Tag Archives: competition

Hayden Quinn in Lesotho!

Call Me Hayden “The Hobbit” Quinn

Let’s just say that my experience of Lesotho was pretty flipping similar to the first time when I read The Hobbit. Mountains? Check. Clouds? Check. Mysterious body of water? Check. Hobbit? Me. Check. Cooking on the road? Check.

And let me just say, the more I think about it, the more I fitted the role of The Hobbit’s “burglar” Bilbo. Like in The Hobbit, we travelled by horseback (on Basotho ponies). Similar to Bilbo, I was the hungry one, longing for food. All the time.

 

The treasure? Rose’s cooking. And experiencing a Basotho meal with her, and her home-grown veggies.

My first adventure as burglar Bilbo was to find Rose. On a pony. In a blanket (pig in a blanket anyone?!). With a Basotho hat. And I found her!
Like Bilbo and his burglar flaws, my messy flaws were exposed in helping Rose cook – and she decided that I was a messy cook – because I left my spoon everywhere but in the bowl!!!

 

Luckily, my spoon habits had nothing to do with the outcome of the meal – which was delicious.  Learning from Rose and spending time in her village was a special moment for me. It was great to see her friends, family, and neighbours going about their life. The fun and smiles that the kids shared with me and the whole crew was really a highlight for me. I’m going to take those memories with me for ever.

So that was my first adventure.
My next adventure in the Kingdom in the Sky (even the name sounds like The Hobbit!) took me to the banks of the Katse Dam. I conquered dam walls, rowed determinedly on the water, and made it to the Katse Fish Farm, in time to catch me some dinner.
Hunger-driven, I braved a broken jetty (haha it really was quite tretcherous! The lengths you go for a beautiful shot!), and prepared the tastiest trout fresh from the Katse Reservoir. And boy, it was tasty. We had reached the treasure, and the adventures were to come to an end….in Lesotho.
All in all, it was a surreal, breath-taking and amazing experience.

 

 

Beautiful mountain pass of Lesotho

Stunning

Hayden riding a pony

Call me Bilbo!

The traditional Basotho outfit - how awesome is the blanket that I'm wearing?

The traditional Basotho outfit – how awesome is the blanket that I’m wearing?!!

Hayden and team on ponies

Trekking to Rose

Hayden and Rose in the Midlands

Rose, and the messy cook.

Sotho kids admiring the camera shots.

Brad showing the kids how it’s done!

Hayden and his guides at the Katse Fish Farm

At the Katse Fish Farm

Freshly caught trout

Trout time!

Hayden cooking on a jetty, on the banks of the Katse Dam

The rickety jetty – and the Katse dam.

Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi

Sharp-sharp, Soweto!

 
Okay guys let me introduce you to my favourite South African word: “sharp”. As in, “sharp-sharp!” meaning hello, goodbye, or just to show you’re amped for something – especially if you’re bordering on the same excitement levels that I was when we visited Soweto.

And yes. Soweto is one of the sharpest places in SA if you ask me!!!

I met with Lebo, of Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, and we cruised around Soweto by bike. Now, if you’re ever in Jo’burg and have a couple of hours free – Soweto’s where it’s at. I mean even the old cooling towers had been jazzed up to fit the vibe and display the passions of the people of Soweto! Lebo took to me to Vilakazi Street, which is probably the most inspirational street in the world. Honestly, how can one street have been the home of two Nobel Laureates?!
We also passed kids playing soccer, shabeens, and loads of little restaurants and bars. Seeing all of this I felt extremely honoured to be shown around by one of Soweto’s very own.
I felt part of it.

From the inner-city Soweto to the outskirts of Jozi I continued to feel part of it when we visited the Swartkop Valley Primary Farm School, who form part of the EduPlant project. They grow their own food, with a basis on permaculture, and of course educate – not only the children – but also the local community so that they can use the skills of growing their own food at home. It was so great to see how keen some of the kids were at gardening. We used their skills (and their carrots), and threw together an awesome chicken mayo and salad sarmie (love that word!!!). haha and there were smiles all round!

To top it off, I was run off my feet by the kids in an epic soccer game. Haha!!!

 

Behind the camera photo

Lights…camera…I think you know where I’m going with this.

Hayden cooking on top of the Randlord's building in Jozi

Hi…high….heights!

Hayden poses with Chef Khumalo

Chef Khumalo and I

Food preparation

Yummy!

