10 Days and 2480 km’s

Dan and I recently completed our longest road trip to date!

We departed early on Saturday morning & headed for Baviaanskloof approximately 630km from home. I made a deal with Dan that en route to Baviaanskloof I would not stop at farmstall’s apart from taking a leg stretch, toilet break or snack stop. I am proud to say that I managed to do just that. The trip was long & almost never ending, but think it was due to the excitement we had for the Leopard Trail that lay ahead, as well as the unknown as to where exactly we were going to be staying that night as the GPS was not picking up the exact location & there was no cellphone signal within the Baviaanskloof region.

After many memorizing long quite roads, passing through major industrial cities of South Africa (George & Mossel Bay), we turned right onto a dirt road which would take us down Base Camp known as Hikers Hut in Baviaanskloof where the next day we would begin our hike.


Road going through Baviaanskloof


Leopard Trail – Landscape blackened by the raging fires that swept through in December 2016

10 of us completed the Leopard Trail, some of us had met each other on Arangieskop in October 2016, others  were new but very quickly we all made friends. Days were extremely hot, reaching 40 plus degrees by midday & a warm 23 degrees in the evening. There was never a breath of wind, a luxury for us having come from windy Cape Town. We experienced a partial solar eclipse late one afternoon which was a very special event. I think what added to this memory is that we were literally in the middle of nowhere experiencing the true beauty and remoteness of nature. Simply the best!

There were many scorpions around each camp site and on the last evening we even managed to come across a Solifugae also commonly known as a Sun Spider, totally fascinating & wanting to constantly be in everyone’s shadow whilst making its way across the ‘braai’ area, eventually heading back into the bush.

4 days of tenting in absolute wilderness was something quite incredible for me.As I had never done this sort of thing before. Yet always dreamed about doing it. Always starting our day before the sun was up and ending our day & tucked into our sleeping bag’s by 20h00! The sights, the sounds & the fresh air really does something wonderful for the soul. I know it contributed to me being absolutely content in going to bed so early listening to all the nocturnal creatures whilst staring at the stars! Dan not so much as he is normally only winding down around midnight!

Leopard Trail was a great & as usual an unforgettable experience. The landscape was blackened from fires that had raged through in December 2016. Therefore there was minimal shade & flora, yet it was a good visual of the landscape & type of rock found within the area. February was an extremely hot month to do Leopard Trail, but I didn’t know when next we would be able to do it hence took the opportunity regardless, as a result there were minimal watering points, waterfalls & rivers. I think it would be a stunning hike in Autumn or Spring.

After the Leopard Trail we then made our way to a farm in Joubertina where we stayed the night. A soft bed & hot shower was well received after many days tenting! We left early the next morning & made our way to Storms River Mouth Rest Camp. With permission from the owner, we could not resist the urge to pick some fresh fruit to take home. So some fresh pears of varying types as well as some green figs & fresh nectarines. Directly from farm to table! Mom was thrilled!

After exploring every possible shop en route we arrived at the campsite where we were now able to set up our tent in record time. After all, we are getting quite good at it now. Thanks to Leopard Trail.

From Storms River Mouth it was on to Diepwalle in Knysna for 2 days, which was beautiful and very tranquil set high on the mountain in amongst the indigenous forest. We then went to Barrydale for the night before returning home.

Our days were filled with much sight seeing, beach walks, hiking along the coastline through forestry, walking 50m into a guano cave, finding a bushman’s cave/ resting spot, spending time with calving cows, drinking unpasteurized milk, plenty of good food, chats, no cellphone signal (a big plus for me as I always enjoy escaping technology) and many other memories in between.

Below is a video that Dan put together of our trip. I managed to have my hand on the camera for a bit so please excuse the shaking as I was more focused on hiking & concentrating when boulder hopping!

Taking leave & road tripping is simply the best recipe my soul could have asked for. I certainly did not want to return to work, but one thing is always certain. Whenever we come back from a holiday we always have more adventures & ideas lined up for future trips. It definitely gives me motivation and determination whenever I return home to do the absolute best I can wherever I can so that I am able to go away & enjoy these amazing getaways.

