June 2021 News! (And a BIG Announcement!)

Hello Fellow Adventurers,

Wow – what a month it has been!  It is hard to believe that we are already half-way through the year, and that winter is firmly upon us.  However, the colder months are the perfect time to explore our wonderful “Adventure Province”.

We recently took advantage of the relatively mild weather and embarked on a weekend sojourn to the breath-taking town of Graaff-Reinet.  This is another one of those undiscovered gems that seem to populate the Eastern Cape landscape.

A mere three hours away from Port Elizabeth – or Gqeberha, if you prefer- (complimentary isiXhosa lessons on request) this bustling little hamlet is a virtual treasure trove for intrepid travellers.  Characterised by awe-inspiring architecture, and their signature wing-type houses, this quaint little town is nothing if not easy on the eye.

With this said, there is so much more to Graaff-Reinet than meets the eye. Boasting a veritable multiplicity of tourist attractions, you will be challenged on what to see and do first.

From the eerily beautiful Valley of Desolation with its unique rock formations and sweeping views to the Camdeboo National Park that provides fantastic trails and camping spots in singular desert-like conditions, not to mention the opportunity to commune with our four-legged friends.

For the more genteel of us, a visit to the John Rupert Theatre is a must-see, along with such august historical sites like the Khoi San Memorial, the Anglo Boer War Memorial and the Bushman Memorial, Graaff-Reinet will certainly take you back in time. And then there’s the newly launched palaeontology tour with Prof Bruce Rubridge that will whisk you back oh, about 180 and 300 million years!

During our visit we enjoyed the rich Karoo hospitality of the Marais family, that made for a particularly memorable visit. So, get those adventuring boots on and pay a visit to this lovely area.

BUT WAIT.  There’s more.  For this month’s newsletter we have absolutely saved the best for last!

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

In one of our most exciting collaborations to date, the Go Well with Sharon team has joined forces with the venerable Craig Hinds, singer, songwriter and frontman of Watershed.  Not only super-talented but also extremely generous, Craig has graciously agreed to put his formidable influence (and voice) behind our Go Well with Sharon initiatives.

In the initial phase of this collaboration Craig and his wife Natalie will be hosted by the luxurious Mantis Founders Lodge team to experience first-hand our special brand of Eastern Cape hospitality.

Coinciding with this, Craig, will be performing live at the Music Kitchen on 24th June to launch Watershed’s brand-new Album, aptly titled “The Elephant in the Room” which is beyond exceptional.  To whet your appetite, take a listen here to experience their incredible new single. “Undone”.

As always, we would like to encourage everybody to do what we can to #supportlocal and never has this been more important.  The music industry, along with the tourism sector has been decimated so please, hurry on over to book your tickets here, where you are guaranteed an awesome night of world-class entertainment.

 

Podcast Launch: Run Wild With Sharon – A Conservation Adventure

And so it is finally launched! My podcast! Subscribe, download and listen… IT’S FREE!!!!

I am SO proud to announce that I am now officially an OLLI ambassador and will be spending 2020 (and beyond) running and campaigning and doing awesome and fun stuff for rhino conservation in collaboration with Wayne and Nikki Bolton, the founders of the One Land Love It Foundation (OLLI) that was established in 2015 and formalised in 2018 as a non profit company (NPC).

I’ve always been in awe and totally motivated and inspired by the tireless efforts the Boltons put into conservation and in Wayne’s sheer tenacity as he cycled around 8000km over two self-funded expeditions creating a “frontier” of conservation and linking numerous SANPARKS and private game reserves with his two expeditions.

My aim will not only be to raise funds for OLLI and the great work they do but also to “move from caring to doing” and making my running miles matter by actually helping to spread awareness and educate people with regards to conservation, the issues faced, the very real atrocities that is taking place and what we can do to help as ordinary citizens. Because AMAZING things happen when ordinary people start caring and doing as a collective…

I will be attempting the Addo 100 mile race in less than 4 weeks and this will be the “official” start of my quest as an OLLI ambassador and collaborator and there will be many initiatives following the 100 mile race right up to World Rhino Day and the #OLLIMove initiatives planned for and around World Rhino Day plus an exciting running expedition by me… but more to follow soon…

So, my challenge to all of you is simple:

  1. Donate at least $1 (R15) to the awesome OLLI Foundation. (ALL donations go directly to OLLI)
  2. Start moving! Whether you run, walk, crawl, dance, jump, climb… it doesn’t matter – just MOVE.

Remember folks, it all starts with YOU. You are key in the conservation quest. Join me as a fellow Wildlife Warrior and let’s all move from “caring to doing”.

Until next time – remember to make your miles matter.

Yours in conservation goals

Sharon

From the galaxy of blues to a universe we choose…

Image curtesy of Arno’s Facebook Page

Hey everybody

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing quite a few prolific South African artists thanks to my dear friend Mike Kimmings from Rock Lily Music Promotions and Events. Mike is without a doubt THE most passionate fan of South African music and does so much to promote South African music. (A great shout out to you Mike!!! We LOVE your work my friend!)

