Around Joburg: An Outing to Rietvlei Nature Reserve

lilac breasted roller in South Africa

Rietvlei Nature Reserve is located right next to Pretoria within easy reach for anyone living in Gauteng. It's lake is a popular windsurfing spot, something you normally wouldn't think of doing on the Highveld. It's also a popular bird watcher's destination, and it has a lion enclosure. It may not live up to the big South African game reserves but makes for a nice day trip.

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Top Five Scary Things About Living in South Africa

hadeda on green lawn in Johannesburg

For expats moving to South Africa, the list of scary things you're led to believe will happen to you there is long and grisly. Smash-n-grabs, carjackings, hacked off limbs - you will find dire warnings of all of those when searching the Internet. So we thought you might enjoy a humorous break from the gruesome. Nevertheless a warning: contains disturbing pictures!

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About Waking up as an Expat in a New Land, about Hadedas, and about Joburg Expat the Book

"I am wide awake, staring at the walls of what is to be our bedroom for the next few years. I can’t sleep, even though it can’t be past four in the morning. There is too much noise around me. I was woken by what sounded like a pig being slaughtered..." Thus begins the story of Joburg Expat the Book, if it's ever written. Can you guess what creature made that sound? Read on!

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About Cecil, Cute Baby Lions, and American Dentists…

about Cecil the Lion...

We all make mistakes. It behooves us to think long and hard whether we really want to be the first ones to cast the proverbial stone. I have no particular love for the dentist who shot Cecil, but does he deserve to lose his livelihood over it? To receive death threats that have forced him to go into hiding until further notice? And not just him but most likely his wife and kids as well?

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Save the Rhino… By Shopping?

What a privilege to have been allowed such close-up views of these magnificent beasts! But how much longer will they roam the Earth, if rhino poaching in South Africa alone continues at a clip of one rhino killed every eight hours? It is such a shame. And perhaps only shame, or rather shaming, of the people buying rhino horn can turn back the dial.

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The Wild Things

Maurice Sendak once said that he modeled all the characters of his "Wild Things" after relatives - aunts and uncles who scared him as a child. I was recently filing through Africa photos, and I was struck by how many of these wild animal portraits resemble family portraits from the olden days. You know, the sepia ones where everyone is staring at the camera like criminals.

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Safari Lite: Cradle Nature Walk

cradle nature reserve

Our destination was Cradle Nature Reserve. Joburgers might know it's there, but I had never heard of it, even though it wasn't much more than half an hour from our house. The thing is, there is a lot of stuff out there. What's known as the Cradle of Humankind is brimming with hotels, inns, restaurants, B&Bs, and small safari parks, all set in the most picturesque landscape you can imagine.

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The Birds and the Bees and the Lions Too

[Alert: Graphic images and explicit language]. Good. I can see I have your full attention.

So how many safaris have we been on with our kids here in Africa? Three? Four? Now we go on the first one WITHOUT kids, and what should we get to see the very first afternoon at Banoka Bush Camp?

Mating lions. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve seen anything mate in the wild. If you don’t count the odd dragon flies over our pool.

How cool would that have been for the kids, I ask you? And, more importantly ... 

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My Calling as a Lion Sitter

When the call came last Sunday evening, we dropped everything, dinner dishes scattered and house in disarray, and made for a friend’s house. She’s a vet, and a colleague of hers was staying over with a four-day old lion cub in his care. Which we could come and pet.

That’s what I love ... 

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