After 126 days in lockdown, there is still no real sign of when a sense of normality will return. I know that life as we knew it before COVID-19 will never be the same, but still, having the freedom to do some of the things we used to, would be nice. Anyhow, I’m not going to rant. It just sets me off into a downward spiral.Continue reading
Day 21: It Would Have Been Parole Day
Today marks the day the pre-extention-lockdown in South Africa would have been lifted. As many people have been referring to it, parole day.Continue reading
Days 9, 10 & 11: A Three-Way to Meeting my Jekyll & Hyde
Days 9 and 10, Saturday and Sunday, or in my case Eat and Sleep…and Day 11: Moanday…
Aside from the delicious ravioli that I prepared; I made a focaccia pizza in the slow cooker. I was on a video call with Eliza, and completely forgot about the bread, which burnt to a crisp at the base and along the edges, so it was kind of flop-paccia. I think the recipe is meant for a large slow cooker, because mine rose quite a bit more than the picture on the recipe. Still, it tasted delicious. I’ll make it again as it is a superb way to use leftovers.Continue reading
Day 4: Human Interaction, Hallelujah!
We thought January was long… It’s day 4 of #SALockdown, or as it feels to some of us it’s the 8360th day of March.Continue reading
Let Them Eat Cake!
I’m far from Marie Antoinette, although admittedly, I know quite a few people who I’d happily behead if I were a Queen with a guillotine.
I’m also inclined to speak without thinking. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s true. I suffer from regular foot-in-mouth disease, often simply opening my mouth to change feet.
I haven’t blogged much about the company I work for having merged with our biggest competitor late last year. While a lot has changed, it’s pretty much business as usual, except for me making promises to bring a chocolate cake next time I visit the other branch. As quickly as I said I’d bring a cake, I forgot what I’d said, but Thomas didn’t. He reminded me and a promise is a promise, so I made a plan.
I have a mini oven in The Cave, which is good for only one thing – cremating whatever I put inside it. Buying a cake was an option, but in this instance it would have been a cop-out. Besides, I know an amazing baker. An added bonus is she lives right round the corner, and is one of my best friends. Elizabeth to the rescue!
I explained the situation to her and she said she’d bake a cake for me. I bought the icing ingredients and gave her a little something for her effort. While I had zero hand in making the cake, I did spray the pans and help dry the dishes. I also told her what I thought she should put on to decorate it. I must say, she doesn’t give herself enough credit, because as far as I am concerned, this cake is an absolute masterpiece.
The poor woman’s nerves are a little bit rattled, because she always stresses that her baked goods won’t be good enough, but everything I’ve ever eaten that she’s made is de-li-cious! She’s said that she wants to test her limits a bit as far as baking is concerned, so I will be making good use of her abilities. After all, I’m a good friend 😉
Review: Sekelbos Restaurant
I’ve been seeing daily ads in my Facebook newsfeed for a place called Sekelbos Restaurant, so decided to take The Bean there yesterday for a light bite. Sekelbos, as explained to us by our polite waitress (whose name I didn’t get) is a type of wood that is said to burn for ages, but never to ash.Continue reading
As the sun begins to set on 2019
I reflect on where I am,
what might have been…
I remember the rivers I cried:
How, in March, I wished I had died.
So much has changed this year
Yet much is the same
Family, friends, job, dreams
Yet the solid ones remain my team.
I remember the laughter and smiles:
Gatsby, weekends away, foresty miles.
Often it was tough, but mostly good;
I loved and lost and stumbled and fell
But like a Phoenix, I rose
and finally understood
I remember feeling undefeatedly victorious:
The freedom of turning forty, so joyous!
Excitement grew, as did my dreams:
Of travel and writing
Of leaving what’s safe, to open my mind
To see new places, to spread my wings.
I remember the sad goodbye of dear, dear friends,
But our bond is stronger than time’s end.
I remember standing in speechless awe
Of the Mighty Zambezi and Victoria Falls
As 2020 looms, undoubtedly with challenges of it’s own
I take solace knowing I won’t have to face them alone.
**Unless otherwise specified, all photos are my own and my not be used without my prior written permission.**
Review: Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Arriving at the five star Old Drift Lodge was an experience in itself. I was welcomed by the Manager on Duty, Farai and the resident “Granny”, Hilda, who is learning the ropes. To ward of the sweltering heat, I was given a cool, damp towel and my suitcase was whisked off to my quarters, while I was checked in, over my first (of what would be a few) cocktails.
The main area of the lodge, where all meals are served, overlooks the Zambezi River. The furnishings are classy and comfortable. The décor speaks to the history of the Old Drift Town, and has the touch of Africa visible throughout, with chessboards that have wild animal pieces.
Every day the lodge has brainteasers up on the chalkboard, which is a great way to get the travellers (which are from all corners of the Globe) to interact with one another.
