My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Posts tagged “South Africa

Where to find the best West Coast flowers

A field of flowers in the West Coast National Park during flower season

Earlier this week I was invited by SANParks to take a trip out to the West Coast National Park, just an hour and a half away from Cape Town to see the famous flowers that burst out of the ground at this time of year. You could trawl along the various roads heading north out of Cape Town in search of these wild flowers but for a guaranteed sighting why not head straight to the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park, which is open for flower season during the months of August & September.

A field of flowers in the West Coast National Park during flower season

I have been to the West Coast National Park every year for the last five years and I can safely say these are the best flowers I have ever seen both in quantity and variety.

 

And the Postberg section is not just about the flowers, if you follow the road right to the top (more…)


Ascension isn’t for everyone…

Hiddingh Ascension that is. One of the lesser known routes up Table Mountain and also one of the most difficult. I had heard about it from a colleague at work and asked him to let me know when he did it again as it is definitely not a route you should even think about attempting unless you go with someone who has done it before.

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From the start in Newlands Forest the first trick is finding the turning off the contour path which is only marked by a small rock cairn and a vague path leading up through the trees. It is a steep scramble until you are in the river bed itself which you follow up the ravine.

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You continue up the rocky riverbed until the ravine narrows and a large cairn signals where you must turn right and traverse along the bottom of a cliff face. Once around the cliff face you (more…)


Scoot West Coast – Rediscovering people and places

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

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It’s funny how 7 days can go by so quickly and yet still seem like another time in one’s life. We set off from outside the Goodhope FM‘s studio in Seapoint with an uncertainty about what exactly lay ahead but also an excitement that it all promised to be fantastic. Last year Scoot62, the brain child of Guy McDonald & Rory Alexander, saw us scooting up Route 62. Scoot West Coast is the 2nd installment of this concept, brought to life by the commitment of Wesgro to showcasing the wonders that lie on our doorstep.

Being a pretty active person, I was particularly excited about the truly epic activities on the itinerary (such as stand up paddling in Langebaan, golf at Shelly Point, mountain biking in all manner of places, zip lining in Piekenierskloof and of course the skydiving near Malmesbury) & I knew it was going to be one memorable trip in which the highlights were going to be hard to pick. What surprised me though is that the true highlights would not come from any of these, but rather from the (more…)


Day 7 – “F-f-f-f-from there?”

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

Day 7. The final day of the Scoot West Coast tour… While general maintenance at the Riebeek Valley Hotel may have been neglected a little, the kitchen certainly hasn’t been and a delicious breakfast buffet spread awaited us as we leisurely began the day. If you do happen to find yourself at the hotel then try the scones – sensational!! With only a single item left on the itinerary, it felt strange to be waking up a little later and not being pressed for time to cram things in.

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I say only a single item, but it was perhaps the biggest item that I think you will find on most people’s bucket lists. Skydiving! Not far from Riebeek West, just outside Malmesbury, lies a new ‘drop zone’ which has taken the operator, Mike Rumble, around 2 years to fully register and license given its relative close proximity to not only Cape Town international airport but also the Langebaanweg air force base.

As we arrived at the airfield, we had our first & only scooter ‘crash’ of the trip (quite an improvement from last year which saw 2 crashes on the very first day! We’re proud of you for not falling once this year, Guy…) Siv “shortstop” Ngesi was navigating the dirt road towards the runway and hit a patch of soft sand that caused his back tyre to skid out from under him and the scooter to collapse on its side as Siv spilled out onto the road next to it. Whatever nerves may have been building up in the boys were instantly released in hearty guffaws of laughter as Siv scrambled to his feet, dusted himself off and righted the fallen scooter.

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With a very experienced and knowledgeable crew, the Mother City Skydiving company do everything to put you at ease in what can be a trying time leading up to throwing yourself out of a perfectly good aeroplane. I have done a tandem skydive once before (albeit about 7 years ago) so I knew roughly what to expect, but fellow jumpers Dwain & Siv were doing this for their first time ever. As we were discussing the processes and procedures, we heard the faint buzzing of a plane and squinted up into the clear blue sky to see if we could see the source. A squawk on the radio indicated they were 4 miles out & moments later we saw the plane as a mere spec waaaaay up in the sky. Linda Mase, Manager: Domestic & SMME Marketing at Wesgro, who has been with us this whole tour, is a man of few words. When Mike explained that we should keep our eyes on the plane as people were about to jump out of it, he looked back into the sky and incredulously said (more…)


Day 6 – Bar Bar Black Sheep, have you any space?

