Adventurers Wanted

It’s official: South Africa is the world’s best adventurer destination

“I was not expecting this. It’s luxurious. It’s friendly. It’s safe. It’s awesome. I love this place. I just love it” Rachael Scobie, Australian adventurer.

SOUTH AFRICA is bracing itself for an influx of adventurer travelers since a tribe of young adrenalin junkies have declared it to be unsurpassed by any other destination on earth for its sheer variety of exhilarating adrenaline thrills.

The seven, each of a different nationality, have roundly declared their ten-days in South Africa to have been an experience that they will never, ever forget and an epic adventure that is unlike anything else offered anywhere in the world.

The seven came to South Africa to see if that country really is the best and most exciting adventurer destination in the world. Between them they have done everything from living with remote tribes in the Amazon to scaling Everest and kayaking the mighty Colorado River. They were unanimous: It’s impossible to beat South Africa’s just plain out there, blow your hair back, gee-whizz adventure travel activities.

They were in South Africa as winners of South African Tourism’s Adventurers Wanted campaign in partnership with the National Geographic Channel. The winners were chosen from thousands of entries from seven countries: UK, Australia, Italy, France, Netherlands, USA and Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They came to South Africa to do the highest bungee jump in the world; to whizz along zip lines on treetop canopy tours; to get nose to snout with Great White Sharks; to walk through pristine bush and get up close and personal with the Big Five; to go abseiling, mountaineering, hiking, cross country cycling, quad biking, reptile wrangling; to tame the mightiest white waters in inflatable kayaks; to sleep under the stars and dine on mountaintops; to hot air balloon; to spelunk and to surf. And that was only in the first few days!

They have each recorded their time in South Africa for the world to share on http://www.adventuresouthafrica.net/. Their accounts make for wonderful reading. Says UK adventurer, Ben Dowman: “South Africa made us laugh, scream, stare open mouthed and jump for joy together so many times that I’ve given up counting. South Africa changed us.”

“South Africa made us laugh, scream, stare open mouthed and jump for joy together so many times that I’ve given up counting. South Africa changed us” says Ben Dowman, UK adventurer

Ben Lewis from the USA says: “I already want to plan a return trip. I think a few of my friends may be interested in joining me. South Africa has really opened my eyes, from the combination of beauty and ruggedness to the culture and the friendliness of the people. It’s blown me away. And it’s shattered all my preconceptions.”

Roshene Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, South African Tourism: “We just love it that the adventurer tribe had a great time exploring South Africa. They all know now what we have been saying for years: South Africa is heaven for adrenalin-seeking junkies. There really is no better place on earth for people who roll up their sleeves, reach out and grab life and all its wondrous offerings. We love it that they had a good time. And we can’t wait to see them, and their friends, back again for more.”

To learn about the awesome Adventurers Wanted holiday and to take a look at the amazing photographs of everything the tribe of adventurers did in South Africa, go to http://www.adventuresouthafrica.net/

It’s official: South Africa is the world’s best adventurer destination

“I was not expecting this. It’s luxurious. It’s friendly. It’s safe. It’s awesome. I love this place. I just love it” Rachael Scobie, Australian adventurer.

SOUTH AFRICA is bracing itself for an influx of adventurer travelers since a tribe of young adrenalin junkies have declared it to be unsurpassed by any other destination on earth for its sheer variety of exhilarating adrenaline thrills.

The seven, each of a different nationality, have roundly declared their ten-days in South Africa to have been an experience that they will never, ever forget and an epic adventure that is unlike anything else offered anywhere in the world.

The seven came to South Africa to see if that country really is the best and most exciting adventurer destination in the world. Between them they have done everything from living with remote tribes in the Amazon to scaling Everest and kayaking the mighty Colorado River. They were unanimous: It’s impossible to beat South Africa’s just plain out there, blow your hair back, gee-whizz adventure travel activities.

They were in South Africa as winners of South African Tourism’s Adventurers Wanted campaign in partnership with the National Geographic Channel. The winners were chosen from thousands of entries from seven countries: UK, Australia, Italy, France, Netherlands, USA and Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They came to South Africa to do the highest bungee jump in the world; to whizz along zip lines on treetop canopy tours; to get nose to snout with Great White Sharks; to walk through pristine bush and get up close and personal with the Big Five; to go abseiling, mountaineering, hiking, cross country cycling, quad biking, reptile wrangling; to tame the mightiest white waters in inflatable kayaks; to sleep under the stars and dine on mountaintops; to hot air balloon; to spelunk and to surf. And that was only in the first few days!

