Category Archives: Guest Blogs

Kidz say the darnest things

Kids say the darnest things…

From the time my son Angelo was 2.5yrs he already had quite a vast vocabulary and would say things that would leave us and others stunned.  I was advised time and time again to write these things down and regret that I often didn’t.  Here are a few things I did manage to either write down or with great difficulty due to my fabulous memory (not) that I remember.

So lets see.  From his huge heart in his tiny chest. He was barely 3yrs old when I was going through his clothes and taking some out, he asked me what I was doing and I said that I was taking his clothes to give to Magda, our domestic worker who’s shack had burned down and she has a son of the same age.  He runs down the stairs shouting… “Magda, Magda…don’t worry I will blow and blow the fire out.  Round about the same time the wind had blown one of my little trees down and he said don’t worry mommy, I will fix it.  There are loads and loads more, from asking me why the begger on the street is homeless and why we don’t just buy him a home to showing some humility to animals.

It must be said that with becoming 4!  A whole new world opens for them and this chicky attitude just kicks in.  Just before he turned four though, he welcomed a baby sister into this world.  He would say things like she smells like cookies and I just want to eat her.   Oh yes that reminds me…this left us quite open mouthed…I was due to go in for a C-section on a Monday but by Saturday had gone into labour, as we were driving to a friend to drop him off and in the car I had a bad contraction he turns to his dad and I and says…’guys, is my baby coming?’  How does a 3y.9m child know anything about this??? He often refers to her as ‘his’ baby.

On a recent visit to grandpa (my dad) who always has a slab of chocolate to hand out,  he was given a pack of batteries for all his remote controlled cars etc. Angelo says not to worry he prefers these batteries anyway, this brought grandpa a giggle, who was already feeling bad for not having the regular chocolate bar.  Also about a day or two ago apart from his supersonic ears, he also has amazing eyes…staring at the horizon he says he can see other countries, he can even see the peramints (pyramids) ofEgypt.

I could go on and on and maybe even phone a friend to who calls herself his grandmother and with whom I often share these stories with, she might have a dozen or more to add, but let me end by saying every child is so unique and precious and I’m sure you have a list of your own and enjoyed reading mine.

Till next time, yours in parenting… Petra

Leave a comment

Posted by on 29/05/2012 in Guest Blogs


Tags: , , , , ,

Tracking in the bush

Dear Readers,

Ranger Trompie (please see blog “Day in the life of a ranger”) is sharing his knowledge today on tracking in the bush. May this enjoyable read transport you straight into the heart of the African bush.


Working in the bush, one becomes in tune with your surroundings, you could almost say that the bush has its own language. I was fortunate enough to have a helping hand in learning this language.

I can still remember the first time – on foot – I was on an ingwe ngkonzo ( leopard track in Shangaan ). I was still very unexperienced and although I had all the knowledge to conduct a game drive, being on foot in a big 5 area was a whole different ball game. Oscar, my tracker grew up in the area and his father had shown him everything he knew. The first thing he told me was don’t run if something happens……… little did I know what he actually meant! We went into a thicket following the track, all of a sudden the bush became dead still, next thing all I heard was growling and out of nowhere a female leopard was charging us!! Oscar was standing dead still as I reloaded my weapon, heart pounding in my throat. During your initial training as a game ranger you are taught to load your weapon, stand your ground, shout and even kick sand at the animal if necessary, but no ranger ever wants to shoot an animal. After the initial charge she slowly moved backwards and in the blink of an eye she gave a second charge, then turned around and disappeared into the bushes. Oscar looked at me and kindly told me that the ingwe did not understand the language I had just used!

Tracking is a science and is something that can’t be learnt from a book, sure the book can give you pointers as to what to look for and how the different tracks look, but the truth is that in the bush there are a lot of other factors to take into consideration. The climate, the time, is the wind blowing, in what direction is the track heading are just to name a few. You also need to have a in-depth knowledge of the animals behaviour.

The bush is like an open book, all you need is enough skill to read it, you need to project yourself into the position of the animal in order to get a better understanding of what the animal was doing, where it was heading and why it was doing it. Tracking is also more than just tracks in the sand, it can be a broken branch, a bent grass or simply sounds in the bush, like insects that become silent immediately when disturbed and pick up again after the disturbance has passed or a Grey Lourie making alarm sounds when sensing danger, a Baboon barking, an Impala snorting. Silence is as loud as an alarm in the bush if you know how to listen for it. It is astonishing to see how the locals respect the bush and the wildlife which live there, it is important to know that we wander on their turf and not the other way around.

