The month got off to a cracking start when Katherine joined me for an action-packed Wild magazine assignment to explore the hugely diverse Wilderness Section of Garden Route National Park (www.sanparks.org/parks/garden_route/) on the Cape South Coast. An activity extravaganza of hiking, running, canoeing, birding – and even some flying – dominated our active, outdoorsy itinerary during a memorable four-day stay at the Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp on the banks of the picturesque Touw River.
While we had great fun hiking all the local Kingfisher Walking Trails within the park, paddling the Serpentine and Touw rivers trumped the trailing as we glided effortlessly across the water amidst a dazzling array of avian entertainment.
However, nothing could hold a candle to the grand finale: an epic 75 minute flight with Fly Time Paragliding (www.flytimeparagliding.com) over the lakes, beaches and indigenous coastal forest of the Wilderness area. Flying in the Garden Route’s only tandem ‘para-trike’ (a type of motorised paraglider) ensured an unrivalled bird’s eye view of the intriguing and varied terrain of this tract of coastal wilderness nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains. With fabulous early June weather to boot, it proved a highly enjoyable assignment and an outstanding ‘long weekend away’ destination.
A week later, my lovely wife pulled out all the stops to ensure I celebrated edging closer to 40 than 30 in fine style. Running the Old Fisherman’s Trail Challenge (www.fishermanschallenge.co.za) with my ART team-mates in the morning was followed by Test rugby and drinks at our Three Anchor Bay apartment before moving on to a birthday bash to remember at Pigalle Restaurant (www.pigallerestaurants.co.za/capetown/) in Green Point. The wine flowed freely, the food was excellent and the live band got everyone fired up on the dance floor of Cape Town’s most diverse and truly New South Africa party venue.
A final magazine assignment for the month of June took me up to Thornybush Game Reserve to interview tracking guru Louis Liebenberg for an article to be published in the October 2012 issue of Africa Geographic. Based at Royal Malewane (www.royalmalewane.com) for the second time this year, I caught up with old friends and colleagues at the lodge while simultaneously gathering material and researching the story. I was privileged to accompany some of the Lowveld’s finest trackers as they interacted with trainees and aspirants while tracking down rhino and lion on foot.
Finally – on the subject of recently published articles – it was a busy month for me with features on Namibia’s Sossusvlei and South Africa’s Mokala National Park coming out in the trade and travel magazine Explore South Africa, along with some additional publicity for the Lesotho Wildrun trail running event (which I participated in back in March). For those who are interested, check out the links below to view PDFs of these entertaining stories: