Yu yuan classical garden in the heart of Shanghai

China is definitely filled with beautiful temples and fabulously manicured gardens. Walking through these tranquil gardens on these hot summer days is such a peaceful experience. We spent the morning walking through this beautiful gardens enjoying the sunny weather and the cool the shade provides.

Yu yuan Garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan’s parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.

In the 400 years of existence, Yuyuan Garden had undergone many changes. During the late Ming Dynasty, it became very dilapidated with the decline of Pan’s family. In 1760, some rich merchants bought it and spent more than 20 years reconstructing the buildings. During the Opium War of the 19th century, it was severely damaged. The garden we got to explore is the result of a five year restoration project which began in 1956.

Yu yuan Garden
Dragons cover the tops of the walls in the Yu yuan Garden

Yu yuan Garden occupies an area of 20,000 square meters. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics.

As we entered the garden we encountered a rockery, which is called the Great Rockery. With a height of 14 meters, it is the largest as well as the oldest rockery in the southern region of the Yangtze River.

the Great Rockery
A small temple on top of the Great Rockery

Cuixiu Hall sits at the foot of the rockery. It is a quiet and elegant place surrounded by old trees and beautiful flowers.

Cuixiu Hall
Cuixiu Hall at the foot of this rockery

Sansui Hall was built in 1760 and was originally used to entertain guests. Later it became a place to hold ceremonies for the gentlemen and bookmen. With a height of nine meters and featuring five halls, it is the largest and most commodious structure in the garden. The name Sansui is derived from the book History of the later Han Dynasty, and means ‘propitious’ and ‘lucky’.

Sansui Hall
Mom relaxing in the Sansui Hall
Yule Pavilion
Me in the Yule Pavilion

Wandering through the area of Yule Pavilion and Wanhua Chamber, we found  numerous pavilions, corridors, streams and beautiful courtyards.

Wanhua Chamber,
Wanhua Chamber

After such a peaceful morning we couldn’t wait to have a cup of lovely Chinese tea in Shanghai’s oldest teahouse.

How to Be a Mindful Traveller

I am sure that your first thought upon hearing mindful + travel joined together is that its about being hyper-conscious and conscientious about each and every little detail of everything you’re doing when you’re on vacation or out there one the road. But that is not what I mean.

I believe that travelling is not just about capturing the perfect Instagram picture, or sharing our every moment on Facebook. Before social media we travelled differently. Of course we had our cameras and captured moments, but these moments were for ourselves, they were treasured memories not staged photographs to please our followers and gain more likes.

These days it is hard to escape the feeling that everyone is travelling and perhaps we are missing out. And that maybe travel has become more shallow than before. Is travelling really only about becoming famous on social media? Or making your Facebook friends jealous? Now more than ever, we need to take time to think about how we can be a mindful traveller, an admirer of earth. How can we get back to a more simple way of travel, like we enjoyed before Instagram and social media changed the way we travelled?

1. Take Your Time

Don’t rush. If everything you do and everywhere you go is rushed because you’re in a new place and want to see everything, chances are you won’t actually see anything. Take a deep breath and think about what you actually want to get out of the experience.

How to Be a Mindful Traveller
A peaceful morning spent in the park

Do you want to see everything as fast as you can? Or do you want to have real and meaningful experiences in this new place, build relationships with people, and create memories?

Take three conscious breaths and stop dead in your tracks long enough to notice where you actually are. Take your time to prioritize your own awareness and realize the significance of each place.

2.Feel Each Step

Your body always exists in the present moment, whereas your brain can travel far from where you are. If you’re walking, notice each foot as it touches the ground, lifts and swings.

Notice the feel of the air on your skin. No need to make a big deal of it. Just enjoy the sensuality of being in your body. This awareness will help you remember how you actually felt as you travelled through a distant land, a new place, and a new culture.

3.Savour Each Moment

Eating? Taste your food. Hiking? Breathe in the fresh mountain air. Talking with a local? Really listen to them and remember what they say. Looking at beautiful sites, landscapes, and world wonders? Don’t think of it as only something to capture for Instagram or to share on Facebook.  Immerse yourself in the moment, and remember it.

