Happy New Year everone!

Looking back… and looking forward!

My year-end function

As the year 2018 draws to a close, I like to engage in an activity that I like to call ‘The summery of the year’. It is like my own little private year-end function and I have been doing this for years. I try and sit down somewhere quiet with a nice glass of wine. In my mind, I go over the year that has passed. Passed too quickly I might add.

 

I review the year’s highs and lows, the things I am proud of and the things I am not so proud of. I try and make a mental list of a lot of things. Like the best book I read, the best movie I saw and my favorite moment of the year; this way, I try to get some closure for the year that is about to end, and I can start the New Year afresh.

 

This year, I would like to invite you to my year-end function! Maybe you would like to share some of your own highs and lows with me in the comments?

 

Looking back…

I usually start with listing the best book I have read and the best movie I have seen. Well this year, I am ashamed to say I have not read a single book. Not one. There simply has not been any time with the transfer, move and the boys keeping me busy. That does not mean I don’t have a couple of books lined up I am dying to read. My favorite author Tony Park’s The Cull and Scent of Fear are on top of the list. Followed by Wilbur Smith’s book The Tigers Prey.

 

My best movie of the year would be The Martian. But I have also seen a BBC documentary I thoroughly enjoyed. It is called South Africa Walks and the episode called ‘The Kruger’ is about the Wolhuter Trail. If you like to see the episode, I have included the link here:

 

There have been quite a few sad moments in the past year. I lost two dear friends in Cape Town; one to a climbing accident on Table Mountain and one to cancer. And then we also had to say goodbye to Stevens mother two months ago. The family is just not the same without her and we miss her dearly.

 

The day we left the house in Letaba for good was a sad one and a happy one all at once. It was sad to say goodbye to our friends that side and to leave our home of the past four years behind. But I will never forget coming over the last rise before the turnoff to Berg en Dal with our moving truck in tow. I briefly stopped to admire the beautiful view and the excitement of being able to call these hills and valleys our new home filled my veins. We have been very happy here the past four months!

 

There are two things I am quite proud to have accomplished this year. Steven and I both enjoy woodworking. We have a little workshop in the garage. The past year we have not had a lot of time to build much, but we did manage to build a dining room table for a friend of ours. This table was our biggest project yet and it turned out beautiful. It is now standing proudly at my friend’s house in Marloth Park. Her house is absolutely stunning! (not just the table, haha) If you are ever looking for accommodation in Marloth, Cameron Cottage is definitely worth checking out.

 

The second thing I am very proud of is having started this blog!! It is hands-down, without a doubt my best decision of the year! It was a massive challenge to discover what to do about hosting and how to build a website. I have been a massive crash course and I am still learning about blogging every day! But Our Life in Kruger has brought me so much! It is my ‘diary’ and a photo album for the boys – it is a creative outlet for me and I just love writing down our stories. What I love even more is that you enjoy reading them!!

 

I bring Kruger to you and you bring the world that I once explored on a daily basis as a cabin attendant back to me! I have met so many wonderful people both online and in person and I made new friends! And I just want to thank you all for that!

 

Looking forward….

Goals for next year? Absolutely to carry on blogging and share our lives with you – oh and to finally read those books;-) We will continue with Steven’s campfire stories and now that I have a new camera trap (Thank you Chantal for being my personal shopper in Holland;-), I want to share some of the interesting finds with you once a week in a blog series called ‘Tales of the Trails cam’.

Camera trap pic from our house at Malelane Gate, KNP
A little preview of an image we took with our new camera trap! It will be exciting to find out what walks past the house at night…

We have found a nice pre-primary school for the boys. They will start there on January 14 – Alex for three half-days a week and Jack for one. As much as it is awesome for them to make friends with the elephants and tortoises around the house, I think it will be so good for them to make some human friends too!

 

I am looking for a job and with the boys in school; I can turn up my search a notch! Then the Blog awards are at the beginning of the year. (voting ends on the 31st!) I am curious to find out if we stand a chance against the blogs that have been around for years. We shall see!

 

So all in all, we have some exciting things to look forward to! See you all in the New Year!!

 

52 thoughts on “Looking back… and looking forward!

  1. Thank you for sharing those quiet moments of your year-end function Linda; such a good idea and it really made me think . . . what was the best book I read this year? You have been hectically busy but I have not so I’ve read plenty! Possibly The Rosie Project by Don Tillman. Most interesting was Shaping Kruger by Mitch Reardon. The only movie I saw was Beauty and the Beast and I don’t think that would qualify as a favourite. I said a sad goodbye to a friend earlier this year who had cancer, but I also had some highlights. My lovely niece came out from the UK; my best friend and I spent two wonderful weeks in Kruger; I spent many happy hours in the garden; I met my nephews who came out here for the first time in five years. I learned how to make veganpower bars!