If you would like more information on the camp sites that we stayed at, cost etc please don’t hesitate to comment & I will provide you with the information.

Hope you enjoy!

Back Yard Adventures

I am writing this post with two facets.

One:  A story with a short video

Two:  To ask the readers some much needed advice.

Fiona and I really try make a concerted effort to utilise the free time we have available. We try plan an outing whenever time and finances allow. This normally involves a few hours driving to the chosen location. When we can’t get away we try to make the most of our area (Our Backyard). I was looking through a few of our video clips the other night and it really dawned on me how lucky we are that we live in an area with so many interesting possibilities in terms of adventure.

One such occasion was not that long ago when Fiona had been working a particularly tough 24 hour shift. I got a call that evening telling me that the following day was going to be a brilliant weather day and that she had to fill in an overtime shift that evening so could we possible do something during the day to get a change of scenery. As we had only a few hours we had to make the most of it. A few min into the call a rough plan was formulated.

The next morning we met at the start of a trail not far from my house,still in her uniform and sleepy she quickly got changed in the car and we set off on the walk. As Fiona had worked the whole night and was bit grumpy. I decided in the interest of consideration and fairplay that she should carry the backpack . This was in fact very clever on my part as it gave her something to moan about and kept my little sticky fingers away from the “Treats” hidden within. A win-win on all fronts. Well even though the first hour was slow going resembling two 10 year old  kids kicking stones on a dirt road whilst on their way home from school, we however pushed on.

After way to many ” I can see my house from here jokes” as well as the usual lunch time location negotiations (not dissimilar to the UN discussing hostile troop movements) we finally made the summit and had well deserved rest then lunch.


What started as a very slow gelatinous day turned into more than we could imagine. Wow what a view indeed.


Swartkop peak looking towards Cape Town

Recharged and bellies full we followed the mountain ridge all the way down to Cape Point. We bush wacked the last bit and met up with the tar road that took us home. We made it home with two hours to spare before Fiona’s next shift. Legendary timing and a wonderful day.

Below is a short video of the walk and the view that will be of interest with regards to the remainder of this blog.

Whilst I was sitting on the summit overlooking the bay I was reminded of a trip that I have been wanting to do for some time. We have been itching to do some more adventurous kayaking. A few people have suggested that I should attempt to cross the bay. This would involve stopping past Seal Island and to be honest I don’t feel like becoming the latest statistic on the next installment of shark week. I have done this voyage a few times on various boats, once even alone on a small inflatable! Not fun at all as it’s just one huge vista of water with nothing much to look at other than the odd seagull and the finishing point far away on a bent horizon.

What I am very excited to do is paddle from Cape Town or at least Hout Bay around Cape Point to Simons Town.

Map of the proposed trip.blog-map-2

Cape Town and the Cape Point area are beautiful in their own right but from the water, this area can be something to behold. Every year around 800 people climb mount Everest and 25 000 climb Kilimanjaro but how many people have paddled around The Cape Of Storms. Not a race for time or macho challenge just a two or three day adventure taking in the sights and sounds that this special place has to offer. Paddle for the day then camp on a pre determined beach for the night, eat ,sleep, repeat.


Thank you “Person in helicopter” and Google


I know that some of the readers are experienced avid paddlers so I would like to ask them following:

I know that I can hike around 20km a day and still be fresh enough to take in the view and surrounds, what would you recommend in Miles or Kilometres is a fair distance to paddle without pushing the limits (I would like to plan a few safe stopping points to stretch legs and hide if and when the weather changes).

I intend on using a Mission 440, this will allow me to carry the normal safety equipment, as well as a sleeping bag, tent etc. Is there anything else that you would recommend for a trip like this? ( I have my food already planned)

Has anyone done a trip like this and if so any advice and  or comments would be very appreciated. I hope that you enjoyed the video, with all the options available to us rite on our doorstep and with a bit of luck you will be seeing much more from us in the future.



Trekking Arangieskop

(Video of our trip below story)

Some time ago Fiona had planned another great adventure. To mix it up a bit she had decided to do the Arangieskop two day hiking trail in Robertson. Without thinking it through properly I eagerly agreed to take part. I later found out that this is also affectionately known as the “Kilimanjaro of the Western Cape”,  (I distinctly remember making a “Hmmm” noise when I was told this).

