A different kind of holiday


The grass airstripHello!
I've just returned from two fabulous weeks off. It's great to be back, but it was also lovely to get away and spend some quality time with my hubby. Now I'm refreshed and ready to tackle the remainder of the British winter! Is everyone well? What have I missed?

I'll try not to bore you with too many holiday tales but just wanted to share the first leg of our trip which was something a little different. It took two full days and five flights in smaller and smaller planes to get there, but we finally landed on a grass airstrip (pictured left) on the remote Ibo Island, off the coast of northern Mozambique in south east Africa.

The villageMozambique was said to be the eighth poorest country in the world in 2013, and Ibo has an extraordinary and brutal history (it was a Portuguese colony for many years, repeatedly came under attack by other forces and was involved in the slave trade) and although peace has now been restored it is still completely underdeveloped and unspoilt.

There are no restaurants or shops as we know them, and very few tourists. We stayed in a lodge which was one of very few buildings on the island with running water and electricity, and the latter was fairly unreliable. We had no TV or internet and power cuts every single day – challenging for a woman who normally can't go a day without blow-drying her hair!

Food wise, there was no menu or choice, you simply ate what was available, but luckily it was always delicious fresh fish or other seafood, caught that day by the island's fishermen. We ate very well!

We were taken on a fascinating walking tour of the main village, even popping into the very basic local hospital where several people were being treated for malaria. The one doctor and a few nurses do an amazing job with very few facilities. There is also a witch doctor in the village – we were bitten half to death by unusually tiny, silent and savage mosquitoes which our usually fail-proof insect repellent was powerless against, so I was half-tempted to ask him for a mossie-repelling spell, but sadly we didn't bump into him!

The village was an eerie sight, with crumbling forts and 17th century mansions left to decay when the Portuguese left, but now taken over by locals. (pictured above left).

Our desert islandThe owners of our lodge put a lot of money back into the community, and have so far used some of the income they get from visitors to build a school and set up various training programmes for local youngsters, which was great to see.

You're probably thinking, what an odd place for a holiday! But we like to go to places that are different, and there were definitely some amazing holiday joys to be had too. There was no beach on the island, so one morning we got up at 5am, got in a boat and headed out to a sandbank which is only accessible when the tides are right, stopping on the way to leap into the warm sea and do some snorkelling.

Once on the sandbank, to the amazement of us all (by now we had met three lovely people from Botswana, who came with us) our crew rigged up a shelter to protect us from the 40 degree heat, lit a fire and cooked us a perfect bacon and eggs breakfast. It was like being on our own desert island (pictured above left) and was a very special experience.

The next morning though, was even more special – again we rose at 5am to go out snorkelling and this time, to our absolute joy, were joined by a pod of around 25 wild dolphins, who swam and dived and played all around us. When we eventually left, they swam after the boat for several minutes, leaping out of the water as if they didn't want us to leave. It was truly incredible, and a memory I will always cherish.

An unusual airport transferAfter five days we moved on from Ibo Island and spent the rest of our holiday in a more conventional way on a breathtakingly beautiful nearby island with every mod con…it was so nice to have electricity again! But I am so glad we visited Ibo. It's a place I will always remember, and a privilege to see such an unspoilt part of the world before it too inevitably changes.

Just one final picture of a rather unusual "airport transfer" from the final island we visited (pictured above left). The only way to get home was to get a boat to the nearest island with an airstrip. But because it was low tide, that meant getting the boat as close as possible, and then WALKING through the sea for a good ten minutes to get to dry land, the boat crew helping to carry our luggage. Certainly an experience. Oh and yes, that is an Annalee + Hope dress I'm wearing!

Back to work now. Oh, and I promised another little giveaway competition in February, so look out for that at the end of the month. 