    I have achieved a few small things. I’ve grown most of my own veg. I do the odd course on a platform called FutureLearn where you can do courses that last anything from two to eight weeks or more. Some of them are ongoing and broken up into sections. This year I did one on writing poetry and it led me to write a couple of poems of my own. I also learnt about Royal Costume through the ages and am in the middle of a series of introduction to Psychology courses. I saw the Egyptian Vulture in Kruger. I have been sketching a little – which leads me to something I haven’t done this year and fully intended to which was to spend at least a couple of hours a week drawing and maybe playing with watercolour. I am a little ashamed of that!

    Your dining table is wonderful; I admire your talent – wow! Good luck with the job search. Look forward to some news from the camera trap!
    Most of all – holding thumbs for the SA Blog Awards!
    Sal

    1. Just an addendum – have now watched the Wolhuter Trail clip – thanks for posting the URL; I felt as though I were there with them!

    2. Hi Sal!
      I am going to look for Shaping Kruger. by the title alone, it sounds like a very interesting read!

      I am sorry to hear about your friend… It really is terrible to loose people close to you. It leaves a little hole in your heart.

      I am sooooo impressed you grow almost all of your own veggies! That is something I would love to accomplish! I have been able to harvest small amounts of lettuce, coreander and rocket and it the best feeling!

      The best thing about a year-end stock take, is you think of things you definetely wasnt to do next year! I hope you get round to your drawings and watercolouring!

      I wanted to thank you, Sal! You were the fist person to ever comment of my blog and you have been, consistently, supporting my blogging efforts and stories. Thank you so much for that! Wishing you all the best for the New Year!

      Warm hugs, Linda

      1. Yes – even growing three carrots in a flower pot and actually eating them give one a huge sense of achievement! I actually do grow some of my veg in containers because of the moles and other things. So I have a big wooden box for potatoes and carrots several troughs for spinach (the soil in the veg beds has some strange virus that kills the plants off otherwise) and a trough for lettuce to keep the snails away . . . .
        I think you will enjoy Shaping Kruger – I hope so!

        Its not difficult to stay with your blog Linda, I love your stories and the way you write them and have developed them. looking forward to more in the new year. Have a great time with your family in Holland and a very happy New Year.
        Sal x

        1. I had no idea you can grow carrots in a flower pot! Great idea! The monkey neighbors love root vegetables;-)

          Happy happy New Year to you too Sal! Warm hug from Holland!

    1. Thank you Jan! And Happy New Year!
      I agree, the Wolhuter Clip was a great find! So glad a friend of Stevens showed it to us! Now I got to share it with you!

  2. I love your blog! We can all live in Kruger through your writings and pictures. What a cute family you have. I am really looking forward to the Wolhuter camera clips. It will be fun to see who shows up.

    1. Thank you so much, Debbie!
      Yes, I have to say I am very excited about that camera too! It will give us some nice insights into what happens when the sun goes down!

  3. Thank you for sharing your Kruger stories with us. 2018 hasn’t always been as kind to us as I hoped, but whenever I felt down I either went to the FB page of the Kruger to look at pictures or read your blog. It helped me to take my mind of other things for a while.
    I can’t wait to visit the Kruger in February again. And if you need anything from the Netherlands, please let us know so we can bring it for you. We will also stay at Berg-en-Dal for a few nights, so no problem to drop it off.

    1. Wat super lief van je Femke, dank je wel!
      Weet je wat ik altijd zeg: “Let the bush heal your soul.”
      Ik hoop dat je lekker tot rust kan komen in Kruger volgende maand! Kom je ff hallo zeggen als je in Berg en Dal bent?

      Groetjes, Linda

      1. De beste wensen voor 2019!
        De bush gaat zeker rust geven! Ik vind het zo’n heerlijk plek om te zijn.
        We komen zeker even hallo zeggen, leuk om je te ontmoeten. Moeten dan even kijken wat handig is om af te spreken qua dag, tijd en plek. Ik zag op FB dat je nu in Nederland bent, maar het aanbod staat hoor: mocht je over een paar weken bedenken dat je iets uit NL nodig hebt, let me know.