I was escorted to my accommodation by Granny and taken aback by the size of it. The king size bed was covered in crisp white linen, and there was an elephant made out of the towels on my bed, along with a personalized note, welcoming me to the lodge.
I was given a quick tour of the lodgings and told that if I needed anything (including a change to the beverages in the minibar), it would be arranged. I tested the theory by asking for a bath to be drawn for me upon a return from an excursion my last evening, and it exceeded my expectations.
While the lodge specializes in being a couples-destination, the luxury tents are able to sleep four persons: two on the king size bed, and two more on twin beds, in a separate room. My personal feeling is that this is not the sort of place to bring small children, given the wild animals roaming around, and because the idea is to retreat from life and truly rewind.
The bathroom boasts beautiful his-and-hers handbasins, made of copper.
There is a large indoor shower, as well as one outside. What sold me on this lodge (and I considered a few!) was the outdoor bathtub. Who wouldn’t want an indulgent bubble-bath, while overlooking the Zambezi, with the possibility of view game as an added bonus?
If you’re wanting to cool down, every room is equipped with its own private splash pool; sometimes used by the passing elephants to grab a drink. If this happens and the water is left a bit murky ‘n muddy, one call to reception is all it takes for it to be turned back into sparkling blue. On my last day, I enjoyed an ice-cold local ale, Zambezi Lager in the pool.
After dinner every evening, each resident is accompanied to their room by a ranger, in case there are wild animals roaming about. This is a requirement of the National Parks Authority, and a necessary one. One evening there were both Cape Water Buffalo and a herd of elephants roaming around the lodge.
I had a busy time during my holiday, wanting to do as much as I could in the short time I was in Victoria Falls, but the staff at the lodge are flexible and always willing to help. For example, lunch is served between 13:00 and 15:00, but if one arrives back from an excursion a bit later, something to nibble on can be arranged.
The lodge offers sunrise-, and sunset cruises (whether a single person, or a number of people) are booked, as well as game drives, and nature walk safaris. The sunrise cruises include coffee, hot chocolate, and tea for your enjoyment on the river. For those that can’t resist, there is Amarula for the coffee too. Oh, and the most delicious biscuits too; the oats crunchies are dangerously addictive!
During afternoon excursions, there are alcoholic beverages available – on the sunrise cruise you can enjoy a sundowner while you gently chug along, and the game drive has a pop-up bar somewhere along the route, where travellers can sip on something cold, enjoy some bite-size snacks and soak up the breathtaking view.
All the guides that accompany guests on the excursion are extremely knowledgeable of the area, the animals and the vast array of birdlife that can be found in- and around the lodge.
The meals at the lodge are next-level delicious! Chef Gabriel and his team indeed know their onions. The menu is a five-day rotational one, as Farai explained to me, but if there is something specific a guest would like to have, it is easily arranged.
Breakfast is a continental one to begin with, and guests can order an assortment of hot meals, which are prepare to order. I had eggs benedict one morning, and the Rangers’ breakfast the next. One thing that I love about the meals served is that the hot meals are served on hot plates, keeping the food warm throughout.
At every meal, Chef Gabriel makes a turn at the tables to make sure the guests are enjoying their meals. The waitstaff are polite and always at the ready to fill your water glass or get you a drink to have with your meal. I only had lunch at the lodge once, given my hectic schedule. It was Fillet of Tilapia (one of the 80 types of fish found in the Zambezi).
The dinners at the lodge are a culinary experience, with a selection that caters to all tastes.
I had dinner on two of the three evenings I was at the lodge (as I attended a dinner excursion on the Bushtracks Express one evening).
The travel agent that booked my stay at the lodge is a friend, and mentioned to them that I was coming to Victoria Falls as a to-myself-from-myself-40th-birthday-present. On the last night I was there, the manager on duty, Lessley, joined me for dessert. Halfway through that cheesecake, all the staff on duty came out singing “Happy Birthday”. For a minute I thought it was Lessley’s special day, but it turned out that I had been blessed with a birthday cake, which I was quite willing to share with the other guests, but they were all “well fed” with no extra space for cake. I ate a piece and had the rest divided amongst the staff.
On my last night, I came back to my room to find an envelope with my name on it, and a note inside. Again, it could have just read “room 6”, but that personal touch made it special.
I wish I could remember everyone’s names to thank them individually for their incredible hospitality, but for fear of (unintentionally) leaving someone out, I am simply going to say a universal “thank you!” to everyone at Old Drift. Being at the lodge has opened my eyes to the beauty of Victoria Falls town, the Mighty Zambezi and given me renewed hope for the future. I arrived at the lodge as a weary stranger, but left feeling like part of the Old Drift family. I’ve left a part of my heart there.
You may be rated as five-star by travel standards, but in my book, you’re a 10 out of 5 😀
Thank you for the memories! Ones I will treasure forever.