All posts filed under: Published

Things I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Want to Know

Published first in the Sunday Times’ Accidental Tourist – 13 May 2018 They say there are things we know we don’t know and things we don’t know we don’t know. The unknown unknowns. Before going to the Seychelles, I knew there would be blue sea and white sand and coconuts and I had heard talk of bats and turtles. Other than that, I knew I was going in blind. And that excited me. I like not being a know-it-all. Perhaps I have no choice in the matter, but the surprise element was very appealing. I wasn’t prepared, though, for the things I discovered that I didn’t know I didn’t know. The best case of this came one evening on a beach on a private island in the archipelago – the remote North Island that had taken three planes and two boats to access from Cape Town. We had been hiking through the jungle terrain of one of the island’s peaks, slipping down fallen palm fronds and scrambling up giant black boulders. The guide led the way …

The Bandit’s Way of Winemaking

An Interview with Craig Hawkins By Tamlin Wightman As published in ICC magazine Craig Hawkins is the biggest advocate of natural wine in South Africa. Together with wife, Carla, he left the Swartland winery, Lammershoek, to follow his dreams and pursue his TESTALONGA brand of wines at their new farm, Bandits Kloof. Meet the man behind some of South Africa’s most exciting wines.   He doesn’t mention Bob Marley. But there the dreadlocked reggae singer sits, smiling in his frame on the cabinet. This is Craig Hawkins’ office, but really, Craig says, it’s just where his music is, here and reverberating through the speakers of the wine cellar. He doesn’t mention Marley, as we catch up over the telephone connecting us between his and his significant other, Carla’s farm, Bandits Kloof, in the countryside of the Swartland, Paardeberg wine region, in South Africa, and me, in Cape Town. But who Craig does have time to mention is Eminem. “I don’t only necessarily get inspiration from the wine world,” the winemaker says. “For instance, I listen to …

How I got over the hill

Published in the Sunday Times 13 June 2017 / Image: Piet Grobler Accidental Tourist Tamlin Wightman tried to mark her 30th birthday with a daring excursion – and got way more than she bargained for. What I did on my 30th birthday and what I should have done are very different things. Much like when I told people, “I’m totally buzzed to be turning the big 3-0. How great to grow old and wise,” – when what I really meant, deep inside my aging heart, right down to my fast-fossilising sinew, was, “!@£$%^&”. Time is an illusion. Resist the hour. Yes, yes, I too uttered such proclamations. But I was still 20-bound then, on top of the hill with nowhere to go but down. And so, for the big day, in sympathy for myself, I decided to throw myself off the hill (attached to a cable while ziplining, yes, but do not dismiss the danger of a little steel in a lightning storm). The Cape, allegedly amid a dry spell, turned dark and damp, very damp, within minutes, as …

Tanzania’s Best Kept Secret

The Other Pemba Tamlin Wightman discovers there’s more to this tiny Indian Ocean island off Tanzania than diving. It started with a touch. The touch of a child’s soft, plump hand in mine. So timid that it didn’t linger long and was quickly retrieved by its owner. All around kids were screaming at me like banshees. ‘Mzungu! Mzungu!’ White person! The crowd of about 20 little mites had chased after me as I passed through their village, Kijijini, on Pemba Island, named Jazirat al- Khadhra, the Green Island, by an Arab geographer. Some kiddies were naked, some just pulling on their dresses or shorts after enjoying the beginning of the monsoon rains. Once one of them had felt the strange pale skin, all wanted a turn. If you let it, Pemba Island will touch you in many ways. It’s hillier and more lush than neighbouring Unguja (known incorrectly as Zanzibar), with which it makes up the Zanzibar Archipelago within the union of Tanzania. Some say it’s Tanzania’s best-kept secret. Tourists of the more usual sort …