Weekend at a South African Farm

expat living in South Africa travel

You’re either country folk, or you’re city folk, and it’s a deep-seated longing when you’re out of your element. Kurt and I are country folk, and we never get used to the close-quarter assignments of urban (or even suburban) living.

expat living in South Africa travel

When we crested the hill and saw the lake above Loskop Dam, we knew we were in for a beautiful weekend.

So we were really grateful, this past holiday weekend, to be invited to the family farm of our new South African friends. So much of what we’ve experienced here has been the usual tourist fare, and we were excited to just enjoy time in the country with friends.

expat living in South Africa travel

Kurt taking a much needed break and watching the overflowing Olifants River

The farm is about an hour and 45 minutes from where we live in Pretoria, just across the border into the Limpopo Province.

expat living in South Africa travel

I don’t know what I expected from a weekend at a South African farm, but it was wonderfully similar to one of our weekend getaways in the states.

expat living in South Africa travel

Alfalfa farm in South Africa

expat living in South Africa travel

Butterfly on alfalfa at the farm

We had several braais (cookouts)…

expat living in South Africa travel

The best fire circle we’ve ever seen was for the braai at this farm. I had Kurt take many photos so we can start this project when we return to the states.

expat living in South Africa travel

The first night it was pork rashes and mealies (corn on the cob) and the best pap I’ve ever tasted. This evening it was steak and lambchops and whole chickens. Incredible.

expat living in South Africa travel

Even tea is cooked over the hot coals.

expat living in South Africa travel

Kurt says this was the best french toast he’s ever eaten. I agree. We loaded it up, South African style, with streaky bacon, sausage, fried bananas and mushrooms. And for the true South African experience: a tomato sauce mixture for on top. I tried both the tomato sauce and the syrup. I think I gained 5kg this weekend, but maybe the best 5kg I’ve ever gained.

 

expat living in South Africa travel

Fried bananas and french toast. My new favorite breakfast.

…played in a swimming pool until we were exhausted, then sat around a fire in the evenings.

We even did a little target shooting…

expat living in South Africa travel

and rode ATVs to get a beautiful view of the overflowing dam.

expat living in South Africa travel

expat living in South Africa travel

Wild warthogs we chased out of a puddle while riding ATVs to the dam

expat living in South Africa travel

Loskop Dam

expat living in South Africa travel

Loskop Dam

We fell in love with our friends’ South African family immediately, privately comparing siblings and quirks and campfire stories to those of our own families in America. Of all our regular tourist fare so far in South Africa, a simple, authentic outing turned out to be one of the most rewarding, because we felt like we had family again, even if only by borrowing someone else’s for a little while.

expat living in South Africa travel

Impala and calves at the farmstead

Everything was the same as it would be at home, except that the food is a bit different, and the surrounding wildlife includes deadly snakes like the Black Mamba, Mozambican Spitting Cobra, and Puff Adder. Oh, and some poisonous scorpions as well.

expat living in South Africa travel

Impala doe and calf

But we slept peacefully in the cottage next to the main house. We left the windows open and fell asleep easily to the sounds of nature around us. When we returned to Pretoria, we were barely able to sleep again, stirring at every small sound in our suburban landscape.

South Africans coexist with some of the deadliest species on earth, and before we came here, I wondered how anybody slept in a country home, knowing what might be stirring in the nearby woods. But even in South Africa, even in the countryside, you’re more likely to succumb to any number of man-made or self-made mishaps than “Death by Mamba.”

expat living in South Africa travel

You live life, you pay attention, you know that those things want to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them, and you learn… when bitten by a Black Mamba, be sure to write the words “Black Mamba” next to you, because that’s all you’ll have time for, and at least someone will know how you died.

Love, Marla

12 Comments on “Weekend at a South African Farm

  1. Pingback: The Maldivian Lady Gaga Lizard | Traveling MarLa

  2. It’s so great to see your email notification popping up in my in-box again, Marla. Looks like wonderful times — and that French toast sounds AMAZING! That alone would be worth the trip to South Africa 😉

  3. I now how you feel been there it is amazing and that lovely family well that would be my sister and her family love and miss them and whenever I visit from Australia that is one of my favorite things on the to do list,glad you could experience it too

    • Hi Joy, how cool that you’ve gotten to experience that so much. It is incredible. We just kept calling it a little slice of heaven. It really is a beautiful place with such a warm, welcoming family.

  4. That sounded like a FANTASTIC weekend!! Wonderful pics, anf I LOVED the “what to do if bitten by a black mamba” bit! Hahaha!!

  5. Glad to see you continue to enjoy your stay in South Africa and got to experience some genuine hospitality rather than the increasingly over commercialized version one gets at the large game parks.

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