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Recent Posts

Load Shedding

Tips to Survive Load Shedding in South Africa

If you live in South Africa, you’re very familiar with the term “load shedding.” If you’re not from South Africa, you probably have no idea what load shedding is. In a nutshell, load shedding occurs when Eskom, the government monopoly that provides the country with consistently intermittent power, decides to cut off electricity to various parts of the country on a rotating schedule to avoid a complete meltdown of the grid. Eskom tells us there are various reasons for load […]

Hillbrow Tour

Hillbrow Isn’t For Sissies (Except For Me And All The Other Chickens Out There)

South Africa isn’t known for being, well, tame. All kinds of insanity (most of it entertaining, some of it simply terrifying) crashes into coddled North Americans like me on a daily basis. But even after two and a half years here, I’ve never felt like I’m in real danger. This is mostly because I take precautions like not counting the stacks and stacks of money I make from this blog out in public, not wearing my meat suit as I […]


The Majestic Hadeda

Quick- what’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about South Africa? If you thought of lions, elephants, carjackings, or weird street food, I have no time for you. You’ve clearly not given the pulchritudinous hadeda ibis its due. Yes, yes, I know some other stupid birds hog the limelight. For reasons beyond comprehension, the blue crane is officially South Africa’s national bird. Have you seen one of these suckers in real life though? They have […]

Tillamook Cheddar

Stranger Danger

We all know that strangers are bad news. I’m not here to refute that. But in my experience, it’s not like they’re any worse than everybody else. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, but humanity in general is a giant dumpster fire. Everybody is a hot garbage pile, and being a stranger doesn’t really add to or detract from that in my books.  So that being said, I interact with strangers all the time. On […]

Mopane Worm

Maple and Marula- The Book

In case you haven’t pieced it together yet based on my wildly infrequent posts and the overall general shoddiness of the content, this blog isn’t my job. Blogging pays just a little bit less than my other side gig castrating cockroaches (SOMEBODY needs to control their population, and I don’t see YOU jumping to the plate, Judgey McJudgenson). Anyway, what I’m saying is this blog has grown organically (and not from any conscious effort on my part) because it seems […]

Charity in South Africa

Sharing the Good Things

  Charity in South Africa is a tricky thing. Everywhere you turn, there’s somebody who needs a hand. You’ll see them at robots (traffic lights for the rest of the world), parking lots, roadsides…all over. And that’s just the people we see. You can’t walk through a mall without being asked to donate to some type of charity in South Africa, and it’s sometimes difficult to sort through the noise- who needs the help the most? Which ones are scams […]

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Hi, I’m Phil.

I’ve been many things. A university English instructor, a picker upper of dead bodies, a musician, and a sales guy. My work brought me and my family from Vancouver, Canada to Pretoria, South Africa in September 2016, and I’m still wondering how that happened.

I started this blog mostly because my friends back in Canada kept asking me how things were in South Africa, and posting about my experiences seemed more efficient than repeating myself hundreds of times.

Maple and Marula is a way for me to make sense of my new surroundings as an expat who has no idea what I’m doing.

Words of Praise for Maple & Marula

Not a winner.
-Sabrina Duncan

Condescending Canadian.
-An upset South African guy.

What a lot of codswallop.
-Random South African Woman.