Category Archives: travel writing


Meine lieblingswort in Deutsch ist “abenteuer”… Meaning adventure! While the word I dislike the most is “teuer” meaning expensive or costly. Here we share some experiences of summer in Europe and how, if one isn’t careful, it can easily take a bite out of your savings-cheese.

The “sommerfeiern” or vacation in Germany has begun in full swing, the social distancing & isolation asked from citizens during COVID-19 seems to be a thing of the past. A much beloved personal destination is that of natural lakes here in Germany. Some are for swimming and sport for example the Tuttenbrockese See in North-Rhine-Westphalia or Wißmarer See in Hessen are smaller more intimate lakes perfect for summer swimming. Others are enjoyed for sunset drinks or sunrise jogging such as the Aasee in university town Münster. The Aasee is an excellent free location for picnics, watching sailing and rowing. Unfortunately, most Lakes ask for a fee from reasonable €2 to a whopping €10 or €15! Always look online before making the spontaneous trip, learnt that the hard way. Still can’t say that the dive into the refreshing teal water wasn’t worth it!

Keep it simple this summer. A term to perhaps adopt especially given the delicate situation of COVID-19 could be ‘micro-adventures’. Forge new hiking paths, canoe backyard rivers & support locals at nearby markets! Helping to stay within your budget & stay healthy too.

Seat X

22:55. 27/06.
The plane takes off from Cape Town to Frankfurt. A plane originally meant to depart at 17.40. This is no ordinary flight. It was given the green light by the South African government in cooperation with the German Embassy and Consulate to fly. During Coronavirus Level 3 Lockdown 2020 where international borders in SA remain closed. Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket back to Germany has now left the country, on board are 350 nationals and approximately 150 residents or transitting passengers. Why is the plane so late? Something to do with software, a glitch in the system, Lufthansa’s online check-in being an absolute riot. Nothing worked. Gathered on the 2nd floor of the International Airport; foreigners banded together. Laughing, eating granola bars and eventually even getting a hold of a beer or two. Seat X was designated for all nonGerman nationals who were not permitted to fly this evening. Boarding passes were fashioned from scraps of paper with names and flight numbers. After waiting for seven hours we are finally let through the gates. Allowed to board and have free choice from the available seats. This handful of passengers rallied together; British, South African, Russian and Czech alike. Bonded by their differences. Keeping spirits up the abandoned eerie airport space was transformed into a place of humor & mutual understanding. A place of support. The Lufthansa team worked hours straight to get the system back on board. Although not efficient or organised, everyone made it into their seats and the plane safely in the air. A good job in the end. The experience of flying COVID-19 has lived up to its promise. Eventful, nightmarish ending with social distancing out the window. Passengers turned back to the human condition. Joking & working together to overcome the trials and tribulations.

Racing Against The Sun

It is a cloudy day in Durban, June 2020 when the flight took off. A seat empty between strangers. One metre distance. COVID-19 continues to affect South Africa. As the country enters winter we see small changes being made to try get back to normal. Still the empty airport parking lot, the quiet relaxed airport atmosphere is a confusing conclusion for the pandemic. Germany awaits. From a distance news has kept us informed that countries went down like dominoes. China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US all knocked over. By July, the rules and walls which they created during the pandemic are beginning to crumble. Just in time for summer. The tourism & hospitality industries- equally victims of the virus- may have a chance to recuperate their losses. What of South Africa? They have faced an economic shutdown and fear civil unrest in the future. The fallout could see many unemployed, children uneducated and families lives forever changed. Loss of stable jobs sees a turn toward informal trading. Cigarettes are the HOTTEST item on the market, still banned today. Paying up to R90 for a bad quality carton continues to be the funniest and biggest frustration. Importing illegal tobacco over the Mozambique border has proved to be a lucrative business. In the South African communities we saw a food crisis emerge in March, with NGOs taking the initiative to plug the hole created by the lockdown. This short term fix provided a measure of relief during the worst point of the crisis. As the aid begins to lessen with the lockdown easing we need to begin thinking about the next step. Government initiatives, businesses as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or Farmers Associations could see this as an opportunity to provide skills development programs for many citizens. Projects such as these which arguably should have been launched back in 1994. For the rest of the year, keep an eye on SA as we may be surprised with how the country responds after the lockdown. Will it hit an economic slump? Or revive?