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

It’s been a long week on the bikes, with non-stop activities and late dinners. Last night was no exception and as we left the table on the way to our enticing beds, we all agreed to convene at the heated indoor pool at Piekenierskloof at 7am the next morning. My duvet is stronger than it looks. I wasn’t expecting a wrestling match when I set my alarm, but as it flared into life early the next morning, that’s exactly what I got! I put up a spirited fight, it must be said, but to no avail and in the end I found myself pinned into submission and only made it to the breakfast table at 8am. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had missed the poolside appointment as I found only the very diligent Rory at the table. He had not only swum at the allotted time, on his own, but had also managed to snap a sensational picture of the sunrise over the valley.

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Breakfast done & dusted, we were successfully re-fueled for the day ahead. Piekenierskloof has a plethora of activities (walking trails, bird watching, volleyball, target shooting, mountain biking, mini golf & all manner of indoor games such as pool, air-hockey, table tennis etc.) We’d selected the most exhilarating one on offer for our morning stint (of course) and Natasha led us to the beginning of the zip lining course that crisscrosses the ridges overlooking Citrusdal. With lines ranging between 125 & 280 metres long and the highest point being 15 metres above the fynbos below, the 7 lines offer a fun & uncommon way to view the beautiful surrounds. The obligatory safety briefing completed, we lined up to traverse the first rather baby-ish first line over a small pool of water. All 4 of us skillfully descended & eagerly awaited Siv’s arrival at the small pedestal so that we could move onto the next, longer, more thrilling line. Not sure what went through his mind, but when the guide gave the signal to keep coming forward, Siv yanked (more…)


Day 5 – Treasure trove at Fryer’s Cove

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

Traveler’s tip: Always carry some headache pills in your toiletries bag. A true West Coast ‘kuier’, while thoroughly enjoyable, does tend to ring in one’s ears a little longer than desired the following morning. Thank goodness the Tharrakamma beds are comfortable and the breakfast is a hearty one. I’d come out of last night somewhat dented but still in reasonable shape. Adventure waits for no man, so we were soon once again on our ‘poegies’ to meet Madalene van der Lingen & Monika de Jager outside the Namaqua West Coast tourism office. We shared yet more laughter with them as we recounted some of the previous night’s shenanigans. Madalene had the honour of escorting us to our next stop, Doringbaai, while Monika returned to the office to complete the day’s work – aka to lick her wounds 😉

When asked why it is called Doringbaai, which directly translated means Thorn Bay, Madalene cleverly responded “that is because it is a thorn in your side to leave.” Historically this small town was a thriving Crayfish packaging and export hub, peaking in the mid to late 80’s. With the increased regulations in the industry, these practices have long-since halted in the town and the empty buildings next to the Lighthouse were taken up by two unlikely neighbours – an Abalone farm and a winery. (more…)


Day 4 – Beware the ‘spoegie-man’

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

I woke up because of something I had omitted from my blog update yesterday. Quite literally actually… That gentle humming noise that I could hear from within our Rocherpan eco-cabin as I awoke was in fact the sound of a passing Sishen-Saldanha train. Local reports had the train at between 3kms & 7kms long and that when the train departed, the front carriage was at a brisk 11km’s per hour before the back engine even started moving! Other tales told of how along the route the locomotives could not actually come to a complete stop & so changes of staff were facilitated through a rolling substitution – slowing the procession to 6km/h while old staff jump off the still-moving train while the new staff would run alongside and jump on. A quick Google search confirmed that in fact the longest train on this route was indeed 7.5Kms long (with 660 wagons, carrying almost 69 thousand tons of iron ore!) but that most trains on the line today are 3.7kms long with 342 wagons and requiring 8 locomotives/engines interspersed amongst the wagons to drive it along (still the longest production trains in the world!) That’s right, the train itself is over 3kms long! The sight of the train simply chugging along the line with a seemingly endless run of wagons taking minutes to pass is something that truly boggles the mind when you stop to really think about the sheer magnitude of this engineering feat.

