Inspirational farmer’s wife, homeschooling mom, author and so much more.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kayleigh, and I’m a homesteading farmer’s wife, and a
homeschool mom to three wild children – Sophia, Asher, and Isla-Mae. I
hold a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Plant Pathology from UKZN,
and I’m currently in the final stages of completing my Master’s degree in
Ecology and Conservation. Despite the busy life of being a mom and
pursuing my academic goals, my family and I love spending most of our
time birding on the Pongola River where we live, and exploring the game
farm we manage in Mkuze. It’s a great way for us to connect with nature
and enjoy quality time together as a family.
You have a number of African Wildlife-inspired educational
children’s books published. What inspired you to start writing?
It all started when I began homeschooling our oldest daughter, Sophia.
Trying to make learning fun and relatable, I wrote stories for her about her
and her brother and sister, incorporating the alphabet and our various
animals. A few family members and friends saw the books and
encouraged me to make them available to other children. And, so, the first
book series, Sophia’s Safari was born. Now, the goal is to highlight the
importance of conservation and relatable reading material for South
African children through fun, engaging, colourful, and relatable stories.
Tell us a bit about the books, and products, you are selling?
I offer a range of African animal story books, guides for visiting various
game reserves (including a Kruger National Park guide), grade 1 readers
(from A – Z), a survival guide for South African children, and a variety of
other books. The stories and characters are based on my three children’s
own experiences of living in the Zululand bush, and the adventures and
animals they encounter along the way. They are funny, bright, and totally
engaging! I have just launched a new product range of wildlife-inspired
water bottles, t-shirts, and other goodies. A percentage goes towards
conservation and I am so excited about this new project!
You have so many responsibilities, how do you keep yourself productive and
Besides completing my thesis (handing in this month), I manage a small
private lodge in Mkuze where we run an Nyala stud breeding project, and
host birding groups, weddings, and other activities. I’ve also just begun the
outline of my conservation project for vultures in Zululand, working closely
with some phenomenal people from Wildlife Act, and I’m on the
committee of Wildlife Ranching South Africa (KZN).
It does sound like my plate is full, but to be honest, I manage my time
efficiently to enable sufficient time allocation for each role. I am also the
world’s worst sleeper, so that helps. The biggest thing that I have learned is
that periods of rest are just as vital for being productive as doing the actual
work. I have a diary and I love lists so that really does keep me on track. I
am able to allocate specific tasks to specific days and that keeps me
managing all the different ‘things’ well.
You are in the process of launching a free monthly digital magazine,
tell us more about that.
Yes! I am so excited about the free digital magazine that comes out on the
last Friday of every month, launching in May. A wildlife magazine for
children and young adults, jampacked with the latest wildlife news,
interviews of wildlife warriors from around the world, animal information
sections, travel hotspots for families, birding, competitions and so much
more. To subscribe, just head over to the webpage.
Any personal stories you want to share about your
life, life in the bush, or life as a homeschooling mom?
Where do I even begin, ha ha! As a homeschooling mom, I could write a
book about all the funny stories from our classroom. We do have a
classroom hen that insists on laying her eggs under my desk, which makes
for daily chaos with the Dachshund.
One incident that stands out was when we were hosting a large group of
birders at the game farm and an elderly gentleman was talking to Sophia.
He asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She responded
with, ” I want to be a hustler like my Mom.” By the look on his face, I’m
sure he was thinking something totally different from what she innocently
In more recent news, my husband got a Nyala horn in his thigh which
required some Sunday afternoon medical attention. Never a dull moment
but, thankfully, he is on the mend.
To follow Kayleigh’s journey so far has certainly been inspirational and fun!
I loved virtually meeting Kayleigh and you can look forward to some collaborations on our social media pages soon.
To follow Kayleigh’s wild journey, you can find her on the following links.
Cell: 082 558 0249
3 thoughts on “Meet Kayleigh Huysamen”
It is great to have you back again – and with such an inspirational person to make us all sit up and take note of what CAN be achieved!
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Thank you Anne. And thank you for taking the time to read! So thankful for people like Kayleigh who see the gap in our children’s education and jump in to change it!
It is exactly what we need in this country!