The hot summer nights are really a time to relax in South Africa, during the day it tends to be very hot, usually 25-35°C or hotter. It can be quite exhausting, but in the evening, as the sun starts to set, it starts to cool off and then it’s time to feel a bit more alive.

Often the best thing to do is light a fire, glass of wine or a beer and enjoy a good chat around the fire with a braai (barbecue), a few salads and maybe if you remember afterwards some char-grilled marshmallows.

I really enjoy having a braai in the National Parks, where you can hear the crickets, hyenas, jackals, elephants and lions in the night, if they are in the area. It really is a calming sound. I often got laughed at when going home for a few weeks, living in middle of nowhere days and nights were very quiet and I was not used to cutting out sounds, the noisiest evenings I used to experience were thunderstorms and rain on my tin roof, and I can’t complain about that!

When I came home for a short while I could not believe how noisy a nice quiet town could be, dogs barking, traffic, sirens and people chatting as they walk down the street, never mind trying to go shopping, all the different music from the shops and people talking. I found it hard when my mum would ask me a question, as I couldn’t block off all the other sounds, I find it takes a few days to adjust. I have heard people saying the same the other way around, after being busy in the hustle and bustle, when they go to a quiet place it’s as if they can hear ringing in their ears for a few days.

The evening sky, that is a breath-taking sight. Most evenings are very clear, but after rains and a crystal-clear night with no moon shows the most fantastic display of stars. We are so lucky, the milky way with its millions of stars in a long line across the sky and constellations. If you have a telescope you can often see a few planets and their moons, red giant, nebula’s and many more things to see, also great for photography when you start playing with exposure times and movement.

The night sky is not easily missed, but definitely something that needs to be appreciated more. I have started appreciating it a lot more after being in the UK for a while where there are few clear nights with open skies.

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