They have each recorded their time in South Africa for the world to share on http://www.adventuresouthafrica.net/. Their accounts make for wonderful reading. Says UK adventurer, Ben Dowman: “South Africa made us laugh, scream, stare open mouthed and jump for joy together so many times that I’ve given up counting. South Africa changed us.”

“South Africa made us laugh, scream, stare open mouthed and jump for joy together so many times that I’ve given up counting. South Africa changed us” says Ben Dowman, UK adventurer

Ben Lewis from the USA says: “I already want to plan a return trip. I think a few of my friends may be interested in joining me. South Africa has really opened my eyes, from the combination of beauty and ruggedness to the culture and the friendliness of the people. It’s blown me away. And it’s shattered all my preconceptions.”

Roshene Singh, Chief Marketing Officer, South African Tourism: “We just love it that the adventurer tribe had a great time exploring South Africa. They all know now what we have been saying for years: South Africa is heaven for adrenalin-seeking junkies. There really is no better place on earth for people who roll up their sleeves, reach out and grab life and all its wondrous offerings. We love it that they had a good time. And we can’t wait to see them, and their friends, back again for more.”

To learn about the awesome Adventurers Wanted holiday and to take a look at the amazing photographs of everything the tribe of adventurers did in South Africa, go to http://www.adventuresouthafrica.net/

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 10

A beautiful day, a long white sandy beach, great people and some pretty good looking horses was how we started today. Horse riding at Nordhoek about 35 kilometres south of Cape Town. We took the picturesque Chapman’s peak Drive. So stunning is the shore-line that it reminds me of Bicheno in Tasmania with dramatic mountains tumbling into the ocean.
We were introduced to our horses and rode for a couple of hours along the beach. It’s a wonderfully free feeling to gallop along the shore-line with the wind in your hair, the smell of horse mingled with salt and the sound of the waves rolling in from the ocean. A must do for the wild at heart.

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon was spent in a wet suit in the ocean at Big Bay taking a surf lesson. Now, you may wonder, being from sunny Australia where water temperatures generally don’t get below an average of 19 degrees Celsius (depending on where you live) why would one want to surf in a wet suit in South Africa? There are two currents that you should know about; the Agulhas, which brings warm water on the East from the subtropics, and the north drifting cold Benguela current (from the Southern Ocean around Antarctica). Well for one, this warm-blooded Aussie had fun taking a surf lesson at Big Bay, even if in a wet suit. It was a tad chilly and it was enjoyable. Further north, the South Atlantic Ocean warms up and surfers rave about the waves from Richards Bay on the East coast (warm) all the way down and around to the Betty’s Bay on the West coast (a little chilly) but good waves and fun times.

 

My recommendation is give it a go.

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 10

A beautiful day, a long white sandy beach, great people and some pretty good looking horses was how we started today. Horse riding at Nordhoek about 35 kilometres south of Cape Town. We took the picturesque Chapman’s peak Drive. So stunning is the shore-line that it reminds me of Bicheno in Tasmania with dramatic mountains tumbling into the ocean.
We were introduced to our horses and rode for a couple of hours along the beach. It’s a wonderfully free feeling to gallop along the shore-line with the wind in your hair, the smell of horse mingled with salt and the sound of the waves rolling in from the ocean. A must do for the wild at heart.

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon was spent in a wet suit in the ocean at Big Bay taking a surf lesson. Now, you may wonder, being from sunny Australia where water temperatures generally don’t get below an average of 19 degrees Celsius (depending on where you live) why would one want to surf in a wet suit in South Africa? There are two currents that you should know about; the Agulhas, which brings warm water on the East from the subtropics, and the north drifting cold Benguela current (from the Southern Ocean around Antarctica). Well for one, this warm-blooded Aussie had fun taking a surf lesson at Big Bay, even if in a wet suit. It was a tad chilly and it was enjoyable. Further north, the South Atlantic Ocean warms up and surfers rave about the waves from Richards Bay on the East coast (warm) all the way down and around to the Betty’s Bay on the West coast (a little chilly) but good waves and fun times.

 

My recommendation is give it a go.

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 9

Wow! Today we started with a mountain bike ride that began half way or so down Table Mountain. It was fantastic.

