South Africa – the most beautiful country in the world!!


1. South Africa

South Africa

This country sweeps international travel prizes and has travellers raving about its beauty so much that it has the highest repeat tourism of any long haul destination in the world! Considering how crazy people are about the place, it’s not surprising that South Africa takes the top spot in the beauty stakes.

Not only does the country have stupendous natural beauty, but it’s urban-amazing too. The town of Franschhoek has been named amongst the five loveliest in the world, and the metropolis of Cape Town is more often than not picked as the most beautiful city on earth by travel lists and tourists alike, because of both its unparalleled natural setting and gorgeous architecture.

This setting is on a coastline hailed as the most beautiful on earth. In fact the country has three of the world’s ten most beautiful coastal drives including Clarens Drive and Chapman’s Peak. These were number one and number two most beautiful coastal drives respectively.

South Africa also has an astonishing variety of marine life, with almost twice the number of marine species as the whole Mediterranean in a coastline only 2000 miles long. It’s the best place in the world to view whales from shore, and to swim with great white sharks. The world’s largest migration of Ocean life occurs here, and is one of the two largest migrations of any kind on earth.

With some of the finest national parks in the world, including the Kgalagadi, Isimangaliso, Hluhlue Imfolozi and Tsitsikamma, South Africa has been rated the finest wildlife destination on earth and is Africa’s most biodiverse. That’s much of where it leaps ahead of other countries in terms of beauty. What’s better than a great sunset? A great sunset with giraffes or elephants in front! The Greater Kruger National Park and Limpopo Transfrontier Park has more species of large mammal than anywhere else in the world. Surrounding Cape Town is the world’s densest plant kingdom by species count. The King Protea flower is a gorgeous bloom the size of a dinner plate!

Surrounded by Cape Town is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain. When viewed from across Table Bay this world wonder provides one of the greatest views on Earth, and has been named one of the world’s greatest mountains. Incredibly, two of the eleven mountains chosen for this honour are located entirely within South Africa, more than is claimed by any other country. The other is the Amphitheatre, a gigantic cliff regarded as one of the most impressive in the world. Its cliff face is around ten times the size of the main South Western face of Yosemite’s El Capitan and six times the size of the North Face of Switzerland’s Matterhorn!

The Amphitheatre is found in the Drakensberg, one of the world’s most beautiful and utterly distinctive mountain ranges. It has been named the third in the list of must see mountain ranges you’ve probably never heard of. Falling off its face is possibly the tallest waterfall on earth, though officially the second tallest, which is arout twenty times the height of Niagara! ‘The Tugela Falls’ plunge over 3000 feet in 5 abrupt steps! This, together with the Augrabies falls, is one of two South African falls named in the Top 10 waterfalls in the world. In the North of the Drakensberg is one of the greatest and most beautiful canyons in the world, the subtropical Blyde River.

Other mountain ranges in the country include the best-exposed fold mountains in the world, The Swartberg or ‘Black Mountains’. Unlike their name suggests, these mountains display astonishing technicolor sandstone cliffs folded in all directions through what geologists call anticlines and synclines. They house one of the most beautiful cave systems in the world, the Kango. Four of the ten oldest mountain ranges in the world are found in South Africa, including the breathtaking Waterberg and the stunning Makhonjwa range, the oldest in the world. This is a country of astounding age, and is the place where both the oldest fossils and the oldest gold have been found.

Even the deserts in this country are astonishingly beautiful, from the powdered red sands of the Kalahari to the Karoo and Namaqualand. The latter is an incredible arid area larger than California that turns into the world’s largest garden each Spring in a floral display unrivalled anywhere on earth. Thousands of species of flowers bloom and transform the landscape unimaginably. It, together with Technicolor city suburbs like the Bokaap, is part of why the country has been called the world’s most colorful.

Unsurpassed wildlife and mountains, whales and waterfalls, architecture and antiquity, the world’s most beautiful city, and the world’s most stunning Spring, plus a host of natural treasures make South Africa “The Most Beautiful Country In The World”, and a must-see traveller’s dream.

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I am now a published author – hallelujah!!! My Love Affair with Nora!!!


I have been extremely quiet over the past few months, but for a reason!  I have fine-tuned and re-read and edited, and proof-read again my novella / autobiography / travelog on my mid-life adventure of joining 5 strangers, all Norwegians who live on the opposite side of the globe to me, on the Cape to Rio sailing race in January 2011.