Morning of Day 4 and we’re half way through! Wow, time has flown by. Once out of our cozy beds, we needed to suit up to get to breakfast, again at the very hospitable Draaihoek Lodge. Wisps of condensing steam escaped our mouths as we readied ourselves & breathed the somewhat fresh morning air. By the time we arrived at Draaihoek Lodge about 20 minutes later I simply could not feel my fingers. No wonder, as Dwain informed me that his car’s thermometer had registered our departing temperature at a mere 4 degrees! Nothing that cradling a warm cup of tea couldn’t cure though 🙂 A direct quote from Rory during breakfast -> “the best French toast and fresh honey I have ever had in my life!!” Added to this, some rather exotic fruit (Star Anise, Prickly Pear & a very interesting fruit called Persimmon or ‘Sharon Fruit’ that looks like a tomato but has a very distinctive sweet taste) and the standard hot breakfast staple of eggs, bacon and accompaniments & the certainty of me returning in need of a new belt continued.

With well-satisfied bellies, we took to the road again and with Siv regrettably heading back to Cape Town in the evening for other work commitments (he will be back tomorrow, have no fear) he was forced to follow in his car. This meant that Rory was upgraded to a 200cc bike (he had been riding a 125cc up until this point) and the gusto with which he took to the fresh road was proof that he had really grown tired of all the “why do we have to keep slowing down for you?” comments thus far. We simply couldn’t keep him off the front of the peloton! Rory’s ungoverned freedom was rather short-lived though as (more…)


Day 3 – Bokkom, birding & boomslangs

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

The start of Day 3 brought with it 2 fantastic new things that had been missing on the trip so far. Firstly – clear, sunny, blue skies. And secondly, the one & only Siv Ngesi, our fourth musketeer – both very welcome additions to the West Coast scoot festivities. Having never met Siv before I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the guy but with a broad, genuine smile, sharp wit & devil-may-care attitude I could see pretty early on that he was going to fit right in.

Shelly Point Hotel know how to put on a proper breakfast spread, let me tell you! With a buffet choice of everything from croissants to bacon, omelets, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, mince on toast, fried tomatoes, cereals & muesli, yoghurt, fruits, baked beans, sausage, fried potatoes etc. I couldn’t help but notice Guy struggling to get his bike jacket zipped up a little later as we prepared to head out onto the road once again.

One great thing about being on a scooter is the fantastic additional sensory inputs. The feeling of the cool air rushing past. The warmth of the sun when you arrive at a stop street or traffic light. The smell and even taste of the slightly tangy sea air. It really lets you experience the trip in a whole different way from driving in an air-conditioned car. The down side to being on a scooter…? Heading out of St Helena bay while being downwind of a fish factory. Wow! That’s one special & quite unique odour!!

Not far down the road, we arrived at Port Owen in Velddrif where we met our captain for the morning on Tollie’s River & Boat Cruises, none other than Oom Tollie himself. A true salt of the sea man, he runs the cruises side-by-side with his wife (who is also a qualified skipper on the boat) and while she skillfully guides the boat and serves hot coffee and rusks, Tollie freely imparts his years of local knowledge to all who will listen. I knew I was going to thoroughly enjoy the ride up the Berg River when during his safety briefing, our fine captain described things as such – “This boat is like Brandy… it has no brakes!” Not only full of humourous one-liners such as this, he also knew (more…)


Day 2 – Scootcuzzi

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

For those who followed day 1 & were wondering – yes, the Roulette gods did indeed smile down upon me & and I went some way to paying off that speeding fine from yesterday (found out it’s actually a 50km/h zone, so that red & white government envelope will have a little more sting to it than originally expected no doubt!) And thus, with a successful evening at the casino & a great night’s rest at Club Mykonos under my belt, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face as Guy wrapped up the outside broadcast of the Goodhope breakfast show and we headed off to Boesmanland Plaaskombuis for some well-timed breakfast.

