browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

About

Hi I’m Rach – a freelance writer, blogger and environmental educationist based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born into a family of wildlife lovers, I spent my childhood immersed in nature and developed a love for wild places that has continued to grow for 26 years.

I often find, when reading other people’s blogs, that it’s almost as if we’ve become good friends (even if we’ve never met ). Maybe, if I write well enough, I can be yours too :)

Here are 10 things about me…

  1. I wanted to be a farmer.

Farm girl

11 year old me: Dad, I’m always going to like cows. I’m going to be a farmer like you.

Dad: [teasing] Well, someday you will also like boys and wear lipstick…

Me: No WAYS! I will NEVER!!! I PROMISE you Dad…

Dad: But It’s not a bad thing Rach, It’s part of growing up.

Me: But I WON’T!!

Dad: Well let’s make a bet!

… About 5 years later I lost the bet :)

This is the dam near our house. Many hours spent fishing (um… untangling lines and hooks from trees and rocks – thank you brother!) and canoeing.

A dairy farm in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands was a pretty awesome place to spend a childhood.

When not skipping school to go on family bush adventures, we (my brother, sister and I) would wake up at 5 o clock every morning to feed our calves. How three of us fit on our now knee-high motorbike is a mystery. I remember my eyes streaming in the frosty morning air as we rode, the humming and swishing sound of milking machines and the friendly morning wave from Fred herding the cows. But my favourite part was stirring the warm powdered milk in big buckets, and letting the calves suck our fingers with their foamy, milky mouths. After school it was off to the hay bales to make forts and catch wild cats. It was a wonderful way to grow up – surrounded by forests, dams, mountains and animals.

Preparing for a cow show is serious business! Some pictures to prove it…

Getting Bella ready for her class

Looking smart in the show ring.

Dad often gave talks to groups of kids – which would include my siblings and farm friends – on showing and judging cows. I remember being very embarrassed when he told the kids that judging cows was very much like judging women, you want them to have long legs and good udders!

2. African travels with the Family 

Luckily for me, my family are passionate about traveling Africa. Dad has made it his life goal to visit every reserve in Africa and is doing pretty well so far! He spent a lot of time in Kruger drawing vegetation maps and, as a kid, his room (according to my Gran) was like a museum –  full of nests, insects, snake skins, feathers and stuffed birds (killed in the name of ‘science’, apparently, I try not to think of it.):( Nothing is as wonderful as listening to his campfire stories. Mum is a city girl, but  just as comfy sleeping in a tent. She’s also the best campfire cook in the whole world and keeps us all safe by ‘keeping watch’ for lions in the camp at night.  Beth is happiest riding really fast on her motorbike, her blond hair streaming behind her. She’s the only girl in the family to wear high-heel shoes and she shot a porcupine once. We are very different, but it makes things all the more fun (most of the time!). Caiden is a poet and a fisherman, people thought we were twins when we were little. He recently kayaked around the whole of Lake Malawi, a real adventurer my brother is.

Bush-bound Girl

One of my favourite memories of all time is stripping off  my clothes and leaping wildly into the icy Okavango river in Moremi Game Reserve at the age of 7.

Um…crocodiles? Mum and dad what were you thinking letting us do this!!

Now we don’t have to shower for another two days, yay!

3) Field Guiding

In 2010 I did my field guiding qualification. This meant hours spent on foot learning about tracking, birds, trees and animals. In other words, hours spent in my absolute element!

My favorite place to be, in the tracker’s seat!

I was SO nervous for my practical guides exam that I thought it would help if I got into character and ‘acted’ like a guide… so I borrowed these awesome veld skoene from one of the guys and put on all my camouflage gear. I was a drama student at school – often people find this surprising as I can be a bit introverted – but it worked! I felt like Joy Adamson, (minus the lions)

4. When in doubt, draw a pretty picture!

A typical afternoon scenario when I was a kid…

Mum: How’s your homework going Rach? Are you finished yet? You’ve been working very hard darling … you started at 3 o clock and it’s nearly 5 already…

7 year old me: Nearly finished Mum!

Mum: Can I see?

