CONTRIBUTORS ed’s letter
SVEN MUSICA When Sven told friends and family he was going to study photography they wondered if his choice would ever lead to a “proper job”. Nevertheless, he pursued his passion and ten years down the line he owns a successful photography business. He gained experience working in the studios of some of the country’s most respected, award-winning photographers. He and his wife Karen, who is also a photographer, moved from Johannesburg to Nelspruit in 2009. Together they built Phonix Capture into a photographic company with a versatile approach.“Every photographic assignment brings forth new challenges, one cannot specialise in only one field of photography,” says Sven. See Sven’s work at www.phonixcapture.co.za
One of the first expressions I heard when I recently arrived to take up the reins at Lowveld Living was “if you poke a broomstick into the ground in the Lowveld, it’ll grow”. Life here is that good. The Lowveld’s reputation as a land of opportunity with a kindly climate has always attracted visitors. Often, they fall in love with the place and become residents; as did the cross-section of fascinating Lowvelders you’ll meet in this edition. Our cover story features the art and life of celebrated wildlife painter the late Zakkie Eloff, whose career blossomed after he settled here with his young family. To helicopter pilot Phillip Cope (Pg. 20) the Lowveld’s outdoor lifestyle beats any he saw elsewhere in the country. Musician José Nhancume (Pg. 7) enjoys all the creative elbowroom he could wish for within its borders, and award-winning author Neil Malherbe (Pg. 8) abandoned the jitterbug of Cape Town in favour of the Lowveld’s slow dance. Our local slice of paradise represents many different things to different people, but the essence of this lush region is that it encourages creative growth, supports business opportunity and offers an outstanding quality of life. There is no finer publication to showcase this than Lowveld Living – now entering its ninth year. As I learn more about this fascinating landscape I’ve come to appreciate that Lowveld Living is indeed planted in rich soil. I look forward to being part of its new growth and to sharing the journey with you!
ON THE COVER
Nasima Bhayat Nasima grew up in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. She studied Graphic Design at the ML Sultan Technikon in Durban. A short stint in the ruthless world of commercial graphic design made her realise that her true interest lay in freelance creative self-expression. After brief stays in the UK and Cape Town, she and her family settled in White River six years ago. She is an accomplished artist and uses various media including scraperboard, oils, acrylics, charcoal, and pen and ink. See more of her work on www.nasimasfineart.com
A delicately etched pen and ink Steenbok by famed wildlife artist Zakkie Eloff, who worked from his White River home studio for most of his career. After his death in 2003 this piece - together with many other original works - was3 handed down to his family. They kindly opened their photo albums and their homes for journalist Sue Adams, who wrote the insightful piece on Pg. 16.
EDITOR Bev Tucker DESIGN & LAYOUT Charlotte Senini, Ingeborg ����������������� Christie EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Sue Adams, Tracy Brooks, Bev Tucker, Leoni Viljoen, Aliya Holland, Peter Lawson PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART Murray Anderson-Ogle, Dr Jack, Liz MacFadyen, Sven Musica, Nasima Bhayat, Bev Tucker, Audrey Ford PUBLISHER Louis van der Merwe ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES Audrey Ford, Veronica van der Walt, Leoni Viljoen PRINTER Intrepid
WEB www.lowveldlivingmagazine.com FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/LowveldLiving TWITTER www.twitter.com/lowveldliving CONTACT US Tel: 013 751 3330 | firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com EDITORIAL firstname.lastname@example.org © Copyright 2012 Lowveld Living. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of Lowveld Living Magazine or the publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. All editorial information contained herein is, and remains, the property of Lowveld Living Magazine and/or its writers and/or photographers. Lowveld Living Magazine, its publishers, staff and contractors accept no liability for loss or damage in any form whatsoever arising from information, submissions or opinions expressed in this publication. Public comment and submissions are published at the sole discretion of Lowveld Living Magazine. E&OE.
UPFRONT 3 7 8 10 12
Editor’s Letter – fresh tracks in fertile ground Lowveld Vibes – jazzy grooves from José Nhancume
Lowveld Books – Neil Malherbe’s winning tale The Good Life – the pick of hot Lowveld happenings Lowveld Lowdown – autumn shades, pretty things and Easter treats
CREATIVE LIVING 14 16 24 26 30
Proudly Lowveld – meet the rebel gardener, Leon Kluge Lowveld Legends - Zakkie Eloff the man Lowveld Art - gypsy Mieke Teijema discovers her gift Junior Living - holiday mosaics for young creatives Easter Living - make old-timey Easter eggs in dreamy pastels
DÉCOR & HOME 20 28 32 46 54 70
At Home With - pilot Phillip Cope’s easygoing lifestyle Lowveld Décor - Addy Henning is softly successful Garden Living - get to grips with waterwise succulents Gracious Living - Valbonne House at Tomjachu Bush Lodge Design Living - a couple’s combined design flair at Wild Fig Estate Marketplace – find the most stylish suppliers
LOWVELD LIFE 34 42
Lowveld Cycling - 2013’s best races, training tips and more Lowveld Flavours - Aliya Holland’s orange blossom and
60 66 72
Social Pages - Lowvelders out and about
Restaurant Guide - fine local fare Parting Shot - Peter Lawson sneaks a peek at Bushbabies www.lowveldlivingmagazine.com
the rhythm of the Tracy Brooks follows the journey of multi-talented, multilingual musician and artist José Nhancume
aputo, Mozambique, Music inextricably entwined. Since the early 19th century, Maputo has been a rich source of musicians and music with styles ranging from Marrabenta - its popular Latino guitar rhythm pulsing with life - to Jazz and the soaring popularity of Reggae after Bob Marley’s death. Music thrived in the midst of war, and a young man called José Nhancume began playing jazzy blues with a reggae twist. José’s fascination with Marrabenta began while at school, and was his motivation to teach himself to play first the guitar, then keyboards, sax, drums and bongos. Learning by ear, he has never received a formal music education. One of thirteen children, and born and educated in Maputo, José earned a degree at the National Visual Arts School. After graduation, he flew to Bologna, Italy, where he spent a few months as a cultural exchange student. This “opened my vision. I realised that there are no boundaries and I can be anything that I want to be,” he explains. Back in Maputo, José spent the 1980s as a book illustrator for the National Institute of Educational Development. In 1990 he went to Swaziland and it was in Mbabane that his life took another ‘sho’t left’ when he met up with the late Yashin Albers. The Albers family encouraged José to start a three-piece jazz band in their restaurant, the Continental. The choice of jazz fell easily to the novice professional musician. His next musical development was a five piece band, Karibu (‘welcome’ in Swahili): two Mozambicans playing alongside a Zimbabwean, a Congolese and a Swazi, epitomising the promise and
warmth of Africa. Through Yashin, José played with, and was mentored, by music deity Hugh Masekela; whom José refers to as Malumi - SiSwati for ‘Uncle’. This relationship led to him playing with Doctor Victor in the Sandton Blues Room.
“two Mozambicans playing alongside a Zimbabwean, a Congolese and a Swazi, epitomises the promise and warmth of Africa” Now a one man band, he plays gigs in Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa. Fittingly for one whose God-given talents are so broad, he gives back. José used to teach art and music at the Sifundzani Primary and High school, seeing this as “leaving my legacy, and giving them something of me.” His face glows as he recounts stories of his pupils leaving school to become composers, DJ’s and animators. He believes fervently that “my strength comes from God, I was put on earth for a purpose, and I must use my talent.” Crossing cultures, borders, musical styles, demonstrating the endless talent and energy of Africa, José reminds us that our enormous continent really is one rather small village.
José can be contacted for events in South Africa on +268 76049926 or email@example.com
from up the
marula tree Words: Bev Tucker
Photos: Liz McFadyen
Once upon a time there lived a boy named Neil Malherbe who, after some years and many adventures, grew up to become the prize-winning author of a thriller which won the 2012 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Oh, and somewhere along the line he moved to the Lowveld as Headmaster of Penryn Preparatory School near Nelspruit.
s you can immediately tell, reader, there’s a great deal more to this intriguing tale. Which is why Lowveld Living chased Malherbe up a Marula tree between morning Chapel and small break and did not let him down until this unassuming author revealed everything about his book, The Magyar Conspiracy, and much about himself. The Magyar Conspiracy is a suspense novel in the tradition of a Boy’s Own adventure in which the 16-year-old hero, Sandy, sets out to uncover the truth behind his father’s mysterious death on Table Mountain. Unraveling the secrets of his father’s past puts Sandy on a dangerous trail that leads him thousands of miles from his Cape Town home to Hungary - hence the novel’s title - and takes the young protagonist on a journey of self-discovery. “It’s an actionfilled story but the hero has vulnerabilities that make him likable,” says Malherbe. The tale is highly accessible to South African readers between the ages of 12 and 16. The backdrop draws on Malherbe’s two decades of teaching English and Phys. Ed. at Primary and High School level, plus his many years as coach to the SA U18 Water Polo team, in which role he first traveled to Hungary, a competitive water polo nation. On one of his many trips, Malherbe befriended a man who had fled his native land during Hungary’s freedom struggle and only returned many years later, an experience that marked him deeply. Today, this man’s story has a role in the book. Fascinating
“there are very few books aimed at the teen market that reference rugby and cricket…” encounters like this helped the manuscript take shape, together with “the realization that there are very few books aimed at the teen market that reference rugby and cricket and other sports played at South African schools”. “I worked on the plot in my mind for years before I finally sat down during one December holiday to get it written,” Malherbe says. Writing the first draft was a five-month slog. “It’s hard work, physically, to force yourself to sit at a desk day after day and just write the story down.” Only once the first draft was written did his real work begin. Several rewrites guided by the loving criticism and professional editing of friends and family resulted in a polished final manuscript that snatched the Silver Medal at the 2012 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Of the six titles shortlisted for the award, two were by Lowveld writers. Malherbe was the only previously unpublished writer on the shortlist; no small feat in the rough and tumble world of book publishing. The prize included a publishing contract with Tafelberg Publishers and the book is now available at Exclusive Books. “It has all been very encouraging,” says Malherbe, “but probably the nicest comment came from one of the children at Penryn who read it and said, ‘Sir, when’s the sequel coming out?’” We are delighted to inform Sir’s readers that a sequel is currently in the works.