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You know you are in the heart of the West Coast when breakfast entails freshly baked bread, an assortment of homemade jams and a hearty plate of scrambled egg, pap & sous, sausage & ribs. (accompanied of course by some fire-heated “moer-koffie”) That’s right, no bacon – just ribs! And you know what… I didn’t miss the breakfast staple on the plate. Delicious, well-prepared sustenance for the road ahead, enjoyed in a very traditional west coast setting with tree stumps for chairs, a completely self-service approach (the manager even joked that if we had a problem with service then we should just go to the bathroom & look in the mirror as that is the outjie to blame!) and potjies bubbling over open fires.

Good thing that there was a warm west coast breakfast in our bellies as the weather was particularly wintery and we had some stand up paddling (SUPing) to do in the Langebaan lagoon! Not sure whether it was sheer natural-born talent or a complete fear of the icy, winter sea water (more…)


Day 1 – Scooting the Breeze

written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander

A somewhat restless night preceded my arrival at the Goodhope studios early this morning. “Why?” you might ask… well as I’m sure we all know, true excitement has a way of creeping into one’s dreams and making your time between the covers somewhat more tumultuous than tranquil. Despite this lack of a perfect night’s sleep, I arrived bright and chipper (matching our wonderful new orange team shirts) eager to get the day’s adventures underway. Greeting us at the studio were some familiar faces (such as Jean Scheltema & the breakfast show team) as well as some new faces (such as Rolf I’m-so-sorry-I-was-too-distracted-to-get-your-surname & Tim Harris from Wesgro). Tim is the fairly recently appointed commander-in-chief of Wesgro & he mentioned that the only thing keeping him from joining us was the impending birth of his child (there’s always next year Tim!) – now if that kind of a send-off party didn’t amplify the excitement tenfold then I might as well have checked myself into a hospital right there and then…

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As is nature’s want at this time of year, she chose a particularly dreary, slightly cool & somewhat damp morning to get our adventure underway. Not that I was complaining mind you, as I recalled the truly stormy conditions of last year’s departure, I knew things could be much worse! I also had extra company on the scooters this year as Rory Alexander joined Guy & I under-helmet with Siv Ngesi due to do the same later in the week. Added to this the fact that the scooters had undergone a ‘mild’ upgrade & I now found myself caressing 200cc’s of raw Vespa power between my legs (must be that I’ve been hanging around Guy too long now that this sentence sounds dirtier than it is… J)

As we took off down Seapoint main road from the Goodhope studios to the N1 & on to the R27, I felt buoyed with an impish delight in having just departed in such grandeur, with a strong team at my side and even sturdier equipment to carry us forth. Nothing could dampen this joyous feeling! Nothing that is, except a little yellow box… Not 500 metres from the start of our journey, I had done the unthinkable (more…)


Hiking a charred Chapman’s Peak

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

Hiking up Chapman's Peak above Hout Bay

I had wanted to hike on the mountains above Cape Town since the fires last week to see first hand the extent of the damage and seeing as I had never climbed Chapman’s Peak before it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so. A new friend from China asked if they could join me and I don’t normally like taking people on hikes that I haven’t done myslef before but after checking the route and map in Mike Lundy’s Best Walks in the Cape Peninsula it looked straight forward enough. So after an early rendezvous in Hout Bay, and a despite a cloudy start to the day, we took our first steps along the ash covered path.  It wasn’t long before we saw our first signs of regrow. The hike was very easy, possibly aided by the lack of grow along the path as a result of the fire damage and we made it to the peak in under an hour. The visibility wasn’t the best with cloud hanging over table mountain so we couldn’t see across to Gordon’s Bay but Noordhoek Beach and Kommetjie were bathed in sunlight and the view back towards Hout Bay is much like what you see when driving over Chapman’s Peak Drive, only


The light at the end of Africa

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to visit Agulhas National Park for the third time in as many years. (see my previous trip here) The occasion was the official opening of their new Rest Camp chalets and I must admit there was something quite nice about being the very first person to stay in one of the new thatch-roofed log cabins. The crisp new linen and fresh, fluffy towels. Carbon copies of the existing chalets they have added several extra single and double room units with a few modern improvements like fancy fireplaces to keep you warm in winter and sealing around the edges to ensure the wind doesn’t sneak through under the thatch (a fix they will be applying to the older units as well now).