Me: Ok!  [holding open book]

Mum: But… you haven’t filled in any of the answers to these maths sums Rach…

Me: But do you like the pretty borders I’ve drawn? Look, on this page I’ve done lilac-breasted rollers! And I’ve made these boxes into Landrovers … this one is even rainbow colours!

Mum: um … I think those boxes are where you are suppose to write the answers darling.

Me: But they look pretty don’t they!? Do you know I’ve used every single colour in my pencil case, cool hey?

Mum: Yes Rachie, it looks beautiful… (sigh)

(My amazing, beautiful Mum, always so patient and encouraging!)

Caid and I selling our drawings at the farm gate! I’m not sure who we were hoping would come and buy them as no one but my parents and the farm labourers come along this road, but we were forever hopeful!

5. Owls and elephants 

These are some of my favorite animals and I will probably be writing about them quite a lot…

Pearlspotted owlet, the most gorgeous little thing in the world!

IMG_0466

It has been my DREAM to see a Pels Fishing Owl ( No luck yet) We had a documentary video about them as kids which was a real favourite.

Read about some of my ellie experiences in a blog post that I did for Africa Geographic here

At a waterhole in Hwange, Zimbabwe

6. Closer to heaven

I LOVE climbing trees, it’s something I’ve never grown out of.

Wrapped up in the arms of a big beautiful tree is a great place to get some perspective on life [North Gate, Moremi Game Reserve]

How awesome is this baobab!?

But climbing up is always easier than getting down…

um… are there crocodiles waiting to eat me if I fall?

7. Words

I’ve  always (as soon as I could write I suppose) kept a journal. I’m so grateful because it’s provided such joy when reading back on all the wonderful memories. It’s also made me really appreciate the awesome life that my parents have given me. Thank you Mum and Dad :)

Writing with a beautiful view over Hwange National Park in Zim

Here are some little bits taken from diaries of bush holidays (I may as well admit it now – spelling and grammar have never been my strong points!)

Botswana trip (July 1999) I would have been about 12

July 1999

July 1999

July 1999

July 2004

9.  Kids

I am passionate about sharing a love of wildlife with kids, through stories, pictures and hands-on sensory experiences in the wilderness. 

Doing some tracking with my British cousin Daniel at Umngeni Valley Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands.

‘If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us give them time to connect with nature and love the earth before we ask them to save it.’(David Sobel, educationalist and author)

My cousin Jamie in the Kgalagadi National Park

Having fun with kiddies in the Luangwa Valley

10) I love being in contact with other African adventures, and people who, like me, want to make a difference in our beautiful continent. If you would like to work with me, please send me an email – I’m always on the lookout for story ideas and places to travel to! If you have stories of your own to share, please email them to me: rachielang@gmail.com


42 Responses to About

  1. Glenda

    I am so excited that this dream is now a reality. I have always enjoyed your writing and so I look forward to much more from you. All the very best!

    • Rachel Lang

      Thank you Glenda! Thank you, I’m really excited :) Off to the bush soon so will have lots to write about! Hope you guys are well xx

  2. Budgie Burgers

    Rachel, I am very impressed with your blog and the life you have led. It’s a bit of a reflection of my own wishes. Unfortunately lots of other happenings prevented me from following a career in wildlife. Keep up the good work and I will avidly follow your blogs.
    Best regards,
    Budgie

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi Budgie,

      Thank you for your comments, I was very impressed with the wonderful stories you told me on the flight when we met. I hope you are well and Keep adventuring :)

  3. Anonymous

    Hello Rachel,
    I LOVE your blog! I feel like I know you since your parents have shared some of your accomplishments, they are very proud of all three of you! I have loved every minute that I’ve ever spent in SA and even my children who have never been there (yet!) have a special love for Africa because your Dad spent time drawing great animal pictures with them and your Mom sends them presents from SA!. You must get your talent for drawing from your Dad! Your description of growing up on the farm is perfect and I agree that it is a beautiful way of life. Good luck with your blog and your travels. I will certainly read what you write with great interest since that’s as close as I’ll probably get to Africa for awhile. Let me know when you have any children’s books, my kids would love them. A friend from Canada, Linda

