Kilimanjaro September 2014 Over-Fifties Summit

September 18, 2013
Thumbnail image for Kilimanjaro September 2014 Over-Fifties Summit

Download article as PDF Trip Overview   Price: US$3699 From an older climbers point of view (At Eco Travel Africa over 50s doesn’t really mean only over 50s, but older climbers in general with an interest in a slower pace, an easier approach and plenty of time to get to know the terrain, history and culture of this fascinating region) Kilimanjaro offers an opportunity to challenge one of the world’s principal peaks with a surprising level of comfort and without too many technical challenges. Eco Travel Africa works with established local operators to establish a compatible route structure and a time frame suitable for a gradual altitude adjustment. We also emphasize maximum level of individual support to assist you in […]

Read the full article →

Kilimanjaro 2013 Over Fifties Summit Report

September 9, 2013
Thumbnail image for Kilimanjaro 2013 Over Fifties Summit Report

Download article as PDF Please check for current information… Kilimanjaro occupies a mythic status among the world’s great mountains. It towers nearly 20,000ft about the surrounding Maasai Steppe, the highest freestanding mountain in the world, and an iconic backdrop to some of the most beautiful and ecologically important wilderness and wildlife areas in the world. It is an International Heritage Site, and in itself an important series of biomes among the half a dozen or so tropical highland regions that punctuate the Great Rift Valley complex. It is also a relatively easy mountain to climb – although I confess I was reminded several times on this trip to be more specific in future about what precisely the word ‘easy’ implies. […]

Read the full article →

Zanzibar, and the East African Slave Trade

June 22, 2014
Thumbnail image for Zanzibar, and the East African Slave Trade

Download article as PDF The recall of the Zambezi Expedition in 1863, and the failure of the Universities Mission to Central Africa, largely as a consequence of mounting costs, not least in human mortality, and the failure of the expedition to find the practical highway into the interior that it sought, was a significant blow to David Livingstone’s personal prestige, his reputation, his self confidence and his fundamental sense of purpose… ‘By the failure of the Universities Mission my work seems in vain.’ He wrote soon afterwards in a personal correspondence. ‘Am I to be cut off before I can do anything to effect permanent improvement in Africa. I have been unprofitable enough…’ He returned to England in the aftermath […]

Read the full article →

Biafra: A Quick Overview of the first African Civil War

May 14, 2014
Thumbnail image for Biafra: A Quick Overview of the first African Civil War

Download article as PDF Nigeria exists today as the most populous, the most vibrant but also one of the most corrupt and unpredictable nations in Africa. Like many colonies within the European imperial spectrum , it began its modern existence as an asset of a chartered company, in this case the Royal Niger Company. The territory more or less conformed to two regional blocs, the north and the south. The north comprised the Islamised Hausa/Fulani language group which fell under the leadership of traditional emirs who maintained a conservative adherence to ancient codes and systems of education that were extremely resistant to modern influence. The South, very broadly speaking, was home to the Christian/Animist Yoruba and Igbo blocs, closer to […]

Read the full article →

Biafra: The Nigerian Civil War 1967 to 1970

May 14, 2014
Thumbnail image for Biafra: The Nigerian Civil War 1967 to 1970

Download article as PDF The name Biafra remains inextricably associated with starving children, their bellies distended and their hair discolored by kwashiorkor, lending the first indications to an incredulous world of what post-independence Africa might look like. Biafra, however, was the name of a separatist entity that briefly existed between 1967 and 1970 as a breakaway partner in the post-independence Nigerian Federation. The war that followed the secession of Biafra is generally termed the Biafran War, but is perhaps more accurately termed the Nigerian Civil War, for that in effect was what it was. A more detailed overview of the Nigerian Civil War is available here. Militarily The Nigerian Civil War was a lesson in command dilettantism and one of […]

Read the full article →

Rhodesia Bush War 1966 to 1980

May 14, 2014
Thumbnail image for Rhodesia Bush War 1966 to 1980

Download article as PDF Having published quite a number of books pertaining to both African Warfare and Rhodesian History, this offering serves as an entry level overview of the Rhodesian War as one of the last great military episodes in the African liberation period. The Rhodesian Bush War, or the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle as it was also known, was in simple terms the culmination of a half century of failed efforts to find an accommodation between the races in Southern Rhodesia. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the liberation movements throughout Africa were claiming one success after another in their efforts to remove the residue of European rule on the continent, but south of the Zambezi there was a […]