27 to 31 March big five tournament The White River Country Club hosts its annual Big Five Easter Golf Tournament in what is now well-known as one of the biggest events on the Lowveld golfing calendar. Get together with friends, play golf, win fantastic prizes, eat great food and haul your glad rags out of mothballs for the dressy Saturday night cabaret event. Info & bookings: Trevor, 013 7513781
30 March - Da Loose Mongoose Music Fest Stick a Post-It on your fridge, gather your family, friends and anyone you may find along the way and head off to Da Loose Mongoose for music and grub. This familyfriendly affair has an exciting line up of local
talent including Gibraltar, Blue Torch, Chiba Fly and the SSS Jazz Band who will keep you entertained all day and well into the wee small hours if you want to party. Good food and entertainment are guaranteed. Info & bookings: Stefan, 083 654 3070
26 to 27 April - FNB Mpumalanga Wine Show Treat yourself to more than 250 of the Cape’s finest wines at the Annual FNB Mpumalanga Wine Show at Ingwenyama Conference and Sports Resort. Experience a “wine tour” where you can taste and then purchase some of your favorite wines. Info & Bookings: Tickets from Computicket. Monica Mountjoy, 011 482 5936
4 May - Summerhill Family Fun Day
If you rate your 4x4 driving skills, go play at the 14th annual Summerhill 4x4 Family Fun Day held on the banks of the magnificent Sabie River in Hazyview. This fundraiser is hosted by the Summerhill Preparatory School. In addition to the 4x4 obstacle course, there will be a flea market, food stalls and live entertainment. Info & bookings: Patricia, 083 238 5279.
25 to 27 May Uplands Festival Uplands School in White River will again be the venue for three days of art, live music, theatre, the Valencia MTB Classic, a fun park for the kids, a craft market featuring local products, equestrian events, food stalls, a beer hall and more. This hugely popular annual event promises to be a real humdinger. Be sure to visit the Lowveld
hot happenings in the lowveld
30 March to 6 April - Camp Quality
Laughter is the best medicine. Camp Quality’s mission is to create fun for children with cancer. Activities will be hosted at the Uplands campus in White River, Mpumalanga. Contact Jacki van Zyl 083 301 9247 firstname.lastname@example.org
Living Champers and Sushi Bar. Info & bookings: 076 702 3540 or email email@example.com
20 April to 12 March - René Eloff Exhibition Painter René Eloff’s exhibition featuring her watercolour and monotype still lifes, landscapes and botanicals opens at the White River Gallery in mid-April. Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
27 to 30 April - MTN Panorama Cycle Tour The MTN Panorama Tour is punted as the race for everyone. Registration is on Friday 26th April and the Time Trial takes place on Tuesday 30th April, leaving the
last day of the long weekend, the public holiday on Wednesday 1 May, free for recovery, celebration and a leisurely journey home. Info & bookings: race-office@ panoramatour.co.za or fiona@ panoramatour.co.za
16 to 21 April Mzanzi Tour International cycling comes to the Lowveld with the inaugural Mzansi Tour, South Africa’s only international road stage race. This five-day, five-stage event starts at the Kruger Park border near Hazyview and ends in Fourways, Johannesburg. It carries a 2.2 International Cycling Union (UCI) grading and is an exciting boost to the local road cycling scene. info: www.mzansitour.co.za
TRANSFORMATION This old door on a Saligna base is a functional piece of furniture, a work of art and an ode to recycling that will complement any setting from shabby chic to contemporary or country. To snap up this gorgeous handcrafted Phillip Eloff once-off item run, do not walk, to the Eloff Gallery in White River. Where: e.g., Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, 013 750 1282.
lowveld As autumn approaches it’s time to bring gentle warmth to your personal palette with our selection of homeware and wardrobe options from near and far
RINGTHE CHANGES Nothing beats snuggling up on the couch when the weather turns chilly. Get comfy and update your sofa at the same time with cushions in snazzy prints from skinnylaminx & Jess Breytenbach. Where: www.etsy.com
ALLTHINGSNICE Slip your toes into a pair of leopard print pumps with a click of your mouse. Cinnamon Shoes are sold online and we love that every pair is handmade in SA. This exclusive range of ladies’ flats comes in different cuts of which there are limited numbers to help you keep your look unique. Where: www.cinnamonshoes.co.za
BUNNYLOVE Wear this necklace if you’re looking to say something about bunnies and love and Easter. Or if you just think its cute and you want it. Where: www.etsy.com/shop/lolaandcash
lowdown HAPPITY HIPPITY HOP
SWEETNOTHINGS Life’s too short for granny panties. Opt for Hula Dancer frillies from Elle Macherson’s Intimates range. They’ll put a sashay in your walk and a smile on his face. Where: A Brief Affair, 013 750 1635, Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River, Contact 013 751 2152
Someone in your life will smother you in kisses when you present them with this 30cm high designer Easter bunny. Where: Shautany Chocolatiers, Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River, 013 750 3033
GoWithTheFlow Ease into cooler weather with a feminine maxi dress that’s perfect for dayinto-evening wear. Vamp up the look with a pair of statement shoes and you’re good to go.
BODYCHOC Kissable massage oil with its creamy dark chocolate texture and citrus scents will ensure a rejuvenating and invigorating massage. Where: A Brief Affair, 013 750 1635, Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River
â€œHe had a wonderful sense of humour and loved to play with wordsâ€?
When Zakkie Eloff and his family first moved to the Lowveld he told someone he was a painter. “Then you must go to Nelspruit - that’s where the work is,” he was advised under the assumption that he was a house painter. After all a man with a family of three children can’t just paint pictures. Words: Sue Adams Photos: René Eloff
ut that is exactly what the late Zakkie Eloff did. “It was not easy,’ says René, his widow. “We lived from exhibition to
bush on camping trips, looking at rock art and sketching.
Zakkie studied Art at Johannesburg Technikon and then at the
exhibition. Everard Read, a prominent art dealer in Johannesburg,
Central School of Art in London. After travelling extensively in
R350, the same as the salary he had been getting as a game ranger.
supplemented his income by doing framing for artists such as Pierneef
spotted Zakkie’s talent and promised to buy one painting a month for It made us brave enough to make the move.” It is a move they have never regretted.
Zakkie Eloff was born in 1925 and grew up on a farm near
Ellisras on the Botswana border where his father was a farmer. In his early years, a local school teacher spotted little Zakkie’s talent and gave him a box of watercolours. When his father died, the family
Europe, he returned to South Africa to teach at Pretoria Technikon. He and Batiss amongst others. Often they would give him artwork in lieu of payment and he built up an impressive collection. The tragedy was that many of these artworks were destroyed years later in a fire at his home in Namibia when a gas bottle exploded. During this time in Pretoria he met and married René, a student of his.
Zakkie was offered a job as a ranger in Etosha Park in Namibia
moved to Pretoria and Zakkie was lucky enough to attend Pretoria
which was perfect for a man passionate about drawing wildlife. He
Batiss. They became firm friends and later would head off into the
hut 120 kilometres from the nearest town and their three children
Boys High and flourished under the keen eye of his art teacher, Walter
and René lived there for seven years. Their first home was a small
lowveld legends Zaskia, Arend and Philip were born in Namibia. Zakkie loved the
Craypas [pastels]. He loved using an old-fashioned pen with a nib and
However, he contracted a troubling skin condition from the harsh
strokes. He also loved working in oils and did some monotypes.”
open spaces and the wonderful opportunities to draw and paint. dry climate and was advised to move to a more humid area.
Sias Bosch, the well-known potter and an old friend of Zakkie’s,
lived in the countryside near White River and encouraged Zakkie and René to come and live nearby. They chose the plot that René
and her family still live on today - a lovely piece of bush set among granite rocks. Everard Read’s offer to buy one painting a month helped Zakkie along.
“We first built the studio and a small section of the house. After
each exhibition we added another section to the house,” says René.
If one reads the comments that other artists such as Pierneef and
Batiss made about Eloff, it was his skill at capturing movement that made the most impression. He held exhibitions in places such as
Johannesburg, Pretoria, Stellenbosch, Bloemfontein and Windhoek. Emil Schweikerdt, an art dealer from Pretoria, imported art paper from Italy for Eloff and bought him a special printing press,
allowing him the materials on credit. To a struggling artist this was invaluable support.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour and loved to play with
The children were schooled in White River and Zakkie took a keen
words,” says René when asked about Zakkie Eloff, the man. “He
them and loved attending the boys’ karate competitions,” says René
a sweat. He was not a big kuier mens and would rather have small
interest in their lives. “He used to cook interesting breakfasts for
as she holds up a sketch Zakkie did of the three children. “He was also very protective of his daughter,” she adds with a smile.
