Friday, December 23, 2011

Life in 2 extremes!

The dune we had to climb!
Hi Everyone!

I hope all the festive preparations are going well for you all! We have finished dressing the tree, it's just the decorations to go up outside the house that is left to do! Dad and I are waiting for the opportunity to sneak out and do it to surprise mum, which should happen later today! I can't believe just over a week ago I was sitting on the beach in Mozambique having a cheeky tipitimto rum and raspberry and enjoying the warm waters!
Had to show you the glasses!!
The week away started by packing the vehicles at the crack of dawn pausing for a moment to relish the serenade of a male leopard calling somewhere on the quarantine open area! The convoy of 3 vehicles carrying 12 friends in crazy over sized glasses met at Gowrie gate eager for what lay ahead!
A quick refuel at Hoedspruit for human and vehicle alike, lasted a bit longer than planed as Marc came to join us to say fair well, then it was on to Phalaborwa!

Bull elephant from Kruger
The sun was shinning and spirits were high as we made our way through the Kruger National Park enjoying a herd of buffalo and a couple of bull elephants along the way to Giryondo boarder post. (I can't deny it was also bliss to jump into the pool at Lataba day visitors centre to cool off, as lady landie had no air conditioning!) Sadly this will be the last time we can do this trip in a day, not because of anything we have done I hasten to add! It is due to the rules of the park which have changed. Anyone wishing to use Giryondo must now spend a night in the Greater Kruger National Park. This decision has come from too many over loaded and non roadworthy vehicles that make use of the boarder post for commercial reasons rather than being holiday makers. This meant we had to use Komatipoort boarder post on the way back which did add to our journey time somewhat!

Village in the Limpopo park
Once on the Mozambique side of the boarder in the Limpopo national park we saw very little except signs left by elephant and you can guess what they were! A 2 hour trek through the park past a number of small villages, brought us to the gate and Massingir dam which lies just outside the park. I have stayed at the camp site inside the reserve that over looks the dam before and can recommend it.  The chalets had electricity and running water and was very reasonable in price!

After another 4 hours drive to the coast we finally made it to our little spot of paradise! It was everything we had hoped for at Zona Braza! The golden beach was just a couple of minutes stroll down the dune; although it was slightly longer to get back and the work out involved stopped me feeling guilty about all the delicious seafood we had eaten over the week! I am sure you can imagine how much fun was had by all! I managed to stub my toe on the wooden walk way which lead to the beach which was quite painful but has healed well now and apart from a couple of other minor foot injuries it was a huge success! Mission extreme relaxation completed! We could even laugh while we were stuck in traffic for over an hour at Maputo on the way home!

The dune road we had to walk down!
A couple of days later, after finally packing up my room and saying goodbye to the sands, I made my way to Johannesburg, popping in on Graham Cooke and his wife before flying back home to the chili UK feeling like I could take on anything!! (It was a good job I felt like that: Warning! If you fly via Doha with Qatar be prepared to run for your gate!) I must admit I was a little concerned I only had 30mins between flights, but then I thought, well there must be a good system in place if my boarding pass says quick transfer and is edged with orange. There was even a video to watch on the plane which explain everything in detail! Awesome I thought; well organised!

Last day on the beach!
Hum! Well it looked well organised on the outside! A short bus ride took us from the tarmac to the terminal. According to my ticket the next flight should have started to board already. As we got inside the airport, the que was huge and everyone had an orange boarder to their tickets, some showed theirs to the officials and they pointed to the same que I was in, so I thought Ok I can't be special either then! It was 20mins to take off, but at this point I still had faith surely if they are this laid back the gate must be close by? Having finally got through security I had only10mins before my plane was suppose to be in the air, hum, panic? Nope, no need it is all under control... so I thought!

The promenade at Arnside
Following signs for gate 39, I went upstairs only to loose the signs at the top. Seeing only gates 12-14 and nothing else, now was the time to panic! I asked a couple of staff the direction for the gate. The first  was not  particularly helpful. The second pointed the way and said you better hurry as it is last call, (no kidding I thought!) So there I go bags in hand, shoe slipping off my foot, as I legged it down the corridor to the furthest gate away from where I arrived! Finally I made it, I think by the time the plane was suppose to be in the air! I tried to explain as best I could in between the gasps for breath, to the desk clerk, who was less than amused at my late arrival, that there was more of us to come! (Note to self, do more exercise in future!)  It turned out there were 2 others left and I wouldn't mind but there was a good number of us on the bus ride to the plane, which ended up being a bit of a scenic tour to boot! But at least I made the flight and I even had a row of seats to sleep off my efforts! 

