Monthly Archives

October 2017

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Daycation: Because a Break is as Good as a Holiday

experience-53847412If you’re overworked and feel like running away, but you can’t make time for a holiday, I want to introduce you to the Daycation – the best way to recharge your batteries when you just don’t have time to go away.

Is it me, or is it becoming harder to get away to enjoy a good break? Despite “time saving” technology, most of us have less time to do what we have to – never mind actually taking a break. Those of us who are self-employed tend to work at least six days a week and if we’re lucky, we can take off one day to catch up on everything else that was neglected during the course of the week. That’s if we don’t simply crash and burn in front of the TV…

Next time, instead of wasting precious time watching mindless reruns, take a daycation. Studies have shown that passive leisure activities such as reading or television don’t really affect one’s ability to cope with stress at all, whereas active leisure activities boosted creative thinking.

Do your business, your family and yourself a favor and take a daycation.

3 Tips for Planning the Best Daycation

If you’re new to daycations, you may need some orientation to get into the right mindset.p1010045

1. Choose a destination nearby

By deciding on a nearby spot to explore on your daycation, you not only save on driving time, but you get more value out of your day. When city life stifles your creative spirit, venture off to the beach, bush or mountains.

2. Put on your tourist hat

After living in your city for years, you may not appreciate the special things that attract tourists. You may even think there’s nothing different to do.

I want to encourage you to think like a tourist and do the things a tourist would do. Visit your local Tourism Office, or check out these fun activities in:dsc_0306

3. Enjoy the great outdoors

South Africa offers an abundance of outdoors activities that can often be reached within less than 2 hours’ drive. Breathe some fresh air, enjoy some vitamin C in the natural sunlight and take in some of the spectacular natural beauty our country has to offer.

At the end of your daycation, you will return to work feeling rested, relaxed and more creative than ever.

#Daycation #SouthAfricanActivities #DayTrips

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How to Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway

hot-air-balloon-22Restore your mind, body and soul with a weekend getaway. Of course, we all love long vacations, it’s not always practical from a time and financial perspective. Here in South Africa, we are lucky to have some of the most amazing options available to us. A short drive or even a quick flight can take us from the city to the bush, the ocean or even the desert.

Here Are Our Top 3 Tips for the Perfect Weekend Getaway

1. Chose a place that speaks to your soul

We all have our preferences, even though we like to do something different now and then. However, if you’re in need of some serious R&R, opt for a place that uplifts you.

If you feed off of adventure, consider an overnight stay with hot air balloon ride over the Cradle of Humankind at Glenburn Lodge.

2. Stay near the centre of the action

When you plan to do something specific on your weekend getaway, book accommodation nearby.facil7

Who wants to drive home after a night of wining and dining? Book a night of fine dining and stay overnight at the De Hoek Country Hotel, or enjoy a wine pairing and overnight stay at the 12 Apostles Hotel after a scenic sunset helicopter flight over the coastline.

Likewise, if you’re planning a weekend of fishing, why not rent a houseboat on the Vaal?

3. Bring company

experience-56231376While being on your own can be a great way to relax, bringing company on your weekend getaway can be a great way to connect with friends and loved ones. Shared experiences tend to help people forge bonds and make memories that can last a lifetime.

South Africa offers wonderfully romantic weekend getaways for couples. Imagine surprising your beau with a private passion picnic along the Crocodile River during your overnight stay…

Alternatively, bring along the whole family or a group of friends and visit the Izindala Farmhouse on the Crocodile River for a farmhouse party weekend getaway.

Finally, to truly enjoy your weekend getaway, leave the technology at home. Put off your phone and just enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. Need more tips on weekend getaways? We have them all prepared for you right here.

#WeekendGetaways #HolidayBookings #SouthAfricanHolidays

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Rules for the Ultimate Bucket List

experience-58211267If you’ve seen the movie The Bucket List, you know that the objective of a bucket list, is to pursue all the things you’d like to do before you die. In the movie, the two characters had a list of 3 rules for their bucket lists:

1. Never pass up a urinal
2. Never waste a hard on
3. Never trust a fart

Today, I want to add three more rules:

Don’t Feel Pressured to Add Stereotypical Activities

Your bucket list is personal. You can still have a bucket list if you don’t want to jump out of planes or run extreme ultra marathons. Whether you want to learn a craft, read a certain book (or an amount of books), visit a specific city, or even learn to cook – that is perfectly fine.