So it happened that one of these South African musicians that I interviewed was the SA rock god – Arno Carstens! Boy… was I shaky at the knees…!!! All for no reason might I add…

Arno was a very pleasant surprise as a person – warm, welcoming, accommodating, fun, funny, a gentleman, fabulous, an enigma, he has an awesome sense of style and dress very funky and is an absolute pleasure to interview. Not the diva rock god I expected (says she tongue in cheek!).

Fun with Arno – he had me laughing out loud!!
Charming!
Peace people!

The interview was easy, laid back, fun and totally enlightening. What I discovered is that this man, this legend of SA rock music is a warm, sensitive and super intelligent individual and tremendously talented on top of everything – a real genius. And yes for sure, we all know that his music truly rocks – but did you know that he is also a celebrated painter?

I kid you not! Go check out his paintings! *nudge nudge wink wink*

As part of the interview, I get to attend the shows as well so I can write about it, spread the word and we film it for my show. Watch the interview here, and while you are there, please subscribe to my YouTube channel. 😉

I was obviously ecstatic when Arno sang one of my all time favorites, Another Universe – a song that really displays the deep mind and intricate song writing skills of this remarkable individual. This song have and will always transport me to “another universe” as it makes you relive times and places that you don’t ever want to forget – thanks for that one Arno!

As the lyrics goes:

“Lonely, lonely never us again
A galaxy to explore
Don’t wanna return to a world at war
From the galaxy of blues to a universe we choose”

We were also treated to Arno’s brand new single, Lift my Spirit, that offers thought provoking lyrics and a different sound to what we’re used to from Arno. A bit of grunge mixed with catchy pop sounds – and all round pleasant on the ear while getting the toes tapping.

Suffice to say that if this is the taste of things to come on Arno’s 6th English solo album well sign me up folks! This exciting new sound is working for me, for Arno and from the looks of things for his audiences as well and we cannot WAIT to hear more!

Now instead of simply regurgitating Arno’s bio on his website, I took the liberty to copy and paste some info verbatim on this phenomenal giant of South African music, so please have a read below my post and also follow Arno’s social media accounts as it makes for funny random reading on his Instagram profile, and provides interesting and useful info regarding new music, shows and tours on his official Twitter and Facebook pages.

Now all that is left to say is (and I quote Arno’s lyrics from his new single): “Life gets better baby”!!!

Until next time – go well, stay safe, DON’T be good and always have fun!

Loads of love and great vibes

Sharon Jessop

Information curtesy of Arno’s Website 

“ARNO CARSTENS BIOGRAPHY

Platinum selling, award winning, singer-songwriter Arno Carstens has released 12 albums; 5 as lead singer of Springbok Nude Girls, 1 as part of Electronica project Bhelltower and 6 as a solo artist, Arno Carstens.

He’s had over 20 top ten singles and won 5 SAMA Awards including Best Rock Album in 2004 for Another Universe and Best Adult Contemporary Album in 2006 for The Hello Goodbye Boys.

During his 20 year career, Arno has performed with U2, The Rolling Stones and REM, among many others; headlined every major South African music festival; and performed at some of the most legendary and exclusive international music festivals including Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, V Festival and Hard Rock Calling.

Arno Carstens is also a celebrated fine artist, who paints in oils on canvas.  The 2014 album cover for ‘Lightning Prevails’ was designed using an original painting done by Arno in 2006.

In September 2016, Arno released his debut Afrikaans album, and to honour his roots, called it ‘Die Aandblom 13’. Thirteen tracks that tell loosely fact based stories about who he is and where he’s come from; he grew up in Worcester at Aandblom Straat 13, and still goes there as often as possible.”

A Castle “Fit” For A Queen…

The Stunning Pezula Private Castle
The Stunning Pezula Private Castle

Hey guys and girls!

Recently we had the awesome privilege to spend a couple of days at the Pezula Private Castle in Noetzie just outside Knysna. This made yours truly (me!) feel like the queen of her own castle!

We being myself and a couple of other bloggers… i.e. Sarah & Ralph Dirsuwei from Chasing the Rainbow Blog; Sheena & Sian O’Keeffe from Live Adventure and last but not least, Ryan “Zimdollar” Moss from What A Lot We Got and Rebel Media Guys.

The Road Tripping “Crew”

Upon arrival at the Pezula Private Castle we were greeted by our amazing host, manager Jeanne Stander and his gracious staff and treated to drinks on the veranda overlooking the most stunning of private beaches. Obviously all the girls went for gins with pink tonic in beautiful huge bubble glasses.

Gins & pink tonic for the girls!

