Whales, Khoi-San, and Chardonnay: Getaway to South Africa’s Wild Coast (Part Two)

Part One of the story of our Wild Coast Meander brought us all the way to Wavecrest Beach on the evening of our second leg, with my husband staring at the boulder in his hand and cursing our friend Mike with a string of expletives I won’t repeat here. Because no doubt it had been he who had planted the rock in Noisette’ backpack while we all took short naps during our lunch break.

I can only imagine the glee he must have felt when he shouldered his daypack and loudly announced to no one in particular: “Funny how these feel heavier than before lunch!” We should have known then that he was up to no good.

Noisette, not to be outdone, spent a considerable amount of energy on cooking up schemes to get back at his tormentor. The next morning Mike came to find his shoes tied to a fencepost with remarkable patience, and he would finish the day soaked to the bone after a river crossing where Noisette scouted out the surroundings, stripped to his boxers for a swim, and pounced on Mike’s canoe once it was safely in the middle of the stream.
Serenity: Sunset at Wavecrest Beach Hotel and Spa

Perhaps I remember Wavecrest Hotel and Spa as the nicest of our hike ...  Continue Reading

Sun, Wind, and Cows on Beaches: An Unforgettable Hike along South Africa’s Wild Coast (Part One)

When we – reluctantly – left Johannesburg in early 2013, I knew we had made the most of our three years in Africa. We had seen the continent up and down from Cairo to the Cape of Good Hope and East to West from Pemba Beach in Mozambique to Swakopmund in Namibia. We had been to its highest peak in Tanzania and into the deepest sea when diving in Zanzibar. It’s hard to imagine that we could have squeezed even one more week of exploration into our busy lives. And yet I always regretted never having seen the Wild Coast, that fabled place that conjured images of Where The Wild Things Are in my mind’s eye. I still keep a copy of the children’s classic by Maurice Sendak on my bookshelf, dog-eared and well-worn. I suppose I must have always had a yearning for adventures to parts unknown, even if scary things might lurk around the corner. Imagine my delight this past July when out of the blue we received a phone call from our South African friends. Two spots had opened up in their group going on the Wild Coast Meander a mere three weeks later, and would we be interested in joining? Not typically ones to make quick plans, we dropped everything and booked our flights via Atlanta to Johannesburg. Our kids were old enough to stay on their own for 10 days, we reasoned, and so we brushed away any feelings of guilt or worry. The Wild Coast was calling!

I’ve always said that nowhere but Africa are you so pampered when embarking into the wilderness, and this is very true for the Wild Coast too. The name might make you think of deserted landscapes and rugged terrain to be conquered by sheer power of will, but in reality porters would be carrying ...  Continue Reading

Paradise

Coming back to South Africa was almost exactly as I’d imagined it.

The red sunset over a dusty city.

The smell of wood fires in the air.

The smiling faces around me.

The feel of a Zulu handshake.

Ordering a whole bottle of Chardonnay with dinner for ZAR 80 which is less than $7.

 ...  Continue Reading

Mt. Kili Madness

Next month, September, will mark my 2-year anniversary of having reached the summit of Kilimanjaro.

It will also be the 2-year anniversary of handing over the reins of Alexandra Baseball to my wonderful successors, the Irwin family, after I found out my own family was relocating to the United States.

Just ...  Continue Reading

Peequality

One of the chapters I had the most fun writing for Kilimanjaro Diaries was the one I named Peequality: The Last Frontier of Women’s Equality. In it you’ll learn of a series of contraptions, each one niftier than the last, which are supposed to help women on the go who, how shall ...  Continue Reading

Drakensberg

“Which places in South Africa do you regret not having seen?”

That’s the question our friends asked us one day over a glass of wine, after we had learned that we’d be moving soon.

It’s not an easy one to answer. There are a million things we would have liked to do before ...  Continue Reading

19 Lessons Learned from Climbing a Mountain

Not long after I returned from my Kilimanjaro climb, I went to a talk by a guy who jogged the entire length of India and who makes a living going on such daring and exhausting and a bit crazy adventures and then giving speeches about the lessons he learned from them.  I was greatly impressed until it occurred to me that I also can talk about the lessons I learned from one of my crazy (and while not really daring then certainly exhausting) adventures.  So here I give you some of the lessons Mount Kilimanjaro has taught me.

  1. Wherever you are in life, it’s always a good idea to plan a new adventure. (But get yourself some good boots and take a few extra packs of wet wipes.)
  2. Everyone
 ...  Continue Reading