Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Garden Route Adventure.

Daniel and Luciana tied the knot a week ago in Argentina. Their South African adventure included a visit to the Garden Route. At this point on the Du Toitskloof pass they spotted a cross on one of the highest peaks in the area.
Turns out that the cross was planted by Italian prisoners of war who worked on the construction of the Pass. As a symbol of their affection and connection to the people of the Cape, they erected a cross overlooking Paarl and the Cape Flats. Cultures from all over the world shaped the modern history of the Cape Colony and Southern Africa. Welcome Home.

Huguenots escaped the European Religion Wars and immigrated to many promised lands. Southern Africa welcomed their skills and culture in agriculture, food, wine and architecture. The Natural wealth and abundance that welcomed them exceeded all expectations. Today many South African families carry Huguenot names and European cultural influence  is evident. South Africa boasts over 800 producers of wine. 
This Church is in the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn, remaining the Ostrich Capital of the world with more than 350 Ostrich farms in the area.

Forests are the breathing organ of Mother Nature. We cannot breathe without them. Forests harbour tremendous ecological diversity and fragile symbiotic relationships. Many trees including the Podocarpus have been harvested to the brink of extinction and only a fraction of the once vast Southern African forests remain.
It is our responsibility to protect trees and forest. Visiting the Knysna Forest on the garden Route is a life experience and motivates us to take better care of our planet. Small Duiker antelope and the beautiful Knysna Turaco can be spotted with fortune and patience.

Visitors arriving to the shores of Southern Africa find it hard to leave.
With abundant wildlife, a myriad of cultures and the big open African planes that dreams are made of, friends of South Africa become friends of nature.
Adventure is always close and even seasoned travellers are blown away by the honest hospitality and smiles of the Rainbow Nation. A hike to Storms River mouth in the Garden Route National Park shades us with the trees, wildlife and adventure that only one of the most popular destinations in the world can do.

Wednesday, 08 September 2010

My latest Trip

In Johannesburg the clients checked themselves on to the local flight to Upington. I met them on the bus on the way to the Airplane. They introduced themselves as Henrico and Daniella. They informed me of their previous travels to Namibia, Tanzania and Madagascar. Birding and travelling a road less travelled by, was the main aim of their visit to South Africa.

We landed in Upington after a pleasant flight in a strong Northerly wind. We headed straight to Kgalagadi, on the way spotting Pygmy Falcons, Sociable weavers and Pale Chanting Goss Hawks. Birding was the highlight and constant activity of this tour.

Our stay at !Xaus lodge was pleasant, the San took great care of us! After this experience we will always yearn for the soul of the Kalahari.

The Gariep River cuts through the dry Northern Cape, climaxing at the Augrabies falls. Rock Martins nests on the spectacular cliffs while Dassies and Verreaux’s Eagle play the endless cat and mouse game. Spending time in Augrabies Falls National Park is a valuable experience since the area is dressed with amazing detail. The Falls Guest house felt homely and welcomed us with a delicious dinner.

From Busman land we travelled to Namaqualand. En route spotting Greater Kestrels and Quiver Trees. Naries is an ambitious reserve on one of the highest slopes of Namaqualand, and we were welcomed by a myriad of flowers in bloom. The Skilpad section and rest of Namaqualand National Park with it’s Renosterveld succulents is a must on any Fauna and Flora enthusiast’s itinerary.

Bushmanskloof leaves any visitor in awe with it’s luxury, delicious meals and picturesque setting in the Cederberg. Our guide, Daniel, took us to ‘the top of the world’, where we observed the courting behaviour of the Clapper Lark. He shared with us the magic and myth of the San Rock art. This reserve boasts a large population of the highly endangered Cape Mountain Zebra.

From Bushmanskloof we headed to the Verlorenvlei at Elandsbaai where we spotted 25 new species for our bird list. Malachite King Fishers, Moore Hens, Common Terns and Levaillant’s Cisticolas are some of the full time residents here. After Verlorenvlei we headed to Langebaan. On the way we spotted thousands of Flamingo’s that had just arrived from their long intercontinental journey.

The guests experienced the stay at The Farmhouse in Langebaan as authentic and grand.

On our way to Cape Town we visited the West Coast National Park and spotted a Black Sparrow Hawk, lush flowering plants of all colours and tortoises.

In Cape Town we checked into our National Monument, The Cardogan Hotel. Our full day Peninsula meander took us to the fifth National Park, Table Mountain National Park. We were entertained by the Seals and the Penguins...and the strong Cape Doctor. At Cape Point we spotted Cape Gannets and Cape Cormorants.