René and Zakkie would take their trusty old Combi - removing the
back seat to make a space for a work table - and head off on art trips
into the bush. “I know every little road in the Kalahari and the Kruger,” laughs René. They visited Etosha, Moremi, and Milwane in Swaziland
hated exhibitions because he hated crowds and would break out in groups of friends to socialise with at home.”
Towards the end of his life he became ill with rheumatoid and
osteoarthritis and then got cancer and died in 2003. “To not be able to draw was extremely frustrating,” says René; but she does have one last story.
When asked how long it took to complete a drawing he would
where the animals had been hand-reared and were easy to approach.
reply, “Forty-five years of practice.” He never stopped drawing and
what his passions were. “Zakkie did pencil drawings and he also used
which explains why the legend lives on.
As René displays some of her late husband’s work she explains
black or sepia ink. The nib allowed him to get variations in the pen
never worried about what others were doing. He did his art his way,
Artistic talent runs in the family: René studied art at Pretoria Technikon and held several joint exhibitions with Zakkie. However her focus was on helping Zakkie and bringing up her family, but she now says, “I have just discovered watercolours. I fell in love with them and am working on making prints with the help of Mark Attwood at The Artists’ Press.” She is holding an exhibition at the White River Gallery from 20 April to 12 March. Their three children also have artistic talent: • Arend is a sculptor in Pretoria • Philip designs and manufactures furniture and has the Eloff Gallery in Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River • Zaskia has opened the beautiful Cowshed venue near Lydenburg
at home with Words: Bev Tucker | Photos: Sven Musica
ouse beside lake? Check. Boat at the ready for spontaneous water skiing? Check. Kayaks queued at water’s edge in case you feel a paddle coming on? Check. Enduro bikes jousting for position in garage? Check. Helicopter parked on the lawn? Check. Bond Girl draped across shoulders? Er, not right this minute. But there are doubtless more than a few candidates waiting for a casting call. The name’s Cope. Phillip Cope. Meet White River’s resident chopper instructor and pilot; the one with the dazzling grin and the physique that speaks well of 40 years spent flinging himself headlong at every action sport that wandered past, and plenty more he went looking for, whether for work or play. His CV includes two years of living in a tent in Londolozi Game Reserve while tracking leopard for a wildlife documentary. He followed this with a death-defying gig as a BBC cameraman in Belfast during The Troubles in the ’90s. Nowadays, Cope’s life is mostly about running the slickest flying company south of the Limpopo, and fine-tuning hard work with fun; a balance the Lowveld lends itself to particularly well.
To the CEO of Hover Dynamics - the company he started in 2008 on his return from Europe - the shimmering azure Bell 407 (that’s a helicopter to you and me) currently parked on the lawn is just another room at the office. Today’s ride is a VIP charter for clients he’ll be picking up from a high-end bush lodge next morning. Hover Dynamics operates out of Nelspruit, which allows him to live in “the best place in South Africa. I lived in Europe for a few years including London, which I absolutely hated. When I came back to South Africa I travelled everywhere in the country and settled in the Lowveld because you just can’t find a lifestyle to beat this.” He is in good company. Hover Dynamics runs a well-established flight training school that has taught an impressive list of leading businessmen who, like Cope, prefer the country lifestyle. After earning their wings, a number of them purchased their own helicopters and now pilot themselves around the region for work, or commute to offices in distant cities. “We have everything here. Great water sports, the best Enduro bike trails, the best bush lodges plus fantastic weather to enjoy it all year round. If anything is missing it’s the beach, because I love surfing. Luckily the Mozambique coast is a hop away.”
at home with
Rumour has it chopper pilot Phillip Cope has perfected the Lowveld bachelor lifestyle. We went to see for ourselves.
at home with
“When I came back to South Africa I travelled everywhere in the country and settled on the Lowveld because you just can’t find a lifestyle to beat this” 22
Houses, even very nice ones on Lake Longmere’s smart lifestyle estate, don’t blow his hair back one bit. “If this place was just a double garage I’d still live here as long as I could land a chopper,” he says. “To me the perfect house doesn’t have a kitchen. Just a coffee machine and a fridge.” Just in case you happen to be a chopper-piloting daredevil in the making and are reading this article to glean helpful lifestyle hints, Captain Cope’s fridge contains the following: a goodly number of Millers Draft, five bottles of mineral water (airline size) and one large, tantalizingly un-opened bottle of Champagne. French. Pink. Natch. There’s no food in the house because, to Cope, eating is an activity reserved for restaurants. Luckily the authorities in nearby White River are tolerant about people landing helicopters on bits of open ground when they want their breakfast at Zanna’s - Cope’s go-to local café about five kilometres as the crow flies from his empty kitchen. Cope is insistent that the Lowveld is the best place to live and that his lifestyle is up there with the best in the country, if not the world. Having witnessed it first hand we’re inclined to agree. That said, and despite what is on the surface a fabulously glamorous existence, Phillip Cope is a remarkably unpretentious, easy-going guy who seems far more at home in an old t-shirt and a pair of worn board shorts than in the boardroom.
TALENT Words: Bev Tucker | Photos: Murray Anderson-Ogle
ieke Teijema possesses genuine talent.This is evidenced by the quality of her work and the fact that, within a few short years of first picking up a paintbrush, she already earns her living solely from her art, a leap into the unknown that has daunted far more experienced artists than herself. What makes this achievement remarkable is that she has never had a formal art lesson. Mieke discovered her gift just three years ago when she felt compelled to “do something calming and creative.” She began sketching and painting the seascapes and people she loves and knows so well after 20 years of living in close proximity to the ocean and communities of northern Mozambique. As a girl growing up in Friesland in The Netherlands - with three sisters and a father whose passion for sailing induced their mother to ensure the girls could all swim before they could read - there was no place in her life plan for art. “I did a diploma at a sports institute, played tennis for my province and wanted to be a tennis coach when I graduated.” Instead, she volunteered with an aid organisation and headed for war-ravaged Mozambique to teach street children in Nacala. “Although the war was all around us, the aid centre was never attacked. In some ways it was a very weird time. For example, every Wednesday evening we played volleyball with Russian
soldiers who were assisting Frelimo. Quite crazy.” In retrospect, she sees her Nacala years as the point where her life took a new trajectory, which, decades later, led to a career as a full-time artist living with her daughter Nina and two dogs, in a charming house in the hills above Nelspruit. Mieke’s day begins with a 5 a.m. training run in preparation for a half marathon she has entered with a friend. She works until midday, often setting up her easel on the deck shaded by indigenous trees and accompanied by operatic favourites from Vivaldi and Kiri te Kanawa. Aquatic themes fill Mieke’s canvases: the charcoal ribs of a hand-carved boat lie marooned on a sand bank; children scavenge for mussels in shallow pools; flamingos stretch their pale necks in flight over Prussian blue water. “I have always been connected to water. Like my father I’m a fanatical sailor. As a child I was always swimming, surfing and sailing so, yes, the sea is a big theme in my work.” She describes herself as a ‘realistic’ painter, saying, “I don’t know all the proper artistic terminology. I paint what I observe and try to pass on the emotion I see.” Her portfolio embraces portraiture and nudes “because they’re all about expression and feeling. Art is about close observation, then trying to communicate the emotion, to get the viewer to feel it.”
“…every Wednesday evening we played volleyball with Russian soldiers who were assisting Frelimo”
Her seafaring origins remain a restless voice in her head. “I love the peace of this house but I’m a real gypsy,” she says.“I’ve been in the same spot for six years but I know exactly what I’ll do in a few year’s time,” she smiles.“I’ll have a boat in Europe to live on and sail around during the Northern summer, and I’ll have a camper van in Africa for the European winter. No house. You get so much inspiration when you move around.” Having been blown way off course since the days when she dreamed of a tennis career, Mieke has few delusions about how difficult life can be as a self-supporting artist.“It’s an irregular income,” she concedes. But like all good sailors, she navigates with a fixed point. Mieke’s North Star is the advice of a highly respected artist from a workshop she attended when she started painting. “He gave the group a task to do and when he came to my canvas he began to cry. He told me he’d only seen real talent a handful of times in his twenty years of teaching. He said ‘whatever you do don’t give up’. He was the one who made me decide to really go for it.” Three years and counting and she is doing just that. To see more of Mieke’s work visit http://teijema-art.com/ gallery.html or meet her in person and view her exhibition at the Uplands Festival in White River 25 to 27 May.
We Have the
Ar t and Craf t sh op in TOWN
NELSPRUIT MICA TODAY Crossing Centre Cnr: Madiba Drive & N4 Tel: 013 755 4848 Fax: 013 755 4844
ddy Henning could be a poster girl for the adage that if you do what you love, success will follow. This former model and preschool teacher has always loved décor and she used to sell curtain fabric and soft furnishings as a hobby. “Ten years ago when my oldest son left for university I decided to take a chance and do it full time.” She named her business The Curtain Shoppe and plunged into the unknown world of decorating. “I took out my little phone book and called everyone I knew. My entire business has been built on word of mouth.” She has never looked back. Today her decorating skill can be seen in the homes and offices of clients throughout the Lowveld as well as in Paris and Switzerland. Addy’s success has its origins in the almost palpable positive energy and tremendous sense of fun emanating from her tiny frame. She is passionately devoted to her work although she shuns the limelight and insists, “I’m just a tool to help people get the look they want in their homes. I draw out what my clients have inside them. I couldn’t care who gets the credit at the end of the job because I know in my heart of hearts that I always give my best.” The three-month waiting list for Addy’s decorating services attests to her touch that can transform an ordinary space into one that expresses her client’s personality. Her own taste leans towards the French country look but the White River home she shares with her fiancé Gerhard de Jager makes concessions to his more masculine self-expression. “I have to live with 26 bok koppe, which should tell you everything,” she says, “but in decorating a home you have to consider the man’s point of view.” As a long time White River resident, Addy is well known in the area where she has raised her three sons. She is shamelessly adoring of “the most gorgeous boys in the world” and spends as much free time as she can with them or in Paternoster, which she calls her “favourite place on earth.” Addy attributes her transition from teacher to decorating guru as a simple case of following her heart.“My Ouma used to make curtains for Garlicks. She had a workroom and I used to spend hours there with her, but at that time I had no interest in sewing. It only occurred to me the other day that maybe this had a stronger influence on me than I realised.”
