Pay it forward trip:  December 2016

How time flies! Here I am typing our planned December 2016 trip. It is September already. Only three months left before we leave.

This year we decided to name our trip – because it will be a special one. Our “Pay it forward” trip.

When Pieter got very ill in Malawi in December 2015, we had so many amazing people assisting us in getting him better and helping us to get back home safely.

Now that Pieter is much better, we want to say thank you to all of them by “paying it forward” – making a difference.  Our trip will start off in Botswana … because … what is an African trip without a visit to Botswana? We are revisiting places that we had last seen in 2006.

We will be heading off on the 13th of December 2016 to Botswana. We will revisit Nata Bird Sanctuary in the hopes of seeing the millions of flamingo’s we saw in 2009. A sunset cruise on the mighty Chobe is definitely on the list … and some new ones as well.  We are hoping to recreate the magnificent photo of the Chobe sunset that we took on the 25th of December 2006.

We are also embarking on new adventures such as the Kazangulu ferry, the “devils pool” at Livingstone and new campsites in Zambia.

In Chipata (Zambia) we want to pay it forward and thank the doctor at St John’s for helping Pieter when he’s leg was badly infected. We still have to decide what would be the appropriate gift to give him.

From there we are aiming for a two day visit at the Kasungu National Park.  Mike Labuschagne is currently overseeing the management of the park. During our Malawi stay at Senga Bay (Cool Runnings) we got to meet Mike’s daughter (Jess) and her friend Daniel. She invited us to stay over at Kasungu National Park on our way back to Zambia, but because of Pieter’s leg, we could not make it. This time round, we want to see the park, thank Jess for the invite and also give her the promised “body butter” she and I spoke about at Cool Runnings.

In Kasungu (the town), we want to pay it forward to the guest house manager at Palm Villa who really went out of he’s way to calm my nerves and looked after our every need when Pieter fell ill. He is not fluent in English, but did say that he would love some sort of CD where he can learn the basics of speaking English. An English tutorial CD he is definitely getting from us!

I already have the toys purchased for Jet the boxer puppy we fell in love with at Makhuzi in 2016. This time round, I want to make sure we capture on video how much he loves the lake and how he is more than willing to play games in the water. I’ll make sure Jet gets some treats as well … not forgetting Holly (the Jack Russell) though. I’ll be sending a photograph of Piper (our Land Rover Forward Control) to the owner of Makhuzi in the next few weeks. We are hoping that he will convince the locals to make a wooden replica for us to collect and take home in December.

Mlambe Beach will be a first for us. We did plan to camp over at Mlambe in 2015, but we opted for staying longer at Cool Runnings. This time round, we want to capture the magnificent sunsets and rises that his beach is known for.

On our way back to Zambia, I want to pay it forward by exchanging new t-shirts and shoes for a wooden Puma Land Rover Defender. When we bought the one in December 2015, we promised the vendor that we will be back – and this time round, we will buy the BIG one …

We aim to be back in South Africa on the 9th of January 2017.

So … some new stuff waiting, some old places and people revisiting, and most important, thank everyone that made a difference in our lives during our December 2015 trip.

Now to start planning … what to leave, what to take … what to make and what to bake!

Hold onto your seats – it is going to be an awesome ride.


Pieter & Gerida



NB:  For more details read our December 2015 Malawi trip report.