4.Get Local

Don’t forget why you travel. To experience something new! The ability to go to a new place and remove yourself from your own cultural upbringing and constraints is a perfect way to practice acute awareness. Notice the subtle differences and embrace them. 

5. Relax and Rest

Put away those devices for awhile and have some time that is not governed by schedules, deadlines, and the latest news and information. Drink in something that is timeless and simply cannot be captured on a screen.


“One of the most powerful things you can do when you’re travelling is to let go and passionately wander. “

How to Be a Mindful Traveller
Beauty in the middle of the busy city

Four reasons why it’s time you take a Road Trip in Germany

Nestled among nine other countries, Germany is an expansive paradise for travellers who love to be on the road. Its idyllic mountain scenery and lush countryside combined with deep pride in its automotive exports are a formula for some of the best driving conditions in the world. The diligence and care they take in the cars they produce are reflected in the pristine, perfectly maintained autobahn. Here are just four of many reasons why a road trip in Germany should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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  1. Go on a nostalgic journey through an enchanting Fairy Tale Route

The Fairy Tale Route is perfect for the young at heart, spanning from Hanau where the Brothers Grimm were born to Bremen. There are countless charming towns and villages along the way that still retain that picturesque medieval quality we associate with The Grimm Fairy Tales.

 

Some of the places you pass through actually featured in the stories – such as Hamelin, where the Pied Piper legend was born, Alsfeld, where Little Red Riding Hood’s house still stands, and Bad Wildungen, where Snow White lived.

 

  1. Lovers of wine can follow a route dedicated to the beloved grape

The ‘Deutsche Weinstraße’ is the oldest wine route in Germany, having been established in 1935. It starts in Schweigen-Rechtenbach, on the border of France, continues throughout the stunning Rhineland-Palatinate vineyards and ends in Bockenheim an der Weinstraße.

 

From March through to October many places along the German Wine Route host some of the largest outdoor wine festivals in the world. Everyone from amateur wine drinkers to expert sommeliers can soak in the heritage and majesty of the wine-growing region.

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  1. Enjoy a thrilling driving experience with access to roads that have no speed limits

While there are certain stretches of road that do impose limits, Germany is the only country in Europe that has no official speed limit on motorways. Drivers go at speeds of up to 150mph and sometimes more, with the government believing people do not need to be micromanaged. For the ultimate road-trip make sure you choose the right car and have a clear plan of your route. If you do decide to drive fast, be sure to have read the relevant highway information and adhere to all regulations.

 

  1. Spend a day in areas of astounding natural beauty like Lake Konigssee

The name means ‘Kings lake’ and at 190 meters, it is the deepest lake in Germany – surrounded by the steep cliffs of Mount Watzmann, all road trippers should wind down with a trip here. Fellow travellers recommend typing Hotel Bergheimat in Schonau am Konigssee into your navigation system. This brings you to the main road that leads into the Konigssee where there is a large area for designated parking that is close to the lakes and boats.

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As well as the ones already mentioned, there are a number of routes in Germany that are connected by a theme. The roads are signposted clearly and provide road-trippers with tried and tested circuits that suit their interests.

Doors found in Shanghai

If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door- or i’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.

Rabindranath Tagore

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Why I Walk to Explore places like Rathmullan in Ireland

Rathmullan, situated in County Donegal, Ireland is the perfect location to ‘get away from it all’. While driving along the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland we spent the night in Rathmullan and the next morning walked along the Milford Sli na Slainte (path to health). With it’s wonderful beach and wooded hillsides we could relax and enjoy the quieter pace of life that is characteristic of smaller Irish villages.

Rathmullan, situated in County Donegal, Ireland
The beautiful Beach of Rathmullan, situated in County Donegal, Ireland

The Milford Sli na Slainte is a path that started at the pier and took us all along the beautiful beach to a rocky outcrop at the mouth of a small river. After crossing the bridge over Maggie’s Burn we turned left onto the Fanad by-pass road. This road took us through the countryside, along pastures and woodland until we once again got back to the town centre.

