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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Back on Track - Day 308

Ah! We are definitely back on track. Back to our way of living, travelling the world and seeing what experiences and opportunities come our way.

Chatting over breakfast with Hein, our host, we decided to return to Missions Ablaze next week after our Safari to assist with their charity for a few days. We said our “au revoir” and headed north along the N2 towards Zululand with a stop at Richard’s Bay; one of the country’s largest harbours. In my mind, it would be a pretty harbour with beautiful sea views, ships docking and cafes clustered around the shoreline. Oh dear – wrong! Following google map, we took a road towards the harbour and could see cranes and a large industrial area to our left... not really what we had in mind. We made a detour along another road, taking us around the harbour, so we thought. There seemed to be a large number of trucks around us. We sussed out that we were driving into the Industrial Development Zone with huge smelting factories ahead of us. We were stopped by a security guard who didn’t seem to understand that we were lost, so we just signalled that we would turn around. Ah – we are definitely back on track – our usual #grownuptravellers experience, getting lost or going in the wrong way! Thankfully we saw a sign for Meerensee and remembered that one of the staff at the Airbnb recommended this area. Google maps suggested Café d’Art and Gallery – sounds like our cup of tea. We arrived to find it was someone’s house –a small area to the right of the main house was converted into an art gallery and café. Here we met Joe Marais, a fabulous artist, who greeted us warmly. We had hit gold! Wow! His paintings of wild life were incredible, some even looking as if they were in 3D. Joe used to be a teacher and gave up to follow his passion of painting wildlife. We had such a fabulous chat. He and his wife occasionally pop out into the wild, camp in a tent and often have lions, elephants and hyenas roaming around. Crikey! Brave or what? Joe said that as long as they stayed inside the tent and not break the shape, the animals leave them alone. He also shared that 7 years ago, after travelling to Mauritius a number of times selling his paintings, the couple decided to sell their home and all their belongings (sounds familiar). With a couple of suitcases each, they moved to Mauritius for one year. Returning 6 years ago – with all good intentions of living a clutter free life …from the look of their house and how Joe described his garage – their idea hasn’t come into fruition – back into a life of clutter. We carried on our journey with either managed pine forests looking like soldiers standing to attention in a regimented form or wilderness with barbed bushes scattered amongst large wild mulberry and aloe, finally seeing a sign for our destination: Zulu Nyala. We arrived, checked in and followed a young man who carried our bags, passed various lodges, beautiful gardens, a crocodile enclosure and came to a large half built structure. I hoped this wasn’t where we were staying. The young man didn’t seem to have a sense of humour. He took us to our lodge, opened the door – wow! The room is enormous, about 7m x 21m plus a huge bathroom which is the size of some of the apartments we stayed in South Korea. So, how come we are at this place? Once again, this was from attending the UpsNDown’s Charity Ball last year. This time, no need for hand raising, we made a sealed bid and succeeded in getting a stay for six nights here. It transpires that Charity events is the main way that this company promotes their Game Lodges – so a win for the charity, a win for Zulu Nyala and a win for the guests to come to this beautiful piece of Africa. Our first safari is at 6:20am, an early start for us – time for bed. I wonder what animals we will see.

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