My only criticism of the chalets is that they are built quite close together and some of the new ones have been built behind the old ones, but if you can get one of the front units and even better one of the units on the end you can wake up to uninterrupted views like this everyday so my advice would be to call the SANParks booking office after making your booking as ask if one of the front units are available when you go.

Agulhas National Park Accommodation

Agulhas might not have the big five like Kruger but it has its own unique appeal. Less than 3 hours drive from Cape Town at the southernmost tip of Africa. You can explore the coastline or follow the hiking trails through the fynbos or just sit out on the deck of your chalet and finally finish that book you started reading weeks ago.

A visit to Agulhas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the southernmost tip of Africa, which is where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

The other must do in the area is to visit the Cape Agulhas lighthouse which was built in 1848. Rather unfortunately the lighthouse was built from sandstone which doesn’t last very long when exposed to the elements. It has however undergone extensive renovation and is now open again and inside is a great museum with the history of the lighthouse and is well worth a visit. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not one for history and museums but tourism officer Maureen Fourie gave us a fabulously succinct history of the area and tour of the museum. Her passion for the area is palpable and she summed up the significance of where we were as she explained that when you stand at the southernmost tip looking south, “you have two oceans in front of you and over your shoulder, behind you, is AFRICA.”

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Something I’ve never been able to do before and which I would recommend is climbing up to the top of the lighthouse. To get to the top you ascend three very steep wooden ladders that creek and groan followed by an even steeper final steel ladder, the walls of the tower close in around you. Emerging through a heavy hatch at the top you are treated to a 360 degree view of Cape Agulhas and if you look closely, you can even see the bulb that is responsible for  helping so many ships navigate safely past this treacherous piece of coast.

If you’ve never been to Agulhas, or like me, have been but never had the chance to go up the lighthouse then why not plan a trip to southernmost tip of Africa. And whether it’s a weekend away or part of a longer Garden route road trip you can rest up in the serenity of Agulhas National Park.


AHRLAC – first flight

AHRLAC first flight in South Africa

A few weeks ago I was privileged enough to be part of a media team invited to document the first flight of the Paramount Group and Aerosud’s AHRLAC – Advanced High Performance Surveillance and Reconnaissance Aircraft.

AHRLAC first flight in South Africa

Justin de Reuck, myself and Hilton Mundy in front of the AHRLAC

The aircraft features a twin-boom, high-wing, single-pusher-engine configuration, using a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engine, with a crew of two seated in tandem.

AHRLAC serves the purpose for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and counter-insurgency missions; coastal patrol, anti-smuggling and disaster relief capabilities.

It was amazing to meet the passionate and dedicated crew that have worked for so many years to make this concept come to life and to be on the ground as the wheels lifted off the runway for the first time. There was exciting and relief at the same time. Here is a short video of this momentous occasion.


My Lion’s Head Resolution

Lions Head hike

For the last two years friends and I have started the year off with a hike or two on the numerous mountain peaks that surround us in Cape Town. While enjoying ourselves on these hikes we’ve all been guilty of saying that we really should do it more often given the proximity and access to great hiking trails we have in our very own city. Then work starts getting busier, our social calendars get booked up and inevitably the hikes become fewer and further apart until it’s the end of the year again and as everyone gets bored os sitting on the beach we end up hiking again. Well not this year, 2014 is going to be different.