Here are ten reasons why you should sling on your best walking shoes and explore the countryside:

  1. Walking is free exercise. Walking is as close to free as it gets. You don’t need fancy shoes, or clothes, or equipment. If you head straight out your front door, a walk will only cost you some time and a little rubber off the bottom of your shoes. Many people are surprised to learn that walking is actually a serious form of exercise. Although you may not feel like you are working too hard, in just one mile you can burn off over 100 calories.

  2. Walking connects me with my surroundings. One can’t possibly notice the many small details of buildings and woodlands while driving. When you’re on foot, you notice all kinds of things you’d never notice in a car. I always thing of a walk as an opportunity to explore the area and to admire the scenery. I usually try to do some research beforehand and find out a bit about the area and always take my camera with.
  1. Walking changes your perspective. You start to see where the environment is built for people, and where it’s built for cars. Cosy shops lining the street become more inviting. It’s while I’m walking that I notice the frost on the grass, or a rabbit hiding behind a tree, or the moon peeking out from behind the clouds.
  1. Walking inspires curiosity. Who built that building? What was it like then? Who uses it now? What is over that hill? Are those berries edible? Wouldn’t it be cool to have a coffee shop on that corner? You might not know where you’re headed, and that’s ok. Getting lost in nature is the bes thing ever!
  1. Reduce your carbon footprint. Many of us would like to make a personal contribution to climate change, and here is a simple way that you can… ditch those car keys in favour of walking shoes and avoid carbon emissions completely. Every trip (however short) you take on foot is one you aren’t taking in your car. That’s good for you, and it’s good for the environment.
  1. Free your brain. Anxiety, stress, and mental health issues are common issues that people face in today’s society. Walking is a perfect way to zone-out, de-stress and rid yourself of all the negative thoughts in your mind from the day. A brief walk can melt mental fatigueimprove memory, and even help stave off the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Taking a walk is a great way to leave all the worry of the day behind.
  1. It’s a Great Way to Enjoy the Weather. Summers are short and oh so sweet. I just can’t wait to get outside, and while I haven’t figured out how to be able to spend all day on a blanket at the park, walking somewhere gives me a great excuse to savor a few sweet moments of sunshine. I have nothing against the other seasons. I love rainy spring walks, and crisp fall walks. I even love bundling up for an icy winter walk, especially late at night. Every season (and day, for that matter) has its moments. Walking gives you a chance to soak them up.
  1. Its Great for Your Creativity. English wordsmith William Wordsworth is said to have spent much of his life on foot, walking. Henry David Thoreau often walked up to 20 miles at a time before he put pen to paper. Virginia Woolf was a regular walker. In fact, there’s a very long list of writers who considered walking part of their craft. If you’re a creative type, the walking path might just lead to enlightenment.

 

  1. It’s an Excuse to Get Some Ice Coffee. Walking is a great excuse to pick up a cup of ice coffee to enjoy along the way. At least you’re burning some of those calories, right?

 

  1. It’s the Perfect Time do do Some Reflecting. We often think of meditation as something that happens when you’re sitting still, but in reality, that’s very hard to do. The washing machine will chime. The phone will ring. Your neighbours will make noise. If you walk, your brain will be able to do its quiet wandering with less distraction.

 

What are your reasons for walking?

Postcards from the UK countryside

I long for the countryside. That’s where I get my calm and tranquillity – from being able to come and find a spot of green. – Emilia Clarke

There’s nothing like the peace of the countryside, the quiet and the lack of distraction. It helps you to focus your mind. – Jenny Nimmo

A walk through West Acre Garden in Norfolk

I think that a walk through a beautiful flower filled garden has the same kind of therapy as a day off. While visiting my Parents in England I am getting to explore some of the beautiful gardens the countryside has to offer. The two of us spent a whole afternoon walking around West Acre Gardens in Norfolk. It is in a lovely old walled garden where the plants are well cared for and even labelled in most places. Unfortunately England has been having a very hot and unusually dry summer so far and you can see that the plants are suffering.

You enter the garden through an overgrown gate, I felt like I was entering a secret garden. Many of the original features of the garden still grace it with a sense of timelessness. I spend most of my afternoon trying to capture the bumblebees on the different flowers. It was quite disturbing that there were not a lot of butterflies in the garden. I am seeing a lot less butterflies in the UK this year compared to previous visits.