Normally when facing the unknown I like to prepare a bit if possible. I  was told by a friend who had done it a few years ago that we should make it, however I wanted to a bit more tuned so I would at least be fit enough to enjoy the views and vistas, not staring at my boots while gasping for air. Not fun by any stretch of the imagination.

A little while before I would be forced into exercise by the impending departure date, life had other plans. My mom fell ill and subsequently past away. In a way that I would not wish on anyone.

Truth be told nor Fiona or I were particularly in the mood to focus on training of any type but before we knew it we were settled into our room ready to depart at sunrise.

With lots of apprehension and heavy hearts we set off. Once we had been walking for a while the weight on our back seemed to ease and we started to appreciate the spender of it all, even when going down hill to cross a valley only to find out we would need to hump up another higher hill. We both really enjoyed every moment. We reached our base camp in what seemed like a blink of a eye.

We did however meet up with a large group of hikers from a club. When I first saw them coming up the hill behind us, I will admit I did say to Fiona that we should prepare for hell. I will be honest I don’t really play well with others, especially large groups of super excited chatty people. I am sure some of  you know what I mean.

Well I had a few head shaking moments at times BUT we were both blown away by how accommodating and welcoming they were. Friendly, respectful and all round great people in their own respect. We will be seeing them in the future. I am very sure about this.

We both had a really great nights sleep, far better than I have had in 4-star establishments. Even though some 0 degree wind,rain and hail tried to infiltrate our sleeping bags during the night I would not change a thing (okay maybe just a bit of snow, just to add to the experience). It was very strange to think that people in the valley below were suffering through 28-30degrees (well maybe not suffering).

I woke up fresh, lit the wood fired geyser (hot water donkey) and settled for a great coffee and an oaty breakfast from the comfort of my sleeping bag whilst looking through the frosty window at the vistas below. Its times like these mornings when I really enjoy a great coffee and a simple meal.

All packed up, we set off for the summit. It was almost anti climactic as it would mean we would be making our way down soon. Down kinda sucks. Beautiful, breath taking, awe-inspiring but heavy on the legs and feet. Well for me anyway. We both agreed we would do Arangieskop again tomorrow if we could. With this in mind we have planned a return trip for next year.

If I may be so bold I would like to offer some advice to those readers who would care to listen. We have all heard the cheesy sayings like, Life is short, One life live it. My favourite version is….

Live each day like its your last but bare in mind you might make it till tomorrow.

Unfortunatly each and every one of us will see the day where we meet our maker, we will all die. We cant really choose how that happens but we can take steps to choose how we live.Time is the most valuable commodity we posses and it only gets more valuable as every second passes. If we are very lucky we only get 70 trips around the sun so, surround yourself with good solid people, try avoid the noise and drama assosiated with modernaty. Life is a series of moments. Do things while you can. Strike while the iron is hot and make it your own.

Thanks again to Merridian Hiking Club for being as accommodating and helpfull as you all were. Also a big Thank You to Henk for a lift from the finish to our car in Robertson. We were not looking forward to an additional 10km walk along a road.

Thanks for reading our story.


You never know

In my short time on this planet I have noticed that my life has become a bit predictable.
It is no longer much fun watching television or movies as in the first few minutes, its not hard to work out the plot and story line.
Saddening as it is to say, even my daily commitments as well as my interactions with most people can be a bit of a predictable tiresome routine.

One thing that always seems to surprise me is Nature. No matter if I am swimming, hiking or any of the outdoor activities that I  do, I always seem to be learning something new.
I am very happy to live so close to nature and have it so accessible in South Africa.
I must admit I would find it difficult to get into ‘city life’ for any amount of time.
Its not always whopping huge shockers,it may be something very small and very easily overlooked but there always seems to be something to be seen when being surrounded by nature.

Fiona and I try take any opportunity we can to get out and make the most of what is right on our doorstep. I thought I would share a great example of the totally unexpected, from our weekend adventures. Whilst hiking or swimming I find it is so easy to get caught up into the rhythm of the exercise till something unexpected catches your eye and or peaks your senses.