The book explains my soul searching after two failed relationships straight after each other, following a 25 year marriage that ended in divorce.  At age 49, already starting to experience menopause, I took the bull by the horns, got my skipper’s ticket, and advertised to be crew on board a vessel  in the race.  A month later, I got my response from Norway!  And so started a story that simply has to be told.

Sharing such a confined space for weeks on end with 5 strangers included some love, some pain, anger, frustrations, joy and the ultimate prize was to rediscover who I actually am.

I trust you all go and read the book – it is short, sweet and concise. I have tried to tell it without writing with rose-tinted glasses on, and if I can encourage just one woman to go out and grab whatever life offers, I will be happy.  Thanks to all who encouraged me by telling me I CAN write!!!  So much appreciated!

Enjoy, the book is available on Amazon.com in 5 days’ time, or as per pic hereunder:

Nora

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Shall we Dance??


You know that scene in this movie with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez?  The one where they have mental sex whilst dancing to the most sensual music, and you see the sweat beads on the small hairs in his neck, her lips moist and parted most of the time until she closes them after a gasp of air, their hands all over each other’s backs, and her famous derriere doing its talking!  Well, I’ve just watched it for the hundredth time in my life, and it still enchants and mesmerises me……  And I am blessed cause my man still stirs all that chemistry in me.

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Gnawing the skin around your fingers until it bleeds!


We all do it – we bite the skin around our nails and then pull a piece, and then when it bleeds and we know it is going to be sore like hell the next morning, and especially when we put it in water, we want to kick ourselves, wondering why we did it in the first place.

Is life not like that all too often, we push and prod at a problem, or rather a perceived problem, until it bleeds, and then, at that point, it is too late – the hurt afterwards is inevitable!!

So why do we do it?  Cause we get carried away in the heat of the moment – that moment when pulling the piece of skin feels so creepily good, the saltiness of the bit of blood that seeps through tastes divine, and at all costs we want the offending piece of skin that irritated to be gone with forever.  And then the pain afterwards.

So it is with marriage and all too often we do this kind of damage in the heat of the  moment, only to find that irretrievable damage afterwards – a raw wound that takes days, and of course in the real world of damage caused in our lives, months or years to heal.

No, I am not in any danger of losing my man, but it has been a challenging few months, with us in each other’s hair too often, arguing about all and nothing – certainly nothing important enough to lose what we have.  Yet, we pull and tear away, knowing it may be sore afterwards.  We have lived apart for too long now – him on the farm and I on the West Coast.  Lots of plans for our future have been playing themselves off in our life, and as per normal, no matter how well we plan and think that our plans are set in stone, life happens.  So, in our case, influence from outside, i.e. a tenant ruining my rented house down here, which I had to fix first, the pursuit of comfort which unfortunately involves the root of all evil, money, or the lack of it (I am sure many very wealthy people also feel life play with them at times), etc have all made for me having to spend some prolonged time down here, with Kobus up there.  And then, as per normal human hearts / brains, whatever rules us, the devil comes and plays havoc in our minds.  For me, it simply is that I love it here, and I am therefore so sad to even spend a day up there, but there also means I can sleep behind my beloved’s back, wake up seeing his lovely face and love and laugh with him!!

So, it is off I go for a few weeks, and bye-bye to the beautiful Langebaan for a while.  To go and put some ointment on the sore where I tugged and gnawed on a piece of skin, and hope the sore is over soon if I treat it with loving care.

 

 

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Death, you ugly, loathsome beast!


If you read the Bible, you’ll know that death is a beast, a two-headed, ugly beast that is so powerful, that only God has beaten the beast when He resurrected His Son.

My ex-brother in law died a few hours ago. I knew that today was the day when I woke up this morning. My daughter says I scare her, as I know when death is coming to knock on a door close to me. I dreamt that my dad died a week before his death, I knew that an acquaintance was nearing death a few weeks ago, and quite a few more of this has happened in my life. I spent a long time with him, alone, just the two of us, two evenings ago and obviously knew it was not going to be days or weeks anymore. His eyes were misted over, his finger tips cold, where once was a fleshy male body lay a bundle of bones, with thinly stretched skin covering twitching sinews and weakly pulsating veins.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (a la Patrick Swayze) just more than a year ago, and fought a brave battle. Initially, after the first shock and operation, followed by debilitating chemo, he tried to do the whole green barley, no smoking / drinking routine, but once it was clear that the battle was slowly swinging in imminent death’s favour, he started enjoying his glass of wine and his cigarettes again. And no-one begrudged him as we saw how death was tightening its grip on his life force, by eating away at his flesh, his heart, his soul, leaving despair in his eyes, trembling hands, and weak legs.

