very glad we did not arrive the previous night as were intended after we heard that they partied until the sun came up.

With all this traveling and busyness, we were so happy to have a nice chilled Friday night.

The next day we all went to “Smoking Sessions”  where we met up with some more awesome friends.  Deon, our pro-cyclist friend whom I have written about in “My Fabulous Friends” category.

Willem were doing a live stream of the music as he is involved with Global citizen.  We listened to some good music.  Music of all genres are allowed here and we heard some good Dj’s as well as bands – Ruiter Piet en die Partykie, Die See and Shotgun Tori & the Hound.

Smoking Sessions is held at the home of one of our friends, Marchand. He is also busy planting vegetables on quite a large scale and wants to supply the neighborhood.

The music were stunning and the day went pass so quickly. We ended it in good style by having pizzas at Col’Cacchio, an italian restaurant close to Skillie and Alda. Our tastebuds were superblessed and we can totally recommend – it was some of the best pizza we have ever had.

Monday morning we left at five to be close to Stoffberg for the welders who said that they would be on site at nine.

Luckily Skillie also needs to leave at that time as he works as an argheologist in Potgietersrus during the week.

Hurry up and wait applies often in this business and again, we are used to it…the welders only arrived around 10h30. This site again is on a game farm and we are once again blessed to see Eland and other buck as well as White hartebeest which are very rare. Birds abound… some beautiful flappe. (afriaans)

We are staying at The Pers Kombers which are not found on the internet.

Rykie (0823383507) does not advertise and have guests only by word of mouth. It is situated on a farm with cows sleeping in front of our room. A very relaxed feel with birdsong all day long. Just as I like it.

Yes these are goats on the wall outside…


Hard to believe it is the 23rd of November already. It was awesome to have these few days of settling into a home environment…especially on this farm, The Pers Kombers. We receive delicious meals at night and have lunch boxes with sandwiches and something special made with care for the next day. I am feeling quite spoiled with not having to make our own meals.

I have also been getting back on my yoga mat this week and I feel well nurtured. It is so important for us to take the best care of ourselves. When I got sick , I started looking into this again and were reminded by attending a sweat lodge.

This morning I repacked my leather bag – which I made myself – as light as possible for a visit to Cape Town.  Sunday, I shall leave by airplane from Johannesburg to look after my four year old Alexia while Mommy (my daughter, Maryna) go to hospital to fetch a brand new baby brother. Superblessed indeed…

…but first we made a turn in Dullstroom on Saturday…

We have forever been curious about the town Dullstroom as we are always just shooting pass off to another site with workmen and trailer.

How blessed we felt to at last be able to visit this town while the men were working on site close by.

It is a lovely little town, with a feel much like Clarence.  We ate pancakes and then we visited some friends on a farm in Tonteldoos.  Johan and Karen clearly has carved themselves a magnificent way of life and we enjoyed bathing in the luxury of a peaceful few hours before we had to fetch the workmen from site…

Superblessed with so much travelling and seeiing our beautiful country!

 

10 TIPS FOR A GREAT STAY AT GUEST ESTABLISHMENTS!

10 TIPS FOR A GREAT STAY!
WHAT GUEST ESTABLISHMENTS SHOULD KNOW!

(Here goes…hoping that no establishment hosts will feel harmed in the making of this post as these are only suggestions.)

10…      Starting with just some feeling welcome wishes rather than necessities for a lovely stay…make it look and feel inviting with some soaps or creams or bubble bath (every one I know gets presents like these they do not want)…someone else will simply love it and even if they don’t, it would give an inviting appearance of caring. I am a the best example of this as I make and use only my own products named Alexia  (my granddaughter’s name)

 

Still I am always blown away when I see establishments putting out those little extras such as lotions, soaps and bubble baths for their visitors. A bath mat or even a little towel for feet to stand on when getting out of the bath/shower.
A two point plug for charging a phone / razor etc. Fridge/cooler comes in handy if you are staying for more than one night, but usually if asked, the establishment would make space in their own fridge for a guest.

9… Tissues…as most of us will use toilet paper if need be, a box of soft tissues is such an inexpensive luxury…
I recently had this experience at The Coral Tree guest house in Montana when I needed to blow my nose and the luxury of a tissue was right at hand. We all know that a piece of toilet paper or a serviette would have sufficed, but low and behold my feeling of being nurtured when I had the luxury of a soft tissue to wipe my nose. Elegance deluxe…

8… Curtains / blinds or whatever is good to keep out the light and sounds. Most of the time we have to get up very early, but just sometimes we get that odd day to sleep in. This is when we love a dark room.  Here I might add that the barking dog really does not add to a feeling of tranquility.  Birdsong on the other hand is what I always hope for.  A well nurtured garden is not only soft on the eyes, but also attracts birds and bees for an ambient feeling of wellness.

