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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A Special Kruger Moment with Two Special Kruger Ladies

If I had to name one reason why I totally love being on safari in the Kruger Park I would probably say something like it’s because of the idea that each day when you roll out of bed and hit the road, you really have no idea what surprises the Kruger has in store for you. Maybe you will run across a breeding herd of elephants peacefully frolicking in a waterhole or maybe you might forced to reverse down a narrow dirt road by a big elephant bull who could easily flip your vehicule in one swift trunk swipe. Maybe there will be a crash of rhinos blocking the road and you will have to eventually turn around and find another road. Maybe you’ll plan a quick stop at a waterhole just to check it out but you end up sitting for a couple hours just watching (and taking zillions of photos) the diverse bird life and all the other creatures coming down for a visit. The possibilites for special sightings in Kruger are endless but sometimes there are some that are just a little more special for one reason or another. One of those is what I wanted to blog about today.

This particular day on my recent visit to Kruger Park had started out overcast and drizzily. I had already had some great sightings on previous days but with the weather being as it was, I really didn’t have any high expectations and I was in fact glad that the rain had finally brought the high temperatures of the previous days down a bit. However the Kruger had other ideas for this day and soon I found myself at an amazing cheetah sighting; only the second time in my life that I have seen them. That was special, really special but that sighting isn’t what I am going to write about today (I will one day but you’ll have to wait a bit for that one).

It was the sighting just after lunch, during the off-peak safari hours in which it is usually way too hot and most of the animals  are hiding somewhere in the shade that was really, really extra special to me. I was driving down a dirt road between Lower Sabie and Skukuza (S128 aka the Old Tshokwane Road for those fanatics that like all the details) when I saw this:

Lionesses in the RoadLionesses in the Road

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Globetrotting: Nice to Zanzibar to Kruger National Park

The past 6 weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind of travel for me so I thought I would do a quick update to let you know I am still around and looking forward to sharing my recent adventures with you soon.

The beginning of November had me back in Nice, France for a work trip. Incidentally I left for this trip exactly one year and one day from the date we moved to Joburg. It felt a bit strange to be back in Nice (or more precisely Sophia Antipolis where our offices are located) and I really feel Joburg is home to me now. It was a hectic week of conferences but a great experience to meet fellow¬†colleagues from all over the globe. We didn’t have much free time at all and I didn’t even get a chance to see old friends but we did manage a few hours for a nice Sunday afternoon around Antibes, much needed after the long, hellish flight from South Africa.

Flying into NiceFlying into Nice

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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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A Long Birthday Weekend in Swaziland Part 1-Hlane

It is somewhat of a tradition for my birthday (July 11th if anyone is taking notes) that instead of lavish gifts, we try and celebrate by taking a trip somewhere, long or short, whatever we can manage that year. When we lived in Europe, as my birthday was smack in the middle of summer, this usually meant some time spent on a beach. Greece, the Amalfi Coast, Croatia… just some of the fabulous places I have spent my birthday. This being the very first year I would be spending my birthday in Africa (and in winter now to boot!) I absolutely wanted to keep with our tradition and sneak in a little birthday excursion.

Hlane ReceptionHlane National Park Reception

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