Before I go, a quick clip from last night's show with my old GMTV pal Andrea McLean who of course has a gorgeous Diamonique jewellery range with us at QVC. Poor Andrea got stuck in horrendous traffic and despite her very best efforts didn't make it to the show until about 17 minutes before the end. Here's her entrance….I was so glad to finally see her!

Have a wonderful week and keep in touch; I always love to hear from you and I try to reply to everyone. You can leave a comment on this blog (see below) or contact me on Twitter (@jackiekabler).

Love Jackie x


  1. Jean Pugh February 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    It sounds as if you had a fantastic holiday. Gosh two days of flying.I should imagine it is nice to visit somewhere that is still undeveloped and unspoilt, I guess it has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but too get away from TV, emails I should imagine is great, relaxation as it should be. I know not everyone can do without them. The snorkelling with the dolphins sounds heaven, I was only talking to someone this morning about dolphins and saying how intellegent they are, they seem to love people, (I don’t know why). The bacon and eggs on the sandbank sounded pretty good and wow what a heat. Your next part of your holiday sounded exciting, and having to walk from the boat to the island is something you dont do everyday. A holiday I guess you will remember for a long time. You certainly did not come back to good weather. I feel for the poor people who have got flooded. Poor Andrea missing her show, she comes over as a lovely person, and I do love her jewellery.
    Anyway dont work to hard now you are back.
    Love Jean X

  2. Irene Taylor February 13, 2014 at 12:00 am -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    Glad to see you had wonderful time on your very unusual holiday destination! It looks amazing, so nice to see blue skies and sunshine! Wish we could get some of that, especially those poor people down South. Is it ever going to stop? Hope they get some respite soon. You must be so happy that your days as a reporter are long gone and you work in a cosy studio!
    Love your purple outfit, you really suit the colour. Now your batteries have been re-charged, there will be no stopping you now! Look forward to seeing you soon.
    Kind regards
    Irene x

  3. Jackie Kabler February 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jean,
    Yes it was an amazing holiday and what horrible weather to come back to. I covered floods as a reporter for many years and saw so many poor people losing everything, it really is dreadful to see so many suffering yet again in these latest floods.
    Yes, Andrea really is lovely and her jewellery is gorgeous!
    Hope all is well with you.
    Love Jackie x

  4. Jackie Kabler February 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Irene,
    Yes it was a fabulous holiday! And yes, so nice not to be outside working in this awful weather. I think 20 years as a news reporter was enough! I feel so sorry for all the flood victims, it is absolutely devastating.
    Thanks for the kind comment about my dress – I am trying to wear more colour this year, I wear far too much black and grey and brown!
    Have a great week.
    Love Jackie x

  5. Beth Morton February 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jackie,
    What a wonderful and interesting holiday! The first part of your holiday where there were no mod cons sounds wonderful – the fact that you and your hubby have visited Ibo Island and seen what life is like 1000’s of miles away is great. Your money is going back into the community – what a win/win situation! I loved your description of the dolphins, sometimes a holiday can be fantastic just by a few special moments or a few hours – I almost felt like I was there.
    I’m so glad you had a great time and good to see you back too,
    Beth XXX.

  6. Jackie Kabler February 17, 2014 at 11:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Beth
    Yes it really was something a bit special. I love animals too so the dolphins were incredible, a real once in a lifetime experience!
    Have a lovely week.
    Love Jackie x

  7. liz howarth March 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm -  Reply

    Jackie. This is a new message after hearing you say you had had Bels Palsey. Please trust me… Use EVERYTHING you can to lift that side of your face. I had it in my teens and in my fifties it came back to haunt me with an obvious droopy eye. I am now 63 looking quite good for my age except that darned eye. Ask your hubby. My GP says I could have improved it earlier but not now. Break out the Decleor girl. Love Liz

  8. Jackie Kabler March 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Liz
    Thanks for that! I had it in my twenties so hoping its gone for good but I have noticed a very slight droop in one eyelid so I’ll attack that with everything I can find! Very kind of you to get in touch.
    Love Jackie x

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