7… Duvets sometimes tend to be just too warm especially in our South African summer time…and specifically the really good down feather ones. So, have that extra top sheet and invest in a nice light, inexpensive (colour of your room) fleecy blanket which could be ever so helpful for those warm summer nights. Who knows, you could even save laundry time and money on the unused duvet. I don’t know if this is for everyone, but that ever so tiny scatter cushion does wonders for me for a better night’s sleep…strangely, I cannot sleep without this between my knees anymore. Obviously if the establishment don’t have this, I shall use my rolled up scarf which is always in my bag. So for me just a nice added pleasure. Also the bed will look prettier and just so much more inviting especially if you did not invest in a good bed.

6... A mirror…we have been to many establishments without even the smallest mirror against the wall, a decorous full length is not only a bonus, but can be very attractive and even makes your room look bigger.

5… A coffee station is always a nice touch. As you well know that being The Naked Barista, I always take our own, but sometimes we arrive late at our accommodation and have to leave very early. Those are the times when we do not cart in all our belongings and have to rely on the spoils of our host. I see Enrista coffee in rooms more of late, but my specialty which is rooibos tea I only find few and far between. For an even better feature, add just two rusks in a glass jar…and see many more return visits, which is what you wish for your establishment, is it not?

4… Towels, all the more so if they are very clean, soft towels…even if we always do have our own towels at hand…
Recently we have noticed that a few establishments put out only one towel for the two of us, obviously because of our water shortage…but, again if you want to have your guests feel special, a fluffy clean towel for just you really goes a long way.

3… Toilet paper...yes, and not just the one, always have one extra waiting to be used.
I know it costs a bit to have all these ten tips in place, but for me it really shows if an establishment just wants to make money from us or if they also want us to feel at home in the space provided…believe me there is no better way of showing this as with that extra toilet roll which would set you back less than ten rand. Most of the time it will not even be used, but in this case it really is the thought that counts.

2… Invest in the best bed possible as hopefully it is going to be used long and often…also do not skimp on bedding either…you have to have very good quality which is going to last. White bedding to me always has a luxurious look and feel and can be paired with absolutely any other colour. White linen is fast becoming the most used as the best kept secret is unveiling…white can be bleached and colour make for an unnecessary laundry challenge.

…AND  NOW FOR NO 1…

SHOWER / BATH or even both together. This shower hose in
the pic teams up perfectly for an inexpensive bath / shower combo.

(Maybe this would be the best place to insert also a toilet with enough pressure to flush properly) or if you really want to impress me…all three together makes for the absolute jackpot…but here is the key to a good stay…it is not only the fact that there would be a facility of being able to cleanse, but more so the actual water that reaches a body…
Most establishments goes for the awesome decorative ‘look’… the shower head looking like a huge sunflower or square or something exotic. It absolutely always fails to impress when you turn on the shower and find that the water pressure only allows a dribble. If I may have an input…stick with the one that works which is not the most expensive one at all.

Who knows…you could even buy a few rolls of toilet paper with the saving…

I am feeling superblessed indeed to have taken this opportunity to be sooo outspoken…

...and would be even more
superblessed with gratitude  to receive your comments on what your list would look like …

My Fabulous Friends – Hanno & Felicia

Queen of Hearts                                                       13 July 2018

Hanno & Felicia

This is a truly amazing story…connection made from the heart…

We met this amazing human named Hanno in 2013 when he was dancing to his heart’s delight – in a field at an annual Origin festival – in the pouring rain.  This vision made such an impact on us and we immediately knew that we were kindred spirits for life.

Dancing together frees the soul and has brought many friends on our way.

We are so happy that our friend, Christo introduced us to Trance music in the year 2010.  Since then we have had so many beautiful memories made with amazing souls…

Who is Hanno?  If I have to sum him up and only use one word, it would be…’music’…yes absolutely the perfect word and if I could add a word…it would be ‘soul’…Hanno makes music for the soul… His favorite artist and inspiration…off course…Bob Marley!

So…obviously someone with such a talent, would have an awesome band.  This came about three years ago and is aptly named Rooted Souls.  They are absolutely amazing and love doing gigs.  They can be booked for live shows at 0728695523 or rootedsoulsmusic@gmail.com.

Being an avid musician, Hanno found himself the most perfect playing partner named Koos 0765468664 and together they make music straight from the heart…

Yes, and their music is available on cd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanno is very creative.

This logo on the cd is his own design. He even used to make jewellery as well.

Hanno likes building projects too and have made many a planter box as well as pieces of furniture.


Hanno and his beloved dog, Bubbles (she is nearly twelve years old and has her birthday the same day as my husband, B) has been part of The Wildfarm family for many years where he works as the manager.

