July 24: When I Grow Up I’d Like to be a Ziziphus Mucronata Twig

Today I spent a short time with a lovely friend at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; a place I didn’t take nearly enough advantage of when I lived just down the road years ago.

Kirstenbosch Bothanical Gardens, Cape Town

“It’s so GREEN! Greengreengreengreengreengreengreengreen….”

And I was really excited to find lots and lots of SPEKBOOM! I’ll always love Spekboom. It’s a plant that brings me back to carefree days spent at Addo Elephant Park, when i’d sit back in my campsite and pick at the little succulent leaves all afternoon. Or i’d scare people at the hide by browsing the leaves like a kudu or adding them to my sandwich (a good tactic to employ if one wants a whole hide to themselves). I’m really into free bush food.

Yummy Spekboom

So today at Kirstenbosch I munched a few Spekboom leaves for the sake of nostalgia. The Botanical Gardens probably have some sort of policy against eating its plants. But the leaves are very juicy and taste a little like an acidic pea. Supposedly, they taste better in the evenings than they do in the morning. I do love it when nature goes all quirky.

I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t find any Buffalo Thorn trees (Ziziphus mucronata) among the huge collection of indigenous plants. I love Buffalo Thorn because not only do the leaves taste great, but it also carries a lot of meaning in its distinctive zig zaggy branches. For example, if someone you care about dies down in a mine or in a cave or anywhere else below the surface where their body can’t really be recovered, no worries, simply find the nearest Buffalo Thorn. Snap off a twig, and voila, you’ve got your friend back! Just place the twig on the ground above where your buddy died, for long enough to suck up their spirit, and then bring the twig home to bury it.

But because your twig now physically embodies your friend, you’ll need to pay its taxi fare home. And buy it a Wimpy Burger at the service station. Really. This is why I love Buffalo Thorn. I think i’d quite like to be buried as a Buffalo Thorn twig. I’m loving my ‘death-plan’ at the moment. Body= vulture restaurant, burial= twig.

Another highlight were these little water droplets on some velvety leaves. It’s been a while since i’ve seen little water droplets on anything.

There are little corners of the world where water still falls on things…

The real ‘wow’ moment of the day were some Honey Bees swarming an aloe with bright orange flowers. As they move about, the orange pollen sticks to their legs like little orange leg warmers. I imagined them all making an 80’s fitness video and it made me smile. “1-2-3-4- get that pollen then get some more!” I imagine honey bees aren’t all that creative with their rhyming.

Before leaving, I had to visit my favourite place in the gardens. A natural spring with lovely fresh (and tasty!) water and some magical little rocks that I always manage to slip and fall on.

There are places on this earth where drinkable water comes up from underground…

My magical rocks. Love.

Love Cape Town.

(I didn’t even bother to bring the camera today. Alles snapped with phone…)


Cape Spurfowl
Cape Robin Chat
Cape White Eye
Karoo Thrush
Karoo Prinia
Double Collared Sunbird
Guinea Fowl
Egyptian Goose
Tiny Fish Things

July 21: Love Cape Town

And now for the first time in nearly six months, i’m not in the Kalahari! I’ve seen green things today.

Yesterday was a day of roadtripping, watching the Kalahari fade away. At first, it filled up with Quiver Trees, then those were replaced by some little orange flowers, before the whole place became the Karoo and eventually the Cape.

The long road trip begins….

Still Kalahari…

And still more Kalahari…

The enchanting town of Springbok

Somewhere south of the enchanting town of Springbok

I do have a thing for Quiver Trees.  They’re not really trees; more like a fabulous giant aloe plant. They work well in the dry parts of the country, because they’re like giant water containers. One ‘tree’ can hold up to 100 litres of water! And i’m happy to announce that Quiver Trees are NOT going extinct, as was once thought. They’re  actually thriving according to the latest issue of Wild Magazine. I don’t have to get all teary when I see them anymore! Long live Quiver Trees.