Let me tell you about Table Mountain. Table Mountain sits smack in the middle of Cape Town. I don’t think you could ask for a more dramatic setting for a city as its mass rises 1,086 metres (at it’s highest point) above sea level to form a flat topped icon. Botanists estimate there to be over 1,000 different plant species on Table Mountain, with roughly 300 species of Protea, the King or Giant Protea being South Africa’s National flower. There are great hiking paths up Table Mountain and for those who’d rather take it easy you can ride the Aerial Cable Car to the top and meet at the coffee shop to soak up the view. There is great abseiling (down) as well.

 

So with that in mind I am not sure I can tell you much more about the Mountain Bike adventure we went on. “Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but foot prints,” was our guide’s motto from Downhill Adventures. Ben Dowman from the UK added “…and kill nothing but time.” So we rode our little hearts out and had a good time.

 

After a quick sandwich and a juice we harnessed up so we could abseil down a vertical rock face with Table Mountain as the backdrop. I was so amped that I abseiled front first rather than the traditional back first. Ben Lewis from the US called this “Aussie style” which I was fine with. When Ben decided he would also go front first I thought that he had forgotten to hold onto to the rope to break as he went oh so quick. In fact he just ran down and didn’t need to break. He’s a legend.

Web Site: http://downhilladventures.com/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

(photo by Sophie Walker)

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 9

Wow! Today we started with a mountain bike ride that began half way or so down Table Mountain. It was fantastic.

Let me tell you about Table Mountain. Table Mountain sits smack in the middle of Cape Town. I don’t think you could ask for a more dramatic setting for a city as its mass rises 1,086 metres (at it’s highest point) above sea level to form a flat topped icon. Botanists estimate there to be over 1,000 different plant species on Table Mountain, with roughly 300 species of Protea, the King or Giant Protea being South Africa’s National flower. There are great hiking paths up Table Mountain and for those who’d rather take it easy you can ride the Aerial Cable Car to the top and meet at the coffee shop to soak up the view. There is great abseiling (down) as well.

 

So with that in mind I am not sure I can tell you much more about the Mountain Bike adventure we went on. “Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but foot prints,” was our guide’s motto from Downhill Adventures. Ben Dowman from the UK added “…and kill nothing but time.” So we rode our little hearts out and had a good time.

 

After a quick sandwich and a juice we harnessed up so we could abseil down a vertical rock face with Table Mountain as the backdrop. I was so amped that I abseiled front first rather than the traditional back first. Ben Lewis from the US called this “Aussie style” which I was fine with. When Ben decided he would also go front first I thought that he had forgotten to hold onto to the rope to break as he went oh so quick. In fact he just ran down and didn’t need to break. He’s a legend.

Web Site: http://downhilladventures.com/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

(photo by Sophie Walker)

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 7

This morning was an early rise so that we could make sunrise in a Hot Air Balloon. Once the balloon was inflated we cruised at various heights over the town of Oudtshoorn. The first balloon was invented in France in 1783, was made of paper and silk, and the heat was generated by a fire in the basket, somewhat different to the gas heaters that made our balloon rise to the heavens. My sunglasses fell from the balloon and into someone’s garden right next to the kids slippery dip. I thought that they were long gone but the owner of the house must have seen them and brought them to the landing strip. How wonderfully thought and considerate!

We lunched at Mon Cap Vineyard which is South Africa’s largest privately owned Internationally Certified Organic Vineyard. I am so happy that they Freight their wine. All I have to do is put in an order via email. And the food….so delicious.

We spent the afternoon kayaking with the Southern Right Whales at Hermanus!!!
Oh my goodness this is an experience not to be missed. The sea was a tad choppy but all is forgotten when there is a whale breaching not far away. There is so much power behind the blow as it sprays into the sky. The whales come close into the Hermanus Bay and hug the shore so they can birth. They use the Bay to fatten their calves before making the journey south to the Antarctic. It is thought that the mother whales make use of the undercurrent near the shore to strengthen their calves swimming ability.

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 7

This morning was an early rise so that we could make sunrise in a Hot Air Balloon. Once the balloon was inflated we cruised at various heights over the town of Oudtshoorn. The first balloon was invented in France in 1783, was made of paper and silk, and the heat was generated by a fire in the basket, somewhat different to the gas heaters that made our balloon rise to the heavens. My sunglasses fell from the balloon and into someone’s garden right next to the kids slippery dip. I thought that they were long gone but the owner of the house must have seen them and brought them to the landing strip. How wonderfully thought and considerate!

We lunched at Mon Cap Vineyard which is South Africa’s largest privately owned Internationally Certified Organic Vineyard. I am so happy that they Freight their wine. All I have to do is put in an order via email. And the food….so delicious.