The garden has a variety of shrubs and trees, grasses and bamboos, and beautiful brightly coloured flowers. The gardens are planted to give ideas and inspiration to gardeners working with all types of garden conditions, from hot and dry to shady and everything in between. After a walk through the garden you can always visit the beautiful nursery and buy some of the plants that caught your eye.

Which other garden in Norfolk or Cambridgeshire would you recommend for a visit?

Some Random Bumblebee facts

Did you know….

1. Bumble bees use their wings to cool down their nests. Since bumble bees can flap their wings 200 times per second, they are able to use their wings as fans to reduce the heat inside their nests. This technique is called fanning.

2. Bumble bees are picky about the flowers they collect nectar from. When it comes to flowers, bumble bees have two favourite colours – blue and violet. They’ll often fly to a flower that’s either of those colours over one that’s any other colour. Their preference isn’t due to how the flower looks, though. It’s due to the fact that the violet and blue flowers are often the most nectar-rich (and therefore, the most beneficial to them).

3.  Queen bees control the genetics of their offspring. Male bumblebees have only one chromosome, and no father. To produce a son, a queen bee merely has to lay an unfertilized egg. To have daughters—who make up the entirety of a bee workforce—a queen bee fertilizes her eggs with sperm she’s been storing since the previous summer.

4. Bumblebees don’t die when they sting. That’s just a thing in honeybees. So yes, a bumblebee can sting you twice. However, male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all, and female bumblebees aren’t very aggressive. Although they are quite large insects they’re relatively harmless, and will only sting if provoked. 

5. The Populations Of Some British Bumblebees Declined. Bumblebees requiring very specific habitats, foraging and food have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction.  For example, those relying on grasslands and meadows have suffered due to changing land management practices, the industrialisation of farming, destruction of hedgerows etc. In addition to habitat loss, all bees face the challenge of pesticide use across large areas of land.

Have you noticed a decline in bees in your area?

Bumblebees, those fat, fuzzy fliers.

I think that Bumblebees, those fat, fuzzy fliers are fascinating creatures. I love that I have come across them in almost every garden I have visited here in England this summer. I have spent some afternoons trying to capture these little creatures on film and believe me it is quite challenging as they do not sit still for very long. Here are some of my captures of bumblebees in Norfolk, England.

While on holiday here in England I have learnt quite a lot about these little fuzzy creatures.

1. There are over 250 different kinds of bumblebee in the world – 25 of these live in the UK. But only six species of bumblebee are commonly seen in UK gardens.

Unfortunately two types of bumblebee have already completely disappeared from Britain (the Cullum’s bumblebee and the Short-haired bumblebee).

2. A bumblebee flaps its wings 200 times per second. That’s a similar RPM to some motorcycle engines. Even hummingbirds cannot beat their wings more than a 50 times per second.

3. Bees have to eat a ton. Bumblebees have extremely fast metabolisms, so they have to eat almost continuously. “A bumblebee with a full stomach is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation”.

4. Bumble bees have 5 eyes. Three of their eyes are smaller and located on the top of their head, and the other two are on the front of their head. They can see UV light but can’t see the colour red!

5. Bumble bees have smelly feet. They are covered in an oily film so when they land on a flower, they leave their chemical signature behind. Other bees can smell these oily footprints left on flowers, and know not to land on the same place—the nectar’s already been pillaged. Bees also use these footprints as a sort of smelly “Welcome Home” mat; the scent helps them find their way back to the entrance of their nest.

Why Nature is Good for the Soul

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Just an hour’s drive from the bustle and buzz of downtown Cape Town lies a large and peaceful reserve: Cape Point – one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of South Africa.

Being out in nature is not only good for your physical health, it is also very beneficial for your mental health. Have you noticed how grumpy people get in winter compared to their mood during spring and summer? I think it is because we don’t always get out into nature during winter and that this affects our mental health negatively.

Here are some reasons why nature is good for your soul.