Do Go Crazy & Add ALL Your Adventures

And by crazy, I don’t mean that you should want to traverse the North Pole in the nude. What I mean is that you should remove all limitations in your mind with regards to what you really want to do. Add whatever sets your soul on fire to your list and go for it with all you’ve got.

Don’t Pass Up Opportunities to Tick Items Off Your List

This one follows up from the bucket list rules we learned from the movie, but I feel it’s important to reiterate. Life is short, so if an opportunity presents for you to fulfill a wish on your bucket list, grab it with both hands.

Best Low Key Bucket List Items

If you’re not an adrenaline junkie, but you enjoy new things, check out these experiences:

Monster carp safari – Perfect for fishermen who want to enjoy the best of what South Africa’s waters haveMCS_001 to offer and hook the big one.

Rose garden breakfast – Lavish in olde English style without having to make the trip and forego South Africa’s beautiful climate.

Make coffee like a pro – Envy the master baristas who prepare spectacular blends? Now you can do it too!

Cowboy/girl for a day – If you’re a lover of the Wild West, you might enjoy a horseback cattle drive.

These are just some of the many items you may wish to add to your low-key bucket list. Whatever you do, make the most of it!

#BucketListGenie #ExperienceExpert #SouthAfricanAdventures

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How to Plug Your Kids Back Into the Family

experience-34498431Raising teenagers is not for sissies… especially if you’re the kind of parent who still holds on to dear old fashioned family values. Have kids while you’re young, they said. You’ll grow up with them and they won’t be able to get up to no-good without you knowing. Well, let me tell you something: ignorance might in fact be bliss.

Peer pressure has always been a thing, but nothing like it is right now. It’s all about who has the most expensive phone with the best selfie camera and the most likes on Instagram. It’s not about how you can find a guy or girl to marry one day, but rather about getting through all the boys and girls in the school as quickly as possible, and then doing a rinse and repeat. If you’re really enlightened, you’ll become BFFs with all your ex boyfriends’ ex-girlfriends. And the more people you like on social media, the more likes you’ll get and you’ll be like… SO Tumblr (because cool is so last season!).

Of course, that means that little kids from as young as six have to be glued to their phones 24/7 – just in case they miss that uber-important response to their insightful conversations.

Kid 1: WUD
(What are you doing?)
Kid 2: LOMB U
(Laying on my bed, what about you?)
Kid 1: LOL
(Laugh out loud)
Kid 2: WUD
Kid 1: WTV
(Watching TV)

And so it goes. Every day, all day – amidst scrolling mindlessly through quotes, photos and other mindless junk for hours on end.

No-no-NO!!! As parents, it is time to put a stop to all of this. Unplug them from technology and plug them back into the family. Here’s how we can stop our kids from turning into techno-zombies.

Make time to talk – Kids don’t volunteer information about what’s going on in their lives. It’s up to you to ask questions and get to know their friends. Make it easy for them to open up to you.

Mealtime is family-time – Life is busy, but your kids are important. Make at least one meal a day a family affair.

Do things together – Find a favourite TV show the whole family enjoys, read a book, play a sport, ride a bicycle, go for a run…

Here are some of the best ways to get them out into the sunshine and fresh air, sans screens:

Spend an action packed session learning how to carve up the sand dunes on a sandboard. Whether you are an absolute beginner or veteran board rider, you will experience an adrenalin rush guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Kids bouncing off the walls? Now you can tap into their energy with 2 hours of outdoor obstacle courses fromTeam-Building-Fun Acrobranch. Each of the five Acrobranch parks in South Africa offers a variety of obstacle courses, some for fit teens and adults, and others more suitable for kids.