Read the full article →

MS Expedition West Africa Cruise 2014

May 12, 2014
Thumbnail image for MS Expedition West Africa Cruise 2014

Download article as PDF (All in-line images are original, but the featured images at the end of this post belong to Gary Arnt of Everything-Everywhere and are licensed to the author but otherwise copyrighted) A few days before embarkation I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Dave Van Niekerk of High Constantia. Dave, who those of you who read the blog of my previous trip will know was the wine aficionado who enthralled a shipload of discerning travelers with one of the most unusual interpretive travel presentations anywhere. This, incidentally, is one of the most unique and pleasing aspects of this trip. Who would expect a trip of Africa to feature wine? But wine is very much […]

Read the full article →

Kenya and the Case for Tanzania

September 26, 2013
Thumbnail image for Kenya and the Case for Tanzania

Download article as PDF The recent Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya (September 2013) has tended to highlight insecurity in that country. The current situation owes its roots to the ongoing insecurity in Somalia, a situation that has its origins in the 1991 coup against General Mohammed Siad Barre, which set in motion and interlocking phase of warfare, warlordism and general insecurity in Somalia that has persisted more or less unchanged until the present day. The current boget on the map is the al-Qaeda associated militant group Al-Shabaab, a splinter group of the earlier Islamic Courts Union (ICU) which grew in strength from a general breakdown of law and order following the 1991 coup, and the gradual proliferation thereafter of […]

Read the full article →

An Innocent Abroad: Of Submarines and Spies

August 6, 2013
Thumbnail image for An Innocent Abroad: Of Submarines and Spies

Download article as PDF Excerpt from Bruce Daymond’s diary For images and explanatory text AN INNOCENT ABROAD: OF SUBMARINES AND SPIES Diary Of Bruce Daymond DSO DFC, an Australian Catalina Pilot with the RAF 1941 to 1945 Covering his service with 209 Squadron Coastal Command Published privately by Bruce Cunynghame Daymond Copyright Bruce Cunynghame Daymond 2005 Except where the works of others are quoted, all rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the author’s estate. September 2005 Squadron Leader Bruce Daymond DSO […]

Read the full article →

The Turning Point Strategy

July 22, 2013
Thumbnail image for The Turning Point Strategy
This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series History of the amaNdebele

Download article as PDF This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series History of the amaNdebele1976 also witnessed important political developments that once again put a stranglehold on the various advocates of a total solution in order that a negotiation process neither invited nor wanted by any of the warring factions. This again was a peace process forced upon the protagonists by their sponsors, and this time involved to a large degree the United States in a world post-Vietnam, and vary cautious about international power play in a sphere increasingly dominated by Marxist or communist liberation groups. Most notably was the gathering interest and involvement of the Soviets and Cubans in Angola, threatening a valuable communist foothold in […]

Read the full article →

Images from 209 Squadron RAF Coastal Command

July 15, 2013
Thumbnail image for Images from 209 Squadron RAF Coastal Command

Download article as PDF These images were shared with me by Australian Denis Saunders, whose father, a pilot with the RAF, served with 209 Squadron off the coast of East Africa for much of WWII. RAF 209 Squadron began life in 1918 as No: 9 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service in 1918, being renamed 209 Squadron in March 1930 when all former RNAS squadrons had 200 added to their flight numbers. The Squadron saw service in both world wars, as well as the Malay Emergency and the Korean War, being effectively disbanded after 1968. From March 1942 until July 1945, No.209 was stationed in East Africa. It flew patrols over the Indian Ocean with detached bases in South Africa, Madagascar, […]

Read the full article →

Rhodesia Regiment – A Complete History 1899 to 1981

June 28, 2013
Thumbnail image for Rhodesia Regiment – A Complete History 1899 to 1981