  4. Hi Linda, really enjoyed reading this, I have a real love of Africa and really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work. It’s 33 days till I’m in the k.n.p (not that I’m counting) and am so excited, it’s really cold windy and very wet here and can’t wait for some sunshine. I find myself setting my morning alarm 10 minutes early so I can see your updates before I go to work. I hope you all have a wonderful new year, try and find time for those books, a book I can recommend is, ‘there’s an elephant in my kitchen’ by Francoise Anthony, maybe you know her, It’s wonderful. Take care and stay safe.

    1. Hi Sue!!
      Yes! Francoise’s book is on the list too! I keep seeing it in the book store, just have not gotten round to getting it!

      I have read all of her husband’s books. Lawrence Anthony. Especially ‘The elephant whisperer’ is a book that really toughed my heart.
      I had to cry a bit when Francouse wrote a little news article how the herd came back to the lodge the day Lawrence died… they had not been there for many months. Goes to show what kind of special bond he developped with nana the matriarch and how incredible elephants are!

  5. I am so happy that I met you through your blog. I am. Looking forward to read all of your stories next year. And cannot wait for your trailcam episodes. Will pm you about the trailcam. XX Happy new year.

    1. Hi Liza! Meeting you was one of the best things my blog brought me last year!
      We had such a lovely afternoon on the river and we should totally do that again in our new area. So sad we will miss you by just a day, but maybe on the way back! Hope you can twist Gustav’s arm;-)
      I decided not to leave to Trails Cam up during the time we are away. I would be too heartbroken if a hyena ate it!

      See you soon and happy new year from Holland! xxx

      1. Same here. Incredibly glad the I got to meet you through the blog. Very happy New Year!! Yeah, a hyena eating your camera would be a total bummer x

        1. Happy New Year to you too!!
          haha I know, right? So happy to finally have one in good working order, it would be horrible if it got damaged.

  6. Very interesting Linda – thanks for sharing – keep up your good work, even after you find a job ! Holding thumbs for you in the Blog competition. Good Wishes for you and Steve in 2019 also Alex and Jack starting school next year.

  7. Hi Linda,keep going with the blog. Just wonderful to get to know everyday life in the place we all love so much. Best wishes to you,Steve and the boys for the year to come. Sharlene and Allan

  8. Hi Linda,keep going with the blog. Just wonderful to get to know everyday life in the place we all love so much. Best wishes to you,Steve and the boys for the year to come.

    1. Hi Sharlene!!!
      Happy New Year to you, Ian and the boys too!
      Please come say howzit when you are in the park and in the area! Would love to see you again!
      xxx, linda

  9. Thanks Linda for the hard work your blog entails. Keep it going as it keeps me in touch with that special place, more so now that I am back in Iraq. Good news about finding a nice school for the boys, time to yourself for a while before you start work hopefully! Hi to Steven and the boys and we will see you next year. Mark and Lindy

    1. Hi Mark!
      I am so glad I got to meet you and Lindy last year during your travels through the park!
      And I really hope you had an ok New Years there in Iraq. I can only imagine it must have been a bit lonely. I love seeing your images pop up on the Kruger groups. Fantastic photography Mark!

      Many blessings for you, Linday and the girls in the new year! See you in May! xxx, Linda

  10. Thanks for sharing your journeys…….I love reading about your experiences and discoveries. I have been traveling to South Africa for 30 years……and each year spend time in KNP, which never fails to give a command performance!
    Like you, I was a flight attendant for a major carrier in the USA and spent 10 years of my 39 years flying AMS, which I do miss!!! All of the 30 years of flying into South Africa, some years it was through London, Germany, MIA, and now JFK….I still get excited when we start our descent into JNB…..almost there….back to my favorite place in the world,…the African bush.
    Keep up your good work with your blog, it is fun to read and always informative. I am quite envious of your being able to live in the park!
    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. Hi Joyce, thank you so much for your lovely comment!
      There is something about the life of a flight attendant. I always said it is not a job, it is a lifestyle! I loved every second of it, as I am sure you did too!
      I always thought of the descent into JNB as coming ‘home’.
      Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! xx

  11. Hi Linda, thankyou to you and Steve for these wonderful blogs. My husband, Stephen and I have visited SA many times and the Kruger in particular. Although we are Scottish through and through, Africa is now in our blood and we will always return to soak up those sounds and smells, not to mention wonderful sights of the Kruger. Wishing your family a happy, healthy 2019…. keep blogging! Best wishes from Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    1. Hi Jenny!
      Aaahhhh, you have been bitten by the Africa bug. Once you develop a love for the red soil, there is always a longing to come back. I know that very well!
      Happy New Year to you and Stephen, wishing you many more lovely trips to the park! x, Linda

