“Such Favor” and Freaky Lion Dreams

Ok, all together now (in an English, but really South African accent)
"I can't believe the favor we've had — such favor!"
This is what Glenda (our hostess and one of the SA Scrapbook International Event coordinators) said multiple times a day as our group traveled together and experienced one amazing thing after another — we had incredible good luck (or favor) and were truly blessed by so many great people and opportunities that I doubt my short recap can adequately estimate the amazing time we had, but I will nonetheless give you a rundown of our itinerary on my recent trip to South Africa.

I will pick up where I left off (after our trip to Soweto) and say that things for me were MUCH better on the second day of teaching and beyond … after the event in Jo-berg, we flew to Port Elizabeth …

and the drove to the Kichaka Game Lodge, a truly 5-star experience!
The hippo even got out of the watering hole to greet us (such favor) and 14 or so camera shutters were flying from that moment on.

We were fed the most beautiful food I've ever seen. A spread like this was laid out for breakfast and lunch, while dinner was served restaurant style in a big dining room, where we ALL sat around one long table.


We met our game rangers and headed out on the first of four game drives. On my previous trip to South Africa, we saw giraffe and elephant only from a distance and saw lion only in a lion park — my secret wish that we would see these animals up close was more than granted!!


In fact, we had a legendary game ranger, named Francoise. Hhe was very quickly and quite appropriately dubbed, Francoise, The Man, The Ranger, The Legend in part because he possessed a wealth of knowledge beginning with the inner workings of termite mounds. Margie and I even accepted the challenge of eating a termite, which we were told is a decent source of protein should you be lost and still not eaten in the African bush. They tasted a bit like sage (really, not that bad!) and speaking of Margie, how cute is she in her Safari hat and scarves?

and here's my cute dad, the wildlife scout!

So, back to Francois. He began teaching us about animal dung and Hyena markings and then, early on the second morning, we came across fresh lion tracks …


which quickly led us to a fresh lion kill …


Yes. That is a lion, twenty yards from my open-air jeep eating what was a few hours prior a free-roaming Eland. See what I mean, such favor! Francois kept saying "You guys are so lucky!" It was absolutely phenomenal to be this close to the "top of the food chain" and yet on a sub-conscious level somewhat disturbing too. I have had it confirmed to me that we still possess primal fears of becoming prey to wild animals, because I have had *freaky lion dreams* almost every night since hanging out with the lion. Since these three lion had fresh food, they stayed put near a small tree for the two days that we were at the lodge so we were able to check in on them morning and night …



and we did.


I now consequently have hundreds of lion photos, and it took me until just recently to deal with my lion pictures from my last lion adventure (in 2005.)


I will be doing some serious paring down, so that I can find and use just my favorites — like this one! I will set up an album here on the blog with a collection of favorite photos. You can also check out our group's Shutterfly site and see photos from people that are far better photographers than I am.


I do have a pretty nice lens that helps me get close, but I need you to understand how close we were to begin with. Amazingly close to elephants and …


giraffe and …


warthog (which btw, taste much better than they look) and …


rhino and WOW. wow. The whole experience was phenomenal.

After leaving the game lodge we drove for the better part of two days from Port Elizabeth down to Cape Town, on what is known as The Garden Route. We made short stops at a lovely scrapbook store and other picturesque places to shop and/or eat. My dad and I were in a car all by ourselves with Aunty Val (crossing my fingers one of my travel mates snapped a photo of Val?) who was so delightful. She knew something about everything and so in addition to seeing lots of countryside we were treated to all kinds of historical information, personal insight and interesting stories.

We had a little dinner/gathering in Cape Town with several local scrapbookers and then got up the next morning and headed up to Table Mountain.


Because of the cloudy weather, we were discouraged from purchasing tickets for the tram. But once on top, ALL the clouds lifted/disappeared and we had glorious 360 degree views of the entire area (there's that favor again.) It was cold, but clear and breathtaking!


The absolute highlight for me was the chance to take a "once in a lifetime" trip again and this time take it with my dad. I loved  being with him and hearing his stories and enjoying his humor and watching him see so many of the things that I found life-changing the first time around.


