This past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a family picnic in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve.

Following a little meander along the Palmiet River Trail, we settled on some rocks close to a rushing waterfall and enjoyed fresh Portuguese rolls, coffee, tea and home-baked goodies courtesy of Imar and Tamara. This spot also happens to be a designated swimming zone that I’d love to revisit on a sunnier, more summery day.

After the picnic, Imar and I decided to head back to Betty’s Bay along the 6km Oudebosch trail, which connects the Kogelberg Nature Reserve with the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. After being damaged by the devastating fires in January, the hike has been closed for much of the year. It was reopened to the public recently, but with much of the path back down into the garden not fully restored just yet and a couple of rusty tools scattered along the trail, we suddenly doubted whether this was really the case.

We were very pleased and excited to walk alongside two sets of Cape Leopard tracks – possibly a mother and a cub – for quite a bit of the middle section of the trail, though, and kept our eyes peeled for the elusive creatures. Sadly they were in no mood to be spotted (Lol lol).

Either way, it was an invigorating and memorable experience. Here are some photos I took:

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‘The Wild Woman Interviews’ is a series of Q&As with women who do interesting, brave and inspiring things. The name hints at how nature, the outdoors, travel, the natural cycles of life etc. motivate and influence their passions and pursuits.

This month’s Wild Woman is Saray Khumalo and actually needs no introduction. Earlier this year, Saray became the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest. She is an award-winning mountaineer and a business executive with over 15 years’ experience in industry-leading blue-chip companies which drive innovation and change both locally and internationally. I chatted to her about her love for mountaineering, her passion for inspiring other African women and also about ‘Summits with a Purpose’, her initiative to help educate South Africa’s youth. 

Continue Reading "Wild Woman Interview: Seven Summits and Breaking Stereotypes with Saray Khumalo"

‘The Wild Woman Interviews’ is a series of Q&As with women who do interesting, brave and inspiring things. The name hints at how nature, the outdoors, travel, the natural cycles of life etc. motivate and influence their passions and pursuits.

This month, I’d like you to meet Fatima Sait. At the end of 2018, she quit her job and – within the space of two months – completed all the necessary courses to become a certified mountain guide. I came across her profile on Instagram recently, while scrolling through #fishrivercanyonhike pics and found her exuberant love for nature and exploration both inspiring and infectious. 

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I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since we set off on the Fish River Canyon hiking trail in mid-June!

It feels like yesterday we were still gathering our gear and sorting out snack packs.

After Ryno and Chantel invited us to join them at the end of December, we had a good six months to get everything in place, do some training and prepare ourselves mentally for the challenge up ahead.

Despite the wealth of articles and guides available online, there were a couple of questions that I couldn’t really find a satisfactory answer to prior to embarking on the journey.

So, I thought I’d answer a few of them here.

Continue Reading "5 Fish River Canyon Questions Answered"

About a month ago, we headed to Wilderness for Andre and Danielle’s wedding – a wild and wonderful beach-meets-forest affair.

Despite a storm breaking out in full force on the afternoon of the nuptials, it was a truly beautiful and joyous occasion.

Apart from celebrating their promises of forever to each other, we also got a chance to rediscover a few of the trails in this lush section of the Garden Route National Park.

Continue Reading "Snaps: Walking in Wilderness"

Taking time out to admire the natural beauty all around you while hiking a particularly tough trail can be pretty hard.

When your backpack straps are cutting into your shoulders (still tender from the previous day’s abuse), your legs are burning and all wobbly, and you can’t quite seem to catch your breath, the last thing you want to do is veer off course in pursuit of an even rarer view.

Most hiking trails, of course, discourage – nay, flat out forbid – you to leave the main trail for your own safety, as well as the conservation of the fauna and flora that would suffer underfoot.

However, when setting out on the five-day Otter Trail between Tsitsikamma and Nature’s Valley, you will have a couple of opportunities to take legal – and highly recommended – detours to some pretty damn magical spots. Because most of them come at that time of day when your energy levels have reached a real low, you may be tempted to skip them and just forge ahead.

But let me tell you: they’re totally worth it! Shrug off your backpack and leave it on the path – with no one else on the trail except your group, they’re 100% safe – and go have some fun. You’ll feel refreshed and inspired when you return, ready to take on the road ahead with more vigour.

Here are three of the Otter Trail’s most noteworthy detours you simply can’t miss out on:

Continue Reading "3 Otter Trail detours worth taking"