  12. Love reading about your life in the Krüger. We have been to SA several times, last in 2016, met wonderful people and have seen beautiful scenery and unbelievable wildlife. We are supporting a young woman and her two girls in a township in Plett and are in constant contact via Whatsapp. Do not know when we’ll be back but your blog brings back lovely memories of our trips and makes us happy. So please keep it going! Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy New Year. Regards and best wishes from Germany

  13. Wow, you are all so very sweet! I appreciate all the comments!

    I usually try and write a reply to each comment. And I will do so with all your lovely comments asap. But we are travelling tomorrow and we are still busy packing;-) I will chat with you soon!

    xxx, Linda

  14. Hi Linda, as you say the year has passed very quickly. What a great idea to have a year end function of your memories. Its soo cool.
    So a high for me this year was joining up and bevoming a full fledged SANParks Honorary Ranger. Im currently at Croc Bridge and I’ll see if I can pass by you to say hello.

    This is very rewarding work and I love doing it.
    I also made very interesting decisions regarding my everyday career. We will see if these decisions bring fruition.
    Another major change and adjustment was having my Parents move in with me in the beginning of the year. This I must say has been a very good idea and although it aometimes needs adjustments drom us all overall its working out well.
    Having my daughter grow up and grow into a little girl has been trying and amazing. I love sharing nature with her and she loves it just as much.
    Looking forward to all your posts.
    May you have a wonderfull new year!

    1. Hi Charlene!

      HR’s do so many many great things for the park! I am glad you are enjoying it. Please say hi to my friend Irving there at Croc Bridge!
      Wishing you a wonderwul New Year as well and I hope the changes you made in 2018 will work out exactly the way you hope!

      We will be back the third week of Jan. You are more than welcome to swing by when you are in the area!

  15. Hi Linda,
    I like to see that you have a good taste in authors. They are two of my favourite authors as well. We are looking forward to your new series in the coming year and after you posted the link to the Wolhuter walk, I have no doubt that I am now going to be nagged to death by Pam for us to come and do it. In saying that, it did stir a longing for the bush and also provided me with some motivation for a couple more stories of my own.
    Good luck with the results for the Blog Awards, I have voted again…and again, have a safe trip back to Holland. My best regards to Steven and the the boys, have a wonderful time and hopefully we’ll get to see you in the New Year.
    Bets wishes for the New Year, may it be truly special and fruitful.

    1. Hi Steven!

      A very Happy New Year from Holland!
      Wishing you all the best as well and hope you get to you your trail with Pam!
      Hope to catch up with you in Malelane soon!

      hug, Linda

  16. Hi Linda,
    I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago via a story on the Africa Geographic channel that I happen to see. As Africa is one of my favourite places to travel to, I love reading your posts although I haven’t been able to to read them all yet. Especially as a Dutchie too I find it compelling to read about your life here. One of the highlights of 2018 I would like to share is our holiday this year where we mainly crossed Botswana; we also stayed in the Okavango delta and thoroughly enjoyed flying over the delta. The views from the plane were simply stunning and the gorgeous and ever changing landscapes will stay with me ever after.

    Een gelukkig, gezond en succesvol 2019 gewenst.

    1. Hoi Rene!
      Dank voor je leuke bericht! Jullie vakantie in Botswana en de Delta klinkt fantastisch!
      Voor jullie ook een heerlijk 2019! Wij hebben gister weer ouderwets genoten van Nederlands vuurwerk en mijn moeders oliebollen!

      Groetjes, Linda

      1. Hoi Linda,
        Wat leuk zeg!! Waren jullie in Nederland, of hebben jullie de oliebollen en vuurwerk thuis gegeten en afgestoken? Dit is wel een leuke traditie in Nederland (die overigens wel onder druk staat). Ik kijk naar jullie volgende avonturen, die waarschijnlijk de zin om ook dit jaar naar Zuid-Afrika te gaan zullen versterken.
        Met vriendelijke groet,
        René

        1. Hi Rene!
          We zijn heerlijk twee weken bij mijn ouders in NL! Moeders oliebollen smaken toch het lekkerst op nederlandse bodem!;-)
          Ik hoop dat het lukt voor jullie om weer eens richting prachtig ZA! Wie weet zien we elkaar daar?
          Groetjes,Linda

          1. Wat heerlijk zeg! En inderdaad, moeder’s bollen zijn de beste!! Wij zijn zeker aan het kijken naar vakanties, en zelf wil ik ook nog op fotosafari gaan ergens dit jaar. We zullen zeker kijken of we bij jullie in de buurt komen! Lijkt mij erg leuk.
            Met vriendelijke groet,
            René

  17. Happy New Year
    This last year has been a busy one for us. Of note we got to visit with family in SA and go to Kruger….almost 3 weeks. Just lovely. And got to visit my family in Holland, cold and wet but wonderful to see my 91 year old mom.

