Looking back on 2017

Wow 2017, you have come and gone in a New York Minute. How did that happen? I didn’t even get a chance to get one blog post out in 2017. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, however, getting back to blogging is something I am hoping to do in 2018.

I may not have done any blogging, but that doesn’t mean I was lazing about on my couch all year. I was fortunate to have quite a few amazing adventures last year, and even added 6 new country stamps to my passport.

A couple of years ago, I did a blog post about where I traveled each month. I thought it was a fun way to look back remember the past year, so I have decided to do the same for 2017. Here we go:

January 2017
My first work trip of the year was to Dubai, UAE. As I had never been before, I was quite excited for this visit. I did manage to sneak in a bit of sight-seeing after my work meetings. I visited the souks in old town Dubai, took an Abra (boat) ride (in the rain), saw the famous fountains at Dubai Mall, went to the top of Burj Khalifa and made a quick stop at Jumeirah Beach to photograph the Burj al Arab from the outside.

Dubai seemed a bit over-the-top to me (ok, way over) but I am glad I saw it. It is a very safe and squeaky clean place (I even saw a guy polishing the door knobs at my hotel) but seems to be lacking in more “traditional” Arab culture.

Burj KhalifaDubai, looking down from Burj Khalifa

Spice SoukThe colorful Spice Souk

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Summer Sunday at Walter Sisulu Gardens

I don’t know how I have managed to live in Joburg for over 2 years now and only got around to visiting the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden a couple of Sundays ago. I have known about this park for a long time now and it is located only about 40 minutes from our home, but somehow we never managed to stop in. This is a stunning garden, a perfect place to spend a day out relaxing on the well-kept lawns and/or hiking around the reserve.

Walter Sisulu National Botanical GardenWalter Sisulu National Botanical Garden

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Rietfontein Nature Reserve: A Gem in the Jozi Northern Suburbs

One of the things that surprised me the most about Johannesburg was finding out there are many terrific nature reserves to visit, even within the city limits. I have already written about a few of them already: the Melville Koppies, Lonehill Nature Reserve and Norscot Koppies Nature Reserve. Whenever we need a quick nature fix close to home, we head to one of these. This past weekend we had the chance to discover another great little gem in the northern suburbs called Rietfontein Nature Reserve.

Rietfontein Nature ReserveRietfontein Nature Reserve

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Norscot Koppies Nature Reserve

I have written before about some of the nature reserves we have visited right here in Joburg such as the Lonehill Nature Reserve and the Melville Koppies. There is another one that we have been meaning to visit for quite some time and we finally did so at the end of September.

Norscot Koppies Nature Reserve

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A Long Birthday Weekend in Swaziland Part 2-Mlilwane

In my previous post I wrote about the first part of our trip to Swaziland and our stay at Hlane. Our last 2 nights were spent at a different park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary located a little more than an hour from Hlane. In part 1 I mentioned that the original plan was to spend all 3 nights at Mlilwane however when we called to finalize our booking, we were told that the camp was booked out for the first night for a private function. When we arrived at Mlilwane we discovered that this private function was in fact a celebration of 50 years of conservation in Swaziland with the King of Swaziland in attendance to unveil a commemorative statue. I wonder how many people can say they got bumped because of a King and on their birthday no less, haha.

ImpalaImpala grazing in Mlilwane Camp

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