Enjoy South Africa’s only pirate boat, offering the young at heart an authentic adventure filled experience. Once on-board, clients will enjoy a 60 minute cruise to include the best views that Cape Town has to offer. Pirates keep children and adults entertained with theatrics, singing and face painting for the children. If you’re lucky enough, you may even see some dolphins who frequently visit the pirate ship and swim alongside the boat. Definitely a different type of experience and one to be remembered for quite some time.

If you prefer a relaxing cruise to soak in the serene beauty of Hartbeespoort Dam or seek high adventure in an adrenalin rush experience, we offer a variety of cruises to best suit your needs. Whether it is to spend quality time with your family or loved one or to have a great time with friends or colleagues.

Do you have any more great ways to keep the kids entertained? Please share in comments!

#FamilyOutings #ActivitiesForKids #FamilyTime

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Top Safari Bucket List Experiences for Every Warm Blooded African

 

Elephant_Encounter_002_kcbp-fjEast, west – South Africa remains the best. I’ve traveled around the world and I have seen amazing sights, but when that steel bird touches down, I know I’m home. This is where I belong, because Africa’s heartbeat is in my soul. It’s in the blue oceans, golden beaches, majestic mountains and lush valleys. It’s in the dusty savannas and the bushveld that South Africa’s magnificent wildlife calls home. Whether you’re South African or just visiting our magical country for the first time, you should absolutely put a safari experience on your bucket list.

What’s a South African Safari?

Contrary to popular belief, you’re not going to come face-to-face with a lion in the middle of a city’s streets. You actually have to go on safari to experience Africa’s full splendour. Here’s what you should know about a South African safari:

  1. You don’t have to travel into the jungle for days. In fact, in most cases you can access game farms within 2-3 hours’ drive.
  2. You don’t have to sleep in tents, because South Africa’s game lodges offer luxurious accommodation in houses, chalets, and huts with modern amenities (some even have wifi!). Come to think of it, some even offer permanent tented accommodations.
  3. It’s not like the movies that portray Africa as a jungle sheltered by green leafy trees. Bring along a hat and sunscreen, because it gets hot in summer.

7 Must-Do South African Safarischeetah_001

Here are our top selection of African safaris:

Gyrocopter Fly-In Safari Day for Two | Gauteng

Combine your love for nature, wildlife and aerospace to create the ultimate bucket list adventure: a scenic gyrocopter fly-safari for two. This exciting opportunity is within easy reach for you.

Microlight Fly-In Safari with Private Game Drive for Two | Gauteng

Join us for a breathtaking fly-in safari and enjoy a full day at your leisure enjoying our private game reserve with either a private game drive or a privately guided bush walk. Your X-factor experience starts with your arrival at our private microlight air strip where you will complete some paperwork and put on your full-piece flights suit in readiness for your departure.

Elephant Encounter for Two | Harties

Guests are guided on foot through The Elephant Sanctuary as the guides provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants. You will be introduced to our elephants in the forest area, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants.

Night Game Drive With Lion Feeding & Dinner for Two | Broederstroom

Led by one of our fully qualified and experienced guides the 45 minute Guided Lion and Wild Dog Tour will introduce you to some of South Africa’s most famous predators. This amazing experience in one of our modern safari trucks will take you through the Lion and Wild dog enclosures where you will have an opportunity to find out more about these incredible animals.

Cheetah Encounter & Game Drive for Two | Broederstroom

A rare opportunity to interact and get up close with one of our cheetah ambassadors! Our experienced handlers will show you how to safely interact with these amazing animals while you have your photograph taken by one of our talented photographers.

Elephant Ride & Elephant Interaction for One | Harties

Elephant Back Riding – Riding is an opportunity to experience elephants from a different perspective and is conducted in a boma.

Rhino Volunteer Progamme | Three Days for One | Limpopo

Not only do these conservations focus on the protection and conservation of rhino, the majority of them also have 4 out of the Big 5 on their property, including lions, leopards and buffalo. They are also involved in very exciting vulture and other wildlife breeding projects, most who are listed as endangered or vulnerable species.