We spent the afternoon kayaking with the Southern Right Whales at Hermanus!!!
Oh my goodness this is an experience not to be missed. The sea was a tad choppy but all is forgotten when there is a whale breaching not far away. There is so much power behind the blow as it sprays into the sky. The whales come close into the Hermanus Bay and hug the shore so they can birth. They use the Bay to fatten their calves before making the journey south to the Antarctic. It is thought that the mother whales make use of the undercurrent near the shore to strengthen their calves swimming ability.

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 8

We have just done a Shark Cage Dive in Gansbaai with White Shark Ecoventures. Within 10 minutes of anchoring and scenting the water there was a shark circling the boat.
It was just such a surreal experience. The water was so cold but my intense excitement left me unaware of it. The biggest was 4 metres long. He was gigantic. We had 5 different sharks circle our boat. One of them launched at the bait before there was a chance to pull it in and we lost it. Maaike was in the cage at the time and saw the sharks eyes roll to the back in its head.

 

I never thought that I would ever dive with the Great White Shark but I am so glad that I have. It looks like it should be a frightening experience but I found it exhilarating and rather peaceful in the water. We were housed in a cage with rounded edges so the sharks don’t get hurt. The sharks don’t like the bubbles from scuba respirators so the best way is to just hold your breath and drop to the bottom of the cage. I screamed in delight the first time I saw one and had to come up for air.

 

I think that it is important to choose a responsible tour operator to do Shark Cage Diving. It is definitely an experience that I won’t forget.

Web Site: http://www.white-shark-diving.com/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 8

We have just done a Shark Cage Dive in Gansbaai with White Shark Ecoventures. Within 10 minutes of anchoring and scenting the water there was a shark circling the boat.
It was just such a surreal experience. The water was so cold but my intense excitement left me unaware of it. The biggest was 4 metres long. He was gigantic. We had 5 different sharks circle our boat. One of them launched at the bait before there was a chance to pull it in and we lost it. Maaike was in the cage at the time and saw the sharks eyes roll to the back in its head.

 

I never thought that I would ever dive with the Great White Shark but I am so glad that I have. It looks like it should be a frightening experience but I found it exhilarating and rather peaceful in the water. We were housed in a cage with rounded edges so the sharks don’t get hurt. The sharks don’t like the bubbles from scuba respirators so the best way is to just hold your breath and drop to the bottom of the cage. I screamed in delight the first time I saw one and had to come up for air.

 

I think that it is important to choose a responsible tour operator to do Shark Cage Diving. It is definitely an experience that I won’t forget.

Web Site: http://www.white-shark-diving.com/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa day – 6

We started the day with caving and finished it with a quad bike ride to a massive waterfall with TBI Adventures, Oudtshoorn.
The cave entrance was so small that there was no way you would know it was there unless you are ‘in the know.’ We dressed in clean overalls, helmets and head torches, and came out like little muddy earth worms.

The ceiling of the cave got so low in areas that we were on our bellies and had to turn our heads to the side to get through. Some areas were less than a foot high – it was so tight. I must admit that it was more adventure than I anticipated and I confess that I had a few moments in there where I had to take long slow breathes to stay calm. But I LOVED it so much. It was by far an awesome experience. At the end of the 2km crawl, leopard crawl, wiggle and worm, we made it to ‘fairy cave,’ which was just so beautiful. Some of the formations were well over 135, 000 years in the making. I saw three types of little plants down there. One of them looked like thin elastic. It grew about 10 centremetres straight up in strands.
I had so much adrenalin pumping through my veins after I couldn’t sit still. These caves are not open to the public. There are no lights, walkways or stairs and is a true adventure!

The quad biking was fun. We rode 22Km through the trees and up and down hills to our final destination, the massive 80 metre high Rust & Vrede waterfall before heading back to the farm.

The people at TBI adventures are just so lovely, hospitable and very safety conscious. We all had a fantastic time.

Web Site: http://www.tbiadventures.co.za/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa day – 6

We started the day with caving and finished it with a quad bike ride to a massive waterfall with TBI Adventures, Oudtshoorn.
The cave entrance was so small that there was no way you would know it was there unless you are ‘in the know.’ We dressed in clean overalls, helmets and head torches, and came out like little muddy earth worms.

