Outdoor by the River

Thanks for joining me on this epic adventure that I find myself in as I explore some of the amazing places throughout Southern Africa. I plan to travel from the North (near the border of Swaziland) down to the southern most tip at Cape Point. Interestingly Cape Point is actually not the most southern point of Africa, there is a nature reserve somewhere close to Port Elizabeth which apparently is the closest. I will post the name soon as I cannot recall off hand. I spent my childhood in the UK so you can imagine how exciting it is to spend time in a continent with so many wide open spaces and, of course, the sunny blue skies which you can almost guarantee for the most of the year.

African LandscapeAlthough there are some interesting places to visit where you can view game and the big 5 that is not really my primary goal. I do love to spend time in these parks but I have been there and done that I am looking for a different adventure this time so I plan to visit areas seldom seen by humans which are well off the beaten track.

My main concern will be my safety – this is for two reasons really. The first is the lack of medical facilities close to areas I plan to visit, if I happen to break my arm or get sick out in the wilderness it will be a life threatening situation as I would have my satellite phone to call for help. I do plan on keeping a friend informed of my location so if I do not check in they can send in some help! The other concern is for the amount of crime that the country suffers. It is a major problem and I just have to keep my fingers crossed that I stay safe and manage to avoid any major incidents.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit the Blyde River Canyon, a spectacular place with scenery you can only dream of – check out the video below to see an aerial view (someone submitted this video for a competition, thanks :-) )

I actually stayed in this area for a little under a week and squeezed in some rock climbing, mountain biking and found the time to hike around the lake. The area is close to Pilgrims Rest (a place you should visit if you find yourself in the area) as one of the original mining towns in South Africa. Much of the history is preserved and you can even have a go at panning for gold in the river! Close to the canyon are some other tourist attractions and view points that are worth checking out.

I plan to begin my adventure sometime around the first week of November, as South Africa will be just getting into Summer at that point and although it is the rainy season it is the best time for serious adventure as there is likely to be water around if things should go wrong.

I hope you will find the time to check back and keep an eye on my journey over the coming six months.

Getting Ready

I thought I would just post a small update as I am now getting ready for my trip. As with any journey such as this safety must be the primary concern. You have to balance the need for safety and the equipment you can carry (and afford) with what is practical and makes sense. It is not good having so much safety equipment that you end up hating your trip due to exhaustion trying to carry it all. South Africa is also a very humid country which means you have to be careful about dehydration – this could just end up being the biggest problem as finding water is not always easy – and of course it may be polluted and could end up causing severe sickness.

First Aid Plaster

There are some items that you just have to take with you. The most important, in my mind, is a decent first aid kit with everything you need to cater for cuts, bruises, fractures or even a broken bone. This also includes some meds such as pain killers and antibiotics. Secondly, it is important to have a decent phone. Normally, a cell phone would do this trick but because of my remote location travel I am going for a satellite phone. These are really expensive but in an emergency situation they will most likely save your life. The rest is normal stuff which ranges from proper sleeping bags and equipment (need to keep safe from the elements over night) through to food and water cleansing pills. The list is fairly extensive and probably one of the most important parts of your trip if you plan on going off the main track. Clothing is also important and getting proper survival clothes will end up costing a bit but it can become cold overnight (or if it rains for a prolonged period) and you need to know you can keep dry and warm.

Some electronics are also essential these days as I always carry a decent GPS system. These are not the same as the usual car GPS as they need to have a much longer battery life and also cater for someone on foot as opposed to driving a car. If you plan on buying one of these then make sure you go for a decent model – there are lots of Chinese imitations around and they can give you incorrect information as well as malfunction.

Finally, I am spending time on route planning. This involves checking areas out and researching recent news events to make sure that they are most likely to be a safe place to visit. Planning everything down to the tee has kept me alive and helped to ensure I have the best experience possible when out on my adventures.

 

 

 

Some Personal Fun

The main purpose of this site was to share and document my adventures around South Africa. I am fortunate to have a family that is somewhat well off in pounds and have agreed to allow me some time to travel and see the parts of the world that I always dreamed of during my childhood. Aside from the adventure and the excitement of venturing off into the unknown I also do enjoy spending time with friends and family as well as playing lots of golf!

I guess it is only fair to own up to the fact that I enjoy playing golf as much as traveling and South Africa offers some of the best courses to be found anywhere in the world. Mix that in with the climate and landscape and you have all the components to make SA one of the best golfing destinations in the world. Sun City is one of my favorites as it features two world class golf courses (if you are a golfer then I am sure you have seen the million dollar tournament broadcast from there) and there is plenty of other entertainment there as well. If you ever get out to SA then I highly recommend a few days at Sun City. Some of the courses throughout the region are placed in natural environments where animals live – playing golf with game surrounding you is an amazing experience that you cannot really describe.

Golf is a fast growing sport in the UK and there is supposed to be close to 2.5 millions golfers there (amazing for such a packed out place!) but the problem comes over winter time when the weather is bad. I was lucky enough to have a golf simulator to practice my golf at home while growing up but it is not the same as getting out onto the course. South African summer occurs at the same time as the UK winter so you can see another small motivation for planning my travels at this time of year. You can read this Optishot review if you want to learn more about indoor golf simulation.

I won’t spend any time detailing my golfing exploits on this blog as I plan to spend more time discussing my travels and off-the-map adventures but if I find anything interesting or scenery I feel is worth sharing then I will add it in.

In addition, I do enjoy trying out different wines and again this is the perfect region. SA is well known for it’s high quality wines at affordable prices so I will be sure to pass on any gems that I may find during my trip.

I hope to update soon when I am preparing to leave.