A Sunny Saturday Afternoon:

A bit of bird behaviour and then a twig breaks. Total silence falls over us like a thick blanket.
Fiona quietly points to the direction of the noise and we stop. We look for signs and wait.
The breeze is on our back so whatever it is chances are it knows that we are here.
Not really thinking it’s a big deal we move silently as possible into the middle of the clearing towards a little mound. Waiting patiently we still can’t see anything as there is thick brush in that direction. “Na it’s probably a porky I say” (referring to a Porcupine or something like that as its late afternoon).
Moments later I can hardly believe my eyes.

IMG_1184 Touched

I am astounded to see what is slowly making its way almost directly towards us. A Rhino….Wow. How does an animal so big move so quietly through the bush?
I know that there are no black rhinos in this area and by the size of its head and its wide grazing mouth it has to be a Wijt or White rhino.
Black rhinos tend to be a bit moody, like my grandmothers old English bull terrier, they have bad eye sight and just tend to charge at  any movement.

The big male seems to be very relaxed after what looks to have been a great mud bath.
He does not seem to worried about us. Now he is just standing in the clearing. How odd!!!
Its a bit of a “pinch me” type of moment.
Just as we are getting accustomed to the sight of him, the rest of the group slowly emerge from the brush.

Its a whole social group!!

IMG_1105 Touched

IMG_1093 Touched


The moms were even kind enough to give us a glimpse of their little ones.

IMG_1092 Touched

How is it that five of these animals were standing just meters away in the bush and we were non the wiser.
Fully grown a White rhino can get up to 1.8m in height and weigh around the 2000kg mark. Its big on television but something to behold in the flesh.

IMG_1107 Touched
Just as quickly and silently as they arrived they soon disappeared into the bush on the other side of the clearing, leaving us both a little trail blazed as to what we had just seen.

As I said,   no matter what we choose to do outdoors its always a bit different with new exciting things to be discovered.
Big or small, it all adds to the experience that we call life.
That day shall not be forgotten any time soon.


Day at Tinbinbella

I spent the better part of my day wondering around the beautiful walk ways of Tinbinbella in Canberra, taking in the majestic space that surrounded me the thick bush and immense wildlife. Although I must admit I was not able to see all of the wildlife it has to offer purely because of great camouflage on the animals part, of perhaps maybe my poor animal finding eye sight, I am not sure!

However we were able to see Koalas in the Eucalyptus tree, sleeping whilst another one was quietly eating. After doing a loop walk called the Koala path , I quickly spotted a Wallaby eating food outs the trays provided by the park, who simply stared at me, the food clearly too good to give a miss. The bird life here is truly amazing and to think they are all wild. Cockatoo’s are a plenty breaking off the bark of trees & eating loads of flowers, leaves and pretty much anything else they think they can eat they will!


The Gippsland Water Dragon is a beautiful lizzard which we spotted sun baking on the banks of a little pond. Such a beautiful lizzard, gives our one’s back home some competition both in colour and size.

Taking a walk around various ponds not only did we hear the calls of Kookaburras along with various other bird species, we were lucky enough to keep our eyes focused on what was a stream of bubbles going around one of the ponds. Up popped a Platypus! I was delighted, despite not knowing much about these prehistoric looking creatures my instant reaction was not only to take a glimpse of this animal as he/she surfaced but to snap an image off on my camera at the same time. A success it was! To add to our growing list of spotted animals we saw two Pelicans, once again I was in absolute awe and amazement of how beautiful these birds truly are.

Lunch was calling and we stopped by a shady bench which was in the echo of a valley and had our picnic which we had assembled before departing this morning. Filling our tummy’s with great food and our souls with the silence yet fullness of the nature that surrounded us I was now in heaven! Being surrounded by nature is absolute bliss for me.

Lastly while heading home we came across a Red Belly Black Snake carefully maneuvering across the busy road, trying to avoid contact with a car’s tyre, it successfully crossed the road where it disappeared into the grasses. Magnificent sight and great way to end the trip home.

I truly enjoyed wondering around, spotting and keeping an eye open for the unexpected to pop up. A day spent with nature is a day not forgotten.