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The Inspiration


Muddy Boots is a South African family travel, leisure and lifestyle blog. It celebrates getting families outdoors, into nature, and doing memorable things together.

I’ve always been a country girl at heart, having grown up on a smallholding south of Joburg.

But I never realised how privileged I was to have the childhood I did. Where I could hop out of my bedroom window at sunrise while the rest of family still slept, to play barefoot on the dewy grass.

Or pack all my teddies and a few snacks into my school bag, and set off for a picnic in the veld with our resident pack of hounds in tow.

Or build a treehouse by myself that was the perfect hideaway from my parents.

These were things I’d just assumed my kids would want to do too.

A different world

But then the whole world changed. Our simple test pattern TV days were replaced with 24-hour satellite channels blaring awful cartoons that assaulted the senses, and mobile digital screens that allowed children to engage this brave new world anytime they wished.

Where were the makeshift forts where you hung out with your gang? Where were the muddy puddles you started out jumping in, and ended up rolling in? Where were the grassy hills you and your friends navigated with sleds fashioned from flattened cardboard boxes?

I couldn’t see my children growing up in a world without these things.

So, when the opportunity came along for us to leave behind the big city lights of Joburg and move to the Garden Route 6 years ago, we took it.

Despite my best intentions to keep my children away from TVs and tabs, it’s not that easy. Yes, it’s easier to get them outdoors doing healthy kids’ stuff because we live in the bundus, but it’s still a battle.

That got me wondering about all the other families out there just like ours who wanted something more for their kids. Something rooted in nature, away from screens, where the only objective was for them to have good, old-fashioned fun. Together.

Because I truly believe time spent outdoors, in nature, does the world of good for families.

It bonds us.

It recharges our batteries, and restores our soul.

It creates experiences, and experiences create memories.

Children don’t remember toys and computer games and TV shows when they’re older, they remember the time the swing broke and they fell in the river. Or the time they built the most awesome stick wigwam with their brothers. Or their first camping trip, braaiing marshmallows under the stars.

That’s the stuff I think childhood should be made of.

That’s the stuff I think families should be doing together.

And that’s the stuff this blog is dedicated to.

Along with my husband and 3 boys, I plan to discover as many nature-based, family-friendly travel destinations and activities as I can.

Budget-friendly travel tops our list. We plan to explore South Africa’s gorgeous campsites and everything you need to know to get camp-ready. This, along with affordable, different and unique South African family travel experiences in our country’s abundant natural areas.

In our current economic climate, travelling to luxury destinations is not an option for most families. But we can all dream! So the blog will also feature perfect places for you to add to your South African family travel bucket list.

I don’t know much about this family travel, leisure and lifestyle thing, so I’m learning as I go.

But I know it’s going to be an exciting, fun and sometimes humorous journey of discovery.

And I’d love you to join me for the ride.

Welcome to Muddy Boots, a little escape from your everyday world that features my personal experiences with family-friendly travel, leisure and lifestyle activities in South Africa. I’m a fulltime writer, editor and author; wife to a long-suffering husband; mom to 3 young boys (aged 10, 4 and 1); and pack leader to 2 mutts and 1 thieving Weimaraner who steals (and eats) everything he sees. We all live together in a little village at the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains in the southern Cape, where the weather is wild and traffic jams usually involve waiting for herds of lazy bovines to cross the road. BRONWYN MULROONEY
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