Sunday, December 1, 2019

Tales of the Traveling Totes Love On Safari

Welcome to our December 2019 edition of
Tales of the Traveling Totes, where ladies 
from across the United States bring their 
lovely, and famous MacKenzie-Childs totes 
along with them on adventures, and then share 
those adventures with you, our readers.  

Miss Madi K and I had our biggest adventure yet  
as we traveled to South Africa on a safari at
Kruger National Park.  

If you can make it through my long post, you will 
find a fun MacKenzie Child's giveaway!

Hubby and I, and my Lunch Bunch girlfriends are 
fans of Hallmark Movies (love how upbeat and clean 
they are).  In the summer of 2018 I watched one of 
their movies, Love on Safari, 
starring Lacey Chabert and Jon Cor. 
 I had never wanted to go on a safari 
(maybe because of the distance on the airplane) 
but after watching the movie, I decided I wanted to go. 

On my birthday in January, hubby and I decided to book 
tickets, and we texted all of our friends and invited them. 
The travel agency had warned us that the trip would 
be booked out by the end of the week, so we told our 
friends that.  They all booked within a day, so no one 
missed out!!!

As part of my birthday present, hubby and I upgraded 
to "Upper Class" - the lie down beds on Virgin Atlantic 
Airlines.  We figured we would never do this adventure 
again, and so we were going to make this extra special.  

Part of the fun of the Upper Class experience is getting 
to go into their airport lounges.  We flew from LA to 
London, so of course in London we had to order their 
afternoon tea.  Oh, how I wished I could have had 
one of these fun tea tables to take home with me! 

None of us had ever experienced an airline lounge like this! 
It was a great start to the trip. 

After another 10 hour flight we landed in Johannesburg, 
South Africa, and walked straight to our hotel.

It was a beautiful hotel with wonderful food. 
After a quick nap we took an optional tour of 

 The whole country was in bloom with the gorgeous 
Jacaranda trees everywhere!

  We had a beautiful SA guide, Adele, who 
grew up on a cattle ranch outside of Johannesburg.  You 
could tell how much she loves her country and desires hope 
for its future.  They still have a long ways to go, and she said 
most of their young people don't see a future in South Africa, 
so they are leaving.  It was fascinating to learn more of the 
history of SA and its struggles.

 As many of us were members of 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, 
we stopped to see the LDS Temple there.  

Of course we were curious as to what the 
food would be like in South Africa.  Our tour 
operator assured us that the food would all 
be very familiar, and it definitely was for most 
of the trip.  I asked my friend who had taken this 
safari about the food, as our whole group was 
curious.  She didn't have any pictures, so I made 
sure to get pictures - as if I wouldn't!! Haha!

This hotel was attached to a mall, so after dinner we 
headed over for some ice cream, and the three on the right
 hadn't brought a hat for the safari, so they got some 
fun ones at the mall.

The next morning after a wonderful buffet breakfast 
we headed to the Lesedi Cultural Village where four 
different tribes are represented, featuring their traditional 
homes and dances and customs.  This was a really fun 

Bugs, anyone?

We weren't scheduled to eat at the village, but our 
bus broke down, so here we had the opportunity 
to try our most unusual dishes - of course, I gave 
each one a taste - ostrich and crocodile.  They are both 
very mild and tender white meat.

Then we were off on a long bus ride moving us 
more toward Kruger Park to Hazyview, South Africa. 
We stayed in a lovely resort along the river there.

Our breakfast and dinner were included and came 
from a restaurant right next to the resort.  There 
was so much to choose from.  I had shrimp curry, 
but tried a Kudu steak, which was so tender.  

Everything here was so delicious, and the presentation 
was beautiful.  This was their Creme Brulee. 

They even had an outdoor shower.

Miss Madi K really had a great time here.  Actually, 
she never got left behind, so she loved it all!

She was really attracted to the reception room of the resort. 

We made sure that we had time for the pool. 

And we found out that in South Africa, you always 
order the hot Chocolate!  

Here we got to go to an Elephant Sanctuary, where we 
got up close and personal with the elephants.  They are 
such magnificent animals. 

We traveled up to the God's Window area to see 
Blyde River Canyon, which is one of the largest 
canyons on Earth. 

Miss Madi K and all of the girls 
were quite impressed with this wonder of nature.

