Beautiful Botswana

One of the biggest things that I love about Africa is that you are never far from nature. Seriously, in Botswana you have to slow down on our “highway” for baboons and warthog to cross the road 🙂

For me, moving to the city from the “bush”; being with Nature is probably something I miss the most. Things like having a proper garden, being surrounded by thick veld and waking up in the middle of the night because some bushbaby is making a weird noise 🙂 So every year I try and get back to that. (Even though it involves close encounters with Snakes and Scorpions 🙂 )

 This Blog is owed to “Beautiful Botswana”. My Heart, my Life, My soul is with this dusty, heat filled country 🙂

This year I want to encourage all people that live in Botswana to also “keep it local”. So often with small towns, all you want to do for a holiday is make a break for it overseas or out of the country. I realised after speaking to so many expats living there how incredibly blessed we are in Botswana, and how much by living there you take it for granted. We have the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Nxai Pans and even the vast emptiness of the Tuli Block we literally are spoilt for choice when it comes to “Bush Breaks”.

Nxai (the x= a clicking sound) Pan is 2500 square kilometer game reserve. It is a large area of very flat savannah/grasslands. I shockingly have never even been there myself!
In Botswana, most places during the rainy season are not the time to go, but Nxai Pan blossoms. Thousands of Zebra migrate to the area with their young.
It is also the only place you will see both springbok and impala in the same area.
Nxai pan has many different species including: gemsbock, giraffe, impala, springbok, lions (lots of them) cheetahs
leopard,  Wildebeest, bat eared fox, jackals, honeybadgers, hearteebeast, etc… So for all the “mini-breaks” this year why not explore what we have? GOAL FOR THIS YEAR? GO CAMPING IN THE NXAI PANS! Anyone keen to join me?

I love Africa. I love Botswana.

Tuli Block is an area of land in the far Southeastern border of Botswana and South Africa. It acted a barrier between Bechuanaland (Botswana) and the South African Boer Farmers in 1895.In the Tuli block the Limpopo River and the Notwane River converge. Tuli today is made up of multiple private game reserves and private farms/residences. Little of the area is fences and the animals are allowed to roam . This is true Botswana, Red Soil, Miles of Thorn trees and random animals everywhere!

  Chobe National Park. Chobe is over 11700 square kilometres of protected area and rated one of the best safaries in Africa it has the largest population of elephants about 120,000. Infact they are causing a bit of a problem in the area ! Its also a bird lovers’ paradise. You’ll also probably get to see the most Hippo’s out of water you have ever seen!

I recently visited Chobe for the 2nd year in a row in December. The Chobe River is the border between Botswana and Nambia. The people who live on the Botswana side are the Sibiya and the Namibian side are the Lozi. There is an island called Sidudu at the border between Botswana and Namibia where buffalos, impala, lechewe, Puku (if you are lucky) and elephants and Hippos graze.

Elephant casually crossing the Road
Fish Eagles galore
Hitching a Lift
The rare Puku

Finally, In Botswana there is not a single day that passes where we do not see an amazing sunrise or sunset.
During the day the sky is a crisp blue. Some days…..a clear blue sky that goes forever….Other days full of cute puffy cotton ball clouds.

The sky is even amazing during rain. The thunderstorms here are AWESOME displays of lighting and thunder with enormous clouds looming and you see rain falling kilometers off in the distance.

So Keep it Local Guys, we are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place. For those readers that have never been to Botswana, it will change your world forever 🙂 The people, the culture, the hot air. It gets under your skin and will never leave xx

PS: Two great websites about Botswana? www.gaboronecity.com and www.safaris-in-botswana.com

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Christmas and Summer Desserts…

I cannot believe its nearly Christmas… I have T minus 3 days left at work! I cant Wait! Seriously behind on the Christmas shopping, have lots of little things but still need two main gifts for my family… Where do you start??

On Friday we fly to Cape Town for 4 days of utter RELAXATION! NOT THINKING ABOUT WORK! Enjoying the beautiful scenery, walking on beaches and just spending quality time, (hopefully I’ll spot a couple of sharks). This body needs to catch up on a whole year of summer so the weather better play along !

Then its off to the Beautiful Botswana to spend some quality time with my closest Friends and Family. I don’t know what it is about Botswana but I am always so so excited to go back! The heat, the bush, quality relationships… It’s the simple things.Rounding off the holidays is a trip to the incredible Chobe National Park. Two of my favourite places in the world are the Okavango Delta (probably one of the most majestic places ever) and Chobe National Park. Chobe is in the North of Botswana and Borders Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. Never short of activities you can even take day trips to the Victoria Falls!! ( I will most certainly Blog about this trip)

Holidays, whether you Celebrate Christmas or not. It’s a time to always spend with Friends and Family, get togethers and beautiful memories. Of course with that comes Food 🙂 Lots and Lots of food… This year there will only be 4 of us at the Christmas Table (And my brother is a strict Vegan) but trust me we will still have the whole “shebang” and probably end up cooking for 10!

So here are my two recipes for the festive season (Trust me in the last 2 weeks I have made these desserts 4 times!!!)

Strawberries-and-Cream-Cheesecake 

Recipe:

(Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery – Possibly the best baking book ever)

For the base:

220 g ground biscuits (tennis/ marie)

100g butter, melted

For the filling:

200gr fresh strawberries (chopped)

180gr castor sugar

600gr Cream Cheese

2 eggs

Place the strawberries in a saucepan with 80gr of the sugar and 30ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the strawberries are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside until completely cold.

Preheat the oven to 160℃. Prepare the filling by beating together the CREAM CHEESE and the remaining sugar on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Pour in the cooked strawberries (plus the syrup!) and stir in by hand.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for ca. 45mins. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature still in the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 1-2 hours.

For the topping:

100gr mascarpone

20gr icing sugar

100ml double cream

Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar on a medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Then fold the double cream into the mascarpone mixture. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE, YOU CAN OVERBEAT IT VERY EASILY.

Spread on top of the cheesecake and chill again for 1 hour. Decorate cheesecake with fresh strawberries.

BEST CHEESECAKE YOU WILL EVER TASTE (THAT’S A PROMISE)

AND PERFECT FOR A SUMMER DAY …. PAVLOVA!

3 egg whites

175g sugar

1 tsp cornflour

½ tsp vanilla essence

½ tsp white vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil OR just use a pie/ flan dish.
  2. In a clean, medium-sized glass bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
  3. Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Returning egg white mixture to the same stiffness each time. Beat and Beat and Beat (the more you beat the better 🙂 ) Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
  4. Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
  5. Spread the meringue in the container. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the centre so you have a very slight well in the middle.
  6. Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish colour.
  7. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
  8. Whip the cream. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing. (Two options: a beautiful combination of strawberries, bannanas and kiwis OR a berry Pavlova (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc)
  9. Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top. Either Serve immediately or cool in the fridge a bit 🙂

 

Remember as well that it is definitely the season for giving! Even the smallest act of kindness can have a HUGE impact on anothers life, from a simple item of clothing to a soccer ball. Show your kindness to others by giving.

Happy Happy Holidays to all! To my family spread around the world, I love and miss you all so so much, Holidays are never the same without you x