“I have to live with 26 bok koppe … but in decorating a home you have to consider the man’s point of view” 28
The IDC is the biggest supporter of tenders awarded in the
Over the next five years, the IDC will make available R25 billion
Department of Energyâ€™s Renewable Energy Independent Power
to fund projects related to green industries.
Producers (REIPP) programme. The IDC is identifying and providing funding for many projects In the first round of REIPP tenders, the IDC participated in twelve
that will contribute to building South Africaâ€™s industrial capacity
successful bids, and seven more in the second round. The green
and creating jobs. Visit www.idc.co.za to find out more.
energy bids include wind power, concentrated solar power, photovoltaic and small hydro projects.
The power behind renewable energy
Telephone: 086 069 3888 Email: email@example.com To apply online for funding of R1 million or more go to www.idc.co.za
Do you know what we have in common? ...you can find both of us close to the N4.
Take the N4 Toll Route between the capital cities of South Africa and Mozambique and experience some of the most beautiful, mesmerising of all African landscapes The Maputo Corridor Route offers so much more than just another road trip. Steeped in history, dominated by the stark beauty of natureâ€Ś on this route you will experience a journey never to be forgotten.
TRAC Helpdesk 0800 8722 64 082 881 4444
www.tracn4.co.za Follow us on Twitter @TRACN4route
garden living www.lowveldlivingmagazine.com
Mpumalanga Cycling events
Powerade made its South African debut in 1995 and it is currently the Number One Sports Drink in the country. It was specially developed by leading sports scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a drink for top-performing athletes. Proven time and again in performance and endurance trials, Powerade is an effective source of fluids, energy-yielding carbohydrates and electrolytes. Here’s why: Powerade contains water which lowers the risk of dehydration and cools the body. The carbohydrate Sucrose, provides energy, which delays fatigue and aids recovery. Powerade also contains 3 powerful electrolytes, Sodium, Potassium and Chloride, which maintains effective hydration by driving thirst as well as plays an integral roll in fluid and carbohydrate absorption which is imperative to rehydration. Powerade is the proud Sponsor of the Protea’s, South Africa’s national cricket team, bringing it even closer, Powerade is the proud sponsor of local events such as the Powerade 2-in-1 night race, the Croc Canoe Marathon, Sabie Classic and Sabie Experience and the world reknowned Alfred Dunhill Golf Tournament. Powerade stretches even further and supports school events and teams across the Mpumalanga region.
APRIL 10-13 Lowveld Quest Stage Race 17-21 Mzansi Road Tour 5 Day 20 Mpumalanga Prov #1 Induna 27 Spar Forest to Falls MTB Challenge 28-30 Panorama Tour
MARCH 1-3 SA Elite & Junior Championships 2 Dunkeld Dullstroom MTB 9 I nduna Cross Country 16-17 The Lost Sun God MTB Race 21-23 Trac U/23, Junior & U/16 Tour 23 Lake Umuzi Cosmos 3-in-1 MTB Event 23 Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge
MAY 1 Panorama Tour 4 Mpumalanga Prov #2 Sabie 4 -5 Misty Valley 24h MTB Championships 11 Spur Schools #1 Uplands 11 Skurwegberg MTB Challenge 11 Joy Anglo MTB Event 18 Das Auto #1 25 Mpumalanga Prov #3 Uplands 26 Uplands Valencia MTB Classic
*These dates were correct by the time of print.
6 Das Auto #2 13-14 Mankele Avalanche 27 Spur School Series #2 Curro 27 Wildery 4x4 MTB 27-28 Forever Resorts Badplaas MTB Stage Race
1 The First Ascent Big Induna MTB Classic 8 Mpumalanga Prov #4 Mankele 15 Forever Resorts Loskop MTB 22-23 SA MTB National XCO/DHI Cup Series 4 29-30 Indabushe MTB Challenge
AUGUST 3 Krokodilpoort MTB Race 7-11 Clover Lowveld Tour 10 Das Auto #3 17 Spur School Series #3 Penryn
SEPTEMBER 7 Das Auto #4 9-15 Selati Africycle 7 Day 14 Spur School Series #4 Mankele 14 Woodpackers Cycle Challenge 21 Spur schools Final TBA 22 Middleburg Ferrochrome Loskop Cycle Challenge 28 Misty Valley MTB Challenge
OCTOBER 4-6 Isuzu 3 Towers Stage Race 19 Jock MTB Exxaro Middleburg MTB Race 26 Sabie Shenanigans (Day/Night) 26 Megchem Cycle Challenge
NOVEMBER 9 Alzu Tour De Farm 30 Noon to Noon 30 Loskop Country Road Race
DECEMBER 13-16 Sabie Experience
Sabie is South Africaâ€™s top outdoor activity and adventure destination, a must for all Cycling enthusiasts. Experience the picturesque beauty of nature in and around this small country town nestled in the majestic Drakensberg escarpment mountains .
www.sabie.info | 013.764.1177
with Nadia Botha The South African Downhill Ladies Champion is a tiny, smiley, blonde tomboy who, at just 22 years old, is rocking the downhill MTB racing scene.
Q. First things first : what bike do you ride? NB: A blue Bergamont Straight Line Team downhill bike. It has more suspension so I can absorb more bumps and higher drops. These bikes have just come into South Africa. They’re German engineered and the way the set up, suspension and linkage work together is brilliant. I feel really confident on the bike.
Q. Does that mean you take more risks? NB: Yes! 2013 is going to be all about taking my racing up a notch – racing further and faster, working on quicker cornering and taking bigger jumps.
Q. How did you get to this point in your career? Was it all part of a grand master plan? NB: I never planned any of it! I studied Adventure Sports at college in the UK because I always knew I wanted a career in outdoor instructing. Biking was one of the sports I studied, but I never wanted to compete seriously. My husband Shane entered me in a local race without telling me. I won and it was so much fun the bug bit and I entered more and more races and it just grew from there.
Q. You grew up in England and went to college there. What brought you to South Africa? NB: My lovely husband! Shane is a South African. We met next to a mountain bike trail in the UK when he was working over there. Later we moved to White River and we’ve never looked back.
Q. This can be a costly hobby, there’s the bike, the spares, the special kit, travel costs, entrance fees … how do you manage it? NB: I ride for Velolife and wear their sponsored racing kit. I’m not professional at this stage although I’m getting there, so I’m largely self-funded at the moment.
Q. Tell us about a downhill racer’s kit? NB: It’s full body armour, gloves, shoes and of course the non-negotiable, full-face helmet. That’s it. The rest is the bike, the lungs and the legs.
Q. What does your weekly training schedule look like? NB: I ride for two to three hours about four days a week and I do gym three times a week. This is where I work on my fitness including core and upper body strength because riding uses your whole body not only your legs. On weekends I’m usually riding a race on a Saturday and Shane and I will go for a nice five or six hour ride for fun on the Sunday.
Q. Do you have a favourite MTB event in the Lowveld? NB: I love the Mankele Avalanche near Nelspruit. It’s more of an endurance ride than a race. It happens over two days and it has such a great atmosphere and a fun vibe. There are two different trails on the Saturday and a third on the Sunday. The organisers braai for everyone on the Saturday night. It’s just such a fantastic weekend of riding with great people.
The geometry is the soul of a bicycle. The most important characteristics of a bike, how it handles and how it behave, can already be achieved by working on the geometry. Longer top tube Lower stack height Slacker head angle Lower bottom bracket Shorter chainstay
Q. You’re the reigning SA Ladies Champion - where to from here? NB: I’ll definitely be racing a lot more this year. This will include the National Downhill Series. Shane and I will still do a lot of cross-country for fun but I’ll be taking the downhill races a lot more seriously.