For this and so much more I am indebted to Glenda and EVERYONE that planned and worked to make this event a success and then left work and home to escort us all over — spending time with our hosts and the other guests made our time so very memorable.


Thank YOU Glenda and Gary (pictured here) and Kyle and Val and Louise and Tiffany and all of your families and thank you brilliant delegates for sharing your talents and coming to share and learn. Thank YOU for EVERYTHING. Should you ever decide to come to my little corner of the world, you have a ready hostess and eager guide.


Not sure I have anything quite this brilliant, but I'll figure something out!


  1. Wow. What an amazing trip. I myself am quite obsessed with predators, and can only imagine how cool it must have been to be that close to lions in the WILD! I think I’d have the nightmares too. Aren’t you glad that you finished your lion PAS in Have More Fun in August? Now you can make another one! (hee)

  2. Allison Barnes says:

    Looks like it was amazing! How fun to have spent it with your dad!
    how was Jenna’s wedding??
    Love ya,

  3. MaryRuth Francks says:

    INCREDIBLE!!! I loved loved loved the pictures of the lions!
    And I LOVE the word favor… what a great way to describe our blessings!
    Glad you’re back safe and sound!

  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in South Africa, it truly is a magical country isn’t it! They say once you have been to Africa it is always in your blood and I lived there for 26 years so I doubt it will ever leave me. Living in the UK is not quite the same but has different benefits.

  5. Loved the pictures, esp. the one of the lions touching noses. Then the elephant, the rhino, the warthog…
    I am also so happy for you to have made a trip of a lifetime with your dad. What memories!
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  6. What an incredible adventure you got to enjoy with your Dad! I am so envious of you, it all looks amazing! :-)

  7. I just returned from three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana and your pictures make me feel so homesick! So happy you got to experience all the amazingness of this region.

  8. What an exciting adventure!!

  9. Laura from Calgary says:

    As my 15 yr. old would say – OMG! What an incredible trip, fabulous photos and wonderful memories you have. I hope one day I will be able to make that trip. Welcome home.

  10. These photos are just phenominal! And I’d say that “favor” was definately with you! I’m so glad you had such a great trip with your dad, and you both returned safely. Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Wow. Just wow. Those pics are incredible.

  12. WOW!!! I love that phrase, “such favor.” I’m interested to hear your thoughts on Elder Uchtdorf’s talk last night, about women and creating. I thought it was brilliant (of course) and knew you would probably enjoy it, too!

  13. Tracy in Alberta says:

    Love the lion with his mouth opena nd the hint of reb blood on his chin. I have 2 pics of lion’s yawning, but they were taken at the zoo.
    You were very lucky, more than once, indeed. It’s such a shame when people travel 1/2 way around the world, once-in-a-lifetime, and don’t get to see the glorious things they have anticipated.

  14. wow – what favor indeed.

  15. Loved your pics… all of them are brilliant and worthy of the memories. The one that really touched me was the one of you and your Dad up the mountain… a BIG highlight of a memorable trip. Thanks so much for being part of the whole time here with us… and remember I’m always here if you need another hug.
    PS am busy ready Big Picture Scrapbooks and LOVING it.

  16. Lovely pics Stacy. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad you had a super time in south africa…… hope you’ll come back again soon!!!

  17. Looking at your pics was the first time I’ve been tempted to want to experience a safari! Beautiful!

  18. Isn’t going on safari AMAZING!!!!!! We went on one in Kenya and also had such ‘favor’. Reading this brought back so many memories. It was a once in a lifetime trip. On our very last game drive we saw 7 lions hunt and kill and eat a wildebeast. Those of us in our truck could not believe what we saw and how close we were to the animals. I still don’t know why we were privy to such a miracle.

  19. Wow! That has brought back such memories of our stay in SA thirty years ago. We went to national game parks and got very close to the animals too. Wow! Thanks for sharing your trip.

  20. Those are incredible pictures!

  21. OMG…..Stacy what an awesome trip!!! Love your photos and you sell yourself short when you say you are not a very good photographer. They were fantastic. Great job.

