The month kicked off with an entertaining Test Match between the Proteas and Sri Lanka at Newlands. After losing a week to the cricket, work restarted in earnest as I struggled to meet magazine deadlines with two stories for the March issue of Africa Geographic, a Namibian piece for Go, and a cover story on Nepal for the April issue of Getaway International. All four were due by mid-January and, thankfully, I somehow succeeded in getting all the copy and images in pretty much on time.
The biggest event of the month took place on January 16th when I began work at Javelin Capital in Claremont. This job heralds the start of a new adventure and the latest challenge in my life, as I take on responsibility for progressing an innovative business-conservation project in the Western Province of Zambia. Centred on the Upper Zambezi River and within the KAZA TFCA, the aim of this challenging and exciting project is to develop the lands of the Sisheke Chiefdom into a self-sustaining community conservancy of 1.5 million hectares. The area forms a critical linkage and migration corridor between Chobe in Botswana and Kafue in Zambia.
I will continue to write for my stable of magazines while working on this new venture, so having two jobs running concurrently should definitely keep me busy and out of trouble!
January also treated me to two great weekend escapes in and around Cape Town. The first one was the Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail (www.hoerikwaggotrail.org): an iconic 5-day hiking trail that covers 75km through the World Heritage-listed Table Mountain National Park. We were treated to an unforgettable experience of incredible natural beauty, pristine fynbos and stunning ocean views as we tramped up, down and all around the Hoerikwaggo – the ‘mountain in the sea’. The two-day stretch of trail that we covered started at Slangkop Lighthouse near Kommetjie and, after crossing Noordhoek Beach winding up over Chapman’s and Noordhoek Peaks, descended to a beautiful new tented camp a stone’s throw from Silvermine dam. The next day we climbed back over Noordehoek ridge, contoured above Hout Bay and walked over the Vlakenberg before finishing up at Constantia Nek.
The last weekend of the month saw me join some old Varsity mates for a trip out to Bontebok Ridge (www.bontebokridge.com) near Wellington. Located in the heart of the Winelands and only an hour from Cape Town, Bontebok Ridge is a small slither of natural paradise that forms part of the greater Renosterveld Conservancy in the Limietberg Valley. Owner Tom Turner (previously of African Parks) hosted us in grand style with his venison braais proving a real highlight.
It’s looking like I’ll have my nose to the grindstone for much of February, as I strive to find the right balance between my photojournalism assignments, my new job, enjoying Cape Town and running a couple of marathons. Watch this space for the lowdown…