#SafariBookings #SouthAfricanSafaris #AfricanTravelExperiences

experience-67590212_9ws7-p9

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Staycation: 3 Tips for a Spectacular South African Holiday

Fotolia_104875553_MAsk any South African who has traveled extensively, and without fail, they will agree that we live in the most beautifully diverse country with the best climate on planet earth. We have friendly people, amazing food and the most gorgeous natural scenery. We have oceans, mountains and bush. What more could you ever need?

I spoke to someone who has not traveled abroad the other day, and he said “What for? I have not yet seen all of my own country!”. Based on his wisdom, I decided to put together some great tips for a Staycation – that is, a wonderful holiday right here at home. Traditionally, a staycation involves staying at home, but for the purpose of this post, it will include activities and short trips around South Africa.

1. Be Adventurous

The purpose of a Staycation is to do things you wouldn’t typically do. Since you’re saving a lot of money on airfares, you have some room to play with if you want to splurge.

Few things beat an Xtreme Shark Volunteer Expedition, and that’s why it’s important to book in advance if you want to be part of the small team who will next set out from Hermanus.

While you’re on the coast, why not test your resolve with an Xtreme Powerboat Experience?

Traverse inland, towards the bush, and get up close and personal with nature by arranging an Elephant Encounter at Harties.

Another experience that will make a difference, is a Rhino Tracking Experience near Sun City, as would joining the Rhino Volunteer Programme for 3 days.

These experiences will leave you with memories to last a lifetime!

2. Learn Something New

When you travel abroad, you learn about new cultures, cuisines and more. Make that a part of your experience-60565770staycation too by investing in new and different experiences.

You don’t need to travel to Japan to learn to make sushi, to Germany to learn to brew beer, or to Columbia to master the art of coffee making. It’s all available right on your doorstep!

If you’re already a master at the culinary arts, and you’re yearning for something more adventurous, check out these exciting experiences that can form part of your staycation. From sandboarding to surfing, defensive driving and flying a helicopter, we have you covered!

3. Get Outdoors

What do you do when you overseas? You walk around, you travel, and you explore. Now’s the time to do the same right here at home during your staycation.

Get into the great outdoors with these fun experiences that are suitable for all ages. Whether you’re looking to burn some serious energy or simply enjoy some outdoor fun with minimal physical output, you’ll find something ideal amongst our outdoor staycation experiences.

I bet you never thought that South Africa had this much to offer! Is there anything we missed? Please leave a comment below.

#Staycation #SouthAfricanHolidays #HolidayBookings

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Make Time To Relax & Unwind

spaOnce again, this year is flying by. It’s almost time for the Easter holidays, even though many of us are still getting past December. Methinks it’s time for a good pre-holiday treat to help relax those knots in our backs and shoulders and to rejuvenate the fine lines and wrinkles that have crept onto our faces in the last few months.

If you’re keen, keep on reading. And guys, you’ll see there’s something for you too. You know, real men understand the importance of looking after themselves in order remain rock solid for their families. Women admire guys who take care of themselves and preserve their health…Relaxation is a crucial step in self-care for men and women alike.

Relaxing Experiences for Ladies

In need of some “me” time? As women, we often barely make it onto our own to-do lists. Well, these amazing packages are perfect if you’re looking to enjoy a little alone time.

Camelot Calming Ceremony – JHB | PE | CPT | DBN 

Relax and unwind with our ultimate calming experience. Begin this unwinding journey by relaxing in our hydrotherapy facilities, followed by the therapeutic benefits of flotation therapy. Indulge yourself with a stress relieving back, neck & shoulder massage.

Camelot Spa Facial – JHB | CPT | PE

The Camelot Spa Group is celebrated throughout South Africa for rejuvenating tired bodies and relaxing weary minds. A revitalizing skin treatment for all skin types, ideally suited for people having a skin treatment for the first time. This treatment is designed to suit your skin’s specific needs.

Relaxing Spa Experience for Couples

Sometimes you just need a little grown-up time with the love of your life. Check out these romantic packages:

Valley Lodge & Spa | Dinner, Spa & Overnight for Two

Indulge in the ultimate romantic getaway, complete with dinner, and an overnight stay in the heart of Magaliesburg to celebrate your love on a special occasion, or just because…This package, exclusively offered by Celestial Gift Experiences, includes an overnight stay in the sophisticated country comfort offered by Valley Lodge & Spa, as well as an exquisite dinner by an award-winning chef, as well as a bottle of Pongratz.

Moonlight Spa & Dinner for Two | JHB | DBN | CPT

Experience this truly unique authentically African beauty spa, let us pamper you amongst sheer decadence and embrace you with our healing touch. After spending time in this tranquil, soothing andFotolia_65017016_Subscription_Monthly_XXL comforting environment you are guaranteed to leave feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and ready to face the world!

Relaxing Experience With Friends

They say a whiskey a day keeps the stress at bay, and we’re excited to offer an amazing new experience:

Whiskey Master Class for Six | CPT | JHB | DBN

experience-63295897Bring along a few friends as you experience whiskey tasting at its best and enjoy a sensory journey through the ancient flavours of Scotland, Ireland and the USA preserved in our carefully selected variety of whiskies. You will be guided through a tasting of/pairing with the best Scotch, Irish and Bourbon whiskies by a master whiskey connoisseur.

While you’re at it, check out our amazing gift ideas for your favourite whiskey connoisseur friends…

Book one (or more) of these relaxing experiences and let the weight lift off your shoulders as you live, laugh and love life.

#SpaPackages #RomanticDateIdeas #OutingsWithFriends

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Top 3 Fishing Adventures in South Africa

experience-80014661South Africa’s waters teem with all kinds of fish species, which makes the the perfect place to catch the big one. The metaphorical saying holds true around here, there truly is plenty fish in the sea.

Every weekend and holiday, thousands of South Africans make their way to the fish waters to try hook a nice catch and to take a load off… Old and young love going to the oceanside or to one of our country’s many rivers or dams – if not to catch fish, just to enjoy the stillness and fresh air.

It’s no surprise that companies have made amazing experiences available to fishermen and ocean enthusiasts. Most of them provide all-inclusive packages, which are ideal for first timers or tourists. Whatever your threshold for adventure, know that there’s a South African fishing adventure for you.

Here are our top picks:

Vaal River Fishing Cruise for Five

Grab a few friends and experience the serenity of the Vaal River. Cruise in style and enjoy a day cruising, bonding and relaxing while fishing. This experience includes the private charter of a luxurious cruiser for 3-hours and all gear, equipment and training is included in the package. There is a cash bar onboard the vessel and you have the option of pre-selecting a meal from a wide selection of menus available.

Monster Carp Safari for One | Gauteng

The number one adventure on any avid fisherman’s bucket list, is to hook The Big One. Now you have the opportunity to do just that with this once-in-lifetime Monster Carp Safari for One in Gauteng. Carp was once considered an invader species, but it is present in all South Africa’s dams. While they don’t taste the best, it’s the size that really matters. Besides, locals and traveling fishermen alike usually follow a catch-and-release approach, except in waters where the carp prevent the growth of bass, trout and other species.

More adventurous individuals will go shark cage diving or scuba diving, or take part in the ultimate adventure:

Xtreme Shark Volunteer Expedition | Hermanus

Treat the fisherman in your life (or yourself!) to the experience of a lifetime with this extreme shark experience. You will have the opportunity to actively participate in and make a lasting contribution to shark protection and research while learning more about these amazing ocean creatures. A one day expedition led by a scientist, gives you the opportunity to work alongside experts as they tag sharks, collect data and contribute to shark conservation.

Don’t miss out on these exciting experiences!

#FishingTrips #FishingInSA #SharkExpedition
Fotolia_104875553_M

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What Not To Buy For Mother’s Day

Perfume_WorkshopWith Mother’s Day around the corner, we’re all scurrying around trying to find the perfect gift to make the #1 in our lives feel special. We usually start by thinking “Who is a mom?”, because a mom doesn’t necessarily have to be our biological mom. In today’s world of blended families, anyone who takes on the role or mother is deserving of some recognition.

