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A Return To My Village + A Safari: What I Wore To South Africa

A Return To My Village + A Safari: What I Wore To South Africa

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Non

 

A Return To My Village + A Safari: What I Wore To South Africa

I grew up partially in a village about an hour and a half outside the town of Empangeni in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. I lived there from the time I was born until I was 5, when I moved to Durban to start preschool and live with my mother. I would move many times after that, but the one place that remained constant was the village. It’s the place I most associate with ‘home’ even today.

Needless to say, I know all about village fashion. The rules are as follows: ‘Wear what you have. Nobody cares.’ Growing up in such a place gave me the greatest sense of freedom when it comes to clothes. I didn’t realize it then, and I would get lost along the way as I learned to obsess over my clothes in my late teens/ early twenties- but inevitably, I would come full circle to understanding the cornerstone of style as those truly confidence building nuggets that my village gave me. Only now, I’ve tweaked the rules slightly to be:

Wear what you love. Nobody cares.

This idea that style should serve the wearer by being comfortable and true to them, and that they should like it first and foremost- not the world observing them- this remains what I base my ideas of style on. And I owe that to my village.

For all our love of style, let us never be slaves to fashion. The simplicity of life in the village always recenters me and reminds of this and other important truths.

So, going back to my village, I knew that the right outfits would be those that blend comfort, ease, and style- the elevated loungewear looks.

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Wide-Leg Pant, Tank + Cardigan Outfit

 

I am a natural homebody and  have spent the last three years in some version of a stay at home mom/ work from home hybrid. I spend a great deal of time in the house, it is my favorite place. So, being able to be cute while comfortable is my lifelong mission. With Covid and so many more people being forced to stay and work at home, this became a top of list consideration for many more people. The result is that there are now so many amazing brands that offer high quality and affordable loungewear.

This outfit above is one of my favorites of all time. I’m not exaggerating. I love the long, flowy cardigan and the long vertical line it presents. I also get cold very easily so, for me, a cardigan isn’t just a question of style but necessity. I love the easy flow pants, and you can never go wrong with a tank top. Myself and all the women of my village refuse to wear a bra if we don’t absolutely have to, and it’s so automatic for me to ditch first the bra and later the shoes as soon as get home. I like to feel that ground beneath my feet.

I wear a version of this outfit at few times a week (I’m wearing these pants as I type this) and I just think it’s a perfect formula for me. I love how the colors play together and how they look on my skin- a byproduct of shopping when you know your color season. I’ve bookmarked some great similar options below. I’ll likely be grabbing this cardigan before long because I’ve nearly worn mine out.

 

Shop this image: Lounge bra here; Wide-leg pant here; Oversize cardigan here.

 

Modern Modal V-Neck Tee + Jogger Set

This jogger and t-shirt set is another great alternative for people who love joggers. I love how comfortable and practical they are, but they don’t look great on me. They make me look too casual in a way that’s not flattering and on the few occasions that I’ve tried to style them, I find myself overcompensating with other elements to offset this casual vibe and bring myself back to balance.

While I am a Flamboyant Natural with a Natural essence, I also have a less dominant Romantic essence. As such, I need to maintain a certain level of polish to my looks and joggers lean too heavily in the laid-back Natural essence realm. So, if you have a purely Natural essence, this look would be perfect for you.

Shop this image: V-neck t-shirt here; Jogger pants here.

 

Leggings, Tank + Cardigan Outfit

I love a good pair of leggings. Instead of joggers, leggings are my go to alternative because they are so much more flattering on me. I am a Dramatic-leaning Flamboyant Natural, meaning I borrow some of my best recommendations and lines from both Dramatics and Flamboyant Naturals. A streamlined and narrow silhouette is one such Dramatic recommendation that is really important for me. Nothing is more streamlined than second-skin leggings.

To balance, and because I am always cold, I tend to pair this with a cardigan that provides texture and the easy, flowy vibe of  Naturals that I also need. Again, you can never go wrong with a tank top.

I love this outfit because it’s easy, practical, and it encourages lounging. It’s easy to take from day to night, I threw on a cardigan and it was suddenly wine o’ clock lol. Even just looking at these pictures I can see how relaxed I was here and the clothes are a big part of it.

Notice my warm and muted Autumn color palette. I’ve bookmarked some great similar options below.

 

Shop this image: Cotton cardigan here; leggings here; tank here.

 

Denim Shorts + White Tee Outfit

You can’t beat a denim and t-shirt outfit. It’s simple, classic, and endlessly stylish. I love this classic combo so much that I wrote a post focusing on the perfect jeans and t-shirts for each of the body types and you should check it out. For summer, just swop the long jeans for a pair of denim shorts and you’re good to go.

I love this look because it’s so versatile. Throw in a fancy purse and shoes and suddenly it’s dressy, wear sneakers for a hike, or flip flops for a beach/ pool side day. I always have denim shorts and white t shirts in my summer rotation. I think you should too.

Shop this image: Denim shorts here; White tee here.

 

Long Sleeve Bamboo Pajama Set

I turned 30 this year and it feels like the right time to elevate my sleepwear game. These bamboo pajama sets come highly recommended as one of Oprah’s favorite things for 2019. They are made from a bamboo derived viscose and I already love viscose material so I can only imagine the elevated softness of a bamboo derivative. I also like how classic and elegant the style is. I’ll be getting these just in time for winter this year.

Shop this image: Pajama set here.