    A book of note was South African Eden by James Stevenson Hamilton. A wonderful book on the start up of Kruger. And just to top it off we were at the Stevenson Hamilton memorial, (off the S114 I think), and bumped into his son, and his grandson and family. What a thrill that was. Had to think it through for a moment but James started his family late in life so although I was reading about the history of Kruger it was suddenly put back into the present with that chance meeting. He was showing the park to his family and staying at Skukuza…very appropriate as it was named for James SH….. sweeps clean is what it means according to the book.

    I so enjoy your blog, do keep up with that. Wonderful to be a part of a young family growing up there. Children starting at school. Is this inside the park? or will you be driving them outside? They grow so quickly.

    A goal I am working on is to bring the older 2 grands to SA in 2020. Opted to wait until they could appreciate it all a little more fully. So they will be 11 and 9. Looking at Kruger and HESC, Mahollaholla, Tskukudu and the Elephant experience. Kids who grow being constantly busy with different things will need lots of different things to do. Can’t expect them to suddenly be happy sitting in a car for hours.

    Here’s to a year full of writing, happiness and adventure. I will be following it all

    1. Hi Brigitha!
      Thank you for sharing your year’s highs and lows with me!
      Wowie, it must have been awesome to meet the Stevenson Hamilton family at the memorial! Kinda jealous there! I will have to put that book on my ‘to read’ list too!

      The boys will go to school in a little pre primary school in Malelane just a short 10 minute drive from the gate. It will be so good for them!

      9 and 11 will be a wonderful age to bring yout grandkids to the park! You still have a while to build up towards that, tell them about the upcoming trip, make plans and share them with the grandkids. The ‘pre-holiday’ fun is such an important part of a good holiday! So is the time after where you recount all the events!
      When my family was in Kruger for our wedding, my brother would do a short recap of the day just before we went to bed. It made us retain all the lovely memories in great detail!

      Happy new year to you and your loved ones! x, Linda

  18. Hi Linda,
    What a fantastic idea, I like this a lot 😊
    Have only read one book this year…..The Kabul Beauty School, light reading, the kind you can put down and pick up, and you won’t have forgotten anything in between 😉
    So want to do the trail with Steve, I will be nagging my Steven to do this, and I know Crystal also wants to do it.
    Was hard not looking after Tyler as he went off to school, took me about a month to get used to not having him at home with us, and it took him even longer to settle at school, but I know it had to come sooner or later.
    We said goodbye to a friend and old colleague just this last week, his death came as such a shock, shjoe.
    Well Linda and Steve and boys, our wish for you is to keep your stories rolling, they are awesome, and we look forward to your book 😉 Steve, we hope to do the trail with you this year, although you told me today we need to book a year in advance, oops, we’ll try and get on it as soon as we know what’s happening with my Steven’s job!
    Wishing you all the very best for 2019, may you be blessed with much love, laughter, success, good health and wealth.
    Chat soon……MWA
    Pam

    1. Hi Pam!!
      I am sorry to hear about your friend. It is a shock to the system when someone close to you dies…hug from me there.

      I hope you guys can come do Wolhuter soon! It is the best way to experience Kruger and you will love it!
      Thanks so much for your hospitality this weekend! We made it to Holland in one piece;-)
      All the best for the new year for you, Steven, nana and your family! See you in two weeks! xxxx, Linda

  19. Linda and Steven,
    Happy new year! Thank you so much for your blog Linda and also for your stories we can look forward to Steven. All ways nice to read them. I’m keeping up all my thumbs and toes for your Linda. I am sure you will do well with your blog.
    Enjoy your stay in Holland.

  20. Hello Linda.
    Thank you so much for sharing the link to the Wolhuter Trail. As a child, my family and I visited the Park at least once a year, so I have a deep respect and love for this place. At the moment I live thousands of kilometers away in the South Western Cape and your blog brings the Park to my study at home on my computer. Thank you. I have a signed copy of ‘Memories of a Game Ranger’ which was left to me in my father’s Will. I treasure it!
    Kindest regards
    Judy Churchill

    1. Hi Judith! It is a huge pleasure! I am very glad to hear you enjoy our stories!
      Oh wow, that is a very special book to have. And signed nogal. Very cool!

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