WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Monday, 9 April 2012

My little bit of Africa

Easter over. I have'nt blogged for a while. So thought you might like to share some of Africa with me.
Most of the writing of the post has come at the end. So I will start with the photos and places first.. It will all come together at the end.
There is so much to write and share.. I would have to do a few more blogs .!

Mummy and baby Zebra.. Carved Ostrich egg, and hand made bead christmas decoration..
A few of my african Curios that I have around the cottage. I have to confess, that i dont have enough. My sister has most of our old family carvings.
When i myself visit S.A. last time was five years ago. ( I am ready for another visit!) How I would love that.
I always like to stay at the Hilltop Lodge at Hluluwe game reserve.. Having spent many a holiday there with my parents and my own family, of course , that is when i go to the bush.
The black rhino.. Hluluwe have the "big five".. thats all that matters to me. I take the morning ,afternoon and night safari.. I can never get enough of seeing these beautiful creatures.
Another place that we used to visit for holidays.. The Sani Pass Hotel. Such great memories of this place. You can hire a 4 by 4 and drive up the sani pass mountains to Lesotho.
The verandah of my friends Mountain Reserve " Allendale Mountain Reserve"
you might like to google these places and have a peek.. If you are planning a holiday .. you might want to add Southern Africa to your list.. its a breathtaking country. Some of you may know it well!
A farm in Africa " Allandale" all it needs is Robert Redford and Meryl streep!!! But its a happy place anyway.
Sani Pass Rondaval's.. great fun
The entrance to Hilltop Game Reserve Lodge.. I always feel at home here.

" Macaranga" Lodge.. This beautiful lodge is about 2 minutes from our old home in Kloof..Natal. Where Manel and Helen stayed Sat and Sunday.

Durban. Umchlanga rocks. I stay with my cousin here or at the Breakers Hotel.
The famour Umchlanga lighthouse and walk.

Durban beach front

Early this last Easter saturday morning past. I received a phone call from my eldest son Manel. I was in the village buying last minute Easter bread and veggies,almonds and chocs etc., for Sunday lunch. Mr M..(dad) was cooking the sunday roast lamb , and bringing it to my place. I was cooking the veggies. We are neighbours, although not together.. we spend many hours talking over a glass of wine about the good old days..
We were married in Durban S.A. spent the better part of over 20 years there and our 4 wonderful children were born in Durban.

The phone call was to tell me that he and Heleen and the children had crossed on foot over the border from Moçambique into South Africa. How exciting.

The jungle drums started to beat. and the phone didnt stop ringing. Miguel is in L.A he phoned me.."mum" Manel and co., are on their way to Durban. Nina phoned from Lucern.. "mum" Manel is on his way to Durban, Filipe phoned me., "mummy" Manel is on his way to Durban. Mr M phoned me "I'm on way over for a glass of wine, our son is driving to Durban. It was excitement all around. It was as though we were all back there together again.

I asked him why he had walked on foot! reply.." its so much more exciting." " something the children will remember mom"." We are following the big White Hunters trail"! . He phoned ahead to have a car waiting for them on entry over the border...it was ready and waiting for them as they set foot on S.A soil. They then took the 5 hour journey to Durban, phoning and texting me and his brothers along the way, to tell us where he was at. (another glass of wine at this point)

I was elated for him ,Heleen ,Thomas and Audrey. He has wanted to take them to Durban for a while now.. He told me he would love to do it the year Tom turns 12..and Tom turns 12 in May.
Thir African trips have been mainly to Kenya, and North Africa.
It was the spur of the moment idea. and they are having lots of fun. Manel has visited his old school. having lunch in Umchlanga at the Oyster box..one of our old hang outs.! They are making the best of the 3 days there. then they will drive back to Moçambique.. then home next Saturday. Cant' wait to see the photos and hear all the news.

I myself went to Africa to Rhodesia, then a Colony of G.Britain..in 1955.. Maybe that can be another blog! maybe to share wonderful memories of my life there and in Southern Africa. I am writing an on going family book. Of my life's adventures.

Once you have lived in Africa. It stays in your blood. You remember the smells of the early morning mist and the drizzle. Or the sound of the monkies waking you up before breakfast. The beautiful scenery, the sun sand and sea. The mountains. All Ethnic groups living in harmony. Lovely places to spend weekends or holidays. People live outdoors and truly know how to live a and have a great quality of life. Living there enrichened my life.

Alentejo is the closest that I have come to living in Africa. So much reminds me of Africa. Wide open spaces.

Have a great Easter Monday.


  1. So many wonderful evocative memories here Val. What excitement going on with phone calls and texts, you must have felt as if you were there with them. It will be wonderful to see them, to hear their stories and for them to show you their photos.
    Love that carved ostrich egg.