I am so happy to be home though, as much as I am missing the bush, Karula, the drives and all the WE family. I still have to decided which direction to go in next year in terms of work. I have a number of ideas, but when I formulate a plan I will let you all know! This month I have decided is for enjoying much needed family time. I have already visited family who I haven't seen in 2 years and friends I haven't seen in 7 years. For the new year I will be spending time with relatives in the South again! It has been freezing, but as yet no snow has fallen in the village, only on the lake district hills in the distance! The village itself has a great festive vibe and I must admit I felt like a kid again as we were decorating the tree. Singing along to the Christmas songs, with the fire dancing along as well and drinking hot chocolate with a drop of Bailey's in! In a word magic!

The viaduct and lake district hills
I have a feeling this year is going to be an interesting one, so watch this space! I would like to wish everyone who celebrates at this time of year a Very Merry Christmas and I hope it is as Special as each of you are. Enjoy the New Year and I am thrilled to know you will still be with me for the next adventure! 
All the best and enjoy.

Love Tara

PS Pictures will be included I hope next week! - Ok I bit late but better late than never!! There is no picture of my stubbed toe, but it has healed! Oh and we did manage to do the outside tree but forgot to take pictures! 


  1. Sounds like you are having great adventures Tara! Enjoy your holidays and time off and I'm sure the new year will bring some exciting changes for you! Wishing you all the best!
    Mary Jozwiak

  2. Merry Christmas Tara! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us! What fun you've been having! Don't freeze too much at home...may the warm love of your family and friends be a joy to your heart!
    Nancy Klassen

  3. So good to hear from you and all your adventures. Enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends. I can just imagine what exciting things are in store for you in the future. Best of Luck to you. Merry Christmas and the very best New Year!!! Sincerely, Louise Brennan

  4. Dear Tara,
    thanks for keeping us updated. The vacation in Mozambique sounds wonderful and was much needed and now you're home to enjoy the festive season with family.. Wishing you a merry Christmas, good health and peace.
    Liv .. aka Firefly

  5. What an adventure! You lucky girl! Wishing you and your family, peace and joy this Christmas. God bless you on your future adventures. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
    Sincerely, Rachel Glover

  6. Thanks for the update, love your style...I hope it wasn`t the last visit to Africa and you will suprise us picture from beloved wildlife. I wish you and your family a merry chrismas and a happy new year
    Sincerly R.C. Eggleston

  7. Holding good thoughts for you, Tara.

    Love from Kay

  8. Thank you for your updates Tara! Merry Christmas to you and your family and a Happy New Year! God Bless You And Your Family! Enjoy your visits with family and friends! I love this time of year! We are making memories to last a lifetime with our loved ones! Will be looking forward to the pictures! Love,Terri :)

  9. What an adventure you had on your trip! Great fun. Enjoy you Christmas season with family and we look forward to your new adventures in the New Year.
    Liz Williams

  10. Merry Christmas and may all your wishes come true in the new year.

  11. Tara ~
    Your life is an amazing adventure. I personally love reading about your adventures. Can't wait to see the photo's.
    Wishing you and your family a " VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS " !

    Angie Minyard
    aminyard ♥

  12. So glad to read this tara.I so miss ya but feel this is a great way to keep in touch.Hope your holidays are sweet and relaxin for ya.Things will never be the same as we all miss ya and our djuma critter familys.Not sure if ya heard but Muff daddy is not doing good at all he has gone back home and think he will be a legend Safari has also disappeared and think she is gone also.A legend has ended as now he will be reunited with his safari for all time.Thank you for this blog kinda makes missing ya"ll a little better (glo12)

  13. Hi Tara, Family is Family,i went to Crooklands Hotel Sunday Dec 18th for Christmas Dinner oh it was lovely i could not eat a sweet full to the brim, i hope alls well with your toe, you have had lots of memories to tell your family of your travels and your experiances in the bush.
    What ever your next adventure will be i should think we will all look forward to hear Tara,
    Take care enjoy life to the full talk soon.
    Regards Doris

  14. Dear Tara! Wonderful to hear from you and what a trip! By the way.... Baileys in your hot chocolate??? I was sure you would have Amarula!