Lions Head hike

A friend from gym said they wanted to start a weekly climb up Lion’s Head on a Wednesday evening and of course I was in but the first week it clashed with one of the Summer Trail Series runs and was one of the hottest days of the summer but I had made the resolution and climbed up anyway. The second week however there were a group of us that made it and what a great evening it was for a climb to the top. Starting at 6:oopm we were half way up as the shadow of Lion’s Head was slowly creeping towards the foreshore but my favourite view on the way up is continue reading + 7 more photos


Hiking the India Venster trail up Table Mountain

India Venster hiking trail

In another first for 2014 I climbed Table Mountain using the India Venster trail. I have lost count of how many times I have hiked up Table Mountain but I had never been up India Venster until last weekend. The week before I had climbed Lion’s Head with a couple of friends and we all said we should climb Table Mountain again but we all agreed the usual route, up Platteklip Gorge, was boring so I suggested we try something new. India Venster is said to be more technical and not for the novice hiker but we were up for the challenge and so the date was set.

India Venster hiking trail

I always advocate an early start when hiking, so you get to climb in the cool of the day and before the suns rays get to harsh. The plan was to meet at half past six at the lower cable station. Well, that was the plan but there was a slight mix up in communication which saw me only waking up at 6:10 not ready to hike. After a slew of messages and slightly desperate phone call from the rest of the group who were already there (because I was the one who supposedly knew the route), I told them to start hiking and I’d catch them up. continue + see 8 more photos


Shark diving, without a cage

Scuba diving with cow sharks in Cape Town

One of my main goals during my visit to Thailand in November was to scuba dive and get my PADI Open Water Certification which I did and ever since all I’ve wanted to do is dive. The only problem with diving in Cape Town is the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean compared to the balmy 28 degree water of the Similan Islands off Thailand. Nothing a wetsuit (or two) could remedy but it takes a lot more effort. I booked the dive with Pisces Divers in Simon’s Town where you can rent all the gear you need (if you don’t have your own) and off we went to the boat launch at Miller’s Point. As I stood on the jetty I couldn’t help but ask myself if it was worth all the effort. Wearing a full wetsuit, booties, gloves and a second short wetsuit and hood over the top it was hotter than the sauna at my gym. Not to mention carrying the air tank, mask and fins.

Scuba diving with cow sharks in Cape Town

Once we were on the boat motoring to our first dive point, the cool breeze and excitement of diving underwater again made me forget about all the gear I was wearing. We arrived at our first dive spot which was Partridge Point, known for the colony of Cape Fur Seals that live there and after a safety briefing our skipper counted us down three, two, one … read more + 11 photos


Wakeboarding in Wilderness

For New Year’s I was lucky enough to be invited to join a friend and his family camping in Wilderness, a coastal town just beyond George along South Africa’s Garden Route. Approximately a 5 hour drive from Cape Town I have often driven through Wilderness on my way to Knysna but never really stayed there. My friend and his family have been going to the same camp site for the last eight years so are basically locals and I was the newbie. As the name suggests, Island Lake camp site is on the edge of a lake that is used for a variety of water sports and we had our own speedboat. As excited as I was at the opportunity to water ski, having never done it before I was a little trepidatious but willing to give it a good go.

Sunrise over Island Lake in Wilderness

Not one for being able to sleep in I was up at first light every morning which is great for sunrise photography and also the best conditions for skiing before the wind gets up and disturbs the water surface. The early bird catches the worm and my first morning there I got a space on the boat and off we set. The others, who had skied before, all had a go and then it was my turn. I had planned to water ski but the wake board rope was out and so I though why not try that first. I jumped into the lake, which was surprisingly warm, and strapped myself to the board while trying to listen to advice as what to do.  All ready the boat started to pull the rope taut and this was it, ‘hold on and let the boat pull you up’ I was told. read more + 8 pictures


Flying over Langebaan Lagoon

langebaan lagoon from the air

Last week I was lucky enough to go flying again with my mate Hilton Mundy, this time in a Sling 2 light sport aircraft. We had planned to fly around Cape Point for me to take some pictures but the infamous south-easterly was howling across around the peninsula so we discussed some alternate routes and decided to head up the coast to Yzerfontein and West Coast National Park and then come back along the beach.

Pre flight checks on the Sling 2 lsa

It was a perfect morning for flying at Morningstar airfield, just as the sun was peeking over the trees we pulled the aircraft out of the hangar, did the preflight checks and we were all set. There was no one else around as we taxied to the start of runway two zero, waited for the oil temp to reach normal and made our final radio call before takeoff. continue reading + 12 more photos


SHORT FINAL – SA’s new aviation series

Short Final TV series

Those of you who know me and follow this blog will be aware of my love for flying and anything aviation related.