  2. Val: What a beautiful post. We are right there with you and your family. What a wonderful adventure for your grandsons. You are a well traveled and lucky lady, my friend. You and the Mr. must be very proud of all your children. I think I will rent "Out of Africa" again..Happy Monday..Judy

  3. What a beautiful post, I loved hearing about your life in South Africa, and how your son is reliving his childhood, with his family.
    Easter wishes
    Thea x

  4. Hello Val, what an interesting blog you have! I love your African photos and stories, never having been there. You have had quite an adventurous life, I am sure. How lovely to have all the Easter phone calls; I was so happy to have a call from my daughter in Canada as she and her little boy found the Easter eggs on Sunday. Bliss.

  5. How wonderful to know this about you. There is really too much to write in a blog. You have to do it in snippets. We have an Africa connection too. Kenya, Uganda. For me it is the sound of the birds. As for family history. Too much there too. But I will say I have Portuguese roots too. Barros. Vintners!

  6. How great to know that you have also African connections. Some Portuguese roots too.
    I thought i might have made the post too long.
    But i did enjoy writing it .. like you say. There is so much to write about and it cant all go into one blog.
    Will look forward to hearing about your stories Jacqueline..
    best wishes val

  7. Thank you Patricia,
    I have so much that i would like to write about. Like i am sure most of us do.
    My son's visit to Durban inspired me to write a little about Africa.
    Glad you enjoyed it.
    thanks for passing by

  8. Such nice comments Thea.. thank you.
    I was so excited for my son. He phoned me this afternoon and is spending the night with his old buddy..
    Cant wait to hear all about it.
    val x

  9. Dear Judy,
    Out of Africa is a must for anyones dvd collection.
    I have seen it ..well , I cannot remember how many times. I can relate to Karen's story so well.
    My son is so so happy.
    thanks for your kind comments.
    val x x

  10. Dear Rosemary,
    I have been like a little girl again these last couple of days.
    All the family were totally involved in the whole affair.
    Many wonderful memories.
    As a child.. we used to make our scrambled eggs with ostrich eggs. Sometimes 12 or more yolks in one egg.
    thank you for your comments
    best wishes

  11. Very interesting post, Val! The pics and stories are wonderful and I can imagine it well! I have never been to Africa. I have recently watched a documentary on TV showing how African art has influenced the artists in Europe (i.e. Picasso). I found it amazing! Your pics and stores have also evoked memories about the movie Out of Africa, which is such a taking story with amazing pictures. Have a good day! Christa

  12. Dear Christa,
    Thank you as always for your kind comments
    . Africa is a wonderful country.
    I did not know that myself about Picasso and the european artists.
    Out of Africa is what it is. Life was like that. If you see my friends farm.. Allandale..its just like that. Of course city dwellers have different lives. but out in the country its beautiful.
    hugs and a happy tuesday

  13. wow the ostrich egg is awesome! you can add zebra and leopard print pillows to your home to have the african theme quickly :)

  14. Thanks Rainbow Gatherer,

    I do have a couple of african cushions in my apartment in Algarve..
    happy tuesday

  15. Hello Val, I have never been to Africa but looking at your pictures makes me want to go. Sin is away. Honestly, since I discovered your blog, I think I was not even in Portugal!

  16. Hi Francesca.
    You joined my blog at a later date. I have written some blogs about Portugal.
    I like to vary my blogs .. about my life and my interests.
    Its sometimes difficult to write about the same thing all the time. nice to be a little varied.

  17. I loved this post Val! What a thoroughly fascinating life you've led and and through your writing I feel the sheer delight and love you hold for this wonderful country.
    It's great how the family was sharing in the joy of your son's family and their exciting journey.
    Reading of another travellers adventures is something I really enjoy doing so I look forward to hearing about your other destinations.

  18. Dear Annie,
    Thank you so much for the encouraging comments.
    When writing this, I also remembered your Wednesday wonderings.. I also like to read.
    It was all such excitement. They are back in Moçambique today and fly home saturday.

  19. Great post Val!
    I have not been to southern Africa, but you have really made it come to life for me with your writing and pictures.

  20. Thank you Betty,
    I enjoyed writing a little about Africa.. I lived there a long while.
    Send best wishes

  21. Wow, Val, It sounds so beautiful! How great that you are all getting to experience it and your memories again through your son's trip.

  22. Thank you Lisa.

    I had many happy years in s.africa and great memories. I am dying for manel to come home and show me photos and tell me all about it.
    send much love
    val x x

  23. What a wonderful post, Val! I envy you the time you have spent on that glorious continent. And what a wonderful experience for your children. Something they will never forget. I have always wanted to visit Africa, and I hope to do so one day. All the best to you.

  24. Thank you for your kind comments Haworth.

    My children were all born in Africa and i was there since a young girl.
    Easter was very nice. hope yours was too.
    You must try and visit Africa one day..its breathtaking.
    best wishes and thank you


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