Find below videos from our work with Underberg Farmers Association, providing food relief during the COVID-19 Lockdown in South African communities.
Supported by organizations such as SANI COMMUNITY FORUM and ROUNDTABLE.






The first night we met a civil engineer from Brazil. Aged 30-odd with a kind, round face. We had just arrived, still slightly shocked from the mediterranean sun and on a mission to spend the week relaxing beside the sea. He told us about his boat trip which moored along the coast of this seahorse-shaped island we had found ourselves on. Without knowing our intentions he reminded us that a holiday was not a time to simply lie tanning. It was a time for searching and discovering the extraordinary in the space around you.

Swimming was endless with vast turquoise water spread out toward the horizon. It melts into the sky so that one can’t distinguish between the two. The soft lapping water fools you into thinking you could swim forever. Beneath the soft yellow warmth you can float beside the reflection of clouds. Those clouds brewed that evening and the next morning we woke to a muggy atmosphere.

The ocean now seemed tempestuous and a hike up to the nearby, “nearby” being a thirty minute walk zigzag going straight uphill, village proved to be an idyllic alternative. Fruit seemed to be in abundance, tumbling over fences with eager fingertips outstretched to pluck you as eagerly as you are to pluck them. I made many pinky promises with blackberries who sealed the deal with a kiss. We listened to old silver jewelry, sold surprisingly in an otherwise copy-paste souvenir shop. The silver was tarnished black each with its own character. Separate pieces eventually spoke out to both of us and now hang proudly on our bodies. The third day was not complete without the nutty syrup of a traditional desert lingering on our tongues and a meandering walk back down the long winding road.

The fourth day, a German girl joined us who longed for dark rye bread in face of the white slices offered for dinner. She taught us a card game we already knew and spoke of hiking in a way we didn’t think was possible. A French couple not longer after confirmed that walking for days, all the way to Israel, is not only possible but the journey they were undertaking. I shared with them the rules of the card game quickly becoming an international phenomenon. The French wife wrapped the leftover white bread abandoned by other guests for food on their way. They had bright eyes and seemed to glow when we said goodbye.

An older couple had visited South Africa, our home, in the 1970s. We were thrilled to find a guest who not only knew of our country but didn’t find us so exotic. They were inspiring, after studying to be a chemist he opted out to become an oboeist. With his wife, the pianist, they had traveled to countless countries to play music in orchestras. The stories they could share are a treasure chest waiting to be unlocked. We enjoyed the locally made red wine with them and spoke ceaselessly.

When the heavens cry they do not hide, they sob mercilessly. The sky broke above us while we were sightseeing. The tears drenched the earth, soaking us through shorts and shirt. The three of us ran; we had picked up a blonde young man along the way also staying at the same place as us and hoping to similarly visit the Old Town. Taking breaks beneath the shelter of doorways we eventually made it to a stuffed street-food outlet. They had our homegrown rooibos tea, the only place on the island which seemed to sell it! When the sky had partly cleared we continued walking; a total of 30 000 steps seeking out heritage sites. My favorite being the 500AD temple, taking us far out of the way only to reveal ruins where just a few stones remained.

The two of us were some of the last to leave, people from all corners of the globe coming and going. We watched them for seven days drift in and out. Gifted with a glimpse into a multitude of lives and adventures. The owners of Sunrock watched us all, just another handful over the 39 years of them running the hostel. They are home to the wanderers, the deserters, the curious and the brave.

Thank you for the stay at SunRock Madalena’s- Korfu, Greece 🇬🇷


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All rights are that arise from this work are reserved for, and are the property of the author JC Delport