Bird About the Bush, Beatrice the Bee-Eater invites you to soar with her above Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary’s game dense savanna, the home that she shares with Back to Africa’s Roan Antelope Project. Discover how Ted Reilly, a man who has dedicated his life to preserving Swaziland’s wildlife heritage, provided refuge for animals when they had nowhere else to turn and of the wonderful work that he continues to do at Mlilwane.
We met and Bow Wow licked the Ju/’hanse San people, or as they are more commonly known, the Bushmen, near Tsumkwe, eastern Namibia. Bow Wow impressed the tribe with his tricks, while I learnt how to make jewellery out of ostrich eggs and Lachlan considered ditching his Calvin Kleins for some Bushmen budgie smugglers.
We’ve seen some watering holes during our time in Africa but nothing quite like these. Cruising down the C46 highway in Namibia, we couldn’t get over how original, weird and brilliant the bar names were. Feel free to add your own punchline.
We had fun at the Epupa Falls but going there made us realise how vulnerable the Himba culture is and how lucky we had been to access remote areas by 4×4 and experience the customs of those who are still largely unaffected by the modern world.
After driving up a dry river bed and accidentally scaring the hell out of unsuspecting animals, we got a taste of our own medicine when we were snuck up on by a band of Himba men bearing spears and axes.
In Purros we visited Himba women whose fine jewellery made of metal, bone and skin would not look out of place strutting down an Alexander McQueen runway. We listened to the snap of branches and the purr of dessert elephants as they tramped past our tent on their midnight moseys and Bow Wow ate so much of their poo we renamed him Shitlips.
Having fought, picnicked and played at Namibia’s most ancient geological and spiritual sites we leave the beaten track for Koakaland, home to the Himbas.
Stephen Fry’s is the only name on everyone’s lips and beaks at Mliliwane Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Roan Antelope, Tsandziwe explains why all zoos should support Back to Africa by taking part in The Animals’ No. 1 Dating Agency and in doing so save more species from extinction. Let’s cross our hooves and hope that this bush telegraph makes its way around the globe.
We catch soccer fever and make more furry friends in balmy Durban. I pass my state vet inspection without even a solitary flea. Lachlan is forced to carry me through a throng of amused football supporters but we are rewarded with a view of the staggering Moses Mandhiba stadium. We enter Swaziland to begin the most important phase of our quest.
High in the Lesotho mountains we meet South African chef, Justin Bonello and the Cooked in Africa crew. This chance encounter makes us feel, more than ever, that we are on the right track and that perhaps our destiny is written in the stars. We contemplate how, like life, every great road trip is about the journey, not the destination and like every great recipe, there are certain key ingredients that are required…
Lachlan receives a proposition from a frisky old lady with blood shot eyes, an afro goatee and more than a faint whiff of beer on her breath. Bow Wow alerts us to an intruder by doing his best Scrappy Doo impersonation and then later mysteriously disappears. We finally find a public telephone and call home but as per usual the line to Westridge is engaged.
Our first border crossing successfully behind us, we experience Lesotho’s unique beauty and simpler way of life that is both humbling and inspiring. We meet a brave Frenchman, finally understand why the Queen waves in the gentle way that she does and Bow Wow learns an important lesson.
Lachlan does the World’s highest bungy jump and Bow Wow joins a crew of salty surf mutts at J Bay which leads to a chance encounter with rock star scientist Brian Cox. We spend a few luxurious nights with Lucie’s relatives stocking up on biltong and gaining invaluable advice for the trip ahead. Humbled by the Wild Coast we can feel the bittersweet beauty of Africa’s extremes already getting under our skin and touching our hearts.
We finally hit the road and I learn of my important role on our journey. I meet many weird and wonderful creatures including a demented cockerel, truly terrifying ostriches, insomniac long horned cows, acrobatic monkeys, mountain ponies and donkeys, ice rats and a cheeky jackal who liked the look of my Hill’s dog food! I make some great new friends and sadly lose one too. No one said that growing up on the road was going to be easy.
We finally left, as ready as we would ever be, on May the 23rd with only two weeks to get to Lesotho and renew our visas! Following the infamous Route 62, we stayed in quirky Montagu, had a drink at the incongruous Ronnie’s Sex Shop, attempted to ride an ostrich and squeezed through a labyrinth of tiny gaps deep underground at the Cango Caves.
We were fortunate enough to join Hamish Currie, the director of Back to Africa (and a German film crew!), in the capture and relocation of two Quaggas, a zebra-like animal that was hunted to extinction. They were distinguishable by their stripes which were on the front half of their bodies only and they had a basic brownish colour at the rear. These incredible creatures are being brought back from extinction through a careful re-breeding programme.
The Otter Trail is a five day, 42km hike in the indigenous Tsitsikamma Forest by a breathtaking untouched coastline. You sleep in wooden huts with no electricity or mobile phone reception and for five days all you hear is the sound of the ocean and the incessant insect hum of the bush. Hailed as one of the World’s most beautiful hikes, this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Gil Bauman has done the Otter Trail so many times that he has lost count! He has very kindly allowed us to publish his Otter Trail Pack List which has been finely honed over the years to cover all eventualities while being as light as possible.
Get the insider knowledge on Cape Town and learn of all the wondrous things to do, see and eat in one weekend. We have managed to narrow down a large list of favourites to bring you our ultimate weekend in the Mother City. Hold on to your hatsies..
Bow Wow learns about one of South Africa’s great dogs, Just Nuisance, the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Navy. He pays his respects visiting the life size statue and grave in Simon’s Town and learns about how important a dog can be.
Living with baboons in Cape Town is both wonderful and problematic. Baboons are the first species that we will cover as part of our involvement with the charity, Back to Africa. Find out how we tried to catch Jimmy, the baboon who is on the run, and how he cleverly foiled our plans!
Braving the leopards with Bow Wow, a.k.a. Leopard Bait, at Driehoek in the heart of the Cederberg. We meet an excited bushman and Zulu, a dog with two tails. Bow Wow pretends to like cuddles.
We step back in time to Wupperthal and design some shoes. Bow Wow makes a big impression with his ‘shake hands’ trick at the village school and we meet a German film crew. Mma Ramotswe would approve.
Meet my friend, Benjamin who helped keep me out of trouble. When staying in Citrusdal, what I thought was a frisbee, was something completely different!
Love ‘n’ Licks, Bow Wow