He was lucky – his normally sunny disposition enchanted many people to love him during his lifetime, and thus, today, his last day on this earth, his previous wife, my beloved sister, and his last loved girlfriend spent precious time with him, until he was ready to let go of life and he asked them to leave him alone – clearly to die in privacy and peace.

When I drove through to Cape Town on Tuesday, I was startled when an oncoming car veered onto my side of the road, only to realise that the driver was swerving to avoid a wheat squirrel whose mate had just been hit by a previous vehicle. This little animal was dashing in from the side of the road to smell and touch the warm little body of its friend / partner as it lay freshly dead on the tarmac, and my fear was that it too was going to get killed by the next car. And then I wondered – would it not be better for it to die as well? Do they mate for life, and the one left behind is now alone until that monster called death also comes for it? More thoughts were that some people simply disregard the fact that animals have hearts and souls – if so, why was this little bereft animal darting in and out of passing traffic to be by its dead partner’s side?  Why if it did not have a soul according to some people?  And I think of lonely widows / widowers all over this globe – where this monster has come in and wreaked havoc without anyone having a fighting chance to ward it off.

What do these two things have in common? Nothing other than death – no animal, no plant, no person can be spared death. I asked Johan two nights ago if he is ready to face whatever the next part of his journey would bring, and with grey eyes staring at me, he shrugged his shoulders. Cause we have no choice. Death will get us – each one of us, and we better wake up and realise that this life is not to be the death of our souls whilst our hearts are still beating. Let’s live!  Let’s love.  If only I could spread this message into the hearts and souls of those who right at this moment are embroiled in warfare, killing, maiming others.  Let us, the ones that are reading this and who care, pay this message forward.

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I fell off the Banting wagon


I am not going to say much more than I fell off the Banting wagon. All this eating as much as you like, fatty and creamy foods, butter et al, has made me more fat than ever!!

I know the diet is supposed to be 100% strictly no sugar, low (or no) carbs and it comes with a warning that if you still eat these PLUS the banting food, you’ll get fat, and that is exactly where I am. At first I thought this was the next best thing to sliced bread, and that I can do it – loving the fact that I could eat the skin on chicken, and the fat on my braai chops, but then I learned another thing: I am an addict. O dear, my daughter called me an addict a long time ago, and of course, as per all addicts, I denied, and lied.

But, when I sat down on Monday afternoon this week, with the cuppa tea in the one hand and the other hand holding the most delicious chocolate muffin covered in Mint Crisp ganache, I recognized that I am an addict to sugar. One muffin followed another down my throat, until all six were devoured – no, I am not kidding you! The six pack was done – and not a crumb left for my beloved either, and another layer added to hide my long-ago six pack on my tummy.

So I asked my cousin for her advice. She was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, to the point where she had to inject herself every day. And she took the challenge, changed her diet, her way of life, and shed more than 20kg’s by now – and looking hot baby! Her advice, believe it or not, is what we all know deep down inside: everything in moderation. Sure, she had to cut out sugar, and she bears testimony that at some point you do not miss it anymore. But she eats more healthy, and 6 small meals a day – low fat, low carb, but balanced.

So its back to the drawing board for me. Anyone want to buy the almost new book – The Real Meal Revolution from me?

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Flies on a windscreen


So here I leave a client at the local retirement village and at the intersection to hit the highway home, I look left and right, right? And I notice two flies mating on my passenger side window. She is large – a real fat mama, and he is small, but happily settled into the act, riding on her back. And of course, being a highway, I need to give gas, and laughed so hard I nearly overturned my car!! She is holding on for dear life, he is still stuck, his wings start to flap uncontrollably, and the next moment his whole body bends over backwards, wings and all flapping upside down now! And he is still stuck! Shame!!!….. I was so relieved for their sake when they finally blew off, still stuck together, hoping they will not just land on the tarmac in front of the oncoming traffic and at least have some time to enjoy and do “conscious uncoupling” — o no wait, that’s Gwynneth Paltrow’s line….. At least they were still alive when they finally flapped off together – the poor guinea fowl that did a death run into my car was worse off yesterday. As I did not see him behind the car after he ran straight into it, I feared he was stuck somewhere in front, and indeed, when I got home – there he was – firmly stuck between bonnet and registration plate, which was hanging onto one screw. My swak hart! At least my garden boy, who had to take care of it for me as I simply could not, had a stunning supper (bad enough already to pick up small dead mice courtesy my cats in the house every morning, or step on a snake in the dark on the way to the loo). Check the wings in the first photo still straight, and the next one he just bent right over!! Poor thing.

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