Whether you’re looking for a gift for your own mom, your “heart mom” (you weren’t conceived in her body, but in her heart), your children’s mom, your mother-in-law, or whomever you look to as the best mom in the world, there are a few mother’s day gifts to avoid this mother’s day.

What Not to Buy for Mother’s Day

Of course, your mom will appreciate and even love whatever you buy her, but when it comes to buying a gift for the woman who loves you more than she loves her own life, you may want to put in a little more effort.

By the same token, don’t give her something she needs, but rather something she wants – except sleep. Every mom both needs and desperately wants sleep.

Ultimately, think about the message your gift sends, and why you don’t want to buy her:

  1. A scarf – She probably has a drawer full from all the years gone by.
  2. Scented candles or bath salts – Unless you plan to pick up the dishes for a few nights so that she can enjoy a luxurious bath.
  3. Cards filled with glitter – Lovely as it may be, this may end up making more work for her when she has to clean it up. No offense, but that’s no fun.
  4. Kitchen appliances – Really? Few mothers want to slave away behind a hot stove. She’d rather do something fun with you.
  5. Fitness gear – Gym memberships, fitness magazine subscriptions, cellulite cream, or waist-trimmers are a no-no, unless she expressed a desire for it.
  6. Gift packs – Your local pharmacy will be breaking out their stash of “gift packs” anytime now, if they have not done so yet. Avoid those like the plague. Your mother raised you to be imaginative and thoughtful, and nothing screams the opposite like a new manicure set, complete with floral hand cream.spa

Every mom likes chocolates, wine, and flowers, right? Absolutely, especially if it accompanies the gift of your time. You see, lovely and appreciated as those three amazing gifts are, you must consider that:

  • Flowers wilt.
  • Wine disappears fast – we’re not sure how.
  • Chocolates melt… in her mouth, very fast. A moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips.

If you want your mom to be truly blown away by her Mother’s Day gift this year, consider “What (in addition to chocolates, wine, flowers, and scented candles) can I get her that will truly make her feel loved and appreciated?

There’s a simple answer. Your mom will love for you to spend some time with her. Research has shown that few things bond people together emotionally like shared experiences. With that in mind, check out some of the amazing experiences in our Mother’s Day Category.  You’re sure to find something incredible for you to do with your mom this Mother’s Day.

#MothersDayGifts #GiftsForMom #GiftIdeas

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Bucket List Genie Conquers Everest

18558913_1316940561687980_2880225016927259578_oA ten-day trek across Mount Everest, followed by a half marathon and another trek down the mountain with a nasty lung infection, but South Africa’s own Bucket List Genie would not have it any other way. After all, she is only the third South African female to complete the Everest Trek-Marathon Experience.

Adventure is in her blood, and that’s one of the reasons why she pushes herself to the limits when she’s not creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for clients at Celestial Gifts, or running after her two young boys, Keanu and Connor.

Many months of training, including a gruelling weekly fitness programme that included two kilometres of swimming two to three times a week, and fifty kilometres of running, culminated in Odette Butcher (AKA the Bucket List Genie)’s latest accomplishment – becoming the third South African woman ever to complete the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon. Having completed the Petra Desert Marathon in 2014, the Great Wall Marathon in 2015, and the Polar Circle Marathon in 2016, Odette is no stranger to adventure marathons, but this time, she approached her preparations with great respect for the mountain, which has claimed countless lives. Safely back home, Odette recollects her thoughts and catches up on sleep, which comes so much easier in a soft, warm bed.

It saddens her to encounter negative perceptions about South Africa whenever she travels, says Odette, 18557191_1317000985015271_1532226225776870288_nbut she tries to balance it with perspective. When she announced her plans to complete the Everest Marathon, she encountered similar alarmist rumours, perpetuated by the negative experiences of trekkers who weren’t properly equipped, who trekked alone, and who refused to turn back when they should have – mostly beyond Base Camp. “If you have a realistic dream, it is well within your reach. You lessen your risks by ignoring urban rumours and bad press and by always using reputable operators. Make sure you have the correct gear, listen to the leader, and then relax into the experience.” advises Odette.

