Impala lilly and the elephant statue at the museum in Letaba

Farewell Letaba – Part 1

We have been living in Letaba as a family for nearly four years now. And with Alex about to reach a school going age, we grabbed the opportunity of a transfer to Wolhuter trail with both hands. This means that we will be moving to the trails house at Malelane gate. Still inside the Kruger National Park we love so much, but also much closer to a town with schools, decent medical facilities in Nelspruit and civilisation!


We have been waiting months for the start of the refurbishment of the house, which is in a terrible state. When we first got the news about the transfer, I enthusiastically started packing. A little too enthusiastic, because those boxes have been sitting in our passage, untouched, for three months now… But it looks like I can start packing again, because contractors have actually been working on the new house. Our moving date has been set for the second week of August!


So we are moving! I have to be honest; I have mixed emotions about it; Happy about the children being able to go to school and about living closer to a town. And sad about leaving our beautiful area here.


Things have not always been easy for me here in Letaba. It is the place where I had to find my feet as a new mother. And where I had to get used to living in the bush. All while being away from my precious family and dear friends I left behind in Holland to come live here with Steven. Those two things happened to coincide and resulted in me feeling quite lonely and isolated at times and a bit home sick.


The distance to town requires a lot more planning than when you live in the city. Not just with grocery shopping (I mean you can’t exactly drive back 100 kilometres if you have forgotten the milk), but also with medical help being that distance away. It has been challenging sometimes, especially when you have small children. But having said that does not mean I had a bad time. Far from it in fact; it has been a fantastic experience I would not have missed for the world!


Now that we have a moving date and a pile of empty boxes in the garage, waiting to be packed, I realise I am also going to miss a lot of things about Letaba. And those are the things that I have sometimes struggled with, funny enough.


Until we move, I am going to make sure I enjoy Letaba and everything about Letaba to the fullest. Because I am sure that when we are living at Malelane gate, I am going to miss the quietness and remoteness of Letaba. The same quietness and remoteness that made me feel isolated and lonely. The house at the gate is still in Kruger, but you can see the lodge on the other side of the river. I am sure that when the wind is blowing from the south, we will be able to hear the N4 highway and smell the sugar mill. The ashes from the burning sugar cane fields on the boundary will float into our garden. Another reminder that civilisation is right on our doorstep.


So I am going to embark on a little farewell tour of Letaba and its surroundings. Steven will only be back just before we move, so I am going to take the boys on a few sundowners on the river and the shooting range on my own. We will go to the high water bridge, from where you can see no lodges or other buildings, just unspoilt wilderness. I’ll bring the boys to the elephant hall in camp and let them look at the elephants there; we will have a milkshake at the restaurant and admire one of the best views in the park. I will take them on little game drives to our favourite spots and make a few more precious memories so we can always look back and say: Wow, we sure had a special time living in Letaba!

28 thoughts on “Farewell Letaba – Part 1

  1. All the best with your move to Malelane. The fact that you will still be living in the Kruger is a bonus most of us would give well almost anything for.
    When we are down that end of the park (my favorite place still remains the northern parts) we will come and say hello ?

  2. You were amazing adjusting to the isolation of Letaba, you will be just as amazing adjusting to Malalane. The boys will also love it.

  3. Oh Wow! While I don’t envy you moving home, I shudder just thinking about it. It will be for the best especially with small children. I love Letaba, we were there last weekend till Tuesday, now back in Cold Gauteng. My soul longs to live in the wild. Sadly not to be. Enjoy your last few weeks in Letaba. The view from the veranda at the resstaurant cannot be beaten ( very special).

    1. Denise the packing is a bit of a pain in the you know what, but once we are at Malalane Gate new things await! Letaba will always be my favorite camp. We will just have to come back as ‘tourists’! ;-))

  4. I love reading your blog as I too was bitten on my once in a lifetime holiday in 2014. I look forward to following you on your new journey. Good luck.

  5. Good luck with the move and may you have many happy years at Malelane. Make new memories and have fun! most of all, have fun!!

  6. Good Luck with the move to Malelane Gate. I am sure you will love it there. The owners of Malelane Superspar, Lex Holman and Ed Harris and their wives, are great wild life enthusiastics. Their grocery offering is one of the best in the Lowveld, having been voted Superspar of the year more than once. If they don’t have something you want they will make sure you get it.

    1. Thanks Loraine! Yes that Spar is fantastic and so big! Will have to find my way around Malalane town again, but I definetely know the road to that mall!

  7. Welcome to Malelane. You will really love staying here. When I moved here 18 months ago I also thought the sugar cane burning is going to be awfull, but it is not that bad. You are more than welcome to drop in for a cup of coffee when you get lonely, my office is at the Pestana entrance, 100m from the bridge. You can walk to me……

  8. Always sad to move, but you will always look back and remember the wonderful way of life you had there. Sadly one cannot always stay out in the bush, especially with children.Good luck with the packing.

    1. Hi Dina, Luckily we will still be in Kruger, just a different location! They tell me that place is wild! Bo wonder the new house has a 3 metre high fence:-))

  9. Oh ! Wow ! Living anywhere in Kruger is a dream for me ! I am sure you will come to love your new home as much as you love Letaba ! Love your stories !?

  10. Life will be different down in the south but, I hope, equally happy. Hope they do the house up nicely for you. Good luck with the move, may all go well.

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