Jo’burg – and off we go…

No sooner did we land – after 2 days of travel (ok with a 6-hour time lapse – so maybe a day and a half) but still after a 15-hour flight from Atlanta, I was given a brief night’s sleep and hauled off at early o’clock to hike the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve.

Note to self, this is a vacation, not a holiday – there is a difference. Nonetheless, time is too short to complain – and when next will I be back in South Africa? Unless my last single son decides to marry there – maybe never. So just do it!

But what a lovely way to start a holiday, sorry vacation – fraternising with the natives, learning how to enjoy Jo’burg, sweating off the stresses of life (in a lovely temperature of 24 degrees C), traversing the rugged terrain of the famous Melville Koppies Nature Reserve.

Melville Koppies is a Nature Reserve and a Johannesburg City Heritage Site. It is the last conserved remnant of Johannesburg’s ridges as they were before the discovery of gold in 1886. Its geology goes back three billion years. Stone tools show that Early Stone Age man camped here as long as 500,000 years ago. Within the last 1,000 years Iron Age immigrants arrived, and remains of their kraal walls can be found on the northern slopes.

The vegetation of the Koppies is entirely indigenous and is a remarkable example of the richness of highveld grasses, flowers, and trees so close to a city centre. These ridges have looked like this for hundreds of years. Unfortunately (or not) for us, we encountered this terrain at the end of winter… still an impressive site in the middle of the vast, modern city of Johannesburg.

Travelling, wherever you are…

Thanks to a fellow blogger, who read my recent post ‘Maps’ (see post on right), I’ve taken a different view to my desire to travel the world.  The advice was quite simple :

You don’t have to travel far in order to travel more”

And they further explained that “…a common misconception is that the traveling that counts is the kind that takes you far away. Nope. Think again. What is it that is the essence of travel? For me, the main reason to even go outside in the morning is the promise that there will be new adventures to explore and new worlds to discover.”

And so today I explored my surroundings with my camera in tow, like I would normally when travelling outside of my country, and, guess what, I discovered a beautiful place.  (See pics below)

Thank you “Biveros Effect” for your sound advice.



I’ve never really been interested in maps. And therein lies my problem with navigation. I’ll be the first to admit that I am ‘directionally challenged’. And quite frankly I’ve never made any effort to learn primarily because I’ve managed very well to circumvent the problem by asking questions (lots of questions) befriending someone who was map-oriented, or just plain ole calling a taxi whenever needed. Truth be told though, while living abroad, I was constantly lost. But you know what? By the time I left I knew every nook and cranny, knew where all the out-of-the-way shops, groceries, cafes were. And most importantly the local bars and ‘liming’ spots. So there! There’s some value in being ‘directionally challenged’.

But recently maps have engaged my interest. It has finally hit me how vast and extensive this world is and I want to see as much of it as I possibly can. Realising at the same time, however, that I need to temper my expectations, for at my age, it may not be entirely possible. Case in point, a few years ago I spent one whole month travelling Australia. My family and I drove over 1,000 miles across the Kimberley, hiked, swam in a different gorge almost every day, walked the stretch of the Bungle Bungle, and much more. At the end of it all, the journey represented just a bit more than a scratch on the surface of Australia, let alone the rest of the world.

Rather than let this get me down, I made a pact to continue my quest. I have a feeling though due to some financial limitations, I may need to depend on ‘National Geographic’ and lots of reading, to help complete my bucket list.

But apart from their functional value, to me maps are synonymous with adventure, excitement and wonder. What about you?