Sleeping in the Desert 

Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

Four hours of driving and we passed only two very small towns on the way from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, to the Namib Desert. 

We stopped in Solitaire – an interesting place known for its cars drowning in the sand.
I was seventeen when I went to Egypt and saw the desert for the first time: a million stars in the sky and I thought the sand came from another planet. Some nights I still wish I could go back to this moment just to feel it twice.

We don’t have the luxury of going back in time but this was a new and beautiful opportunity to experience something close to it and yet – so different.

Namib was incredible. I felt the same way again – smaller than nothing, standing in front of the old sand dunes.

I never really understood what was so special about the sunsets until I came to Africa – the sky here is just different and the horizon stands much lower.
We slept in a tented lodge and this is definitely one of my most memorable travel experiences ever.

A view through the window of the tent:


It was extremely cold at night and very windy – although it wasn’t supposed to be like that. 

The good thing is that the tent and the nets keep the incests away, so if you don’t want to share a bed with a scorpion, this is a great option (much better than a room but definitely not as comfortable in terms of temperature).


There are a few people living and working in the lodge and they were all very nice. The chef was taking his job seriously – the food was really delicious, the main specialty was Oryx – a type of antelope, huge and with big horns.

We also met Meowie – the local cat hero who fights scorpions and cobras. He was the cutest kitten ever and he had survived several poisonous attacks. He managed to sneak in one night and purr on the bed – I love cats, so that was a great surprise for me.


I believe Namibia could be a very interesting and beautiful honeymoon destination too, especially during the summer season (most of the year).
Don’t miss the sign Tropic of Capricorn on the way to Swakopmund – after all, there are only two tropics in the world 🙂

Namib Desert

I was thinking of the fox in the “Little Prince” as I was leaving the Namib Desert and there he was, right in front of me.He winked at me.

I saw many mirages that day but this wasn’t one of them. It was so surreal that I had to make sure I took enough photos.

You probably remember this part:

“So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near –

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”


It made so much sense in the desert – and it happened just as I was leaving Namib. In my previous post I mentioned that Namibia was a magical place.

One doesn’t go to the desert just like that. Most people prefer to go to Paris or Venice or a fly to a tropical island with white sand and turquoise water.

The desert is a special place where you are all by yourself and your inner demons; there you can set them free.

Have you ever felt the same way during some of your travels?

BAJA CALIFORNIA – MEXICO

The horizon just was out of place.

Although it seemed perfectly calm in the distance, for the whole week I had the feeling that the water was a giant wave waiting to collapse over the land.

On the other side were the mountains – very green despite the desert climate.

It was the rainy season and yet until the end of our trip the weather stayed hot and dry. A hurricane was approaching as we were leaving Baja California, but thankfully we escaped the storm on time.



When the tropical storms or hurricanes arrive, the rainwater gathers in the otherwise dry and empty river beds that descend from the mountains. But most of the time you won’t even see a drop of water.

As everywhere in Mexico, the distances are long and the best plan is to rent a car from the airport. Mr. Jonas surprised me with a Fiat 500, a very romantic choice.
The first destination was Todos Santos (yes, All Saints)


The real Mexico is far from the typical Hollywood cliches.

However, Todos Santos does match them to some extent: the desert, lots of cacti, happy and noisy local guys, gringos…

 Most bars and restaurants close around 9 and the nights are usually very quiet.

It’s perfect for stargazing because the town is small and there’s no light pollution. The Tropic of Cancer is very close to Todos Santos. Google Sky Maps is an interesting app that shows you the constellations around.

The town was founded in the 18th century by missionaries. Most of the buildings are quite old, many of them have been converted into hotels, but still maintain the traditional style of the past – huge gardens with tropical flowers and palm trees, fountains, exotic birds …


Todos Santos is a few miles away from the beach, so we hopped in our cute Fiat.

There’s so few people living in Baja California and almost no tourists (especially if you compare it to the rest of the Mexican beach resorts), and on the other hand there are so many beaches around. 


You won’t see any ugly hotels or restaurants, and especially if you enjoy big waves or surfing – this is the perfect place for you 🙂

THE PENGUIN KINGDOM – SIMON’S TOWN

A cute penguin couple arrived on this beach in 1982. They liked the scenic Simon’s Town and well, decided to start multiplying. Today there’s thousands of them and what’s more amazing, the beach is open to public, you can go and swim around them. 

Like most places around Cape Town, water is not very warm but the temperature gets quite nice during the high season if you stay in the shallow parts.


It took me a few days to realize I actually saw penguins right next to me and it wasn’t in a zoo. I always thought they lived on Antarctica and nowhere else. These guys are smaller than the Emperor penguins. They’re quite friendly and would pose for a picture with you.

There are many other activities around Simon’s Town like surfing or, you know, diving with sharks, but this is number one for me. After all, there aren’t that many places in the world where you can make friends with a whole penguin colony!


The 10 things you need for a great safari experience

A question I’m always asked is “What do I need to wear/bring on a safari?”So here is a short list of the most essential things for a game drive (according to me).