One day on a morning drive Oscar and I only had two guests on the landy, a honeymoon couple from London, we had shown them everything they had come to see except the elusive Rhino. We set out to find one for them on their final drive, and went to an area rarely driven to by rangers in hope of finding a Rhino.

In the area known as Sumatra, whilst driving, we found fresh dung and tracks. Oscar told me to stop and he hopped off and I drove around to check if the tracks appeared on the other side. To my amazement there were no tracks, meaning luck was on my side, as the Rhinos were still close by. I met up with Oscar, he told me that he found a mother with a calf, but the bush was too thick for the vehicle, so we had to go on foot. I turn to the guests and they are already both smiling like children that have found a secret stash of candy. I gave them a pre walk briefing and we set off on foot in search of the Rhinos, as walked I kept an eye on the ground, listening for sounds and looking around, since the bush is really thick. Finally I spot them in a clearing, grazing, a mother White Rhino and her calf. I take the guests as close as I can, without disturbing the Rhinos, we viewed the animals for sometime and then left the same way we came,and the Rhinos never even knew we had been there.

In closing, you don’t have to stand next to an animal to see it, it’s better to see an animal during its natural behavior than to spook it and thereby provoking it. Respect life and love it – it’s a privilege!!

Ranger Trompie

Leave a comment

Posted by on 17/02/2012 in Guest Blogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Queen of Bargain: Groupon

Greetings to all my readers and followers!

I’m starting this blog off with these lyrics from Abba’s “Money, Money, Money”

“I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball…

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world”

As much as we might hate to admit it, money does help make the world go round! With that in mind I think everyone looks for ways to save that penny…and all the things they could do if they had a little extra – so I would like to introduce the Queen of Bargains!! I’ve known this lady for many a moon now, and if there is one thing she can do is smell out a bargain or ways to make the most of your money! She has kindly consented in her busy schedule to write once a month – the first Tuesday – about the best and most innovative ways to use your money wisely! I give to you….Petra – The Queen!!


There are only a few things in life that make me dizzy with excitement, some I am not going to mention *blush, but one I would love to share with you is my reputation as the Bargain Queen, of SPECIALS/SALES/SALDOS/CLEARANCES/PRICED TO GO etc…  I get such an adrenalin rush from ‘scoring’ a good deal, which brings us to GROUPON – Seriously in my eyes??? The best thing since sliced bread.

So I stumbled upon this wonderful website approximately 11 months ago, my first purchase? A facial and pedicure for something like R180, the salon turned out to be pretty close to home so I saw this as a definite sign.  Was it good?  Hummm…for that price yes!  Would I be willing to pay the full price? No… And so the past couple of months I have been groomed by just about every beauty therapist in the Pretoria area.  No loyalty I tell you!

I recently visited OJ hair Salon…mmmm not too aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it could do with a coat of paint *snob.  But I had a wash, treatment, cut and Indian head massage and a blow dry!!!  She landed up doing my shoulders too?!? Maybe part of the massage?   And the best? The price… Only R199 valid at something like R580. Bonus dolls!

I am now due to take my car for a valet (R60) slimming treatments and sunbed 5x of each (R300).  Best deals in the past include a massive T-bone steak, salad, chips and a drink for only R35, an hour family photo shoot for R199, high tea for a friend’s b-day etc.  Ok, ok you are getting my drift… Here’s a cheers to all you Groupon  virgins, go forth and get pampered…

Yours in bargains, Petra

Your link to get started on Groupon –,3132421

Leave a comment

Posted by on 07/02/2012 in Guest Blogs


Tags: , , , ,

Kidz Thingz: How do you keep things clean with kids around

Greetings to all moms, dads, and anyone else who has an involvement with kids.

I’m excited to introduce a new guest blogger – Petra, she is a veteran mom with two little ones. Angelo being the blue-eyed 4.5 year old first-born and Gia the gorgeous newest addition at only 9 months. Every last Tuesday of the month we will be hearing about the antics of these two, as well as the thoughts of a mommy who still learns something new in the ever-changing world of being a mom. I look forward to taking this journey with you.


How do you keep things clean with kids around??

Seriously moms!!! How do you keep your homes spotless with little ones?  In my case my 9 month old girl Gia –  who is teething as if teeth will go out of fashion, if she doesn’t cut all hers at once, – is drooling over everything and my 4.5 year old son Angelo, whom the teacher claims is such a nice ‘pack away-er’,  is simply the opposite at home.