    • Rachel Lang

      Thank you so much for your message Linda! My parents speak often of their very special friends in Canada. It’s a wonderful blessing to grow up on a farm :) I do hope you come over to Africa again, and with your kids. Will certainly let you know when the first children’s book is ready. Thank you for your interest. Much love

  4. Wendy Parris

    Well done Rach, Your blog is wonderful, full of interesting and inspiring facts and stories. I am so glad you are following your dreams. You did grow up on a wonderful farm, in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, close to nature and all the thinks you love. You are blessed with a great family and have had a very interesting life so far. I hope your blog goes from strength to strength as you travel, learn, write and experience more of what nature has to offer.
    You are a truly wonderful young lady and it was so special getting to know you. I look forward to reading more ……
    Lots of love to you all,
    Wendy

    • Rachel Lang

      Wendy, thank you for your kind, encouraging words…it means so much to me! It was wonderful getting to know you too and I’d love to come and visit sometime :) Hope all is going well, Lots of love xxx

  5. Marlies Gish

    Hi Rachel,

    What a wonderful blog!! You are so creative, I love it! I don’t know if you remember me, but I am Marlies from Holland. We met in 2009/2010.
    So nice to see your African life through these pictures and stories. I hope you are doing fine and want to wish you all the best!
    xxx Marlies

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi Marlies, of course I remember you! Thank you for reading my blog and for your kind words:) I really hope you are well :) Sending lots of love from SA!

  6. Dawn Pearce

    Super blog Rachel, well done. It is fantastic to see you using all your gifts and talents and hope they just grow and grow and you fulfil all your dreams. You and Rich share so many interests and loves – what a way to go!! Love Dawn

    • Rachel Lang

      Thank you for your lovely comment Dawn – I saw Rich a few days ago and he seems very happy :) Love to the family!

  7. Jenny

    Hi Rach, your blog is lovely all the best for more of your writing. Enjoy your trip to Kenya.
    Love Jenny

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi Jen,

      Sorry for taking such a long time to reply, thank you for reading and sending lots of love to you and the family xxx

  8. Felicity

    Hi Rachie – I loved reading your blog, so cool with so many great memories. Such fun times. I remember coming for tea, which stretched into dinner and then leaving the farm late with kids sleeping in piles in the back seat. Lots of love to you and well done on this great blog!

    • Rachel Lang

      Ah i loved those days! Thank you for your message, I hope you are all well and had a great Orange River trip! Lots of love :)

  9. Margie Harel

    Hey rachel
    Wow – this is beautiful – well done you! Hope you’re cooking in the bush too!!
    x Margie (Aubergine)

    • Rachel Lang

      Margie! It’s lovely to hear from you. I hope you are well :) Do you have a cool campfire recipe that I could try out and then blog about? I would really enjoy that! x

  10. greg

    Refreshing indeed! Keep it fun! G

  11. Gowri

    Hi Rachel, found your blog from Rohan Chakravarty’s Green Humour. And I am glad I did! I love your drawings and your writing!

    • Rachel Lang

      Thank you so much for your comment Gowri! :) I’m so glad you like it! :)

  12. Hermann Muller

    Hi Rachel,

    By chance I happened onto your blog today. Great job!!! So refreshing the enthusiasm with which you write and share your experiences and love for this amazing continent and it’s wild places.

    My mind was flooded with fond memories when I saw your photo of elephants at Masuma pan in Hwange!!! I have spent many a day sitting in the hide there watching as herd upon herd of elephants came rushing in to drink, dust clouds announcing their approach long before they arrive at the pan…
    Not to mention nights spent lying listening to the rumbles and sounds of elephant skin rubbing on skin as big old bulls stopped by for a drink and a bit of mingling with the boys…

    I look forward to read more on your blog and wish you many more wonderful travels to wild and beautiful places across Africa!!!