Using Indoor cycling to improve your on-the-road performance
ll the training that goes into getting ready for a race can be very daunting and time consuming. There is no doubt that to excel during a race it is necessary to practice as much as you can on the road, however, there are other ways that you can really stretch your anaerobic threshold and endurance namely SPINNING. While Spinning is primarily an anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance, there are also plenty of aerobic benefits. A decent Spin session should include both endurance and cardiovascular training during the workout. At several points you may be required to break your steady pace and speed up to increase your heart rate. It is important to take yourself to a point where you feel ‘maxed out’, which is useful as there will be many times on the road where your ability to manage will be tested. As you work harder during your Spinning workout you will learn to work on controlled breathing, as well. This may help you with anxiety and help lower your heart rate when you get into a situation where physical exertion begins to take your breath away. Spinning can also help you improve your on-the-road technique and posture. Correct posture is important to make sure you are using the correct muscle groups during a session. As you spin, unlike racing a bike on the road, you get an upper body rhythm going that helps you keep your leg rhythm. The movement from a slightly bent position and side to side works both the central abdominal muscles and those along the side of your abdomen. Increased abdominal strength will increase your power on-the- road. On-the-road training can also be very time consuming and trying to fit in 2 to 4 hours of riding is sometimes not achievable in our busy lifestyle. However it is possible to fit in a couple of 45
minute Spinning classes during the week to improve your on-theroad speed and agility. As you learn to work harder on the Spinning bike you will begin to find that the breaking point, at which you begin to feel the workout, will become lower the harder you work. For some, the benefit is that once you reach a breaking point and work through it, you get the natural endorphin kick that most athletes enjoy. The great thing about working your body into this kind of shape is that you feel better throughout the day following a workout and you have more energy. You are simply training your body to work more efficiently Spinning can do two things for you mentally. First, the warm up and cool down are great ways to relax. Second, when you spin, there are good days and bad. The important thing is that you continue with your regular routine. Push through difficult times. Push up-hill climbs and push through endurance training. You are there in a group so there is no way to get out of it and give up. Mental self-discipline gained during a class can be applied to all areas of life, and encourages one to foster a ‘can-do’ approach. If there is any doubt in your mind about how indoor cycling can improve your on the road fitness, bring this copy of LL and you will be entitled to one free class at either Training Edge, West End (Nelspruit), or White River.
Carbs? Who said carbs?
Properly done, cycling is a calorie guzzler of a sport, but it’s not a free pass to eat as much as we like of anything we want. Being human, the foods we love to reward ourselves with after a long day in the saddle tend to be heavy on the carbohydrates.
This includes just about everything from bread and potatoes (in any form) to alcohol (in any form) and makes the dessert trolley a no-go area. What you’re left with is a diet composed of fish and lean meats, some grains and pulses, some fruits and vegetables (not all are on the approved list). This may be healthy, but it has a boarding school severity about it that makes it a huge fail on the satisfaction front. While sports nutrition scholars debate the matter, the final decision about whether to carb or not to carb resides with individual riders. If you take your riding seriously or have health concerns of any sort, invest in professional advice from a sports nutrition expert. If not, we support the ‘all things in moderation’ school of thought. Eat, ride and be merry.
Sharing is caring Cyclists share the road with motorized vehicles, pedestrians and other sports people. Here are some tips on making it fun for everyone.
Say something nice Pedestrians, runners and other cyclists are often taken by surprise when riders come up behind them without warning. Issue a few loud verbal warnings as you approach (“Good morning!” is friendlier than “Outta my way fatso!”) because it can be most unnerving to have a bike and rider suddenly materialize over your shoulder.
Smile and wave Learn cycling hand signals. Use them. Yes, really.
Looking good, feeling fine Putting a helmet on your head every time you put your bottom on a saddle is so obvious that it hardly bears repeating. Just do it. Making yourself visible is as important as making yourself heard. Cycling kit should be lurid enough to make your eyes water. That way other road users have a better chance of steering around you as you zoom along in your high speed lycra. Get a light on that bike for poor visibility situations, dusk or night time riding. Invisible cyclists are deeply uncool.
Chop-Chop Maintenance This topic could fill volumes, but we know you’re busy so we’ve pared it down to the simplest basics. Conduct this handful of routine maintenance tasks, and you may save yourself untold headaches as well as hours of pushing your bike home instead of riding it. Tighten cassettes
Stop the saddle backchat
Loose cassettes can damage the freehub body, mess up shifting and cause your bike to make mysterious noises. Get yourself a cassette lockring remover specific to your bike, pop off the back wheel and take the quick release off the hub. Tighten the cassette by turning the tool in the grooves of the cassette lockring. If anything seems off kilter, for example if it turns too far or won’t tighten, get thee to a bike shop quick-smart.
Constant chirping from the rear is as annoying as a creaky handlebar, the difference being that unlike a handlebar, the saddle never shuts up. Like the handlebar noises, a creaky saddle is caused by friction between metals parts that need cleaning and light lubrication. Remove the seat from the seatpost, clean the area with a cloth and follow with a light spray of lubricant before securing the seat back in place.
Quit your whining
Brake like a boss
If your handlebar complains while you’re grinding up a hill or sweating across rough terrain, you’ll lose your temper as well as riding buddies who will be highly irritated by the noise. Squeaking handlebars are caused by friction between the handle bar and the clamp zone when you bear down with your full weight. To get rid of this annoyance, take the time to clean and lubricate the handlebar area where it clamps into the stem. Loosen the handlebar and slide it out of the clamping zone. Wipe and degrease the parts, or squirt lubricant into the gap between the bar and clamp.
The bosses on cantilever brakes are all too often neglected, with the result that they get clogged up with dirt and rust and can no longer do their job properly. Keep an eye on them and have them checked out now and then at your local bike shop. If you know your way around a bike, you can clean them yourself. The payoff will be increased brake longevity and better stopping reliability on rides.
Orange Blossom and Chocolate Cheesecake Filling: 2 x 250g high quality cream cheese 1 x 250g creamed cottage cheese 200g caster sugar 2 tbsp corn flour 1½ tsp vanilla extract finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp) 1½ tsp lemon juice 3 large eggs , plus 1 yolk 250g crème fraiche 3 tbsp high quality orange blossom water
Base: 85g butter melted, plus extra for tin 140g digestive biscuits (can use gluten free biscuits) 1 tbsp sugar , granulated Top: 250g crème fraiche 1 tbsp golden caster sugar 2 tsp lemon juice
Recipe from Aliya Holland, firstname.lastname@example.org White River-based Nutritional Therapist
1. Preheat the oven to fan 160˚C conventional 180˚C. any lumps, sink them using a knife - the top should be Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin. as smooth as possible. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven 2. For the crust, melt the butter in a medium pan. Stir in temperature to fan 90˚C/conventional 110˚C and bake the biscuit crumbs and sugar so the mixture is evenly for 25 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and open and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, the filling. or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the 3. For the filling, increase the oven temperature to fan 200˚C/ oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on conventional 240˚C. In a bowl or food processor beat the top as it cools. soft cheese at medium-low speed until creamy. 6. Combine the last tub of crème fraiche, the sugar and lemon Add the sugar, then the cornflour and a pinch of salt, juice for the topping. Spread over the cheesecake right to scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle twice. the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 4. Continue by adding the vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whisk 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping the bowl and decorate with homemade or shop bought whisk at least twice. Stir the 250g carton of crème fraiche chocolate curls. until smooth. Whisk to blend, but don’t over-beat. The batter 7. Run a round-bladed knife around the should be smooth, light and somewhat airy. Finally add the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. 3 tablespoons of high quality orange blossom water. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the 5. Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the and put on a baking sheet. Pour in the filling - if there are parchment paper out from underneath. Elro Braak, manager of Crossings SUPERSPAR, recommends Bellingham Citrus Grove Chenin Blanc. For advice on the best pairings, contact Elro on 013 752 7825
Just like Alek Wek, Amarula is world famous, yet truly African at heart. From Africaâ€™s sub-Saharan plains where the unique marula trees grow freely, to the very hands that pick the exotic marula fruit once it has ripened, each aspect of its creation makes Amarula a true African Original.
Alek Wek Celebrity and Humanitarian
Enjoy Responsibly. Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.
From left: Chevonne Welmans, Sean Middleton, Portia Adams, Jane De J채ger, and Brenda van Schalwyk
There are cars and then there are Jaguars The latter is the sort you fall for across a crowded showroom and fantasize about meeting one day. When you finally do, the introduction is almost guaranteed to turn into a love affair that will last a lifetime. Lowvelders now have these beauties on their doorstep, thanks to the recent additions to the Land Rover showroom, which houses the Jaguar dealership. This architectural showstopper - complete with an Illy Coffee Bar - brings the Lowveld its first ever Jaguar sales and service facility. The new annex is so much more than a car sales room. The concept draws visitors into a space where they can relax in a sense of luxury and enjoy the cars without a hard-sell atmosphere. Visitors are invited to drop by to admire the cars and to hear firsthand the trademark growl of a Jaguar engine. The Jaguar snarl is so inherent to the mystique of these vehicles that the sound inspired the recent Growl Competition heard on MPowerFM and Jacaranda FM. The competition had women radio presenters and listeners “growling” across the airwaves as they simulated a Jaguar engine. MPowerFM’s breakfast co-host Portia Adams and Jacaranda FM listener Chevonne Welmans growled their way to the prize courtesy of Jaguar Nelspruit: a day of luxurious pampering. The relaxed elegance of the Illy Coffee Bar was the perfect launch-pad from which the Growl Competition winners and their guests Jane de Jager and Brenda van Schalkwyk were whisked away in the Jaguar XF, for a Ride & Drive day of indulgence. The XF 2.2 Diesel starts at only
R498 600* and, with its exceptional fuel economy (6.0L per 100km), is comfortably affordable yet brings more than 100 international motoring awards, making it a game-changer in the world of automotive design. The Jaguar’s renowned flair for style, luxury and refined power, combined with its genius for technological innovation, sets the standard to which other sport saloons can only aspire. On arrival at the exclusive Summerfields Rose Retreat & Spa in Hazyview, the ladies were presented with rose bouquets and glasses of bubbly followed by a pampering spa day. After the day was rounded off with High Tea Summerfields style the guests were ushered back into the sleek, dynamic and daring comfort of the car that fuses sports car styling with outstanding luxury saloon comfort. On their return to Jaguar Nelspruit Jane commented, “The Jaguar XF is a beauty that begins to please, and tenderness that completes the charm. The roaring drive with beautiful newly bonded friendships was an intoxicating picturesque experience. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. Live life!” Portia Adams had the last word by saying, “The Jaguar XF is a refined, intense and potent drive, with a roar that can never be forgotten. It’s addictive!” Jaguar. How alive are you? *Price correct at the time of going to press
From left: Chevonne Welmans, Brenda van Schalwyk,Portia Adams, and Jane De Jäger
Paradise found 46
It must be every grandparentâ€™s dream to find paradise and share it with their grandchildren. For the Fillery family, Tomjachu was such a place
â€œBrian quickly recognized that the property was imbued with tremendous potential due to its beauty, energy and historyâ€?
his beautiful mountain bushveld property
was intended to be home to Gordon Fillery
and his clan. Built between 1988 and 1991, the house is now much changed. What has never changed is the spectacular site that seems to hang above the distant Bekker
Mountains, looking towards the Crocodile Valley Gorge, some twenty minutes from Nelspruit.
