Last Days in KwaZulu-Natal

Trying to continue this whole idea of healthy living, I agreed to go on a hike with Amy and Lizette from work. Near Hillcrest is this rather large gorge called Kranskloof. I think Kloof means “canyon” in Africaans. Lizette’s husband also came along. I can say for certain that I was the least fit in the group, but my excuse is that I was also the oldest. Pretty sure I am bordering on middle-aged right now. The hike was really beautiful but I sadly could not convince anyone to come along for post-hike beer. What’s the fun in exercise if you don’t use it as an excuse to drink more alcohol? I mean seriously! The weekend continued on this theme as I attended my friend Johan’s birthday, which started with a early morning run on the beach, of all things. I joined up and was absolutely left in the dust. Sadly I couldn’t use age as a factor this time. It was Johan’s 52nd birthday. Sigh. I think the biltong and wine are maybe catching up to me. The birthday party later in the day was a proper South African braii. Many meats were grilled and wine consumed. Oops.


The other day I got to do something I have been wanting to do for many years. I met a woman at the birthday Braii (yet another Amy), and she told told me that the local yacht club did cheap lessons for women on Tuesday nights to encourage more female participation in racing. For the equivalent of $7, I was taken out on a Pacer with an experienced skipper and two other learners and we did laps around the Durban harbour until sunset. It was spectacular. Some day I want to get fully certified on a sailboat. After I finish my pilot’s license. There are too many cool things to do in the world! The last two weeks have been bittersweet. I finished working at WGS on Friday and had a lovely going away shindig at the local pub. I will honestly miss the people in that office. There was too much air conditioning and the computers were slow as hell, but the people were damn cool.


The week before I was graciously driven by Joe and Joan (whom I refer to as my South African parents) up to a famous game reserve to the north called Hluhluwe-Mfolozi. This is pronounced as “shloo-shlooey-oomfolozi; I think it is in Zulu but don’t ask me what it means! We stayed in safari tents and did a self drive safari for two days. I felt like goddamn David Attenborough. There were rhinos everywhere and we even saw a male and female lion. I have been to a zoo before but nothing can compare to seeing these creatures in the wild. In Africa, everyone talks about seeing the “Big 5” which includes Elephants, Buffalo, Rhino, Lions and Leopards. I saw everything but the leopards, which are apparently the most illusive. I did see a leopard tortoise, so maybe I can count that! Also on order where various antelope, zebras, baboons, and a warthog family that had moved in under the deck that my tent was built on. Also at the camp we could hear hyenas in the night because they could smell the cooking. With only a canvas wall separating me from the outside, it was a rather surreal experience.
When we got back I finally manged to also squeeze in a day for scuba diving. I had booked a dive way back in December but a serious of unforeseen circumstances meant that I had my dive cancelled three separate times.


The wait was worth it for the dozens of sharks I got to dive with (don’t worry, no Great Whites). A British couple also on the dive took several pictures and will theoretically be sending me some via email, so come back to this post in a few weeks to see the terror in my eyes. Tune in next time for some updated photos and such.


Author: Amy D. Nelson

Wanderer, hack writer, aspirational hobo, part time aerial surveyor, geologist, forester and whatever else I can do to pay for a plane ticket. Is that sentence fragmental enough?

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