Her strategy from the start was to take it slow and steady, and after ten days of trekking the 65kms to the start and experiencing oxygen deprivation and sleep apnoea due to the high altitudes and sub-zero temperatures, Odette was exhausted, but adamant to finish the marathon. Like many other runners, she contracted a nasty chest infection that forced her to make a solo-parent responsible decision at the eleventh hour to switch to the half-marathon instead of the full marathon. Her focus was not about finishing first, but finishing alive, and her training and wise decision paid off as she was the fifth woman to cross the finish line.

“The mountains will always have the last word and I’ve learnt to be flexible in order to avoid being another statistic. The altitude made me humble!” she laughs, enjoying deep breaths of clean, Cape Town air.

For all the bad press associated with the flight to and landing at Lukla Airport, it was executed with precision and 18620270_1313817972000239_6964423975452590102_nperfection in every way. Lukla is 2800 m above sea level, with a 150 runway and vertical drop, which makes it one of the most dangerous in the world.

Odette attributes much of the success of her trip to the wonderful support team. “Life of a Sherpa is hard. Absolutely everything must be carried up the mountain on their backs. The load is stabilised by a head strap. Some of their loads weigh well over 50kgs and some of them are young teenagers who look the same weight as their load. They walk without energy bars or water, and often wear flip flops.”

A fantastic event management team and support staff that included fourteen porters, Sherpas, cooks, a yak herder, and a trekking guide met an exceptional team of brave runners. One-hundred and seventy international runners and forty Nepalese runners competed in the marathon. Many of the international runners have been (or still are) in the defence- or air force and several have completed various iron man competitions, which made them worthy adversaries on the track, and wonderful and inspiring people to know.

Few things inspire confidence as much as an adventure marathon. It makes one realise their own inner strength. Accomplishing the training and competing in the marathon gives you the strength to believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to. “In fact sometimes a day in the life of a solo parent and business person is harder than any of these challenges put together. Based on what we deal with daily, we do not give ourselves enough credit for what we are able to accomplish.18588918_1318076388241064_9191605466844662663_o

“A humbling experience indeed, many of the runners have overcome immense challenges to beat the odds in order to participate in the marathon. Several individuals were cancer survivors and had great physical and emotional challenges. For Odette, the marathon was a manifestation of her own journey of personal growth and overcoming negative internal dialogue by breaking her own self-imposed limitations.

If there’s one thing that the four endurance marathons have in common, is the fact that each one offers a unique climatic challenge. Petra Desert Marathon is known for the desert heat, while the Great Wall Marathon’s greatest challenge was climbing those stairs in excruciating humidity. The Polar Circle Marathon’s challenge was twofold – the -37 degrees sub-zero temperatures and wind chill. Everest was a challenging experience due to not only the brutal terrain, but also the fact that many runners became ill due to poor sanitation and food hygiene, lack of piped water and overall cleanliness. Close living quarters made picking up a bug a real risk, especially since Odette was already run down from ten days of sleep deprivation.

18664371_1320465594668810_3678875909141797178_nEverest’s gruelling terrain included suspension bridges above the tree lines, which revealed powerful lunar-like landscapes. Runners had to zigzag up and down the mountain in order to acclimatise before they reached base camp. One of the ‘rest’ days included an upward ascent of 1217 feet to 3880m and then back down again. At times, the team were trekking at an average of two kilometres per hour through forests of rhododendrons; exquisite panoramic landscapes, gushing rivers, and over suspension bridges, surrounded by snow capped gargantuan mountains as far as the eye can see. However, they remained in good spirits and shared the camaraderie of an experience of a lifetime.

While much of the experience was all about patience and balancing that inner desire for perfection with reality that not everything always goes according to plan. At the end of the day, it’s those experiences that make connections, create memories, and strengthen character – the very cornerstones upon which Celestial Gift Experiences was built, and the principles by which the Bucket List Genie lives.

#EverestMarathon #EverestTrek #BrutalTrail

Source: http://www.onlinegiftshop.co/

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