Wildfarm is well worth a visit and will superbless with the most amazing views…sunrises and sunsets…a bucket-list must see.

Hanno found his perfect love match and they started dating November 2016.  Hanno were very sure of Felicia and subsequently their engagement followed in July 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Together they have conceived this handsome baby boy, Nesta Kai, to add to their lovely family.

 

 

 

 

 

This family is very well loved, which shows in the lavish support they receive.

We were invited to their very different baby shower event  referred to as Nesta Kai’s Life Celebration

It was the first one for us where the guests were both men and women.  This was much more fun and I hope that this new trend of both Moms and Dads being together at their babies shower will catch on fast.

 …and here (pic) is that famous logo again… Hanno made this special babygrow as soon as he found out that they were having a baby boy…

They were absolutely spoiled with presents…it was such a lovely day.

Hanno and Felicia each has a loving Mom who loves being part of their lives, which affords Nesta two very happy grandma’s for loving support.

Felicia were a city girl, from Johannesburg.  She has her own recruitment company named Protea Placements, with which she is very lucky to work from a home based environment.  She recruits mainly for business developers and sales executives.  Her area of focus mostly includes the cities like Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.  At a later stage she would like to do something similar, but with focus more towards tour guides…so watch this space…

She absolutely enjoys drawing, graphic design and illustrations.  I am blown away by her skills as an artist.  She is available for orders…maybe for your parties… or any design/art work needed and would like to expand this much loved creative side of her into a business.

 

As I am a firm believer that we are the architect of our own life…these creative ventures is what helps us find happiness.

How absolutely phenomenal are her drawings? Wow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both, Hanno and Felicia shares a passion for plants and at this stage, Felicia is working towards evolving into more of a plant medicine woman.  Her vision is to be able to help the community.  I can definitely see this happening.

 

This beautiful family is superblessed to have a comfortable living space at Wildfarm with stunning views overlooking Wilderness and right down to the Beach.

…we are superblessed with fabulous friends indeed…

My Fabulous Friends – Deon Brink

Queen of Hearts                                                         31 July 2018

DEON BRINK

Where to start with this most positive being, such an impressive soul..

We have danced with Deon at Trance festivals and I knew from the start that this was one awesome guy…but WOW…I am amazed with this super human and I definitely would like to share his story…

As my readers know, I am of firm belief that if we can WORK our passion…meaning to design a business of that which we are most passionate about…we would create our own happiness.

This man is the perfect example of being the architect of his own life for sure…

Deon matriculated in 1999 and started working immediately at Hot Spot Cycles. The very next year he already helped with the management of the store.

Beginning of 2001 Deon decided he should probably do some studying, which irritated him for only three weeks as he says he is definitely no bookworm.  So after three weeks of frustration, he went straight back into his job at Hot Spot Cycles.  He remained in their employ for the rest of 2001 until he received a better offer from Cycling J&J.  They are wholesalers for a good few Italian products including Campagnola / Bianchi Assos, Vredenstein etc.

Deon worked for them until 2008 when he had an interview with Dragons Sports (Giant / LIV / Mavic / Suntour etc).  He worked as a rep for them in Gauteng from 2008 up until 2012.

He then saw an opportunity to grow their area and Tandem Agencies were born with a partner…Jurgens.

Presently, Tandem Agencies tends to Dragons Sports/ Stage 9 / Spoke Works / Versus socks / GU nutrition / Extreme Lights and most other cycle shops in the North of South Africa from Bloemfontein to Messina.  Well done indeed Deon and partner, Jurgens!

Being an avid sportsman, a cyclist of note for more than twenty years, he has turned his passion into a dream job…

Deon has perfectly combined his job and hobby…

He works from home and on his own time which leaves him with the opportunity to see his daughter, Zanda -Lee, who he refers to as his Princess.

We visited Deon for the first time at home and I was blown away once again by this man. His home is spotless…he is definitely a ‘cleanie’.  Everything neatly in its place, even his garage, which is also his storeroom, has a whole wall of build in cupboards for neat storage space.

Inside his well organized office is stunning, complete with décor of our trance festivals.  When he works late at night, he can listen to trance, which works well with his phenomenal, quick functioning brain.  He says: “Music is a piece of art, that goes in the ears STRAIGHT TO THE HEART”  I do agree.

And because he feels about music as he does about cycling, an idea turned into a great hobby,  Fixie explorers, were born… which are bikes being build with one fixed gear and…without brakes…yes, no jokes…no brakes…

He gathers old parts and up cycle (pun intended) these into a dream pimped cycle, named aptly a ‘fixie’. He builds around three per year in the winter time when business might be slower and it is fast becoming a trend.

