Nikki Twomey

Putsonderwater, Northern Cape: Gone, but not forgotten

There’s a chilly katabatic wind blowing unchecked across the desolate Karoo escarpment when we stop at the settlement that was once the proud village of Putsonderwater. I’m a little in awe of finally being in Putsonderwater. The name is frequently used as a metaphor to indicate a faraway, remote never-land, like Timbuktu. I reflect on …

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Death in Japan ⛩

Graveyards can be sombre and contemplative spaces.  Coming across a 17th century burial site just above the Kanmangafuchi Abyss in Nikko, that was interring “The Graves of the Self-Immolation”, was especially intriguing. I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly sure what ‘self-immolation’ meant and had to have Geoff explain to me that self-immolation is the act of …

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Requiem for Vespa

It’s been a long year since we last saw you. Those bright golden eyes, always alert, always serious, are emblazoned on our hearts. The last time we saw you, you sat on the kitchen window-sill in Wakkerstroom, surveying the perfectly sunny January morning with those intelligent eyes. Your shiny black coat was glistening in the …

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Norwegian Cemeteries: Not so easily “dust to dust”…

Driving through Norway, one passes through one picturesque village after another. At the heart of some of these towns you may even come across an historic wooden or stave church built in the Middle Ages and looking like something out of Grimm’s Fairytales. Each churchyard houses manicured grounds with well tended graves, swamped with flowers …

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Is there such a thing as too much holiday?

I used to dream of being able to travel indefinitely. Of moving from one awesome destination to the next, enjoying one mind-blowing experience after another. I thought that if you had time you could really maximise the cost of an overseas air ticket, instead of having to rush back to the office.

Death with a view

I have a fascination with graveyards. I am drawn to their peacefulness, their interminable silence, their other-worldliness. Death is a mystery to all of us, but a cemetery compels you to engage with the concept whether you want to or not.

What to pack for Milan in April

When I started packing for our trip to Italy and France, I googled the weather obsessively almost every day in the preceding week. It’s entirely impossible to imagine what the weather could be like a hemisphere away, when you are sleeping under a single sheet in a 30 degree Johannesburg, praying for rain.

Cosmos country

From around February until Easter each year, the roadside and fields of the Highveld, South-western Mpumalanga and the Freestate, come alive with sugar-pink, white and claret-coloured flowers that grow tall on stems framed by feathery green leaves.  Apparently these alien plants originate from Mexico and were brought into the country as seeds stowing away in …

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Cheese curls and pyjamas 

I had a cheese-curls-and-pajama day yesterday. Let me explain. I recently left my C-suite job in a blue chip company. I took a long, careful look across the abyss and leapt. I believed all the people who said, yes, there is life beyond the corporate world. You will never look back.

Southern Vietnam: Saigon, Mekong Delta and Cu Chi tunnels

Ho Chi Minh city, or Saigon as it is known by the locals, is an exciting blend of traditional and modern. Soaring glass sky-scrapers (even one with a helipad) overshadow French colonial architecture, while women in traditional hats sweep water away from their makeshift storefronts with reed brushes. Scooters flow through the streets like flooding …

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Southern Namibia: epic, wild and unforgettable

Africa is a diverse and intriguing continent. Of all it’s countries, Namibia has to be one of the most beautiful and the most unique. From the spotless Bavarian-style town of Swakopmund to the majestic beauty and solitude of the Sossusvlei and onwards to the quaint windswept town of Lüderitz and the mysterious settlement of Kolmanskop, we …

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The Jewel of Bohemia – Český Krumlov, Czech Republic 🇨🇿

When I was little I had a beautiful fairytale storybook that was filled with colourful and textured pictures of castles with turrets, princesses in silky gowns – diaphanous veils cascading from their pointy cone hats and actual sprinkles of glitter highlighting fairies’ wings🧚‍♀️ and glistening stars.🌟 What made the book special was that the pages …

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Saving Taj

“My dog is walking around in circles trying to vomit. He seems to be in agony, even struggling to breathe. What should we do?” I spoke urgently to the vet over the phone even though it was after 10pm on a Saturday night.“Oh dear it sounds like torsion. Your dog is going to die,” responded …

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Koh Chang archipelago, Thailand🇹🇭

“Welcome to Trat!” proclaimed the sign at the airport. We admired the green topiaries that had been cleverly crafted into elephant shapes. After all, Thailand’s third largest island after Phuket and Koh Samui, Koh Chang is fondly known as ‘Elephant Island’ because of its mammoth size and elephant shaped headland. 🐘  Forming part of the Mu …

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Views on Venice

Andrew meets our train looking slightly flustered. “We’re in a hurry,” he tells us, taking my suitcase, “the vaporetto service will be suspended in the Grand  Canal and the Bacino di San Marco for most of the afternoon.” Expertly guiding us through the crowds, he ushers us onto one of the last departing vaporetta taxis. …

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Saving Tiffany

It’s Christmas morning in Wakkerstroom and delightfully it’s a little cooler than normal. We’re excited to spend the day with our friends Janet and John, who also have a house in the village. We’ve booked lunch at the Country Inn where our friends, Danny and Paula, are the accomplished chefs and owners. We’re in for …

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