Thank You Zimbabwe

African fabric stash

African fabric stash

I’m back!  I’ve had a stunning time away with stops in Johannesburg, Harare and Victoria Falls so this article is going to cover some of my travels as well as some textile news.

I had planned on forgetting fabric and quilts while I was out there, but I was blown away by these lovely African fabrics that I found in Victoria Falls – I am so looking forward to making things with them.  I’m hoping to make a few kits up for whatever I decide to make with them.

Walking with a cheetah

Walking with a cheetah


But I’m getting ahead of myself – the first stop was in Johannesburg where we had a tour around the city on one day and then went to the Lion Park on the second day.  Here we had a walk with a cheetah.  He was a real sweetie who was far happier lying on his back for us to tickle his tum rather than doing anything strenuous like walking!  His purring was really loud and at first Samantha was terrified, thinking that he was growling at us.

Quilt in Johannesburg airport

Quilt in Johannesburg airport

Tote bag

Tote bag


Next stop was up to Zimbabwe for the wedding in Harare.  As we walked through the airport in Johannesburg I found a couple of quilts hanging up outside one of the shops – isn’t this one lovely and bright.

I don’t often buy tote bags because I usually make my own, but I bought the one on the right – it’s a really clever design and I’m definitely going to make myself some more now that I’ve worked out how they are made.

The happy couple

The happy couple

Sunrise at Domboshawa

Sunrise at Domboshawa

The day before the wedding we all rose well before dawn and went to a local national park area called Domboshawa to watch the sun rise – oh yes, and enjoy a champagne breakfast.  Obviously we only drank the champagne in order to toast the happy couple.

My sister, the mother of the bride, worked tirelessly to organise all the trips that we went on – she must have been totally exhausted by the time we all left!

At the reception

At the reception

Bridesmaid outfit

Bridesmaid outfit

Sadly I can’t bring you photos  of the actual wedding, because there was a hiccup on immigration paperwork for the groom and at the very last moment the ceremony had to be cancelled.  We carried on with the reception afterwards anyway.  The bride and groom were so brave.  I don’t seem to have a photo of Samantha in her bridesmaid outfit, but on the right you can see one of the other bridesmaids showing off the outfit that they all wore.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Elephant ride

Elephant ride

Victoria Falls

The following morning we were up early again to fly up to the magnificent Victoria Falls.  They are known as Moasi 0 Tunya – the smoke that thunders – and no photo can bring you the full impact of the power and majesty of the falls.  The walk along the edge is known as the Rain Forest because the spray causes permanent rain to fall on you – very refreshing as it was very hot.

Giraffe grazing the tree tops

Giraffe grazing the tree tops

Black rhino with calf

Black rhino with calf

We went for an elephant ride and we saw quite a lot of game because the animals tend to notice the elephant (not the riders) so they aren’t frightened away.  We also went on a game drive in the same park and were lucky enough to see a black rhino with her calf.  What a treat that was.

I hadn’t realised just how endangered the black rhinos are – they are hunted for their horns and the poachers usually kill them and take only the horns.

Jacaranda tree

Jacaranda tree

Finally, I can’t leave an account of my magical trip to Zimbabwe without a photo of a Jacaranda tree.  They are like bluebells but growing on a tree and are really beautiful.

Now I must dash to finish the quilt for tomorrow’s newsletter – after a 26 hour journey to come home, I wasn’t up to starting the quilt yesterday.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.




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  1. Carol Tambourine says:

    Your article made me soooo homesick, but it was great to read about your travels. I was lucky enough to live for many years with Jacaranda trees. I wish you could also have seen Msasas, which are fabulous red flowered trees. Stay well.

    • Hi Carol. I might well have seen Msasas – there were some gorgeous red flowered trees that I told my daughter were Flamboyants. I could easily have been wrong! Unfortunately I don’t think I took any photos of them.

