During my time in Letaba as a stay at home mother of two young buys, I felt the need to somehow document these extraordinary and very special early years of their lives. A blog came to mind, so on May 24 last year, I wrote this post on the Facebook Group KNP Best Place On Earth:
“Hi everyone… I live in Kruger… my husband is a trails ranger here. I am thinking of stating a blog about what it is like to live here and raise two small boys. Is that something you think people would want to read about?? Your opinion is appreciated! Xx”
That post received over 1800 likes and 889 comments of support and encouragement. And it was exactly the nudge in the right direction I needed! And I am very proud to say that today marks the first birthday of Our Life in Kruger!!!
What an adventure it has been. I knew nothing about domain names, WordPress, blogging in general and apart from the odd essay in high school, I had never written anything story-like. But with help from my dear friend and former colleague Richard, I managed to get my website live and publish my first article exactly a year ago! (I am my by no means an expert now, a year on, but maybe just a bit more ‘comfortable’ in the online world.;-))
In one year of Our Life in Kruger, we published 88 blog posts with a total of 71025 words! And we received 1359 lovely comments from readers and 761 email subscriptions! And that is just the website! Our Life in Kruger Facebook page has got 5672 likes too. We feel extremely blessed and humbled by all the positive feedback! Thank you all so much for reading our stories and for taking the time to comment. I might not be able to respond to them all, but we read each and every one of them!
Some of our posts were extra special for me this year. Here are my personal highlights in no particular order:
What a fun blog to write this was! And I loved trying to copy the actual movie poster by Photo-shopping a picture of myself in there. At that time it really felt like our animal neighbours would only come and visit while Steven was on trail.
A post born out of frustration with the monkey poo everywhere turned into a back and forth conversation between the monkeys (written by long time follower Sal Davies) and myself. Sal’s first response as the monkeys was a lovely surprise and they had me in stitches the whole day! Thanks Sal!
Because I needed to remind myself how far I had come: Moving countries and continents to the bush with a four-week old baby and getting used to motherhood and all critters big and small at the same time.
We had so much fruit from our two Marula trees at the beginning of the year! I don’t like throwing away food, so I had to give making jelly a go. What a fabulous experiment! I had a great time photographing the process. My two years at photography school really came in handy here. And when it was time to take pictures of the finished product, three elephants came to pose with the jars! I could not have arranged it better myself!
Another blog post I wrote out of frustration after the elephants broke down our gate and destroyed all my vegetables. Another conversation in writing followed. Between the “Elephantoms” (Sal Davies again) and myself. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a year ago to have such interaction with people that read our blog! What a blessing!
The first ever blog I posted and still my most popular one with more than 37000 hits!! Writing this one was a fantastic walk down memory lane and good for the soul!
This one was kind of therapeutic for me to write. I am and always have been horrible at saying goodbye. I would cry snot en trane leaving our campsite in France after our family holidays. And the same years later driving out of the gates of Lower Sabie after a 2 week stay in the park. So writing about it on this post kind of gave me closure! Who would have thought!
The story of Naughty Boy; the elephant that kept walking up and down the driveway next door to get to the fig tree at the back of her house. I loved writing this story. It is the epitome of living where we do: Kruger National Park! I have some great videos of Naughty Boy that I also posted in the blog. I still watch it myself from time to time!
Another big highlight in the past year was being chosen as Runner up in the SA Blog Awards! I entered my young blog just to see how far I could get in the Lifestyle and Travel Blog categories. And I was extremely proud to have made it this far!! I had lots of help from readers and followers, voting and sharing the competition. I could not have done it without any of you! Xxx
So what are the plans for the second year of Our Life in Kruger? Well, I have a few wishes and a few goals…;-)
I definitely would love to get a few more Trail cameras and get some more footage of our beloved Kruger – Footage of the animals in their natural behaviour with no human presence. The Top Four animals I still wish I would capture on Tales of the Trailcam are: Pangolin, Aardvark, Aardwolf and Black Rhino. You must set your goals high, right?;-)
I have not been on trail with Steven since Alex was 1 year old, so doing a Wolhuter Trail is definitely very high on the wish list! To experience Kruger on Foot is a fantastic experience that I can highly recommend. To be able to do so with my husband is just phenomenal!
As for my goals? It might be a bit ambitious, but by this time next year, I would love to have reached at least 10000 Facebook Followers, 1000 email subscriptions as well as 1000 YouTube subscriptions. Icing on the cake would be to win the SA Blog awards at the end of the year! Lol. Like I said, a bit ambitious, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And then there is my extremely ambitious goal of an Our Life in Kruger book… or at least starting to write one… One that has both Steven’s and my stories in it. A his and hers so to say… That just seems like a Mount Kilimanjaro task right now… Word for word I suppose. Rome was not built in one day!
But first, I am going to take a little two-week break from my bi-weekly writing. The boys are going to school now and I feel like I need to spend some more quality time with them and Steven and less behind the computer! But before I go, I just want to say: Thanks everyone! I have had such a jol and I appreciate each and everyone of you!! I will chat again soon! xxx, Linda