View of Johannesburg

Look at this beauty!

Hayden drinking a beer with the locals

These quarts’s mean business – enjoying a cold one in Soweto

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopards Never Change Their Spots

Leopards never change their spots.

It’s a saying, but seriously. Why would they? Their spots are gorgeous. Spotting a spotted leopard (redundant?) in their local spot was such a privilege. Even if it was only on a computer screen, just to know that these majestic animals are roaming the same paths and valleys and veld that we too can walk is a pretty special thing. As was Dr Quinton Martins’ knowledge on my favourite member of the Big Five (like when he pointed out that most spots on a leopard are in fact rosettes, not spots! Who knew?!). The expanse over which these animals roam, to me was incredible. It just brings to light how much of an impact we as humans have on their lives.

Hayden crawling like a leopard

Leopard crawll. Not even joking!!

Hayden looking at the leopard footage.

Looking at the leopard footage.

From my leopard crawling in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, we drove on to Prince Albert via the Swartberg Pass. And boy – is that pass impressive! I mean, it was built over a century ago, one of the longest walls is apparently 2,4km(!!!). The pass is still used today, and being a bit of a mountain pass lover haha I can safely say (‘scuse the pun) that this road, even though it is all dirt and gravel is really really well kempt and to me very safe; the hardest part is keeping your eyes on the road for all the incredible views!. I know it probably sounds mad to those of you who haven’t driven it before – but for those of you who have, you get it, right?! It really was an awesome part of our long drive north to Priska and its madness that that sort of pass exists, let alone has existed that way for over a century…!

 

The next day we headed for Prieska. At first, I thought – snap. It’s South Africa’s outback. But the next thing we were cooking a potjie with spice combinations I wasn’t even allowed to know, swimming in a pool with dogs, admiring Damara sheep (they have quite peculiar tails!!! Sheep in Aus don’t have tails), and listening to an accordionist! Oh, and the windpump broke (did you see that!!!).

Potjie pot

Potjie time!

Hennie and Hayden standing in front of a windpump

Hennie and me, making a potjie

That’s when I realised, we were definitely, definitely not in the Outback. It may look the same, and it may be filled with similar characters but all these characters had a different story to tell.
And that bizarre, crazy fun day really epitomised my trip so far. It showed me that when you’re inundated with culture and experience – well that’s just the beginning of it; you can become so overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised when traveling that you end up eating a potjie, listening to an accordionist, and about to be hailed on in the middle of nowhere in Prieska. And that that’s not only okay – but you couldn’t imagine anything better.

Sky, sunset and clouds

How beautiful?!

An elderly man playing the accordion

Oom Piet the accordionist

This is why I love travel, this is why I love food, and these are the reasons that I am falling in love with South Africa.

Crew in front of a sunflower field.

Crew, just chilling!

Sunflower

Sunny.

 

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Paternoster Gets Me

Paternoster Gets Me

When you’re travelling, you get to experience new places for the first time. These experiences are fresh, exciting and can even be jarring. And among all of the new, you find that some places feel inherently familiar. Some places suit you, and you suit them. You just get each other. These rare places make you feel relaxed; they make you feel at home.

 

That’s what I got from Paternoster.

 

Now I know you South Africans are used to your country, and I’ve promised in the past not to ramble on about its beauty too much, but you’ve got to be kidding me!!! Paternoster is picturesque to death! It really does remind me of a beautiful little Greek village: loads of nature, loads of sea, and loads upon loads of culture.

 

And it just got me.

 

You know when you smell the salty sea air, and it makes your veins pump – you just want to get out there? Now imagine loads of awesome wooden fishing boats (called “bakkies”) just waiting on the sandy shore; waiting to take you out fishing. Waiting to take me out. I hoped.

 

I approached some of the local fishermen, and not only did they offer to take me out, but they offered me overalls (green, to match my eyes, a crew member joked) to wear, a line to tug and a technique to master. They taught me how to catch Hottentots – it was so awesome!

 

With hooks full and tummies empty we (Pieter and Abel, my fishermen guides, WWF trailblazer chef – Kobus – and I) ate the fish, together with freshly foraged ingredients, right off the rocks.

 

On the rocks.

Mussels on the rocks

Mussels on the rocks

Hayden and Etienne in Paternoster

Etienne and me, (HQSA’s DOP)

Boat on the Paternoster beach

A Bakkie