Off-road safari

We enjoy letting our hair down once in a while & the best way to do that [in our world] is on a 5*-safari. This silver spoon doesn't come cheaply - punters need deep pockets & a shallow outlook. It's a topsy-turvy, unbalanced world.. Safari-by-numbers has its limitations, of course. This is important. The cornerstone of an African bush experience is the anticipation of what comes next. Why? Luck plays a part ...

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To the trees!

Once a year, every year, I celebrate a birthday; another ring on what is becoming a trunk rather than a stem. It's a collection of hoops Methuselah hisself might envy, quietly of course. This year the family obliged with a surprise, self-drive, busman's holiday to the mistforest & bushveld biomes of South Africa's Limpopo province. Alisha's passion, [she's a Reiki Master (btw.)], resides in the esoteric; an alternative form of common sense & a ...

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Please, sir, I want some more!

Oliver to Tankatara's twist, we went down for more. Joined by a twitching doyen we flew on *Mango from Johannesburg [JHB - ORT] to Port Elizabeth (PE) for another crack at the Tankatara Pans where a potential giga lurked ... in plain sight. [*Alisha's a cracker ...] Fortunately we were delayed at ORT for 30 minutes; the pilot stalling for discharge papers or his license. I can't be sure but I was smug anyway. The 3pm ...

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Birding – an on-demand generation

Weaned on rarity reports, has birding become the outdoor poster child for an on-demand generation? It's pay-per-view reporting - pick & choose - get there - tick it. Load it - boast it & confine the field-clip to a binary yes or no. Life's an adventure: a paper-bag of water - seeping madness. It's also sweeter on the soul running uphill against time. Keeps us chirpy. Is there anything more annoying, less-relaxing even, than the chime of ...

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Phinda – the evolution of conservation

In 1990 Dave Varty's [Londolozi] vision of community-based tourism; a model sustained by good business practice & not on donor funds, was born. CC Africa - [now &Beyond] was formed to facilitate the purchase of land - properties farmed for cattle, sisal & pineapple. The land was mostly degraded & purged of wildlife. This newly-formed reserve was called 'Phinda Izilwane' - Zulu for 'return of the wildlife' & the wildlife has, indeed, ...

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Rhino – Africa unite

There are two schools of thought on the future of Africa's wildlife. In their purest forms the first is the preservation of wild animals in non-consumptive wilderness / sanctuaries; i.e. - reservations designed and managed to give wildlife free-roaming access & / or with minimal interference from people. The funding for the management of these sanctuaries is externalised or collected at the entrance gate / green lodge etc. People who find this school ...

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Dreamcatcher

For an enchanted moment, the ship must have held its breath.  Plucked from a fairy-tale, somewhere forward of the port bow, a Sooty Albatross took to the skies, soared into view and hovered like an evangelist on the draught of the collective inhale. I remember turning wordlessly to Alisha, partners in wonder; and shared a dream, a lifetime’s second that will endure for as long as we care to look up. I ...

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Africa update – Lions

Moral-decrepitude is the non-negotiable, basic premise on which the South African captive-bred lion 'hunting' industry relies. The 21st century has its challenges. Existential issues confront humanity across a broad front. The media's focus on suffering, particularly children, is usually more than meets the eye. Ineffective leadership, graft, health, energy, the status of women, religious intolerance & racial division are current, calamitous & in urgent need of redress. Global ethics, therefore, especially w.r.t anthropogenic ...

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Namibia – journey under stars

Disagreeing with the women in my family is a hierarchical threat designated code orange. Get to red & blood flows. Yellow, I know. Pareidolia, for those who don't know, is the phenomenon of seeing faces in inanimate objects. Mea culpa - I'm a sufferer & a tulpamancer too. Here's how I saw it. Them girls didn't, couldn't or wouldn't. Predictably their tulpas are shtum. No imagination... Königstein is the Brandberg Intrusion's highest ...

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Wind – the truth

'..... it would break the laws of physics if emissions and fuel use didn’t go down when wind was contributing.' - (American Wind Energy Association) Is wind energy, endorsed by co-sponsors BirdLife South Africa & Investec, a blast of hot air? In August 2012 Investec & BirdLife South Africa [BLSA] appointed Samantha Ralston to 'actively participate in the renewable energy sector' - I assume to provide a responsible framework. BirdLife South Africa, prima ...

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