  22. WOW Stacy….you did a great job on your photo’s for “not being a very good photographer”. Your lighting was absolutely gorgeous! 2 x Golden Hour = FABULOUS PHOTOS! What a wonderful trip!

  23. WOW! Stacy! What an amazing experience!! I love the pics… they should be on National Geographic!! ;-) Nice to see your back and safe!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful experince!

  24. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Ina few weeks I will be taking a trip to China with my dad. After reading this entry, I am even more excited to share this journey with him.

  25. Even though your pictures are amazing. I have a ? for your totally off the subject. Every time I log onto your blog, that brownie is calling my name. Have you ever shared the recipe, or where do you get one? It looks so yummy!
    I love your blog, and your enthusiasm for life!

  26. Your photos are stunning and such favor is amazing!
    It’s absolutely incredible that you would post this today. I read it when we got home after spending the afternoon planning a trip to Africa for next year! It must be your favor being passed on to us :))
    Thanks for sharing your incredible, colorful life again!!

  27. Wow! What a great trip and great post!!!
    On another note… I have been having a ton of fun with the LOM system, which I read about in PF this summer. Have been running a weekly challenge on 2peas for about 4-5 weeks now and people are really enjoying it too. Best of all it got me scrapbooking again after 2-3 yrs of really not wanting to bother!
    I recently wrote a post about my latest LOM success and posted it on my blog — some ladies on our e-list insisted I let you know about it, that it would make you happy (if you ever have time to read it!)
    So here it is:
    Thanks for getting me scrapping again!

  28. Hayley Going says:

    Hi Stacey!
    This evil stepmother enjoyed spending time with you in Joburg and in Cape Town!
    Thank You so much for the gorgeous book and for being such an inspiration! Loved being in your class and in your talk! You are such a favor to me!!

  29. Amazing! We just got back from our own breathtaking views, although no exotic animals were a possibility. :(
    We made our own Everest trip to the top of the Huachuca mountains in Arizona. It was INCREDIBLE to make it to Montezuma pass (the road was treacherous and we did NOT have a 4-wheel drive vehicle). Once we got there (at dusk), we were the ONLY car on the mountain when we discovered a warning sign. “This is an area of known illegal smuggling activity.” OH! MY! God’s protective hand was on us in many ways.
    And our most “exotic” photos were of a tarantula crossing the dirt road and a jack rabbit. Uh, just doesn’t measure up to lions on a fresh kill. Scrapping ‘em just the same, lol.

  30. wow, Stacy, thank you for this post. Your pictures came out great and it was so neat to get to hear about your adventure. And how special that you were able to experience this with your dad! That is probably the best favor of all. :-)

  31. So glad you enjoyed your trip to SA. I was a delegate at the convention and I loved the message your lesson conveyed to us. Happily ever after is now!

  32. Deena Hopkins says:

    Oh my gosh, I am tearing up, those photos are so beautiful!!! The lion and lioness, wow. Thank you so much for sharing.

  33. I don’t usually post a comment – though I am a faithful reader. I just had to comment on the gorgeous pictures you took. Holy cow! Jaw-dropping gorgeous. What a great experience to have with your dad also. So much favor!

  34. I used to live in SA and was at the scrapbook convention you taught at the first time. I still read your blog after your inspiring class. It is an amazing place and your pictures brought back good memories. By the way, they have really cool shopping there, especially the Rosebank market on Sundays, please tell me you’ve been there!!

  35. That is amazing that you got that close! What fabulous photos. So sorry about your ‘dreams!’ Worth it though, right? LOL!
    You have flooded me with memories. I was in Africa in 1992 and promised I would come back once I was married…or even for our honeymoon (that didn’t happen ;) Now, I have the bite again! Thanks for sharing.

  36. What an amazing adventure! And how cool that you got to experience it with your Father. Lions are amazing creatures. Really puts your mortality into view. You took some very striking photos. Good luck with paring them down. It’s going to be difficult, I can only imagine.

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