Then we were finally off to Skukuza Rest Camp at Kruger Park.

Miss Madi K couldn't believe we had finally made it!  
Although we loved all of the rest of South Africa, this 
was what we were most excited about - our safari!!!

Our stay here was in little private bungalows, 
which were charming.

I loved the thatched roofs.  They were air conditioned 
bungalows, so they were very comfortable.

There was also a private bathroom, minimalistic, 
but you were right in the park.

Did you know South Africa is one of the world's big 
producers of macadamia nuts?  I didn't.  They were 
the best tasting macadamia nuts I have ever had. 
(Even my Courtly Check cup got to make the trip to SA.)

They had a little outdoor kitchen, which was fun so we 
could keep cold drinks in the fridge.  Many people "camp" 
here and cook in the outdoor kitchen. 

We had lunch at the restaurant that day and ordered 
off the menu.  It was delicious.  

The restaurant sits right along the river, so 
you can spend afternoons watching the animals 
down in the water, 

or at the spa, where you can get a very nice, but 
inexpensive massage, 

or cool off in the pool.  

Adjacent to the restaurant is the most wonderful store, 
with souvenirs, fresh fruits, meats and cheeses, drinks, 
and just about anything you might want or need.

Then we were off on our first safari. 

Every day we had two safaris - one early in the morning, about 
5:15, and one in the afternoon, about 3:00.  It wasn't hard getting 
up that early, because you are a little messed up on time anyhow.

Even though the weather was in the upper 60's in 
the mornings, Miss Madi K came in handy bringing 
my blanket and a coat.  She fit in nicely on the floor 
by my feet.

Then the fun began!  

I thought the elephants would be my favorites, 
but although they were wonderful, I fell in love 
with the zebras! We saw whole herds of them playing 
and nipping each other and running along the road, 
and then crossing the road.  

Of course, what you want to see 
in South Africa is the Big Five, and we saw all of them - 
Cape Buffalos

The Rhino was the most elusive, but then we came 
to a crossroad, and our driver said, "Rhinos mating!" 

He said he hadn't seen that for 3 years.  None of the 
other jeeps in our group believed it, until they saw 
the photos.


The giraffes were majestic, and they often crossed the 
road to so we got to see them up close and personal.

I had brought my nice Canon and zoom lens, but our 
tour guide from the US, Howy, had a $5,000 Nikon with 
a 500 mm lens, so all of these fabulous photos are from 
him.  Since he was sharing his photos with us, I 
switched to mostly videos, because that captured the 
trip more than stills.  I would send them home to the kids 
and the grandkids every day to see them.  My oldest daughter 
and her husband are going on this same tour in February with 
her MIL, so she was so excited to see what it would be like. 

You can go to my Instagram to see more videos.  
Our last drive of the three days we saw hundreds 
of elephants.  They just poured across the road.  

I had the idea that we should all buy African kaftans 
and shirts for the men so we could get a fun photo.

The men were pretty good to go along with it.

We wore these on our last day, which happened to 
be a heat wave - 110 -112!  They were the perfect 
outfits to have on, as they allowed the breeze up 
inside as you drove.

That day they drove us out to the bush to have breakfast, 
so we took our group photo out behind the breakfast area. 
Don't worry, it was all fenced in so we were safe.

Of course, you know me, I want to include a tablescape if I 
can, as I always appreciate the tables others put together for us.  

It was a beautiful setting and a lovely breakfast, but so hot.

Because of the heat, many of our group opted out of 
the afternoon drive, but the weather changed, 
and the animals came out in record numbers.  You can see 
that I had to get my MC umbrella out, and it kept 
Miss Madi K and I dry!  

We were also treated to a candle light BBQ dinner 
at the Skukuza.

That was delicious.

I had to include the buffet breakfast at Skukuza.  
It was unusual, with Pap - a white polenta with a 
tomato sauce to put over (traditional South African food),
 baked beans and grilled 
tomatoes (very English), mushrooms, and meats and 
of course some pancakes.  Pap was always served at 
dinner too on the Skukuza buffet, but you could also 
order off of the menu.  

Yes, I too fell in Love On Safari!!

What a trip!  It wasn't even on my bucket list, but I 
would definitely return again.  There is nothing like 
seeing such masses of these gorgeous animals in 
their element.  