Henrico and Daniella are satisfied and ecstatic about their whole experience. They spotted more than 150 new Bird species and promised to be back in Southern Africa.

Friday, 20 August 2010

On twitter's #TNI

#TNI is the title of a ten question forum that happens every Thursday might (my time) Since I am fresh to Twitter, it feels random and appropriate that I participated last night for the third time.
A few thought (s) came to mind during #TNI.
Humans think of- and talk about animals as though they are something totally different to us. And I disagree to the use of this word when it excludes us. This is where misunderstanding, mistreatment, and abuse of animals may stem from. We are animals, if we understand and accept this or not. Both us and all other animals suffer from humans not accepting our brothers as equal. 
The more we try to find unique human characteristics, the less we find. We are primates in a family of other fascinating yet often endangered species. 
Travelling is a complex behaviour, one that is often exalted and used by humans to distinguish themselves. As if they are more special because they travel. I am not convinced. less time  we spend in our home range, less we know our home culture.
Knowing foreign cultures and lands come at this price. And the benefit of exotic knowledge is cheaper than ignorance of local circumstance. In humble attitudes local knowledge is enriched by exotic experience. 
On a local news channel last night, they showed a clip of a bull in Spain jumping over the wall into the crowd of blood loving animal humiliating spectators. A few got injured, and eventually the bull got roped up.
This is a wake up call. As humans we have to bury our narcissism, self indulgence and learn about the trauma and behaviour of animals. This was a Gladiator jumping into the crowd. Ignorance makes us enjoy the suffering of animals and humans alike. This is self destructive behaviour. 

 Before we all implode, my optimistic take.
Last night on #TNI ( Travellers Night In..?) I met new friends and learned of their amateur experience in my profession:Travelling. Though most of us experience this as moving around and using trains and buses, I believe this is a mental journey. An art, to travel is an art.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

World Cup Swell

No swell or tourists today. Time to reflect, time to plan, time to tell!
The World Cup was a highlight in my career. It started with a three week contract for Triumph Travel, an inbound operator importing hundreds of Argentinos, Uruguaychos and other South Americans.
The guests were curious and surprised at what a top notch destination South Africa is. They came for football and we hope that they will be back as tourists. The tournament saw many underdog countries performing well on the pitch, in line with the underdog host!
 Bafana Bafana's only record was not to pass the group stage, but they beat France! South Africa is acclaimed by many to have been the host of the best World Cup ever. 
After the Group Stages I started to relax and back in Cape Town surfed an epic session at a favourite city surf spot: Sollies. Just before my surf an agent phoned from Johannesburg and asked if I was available for the next three days, in Spanish..
That same night I got introduced to the families of the Spanish Football team in Sun City. It was a great surprise and the best was yet to come.
The highlight of the tournament was our dear Madiba appearing at the final.
Garreth Cliff tweeted that he had a tear in his eye as I felt my own tears running down my cheeks.
It was a total surprise for me to attend the semi-final in Cape Town, where the dear family Savoi invited me in with them, and then at the final as the guide of the winning teams families!
It feels like yesterday that some friends spoke sinically of South Africa hosting the World Cup. Today I read that someone is talking about a new Formula 1 racetrack somewhere, and of course the Olympics in ten years time! May we forget sinicism, and work towards future events that we can potentially stage here!
Every time I work as a tour Guide is an event. I plan to welcome numerous visitors to our lovely country! 
Patiently I wait for Neptune to show and tell me about the next swell on the southern tip of Africa!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Will we verloor Verloren Vlei?

Leaving early in the morning, I know the road to the left point break well. I concentrate on the beauty of the area as I close in on Elands. In Primary School we learnt that South Africa is poor in sweet water lakes. Verlorenvlei is special and rare.  Not least to its myriad of flying inhabitants and migratory annual visitors.
After Piketberg I turn north west along the mountain range, with striking red and grey colors on the cliffs. These are magic mountains.
Magic to the horses that are bred here. Magical fruits are cultivated and now Capitalism inevitably hungers for the wealth of the rare earths found in the mountains of magic, on the road to Elands Bay. Will we verloor (loose) Verloren Vlei?
Johnny Clegg sings of the inevitable consequence of progress. Somewhere in my everyday life surely I use tungsten..? For tungsten these mountains and lakes may become toxic. The holy left hand point break may become toxic and deadly. I am also part of capitalism, hungry for tungsten. 

I clean and tidy my house before setting of for a wave search. Swell is huge as the second winter storm hits the Cape, I love bad weather!