I haven’t had much spare time in 2013 because at the beginning of this year, my friend Hilton Mundy and I put the wheels in motion to fulfil a goal we’ve been working to achieve for some time and that is to create, produce and film a South African aviation magazine program.

We have some incredible aviators and aircraft that fly our African skies, but sadly, there is no dedicated video series supporting our passion for aviation and to showcase interesting insights into our community that could build and strengthen the aviation industry even more.

That is about to change. We have taken on the task to change the status quo and pitch an aviation magazine TV show, whose format and style aims to fill the gap. We aim to get the attention of both potential sponsors & networks to hopefully broadcast and showcase more on our local industry.

Fuelled by passion, commitment and with zero budget we have filmed a 24 minute pilot. This would not have been possible without the 100% commitment and drive of our team plus an incredible amount of co-operation by the featured subjects.

To date we have received endorsements for this initiative from:

• The Department of Trade & Industry through their support for South African filmmakers
• Aero Club of South Africa
• SA Flyer – South Africa’s leading aviation magazine
• RAASA – Recreation Aviation Administration South Africa

The challenge is always funding, and this is where we need you to help. No we are not asking for your money – just your support.

There are three simple ways you can help: (more…)


Capture the Colour 2013

This is not one of my usual travel adventure posts but I you see I was nominated by Kathryn Cooper of Anti-tourist Traveller to take part in the Capture the Colour 2013 photo blogging challenge. Unfortunately I have been on a photo assignment (more on that in another post) so I missed the closing date so I’m not eligible for the prize and nor will I be nominating 5 other bloggers as per the rules but I thought it still share my photographs for each of the five categories.

Red

Red Disa on Table Mountain

Red Disa in full bloom on the back of Table Mountain

Blue

Lake Hawea New Zealand

A panorama of Lake Hawea, one of the most breathtaking views I came across while travelling around (more…)


Weekend away at Olifantsbos Cottage

Last weekend for my dad’s birthday we decided to go away as a family but long car journeys aren’t that desirable an option with two young nephews. Looking closer to home I suggested we try one of the SANParks cottages in the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park, better known as Cape Point. Luckily for us at relatively short notice there was availability and plenty of beds for our whole family and a few friends.

Olifantsbos Cottage

As the weekend neared the weather forecast wasn’t the best but nothing a fireplace and several bags of wood couldn’t fix. The rest of the family all went out on the Friday and I joined them on the Saturday. After lunch and an afternoon nap, there was a break in the rain and so continue reading + 13 more photos


Legends & Heroes

What do you get when you take a clear winter’s day in Cape Town, have a helicopter filming from the sky, three more cameras on the ground, a huge Freightliner Argosy truck and trailer rig and Table Mountain as a backdrop?

A pretty rockstar filmshoot that I was part of a couple of weeks ago and here’s the end result…


Supermoonbow

I wasn’t in a position to photograph the supermoon rising last night but did venture out into the garden later in the night when it was high in the sky. Looking up I was amazed to notice a large ring around the moon in the high cloud that was sitting above the mountain. This phenomenon of a rainbow created by light reflected by the moon, rather than direct sunlight, is known as a moonbow. Less colourful than their daylight equivalents they are much rarer and so even more special when you get to see one.

Rory Alexander Photography

Did you see the moonbow over Cape Town last night?


Accommodation in Addo

Rory Alexander

Originally the plan was to camp all the way on this road trip to save on cost but I was a little nervous about the weather along the Garden Route in winter and wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of having to put up tents in the rain. Also when it came to packing the car I don’t think we would have had enough space for all the camping equipment anyway. A search on the SANParks website, however, revealed the next best thing, Spekboom Tented Camp. Here we could camp, in the middle of the bush, without having to carry loads of stuff with us in the car.

Rory Alexander

What more could you ask for, arriving with your tent already put up. Inside are two beds with mattresses and enough blankets to keep you warm on even the coldest of nights. A braai, outside table and even   read more + 7 photos