Download article as PDF The definitive history of the Rhodesia Regiment was authored by Peter Baxter as a combined project with the Rhodesia Services Association, including significant contributions from: Hugh Bomford Craig Fourie Tony Fraser Adrian Haggett Gerry van Tonder The book covers the formation and evolution of the Rhodesia Regiment from the earliest days of the settlement of the British colony of Rhodesia, through it’s involvement in the Anglo/Boer War, WWI, WWII and the iconic Rhodesian Bush War that was fought throughout the 1970s, culminating in independence for Rhodesia, the formation of Zimbabwe and the dissolving of all the formations of the Rhodesian Security Forces. The book includes some 2000 images chronicling the Regiment from its inception to its […]

Read the full article →

Somalis: US Intervention 1992 1994

June 28, 2013
Thumbnail image for Somalis: US Intervention 1992 1994

Download article as PDF The end of the Cold War introduced an altered global dynamic. The old bond of East/West patronage in Africa was broken, weakening the first crop of independent revolutionary leadership on the continent who no longer had the support of one or other of the superpowers. With collapse of the Soviet Union, all this changed. The question of global/strategic security devolved into regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, characterized primarily by the Balkans War, but also many other minor regional squabbles across the developing world that erupted, as old regimes fell and nations sought to build unity out of the ashes. In Africa, the situation was exacerbated by an inherent tribalism and factionalism that had tended to be […]

Read the full article →

Fly Fishing in the Smokey Mountains National Park

June 1, 2013
Thumbnail image for Fly Fishing in the Smokey Mountains National Park

Download article as PDF From the Super 8 Motel astride the junction of the I-40 and I-75 the prospects did not seem superb – although the weather at least was promising. A low swelling upon the south horizon, barely discernible behind a deep spring haze, indicated the Appalachians close to their southern extremity, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Therein lies a concentrated fly fishing culture that is undiluted by any trickery other than the ancient and respectable deception of the fly. To prove this, just outside the mountain hamlet of Townsend, sits Little River Outfitters, a toothsome, compact little fly fishing centre with that exclusivity of purpose that so delights the heart of a true fly fisherman. No […]

Read the full article →

Dry Fly Headwater Fishing in South Africa

May 8, 2013
Thumbnail image for Dry Fly Headwater Fishing in South Africa

Download article as PDF They say that the pinnacle of a fly fisherman’s art is mastery of the dry fly. In fact there are those that say that the use of any other technique is not fly fishing at all. I am sure that this is overstating the point, but the small stream, small tackle principal is definitely addictive, and in my experience at least it is easier to catch a fat, torpedo sized trout in one of the warm water dams and reservoirs of the Eastern Cape of South Africa than it is to tempt a seven inch wild bred brown trout to rise up for a dry fly on the crystal clear streams of this superb fly fishing […]

Read the full article →

G Adventures MS Expedition 2013 West Africa Cruise

May 7, 2013
Thumbnail image for G Adventures MS Expedition 2013 West Africa Cruise

Download article as PDF The inaugural G Adventured MS Expedition 2013 West African Cruise kicked off from Cape Town on April 6, 2013. This was a cruise adventure with a difference. An expedition cruise. The good ship MS Expedition is more typically found in the polar regions, in real expedition cruise territory, but this year, while transiting from south to north, G Adventures decided to try applying the vessel on an adventure cruise from Cape Town to Senegal, the bi-polar regions, visiting a diversity of destinations in ten African countries. The MS Expedition West African Cruise offered a very different take on the standard template of African cruises. On board were a hundred and twenty or so passenger, mostly older […]

Read the full article →

Fishing the Headwater Streams of the Western Cape

March 3, 2013
Thumbnail image for Fishing the Headwater Streams of the Western Cape
This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013The Western Cape hinterland of Cape Town enjoys a well fleshed selection of fly fishing opportunities, quite a few of which are along the lines of stocked dams and reservoirs, but there are also a good number of wild stock streams and rivers, all within a few hours drive of the main metropolitan area. The best of these can be found in the Hawequas Mountain Catchment Area in a wide arc between the towns of Ceres in the north and Grabouw in the south, including Wellington, Worcester, Villiersdorp and Somerset West. Fishing these streams was without doubt […]