Those who knew him remember Gordon as a gregarious
and fascinating man who, they say, could hold the attention of the most beautiful women of his era.
The dream of an African paradise for his only child Brian,
and his grandchildren, was shattered when Gordon fell ill
during the family’s first and only Christmas together on the farm. He died in early 1992.
Brian Fillery found himself tasked with the running of
the estate: a role which was both unexpected and, in his own words, “somewhat unwelcome.”
However, Brian quickly recognized that the property was
imbued with tremendous potential due to its beauty, energy
and history - including the Voortrekker wagon trails that can
still be seen on the farm. He set about expanding it and turning it into a viable enterprise.
The estate was stocked with game and the homestead
enhanced and expanded using stone hewn on the farm itself. Guest cottages were added and the former family home was
re-invented to become a serene destination for tourists from all corners of the world.
As the enterprise grew, more land was acquired and
the farm was renamed Tomjachu, after Brian’s three sons,
Tom, Jack and Hugo. Although the word does not roll off a
Shangaan tongue any easier than it does off an Afrikaans one, the great pride and deep roots the family has in their heritage is what mattered when they were deciding on the name.
As the family grew in numbers over the years, so Brian’s
house expanded from its unpretentious two bedroom, one
bathroom origins. A series of additions created a sprawling, domino-like effect, which made for a recent decision to reshape and revamp the house in its entirety.
The result is a double-storey, six bedroom, six bathroom
classical South African Lowveld home, with cool verandas and rooms brimming with family antiques and paintings, safari trophies, local art and a lifetime of memorabilia.
Memories and artifacts from Brian’s other homes in
Hampshire, Bath and even Montenegro are built into the new structure. The effect is a house that gives insight into a well-
travelled man who appreciates this property and its remarkable surroundings.
Today Brian and his partner Donna share the beauty that is
now known as Valbonne House at Tomjachu Bush Lodge with a steady stream of family and friends. Gordon’s vision of a paradise for those he left behind has truly been fulfilled.
For all your interior decor needs: colour coodination, curtaining, blinds, rebated rods, upholstery, soft furnishings etc. 083 701 3604
A classical South African Lowveld home with cool verandas and rooms brimming with family antiques and paintings, safari trophies, local art and a lifetime of memorabilia
What happens when a furniture designer with excellent handyman skills, and a builder of offices, with superb design ability, build a house together? LL asked the question of Marti Heidtmann-de Waal and Johann de Waal of Wild Fig Country Estate. Words: Sue Adams Photos: Sven Musica
Tips from Marti and Johann • Make sure you have builder’s insurance • Never make impromptu changes • Shop around. Don’t accept the first price offered. People sometimes quote according to your address
Recommended suppliers • Africote did the screed floors and spent a great deal of time giving advice to the builders on how best to do it. Their service was excellent • Safintra supplied the roofing and went the extra mile when it blew off
“Marti has large red leather chairs that nearly caused a divorce”
innovative • individual • inspiring
arti and Johann have managed what most people would not have been able to: combined their design skills and built an elegant simple house, with clean lines and a warm ambience.
For many years, Johann owned a magnificent plot in Wild Fig Country Estate
between Nelspruit and White River, but he didn’t quite get around to building on it until he met Marti, a designer and builder of offices, who had built her own home. Johann designs and manufactures mahogany furniture and makes African Loom and all-weather outdoor furniture. “We took two years to design and plan the house, it took seven months to build,” says Marti. “We looked and compared and talked until we knew exactly what we wanted.” They describe their design as industrial style: square, with a flat roof and lots of steel and exposed clay brick. They agree that the most important aspect of the design is that, having chosen to live on a bushveld estate, they wanted to allow the outside to come in. Johann was influenced by the open plan style of Esias Bosch, and Marti by the industrial look of the offices she designs. There were a few other factors
L AT E R A L D E S I G N S INTERIORS
that they considered essential: wood burning fireplaces rather than under-floor heating, an outside shower and a boma under which they could sit at night. They liked the idea of the old Lowveld style of using corrugated iron for roofing and they wanted to use locally sourced materials as much as possible. “Marti has a remarkable ability to visualise in 3D,’” says Johann proudly, while admitting that he cannot, “and she is an excellent project manager.” Marti sourced a local builder from Kabokweni, Edward Ntsini, and oversaw the project from start to finish. “Wild Fig Estate is on a slope so we had to be careful of levels,” explains Marti. To build a house in seven months is impressive, and when I asked about challenges along the way Marti smiles and says, “Two weeks before the house was meant to be finished we had a huge storm and the corrugated iron roof blew off. It peeled back and was destroyed. Our wooden floors were already in and they got soaked. Our suppliers of the roofing, Safintra, had no stock but they made a plan.” Johann bursts out laughing and says, “They gave us a whole lot of different coloured small pieces of corrugated iron while we waited for the order.
For exclusive, innovative, individual and inspiring interiors we offer: • Complete interior design service for homes, hotels, lodges, beach houses & offices • Procurement • Extensive range of fabric samples • For all custom made curtaining, blinds, upholstery etc.
The roof looked like a lappieskombers (patchwork quilt), but it was only four weeks until the new roof arrived.” Marti and Johann agree that it is worth spending money on particular things. Firstly builder’s insurance for unexpected disasters such as the roof; but also on their bathroom, the stackable doors onto the veranda and the aluminium windows. Johann is a lover of beautiful wood and he proudly shows off the Japanese Cedar ceilings. When I query the local side of this he explains that it all comes from an experimental forest in the Sabie area. The upstairs floors are Saligna laid by Johann, and he made much of the Mahogany furniture. He also built the staircase step-by-step in the evenings after work.“Each step is hand cut,” he explains. The kitchen is open plan and very simple with a huge pantry that contains food and crockery. “Of course we should have made it bigger,” smiles Johann. They specifically wanted free-standing units, which Johann made, together with his African Loom bar chairs at the counter. “We did not want a huge house,” says Johann, and they have managed to keep it compact. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms. The main bedroom has a spacious bathroom and dressing room, but the bedroom itself is modest with stacking doors and a large wooden deck with a beautiful view towards Nelspruit. Marti’s daughter has her own bedroom and there is a TV lounge upstairs, and a spare bedroom. “We hoped not to have curtains in any of the rooms, but people
38 Murray Street | Nelspruit tel +27 13 753 2095
get shy so now we have put some in,” explains Marti. When asked what other advice they would give, they both look up to the set of stairs leading to the third floor.“Don’t do impromptu changes,” says Johann.“We found we had a bit of spare space over the guest bathroom so we added this little room and created a third floor. It’s my writing room and also has a free-standing sauna in it. As nice as the space is, we have ended up with roof problems and leaks.” The house is simply decorated with white screed floors and large loose carpets. “At our time of life we already have lots of furniture and we like the things we have,” says Johann. The only real fireworks came when they had to combine their two households of furniture. “Marti has large red leather chairs that nearly caused a divorce,” says Johann with a grin. But they have managed to end up with an eclectic mix of loved things that seem to live comfortably together. Johann points out the purple lamps he brought back from Zanzibar and Marti loves her huge wooden Buddha from India, which sits in the corner of the lounge. Ornate Italian mirrors reflect some African wooden carved figures in the hallway and the South African art works on the walls are obviously bought and collected over time. A Dianne Maclean nude poses halfway up the stairs, an Esias Bosch tree hangs in the hall and carved wooden fish are mounted on the driveway wall. Johann and Marti love to entertain and one of the themes of a party early this year was “Feel the Love.” There is no doubt that the love they have for design and their home makes it the comfortable and elegant place it is.
Christelle Jordaan & Annalie Odendaal
Dex Kotze, Alex Boavida & Jacques van der Schyff
Thoko Mnisi, Patience Mnisi & Pride Buna Donita Lotter & Bennita Van der Walt
Ladies’ Valentines day One of Nelspruit’s leading motor dealerships treated invited guests to a day out at Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa in Hazyview. Guests had the pleasure of driving a Union Motors vehicle to the venue, where guest speakers awaited the group. Jacques van der Schyff from Liberty / Standard Bank was a guest speaker on the topic of women’s financial wellbeing. Next up was Dex Kotze, CEO of Jenna Clifford Designs. He told guests about the Stop Rhino Poaching Campaign, which is a recipient of funds from one of JCD’s jewelry ranges.