 

 

 

 

 

Deon is also the agent for GIANT in Gauteng which keeps him real busy.  He has always been a part of riding Critical Mass, until recently when he started his own similar event, Fixie explorers.  This exciting event for professional riders as well as newbies already has a number of growing followers.

Deon’s motto that he shares with the world is to “NEVER LOSE YOUR SENSE OF WONDER”…

We joined in with so much gratitude on Sunday…Deon’s monthly cycling event and found around 25 – 30 participants excited and ready for fun.

We cruised for 12 km through the streets of Soweto, Gauteng!

We did not have any gear with us as my husband, B (in the pic above), is  working in Vaalwater at the moment and we definitely did not foresee us gallivanting through the streets of Soweto on a bicycle.

Luckily Deon has more than enough bicycles and sorted us out and will do the same for you.

We were so impressed with his expertise.  His easy and relaxed manner in which he sorted each and every one, no challenge too much.  I believe this would be the reason why the turnout for this event was astounding.

 

 

 

This was an extremely well guided, casual event to even include amateurs as myself.

 

Events like this one occurs every month…each time at a different location, very well planned by Deon himself.

Anyone and everyone is welcome, this beautiful family with their son and baby boy were an absolute example of what having fun with your children…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had the paparazzi with us…styling it with not only one, but three professional photographers. 

They were Brandon Hilton of Simple Sam Bicycles, Milan de Beer photography, Daniel Coetzee photography.

These three arrived with very expensive sponsored bicycles which they definitely deserved, snapping the most amazing photos in their stride.

 

We were told to meet at Soweto Brew Co.  Secured parking were arranged.  Deon left nothing to chance organizing every detail expertly of this lovely event.

 

 

On our cycling road trip, we stopped at the very impressive Hector Pieterson Museum for a guided talk from an experienced tour guide.  Hector Pieterson was a South African school boy who was shot and killed during the Soweto uprising when police opened fire on students protesting the enforcement of teaching in Afrikaans. A news photograph by Sam Nzima of the mortally wounded Pieterson being carried by another Soweto resident while Sam’s sister ran next to them was published around the world.  The anniversary of his death is designated Youth Day (16 June) when South Africans honor young people and bring attention to their needs.

What excitement as we went to see the inside of Orlando power station.  This decommissioned coal -fired power station served Johannesburg for over 50 years.  Even cooler (another pun intended) now as both these majestic towers are magnificently painted, one functioning as an advertising billboard and the on the other appears the largest mural painting in South Africa.

These awe-inspiring towers are now also used for bungee and base jumping.

 

 

How freeing and insightful it was to dash through the streets of Soweto…friendly folk waving and cheering us along.  Seeing and feeling the essence of this often misunderstood culture of our people.

We absolutely loved it…

Thankfully our very strong friend Alex, were riding with us as he usually has my back…(another pun most definitely intended) this time even more so, as at some point I really needed it…

I had a most stunning bicycle borrowed from Deon, but only figured out how the gears worked at the end, when we were nearly back at our meeting point…

 

 

Photo credits to Johan Brink, who is the father of our stunning friend, Deon.

Johan apparently does not miss a chance to ride out with his son at these events and why not, as he rides on the latest electric Giant Full-e bicycle.  He also has a 2016 model (left pic), which were a life changer for him.

 

 

 

 

 

When we arrived…quite thirsty I might add…back to our secured parking from our cycling tour, we went for a well deserved lunch at the Ubuntu Kraal beer garden, complete with the best beer tasting for only R15 we have ever had.  We could not fault any of the beers, they were all delicious and must be the reason that we stayed so much longer than anticipated.

Not only were the beer delectable, but when the food arrived, we were bowled over…

There were such a buzz of camaraderie from all the participants and new friendships were made with people from all walks of life.

We highly recommend this monthly ride out with Deon.  He is just the best!

…but wait…there is more…

As cycling is his absolute passion, he enticed us to watch the Tour de France 105th edition at his house including Alex and Johan.

Deon and Alex has been friends for more than ten years.  We were warned that we were going to have a bachelor’s braai, which meant no side dishes.  It was delicious and we felt totally spoiled.  Deon and Alex both loves cold Tequila and we braved a few!

Obviously, being the cycle enthusiast that he is, he had us in stitches, entertaining us with his excitement as we were watching the Tour de France.  He went to fetch his helmet for the grand finale…

Not only were we entertained, but I learned so much about the cyclists and this sport as Deon is highly knowledgeable of this which is his life passion!

Oh yes…and the winners…1st Geraint Thomas, 2nd Tom Domoulin (Sunweb/Giant), 3rd Chris Froome

Oh yeah ladies, best of all, Deon is single…but better be quick…being the amazing man he is, definitely not for long…

…you would be superblessed as we are indeed!…