( All of these photos were taken on a recent trip I went on to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. It is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.)

1. Nature helps to center your mind

If we don’t watch out we are constantly glancing at your to-do list or worrying about, our finances, our relationships, or something else. It seems like we constantly have a never-ending list of things to do. We need to make it a point to give ourselves a cognitive break by distracting ourselves with the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Watch and listen to the birds chirping, the waves crashing, the trees swaying in the wind, and the bugs moving around you. Taking at least a 30min break a day will help improve our mental health.

2. Unplug and Escape the technological trap.

Multi-tasking, particularly with electronic devices, is a leading cause of stress. Breaking free from the never-ending loop of your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed should be a top reason for getting outdoors. After all, staring at screens too long can hurt your eyes and strain your neck, and it’s often a sedentary activity. Nature, on the other hand, offers a beautiful window into real life. Put down your phone. leave your devices behind and head into nature and just enjoy the calming effect this will have. Nature allows us to to leave the stressors of our everyday lives behind and instead focus our minds on something more pure. By centering your mind, you can relax your body.

3. It Lowers Stress Hormone Levels

It’s true that many of us don’t realize how highly strung we’ve become until we take a step back from it all, let go of the pen welded to our fingers, and tell our shoulders to come back down from our ears.

A recent Dutch study suggests that spending time in nature and performing repetitive tasks such as gardening can fight stress better than other leisure activities.

In Japan, this has really caught on and forest bathing is now an official stress management activity. Research into the effects of these au naturel excursions has found a significant decrease in anger, anxiety, and depression, as well as better immune function.

4. Nature Heightens the Senses and Memory

Spending time outdoors can actually strengthen your senses and memory. When in nature, you’re exposed to plenty of sights, smells, sounds, and touches and have ample amounts of new things to take in.

These experiences help enhance all your senses, and being outdoors has also been proven to improve short term memory. You don’t need to spend hours outdoors even short periods of time are very beneficial.

5. Learn something new.

Walking around and exploring your surroundings is an excellent opportunity to learn something new about the world. We often take things for granted and it’s only when we look around us that we notice how little we know about the world. What’s the name of that flower that you see around the corner every day? What sort of tree grows along the path you are on? And what do you call that critter that scooted across the road this morning? After a walk, Google what you saw or take out books from the library on flowers, trees, or animals to find answers. You can also arrange for walking tours with experts or visit local botanic gardens that have informative signs. Then when you go for walks with others at a later date, you can wow them with your newfound knowledge.

6. Nature can help you keep it together

It’s all too easy to get caught in a busy cycle of working non-stop and not taking breaks to go outside, relax for a moment, and breathe in some fresh air. But having a good work/life balance is crucial if you want to have a long, happy existence.

Nature is the glue that can help you keep it together in this increasingly noisy world, as research shows that it can improve both your mental and physical health. No matter how far you feel like travelling, you can always spend at least a little time in nature each day. Whether you take a short, 10-minute walk around your neighborhood or a one-hour stroll along a trail in the woods, getting outside more often is a wonderful first step toward living an even healthier life.

Crash of Rhinos

“The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” -Wallace Stevens

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Lion death stares

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Mud-covered Rhino

“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Charging Elephant Bull

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustav Flaubert

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Elephant at the watering-hole

“The journey not the arrival matters.” –T.S. Eliot

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

5 Reasons Why Nature is good for you

Recent studies show how important feeling part of nature is to our physical and mental health. I have personally found this to be quite true and think that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people. I always feel better or rejuvenated after spending some time out in nature.

Here are my top 5 reasons why nature is good for you.

( All of these photos were taken on a recent trip I went on to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. It is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.)

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Out in Nature at Cape Point Nature Reserve

1. Sunny Skies = Vitamin D, which Helps Your Body Function More Efficiently

While working sometimes a day or two passes without us actually stepping a foot outside. I try to work in a morning walk into my daily routine, to get some fresh air and hopefully some much needed sun. Vitamin D is crucial to humans, helping to prevent disease and infection and improving bone health. It can also elevate mood and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. Vitamin D also improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure by literally relaxing your blood vessels. And all we need to do to get more of this vitamin is to spend a bit more time out in the sun.