Irene Maloka &Patricia Shiba Antoinette Mashile, Gail Mathebula & Rebotile Letlapa
Steph Potgieter, Charlotte vd Westhuizen & Brenda Botha
Cathy Flores, Lisa Slabbert, Alison Young, Nizha Almec, Lia Odendaal & Talita Strydom Candy Gehle & Susan Cavina
Tina De Beer & Laura Blackstock
Kiss and tell at Casterbridge
A Brief Affair, the lingerie shop in White River’s Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, in conjunction with Casterbridge Cinema’s showing of Hysteria (y’know, that movie, about the invention of, ahem, toys for ladies) held a Show & Tell evening followed by the movie premier and it was all done in perfectly good taste.
Jacqui Vet & Nadine Lubbe
Tiffany Mackay & Nasima Bhayat
Monica Barnard, Leonora vd Nest & Trudie Casidee
Cathy Burgers, Lana Voges & Deliah Fourie
Alice Mhlongo, Kally Athansopoulos & Stella Nashiqa
Martin Oosthuizen Greg Minnaar, Phil Liggit & Max Cluer
The Valencia Celebration of Cycling The awards ceremony was a celebration dinner in recognition of the achievements of all the sports men and women in their specialized field of cycling. Held at Kavinga Lodge, the guest list included guest of honour and speaker, Phil Liggett â€œThe Voice of Cyclingâ€™â€™, whose talk helped make the evening a tremendous success.
Nadia & Shane Botha Karl Platt & Greg Minnaar
Phil Liggit & Nico Bell
Photos: Zoon Cronje www.zcmc.co.za Max Knox
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Phillip Cope & Hans vd Merwe
Audrey Ford, Phillip Eloff, Hybrie & Jason Van Loggerenberg
Carl learns to rock Japie & Eunice Van Niekerk
Who knew Carl van de Merwe, the popular owner of Fez Restaurant in White River, has such an impressive singing voice? Guests at his black tie 50th birthday bash now do after Carl took to the stage to entertain friends and family with his reworded renditions of famous songs. Glasses were raised and toasts called; food was savoured, drinks drunk, dances danced and much fun was had by all. Happy 50th Carl!
Jennifer More, Jean More & Colleen McGregor
Photos: Audrey Ford for Lowveld Living Mags Billingham & Carl vd Merwe
Cathy Prettyjohn, Trevor Brotherton & Kim Kay
Pat Donaldson, Richard Spoor & Quinton Coetzee
Dave Edmondson, Nick More & Chaz Prettyjohn
Rob and Jeannine Ferreira & Greg Gulle
Annemarie Swanepoel, Candy Gehle & Di Dessington
Erica Evans & Beryl John
White River Ladiesâ€™ Classic
Shirley Sammons & Melanie Kitto Jackie Robson & Renate Wagner
The White River Country Club hosted its seventh annual golf tournament in February. This fundraiser is a highlight in the golfing calendar and always attracts heartfelt support from clubs around the country. The ladies raised approximately R30000 for House Bethlehem, a home for severely abused children, and had an outstanding few days on the golf course.
Geoff Hill, Chic Connelly & Terry Jones Margie Bonini, Carole Fox & Joan Leinberger
local restaurants and eateries
here you will Find great local places to eat! DULLSTROOM Adega 013 254 0605 Authentic Portuguese Seafood Restaurant , all our dishes are made from scratch when ordered. Have won the best Portuguese restaurant award in the best of Johannesburg for five consecutive years. All our recipes are unique. ‘We were voted by the public as being the best.’
Milly’s Trout 013 254 0310
Nestled beneath the Makhondjwa Mountains. Offering Mouthwatering home-style food. All kinds of take-away. Cheese mushroom and Hawaiian burgers. A la Carte Menu-steaks, prawns, fish, pork and lamb chops. The best milkshakes in the world. All under teh same friendly management for 29years. Why not try us? Debonairs Pizza 013 712 6000
Anvil Alehouse & Brew pub 073 168 6603 We specialise in hand crafted European style beers, accompanied by traditional German sausages presented on a wooden platter with locally made cheese, mustard and relishes.
Mrs Simpson 013 254 0088
Pickles & Things 013 254 0115
Pappa’s Kitchen 013 712 4645
Bergen Cheese & Wine Tasting Room 013 254 0084
Plat du Jour 072 320 5370
Phoenix Hotel 013 712 4211
Poacher Restaurant 013 254 0108 email@example.com The Poacher serves hearty meals ranging from slow cooked oxtail to beef curry and pot pies. The restaurant sources much of its produce from local farmers.
Pioneers 073 124 9555
Critchley Hackle Lodge 013 254 0149 The Duck and Trout Restaurant 013 254 0047 Dullstrooms authentic restaurant & pub. Since 1994. Home of The Duck and Cherry Pie, Traditional Wood-Burning Pizza Oven, All Day Breakfast, Roaring Log Fires, Kiddies Playground, 2 Big Screens and multiple TV’s for live sporting events
Old Transvaal Inn – Restaurant 013 254 0550
Rose Cottage 013 254 0218 Stonecutters Lodge 013 235 4225
Dullstroom Inn 013 254 0071 The Dullstroom Inn’s history can be traced back to 1912 and was Mpumalanga’s best kept secret for decades entil the first ever Sunday Times ‘Finders Keepers’ prize of a million rand was hidden in the well known English pub.
Wild and Wooly 013 254 0202
Fernando’s Hideaway 072 151 2129
Highway Man 013 256 9161 Stone Circle Bistro 013 257 0759
Fib’s Restaurant & Pizzeria 013 254 0059 Harrie’s Pancakes 013 254 0801 Kloppenheim (Machadodorp) 013 256 9001 Legendz Café 013 254 0413
Mayfly Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge 013 254 0332 / 084 619 4946 Situated on the main road in Dullstroom, is a modern and contemporary restaurant with great food and excellent service. It is fresh and clean with warm fires. Sporting events are televised and there is plenty parking.
Wild about Whisky 013 254 0066 Walkerson’s Hotel 013 253 7000 WATERVAL BOVEN
Travellers Coffee Shop 013 257 0444 Shamrock Arms 013 257 0888 BARBERTON Co-co Pan Café & Pub 013 712 2653
Diggers Retreat Hotel 013 719 9681 KFC 013 712 3720
Simply The Best 013 712 2028 Something Different 013 712 3124 Valegro’s 013 712 2931 Victorian Tea Garden 013 712 4985 Wimpy 013 712 6252 ELANDS VALLEY Bergwater Lodge 013 257 7081 GRASKOP Berlyn Peacock Tavern 013 767 1085 Canimambo 013 767 1868 Graskop Pancakes 013 767 1366 Harrie’s Pancakes 013 767 1273 Koweni’s Lookout Restaurant 013 767 1760 Rozenkavalier Restaurant 013 767 1114
local restaurants and eateries Tasties 013 767 1758 The Loco Pub & Coachman Grill 013 767 1961 The Edge Pub 082 412 7295 HAZYVIEW Blue Mountain Lodge 013 737 8446 Bush Burgers & Takeaways 013 737 6668 Casa Do Sol Restaurant 013 737 8111 Corner Shop Perry’s Bridge 013 737 6664 Galito’s 013 737 7776 Big Five 013 737 8191 Hippo Hollow Restaurant 013 737 6624 Jungle Café 013 737 7298 Kuka 013 737 6957 Le Pattissier 083 647 9876
Rissington Inn & Restaurant 013 737 7700 Steers 1 Main Street 013 737 7200 Summerfield Kitchen 013 737 6500 Summerfields Kitchen is renowned for its gastronomic farm style cooking, made with freshly grown, organic vegetables. Experience fine dining and excellent service for a perfect meal out. Umbhaba Restaurant 013 737 7636 Wimpy 013 737 6490 HOEDSPRUIT Ambri Africa 015 795 5107 Blyde Haven Restaurant 072 183 4396 Eden Tea Garden 073 403 8936 Gossips 015 793 0738 Josmacks Restaurant 015 793 2951
Nabana Lodge & Restaurant 013 737 6954 / 0832685395
Ngena Deli 015 793 0738 Sleepers 015 793 1014
The Hotel Numbi (Olive & Vine) 013 737 7301
Three Bridges Restaurant and Pub 079 912 9416
Papa’s Pizzeria 013 737 7427
Upperdeck 082 546 9969
Perry’s Bridge Brewery 013 737 7767 Pioneers Butcher & Grill 013 737 7397
Wildebeest Lapa 015 795 5748
KFC 013 235 4853
Impala Restaurant 013 790 0140
Lallie se Plaaskombuis 083 375 7323
Koos se Kroeg Kombuis 076 041 8649
Laske Nakke Restaurant 013 235 2886
Malalane Gate Restaurant 013 790 0470
Lerami Spur 013 235 1707
Marula Boma 013 790 1467
Koek ‘n Pan Restaurant 013 734 4580
Lions Rock 013 235 4245
Silver Mist Country Inn 013 734 4429
Ocean Basket 013 235 3202
Ingwenya Parkview Restaurant 013 793 7708
Okus 013 235 4187
Jackalberry Coffee Shop 013 793 8197
Scooters 013 235 4023
Lion & Leopard 013 793 7034
St Pies 013 235 1529
Parkview Restaurant 013 793 7708 Phumula Kruger Restaurant 013 792 4215
The Heads – Barcelos 013 235 1549 The Trout Inn 013 235 1828
Tambarina Restaurant 013 793 7057
Vroutjie Coffee Shop 013 235 3016
Wimpy 013 235 3618
Bistro @ 59 013 235 2579
Chicken Licken 013 235 2646
Chicago Restaurant 013 790 1260
De Ark Restaurant 013 235 1125
Hops Hollow Brewery & Pub 013 235 8910
Duck ‘n Dive Saloon Pub ‘n Grub 013 790 1258 Pub & Restaurant – delicious pizzas freshly made to order - wood burning oven. Open 11am ‘till late Monday to Saturday
Kenchington’s Tea Room 013 235 4482
Hamiltons 013 790 3421
Bohemian Groove Cafe Art Gallery and Restaurant Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Coffees and Cocktails (Thursdays Closed) Tel 013-734 4545 Cell 076 764 7625 bohemiangroovecafe.co.za
Deco’s Restaurant 013 235 1145
Steers 013 790 1551 NELSPRUIT At Nature’s Gate 013 755 6173 An outdoor Family Restaurant and Bar where the kids can run free, whilst you enjoy good food and wine. Adega Restaurant 013 74 13978 Arkansas Spur Steak Ranch 013 745 8043 Bizie Ladies Restaurant 013 752 8518 Brewers Feast 013 741 4674 Bundu Country Lodge & Grill 013 758 1221 Capello 013 757 0560 Cappuccino’s 013 42 2187 Cicada 013 741 1751 Chez Vincent Restaurant 013 744 1146 Costa do Sol Restaurant 013 752 6382
Jackalberry Coffee Shop
cnr of Rissik and Bok Street, Komatipoort 013.790.3421 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The unique Orange Restaurant defies imitation and offers an experience that is unrivalled in the area.
