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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The 12 Days of Christmas, Kruger Style

It seems the holiday season is upon us and since I am looking forward to spending a few days in my favorite park over the holidays, I was thinking it might be fun to change-up one of the old classic Christmas tunes to a wilder theme this year.

C’mon sing along now, you know you want to…

One the first day of Christmas my Kruger gave to me, a leopard in a tree.


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SANParks Honorary Rangers Photography Course

Those of you who have been following along on this blog for some time already know that I am totally addicted to the Kruger National Park. In the past few months, I have been fortunate to take 2 more solo trips back to the park of 2 weeks each. As you might imagine, I am drowning in photos from these trips but today I want to tell you about the highlight of my latest adventures, the SANParks Honorary Rangers Photography Course.

SundownersTaking a sundowners break from class

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A Tale of 13 Kruger Lion Tails

There is a tale I have been wanting to tell about my last trip to Kruger Park back in November, but first I had to sort through over 600 photos of this one sighting alone. I have been very fortunate in my trips to Kruger to have had some amazing experiences, and at the tail end of this past trip, there was one more very special sighting waiting for me.

Let me set the mood. It was my last full day in the park. My usual M.O. on this trip had been to get up and out around 4:30 am when the camp gates opened. This day was however, dark and rainy and I decided to go back to bed for a bit and wait out the rain. Unfortunately I soon discovered that it was also starting to rain INSIDE my hut as well. I moved my stuff out of the path of destruction and went to wait for the reception to open to get some assistance.

Luckily there was an empty hut and I proceed to move all of my belongings over to my new hut for my final night. By the time I got out of camp, it was after 8:30 and finally the rain was starting to let up. I opted for an easy drive from Lower Sabie over to Skukuza on the main road, with plans to take the gravel roads back if they started to dry up by the afternoon.

Skukuza BridgeSkukuza Bridge after the rains

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2015: Where did you go?

I cannot believe that 2015 is now done and dusted. Doesn’t it seem that the older we get, the faster time goes? I really try my hardest to slow down and live in the moment but still, time just keeps flying by. We have been here in South Africa for over 2 years now. The first year we were really in transition mode; getting settled in a new country, making new friends, and me, starting a new job. The biggest change back in 2014 was that the Frenchie became the “trailing spouse” as he was not allowed to work while on my visa. 2015 saw us get back to a bit of normalcy in our lives. Late in 2014 the Frenchie was able to secure his own work permit and left his trailing spouse role for a paid position in the South African work force. Our household roles were redistributed and I found myself slaving away in the kitchen much more often (haha, not really, but we have started eating out a lot more lately).

When I look back at 2015, it seems I have been away more than I have been home. I haven’t added up the time, but I am sure it is not all that far off. I traveled quite a bit for business and pleasure and at times, there would be luggage from more than one trip lying on the bedroom floor waiting to be unpacked. I started to go back and look through my photos to remind me just what I have been up to this year and I thought it might be fun to post a recap of where I have been month by month. Some trips I have already blogged about and others not as I sometimes just didn’t have the time. Let’s have a look.

January 2015
The new year started off calmly enough. I didn’t have any trips outside of Joburg in January and that gave us a chance to spend some time in this fabulous city we are proud to call home. One of the reasons I love Joburg so much is due to its diversity. You can really find just about anything here. Two of the things we did in January I think illustrate this quite nicely: a visit to the Norscot Koppies Nature Reserve (a lovely reserve right in Joburg that I wrote about here in 2014) and a walk through Cyrildene, the new Chinatown of Joburg (you can see more photos from our first visit here).

BlesbokThis trip to Norscot was specifically to photograph this baby blesbok, isn’t he sweet?

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