Read the full article →

Lagoon and Estuary Fishing in the Western Cape

March 3, 2013
Thumbnail image for Lagoon and Estuary Fishing in the Western Cape
This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013By the time I made my way down towards the East Coast – that is the coast of the southern rump of South Africa – I had begun to run into a time crunch and could not really make the best of the opportunities available. I did, however, pull into the small coastal town of Hermanus, usually famous for its Southern Right Whale breeding runs, but also located at the mouth of the Klein River and one of the recognized coastal fly fishing hotspots along the East Coast. Hermanus itself is a lovely spot. In the African […]

Read the full article →

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

February 25, 2013
Thumbnail image for Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

Download article as PDF On the comparatively  verdant, eastern facing slopes of Table Mountain lies one of South Africa’s most under rated, but nonetheless superb attractions. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a world renowned destination, covering five of South Africa’s six biomes, and underwritten by a commitment to the preservation of the natural plant heritage of South Africa, but particularly that in and around the Cape itself, recognized as a bio-diversity hotspot. I do not intend to articulate the peculiarities of the Fynbos biome in this article, here instead is a link to the Wikipedia page  on the subject, which details the technical attributes of the flora of the Western Cape region. As a botanical garden Kirstenbosch is the equal […]

Read the full article →

Cape Town, a few sights and sounds

February 23, 2013
Thumbnail image for Cape Town, a few sights and sounds

Download article as PDF Here are is a gallery of images, sights and sounds of Cape Town, the Mother City, Parliamentary Capital of South Africa and one of the coolest cities on the planet. Enjoy.

Read the full article →

Vergelegen Estate, Somerset West

February 20, 2013
Thumbnail image for Vergelegen Estate, Somerset West

Download article as PDF Rating: Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West, just outside Cape Town in the Western Cape, is among the premier infield wine destinations accessible from Cape Town. Somerset West is a little bit of a bedroom community for the Cape, and on the surface has a slightly industrial flavor, with the main freeway running through towards Cape Town being dominated by a large strip mall complex of the type that has ruined significant expanses  of the United States over the last twenty or more years. Off the main strip, however, a far more agricultural aspect dominates, and then turning into the gates of Vergelegen Estate an immediate ambiance of another age floods the senses. There was a time, […]

Read the full article →

Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa

February 17, 2013
Thumbnail image for Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa

Download article as PDF It has been one of my bucket list items for some time to get to Gansbaai in the Western Cape for the famous white shark cage diving that in recent years has become such an iconic venture travel activity in South Africa. Gansbaai is located at the southern end of Walkers Bay in the Western Cape, an hour or so drive from Cape Town, and at the opposite end to Hermanus, arguably one of the loveliest of the little towns that dot the coast of the Western Cape. Just by way of background, Gansbaai is the closest launch point to Dyer Island and Geyser Island, both hard offshore, and each part of a carefully managed nature […]

Read the full article →

Kariega Game Reserve, Private Conservation With a Difference

February 14, 2013
Thumbnail image for Kariega Game Reserve, Private Conservation With a Difference

Download article as PDF Rating: One thing that South Africa does very well is private conservancies equipped with luxury bush camps and lodges. There are a good number of these out there, some with iconic names, others small, specialized and obscure. It is these establishments that help place South Africa very much on the front line of African wildlife conservation, as well as offering a unique diversity of eco-tourism options that are not always available in other African destinations. Kariega Game Reserve is one of the more comprehensive of these private conservancies, located in the Eastern Cape close to the coastal town of Kenton-on-Sea, encompassing two important local rivers – the Bushmans and the Kariega – and within a transitional […]

Read the full article →

Grahamstown, Academia in the Eastern Cape

February 14, 2013
Thumbnail image for Grahamstown, Academia in the Eastern Cape

Download article as PDF Grahamstown is a very odd place. The middle of Africa is hardly the place that you would expect to find deep academia, but as I rolled out of the Karoo after weeks of back country and bucolic country towns it was most unexpected to arrive in this little Oxford or Cambridge, or any other blue ribbon university town anywhere in the developed world, right here in South Africa. Grahamstown is the seat of Rhodes University, one of South Africa’s most respected academic institutions, established in 1904 with a grant from the Rhodes Trust, and one of four Universities in the Cape. It is probably not as august as Stellenbosch University, located in the Western Cape, but it […]