Joelene Caldeira 013.793.8007 / 082.772.7133 Riverside Farm, Malelane Gate Road, next to Leopard Creek
2 Du Preez Street, Nelspruit email@example.com | 013.744.9507 | 083.628.7759
SCrumptiouS mealS, Delta Coffee anD relaxing atmoSphere - the gooD life!
local restaurants and eateries Debonairs Express Pizza 013 752 4960
Squirrels Fun Food 013 752 5114
Detroit Spur 013 757 0330
St Elmo’s Wood fired Pizza 013 755 1650
Europa Café 013 757 0961
Steers 013 752 8165
Explorers Restaurant 013 757 4300
Stoep 013 741 2551
FishAways 013 752 4596
The Pub 013 755 4861
Food Fundi 013 755 1091
Trattoria Stefano’s 013 744 9310
Galito’s Brown Street 013 752 5371
Wimpy Riverside Mall 013 757 1036
Greek Kouzina 013 741 5371
Wimpy Ferreira Street 013 752 3650
John Dorys Fish & Grill 013 757 0972 Jock & Java Restaurant 013 755 4970
Wimpy Halls Gateway 013 752 4824
Kia Ora Restaurant 013 747 2128 Kuzuri Restaurant 013 757 0907 Legends Café and Bar 013 754 6552 Marlin Pub & Grill 071 111 1370 marlinpubandgrill@gmail. com Mediterranean Seafood Restaurant Riverside Mall 013 757 0170 Mediterranean Seafood Restaurant Ilanga Mall 013 742 2235 Montanas Garden Pavilion 013 741 3348
Zest 013 742 2217 PILGRIMS REST Peach Tree & Diggers Restaurant 013 768 1100 Pilgrims Pantry Co-op 013 768 1129 Stables 083 454 4763 Scotts Café 013 768 1061 The Vine Restaurant 013 768 1080 SABIE Country Kitchen Restaurant 013 764 1901
Mugg & Bean Riverside Mall 013 757 1036 Jock Sabie Lodge Pub & Restaurant Mugg & Bean Crossing 013764 2178 013 752 2250 Lone Creek Spur Mugg & Bean Ilanga Mall 013 764 3355 013 742 2206 Merry Pebbles Restaurant Nelspruit Fish & Chips 013 764 1502 013 752 6421 Misty Mountain News Café 013 7643377 / 0733751817 013 752 7680 Situated on the spectacular Long Tom Pass overlooking Ocean Basket the Lowveld with the best 013 752 7193 country cooking in the region, Misty Mountain offers O’Hagans Pub an extensive 013 741 3580 a la carte menu. All dishes freshly made and vegetables Orange supplied from our own 013 744 9507 organic veggie garden. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner. Papa’s Kitchen Excellent food, 013 755 1660 great hospitality. Something Fishy 013 741 1708 Spur Riverside Mall 013 757 0330
Silver Spoon Restaurant (Mac Mac) 013 767 1039 Tommy’s Pool Bar 013 764 2160 Wild Fig Tree Restaurant & Pub 013 764 2239 Wimpy 013 764 2281 The Woodsman Restaurant 013 764 2015 SCHOEMANSKLOOF Old Joe’s Kaia 013 733 3045 WHITE RIVER Alfresco 013 750 2808 Big Bear Spur 013 751 1419 Brie Street Deli 083 678 8099 da Loose Mongoose 013 750 0539 Fez at Bagdad 013 750 1253 A relaxed, intimate, owner run restaurant situated 2kms outside White River. Famous for the Fez Burger, Fez Gnocchi, Moroccan Lamb Tagine, the Fez Seafood Platter and the best Sushi ever! Specially selected winelist, trendy beers and a stunning Whisky collection. ‘Fez was voted the most popular restaurant in the Lowveld in 2010.’ Galito’s 013 750 1981 Ganache 013 750 2102 / 076 150 5403 Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 5pm. Sundays 8am to 3pm. This owner-run cafe excels in light meals made using fresh top quality ingredients. Wine, beer and soft drinks available. Green Door 072 321 7750 073 329 9238 Gumtreez 013 750 0334 Kokopelli Tapas bar & Steak house 013 750 0610 Lions Pub 013 750 1288
Patena Pancakes 013 764 1541
Magnolia Restaurant 013 751 1947
Sabie Sports Bar & Pizza Den 013 764 1800
Mahoi’s 082 788 5171
local restaurants and eateries Oliver’s Restaurant 013 750 0479 / 082 328 8025 Spoil yourself with mouth-watering dishes from our a-la-carte menu complimented with friendly service in a cosy atmosphere. White River Country Estate Trattoria Stefano’s 013 750 0300 Twinz Burger & Ribs 013 751 1361 Wimpy 013 751 3161 Zannas 013 750 0469
Audrey Ford: 072.726.4660
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Dr Karen Kromhout and Dr Auke Van der Meulen TANDARTSE – DENTAL SURGEONS Shop G4-5 , Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre White River
Tue-Fri 08h30–16h30 Tel: 013 751 3144 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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Grown out of your current home? We will find you a suitable buyer.
Engel & V枚lkers 路 Lowveld Tel. +27(0)15 793 0793 www.engelvoelkers.com/za/hoedspruit
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because the first chapter should be poetry
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Safe Breast Screening â€˘No compression â€˘No radiation â€˘Safe in pregnancy â€˘Safe with implants Thermal Health Centre - Nelspruit Russmed Medical Centre - 18 Russell Street Booking essential: 073.665.4956 www.thermologyonline.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG eyes frica’s wild is not best known for beasties of the cute and cuddly variety but Bushbabies are among the exceptions. Bushbabies are primates, related to monkeys and baboons. The Thick-tailed Bushbaby (Otolemur crassicaudatus) is the largest member of the Bushbaby family and, although they are fairly widespread, they are nevertheless under threat as urban development advances. It’s a great privilege to have them in our Lowveld gardens. Their diet is mainly fruit and insects and with the many attractive indigenous trees in the Lowveld it’s not difficult to attract this charming creature into our gardens by placing fruit on the bird table after dark. Two species occur in the Lowveld in different habitats. The Lesser Bushbaby prefers low-lying dry thornveld such as that found in most parts of the Kruger Park, but the Thick-tailed fellow described here prefers forests and dense woodlands. Hence they will choose gardens with large trees as their home territories, particularly if the trees are planted close together which makes for ease of movement through the canopies and provides cover during the day. Bushbabies are strictly nocturnal and are agile climbers. During the day they rest in nests built using fresh leaves and tucked into dense cover, often in the hollows of tree branches. They are highly tactile and retain close ties with their family groups. During the day several generations of females and their offspring huddle cosily together. Adult males are loners. They avoid other males and generally sleep alone, but some lucky guy will on occasion have a soft and cuddly lady climb into bed with him. She is readily accepted of course.
Mating takes place in the cold winter months and babies, very often twins, arrive in November. They are born with fur and open eyes and can crawl within 30 minutes of birth, but obediently stay in their leafy beds for three weeks. Mother then takes them with her on foraging excursions and introduces them to solid food. She carries them at first, either in her mouth or on her back until fully weaned at only 10 weeks of age. Foraging starts soon after dark and what I find so appealing is the care they take to groom each other prior to setting off. This often goes on for a considerable time. They must look neat and tidy for their shopping trips. To the uninitiated, it can be alarming to hear a Bushbaby calling at night. They make a variety of chirps, squeaks, clicks when chatting to each other, but it is the loud alarm call that is so scary. They make mournful screaming cries, similar to that of a human baby. Hence the delightful name of Bushbaby. On the conservation side they are an endangered species, due mainly to destruction of natural habitat. This is where we can assist by creating suitable habitats in our gardens. – Peter Lawson
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40 Madiba Drive, Riverside Park, Nelspruit Tel. 013 757 7000 Email: email@example.com Web: www.autotec.co.za www.facebook.com/jaguarnelspruit
Lowveld Living Issue 38