May we keep earth tidy, and control our hunger for rare earths as we slumber along in our ignorant capitalist lifestyle. Come on Bongani! Bring your part. Emancipation from race is worthless unless the world becomes a better place, are we still this selfish?  You were raped, do you have to rape back?
Only if we care about others and their interests can our everyday actions make the world a better place.
Love and respect for earth and life compels us to make informed decisions, to educate ourselves.  

Will we verloor Verloren vlei?

Friday, 30 April 2010


Ons verwelkom Jemima en hoop sy is gelukkig by haar nuwe tuiste. Ons sien ook uit dat los lawwe Leo kom kuier! Veilig ry, en vlieg..
The off shore is here for you friend..

Monday, 19 April 2010

Horse Guiding, horses guiding us..?

Guide the horses that will guide you..

Estimado Edu

For your first trip to Southern Africa I suggest a combination of culture and nature. Large mammals exist in Africa today like no other place on the planet. A few places to view them here include Kruger National Park, Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Park and Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park.
These Parks are huge distances apart and one should choose well where to visit. Each park and area is characterised by natural and cultural elements. We often observe animals such as Giraffe, Zebra, Lion, Elephant, Oryx, Gnu, Impala, Springbok, Leopard, Cheetah, Springbok, Hartebeest, Duiker, Wild Dog, Jackal, Hiena, Rhino and Warthog.  Birdlife is fascinating and the region boasts amazing flora!
Southern Africa has an abundance of languages and cultures, making for an interesting trip.
 These days I specialise with Spanish and Italian speaking clients.  
Maybe you should consider to visit Cape Town and Kruger Park areas. Your children and family will love the culture here in Cape Town and the animals of Kruger Park! One can easily spend a week in the Cape Town area and include some travel along the coast of the Garden Route or West Coast, and then spend a week in Kruger Park area. 
When I host clients I meet them at the airport and drop them there again at the end of their trip. I Guide them through their journey and share my own experience of this lovely country with them.
I can create a package that includes accommodation, transport and meals. Every trip and itinerary is unique and guided by yours truly. 
With a year round moderate climate South Africa can be visited any time of the year. 
This time we can converse in Italian or Spanish! It will be great to meet you again. 
Let me know what your thoughts are..saludos!

Monday, 08 March 2010

Water Mountains

In the afternoon I saddle Ronin for a ride.
He has been acting very strange lately. As if he has a trauma to overcome.
The ideal is that he relaxes with the bit
And keep himself composed, working with his back legs. From behind..
We walk for hours with limited trots and canters.
Walking with a good pace and stride helps horses to develop and exercise crucial muscles.
We ride into the sunset in Mountains of water:
The Waterberg.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Passport Killer

Victoria Falls can be seen from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Different perspectives from the old Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia can be seen on walks surrounding the Falls.
A double entry visa for American citizens cost $80 for Zambia and $45 on entering Zimbabwe.

 Four countries meet close to Kasane, upstream from the Falls: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana.
The area is furnished with top wildlife destinations like Chobe in Botswana and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Botswana entry is free, and some argue that Botswana is the most comprehensive Safari destination in Southern Africa, though it's National parks are expensive.

 The Victoria Falls arrests one with its immense amount of water, thundering into the gorge below.
Kill your passport, visit the Smoke that Thunders!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Horror in Haiti

My girlfriend says I am obsessed with waves, that I get up in the morning and automatically check conditions for a surf. That I spend hours and days in the water riding waves, all true.
Then a true catastrophy targets a place like Haiti and my life of luxury and hunting swell seems insignificant. 
Thousands of African diaspora was planted in the New World by organised human trafficking. Their English different as it's fresh in their culture and history. Now their Voodoo roots lament the bloody streets of their freshly destroyed island.  Searching drinking water, western medicine, corpses of their loved ones, and God. God help!
Would a slave trader have a change of heart if he knew the hell of his caged cargo's destination?
Emancipation seems futile at the quakes of wrath.  
At the moment my professional calling is to accompany travellers, a Tour Guide. I often look for water, lunch-, safety- for those in my care. At the worst we are uncomfortable for a few hours, missed a flight.. We often observe the challenges and difficulties of locals. The capitalist perch crumbles at the hands of seismic disaster.
Bless the survivors in Haiti! Send them a thought, a prayer, send money. May they find strenght and growth in the reconstruction of their world. May the spirit and heart be stronger than all agony.   
I look at waves and tourists differently.

morning safara

morning safara

Cape Town's 12 Apostels

Cape Town's 12 Apostels