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A selection of resources to help you discover South Africa while staying at home. 

I hope you, my dear blog readers, are healthy and well, and adjusting to whatever restrictions have been placed on you. Here in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are not allowed out of our homes except for emergencies and grocery shopping. At grocery shops, we are only allowed to buy food… no appliances, clothes, books or other items deemed non essential. 

And so, we are staying home for now so that we can travel in the future. In South Africa, early and decisive action seems to have had a positive impact and we have had 2028 cases and 25 deaths,  in a population of 58 million, 17 days after lockdown. I hope that this continues and we are not as hard hit as other places, so that travellers return in numbers when travel restrictions are lifted. But nobody can tell what the future holds, and so we are prepared to deal with whatever changes happen. I am confident the world will find a way through this crisis and that we will emerge stronger than before. 

I am very grateful for to all my clients who have postponed their trips. I am also grateful to my incredible suppliers (lodges, hotels, logistics, guides). At times like these, it pays to work with the best in the business and I am grateful that I do!

Here is a collection of online resources to help you through your government mandated or self imposed isolation in your home.

1. Take a virtual safari.
Are you dreaming of taking an African safari, or are you a connoisseur who misses being out in the bush for your annual escape? A number of places are doing morning and evening safaris for online viewing. I love being in the wilderness because reconnecting with nature awakens all five senses.  While you cannot replace this feeling through streamed videos, you will have a chance to experience virtual game drives through South Africa’s magnificent bushveld. My children also love them and there is always something new to learn and to see. So far we’ve seen lions on a buffalo kill, hyena puppies, wild dogs having their kill stolen by hyenas. Here is a collection of my favourite:

  • For safaris in the Kruger National Park, plus some shorter, edited clips, click here
  • &Beyond Ngala does live streaming of morning and evening safaris here. They move between three different vehicles in different areas, so there is always a good chance of seeing something. This the the easiest to watch with your family because you can watch on a laptop or TV through YouTube, as seen above.
  • You can ride along for Singita’s virtual safaris on Instagram. They have some of the best guides in the country and so these are always informative and entertaining. To watch:
    🐘 Visit Singita’s page @singita_
    🐘Click the logo at top left (it should have a colourful ring around it)⁠
    🐘 Select “Watch Live Video”
  • Boyd Varty, from Londolozi, is spending 40 days and nights in the bush, and doing a daily podcast from his treehouse. Listen here

2. Discover South African Art. 

  • The Norval Foundation is doing a series of videos on some of their artworks called “60 second art”. They also do “60 second art for kids”, for those of you with children at home. Access the videos here
  • The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art has an audio tour online (sound only). Click here
  • Ellerman House, which incidentally has a magnificent private art collection, has done an informative blog post on female South Africa artists from the early 20th century. Read it here

3. Read a book by a South African author.

Nonfiction: Long Road to Freedom, Nelson Mandela; Country of my skull, Antjie Krog; Born a Crime, Trevor Noah; The Bang- Bang Club, Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva; Portrait with Keys, Ivan Vladislavic; Dog Heart, Breyten Breytenbach; The Upside of Down, Bruce Whitfield.

Fiction: Thirteen Cents, K. Sello Duiker; A Dry White Season, Andre Brink; July’s People, Nadine Gordimer; Life and Times
of Michael K, JM Coetzee; Bitter Fruit, Achmat Dangor; Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk; Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton; Zoo City, Lauren Beukes; Welcome to Our Hillbrow, Phaswane Mpe; The Whale Caller, Zakes Mda; Devil’s Peak, Deon Meyer.

I recently purchased photographic prints from photographer Scott Ramsay. He has an incredible book, ‘South Africa’s Wildest Places.’ If you love wilderness and conservation, you will love this book. You can see some of his inspiring photographs by clicking here.

4. Watch a South African movie or series.
*Queen Sono (2020); Out of Africa (1985); Tsotsi (2005); Invictus (2009); District 9 (2009); Blood Diamond (2006); Sarafina (1994); Asinamali (2017); Searching for Sugarman (2012); Material (2012); Yesterday (2004); Forgiveness(2004); Inxeba The Wound (2017)

5. Get active! 
Do some yoga with my favourite Johannesburg based instructor. Click here for some short introductory videos

Take care.
Diana

P.S. I am creating an African music playlist for Leopard clients and would love your input/suggestions. I will share the playlist in the next newsletter if it is complete. 

Family portrait in the time of Corona Virus

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