5 Reasons to Visit Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope

For a long time the Castle was the tallest structure in Cape Town – not any more!

The Castle of Good Hope is unlikely to be top of your list when visiting Cape Town.  After all, it has to compete with THE mountain*, THE infamous island*, the abundance of vineyards and craft breweries, beautiful nature and beaches and superb restaurants, copious shops, sunset cruises and the stunning new Museum of Contemporary African Art.  But if you have a spare half day, tucked away behind the unappealing stone walls is a fascinating attraction.

Here are 5 reasons you should visit the Castle of Good Hope: Continue reading

Visiting or Moving to South Africa? Here’s how you can get Culture Smart!

South Africa_New

Culture Smart! has updated their guide to South Africa and as part of their first ever blog tour, promoting updated and brand new titles, I was invited to take a sneak preview.

What is Culture Smart!?

The concept of the Culture Smart! book series is similar to traditional travel guides in that they cover the basics of geography, history, language, climate and so forth. However, rather than accommodation, restaurant and sightseeing listings, Culture Smart! focusses on culture, customs and traditions.  This is for the traveller who wants to travel easily without offending local sensibilities.

What can I expect from Culture Smart! South Africa?

Continue reading

Farewell 2017, Hello 2018

On Blouberg Strand
Farewell 2017, Hello 2018

The holiday is over and it’s back to reality.  New posts are already in the works.  In the meantime, just incase you missed them the first time around or just really really want to read them again, here’s a quick round-up of Expatorama’s top posts from 2017.

  1. Ponte Tower – A Tale of Glamour, Garbage and Gritty Regeneration.  I read about Ponte Tower before moving to South Africa and was intrigued – an unusual hollow cylindrical building with a checkered history.  I didn’t realise you could visit the tower until early last year.  The tour is fascinating and I highly recommend it if you’re in town (i.e. Johannesburg).

  2. Hair Raising and Hair Razing Experiences Abroad.  This post falls under  ‘lesser known challenges of expat life’ that don’t normally get covered on expat blogs.  Getting a haircut may be a lesser known challenge and yet the struggle is real.

  3. Expat Life Through Rose Tinted Glasses.  This was a fun post to write, it involved wine and LEGO.  When it comes to expat life, not everything is always as rosy as it seems.

The most read post ever is Why Expat Partners are Like Dung Beetles – a post basically detailing how completely awesome both expat partners and dung beetles are.

Expat A-Z Part II – From New to Zoo

Baby Croc
Welcome to Expat Life – It can feel like a bit of a zoo.

Continuing from part I of the A-Z of expat life, which covered ‘Armpit of the Earth’ to ‘Moving’ here is part II, from ‘New’ to ‘Zoo’.

N is for New.  New experiences, homes, languages, countries and cultures.  Embrace the newness.

O is for One in a million expat partnersThese are the patient, resilient, uncomplaining (okay, that’s a lie, they complain sometimes, sometimes they complain a lot) men and women who follow their other halves half way across the globe for a different or better life.

Cheers to all the One in a Million Expat Partners

P is for Packers.  They descend on your home like a swarm of ants armed with bubble wrap, packing boxes and tape.  You thought you were ready, you thought you had it all under control until the chaos of the the packers is unleashed.  They scatter to the far corners of your home and garden.  You have to keep an eye on them.  If you didn’t lock and barricade the door to the room with your suitcases that are not to be packed, they’ll be the first thing out the door and wedged at the back of your container.  Kept a bit of food in reserve for a final supper?  Careful, it could easily end up packed and festering in a container for weeks.  Left a small i-pod, cash or sunglasses lying around?  These could end up being packed in someones’ pocket and never seen again…..and the ripping sound of packing tape being stickily unwound will haunt you forever more.    Continue reading

An A-Z of Expat Life – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Part I

Everything you need to know about expat life in one easy A-Z list.


A is for the Armpit of the Earth: This would be an affectionate name for a really tough posting that will only be undertaken by the most badass of expats.  It’s a term to describe the furthest flung, most chaotic, challenging and maddening places on the face of the planet.  A is also for Airplanes and Airports, we often become overly familiar with these.  Any glamour we previously associated with international travel will quickly lose its’ shine, especially if frequently travelling solo with young children. Continue reading

Family Road Trip in Namibia – Sossusvlei to Swakopmund

On the road again.

Following on from my post Windhoek to Sossusvlei, our Namibian adventure continued.  We left the Namibrand with wistful hearts, our next destination seaside town Swakopmund.   Continue reading

Family Road Trip in Namibia – Windhoek to Sossusvlei

The fantastically long horned Oryx, Namibia’s national animal.
I have still barely touched upon our magical trip to Namibia last December.  No, not Nambia, Namibia – ahem.  Sorting through our photographs recently, the vivid colours and surreal empty landscapes prompted me to finally get writing.  A visit to Namibia is highly recommended should you ever have the opportunity. Continue reading

The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Today I received a handwritten card from a friend who is far away.  She’s from New Zealand, I’m from the UK.  I currently live in South Africa and she recently moved from here to Asia.

The card didn’t arrive in my post box.  We don’t have a post box.  It came in true expat style via a mutual friends’ suitcase with a smattering of goodies to boot.

The wording on the front of the card is a Danish proverb which is completely apt for expat life, “The road to a friend’s house is never long.”  Although, I’d probably alter it to “The road to a friend’s house is never long, even if they are thousands of miles away and living in a completely different time zone.”

It made my day.   Continue reading

Backyard Safari

South African wildlife is off the scale, but you don’t even have to go on safari to experience it, there is plenty (sometimes a little too much) right here in our neighbourhood backyard.

I’ve variously written about and/or where possible photographed the spiders, snakes, birds and the scorpion that we’ve encountered around the estate and occasionally in our home.  However, I’d never managed to get a really good look at our resident monitor lizard, until now…
Check out this bad boy heading off to chomp on his fish.  He (or could it a be a she?) lives just down at the end of our road in a small nature reserve where I walk our dog.  Easily two metres or more from top to tail, he could easily be mistaken for some kind of small crocodile.


What the most ‘exciting’ wildlife encounter you’ve had in your neighbourhood?

How one Expat is Walking the Walk rather than Talking the Talk


Although I very recently lampooned a fictional stereotypical expat called Charity Charity who is hopelessly devoted to helping all the causes, in reality I have a great deal of respect for the expats who go out and make a genuine difference to their host country.

Expat Leslie Randolph is someone who has done just that.  She is making an admirable contribution to South Africa through her involvement with Lawyers against Abuse.  Leslie is a fabulous individual, warm and kind and great fun to be around.  Here she shares her story and her passion for the cause she has been fighting for:

Continue reading