Ed’s letter: 5 contending trips for your 50th

Posted by A on 18 September 2017

My siblings and I have a tradition: three times a year we take each other away for a birthday weekend, somewhere splendid and nurturing.

With the siblings Cathrin and Kilaan.

For two days, the birthday sib gets to live a life of luxury, pays for nothing, is cooked for (some of us fancy ourselves as gastronomists, so we like self-catering) and is waited on hand and foot. There’s something deeply curative about this, like your siblings are making up for every childhood wrong they ever did you (there’s nothing that makes my sister and I happier than when our brother is doing the washing up, for instance). The point is, the experience trumps a gift and we adore it.

The tradition is seven years in the making, and I notice the weekends are getting more extravagant. This year I turned 49. This inevitably had my mind turning to the big Five O next year. I wonder how far I can push it – the destination, not the age? (Although it’s true that when I was young, I did think 50 would be the honourable time to go.)

As we put together this issue, it struck me that every one of the featured stories is a worthy contender for my birthday experience. Here are some sentences I want to live: (from Shane Quinnell) ‘…we’re trekking through dense tropical rainforest packed with weird and wonderful creatures such as Ruwenzori turacos and bright-green three-horned chameleons.’ Oh, to see a three-horned chameleon by the time I turn 50! I want to be ‘sitting on the red oxide stoep at tea time, sipping hot masala chai, snacking on jackfruit petals and battered fried bananas’ (this courtesy of Nikki Werner in India). A 50-year-old should be living on jackfruit petals and battered fried bananas!

Then there’s this from Darrel Bristow-Bovey: ‘There’s something splendid and hallucinatorily surreal about being suspended in the warm blue with no seabed below you, enveloped in a cloud of 20 or 30 sharks, like a nucleus surrounded by a calm eccentric orbit of elongated electrons.’

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? I can just hear it at the school reunion: Do you remember Sonya Schoeman? Do you know that every last bit of her was snapped up by blue sharks as exquisite as elongated electrons on the day she turned 50?! Gasps and wide eyes all round. As editor of a travel magazine, what a damned respectable way to go. At least I will have died reading one of loveliest sentences ever written.

Enjoy this issue. I think it’s a goodie!


5 things to look out for in the October issue

Penguin portfolio

Africa’s only penguins are endangered, and we need to fight for their survival. We challenged renowned photographer David Crookes to show us their world (page 58).

Golden Gate National Park

You’d never guess how beautiful – and important – grasses are. This national park is a treasure trove, and here’s how to visit. See page 66.

Africa’s best trek

No, it’s not Kilimanjaro. It’s the awe-inspiring Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda. Turn to page 82.

Swim with sharks

This experience blew photographer Teagan Cunniffe’s mind and fired up Darrel Bristow-Bovey’s imagination (page 76).

Look out for the good-value star

Each issue of Getaway has several inexpensive accommodation options, places to stay for under R550 pp (some for less) and that we think offer good value.


This month’s contributors

Crookes & Jackson – African penguins, page 58

Photographer David Crookes and Nicola Jackson create visually striking interpretations of places, people and travel. This month they turn their lens on our penguins in Simon’s Town. ‘The colony at Boulders is an intimate wildlife experience. You are on a beautiful beach, observing an endangered species as they go about their daily habits as if you are invisible. It’s just you and the birds – no car, no boat. Incredible.’

Darrel Bristow-Bovey Blue shark diving, page 76

Darrel has been obsessed with sharks since finding a paperback copy of Jaws when he was nine years old and reading all the sex scenes. He has dived with sharks off the coast of Africa, Asia, South America, the island of St Helena and the Arabian Peninsula. He has presented his talk, ‘The Sudden Shark: Fear, Creative Living and How a Great White Saved my Life’, many times at venues around the country.

Tarryn and Shane Quinnell – Ugandan trekking, page 82

‘Team Tane’ are South African adventurers who lead the high life. Literally. In the last three months, the couple has tackled 12 000 corrugated kilometres in their Suzuki Jimny, ‘Badger’, on their latest expedition – climbing Africa’s five highest mountains, which included the Rwenzoris, where they attempted ice trekking for the first time.

Nikki Werner – India, page 90

Nikki shares a love and deep understanding of food through her writing and by cooking with people, often in her own kitchen. As Food Editor of Getaway and co-author of cook. better, her focus is terroir and technique. She recently travelled to homestays in the backwaters and jungle of Kerala, India, where she was immersed in South Indian cuisine and superbly well fed.



See more in October issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

The best guide to weekending in Golden Gate; how to go shark diving (without a cage); exploring the high peaks of the Rwenzoris and heritage homestays with delicious food in Kerala.


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