My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Posts tagged “sport

On the eve of the 2014 Argus Cycle Tour

2014 Argus Cycle Tour advert

Paging through the official event magazine for this year’s Cycle Tour I came across this advert for the West Coast National Park and just thought I’d share it because, well, the image is a photograph I took on a clear morning back in 2012 just after sunrise.

2014 Argus Cycle Tour advert

That aside, I have oiled my chain one last time and my bicycle is in the car ready for the World’s Largest Timed Cycle Race tomorrow, the 2014 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour, known to most simply as the Argus. It’s a 109km cycle race around  the Cape Peninsula and every year approximately 35000 cyclists take part. For years after moving to Cape Town I would go out and watch the seemingly endless stream of cyclists whizzing past when I decided I’d really like to be one of them and I was hooked. I feel like you can’t call yourself a Capetonian if you haven’t ridden the Argus. I have missed the past couple of years, having been out of the country or travelling so I’m looking forward to being back on the road again. Despite starting in the third last group, because I didn’t do any of the seeding races, the weather forecast is looking favourable. It isn’t going be too hot and the dreaded south-easterly wind is supposed to not be gale force. I am known for never doing much training for events like these but I feel like I am fitter than I’ve been for a while and I will be aiming for a sub 4hr 30min time tomorrow. See you on the road Cape Town…

Update: The official results are in and even though the wind made for tough conditions on the day I achieved my goal finishing in 4 hrs & 26 mins with an average speed of 24.58 km/h and finished 21st out of the 518 in my start group. I even had time to stop and chat with my friend Guy McDonald who was MC at the Tsogo Sun supporters spot in Camps Bay and took this pic of me with some of the cheerleaders on the side of the road. All in all a good Argus and a time to beat for next year.

Argus Cycle Tour 2014

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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


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…)


Squash Olympic Bid 2020

I first started playing squash when I was just 8 years old back in junior school in Zimbabwe. In high school I played other major sports that I was better at like athletics, tennis, hockey, swimming and rowing where my true talent lay. However it was after moving down to South Africa and having to contend with a different climate that I took squash up again. Anyone who knows Cape Town knows that the weather isn’t particular well suited to outdoor ball sports. Between the howling South Easterly winds in summer that often exceed speeds of 50km/h and the rain in winter you could probably count on one hand the number of days you can play an unbiased game of tennis. The solution, an indoor sport that I could play night or day, rain or shine – Squash.

Over the past 10 years I have played Western Province League Squash and really enjoyed it. I don’t play in a particularly high league but I have fun and you get to meet lots of Cape Town locals in the process which has been good to make new friends in South Africa after we immigrated. So I don’t pretend to be a professional squash player but when I got an email last week from the squash league administrators about the Squash Olympic Bid for 2020, I was slightly embarrassed that I didn’t know squash wasn’t an Olympic sport but also really surprised.

Here is a video that the squash bid team put together to strengthen their case which they presented to the IOC and they were hoping to get to 150 000 views before the crucial vote tomorrow, 8th September 2013, when we will find out if squash will be included in the 2020 Olympics. They have already passed that target number of views but the more the better I say and I think it’s a pretty compelling video as to why squash should be included. But maybe it’s just me, why don’t you watch the video and let me know what you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBGox9mV49Y


Taking a ride on the wild side

Rory Alexander Photography

Rory Alexander PhotographyI had a bad experience with a horse when I was younger and for years I wouldn’t go near one. I have since gotten over that and now jump at every chance I get to ride. In Addo you can ride in either the Nyathi or Zuurberg sections of the park.

Addo horse trails

These depart from the main rest camp in the morning or afternoon and are two hours long.

The Nyathi section is home to the Big Five so it is recommended that you have a moderate level of experience and be confident that you can control a horse. They can accommodate all levels of rider though so just discuss with the park staff when booking.

People say that the great thing about game viewing on horseback is that the wildlife aren’t as afraid of the horse as they view them just like any other antelope walking through the bush and don’t see the people on their backs.

For those of you concerned about the safety of horse riding in an area inhabited by lions, rest assured that the game rangers monitor the whereabouts of the predatory animals and will move the rides to a different section of the park if there is any concern about safety.

Having met our guide and been introduced to our horses we saddled up and headed out on what was a beautiful morning for a ride. continue reading


A bet, a bridge and my first bungy!