The ceiling of the cave got so low in areas that we were on our bellies and had to turn our heads to the side to get through. Some areas were less than a foot high – it was so tight. I must admit that it was more adventure than I anticipated and I confess that I had a few moments in there where I had to take long slow breathes to stay calm. But I LOVED it so much. It was by far an awesome experience. At the end of the 2km crawl, leopard crawl, wiggle and worm, we made it to ‘fairy cave,’ which was just so beautiful. Some of the formations were well over 135, 000 years in the making. I saw three types of little plants down there. One of them looked like thin elastic. It grew about 10 centremetres straight up in strands.
I had so much adrenalin pumping through my veins after I couldn’t sit still. These caves are not open to the public. There are no lights, walkways or stairs and is a true adventure!

The quad biking was fun. We rode 22Km through the trees and up and down hills to our final destination, the massive 80 metre high Rust & Vrede waterfall before heading back to the farm.

The people at TBI adventures are just so lovely, hospitable and very safety conscious. We all had a fantastic time.

Web Site: http://www.tbiadventures.co.za/

Create your own South African adventure at http://www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 5
Today we Bungee Jumped!!!

It was on my ‘never to do list’ but I jumped and lived!  It was such a unifying experience for the tribe. The Bungee was suspended from Bloukrans the highest single arched bridge in the world (216 metres). The bridge is suspended over a narrow river that flows into the sea.  The view is so stupendously beautiful that it was a pleasant walk over the open grated walkway under the bridge.

Once we arrived we were given a safety talk and no time was wasted in getting the bungee rope tied to our legs.  I approached the jump with a gammut of emotions.  Once on the jumping platform I was exhilarated. The view, the music, the rest of the tribe and the anticipation of the experience had my heart pumping and my body in constant motion.  Once the bungee rope was tied to my legs my tone changed all together and it was the calmness and steadfastness of the Bungee guys that kept me from passing out. After a “1, 2, 3, Bungeeeee…….,” I made the ‘oh so terrifying’ jump off a perfectly good bridge to free fall 216 very long metres attached by my legs with thousands and thousands of thin elastic bundled into a 3 inch diameter rope.  My mind over rode the urge to run (I could’ve only have hopped if I wanted because of the rope attached to my legs) and after a few false starts I made the leap of faith into the abyss (a bit dramatic, I know)!!  I was expecting a jerking stop bounce action and was so surprised when it felt like a spongy slow stop (like marshmellow) before bouncing.  I really exercised my lungs on the way down.

In the afternoon we visited Storms River in Tsitsikamma National Park to do a zip line tree top walk through indigenous forest.  It was so much fun and somewhat more relaxed than the mornings bungee experience.  There is a series of 10 flying foxes through the tree tops.  None of the structures directly touch the trees making sure they are not damaged.  The folks at Tsitsikamma Adventures  look after the locals by providing jobs and also by providing food for the people who can’t afford to buy it.  Lovely compassionate people who love humanity. 

Create your own South African Adventure at www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 5

Today we Bungee Jumped!!!

It was on my ‘never to do list’ but I jumped and lived!  It was such a unifying experience for the tribe. The Bungee was suspended from Bloukrans the highest single arched bridge in the world (216 metres). The bridge is suspended over a narrow river that flows into the sea.  The view is so stupendously beautiful that it was a pleasant walk over the open grated walkway under the bridge.

Once we arrived we were given a safety talk and no time was wasted in getting the bungee rope tied to our legs.  I approached the jump with a gammut of emotions.  Once on the jumping platform I was exhilarated. The view, the music, the rest of the tribe and the anticipation of the experience had my heart pumping and my body in constant motion.  Once the bungee rope was tied to my legs my tone changed all together and it was the calmness and steadfastness of the Bungee guys that kept me from passing out. After a “1, 2, 3, Bungeeeee…….,” I made the ‘oh so terrifying’ jump off a perfectly good bridge to free fall 216 very long metres attached by my legs with thousands and thousands of thin elastic bundled into a 3 inch diameter rope.  My mind over rode the urge to run (I could’ve only have hopped if I wanted because of the rope attached to my legs) and after a few false starts I made the leap of faith into the abyss (a bit dramatic, I know)!!  I was expecting a jerking stop bounce action and was so surprised when it felt like a spongy slow stop (like marshmellow) before bouncing.  I really exercised my lungs on the way down.

In the afternoon we visited Storms River in Tsitsikamma National Park to do a zip line tree top walk through indigenous forest.  It was so much fun and somewhat more relaxed than the mornings bungee experience.  There is a series of 10 flying foxes through the tree tops.  None of the structures directly touch the trees making sure they are not damaged.  The folks at Tsitsikamma Adventures  look after the locals by providing jobs and also by providing food for the people who can’t afford to buy it.  Lovely compassionate people who love humanity. 

