England Life & Reflections South Africa

Monthly Life Update: April 2017

Hello from South Africa!

We crossed the equator into the Southern Hemisphere for the second half of our ongoing homecoming tour. After spending March in Scotland with my family, the most part of April was spent enjoying the warm “Autumn” weather in South Africa. FYI- it’s like the sunniest Summer day in Scotland every day and no one can understand why I’m not cold and why I’m not wearing a jacket…

Moving on, these were some of the highlights from our April travels!

London

We started the month in London and it feels like a million years ago now! I have lots of friends who now live down South- plus, there are always great flight deals from Heathrow so we killed two birds with one stone in that respect.

I’ve been to London plenty of times over the years but never usually do ANYTHING touristy. Since it was Veeran’s first time, though, I couldn’t deny him a wee peek at Big Ben and Buckingham Palace- in spite of my personal feelings towards auld Liz.

Notting Hill

It was actually pretty nice to see London tourist’sourists perspective for a change. Most of my time spent down there usually consists of going to a club and then going down Brick Lane for food. We still did both of these things but, all in all, it was a completely different visit from what I’m used to!

Brick Lane

Kruger National Park

After 2 weeks of sorting out life admin in Johannesburg, we escaped the city to go on safari in Kruger National Park.

This was my second African safari- my first was at Massai Mara National Park in Kenya back in 2012 when I was a fresh-faced university graduate.

Both experiences were extremely different! Kruger National Park seemed to be VERY comfortable for us humans- there were restaurants, ATMs, petrol stations and even paved roads. You could stay thre for weeks and not want to leave.  Kenyan Safari was definitely a bit more wild! Both experiences have their charms though and I’m glad to have experienced both a Southern African Safari AND an Eastern African Safari in my lifetime- not many people can make that comparison so I feel very, very lucky.

A safari at KNP is actually really easy to organise by yourself. I’ve written a guide that I’ll be publishing soon, so watch this space! For now, feast your eyes on some amazing wildlife.

Mpumalanga

On the way back from Kruger National Park, we spent a couple of days exploring the Blyde River Canyon.

A rare couple pic!

This area is full of natural beauty and makes a perfect side trip with Kruger- especially if you’re driving in from Johannesburg.

Believe it or not, Blyde River Canyon is the 3rd biggest canyon in the world. It’s one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to but foreign tourists don’t seem to care about. This is one of those secret gems that you should definitely fit in if you get the chance.

Durban

I had a funny feeling I would love Durban and my inkling was right! With its laidback beachy vibes, Indian influence and sunny blue skies, I felt right at home here. (Even though it’s the complete opposite of my hometown!)

We stayed at Curiocity Hostel in Durban City Centre which I reviewed on behalf of the hostel group. This hostel is absolutely beautiful- so much so it seemed like it had been designed with Instagram in mind! Bonus points go to the super friendly staff and the thoughtful activities that they put on for their guests.

While we were with them, we were treated to city tour with a local architect who showed us some parts of the city that they’re trying to regenerate. I’ve got so much to tell you about this that it deserves its own full blog post which is coming very soon!

We also did surf lessons with an amazing charity called Surfers, not Street Children. As the name suggests, the charity has taken in street kids, trained them to be surfers and they now offer surf lessons, both to tourists and other street kids. I love finding cool organisations that are actually commited to making a change and supporting them on my travels- definitely check them out!

This was my second time surfing and, once again, I just could not get the knack for it. Veeran, on the other hand, stood up on his second shot…. I was unimpressed but, of course, acted supportive (while I boiled over inside.)

Eating a bunny chow- no bunnies were harmed in the taking of this picture…

Johannesburg

Apart from our excursions, our time in South Africa has been spent with Veeran’s family in Johannesburg. It’s been so lovely meeting Veeran’s friends and relatives and eating ALL THE FOOD. Seriously, I’ve been extremely well fed here and will need to go on a proper detox before getting my bikini on in Central America!

What I’ve Been Reading

Harry Potter

I’m still slogging on with the Harry Potter series and I’m now on the 4th book in the series. I can’t believe that it’s taken me so long to read them and feel a bit silly for thinking I wouldn’t like it. Can’t wait to finish the series so that a) I can read something that’s not about magic and b) I can finally watch the movies!

Miracle Morning

Now that I’m working for myself and don’t have to worry about being on time for work, I’m having to try extra hard to keep my shit together! It’s so easy to get into a bad routine of staying up late and snoozing your alarm but I work best first thing in the morning so I want to really utilise that time properly.

This book claims to be able to teach you how to look forward to waking up early and ditch the alarm clock. I’ve been trying to get up at 5.30am so I can get things done early and then have the rest of the day to enjoy. I’m not gonna lie, it doesn’t always feel like waking up on Christmas morning, but it is getting progressively easier.

The book has lots of nice tips and makes getting up early feel more purposeful. If you do struggle to wake up in the morning, I would recommend giving it a wee read.

A Year without Make Up: Tales of a Twenty Something Traveler

I’m trying to read more books by female travellers to get me psyched up about my trip. I saw this one and it looked promising. Sadly, the only positive thing I have to say about this one is that it was short and I didn’t need to waste too much time on it. No bueno.

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Most Popular Instagram Photo

I’ve lost my IG mojo again. However, I did post a few photos and this was the favourite!

Scotland is far too bonnie sometimes 💕💕💕

A post shared by Nicole Arnott (@weegypsygirl) on

Saving and Spending

After an indulgent March, I’ve given my old bank account a bit of a rest this month! Things in South Africa aren’t actually as cheap as I thought they would be, but still MUCH cheaper than The UK! You can get a bottle of house wine for less than a fiver in a restaurant- there’s been a lot of vino time 🙂

Despite the enticement of cheap wine, I’ve actually been very productive this month with freelancing. I’ve built up a nice little collection of clients and am offering services in social media management and SEO content writing. My hope is for this to be able to sustain me throughout my time in South America and it seems to be becoming a reality- yayy! Maybe I’ll never return to a desk again. (Crossing fingers and toes and everything that I can cross…..)

What’s Next in May

We leave South Africa in the middle of May for the 3rd leg of our homecoming- we’ve really been dragging things out. We’ll be spending a couple of days in Rome then flying to Malta to meet one of my best friends from home who now lives there. Veeran’s family live in Zurich, so we’re going to spend a few days with them and then head to Amsterdam where we will catch up my dad! So excited to get back to the continent and see everyone that we’ve yet to see.

Before we go, we’ve got another week in Johannesburg and plan to actually spend a bit of time being tourists. Since we’re flying out from Cape Town, we’re going to be spending a few days there and, of course, spending a couple of days in Stellenbosch so that I can drink wine until my wee heart is content.

As always, if you have any tips for anywhere that I’m going, I’d love to hear them! Drop me a comment and let me know what not to miss.

Until next time, my little gypsies! xx

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