I also passed through the town of Pofadder for the first time, fulfilling a life long dream of mine. Okay, not really.

Pofadder. Dreams come true.

You know you’re close to Cape Town when it’s rainy

And now i’m here in Cape Town wondering when rain will cease to be this exciting! I’m thinking never. It’s water and it falls from the sky! It’s totally awesomesauce. And it makes rainbows. Love rain. Love rainbows. Love Cape Town.

Sunshine, rainbows, puppies etc…

(All photos on this trip were taken with my phone. There’s a sticky smear of Stoney Ginger Beer and some cookie crumbs on the lens, hence the general cloudiness. I had my camera with me, but it was heavy.)


Black Eagle

July 11 Night Drive: Spread Cookies, not Eeyore Clouds

I’ve always been so saddened by people who come on safari and are determined not to enjoy themselves. I make it my mission to try and leave these people smiling because I can’t bear the thought that they might get home from their safari and be hit with the sudden realization that they travelled all that way just to upset the people around them. Sometimes I don’t succeed. The Kalahari is a place to spread joy, good karma and cookies, not dark Eeyore clouds.


Striped Polecat (36 days)
Black Backed Jackal (60 days)
Cape Fox
Spotted Eagle Owl

June 21: Buying Cookies in Togo

I’m not out on a drive tonight, so i’m having a little bit of home time, with hot water bottles, warm comfort food and hot chocolate. And earlier this evening I opened an e-mail from Kiva, saying I had now accumulated $25 in re-paid Kiva loans. Yay!

I adore Kiva. I first started lending more than a year ago. If you’ve not heard of it, Kiva essentially works when you agree to lend someone $25 or more to help develop their small business. They then repay that loan over an agreed term.  In my opinion, this is so much better than a straight-up donation. It encourages responsibility and personal growth and good business practices and all kinds of happy things.  And because the loan is eventually paid back (usually), you can later re-invest it in someone else. For example, the original $100 I invested more than a year ago has now funded 6 loans! And I can keep recycling that money into new loans in the future. Who knows how many people will be helped by such a small amount of money. Simply love it.

Of course you have to be careful what micro-finance organizations to loan through. There are so many different ones on Kiva. Some charge their borrowers ridiculous interest rates. Some are just plain dodgy and might not treat their borrowers all that nicely. Fortunately, there are ways to research these things in order to make the most ethical decision.

Tonight I made my sixth Kiva loan and my third to a woman in Togo. My previous two Togolese loans were to wonderful woman who sold flip flops at market stalls.  This time i’m hugely excited to announce that i’ve invested in the cookie industry!

Ayoko is 42 and runs a stall re-selling cookies and other snacks. Cookies always make people smile, so I know i’ve made the right decision.  And as a cookie enthusiast, I do love that i’ve just spent money to purchase cookies in a country i’ve never even been to.

So good luck, loveliest Ayoko.  I’ll spend this cold Kalahari night dreaming of cookies in warm and far-off places. Love.


Ayoko at her epic cookie stall in Togo


June 14: Happy Birthday Mama Bear


Christmas, 2011

I miss my mummy. She’s eccentric and free and weird and wonderful and I love all the things about her that used to embarrass me before I knew any better. She has tattoos and piercings and hot pink streaks in her hair. She rocks out at Rammstein concerts and never misses a motorcycle race. She always does her own thing and she couldn’t be any awesomer. Thank you for being you and for making me me.

I Love you. Have a wonderful birthday.

This ground squirrel is for you…


It’s a birthday squirrel!


London, November 2011


Christmas, 2011




January, 2011


Namibia, October 2008

Back Soon!

So this morning I’m off to another camp to work for the next week. I won’t have any phone reception (bliss!), but I’ll be keeping all of my sightings reports and I’ll post a huge update when I’m back on the 6th of June.

I’m hoping for some great giraffe sightings in the next week! The area I’m headed for is known for its giraffes. Wherever you are, have a wonderful week.

Love Kalahari so much…