Create your own South African Adventure at www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 3-4

Sunday 29th  & Monday 30thAugust 2010

Shamwari Game Reserve is so amazing. Luck shone on us today and we saw two male Cheetah (brothers) hanging out.  Males from the same litter tend to stay together with the dominant male mating.  They are such powerful animals.  We were alerted to their presence in the valley because a massive troop of Baboons were barking at them and chasing them away.  The Kudu then began walking toward them to scare them off once they came up the valley to where we were.  It took them a while to find a place far enough from the other animals before they could sit down.  The larger of the two jumped into a tree and put on a wonderful performance of scenting by rubbing his chest on the tree.  He has a tracking device around his neck, which downloads via satellite.  The reason for this is that the brothers’ behaviour is very different to normal Cheetah behaviour and rangers at Shamwari are studying it.
There was a big heard of elephants and the dominant male was in musk.  He was keen to show us who was the boss by putting on a show.  He walked between the two vehicles and then reversed flapping his ears.  He also came very close to the vehicles which gave us a good look at just how HUGE these animals are.  Can you imagine what it would have been like to be the first non-African settlers to walk the Cape and see such foreign and awesome animals?

We were lucky enough to see 4 of the “Big 5,” lion’s, rhino’s, elephants and buffalo in the wild.  We saw a leopard at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.  We also experienced zebras, giraffes, gemsbock, kudu, impala, springbok, hippos and many more of South Africa’s native animals.  The safaris are undertaken in dark green jeeps that have been converted to carry 10 passengers.  It is possible to get very close to the wild because the jeeps have never posed a threat.  It gives the impression of a big animal.

We visited the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and the Shamwari Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre.  The Born Free Foundation is dedicated to taking in abused wild life.  The animals that can released onto the reserve will be, while those that can’t have a permanent home at the centre.  Human contact is limited as humans have been the main abusers and this helps limit the distress and also allows the animal to live in peace. There was a lioness there who had been rescued from a pit at Charles Taylor’s compound, the ex Liberian President/warlord. She has permanent neurological damage due to the horrific neglect.  Her brother starved to death in the pit beside her before they could be rescued.
The team of rangers, vets and managers are so dedicated to looking after the welfare of the wild life. They are really passionate about their jobs and being with them for the last two and half days has really touched my heart. 

Photos by Sophie Walker

Create your own South African Adventure at www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 3-4

Sunday 29th  & Monday 30thAugust 2010

Shamwari Game Reserve is so amazing. Luck shone on us today and we saw two male Cheetah (brothers) hanging out.  Males from the same litter tend to stay together with the dominant male mating.  They are such powerful animals.  We were alerted to their presence in the valley because a massive troop of Baboons were barking at them and chasing them away.  The Kudu then began walking toward them to scare them off once they came up the valley to where we were.  It took them a while to find a place far enough from the other animals before they could sit down.  The larger of the two jumped into a tree and put on a wonderful performance of scenting by rubbing his chest on the tree.  He has a tracking device around his neck, which downloads via satellite.  The reason for this is that the brothers’ behaviour is very different to normal Cheetah behaviour and rangers at Shamwari are studying it.
There was a big heard of elephants and the dominant male was in musk.  He was keen to show us who was the boss by putting on a show.  He walked between the two vehicles and then reversed flapping his ears.  He also came very close to the vehicles which gave us a good look at just how HUGE these animals are.  Can you imagine what it would have been like to be the first non-African settlers to walk the Cape and see such foreign and awesome animals?

We were lucky enough to see 4 of the “Big 5,” lion’s, rhino’s, elephants and buffalo in the wild.  We saw a leopard at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.  We also experienced zebras, giraffes, gemsbock, kudu, impala, springbok, hippos and many more of South Africa’s native animals.  The safaris are undertaken in dark green jeeps that have been converted to carry 10 passengers.  It is possible to get very close to the wild because the jeeps have never posed a threat.  It gives the impression of a big animal.

We visited the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and the Shamwari Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre.  The Born Free Foundation is dedicated to taking in abused wild life.  The animals that can released onto the reserve will be, while those that can’t have a permanent home at the centre.  Human contact is limited as humans have been the main abusers and this helps limit the distress and also allows the animal to live in peace. There was a lioness there who had been rescued from a pit at Charles Taylor’s compound, the ex Liberian President/warlord. She has permanent neurological damage due to the horrific neglect.  Her brother starved to death in the pit beside her before they could be rescued.
The team of rangers, vets and managers are so dedicated to looking after the welfare of the wild life. They are really passionate about their jobs and being with them for the last two and half days has really touched my heart. 