  2. Loved reading about your trip and looking at the photos. The fabrics you got are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  3. Hi Rose,
    Just returned from holiday myself at stupid o’clock this morning.Am sat here going through the emails and binned most of them and then I arrived at yours.The attic window quilt is lovely and I really like the fabrics.Thanks for sharing your holiday memories with us,what a fabulous time you had.The fabrics, quilts and the tote are really lovely.Oh what a shame for your niece and her fiance, hope it all gets sorted. Trish

  4. Thanks for sharing your magical trip. I’ve heard about jacaranda tree but I’ve never seen the flowers of the tree. You’re a corageous woman. I feel really afraid of wild animals. It’s a pity that men still kill the animals that we’re suposed to protect them.
    I hope to hear about magic trips again very soon.

    Mariza Ambrósio

    Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

    • Thank you, Mariza. The jacaranda tree seems to be far more widespread than I had realised. Don’t worry – I have a healthy respect for wild animals and keep a good distance between me and them.

  5. Pat Mathison says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip. I enjoyed your commentary and pictures.

    Pat Mathison
    Vancouver, Washington, USA

  6. Hello Rose,
    First of all thank you for sharing the wonderful experiences you had in Africa. The way you wrote about the Cheetah purring was so real, I have adored those cats forever. Oh! to ride a real Elephant, I bet that was a thrill for you. The wonderful bright colors that the ladies of Africa can put together is awesome. I would be like a big kid in a candy store for choices, wish I could have been a mouse in your pocket. You are so brave to go there at this time of world situations. Glad to have you back and look forward for more of your ideas and inspirations from Africa. Thank you Rose

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Sharon. The whole trip was magical – definitely one to remember.

      • eileen bullock says:

        Hi Rose, Many thanks for sharing your holiday, enjoyed reading and seeing everything,loved the fabric, will be interested to see what you do with it. But many thanks for patterns and help.

        • Thanks, Eileen. I’m turning round ideas in my mind for the African fabric – the only trouble is that I can’t get any more if I cut wrong or something!

  7. Karen Nicholes says:

    I enjoyed your blog about Africa,
    I have been to South Africa too, in Pretoria the whole Main Street is lined with Jacarandas it’s absolutely stunning when they are in flower.
    We have a lot of Jacarandas in Australia too they are quite common in suburban gardens as they suit our temperate climate. I love them

  8. What a wonderful holiday. Lovely photos. So happy for you. Yes the Jacaranda trees are beautiful they grow here in Queensland gorgeous aren’t they.
    Trust the political situation is more calm there. Love your fabrics
    Are you going to share the tote bag pattern when you have it sorted. One can never have enough totes . Thank you

    • Hi Irena. That’s always my feeling – an extra tote bag is always useful. Yes, I am hoping to share the pattern for the version that I make.

  9. Rose ,Looks like you might have had a wonderful trip.I never have been able to travel, but very proud for you. Pray the paper work comes through quickly and I Love,love the materials you found . Absolutely gorgeous. Maybe you have an address that we can make purchases from if they are reasonable enough.Also the quilts outside the airport that you have shown has slightly inspired me to maybe later on make one for my area. I live in Texas,USA and so many things here to inspire one.

    • Hi Ella. I bought the fabric at a shop called Threads in Victoria Falls. They were cash only so I suspect that they wouldn’t be able to cope with overseas sales. A quilt for your area sounds like a great idea – it would be a truly unique quilt.

  10. Lola Howard says:

    Oh it all sounds so exciting.
    How did you like the ride on the elephant?
    Love the fabric you got ,a quilter can never pass up fabrics ,can we ?
    So glad you enjoyed your trip and shared with us .

  11. Auntiepatch says:

    We have Jacaranda trees here in So. Calif. I’ve always loved them.
    My son is going to UC Davis with a major in African Studies and wants to make a trip to Africa.

    • Hi Karen – that’s interesting. I had always thought that jacarandas only grew in Africa. Your son will love Africa – such an exciting continent.

  12. Rose, Thank you for a lovely pattern. Where do you get
    your energy? I laughed at what you wrote about dropping
    your passport.
    2 years ago I went to America, for a week, with a relative.
    When I asked her would we go again “Only if your on tranquilisers”
    she replied, as I was hyper.
    It’s amazing how fabric always find us (lol) Lovely photos.
    Thankfully the glitch with the groom’s papers
    didn’t spoil the celebrations.
    Have a relaxing week-end.