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a great 2012 - whatever you decide to do will be awesome, I do not doubt!



  15. Tara: It was so great to read your report and that you are doing well, enjoying the Holidays at home now. I want to wish you the best in the circle of your family and friends and hope that the future brings what you wish for. Till we meet again in cyberspace somewhere, Love and Light to you and lots of hugs,
    marlies mcdonald

  16. Dearest Tara
    It's great to hear you are happy and doing well , your vacation sounded like heaven and I have to say your Airport escapade made me want to hug you, our dear Tara fighting her way to get home.......
    At least all's well that ends well and now you are home and enjoying your family and friends.
    Waiting eagerly for your pictures , hope you have a merry xmas and a great new year. Miss you all the best dear .

  17. Your adventurous trip made me laugh and gasp. Love how you word your life. Looking forward to pictures, including the stubbed toe; ouch! Continue to enjoy the festivities with family and friends and remember the love for you by us WE viewers. Merry Christmas and Happy "extreme adventureous" New Year.
    Hugs and Love sent from Joy Bubo

  18. Blessing to you and your family at Christmas. May the New Year bring much excitement in whatever you decide to do. We miss all of you, but are keeping the home fires burning in hopes of a return. Hugs Teresa James

  19. Our sweet Tara,

    You have a wonderful way with writing. Loved your adventures;)
    Miss you terribly but do hope you have a very joyous Christmas with family and deserve it very much. Lots of love to you!!!

  20. Tara--
    Happy Christmas to you!!!You, Marc and Seb are truly missed. Facebook not the same without you guys. Updates are scarce. Thanks so much for keeping us involved in your activities. It helps to still feel a part of the family. I miss all our children at Djuma. Wish we knew what they were doing for Christmas. Look forward to any pictures. Have a wondeful holiday and a safe beginning to 2012. Can't wait to hear more about your new ventures in 2012--XOXO Kathy Smith

  21. Welcome home Tara, I hope you have a great time in the UK with your family.Half of mine is in Hazyview, I would like to be there if only for the weather, at least it is warm rain. all the best to you and your family over Christmas and have a Outstanding New Year.

  22. What a wonderful adventure you had. So glad that Marc came to see you. I'm so looking forward to reading about your next adventure. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family Hugs, Spragadoo

  23. Tara, I am so pleased that you are at your folks and are having such a grand time! Thank you so much for setting up the blog so that we who were "left behind" may continue to keep up with our favorite "Lady Presenter." I know that where ever you obtain employment that you will be "The Best" that they have ever had. You are an awesome young woman and destined to go far. Miss you here!

  24. Thanks for the trip report Tara! It is nice to hear that you are you having fun back home. :-)
    Big hugs from Fabienne

  25. Hello Tara--
    Great to hear from you and the details of the trip--after being with you so much on drives it's odd to have you disappear off the radar!
    So happy to hear you have had some fun and are with your family--they must love having you home.
    I will eagerly await hearing your future plans--you were a real gift to the Djuma safari drives--you elevated them to a new level! I'm still feeling the loss of them and you.
    Have a very merry Christmas! and New Year!
    ♥ Birdsie

  26. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!! Sure miss you and Marc and the drives, wish you good luck and happiness in the year to come.

  27. I am so thrilled to see a post from you. I have been checking daily and this was an early Christmas present this morning to see your post. I wish you well. I so miss the Safari Drives.

  28. Tara! Thank you for this update. Good thing you're in shape. I was exhausted just reading about your trek.

    You sound exuberant and although we miss you terribly, I think it's safe to say that we are all very happy for you.

    Happy Christmas to you, your family and friends. Be well, and a Happy Adventurous New Year to you!

  29. I miss you Tara!! The updates help the sadness I feel every morning when I instinctively turn the computer on to get ready for our safari adventure. I am truly happy you are keeping in touch and know that no matter where you land they will be very fortunate to have you!! Happy New Year and can not wait to hear about your next chapter:)
    ((Hugs)) Lori in Georgia

  30. Thank you for keeping us posted Tara. We all miss you! I am so excited to hear what your next adventure in life will be! ♥

  31. Lovely report with photos, Tara--you write so well! I hope this year is a wonderful one for you!