Returning to Bushman’s Kloof

Posted on
Dec 3, 2014

Sunset, our first night at the Kloof.


People were surprised that we were heading back to South Africa.

Weren’t we just there?

It was two years ago, actually.

And we’re going back to the same places we visited last time?

Yes. Yes, we were.

It sounded a little bit strange. Possibly the makings for a dull trip. After all, we’d been there before, we’d seen what there was to see. As far as travel writing goes, it wasn’t good fodder. It was hard to explain our motivations to people: how Rand had been itching to go back since the day we left. How I promised him we’d go back.

There were a few times when I shared everyone’s skepticism. Maybe this was a crazy idea. There were other things to see. Other places to go. You can’t simply declare a place the best spot in the world until you’ve seen all of it, right?

But then we got back to Bushman’s Kloof. And from the very first sunset there, he was there – that strange iteration of the man I love. That relaxed and happy version of him that I see so rarely. The one that makes an appearance every time we are at the Kloof.


Of course we came back. I’d have gone anywhere to see him again.

I won’t lie: this trip to the Kloof lacked the newness that surrounded our first trip. There wasn’t quite the same mind-boggling wonder. There wasn’t nearly as much uncontrollable giggling. But even so, this one was magical. It might have been even better.

Because we knew what we were getting: we knew about the cave paintings and the archaeological significance of the place.



The animals and the nature drives.


The gourmet meals and the high teas.



We knew about all of these things. We remembered them vividly from our last trip, and we expected that those moments sparkle just as brightly this time as they the first. That’s a tall order. That’s a lot to expect of anyone or anything.

And still, the Kloof delivered. On every promise we made to our friends, and more. There were more animals. More adventures. More moments when I found myself thinking, “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.”

The surprise, I realize, is not that we came back. The surprise is that we ever managed to leave in the first place.*



*Okay, so Rand says it’s not at all surprising that we left because we’d have gone bankrupt if we had tried to stay there for two years. Also, the gourmet cooking might have killed us. HE IS ALWAYS DESTROYING MY POETRY WITH HIS LOGIC.

Leave a Comment

  • Madeleine

    I really shouldn’t read your posts about South Africa or I will have to grab my husband and get on the next plane to Cape Town. We honeymooned in South Africa last year and it was by far the best trip we’ve ever taken. We have been itching to go back from the moment we got on the plane home. And I have to say that the pictures you’ve been posting on Instagram haven’t helped much either…

  • Deb

    We just finished watching Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s ‘Long Way Down’ through Africa. And now this. I say the universe is calling.

    • Kristina Cline

      I LOVED that show. Watch “Long Way Round” its just as magical, but with more cursing.

  • Caitlin

    My husband and I just started planning our own trip to South Africa (goal is August 2015) and its SO MUCH FUN reading about all of the places you went, and things you experienced. We’re definitely planning on stealing a few travel tips from you. Thanks for consistently feeding my travel bug!

  • Nisa

    It really makes my heart burst with both pride and joy that you have come to visit my country a second time round. South Africa is definitely a beautiful country with lots of amazing sights and experiences to offer. You should try other places and cities and you will be just as amazed or perhaps even more! Look forward to seeing you come back to South Africa a third time round.

  • We’re recently back from South Africa, a beautiful and complex place. I wish more Americans didn’t hear the name ” South Africa” and run from the room, covering their ears, repeating” Ebola, Ebola, Ebola” or “crime, crime, crime”. There is NO Ebola in South Africa. You can avoid crime the same way you do anywhere else. Go there.

  • Looks incredibly beautiful! Some gorgeous photos too!

    I think your South Africa is how Pad and I feel about Queenstown in NZ 🙂

  • South Africa looks so beautiful, especially sunsets and the food! Is it wrong that the food is the image that’s sticking in my mind, and not the cave paintings? 🙂

  • I’m dying to get to South Africa! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to the same place twice. Sometimes it’s better the 2nd time around as you’ve already made all the mistakes the first time and now you’re a kind of “expert” and know exactly what you do and don’t want to do.

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