    • Hi Mary. I know the feeling – I tend to get stressy until I arrive at the airport or station or whatever, and then I know that I’m on my way and I can calm down. When the kids were young my daughter loved a shop called Claires Accessories. The boys and I used to shield her eyes when we came near the shop. Now they do the same to me when we approach a fabric shop.

  13. Patsy Edwards says:

    So lovely to read your adventures and see he photos, as I was born and lived in Zimbabwe for almost fifty years before migrating to UK. Oh to see the jacarandas again!!!

  14. Monica Powell says:

    How wonderful Rose!! So glad that you shared this all with us – I am so glad you were able to do so much. Thank you too for this amazing quilt.

  15. carole yoxall says:

    What a fab time Rose,and magic pictures.Thanks for sharing,the animals are awesome and the tree beautiful.Hope the hiccup is quickly rectified,and it will be great for you to see everyone again in December. WOW the material is fantastic,It will make such colorful quilts and tote bags,I expect you can’t wait to have “a play”Lovely to have you back ,Carole

    • Thanks, Carole. I must admit that I’m quite excited to think of something for the African fabric. Glad you liked the holiday pics.

  16. Hi Rose,
    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful pics! I would probably not ever embark on such a journey, so I certainly appreciate getting to see your pictures! What a wonderful opportunity for you and your family!

    • Thanks, Peggy. It was a lovely holiday. I managed better because I had my daughter with me – I dropped my passport and boarding pass when I was half way across Frankfurt airport and after that she treated me like the village idiot and insisted on looking after my passport herself!

  17. What a wonderful trip. Your article and photos brought back many happy memories of my trip to South Africa 12 years ago. You have some beautiful fabric to remind you of that holiday. I do hope the bridegroom’s papers are sorted quickly and the young couple can really start on their happy life together. Hope you stop yawning soon lol ! The quilt looks fantastic too! Did you make one for the bride and groom?

    • Hi Margaret. They were planning on having a UK celebration in December for all the friends who couldn’t make it to Zimbabwe, so now they will have a civil ceremony before that. Yes, I did make them a giraffe quilt, but I can’t show photos of it yet because I’m going to give it to them in December.

  18. Your trip sounds wonderful. So very interesting to see the animals in their natural habitat, so sad to hear how endangered the black rhino is. I understand your feelings about the Jacaranda tree. I was in Malawi for a year in the 60’s and always loved the Jacaranda trees, so beautiful. I look forward to seeing your creations with the African fabrics. They are so different.

    • Hi Jennie. I was so pleased to see the jacarandas in bloom – it’s many years since I have seen them. It was such a treat to see the rhino – they have a big conservation ethic in the park that we were visiting and have to spend a huge amount on anti poaching measures.

  19. Beautiful pictures, love seeing places and countries I may never see.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Gudie. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all travel so much more! This was my first real holiday for some years and I feel so much better for it.

  20. Carol Smith says:

    Rose I am so jealous , I have a real passion for elephants and have quite a few in my home, in picture, wood, ceramic , throws, etc. I also buy elephant fabrics when I see them so have a stash! So glad you had a fab holiday. I’m going to Singapore, Bali and Penang in December so hope to ride my own elephant and buy some fabrics there. Keep up the great lessons and advice love hearing from you . Carol x

    • Oh Carol – now I’m jealous. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip and find some lovely fabrics. I always thought that African elephants couldn’t be trained, only Indian ones, but these elephants could follow loads of commands. Mostly they had been raised from babies when they were orphaned either by drought or by poachers.

  21. Thank you for sharing the memorable moments of your trip. Beautiful fabrics, animals and people – such a shame the paperwork caused a hiccup! Hope get s sorted asap for the bride & groom.
    Really looking forward to seeing what you are inspired to make and the bag looks really interesting shape.

    Try to get some rest…