Now the surprise - 
You had to make it all the way through my long, long 
post to find out about the giveaway!

These tea towels are so cute!  I even have 
a set of my own that were gifted to me 
from Linda at Life and Linda, when I joined 
the TTT group!  You will love them.

Just visit Emily at 
and enter to win.

Also visit the other members of our fun group 
and see where their totes have been off to!

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box  You are here!
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

I will also be posting this with 
Tablescapes Thursday
Love Your Creativity 


Chocolat - French for Chocolate. I adored chocolate from a young age when I had to sneak in the cupboard to find where my mother had hidden the Nestle's Chocolate Chips. Having read about the famous chocolat shoppes in Paris, when I finally got there I was determined to try a chocolate from every Paris shoppe. I invite you to share my adventures in creating, in travel, and in life.


  1. How fun to take such a grand adventure with friends. Love the spun sugar on the Creme brûlée and the hot chocolate looked divine. The elephants are so HUGE there. God’s window is certainly the perfect name for that canyon - WOW!
    Photo of you and girlfriend from behind is so special and so is the kaftan pic!! AND the mug of nuts was also a cute pic! Your pics of the animals are amazing - this was certainly a grand trip and you are so lucky to be able to share it with friends. I have to go back and read everything again and to look at all the fabulous photos!!

  2. Jackie, there aren't enough superlatives to capture how I feel about your safari - your friends joining you, the photos (especially of the animals in the wild), and all the special treatment with your travel accommodations. I love the zebra photos, the caftans and, of course, seeing Madi K as your companion. What a truly memorable trip! Happy December!

  3. Jackie, this is an amazing trip and going with special friends makes it even more special. Your photos are stunning and it must have been awesome seeing animals in their natural habitat. We have friends who love going on Safari and highly recommend it. It was fun seeing how the food looked and hearing the little details. My favorite pic is the one of you and and the girls. Such a grand trip..........Happy December.

  4. This has got to be THE trip of a lifetime Jackie, going to an exotic locale, very first class, with your besties, enjoying wonderful food, hospitality and seeing beautiful African animals in their element! I love that you got everyone to buy caftans and African shirts, you should have a reunion party next year and have everyone wear them! Thank you for taking us on safari with you! Amazing!

  5. What an amazing trip dear Jackquelin, way out of the classic or ordinary trip !! A safari has to be an awesome journey as you share here with those great pics my friend. Specially those wonderful huge animals ! I love all your pics and specially you and your hubby.
    I'd love to get the traveling tote so I can show it off on my travels too, lol.. How do you get it ? Do you do it online ? Let me know. Thank you.

  6. Jackie, this was certainly an amazing trip. I know it made it extra special to share this marvelous adventure with close couple friends. I find it incredible that all of you could make this trip together. A safari has been on my list, but we missed an opportunity with friends some years ago. Don't think one is in our future now. I had to scroll up and down to take this all in, and no doubt I will be back to enjoy this trip again. Your photos are stellar. I think my favorite may be of you group of girls looking out to the incredible vista. Well, if truth be known, there are many that are favorites. Thanks for taking us along on this fabulous adventure. I'm so happy that Miss Madi K was part of this trip.

  7. Miss Madi K is a lucky gal to join you on your safari. I doubt a MacKenzie-Childs tote has been on a safari :-) I just love everything about this trip! So glad you got all these great photos from this amazing trip, and hope you will do a photo book.

  8. Oh, Jackie this post was so interesting. What a wonderful trip! The pictures are amazing!
    I love that you thought of everyone getting a caftan and the guys African shirts. What a nice group of friends.

  9. All I can say is, WOW! How awesome to take your girlfriends. What a special treat for them all. Your generosity is amazing. This trip is a trip of a lifetime. So glad you got to experience it all. Love the shots. Wild animals are so beautiful. Love the photos of you with the girls and of course the caftan. I am loving this journey. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful travels.

  10. Jackie... all I have to say is in my next life I want to come back as Madi K!!! What a fantabulous adventure!!! And with you best buds to boot!!! Your pics are spectacular. Have a wonderful week and thanks for sharing the experience of a lifetime with us.

  11. What an amazing trip the group of you went on and of course you rcute bag too! I enjoyed looking at the awesome photos.

  12. Wow, wow, wow! What an amazing trip and how wonderful that so many friends were able to join you.


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