Photos by Sophie Walker

Create your own South African Adventure at www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 1

Friday 27th August 2010
I have just walked into luxury heaven. It’s called ‘The Westcliffe’ and is one of the Orient Express hotels. It is just gorgeous. My room has blue and cream French wall paper, the most comfy looking bed, and a bathroom big enough to hold a party in. I was not expecting this.

It’s built on the side of a cliff so I was shuttled to my room. I am sitting on my balcony as twilight falls, over looking trees and the zoo, with the city to my right and I am reminded how much I love Africa.

Westcliff

http://www.stay-westcliff.co.za/?gclid=CMzm3IWD2qMCFZcz3godJBKP8Q

I lived in Cape Town for a total of 12 months spread over a couple of years. So far Africa is my favourite continent. I have visited Namibia, Botswana (3 times), a little of Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt and Morocco. I just love the way the light falls here, the sky is vast, and the wind blows like it is talking. Sure South Africa has had a difficult past but the country is trying to put that behind them and find a way forward together, in unity. Saturday 28th August 2010 I met most of the team last night. Ben L’s flight was delayed but we ended up having a lovely dinner and a good laugh. This morning we are meeting the rest of the team and flying to Port Elizabeth. We are staying at Shamwari Game Reserve which is supposed to be absolutely awesome. I will get back to you once we arrive

Create your own South Africa adventure at www.southafrica.net

Rachel’s adventures in South Africa – day 1

Friday 27th August 2010
I have just walked into luxury heaven. It’s called ‘The Westcliffe’ and is one of the Orient Express hotels. It is just gorgeous. My room has blue and cream French wall paper, the most comfy looking bed, and a bathroom big enough to hold a party in. I was not expecting this.

It’s built on the side of a cliff so I was shuttled to my room. I am sitting on my balcony as twilight falls, over looking trees and the zoo, with the city to my right and I am reminded how much I love Africa.

Westcliff

http://www.stay-westcliff.co.za/?gclid=CMzm3IWD2qMCFZcz3godJBKP8Q

I lived in Cape Town for a total of 12 months spread over a couple of years. So far Africa is my favourite continent. I have visited Namibia, Botswana (3 times), a little of Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt and Morocco. I just love the way the light falls here, the sky is vast, and the wind blows like it is talking. Sure South Africa has had a difficult past but the country is trying to put that behind them and find a way forward together, in unity. Saturday 28th August 2010 I met most of the team last night. Ben L’s flight was delayed but we ended up having a lovely dinner and a good laugh. This morning we are meeting the rest of the team and flying to Port Elizabeth. We are staying at Shamwari Game Reserve which is supposed to be absolutely awesome. I will get back to you once we arrive

Create your own South Africa adventure at www.southafrica.net

Adventurers Wanted – follow Rachel’s adventures in South Africa
One More Sleep

I am back!

I have finally finished packing, put my cat in storage (the local vet boards cats), organised a friend to water the plants, photocopied my passport and left it with said friend (in case it gets lost), cleaned the house and am now relaxing on the couch and writing this to you.

I very recently took a new job as Marketing Executive for Endoscopy NSW, with Smith & Nephew, an International Orthopaedic company. As one of my colleagues said “it’s like drinking from the fire hydrant.” Today I thought my head was going to fall off (maybe even explode). I am so glad, and so are you by the way, that my thoughts today were not broadcasted as it would be very noisy out there. I am usually quite good at not buying into the monkey chatter mind but the convergence of many things at once was a tad overwhelming. I am back on track, relaxed and ready to jump on my flight to Johannesburg.

I really love ‘back pack’ only holidays but this time I have packed a bag with wheels (frocks, sandals, swimmers, plus the usual trekking gear). My last trip was in April/May this year to Tibet and Nepal (nothing but trekking gear, baby wipes, and not enough warm stuff). I saw the North face of Mt Everest in Tibet under a full moon (quite a few times during the evening as I was suffering terrible altitude sickness and couldn’t sleep), and since yesterday (25th August) was a full moon, I take it as an auspicious sign to the beginning of this wonderful adventure.

I also trekked to Everest Base Camp, or EBC, in Nepal and once you’ve reached all 5400 metres (17,500ft) of it, it’s just amazing. Actually, the entire walk was awe inspiring. I have decided that as much as I would love to summit “The Goddess In The Sky,” a further 3,450 metres (8,850m/29,035ft in total) into the vertical, I would rather leave it to the passionate pioneers like Sir Edmund Hillary and live vicariously through their stories….but….maybe…?