1. A wind proof jacket 

If you’ve never been on a safari before, you probably don’t assume you’d need one. Still, most game drives start around 4.30-5am and most likely you’re going in an open vehicle, which means the wind would be quite strong and cold. The temperature will start going up after sunrise, so layering is the best option.

2. Sunscreen 

Once the sun has risen, you would need to use sunblock. A typical safari would last for a few hours after sunrise, so make sure you don’t get sunburned.

3. A hat/ cap

I’m a fan of the Indiana Jones type of hats as they are also very good for the walking safaris, as they can protect you from the thorny bushes/trees. But even for a game drive you would need one, as you’re going to stop on the way for breakfast/lunch and also because there’s not always shade in the open vehicles on the game drives. A baseball cap is fine too.

4. Binoculars 

Many of the animals would be in the distance, especially the shy ones like leopard, cheetah and serval. It’s always useful to have binoculars with you and it would definitely help to find more animals.
A photography tip: if you’re taking pictures with your phone camera, put the binoculars in front of the lens and it would help you zoom in and take a close-up picture of an animal in the distance 🙂 

Here’s an example from Mr. Jonas

5. Water/ coffee/ tea
Preferably in a thermos.
6. Khaki is the best color for your safari outfit, but it’s not the only option.
Okay, here’s picture of me and our ranger-tracker-driver-genius Jonas. You could wear whatever you feel like, but I guess  it’s more fun to dress in safari style 🙂

This really depends on the area though. In countries where the tsetse fly is a problem, definitely stick to the classic khaki/ beige colors. 

Wearing white is not a good idea as it’s too bright and it might scare the animals away. The same rule applies for any flashy and bright colors.

My advice would be to stick to the earth colors.

7. A good camera
If you’re planning to buy a camera for your safari adventure, make sure you choose one with a great zoom.

8. Repellent 
As they say, the deadliest animal in Africa is the mosquito.Again, that really depends on the country – for example there’s almost no malaria in South Africa, except in Kruger Park.

9. A nice backpack
The best way to keep you wallet, binoculars, phones, cameras, sunscreen etc. in one place, otherwise you might forget something in the car.
10. A map or a book of the area.
They’re very useful. Many of them will tell you what is the likelihood of finding lions or elephants (or whatever other animal you want to see) in a certain area. You definitely need one of the if you’re planning a self-drive

Safari in Style 

When you go on safari, you can choose between staying at a basic place and focusing on the game drives or finding a lodge or a guesthouse that would enhance the experience.
We chose the second option. This doesn’t necessarily mean overspending, although the more designer lodges tend to be quite expensive. The biggest difference in the price of accommodation comes from the place – the ones inside the Kruger Park are generally much more expensive than the ones in the Greater Kruger.


So for that reason we decided to stay outside of the park and it was still absolutely amazing! The owner of the lodge was a retired interior designer and obviously a great one.
One of the most amazing things was the proximity of the animals – they were coming to drink water from the waterhole (it was right in front of the lobby) – and we had giraffe, zebra and antelope visitors.

We could hear the animals calling each other, especially at night. The owners were able to recognize the animals by their sounds, so they were able to “translate” for us 🙂 They also shared plenty of incredible stories of close animal encounters.
Also, after more than a year of living in Pretoria, I finally learned what the real Africaans food tastes like! It was absolutely delicious!


And here is the braai (a very special African barbecue) area – one feels like a part of an African tribe.


KRUGER NATIONAL PARK- WHERE HUMANS ARE JUST VISITORS 

It was indescribable.
So this is what the Earth looked like 20 000 years ago?

Hot subtropical weather, a 100% humidity and lush vegetation – I could totally live there! (at least until a giant spider decides to take a nap on my face).
The moment you open the door, there would be at least one animal waiting in front of your cottage. Hopefully a giraffe or a zebra or an impala. 
During our first day in Kruger we decided to go out for a walk and right in front of the cottage, there was a friendly giraffe having a nice snack.
One night a group of zebras came to the guesthouse to say hi – there was a waterhole right next to the lobby. The zebras had some water and posed for a while.
There was a warning sign at the entrance – apparently leopards also like to rest on their trees from time to time but that’s pretty rare.
A lot of people ask me if it’s dangerous to go on a safari – I would say it’s not, the most likely bad thing that could happen to you is getting a heat stroke if you don’t take care of yourself.
So if you really love nature and animals, Kruger Park is your place.


It’s the home of about 12,000 rhinoceros, 2000 leopards, 12,000 elephants, 3000 lions and 27,000 African buffalos – and these are just statistics for the Big 5. 
There are organized game drives, walking safaris and self-drives. The gravel roads are pretty good, so you’ll be fine even if you’re not driving a 4×4. Obviously you would see the most animals on an organized game drive but Mr. Jonas (our amateur ranger) did extremely well with a map and a pair of binoculars.
Other activities include close animal encounters, riding elephants or flying around the park on an ultra light plane.