The answer is probably to invest in a full-time nanny???

Another messy moment is feeding time!!!  Yes, yes, the famous bib the baby should wear, but I don’t always get around to putting one on or even remembering to add  a few in the nappy bag…not only do I always mess food on Gia’s clothes, but somehow always on mine!  So it was refreshing to see that on a recent play date (G’s 1st ) with her friend Cadi (5 weeks younger) that Cadi had taken a strawberry and squashed it on mom’s white linen pants.  Now don’t get me wrong I don’t take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes but it did help me feel ‘normal’ I guess.  Also when my friend Sam, admitted over breakfast the other day, that one thing she’s not good at is to feed without messing….You see we mom’s are way to hard on ourselves.

Oh wait here comes Angelo, he has gone for a ‘swim’ in the newly renovated water feature/fountain – clothes and all.  The problem?  He is dripping on the freshly mopped floor aaaarrrgghhh ok I can’t win…. Till next time…breathe in, breathe out…


Leave a comment

Posted by on 31/01/2012 in Guest Blogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A day in a Ranger’s life

Dear Readers,

I am very fortunate to have in my life a person who is not only a great ranger, but is also able to put his experiences to pen and paper. Today, I present to you a wonderful guest blogger, using an alias: Ranger Trompie!. Today he is going to be telling you about the day in the life of a ranger! I trust you will enjoy the read as much as I did!


Another scorching day has reached its culmination, as I reach the entrance gate of the Timbavati. I am so glad to be “home”, after off days. It is always the best feeling to be in the bush, feeling one with life, nature, the wildlife and seeing small things like a Malachite Kingfisher darting down and catching something or a lioness using her wits to track down prey and hunt.  The varied landscapes are what characterises the bush, whether it be the endless open plains, the rock formations or the dry riverbeds winding between the dams.

Although the bush is beautiful, the many big and small miracles of nature would remain unnoticed by most people if it weren’t for rangers who interpret what they see and have the skill to keep them safe in an environment that’s wild, the secret of which is respect for the bush.

Once I’m at the lodge its time to meet my guests, find out what they would like for sundowners on the afternoon drive and get the Landy ready and fuelled for an afternoon game drive. I meet my guests at the boarding platform at half past four and give them a pre-briefing, this is almost the most important part of the drive, as it is where you as a ranger can establish the rules and gain the trust that you need to connect with your guests.

The excitement mounts as I pull out of the camp, going down the road my tracker, Oscar signals me to stop, he has spotted fresh tracks from the local leopard, named Mbali. We disembark from the vehicle and eyes glued to the ground, we set off in search of the Ingwe (Shangaan for leopard). I spot Mbali up in a weeping Boer-Bean tree and signal Oscar, we return back to the vehicle so as to bring the guests closer to see her, stopping at a safe distance, the guests are in awe as they view this magnificent animal laying motionless in the tree.

(Taking us back to where I mentioned respect for the bush – sometimes the leopard spots you before you spot it, this can result in a serious situation. These wild animals usually warn you to make you aware of their presence, if this happens it is a good idea to stop and asses the situation, move back slowly and give the animal space or you could get charged, if this happens stand your ground! The animal is more afraid than what you are.)

Going back to the drive, after a good two-hour drive and a few amazing sightings its time to stop for sundowners. We have our drinks as we wait for the sun to settle in its sleeping place and then take off for the final part of the drive. Oscar gets the spotlight ready, at night-time the eyes of the animals light up, this is caused by the Topeatum Loseadum found behind the retina, it reflects natural light and enables the animals to see better at night. We are on the lookout for nocturnal animals such as Genets, Civets, Bush Babies, Owls, Nightjars and of course the predators that hunt at night. As we drive, we become aware that this is no longer the territory of man but that of the beasts in the dark.

Back at camp I lead the guests to dinner, where we are met by traditional Zulu dancers who dance the night away around the chattering fire. I now have the opportunity to mingle amongst my guests, getting to know them better. After dinner I walk them to their rooms since the camp is not enclosed and very dangerous at night.

So that’s one day in the bush life, it is not a job it is a lifestyle and a good one at that.Now I will settle down with a nice cup of coffee on my porch and listen to the night sounds of the bush, which are so dear to me.

Ranger Trompie.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 09/01/2012 in Guest Blogs


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: