Tag Archives: Cape Town

Marriage & Romance

How wonderful to watch some of the Royal Wedding yesterday, so many years after Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s. Teenagers then, we crowded into our school hall for most of that day, savouring the moment, not to mention the opportunity to skip classes. Even in South Africa, we felt strangely included, similarly to yesterday.

Thanks to the massive scale world media of course, but perhaps also in part because of our British ancestry. At least, that would figure according to Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating book, Outliers. As for the present, though, Prince William looked dashing, what a beautiful bride Catherine Middleton made . . . and what a gorgeous dress Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen) made. I whole-heartedly endorse the fashionistas’ praise 🙂

On the subject of weddings, we recently attended one in Botriver, near Cape Town. I mentioned our pending trip in a previous post, promising some photo’s, but to be honest I took pitifully few – feeling rather too social. Instead, I’d like to share a link to the official photographer’s beautiful blog, which showcases a stunning celebration: Tasha Seccombe Photography. There are four posts altogether, if you feel like a leisurely browse.

It took place on a wine farm in the wildest wind, lending a wintry, Highlands feel. Being partly Scottish, I loved the bagpipes, along with the kilt worn by Warren (the groom) – and the bride, Jen, was simply lovely. Apart from plenty of traditional delights, technology played a role too. Jen’s parents were in England, unable to travel for health reasons, so they shared the experience via Skype. Isn’t that cool?

Our sincerest wishes go to both couples for a magic married life, filled with romance. Being a chik-lit/romance novelist, that’s significant to me 😀 While in Cape Town, I did take the following pic of Foresters Arms (“Forries” to the locals) because this restaurant and pub features in my first novel, Out of Air, and I wanted a photo for the book’s website. We had a fabulous Friday lunch there, finding it as vibrant today as in 1994, when the story is set:


FORESTERS ARMS restaurant & pub – Cape Town, South Africa

So if you happen to take a trip to the Mother City – and fancy a British feel – put it on your list of places to eat . . . drink . . . and be merry! Continue reading

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Easter eggs and bunny slippers

HAPPY EASTER to all who celebrate it 🙂


EASTER EGGS in a basket – http://www.ovpstudio.com

Apart from Easter messages, masses of chocolate and public holidays, this time of year tends to be marked by media warnings about road safety, lending some sobriety to the pending long weekend.

With that in mind, I’d like to spare a thought for a special project which is underway at the Children’s Hospital Trust. Managed by my wonderful sister-in-law, this is the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

The objective is to equip four METRO Emergency Medical Services ambulances with specialist paediatric equipment, facilitating a hugely positive impact on the prognosis for small patients. A total of R2,000,000 is required for this purpose, every cent of which goes directly to the project. Looking at images of the proposed ambulances (Bugs Bunny pics and all) is really moving, prompting this mention.

Should you, or someone you know, be in a position to help, please follow this link for more information or to make a donation: www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za

Either way, enjoy a delicious Easter and appreciate the bunnies because . . .

“You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers.” – Dean Koontz

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A Novel Valentine

Sincere thanks to the stunning team at Hills of Africa Travel in the USA, for requesting an interview about my novel for their blog. This has been the catalyst for creating the website www.outofair.com – artwork by my gifted stepson:


OUT OF AIR website – Home page screen shot

The article will take the form of a two-post series, the first on Monday 14 February, which is Valentine’s Day. That also happens to be the day the story begins. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at Chapter 1 to discover Gina’s Valentine surprise – not what she had in mind for her romantic dinner à deux!

Hills of Africa Travel are also the reason behind the penguin pictures on the website, because it was while documenting their magic Soul Safari 2009 that we visited Boulders Beach in Cape Town. Here’s a snippet of video we created from the encounter. If you watch closely, you will spot the camera in Dave’s hands 🙂
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Twin Anniversary and Engagement Celebration!

This is a special day for us. My twin sister Ruth was married 20 years ago today at the gorgeous Alphen Hotel in Cape Town, where she had lunch with her husband, before their party tonight. By complete chance (if there is such a thing :-)), Dave proposed to me 16 years ago today on Signal Hill, from a spot right about where this photo was taken:


TABLE BAY and ROBBEN ISLAND from SIGNAL HILL – Cape Town, South Africa

He had Table Mountain in mind, but was too impatient, or tense, to wait for the cable car queues. We weren’t aware of it then, but apparently both sites are situated on significant energy meridians. I haven’t looked into this, but true or not, it was certainly auspicious for us. That year we celebrated with Ruth and Etienne, since dinner was already planned on their behalf. We’ll enjoy ours in Jo’burg tonight, and drink a toast to them too!

I don’t usually include pics of myself in posts, but today is unusual – and being identical twins is curious to some 😉 – so here’s a recent one of the two of us together:


NAOMI & RUTH – by DAVE

Heart-felt thanks to my beloved husband, for asking me to marry him all those years ago, and pressing a beautiful ring into my hands – which I almost dropped down the hillside, because Dave has the most stunning blue eyes imaginable . . . Continue reading

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Celebrating Southern African Getaways

Sincere thanks to the fabulous Christine Searle at SA-Venues, for including me in her awesome post: South Africans share their favourite local getaways! It’s a total treat to participate and discover what’s special to others too 😀

Picking only one favourite was impossibly tough, given the abundance we have here – as well as how privileged Dave and I have been, thanks largely to friends, family and our professional photography. I narrowed it down to the African bushveld, because I believe that nothing compares to the ‘soul vacation’ this offers. Here’s the longer list, incorporating more of Southern Africa and a few of the countless highlights we’ve enjoyed:

Londolozi private game reserve, SA – leopards:


LEOPARD CLOSE-UP – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe private game reserve, SA – wild dogs:


AFRICAN WILD DOG – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Schotia Safaris, SA – lions:


MUFASA – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

Welgevonden private game reserve, SA – rhino’s & elephants:


RHINO SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa


ELEPHANT SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Timbavati private game reserve, SA – buffalo:


BUFFALO BULL – Timbavati game reserve, South Africa

Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana – abundant game and raptors:


HIPPOS AT SUNSET – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana – wide open spaces and occasional cheetah:


DAVE checking photo’s on our roofrack – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana


CHEETAH RUNNING – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Mozambique – scuba diving, especially Guinjata Bay’s manta rays:


MANTA RAY WITH REMORA FISH – Guinjata Bay, Mozambique


ME SCUBA-DIVING – Mozambique, Southern Africa

Lesotho – enduro riding, in particular the extreme Roof of Africa:


ROOF OF AFRICA 2010 – Lesotho, Southern Africa


VIEW OF MALUTI MOUNTAINS – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Cape Town (where I grew up) – family, fun, Two Oceans & Table Mountain:


TABLE MOUNTAIN from V&A WATERFRONT – Cape Town, South Africa


VIEW OF CAPE POINT – Cape Town, South Africa

As far as wildlife goes, we’re planning perhaps the pinnacle trip for September next year: Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania with &Beyond Africa, which follows the migration in luxury tents. CAN’T WAIT, especially since it will probably include scenes like these:


WILDEBEEST RUNNING – Masai Mara, Kenya


HOT AIR BALLOON ABOVE MIGRATING WILDEBEEST – Masai Mara, Kenya

I wasn’t lucky enough to accompany Dave to Kenya, where he shot these last two pics, so that’s high on my wish-list of wildlife destinations, along with others in Southern Africa, such as Namibia (where I was born), Zambia (where my father was born and raised) and Zimbabwe (where some of our special friends come from). And that’s just for starters. Ah, AFRICA…what’s to do but LOVE YOU?

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Preserving Penguins and preventing seasickness…

Those of you who’ve read about My Books, will know that our endangered African Penguins are close to my heart. This stems from childhood, when my late father sailed on our national research ships to the Southern islands and Antarctica, sometimes returning with penguins and seals. Despite the passing decades, I’ll never forget them, nor the pungent cocktail of diesel and oil mixed with the sea, so characteristic of the Cape Town docks. The docks of the old days, before the development of the vibrant V&A Waterfront.

So it’s wonderful to learn of support for the world’s penguins. My fabulous Facebook friend, Dyan deNapoli (The Penguin Lady) is in the process of launching her book The Great Penguin Rescue. Documenting a devastating oil spill that threatened 40,000 African Penguins, it will no doubt be a PHENOMENAL read, so take a look! For anyone unfamiliar with these birds, here are some pics of the Boulders Beach colony in Simonstown:


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Dyan also recently drew our attention to a stunning new website of the Global Penguin Society, which ‘is dedicated to the survival and protection of the world´s penguin species, fostering integrated ocean conservation through science, management and community education.’ High five to them for all for their amazing effort!

As an aside about sea travel, Dyan offers invaluable advice for preventing seasickness: ReliefBands. She apparently felt no discomfort during five days of crossing the Drake Passage (to Antarctica and back) on a stabilizer-free ship, while others on board were beyond green. The bands ‘have a metal plate that sits against your wrist and provides an electrical pulse that stimulates a nerve, reducing peristaltic activity in your stomach’.

This recommendation came in response to a query on my Mom’s behalf, as she plans to visit ‘The Ice’ next year, shortly after turning seventy. Hard core women, or what? I can’t take the thought of those hectic seas, preferring to stick much closer to coast-lines, but these bands are a definite for future dive trips! I’ll task my Mom with photography 🙂

And how’s this for a cool side benefit? A user testimonial for ReliefBands mentions going on Adventureland rides that kids adore, with ‘NO ill effects whatsoever’! WOW, if that’s possible, perhaps there’s hope for me to read in cars. Now that would be AWESOME 😀 Continue reading

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Serving humanity on Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela turns 92 today. What better way to honour his contribution to the world than by participating in Mandela Day, declared ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ by the United Nations last year. People across the globe are performing 67 minutes of community service today, in tribute to the over 67 years that Madiba devoted to public service and striving for social justice.

It was awesome to see him attend the World Cup final here in Johannesburg, along with Morgan Freeman, who portrayed him masterfully in the movie Invictus. In the words of this iconic actor: “Madiba doesn’t want a day of celebration. He asked that we spent 67 minutes on that one day in service of humanity.”

Still in South Africa, Morgan Freeman waved off a group of motorcycle riders on Tuesday, at the start of their road trip in support of Mandela Day. Although not riding himself, he is taking part in the event, which has traversed South Africa, from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg all the way to Cape Town. This is the final day, being spent erecting a fence at the AIDS Response centre in Khayelitsha, convening at the Cape Town City Hall, followed by a press conference at the One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

To set the Mother City scene for you, here’s a photo showing the One&Only Hotel (marked in red) in close proximity to the Greenpoint Stadium, which has been the setting for much World Cup jubilation over the past few weeks!

TABLE BAY, CAPE TOWN, including GREENPOINT STADIUM & V&A WATERFRONT Continue reading

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