Exploring Johannesburg: Zoo Lake

A quick Google search of ‘places to visit in Johannesburg’ is sure to lead you to Zoo Lake.

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Last month, my friend Njeri and I decided to have a girls date on a chill Saturday – talk about New Years Resolutions, hold each other accountable and just catch up on some much needed female banter.

To be honest, I can’t believe the first quarter of the year is already gone. I don’t dread it in the least, April has me feeling positive and ready to press reset refresh. There’s also a teeny part of me that’s had enough and just wants to go on vacation, leading me to sort through months of photos and put this post up for you.

I got a new addition to my photography gear, a sweet 50mm 1:1.8 Canon Lens to go with my Canon 60D. Been experimenting with it a lot recently and love the effect I get out of it so far. These photos were taken between 3 – 6 PM, the sunlight had that perfect dreamy effect special to the beloved golden hour. For the photos of myself, I set up the shot and asked Laura to help me snap them, love how they all turned out.

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Zoo Lake is a public park reminiscent of Uhuru Park in Nairobi. Moyo Restaurant, known for its menu rich in African inspired dishes, sits right at the edge of the lake.

 

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The staff is friendly and attentive, making the restaurant deck a lively and pleasant space to enjoy a meal, while the interior is darker and more intimate.

 

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What We Ate:

Starters: Complimentary bread platter consisting of Moroccan and Tunisian flat break with a chickpea dip. Rating 8/10

Main Course: Mama’s Inkhukhu burger, panko crumber chicken breast served with harissa mayonnaise, avocado, onion rings and fresh tomato on a pumpkin bread roll, and served with hand cut chips. Review – delicious, but the chicken and bread were too dry. Rating 6.5/10

Seared calamari sauteed with olives, broccoli and garlic, drizzled with lemony harissa butter and served with Moroccan rice. Review – too oily. Rating 6/10

Dessert: Decadent brownies, with walnuts drizzled with custard and chocolate sauce, served with vanilla ice cream. Rating 9/10

 

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By the time we were done with dessert, darkness was creeping in so we got to enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset and watch the ducks waddle by unbothered.

zoolake6.jpgHappy travels loved ones!

 

April will be great xx

Soweto Diary

“In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within reach of every human soul.” – Nelson Mandela, 1977.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me explore Soweto a short while back with my friend Idil while she came to visit in December, which now seems like aaaages ago.

 

We started off at 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West which was Mandela’s house before he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. The humble red brick house is a must visit if you’re exploring Johannesburg, not just because of the history but also to experience the rich culture that is Soweto.

Soweto’s vibrance comes out in how the people hang out on the street, playing music, roasting meat and talking. Children and performers give a show on the pavements with their dances and songs. There are souvenir vendors all along the streets displaying their wares at a fair price. In that sense, it’s not like Kenya where I can haggle for a better price for close to ten minutes at the Maasai Market. I truly do miss Nairobi, Nairobae as the cool kids on Instagram would say.

In some ways, Soweto does feel like home. In its realness, it’s people and the sense of community.

 

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How gorgeous is Idil?!! MashaAllah!

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On display in the house are Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela’s accolades, awards and honorary degrees. Most of the awards were actually Mama Winnie’s, she went on to fight for freedom while her husband was imprisoned until the last minute when apartheid was abolished.

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Courage..

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Liberation..

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We walked up Vilakazi Street and managed to get a spectacular view of Soweto and The Orlando Towers. We immediately decided, on complete impulse, to try something different from our usual art gallery, museum, chilled type of vibe and instead be crazy and go bungee jumping or free falling at the Orlando Towers just fifteen minutes away.

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They sent us videos of us free falling and it’s hilarious! You can see the exact moment shock takes over when I realized he’d released the buckle and I was falling down 100 metres onto a not so inflated bouncing castle. Unforgettable.

Hope I’ve convinced you to visit Soweto!

xx

Seize the Day

2019 is here and to my utmost surprise, I find myself calm and very rational about things.

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Equipped with new notebooks and stationery, I set out to be more practical with how I plan this year. The state of mind I choose to have in 2019 is not to think of it so much as new but more like progress. After reviewing my 2018 goals, I created an Annual ‘Road Map’, something I picked up from Monash which, in school is basically a diagram of the week and each day’s goal. My variation has space for about 5 targets to be clearly described for each month. It’s also helped me set some financial goals, like say for example taking a trip to Cape Town in April during the Easter holidays.

Curiously, besides wanting to get a new lens and tripod, the one thing I couldn’t see how it plays out in the future was this space..

I could think of a few reasons why; like maybe how I feel that I haven’t established myself in the blogging world. That one time I got nominated for Best Travel Blogger in 2017 was long time back. I’m not popular, and most times I’m happy with the privacy but other times I wonder if anyone really knows of my work. As a creative, progress is so important to me, so many at times it feels like I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going with it but I do know it brings me so much joy. It keeps me creative, having to learn new things, techniques, discover new places, discover myself. Become more, and do more. I religiously read each month’s Conde Naste Traveller magazine, cover to cover, and delve deep into the exquisite text and images. It transports me to another world, and I hope that is what this space can be for my readers.

These wonderful photos were taken by SLR Photos SA who reached out to me to collaborate on a street style photoshoot. I suggested The Marc as the venue, it has become one of my favourite places to hang out, with quiet coffee shops and restaurants in the heart of Sandton.

Go show them some love on their Facebook and Instagram pages @SLRPhotoSA, and while your at it find my social media handles at @pilgrimchic on Instagram and Facebook.

Let’s seize the day!