2. Natural Light Normalizes Your Sleep Schedule

Did you know that getting a good dose of sunlight can also help you feel refreshed and relaxed by helping regulate your body’s melatonin production? This is because the sunlight helps regulate Melatonin, a hormone that controls your body’s internal clock (basically, it makes you sleepy). I find that I have trouble falling asleep and suffer from insomnia if I don’t get enough sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Sunlight, especially in the morning, helps regulate your internal biological clock, making it much easier for you to get a good night’s sleep—and wake feeling rejuvenated.

3. Nature Changes Your Brain – For the Better

We all spend more time staring at the bluish glare of our laptop screens than we do appreciating a good sunrise. Spending time in nature is great for concentration, mood, and offers a general mental boost. Just strolling around outside doesn’t really require any elaborate thinking or action, which is great for your mind.

I find the sound of the ocean often puts me in a relaxed and meditative state. A walk in nature, produces calming and beneficial results for our brains making it easier to think clearly and concentrate on tasks.

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point is one of the country’s most popular tourist sites

4: Get some exercise. Become a Fitter, Healthier You

I’m a firm believer in the idea that nature is good for one’s health. Being out in nature often involves some form of physical activity, whether it be strolling through the park, biking through the mountains, or an exciting river raft ride. This activity both improves physical fitness and our overall health

While I’m out in nature, I usually notice a mixture of people, ranging from relaxed strollers to those who are hoping to burn calories or get fit. I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about nature—all the different ways that you can use it while you enjoy some beautiful scenery along the way.

5. Happiness!!

Let’s face it, being in nature just makes us all happier in general. The great outdoors changes brain chemistry in a positive way, improves mood, decreases stress, provides opportunities for fun, and is simply downright beautiful.

All this ends up making for a happier and, thus, healthier you.

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Even though on a clear day you feel as if you could see to Antarctica from Cape Point, it is at least 6,000 kilometres away.

Kirstenbosch, the most beautiful garden in Africa

If you love gardens then Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden should be top of your list of gardens to visit in Africa. It has a reputation as the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the great botanic gardens of the world. But I imagine that few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch set against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.

I have visited this beautiful garden a couple of times now and each time I am amazed by the wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, known as fynbos. Spring and summer is definitely my favourite time here as a lot of the fynbos is in bloom and the garden is filled with bright colours.

Which gardens do you love exploring?

Portrait of a lioness

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Young Rhino

At birth, baby rhinos, which are called calves, are still quite big, at40 to 64 kg. And only 10 minutes after it appears it can already stand upright, a couple of hours later it begins to suck. The rhino calf is born without a horn. Its only protection comes from its mother, who seems to delight in caring for her new addition.  At around 3 years old, the calf will set out on its own.

Once they leave, they will go and find a territory of their own. This is not always easy, since rhinos do not share their territory with others. Therefore, the young rhino needs to be able to look after itself as it searches for territory, and to defend itself against other rhinos that want to compete for space.

Surrounded by a Pack of Lions

Shindzela tented safari lodge
The pride just chilling in the dry river bed

Lions are known as the king of the jungle. Something that doesn’t really make sense as there are no lions in a jungle. The thing that really scares me is that lions can reach speeds of up to 81 kph in short bursts. This was not a very soothing thought as we were surrounded by a pack of lions while on our safari.

We drove down into this riverbed following a lion or two and suddenly the whole pack came walking up the dry riverbed. The watched us a bit and then kept us in sight as they passed and surrounded us. One of the young lions even charged us a bit and looked like he wanted to leap up on to the vehicle.

I was amazed that the guide, which happened to be my younger brother, was still calmly taking photos and just enjoying this sight. It was amazing being this close to them but at the same time very very scary and I just wanted us to please back up and away before we got eaten. I didn’t know if I should be on the lookout or taking photos….and it felt like they were all watching us, just biding their time before they charged.

Two of the lions were fooling around, chasing each other and you could see the power in those paws as they swiped at each other. I didn’t even realise I was holding my breath until we were backed out of the dry river bed and at a safe distance from these majestic creatures again.