That’s right it all started with a bet in New Zealand. Known as the home of bungy, everyone I met was amazed that doing a jump was not on my list during my six-week tour of New Zealand and my retort was “if I’m going to bungy, I want to do a big one”, and of course I cited the Bloukrans back home in South Africa. The truth was that I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic as to the safety of bungy and its effects on our anatomy! Then in a bar in Queenstown fed up with justifying my position I came up with an ultimatum, which I thought was fairly safe bet, that if any of them came to South Africa in 2013 then I would do the world’s highest bridge bungy at Bloukrans.

Rory Alexander

I have stopped and looked at people jumping off this bridge before and thought no way would I do that. This time I was there looking at the same view but knowing that I had made a bet and I was going to have to do it. So after watching a few people jump we went to sign up only to be told they were fully booked for the rest of the day. Was this a sign or just a test of my nerves? click for more


Wreaking havoc in Hermanus

A few weeks ago my friend Guy McDonald asked if I wanted to join his team for the GoodHope FM Adventure Challenge, a whole day of activities like shooting, zip lining, sand boarding, paint ball and others. Without hesitating I said sign me up but there was more as he explained we were going to be given a Land Rover to drive around in for the day as well as cash prizes for winning and best dressed. This was sounding better and better, however we still had to come up with a team name and costume ideas. With neon being overdone we were looking for something different and still relevant to the Adventure theme. After some though we came up with the McGUYvers – a great play on our team leader’s name and a relatively simple costume order of aviator sunglasses, jeans and a checked shirt. With all of us busy during the week we delegated the shopping and an executive decision was made which meant we ended up with camouflaged jackets (apparently shoulder studs are in this season) but this worked out perfectly when Land Rover, unbeknown to us, produced camouflage caps for us to wear – awesome!

Rory Alexander

Going for gold we chose to spend the night in Hermanus so that we could be fresh for our early start the next morning. As we were having our breakfast at the Misty Waves Hotel our Land Rover for the day arrived and it was no ordinary Land Rover but it was a continue reading + 10 more photos


Lion’s Head – by the light of the moon

A hike up Lion’s Head at full moon has been on my list of things to do since my family moved to Cape Town in 2002 and I first heard about it. Every year it has come up in conversation around the braai on various occasions followed by “we must do it! When is the next full moon?” but it’s never happened; until now that is! Yesterday the weather was as near perfect as can be. No wind, clear skies with great visibility and while the moon wasn’t full (that happens on the 28th) it was very nearly there and more than bright enough for our hike. We met at the start point at 6:00pm and started up the winding path that resembles the ridges of a snail’s shell spiralling up the mountain. Being one of the hottest days this summer, we soaked up the shade on the city side of Lion’s Head where we took a break to sip on some water and marvel at this view of Cape Town.

Rory Alexander Photography

It took us just under an hour to make it to the top, nearly 2200ft above sea level, where we chose a comfy-looking rock from which to enjoy our continue reading & 4 more photos


Going for a quick flight over Riebeek Kasteel

I have always had a love for aviation and a few years ago I took a step towards something I had always thought I wanted to do which was getting a pilot’s license. I started flight training with a friend of mine, Hilton Mundy at a little airstrip called Delta 200 out near Melkbos, up the West Coast from Cape Town. For various reasons I stopped my training but Hilton carried on and while it was a long road he eventually got his Private Pilot’s License (PPL) about 5 months ago. Having followed his progress and sharing a love of aviation, ever since I have been looking forward to going flying with him.

Rory Alexander Photography

It was a couple of weeks ago that the weather was favourable and we were able to get up in the air. Taking off from Morningstar Flight Academy, where Hilton completed his license, we pulled the Ikarus aircraft out of the hangar and after a bit of trouble continue reading + 5 more photos


Western Cape Regional Aerobatic Competition

On the 29th of October I drove out with my friend Hilton Mundy to the Saldanha Bay Airfield for the Western Cape Regional Aerobatic Competition. Hilton started ShortFinal.tv to fuel his passion for aviation as well as further his skills in filming and editing. I too am passionate about aviation and wanting to further my skills in photography and film so off we set with our Canon 550D cameras in hand and reflective vests on to capture the action on the ground and in the skies.

Silver Falcon 5 flown by Major Beau Skarda

As a treat two of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Display Team of the South African Air Force were there and we got to get up close and personal with – continue reading, see 7 more photos & a video>