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi Herman,

      It sounds like you have many stories of your own to tell too :) Masuma pan is such a special place!! We only spent two nights there but I’m sure I could have stayed a lot longer. I love your descriptions, would you like to write a story for my blog about some of your own adventures? Thank you for your kind comments and wishes, we live on the most incredible continent! May you have many wonderful travels too (and please do share them with me! rachielang@gmail.com) Take care

  13. mzansigirl

    Hi Rachel. So glad I found your blog yesterday! Your stories of the African bush are refreshing and personal. Love your passion for the African bush! I’m sure you’d make a great kids writer, your energy and enthusiasm for Africa really comes out through your writing. Let me know if you’d be interested in doing a guest post for my blog.

    • Rachel Lang

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed them :)

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi (again) Mzanzi Girl,

      That sounds really great, what is your email address? :)
      Thank you for your lovely comments, really awesome to get feedback like that, thank you so much!!
      I’ll go and read more of your blog…sorry for the slow reply, Take care!

  14. exploreknp

    Hi Rachel.
    I came across your blog accidentally – looking for something else. But I must say, I’m very glad I did! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and look forward to your future adventures!
    Keep it up!

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, glad you stumbled on it too :) May you have many wonderful and wild adventures too!

  15. bulldog

    I found a reference to your blog on FB and decided to come and have a look… I love what I see and read, and consequentially I’m going to follow and watch what you get up to…

    • Rachel Lang

      Thanks bulldog,

      It’s awesome because it seems that, since you shared this post, I have a whole bunch of new followers so that’s very exciting for me, thank you! :) So glad you enjoyed it. Oh, and I’ve subscribed to your blog too.

      • bulldog

        To share such history and joy when it comes to our land.. was a pleasure for me.. and the more followers I gain that follow your blog the better I feel… the RSA has something very special that other countries don’t have.. that I’ve discovered from those that follow me from all over the world… so the more good we can spread the better… keep it coming…

  16. Ankur

    Wonderful Blog ! Enjoyed reading…

  17. Jacq de Villiers

    Great Blog. I can relate to your farm life in a way. I grew up on a farm(citrus farm & we had pigs, cows, chickens,turkeys etc The farm was close to the Addo Elephant National Park. I have some of the best memories of my life growing up there. My farm mates who were the local Xhosa’s helped me learn Xhosa which I now speak fluently or close to fluent as I am am bit rusty since i have been living in NZ for 3 years now. Anyway, long story short, I use to walk and run barefoot everywhere. Thorns weren’t an issue for me as my feet were as hard as nails after a while…I couldn’t stand wearing shoes and never wanted to go to the city or leave the farm as I would always want to be on the farm with my mates. Great times… i have loads of stories of my daily expeditions back in the day, but I would have to write an essay and I think that is a bit much :) One thing is for sure speaking Xhosa really broadened my horizons and I got a very good understanding of their culture and way of life. Truly a unique and wonderful experience that not many people of a different class will experience. All the best and I will follow your blog closely. Cheers, Jacq as the say in Xhosa ‘Masibheke phambile kweli lizwe, hamba kahle’

    • Rachel Lang

      Hi Jacq,

      What an awesome childhood! We really are lucky :) I am jealous as I wish I had paid more attention and learn’t zulu – I suppose it’s not too late.I hate wearing shoes too! Your experiences sound really awesome, so many great memories to share with your children/grandchildren!

  18. The Rider

    Love your blog! A Northern Natal (NN) admirer, now in the Bushveld.

  19. Stephanie Mayo

    What a fabulous story you are! Just stumbled upon your blog and look forward to getting more into it! Happy and safe travel from one wildlife lover to another!

  20. Taryn

    Hi Rachel.

    What a wonderful blog! My boyfriend is very active in the wildlife scene, and a successful wildlife photographer – so as a city girl I am beginning to understand the beauty of the bush. I am also an editor of a magazine, but with the hope of becoming a travel journalist. Your blog is very inspiring, and my boyfriend and I will be following your adventures avidly.

  21. Colleen

    Oh WOW Rachel!!! This is LOVELY. Gorgeous story.
    Reminded me of growing up on a plot – fewer cows and no wild animals :(
    But I agree – the BEST way to grow up.
    Still love cows? The cow pics are the best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>