Jeanne took us on a tour of the castle, showed us the chair where Pres Nelson Mandela sat in front of the fireplace in the lounge, the room where he stayed as well as the other two rooms upstairs and off course my own “private” castle, Honeymoon Castle a stone’s throw away from the main castle.

Honeymoon Castle

Honeymoon Castle is ideal for a honeymoon couple (obviously!) or for a small family that want to be more private. It’s even got the cutest private little splash pool, a fireplace and a fully fitted kitchen for those wanting to cater for themselves, although the suppers in the main castle dining room is way more fun as Jeanne can entertain you for hours with his stories and anecdotes!

We also had a tour of Lindsay Castle, the oldest and original castle in Noetzie, which is currently under renovation and a true gem of a stone castle – authentic in nature and a visual feast. The entire crew just fell in love with Lindsay Castle and we all agreed that Lindsay is “the one”!

The “cutie pie” Lindsay Castle – the oldest and original castle in Noetzie

I managed to catch the crew by surprise on the first morning in Noetzie with a sunrise boot camp session on the beach… Just what the doctor ordered to work up an appetite before breakfast with loads of squats, jumping jacks, running, bear crawling and yes… BURPEES!!! After cooling off in the refreshing ocean we had a scrumptious breakfast on the veranda – fresh fruit salad, yummy coffee and freshly baked croissants…

Sunrise in Noetzie… just before the boot camp training session happened

After breakfast we headed off to Knysna to meet up with Schalk from The Waterclub to participate in the Knysna Experience which comprise of a 9km forest hike, a township tour, visiting various stunning viewpoints in and around Knysna, lunch at Totties Eatery in Rheenendal and finishing the experience off with a sunset cruise and being thoroughly entertained by Monty from The Waterclub. We chuckled properly at his Knysna seahorse explanation and also his rendition of how Knysna got its name.

Ralph & Sarah in the forest
Sheena & “the tree” – this really gives you a good idea of the magnitude of this beautiful old tree
Our resident filmmaker Ryan capturing Monty’s seahorse story
The stuff dreams are made of – sunset on the Knysna lagoon

The one stand out activity on Schalk’s Knysna Experience is definitely lunch at Totties Eatery, a quaint and gorgeous family restaurant in Rheenendal just outside Knysna. The food is amazing, fresh, fragrant and delicious. The service is genuine and friendly and we were even treated to gifts from the owners. If you ever find yourself in beautiful Knysna, do make the trip to Totties and treat yourself to a visual and culinary feast!

Totties Eatery – a cute and quaint family restaurant in Rheenendal just outside Knysna
One of the walls inside Totties Eatery
My deliciously scrumptious beef wrap and fresh salad from Totties Eatery
Our gifts from Totties Eatery

It is no secret that Knysna is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth… Part of the Knysna Experience with Schalk from The Waterclub is visiting various viewpoints in and around Knysna. Photos cannot do the beauty of this place justice, but at least I’ve tried…

The crew at one of the viewpoints with Schalk from The Waterclub.

Now you may ask me what can you possibly do at the Pezula Private Castle other than relax, eat, drink, bask in the sun at the pool or the beach, especially if sunrise boot camp sessions is not your “thing”. Well folks on the morning of day two, myself, Sian and Sheena went to explore the hiking trail which is still a tad overgrown and very challenging but oh so very beautiful. Little did we know that we were not only going to hike but also indulge in such serious rock climbing, or in our case rock scrambling as both myself and Sheena are petrified of heights. But we came, be conquered and we thoroughly enjoyed.

Your host Sharon dangling from a rock face… it may not look like it, but it’s around 4m high!

And if rock climbing isn’t your “thing” either, there is a beautiful river where you can indulge in a not-so-physical kayak paddle session up and down the sanctuary and just enjoy the beautiful scenery and abundant bird life.

Alas… all great things had to come to and end, but this will always and forever be one of my stand-out travel experiences. All that is left to say is that you should consider a stay at the Pezula Private Castle, it is truly special and will leave you a changed person forever!

Until the next adventure, I’ll sit and reminisce at the unique and touching beauty of this very special place.

Yours in travel, adventures and a healthy, active lifestyle

From Sharon with Love

Sharon overcome by nostalgia as this stunning stay comes to an end…
Thank you to Ryan Moss for this stunning photo!!!

The YouTube Channel and Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

My wish for you this year is to STOP making new years resolutions that you never keep, and rather indulge in proper goal and intention setting and then to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve anything that you set your mind to.

Make this YOUR year to go on adventures, achieve everything, be happy, travel more, be healthier, get really fit and strong and to be well.

Oh yes, before I forget, I have a wish, and that is that all of YOU will subscribe to my humble YouTube channel… Just click here–> Sharon’s YouTube Channel

This way you will always be kept up to speed with the latest and greatest fun, fitness, health, wellness, lifestyle, travel and adventure news!

Until next time – Go Well Folks!

Much love

Sharon