Hello and welcome to Giraffe in the City, a personal blog about me, Liezel van der Westhuizen (aka the Giraffe!), which is focused on my life in Cape Town and other city lifestyle adventures.
While you may recognise my face from television appearances or high-profile MC gigs, I like to think of myself as the typical girl next door who is striving to live her best life here in the Mother City.
Giraffe in the City was born out of the enjoyment I get from making short video clips of my daily exploits. And, while this blog started off as a quick and colourful way to give my parents and family in Pretoria a sneak peek into my world once I’d moved away from home, it soon evolved into something much more impactful.
Today, you can expect to find informative 60-second clips here – on a wide range of useful topics. The clips showcase everything from restaurant- and beauty-product reviews to fitness tips and trends, experiences I’ve had while travelling, and feedback on the sporting events I’ve taken part in or the functions I’ve spoken at.
Short and snappy, my videos give you bite-sized insights into my life without draining your data or giving you buffering headaches. It’s a win-win portal for what’s hot and happening around me!
Recently, I have begun to embrace the concept of “fitcation”. For newbies, it refers to a holiday away from home that is geared around – or doesn’t hesitate to incluce – a fitness activity, or several. And it’s really a winning concept because if wellness (health & fitness) is an important aspect of your lifestyle at home, why would you want to be inactive on leave when you have so much more time and energy to take part in sports?
I absolutely love to go on crazy adventures that range from mountain-biking races on weekends away, to sailing holidays (recent ones have included the Seychelles archipelago & Croatia), to Stand-Up Paddling and other fun activities.
My own personal take on this sort of holiday – and lifestyle – is that it is not about being the fittest, going the fastest and seeing the least, but rather about having the most fun from a dedicated sporting “bucket list”. Remember: you only live once! 😉
Read “Fitcation: An active Island Recharge"; “Snapshots from a Seychelles Sailing Spree” and my Croatia Chater Vacation.
Gals get a sporting chance
Passionate about sports, travel and the great outdoors, I’ve been on a mission of late to inspire other woman to get out there and get active in whichever way they most enjoy.
Sadly, I’ve found that many women are held back by their own fears when it comes to a new fitness activity. Some are afraid of being too slow, others of being too out of shape, and even more have a reason they aren’t prepared to share.
My aim is therefore to share my love for a wide range of different sporting types – and the good, healthy fun us gals can have while taking part in them – to help women combat their fears and, instead, embracing their unique feminine capabilities. I have to add that there is nothing that the guys get up to that we can’t also thrive in. Sport is about skill, practise and later experience; very rarely about brute strength. I’ve recently become an Advanced Nitrox scuba diver and have been avidly working towards my Yacht Skipper’s License. In fact, my incredible team recently took first place in a race at Royal Yacht Club – it was my yachting race debut, so I was delighted!
While some sporting activities require preparation and an investment in gear, others are inexpensive to try and get into – such as lacing up your running shoes and taking to the mountain trails; or trying out Pilates, barre or aerial yoga for the first time. (First classes, at most studios, are free!) Whatever sport you choose to get into, from mountain biking to scuba diving, consult an expert, stay safe and enjoy the rush. It’s worth it!
Apart from fitness motivation for beginners, responsible and eco-friendly travel tips and great destinations to explore, I also love sharing my favourite recipes – which are always healthy, easy-to-prepare and really delicious. Once you’ve embraced an active lifestyle, you’ll soon see how important it is to fuel your sport with the best and most nutritious types of foods.
Beloved rescue pups
I have a soft spot for animals and love sharing the shenanigans of my two rescue dogs, Leia and Luke.
Leia is a sweet-natured Africanis mix, whom I adopted from the SPCA in Grassy Park; while Luke is a plucky little sausage dog whom I discovered through Cape Dachshund Rescue.
These four-legged furry creatures may be small, but they bring so much joy to my life. My hope is that, by telling a bit more about all the things they get up to and how they came to live with me, I’ll inspire you – when you decide to expand your own family – to adopt a pet in a similar fashion to me, instead of buying one.
There are so many gentle and affectionate dogs out there in need of a great home!
Why the “GIRAFFE” nickname?
Well, yes, it has to do with me being rather tall … but there’s also a playful story behind my being called the “Giraffe”.
In 2010, journalist Craig Jacobs called me ‘a giraffe’ in his Sunday Times society column when – on this specific occasion – I wore a pair of killer heels, which added a few extra centimetres to my already excessive length.
While the nickname was not intended to be particularly flattering at the time, it stuck, gained momentum and, today, has become a thriving Personal Branding and Coaching business. I couldn’t be happier about it. It is also testament to my ability to turn potentially negative publicity into something positive and, in fact, lucrative – I am absolutely loving my work over as personal brand coach at The Giraffe Brand Academey.
I am a big fan of giraffes, like them, am inquisitive by nature and love to explore and experience new things. When it comes to my work in the personal brand building niche, via The Giraffe Brand Academy, I love sharing with clients the metaphors “standing tall in the marketplace” and “towering above competitors”. Read more about how the Giraffe Brand came about.
A big thank you for visiting my blog. I look forward to sharing many more of my adventures – both home and abroad – with you in the very near future.
Liezel – The Giraffe