Friday Foto: Blyde River Canyon

Three Rondavels

How long is a piece of string? How large is a canyon?

Visit almost any great or grand canyon in the world and there’ll be some kind of chest-beating claim about its size. It’ll be the largest in the world, or on the continent, or its depth will be compared to the Grand Canyon since we’re all desperate to know how it measures up against the most famous slot of all. Continue reading

Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#1)

It seems suitable to wrap up the year with the final, and top, pick in my selection of the 10 finest mountain trails I’ve had the privilege to trek. My favourite trek over the many pairs of boots I’ve worn out is in Ethiopia, atop the mountain range known as the Roof of Africa.

The Simien Mountains aren’t the highest peaks in Africa, though at 4550m Ras Dashen is often claimed as the fourth-highest on the continent (which conveniently overlooks a few unnamed peaks in the Ruwenzori). But it’s not the head-spinning glory of altitude that elevates the Simiens to the head of my list. It’s the headiness of its escarpment, combined with the life – both human and animal – that’s scratched out on its plateau. Continue reading

Friday Foto: South African Sunset

Karongwe sun

In the South African lowveld, most days seem to end like this, with the fierce sun blooming as red as a poppy in the final minutes before it rolls away below the horizon.¬†At these moments I’m inclined to give momentary thanks for dust haze and pollution…so very bad for the world, but so very good for sunsets. Continue reading

Rhino Poaching

It was during a warm dawn last week in South Africa’s Karongwe Private Game Reserve¬†that I finally grasped the extent of rhino poaching in Africa. Around the morning campfire in the lowveld beneath the northern Drakensberg, I asked a ranger to provide me with animal population numbers on the 9500-hectare reserve. Continue reading