I leave for J’Burg tomorrow morning and arrive within hours of Ben (US). The rest of the Tribe arrive the following day. I am so excited about the entire trip however I am trepidatious regarding the Bungee jump. I am relieved to hear that I am not the only one as both Ben’s (B1 & B2? from the US and the UK) have also voiced anxiety. Phew.
The Bungee Jump day will be a very funny day to log on and read the stories. I am most probably going to be the worst offender as the Shark Cage Diving is ranked above Bungee Jumping in terms of desirability, therefore I may have to be thrown off the bridge?!

I just looked at Maaike Van der Heiden’s blog and although I don’t understand Dutch I am betting that she also may be a little nervous tension over the Bungee? Can anyone translate?
Een vriendin…
“Bungeejumpen? Nou doe maar voorzichtig, ik heb dat ook gedaan en ik had nog wekenlang last van mijn rug en m’n ogen voelden aan alsof ze eruit waren gevallen. Jij liever dan ik!”
I love Maaike’s photos…and Yann Macherez’s photos, very funny.

This is going to be excellent!

One more sleep for me and Bon Voyage!

I will blog from the Qantas Lounge tomorrow morning.
See ya, Ciao, Auf Wiedersehen, Dag, Au Revoir.

Adventurers Wanted – follow Rachel’s adventures in South Africa

One More Sleep

I am back!

I have finally finished packing, put my cat in storage (the local vet boards cats), organised a friend to water the plants, photocopied my passport and left it with said friend (in case it gets lost), cleaned the house and am now relaxing on the couch and writing this to you.

I very recently took a new job as Marketing Executive for Endoscopy NSW, with Smith & Nephew, an International Orthopaedic company. As one of my colleagues said “it’s like drinking from the fire hydrant.” Today I thought my head was going to fall off (maybe even explode). I am so glad, and so are you by the way, that my thoughts today were not broadcasted as it would be very noisy out there. I am usually quite good at not buying into the monkey chatter mind but the convergence of many things at once was a tad overwhelming. I am back on track, relaxed and ready to jump on my flight to Johannesburg.

I really love ‘back pack’ only holidays but this time I have packed a bag with wheels (frocks, sandals, swimmers, plus the usual trekking gear). My last trip was in April/May this year to Tibet and Nepal (nothing but trekking gear, baby wipes, and not enough warm stuff). I saw the North face of Mt Everest in Tibet under a full moon (quite a few times during the evening as I was suffering terrible altitude sickness and couldn’t sleep), and since yesterday (25th August) was a full moon, I take it as an auspicious sign to the beginning of this wonderful adventure.

I also trekked to Everest Base Camp, or EBC, in Nepal and once you’ve reached all 5400 metres (17,500ft) of it, it’s just amazing. Actually, the entire walk was awe inspiring. I have decided that as much as I would love to summit “The Goddess In The Sky,” a further 3,450 metres (8,850m/29,035ft in total) into the vertical, I would rather leave it to the passionate pioneers like Sir Edmund Hillary and live vicariously through their stories….but….maybe…?

I leave for J’Burg tomorrow morning and arrive within hours of Ben (US). The rest of the Tribe arrive the following day. I am so excited about the entire trip however I am trepidatious regarding the Bungee jump. I am relieved to hear that I am not the only one as both Ben’s (B1 & B2? from the US and the UK) have also voiced anxiety. Phew.
The Bungee Jump day will be a very funny day to log on and read the stories. I am most probably going to be the worst offender as the Shark Cage Diving is ranked above Bungee Jumping in terms of desirability, therefore I may have to be thrown off the bridge?!

I just looked at Maaike Van der Heiden’s blog and although I don’t understand Dutch I am betting that she also may be a little nervous tension over the Bungee? Can anyone translate?
Een vriendin…
“Bungeejumpen? Nou doe maar voorzichtig, ik heb dat ook gedaan en ik had nog wekenlang last van mijn rug en m’n ogen voelden aan alsof ze eruit waren gevallen. Jij liever dan ik!”
I love Maaike’s photos…and Yann Macherez’s photos, very funny.

This is going to be excellent!

One more sleep for me and Bon Voyage!

I will blog from the Qantas Lounge tomorrow morning.
See ya, Ciao, Auf Wiedersehen, Dag, Au Revoir.