Read the full article →

Highland Lodge, a Little Oasis in the Stormberg

February 9, 2013
Thumbnail image for Highland Lodge, a Little Oasis in the Stormberg

Download article as PDF Rating: The Eastern Cape is an odd landscape of high desert, alpine highlands and the soft hill country that falls away from the southern Drakensberg. Without the obvious open plains and thundering hooves appeal of the popular imagination, this region is no less intrinsically African than the Serengeti, or other iconic landscapes that speak so eloquently of Africa. It is Xhosa country in the main, although large areas of it were uninhabited before European settlement, and there is therefore a mature, settled and stable mood about the region that is quite unusual in the African context. Highland Lodge is situated just outside the small Stormberg town of Dordtrecht. It’s principal raison d’etre is fly fishing, with […]

Read the full article →

Highland Lodge, Eastern Cape, Home of The Bloody Big Fish

February 8, 2013
Thumbnail image for Highland Lodge, Eastern Cape, Home of The Bloody Big Fish
This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013It was Wolf Avni who urged me to make a point of visiting Highland Lodge just outside Dordrecht in the Eastern Cape, enthusing in his inimitable way about some environmental anomaly that produces outrageously big trout. I had earmarked Thrift Dam as the likely source of the big fish I wanted before the end of the Eastern Cape leg of the trip – this is after all big fish country, but having failed to land that big fish, my hopes shifted to Highland Lodge. I drove up from Queenstown early in the morning, reaching the Stormberg at […]

Read the full article →

Thrift Dam, a South African Fly Fishing Legend Exposed

February 5, 2013
Thumbnail image for Thrift Dam, a South African Fly Fishing Legend Exposed
This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013Thrift Dam was suggested to me by author and adventurer Kevin Thomas as being something of an oddity on the South African Fly Fishing circuit – this for reasons of it having been at one time an experimental water administered by the Rhodes University Ichthyology Department in the study of trout in South African waters. According to Kevin, it was reputed to hold some of the largest trout in any South African water. The other point he mentioned was that he had heard that it was now inaccessible without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. I added it to my […]

Read the full article →

Tenahead Lodge – A little too remote for comfort

February 4, 2013
Thumbnail image for Tenahead Lodge – A little too remote for comfort

Download article as PDF Rating: Separating the South African Eastern Cape settlements of Rhodes and Maclear is a three thousand meter plus escarpment falling away from the southern rump of Lesotho, and the Southern Drakensberg. A road exists between the two settlements, mounting the escarpment at a point known as Naude’s Pass at an altitude slightly higher than 3000m. It is a breathtakingly beautiful scenic drive, winding slowly up through the higher reaches of the Witteberg, and the bleak, sparsely vegetated and perennially damp highlands at the upper reaches. Set in a slight valley at the absolute headwater of the Bell River, a tributary of the dominant local Kraai River, is a small farm – Tenahead Farm, whereupon stands the […]

Read the full article →

Fishing in Rhodes, Eastern Cape, South Africa

February 3, 2013
Thumbnail image for Fishing in Rhodes, Eastern Cape, South Africa
This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013(The image on the left is Tony Keitzman in 1992 with a prize winning trout) Leaving KwaZulu/Natal and entering the Free State is also about leaving the brash, California style mindset of that particular part of South Africa and entering an older, more culturally defined region of the same country. South of the Orange River things are very different. The perennial South African color issue is less sharply defined here. There is far less of that clear black/white divide in the south than there is in the north, and more of an historical blending that reveals a […]

Read the full article →

Rhodes, A Village at the Center of the World

February 3, 2013

Download article as PDF There is nowhere in sub-Saharan Africa that is less African in aspect than the tiny Hamlet of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The landscape surrounding Rhodes is that falling off the southern rump of the Drakensberg, immediately adjacent to Lesotho. It is composed of soft, interlocking hill country clad in alpine type vegetation with a tangible Scottish moorland character. Rhodes itself, albeit something of a tourist town, is a village of perhaps one hundred and fifty houses as well as a mini township. The architecture is minimalist, giving the whole settlement a slightly fairytale character, but very much in keeping with the architectural styles of the period. Currently Rhodes is the epicenter of […]

Read the full article →