 

Rib-Knit Lounge Capri + Top Set

Love the idea of that bamboo viscose and want to extend the joy of wearing it past bedtime? You’re not the only one and, luckily, Cozy Earth makes an impressive range of lounging attire in the same fabric. Below are just three options, but you can search their website for the full collection.

Shop this image: Capri pants here; Tank top here; Short sleeve top here.

 

Accessories

Complete the look like I did with these great accessories (or close duplicates).

 

Adidas sneakers here; brown sandals here; white sandals here; Gold stud earrings here; Gold hoop earrings here.

 

Safari

Kruger National Park | Safari

There’s nothing quite like encountering animals in the wild, especially the majestic beasts that Southern Africa boasts. One of my goals is to see the Gorillas in Rwanda/ Uganda because we don’t have the rainforest habitat they call home, but outside of that, Southern Africa (and South Africa specifically) has so much to offer in terms of wildlife.

On this trip we ended up going on a safari ride twice, once with my whole family to Hluhluwe Game Reserve while we were at the village and again to Kruger National Park with just myself, my husband, and daughter where we stayed at a Safari Resort just outside the park. The image above shows both, the day with my family was a bit rainy so we relied on the expertise of our guide to spot the animals as most had taken shelter. We had better weather and visibility on the second trip.

They were both such different experiences and while I wish it hadn’t rained on the first outing, I enjoyed them both immensely. I just love being with my whole family, so we could have been sitting outside staring at grass and I still would have enjoyed it.

 

Where We Stayed

Village

This is a picture of my village, my favorite place on earth. It represents home for me in the most tangible way. Growing up, I moved a lot because my mom moved a lot at the beginning of her career as a mechanical engineer. This place was the one thing that didn’t change and that remained fixed when my life seemed to constantly shift.

With every new school, new friends, and new town, I knew that at the end of the term, schools would close and I would finally get to go home and plant myself in the solidity of the one place that has always remained constant. I can draw a continuous line from my birth to this very moment, with big and small moments tied to this one place and I am so grateful for that.

This is the one place I am always welcome, where I don’t have to call ahead before I show up, and where I can stay as long as I want. I assimilate back into the pulse of it instantly and I always leave happier and fuller, anticipating my next return.

 

Safari Resort

Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve and one of the biggest in Africa with nearly two million hectares of unfenced African wilderness. The park stretches over two provinces, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and has 10 entrances/ gates. It’s a marvel and a national treasure that’s worth exploring again and again.

We stayed at the beautiful Kruger Gate Hotel, which is literally just outside the Kruger Gate entrance to the park.

Kruger Gate Hotel | Review

This hotel was wonderful, we really couldn’t have asked for more. It had the perfect blend of modern amenities and the relaxed, out-in-the-bush feel that you want form a safari trip. The staff was lovely and accommodating and the rooms were incredibly spacious.

We had 1 king size bed and two twin beds pushed together to give us all the sleeping options we could have ever wanted. It was nice to put baby girl in her own bed on some of the nights or just for nap time. Space is always nice.

 

Kruger Gate Hotel | Review

We were on the ground floor and our backdoor opened to a beautifully green and serene outdoor space.

‘Green and serene’ is perhaps the best way to describe the overall feel of the place. It felt secluded so that even though I knew other guests were there because I saw them in the common areas, it still felt like we were on a private getaway.

The amenities included the restaurant, bars, a lapa, an infinity swimming pool with pool bar, a second pool, a spa which I enjoyed on the last day, river boma, tennis courts, mini golf, gym , and a conference room.

 

Kruger Gate Hotel | Review

The buffet style restaurant had incredible options that made dining easy, especially with a potentially finnicky toddler. The food was great and had enough of a blend of local and universal favorites. I had malva pudding for dessert every night and I’m not ashamed. They also had table service so you could get drinks of your choice including a nice list of local and international wines.

They really did hospitality well here, little touches like having our table reserved and set up with a highchair for dinner without us asking was appreciated and made us feel well taken care off. I would stay here again and I highly recommend it to everyone looking to elevate their safari experience.

 

What We Saw

While the hotel doesn’t run it’s own game drive outings, they work with a number of reputable companies that do. You can book them right from the hotel and they will pick you up and drop you back off right at the lobby. And because the hotel is right at the Paul Kruger Gate (you can see the entrance from the hotel), it’s a quick ride. The location couldn’t be more convenient for getting into the park, which is the point.

The Animals

Kruger National Park | Safari

We spotted all the great beasts. Lions, elephants (my favorite), giraffes, hyenas, and even the ever illusive leopard up in a tree.

 

Kruger National Park | Safari

We also saw the more common species like impalas, wildebeest, zebras, and all manner of bird species. It was such a beautiful experience and it was nice to have the guide and car all to ourselves.

 

Some Truly Spectacular Sunsets

Kruger National Park | Safari

I perhaps enjoyed the drive home as much as spotting a new animal. The sunsets here are stunning and the way the color changes is breathtaking.

 

Conclusion

I’m loving this new series I’ve started called ‘Travel + Style‘ where I discuss the outfits that accompanied some of the best trips we’ve taken. It’s the perfect intersection of two of my favorite things, travel and style. I hope you’re loving it too.

This post is about what a I wore on my most recent trip to my native South Africa where we spent the bulk of the time in my village before getting some much needed R&R at a safari resort. If you’re planning such a trip, I hope this post give you valuable information and some inspiration. And of course, I hope you liked the outfits.

 

Talk soon,

Non

 

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