When Life Hands You Lemons…

28 February 2018|

When life hands you lemons… Make lemonade. Or a VERY strong Gin & Tonic.

For the past three years, our Moms Group has enjoyed a girls weekend away in Mozambique in the last weekend of February. Three years ago, we planned our first trip – a friend has a holiday home in Ponta, we would pack a car with bikinis and snacks and head to Mozam for some fun in the sun with a bunch of special girls (and a well-deserved break from mom life!)

Unfortunately, the day before the first trip in 2015, I got Bronchitis and was confined to my bed for the weekend and not the sandy shores of Mozam. In 2016, five of us had the best weekend of R&R’s, red stained lips, delicious peri peri prawns and dancing in the rain. Last year, my pretty large 35 week pregnant belly kept me at home again, but this year was my year!

And then it was not.

On Friday morning, I set my alarm for 3am, hit the road at 3.45am to collect my entourage of passengers and with the car packed to the brim, we drove in convoy with another car to Mozambique. After a quick breakfast stop and a 5,5 hours drive, we found ourselves at the Kosi Bay border in a very sticky 34’C sunshine. The first car of girls scanned their passports and hopped over the border, I stepped up to do the same and…. NO!

“Sorry ma’am, your passport has been cancelled, you may no longer travel on this passport. Please step aside.”

Are you kidding?

Cancelled? How? Who? When?

Side note: A passport is cancelled when you report your original passport lost or stolen and you send in an application for a new passport. The old passport is then cancelled and is no longer valid to travel on. BUT… My passport expires at the end of 2020, I’ve been traveling on it for the past seven years, all over the world and I most definitely did not report it lost or stolen or apply for a new one. So how??

Regardless of how, after 3,5 hours in the blazing heat with no food or drinks (they really do need a vending machine at the border), trying desperately to call Home Affairs around the country to find out how or why this had happened and if someone could help me get across the border – we were told a big fat, computer says no.

Trip cancelled.

Time to turn around and go home.

After chatting amongst us girls, we decided that the first car would go ahead and enjoy their weekend in Mozambique (the one we had been planning for a whole year!) and my car would find the closest hotel to spend the night before returning home.


After letting him in on our plans, he called around and phoned back wth the most delightful news – he had booked us into a local game/safari lodge for the weekend. The four of us were going on safari – and still managing to enjoy a break away from mom life and some time out – in the quiet African bush. And that is what we did…

We enjoyed two game drives a day – with the most incredible sightings of elephant, white rhino, giraffe, buck, zebra, lion and cheetah. We sipped on way too many G&T’s, we laughed until our tummies ached, we celebrated the wrong friends birthday, we lazed in splash pools – and we shocked the whole lodge with our very colorful, beach outfits – too many swim suits and no camouflage safari gear.

We had the weekend of a lifetime, and we made the most of it.


P.S. I will be at Home Affairs this week applying for a new passport and getting this sorted. Current investigation underway. 



  1. Caley I’m so sorry. I’ve dealt with HA for years as a foreigner and it’s very rarely not a a nightmare. But what am incredible experience you salvaged from it! You girls all look like models xx

    1. Thanks so much Rach – I have to be honest, HA have been so amazing at following and trying their best to help me! But very frustrating to begin with… Thank you for the kindest words x

    1. Ah thanks Melissa, I won’t lie – it was an emotional few hours at that border!! But Super Husband to the rescue and saved the day (and weekend!) x

  2. Don’t bother with Home Affairs – do it all through the bank. You register and apply on the HA site and then book an appointment at your closet bank (all online). No queues and it took me 10days for my new passport to arrive. x
    PS. Here is an easy guide. x

    1. Thanks so much my friend – we have actually checked with our banks before (when we did our girls passports) and they said it wasn’t possible in Durban (because they don’t have the machines!). Due to us dealing with HA Head Office after this error, we have been given 5 star treatment to help us sort it out so we won’t be relying on any queues or delays… I’m going in tomorrow morning at 7.30am and will have my passport in 3 days! x

  3. I will forever be grateful to Mr Perumal and your amazing husband for this trip of a lifetime. How blessed i am to have such incredible, like minded friends who just roll with the punches and make the most of a pretty horrible situation. Love you my Cals

    1. Ah my Cox, I love and adore you my friend – such a special time with you! And BEST birthday weekend x

  4. I so hate that happened after all that planning. But wooooooowwwww, the safari looks pretty amazing! Love that your girls were along for the ride and you all had a great time.

    1. Thank you my sweet friend – we definitely made the most of an unfortunate situation!! We need to get you here on safari x

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About me

I'm Caley a thirty-something wife & mummy from Durban, South Africa. Ellie Love Blog is all about me, my family and our beautiful life.


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