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Volume - 23

Hunting the Rut

A different look at hunting the Impala

Record Sailfish off Durban A staggering 3.57m

World Heritage Sites in South Africa HUNTING I FISHING I ADVENTURES I CONSERVATION I DESTINATIONS


Bradley Matthysen: 071 603 2677 Redge Grant: 082 378 0539 Orders: 071 493 0020 800 Wekker Street, Moreleta Park, Pretoria East redge@archersedge.co.za www.archersedge.co.za

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Contents

Featured species

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Warthog Sailfish Knysna Loerie Buffalo thorn tree

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Hunting

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A different look at hunting the Impala

FIshing

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Record sailfish of Durban Bass fishing locations in Kwazulu Natal

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Adventures

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Pointers for 4x4ing

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cONSERVATION

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World heritage sites of South Africa

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Travel and Stay

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Regulars

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dESTINATIONS

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Editors Letter Events Recipe: Tortellini chili

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Hunting the rut: My knopkiere survival hunt

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The time has come! Winter is looming and that means one thing for some of us HUNTING! Stalking endless hours after our elusive quarries to fill those fridges and share our stories with family and friends around a crackling camp fire. May your hunting season be filled with unforgettable experiences and I challenge you to attempt what Willem Pretorius did on pg16. We are proud to announce to be associated with a new program called Laai en Koebaai. It is a new Afrikaans program all about camping and will premier on Wednesday 24 April at 20:00 on ASTV. We are really excited about this venture and are positive about the impact it will have on growing the publication. We also want to thank Dr. David Mabunda for his dedication and commitment to your natural heritage for the last 15 years and wish him a happy retirement. His position as SANPark’s CEO will be filled by Mr. Abe Sibiya and we hope that he can continue the work started by Dr. Mabunda. Enjoy this edition and remember to tune in on the 24th for Laai en Koebaai. “Natures ultimate predator wasn’t created to prowl the grocery store.”

Johan Viljoen

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hunting

Hunting the Rut:

A different look at hunting the Impala Engee Potgieter

The October Whitetail rut in North America is prime hunting time and many a bow hunter concentrate all their time and effort on these few weeks in order to bag an elusive and giant whitetail buck, as any American hunter can tell you chances on a mature buck are few and far in between but that the rut allows the brief opportunity to get a glimpse at a shy and elusive trophy that stays hidden throughout the majority of the year, forsaking all caution due to the hormonal drive to find a female in season during the short mating season. Just as the Whitetail of North America has its defined rut period so does our own Impala, the only reason we do not make much of it is that as opposed A BEAUTIFUL MATURE IMPALA RAM

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RAM (STRANGELY FOUND IN THIS SPECIFIC POSITION) TAKEN AT 16YARDS WHILE STALKING FIGHTING RAMS DURING THE RUT to hunters across the Atlantic, we are spoiled with choice and opportunities. It is common knowledge that the average bow hunter in North America quite often goes through their short hunting season without spotting a shooter buck, let alone drawing on one. We on the other hand will sometimes have more shooting opportunities at game within range in a single season than a North American hunter will in his entire hunting career. Therefore we do not go through as much trouble to ensure we get a shot at a trophy as there will be chances aplenty, we rarely take the time to plan and strategize in order to take one of South Africa’s most common of antelope, the humble Impala because we often choose to hunt from a hide and are bound to cross paths with a suitable ram that must come to the waterhole to quench its thirst. It is however a whole different cup of tea when you stalk these wily antelope on foot, they are seldom alone and are naturally skittish of predators, but when using the Impalas rut period you can turn the tables in your favour. Arguably one of the most commonly hunted species in South Africa; the Southern Impala is often the first antelope young hunters cut their teeth on. Although a common sight throughout most of Southern Africa the Impala remains one of the most attractive antelope and is often underrated as a hunting species. Impala (Subfamily Aepycerotinae) are very

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TH E

DEC OY “ BUCK ”

LE TIC MENTIONED IN THE AR

popular amongst bow hunters for the simple reason that their sheer numbers on almost all hunting properties coupled with their general affordability make them a favourite for meat and trophy hunter alike, often amiably referred to as Africa’s Whitetail the Southern Impala also makes up the staple of most bow hunters yearly quota as they are regular visitors at waterholes where bow hunters wait in ambush. The Southern Impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus) is one of three distinct sub species recognized by Safari Club International, the other two being the Black Face or Angolan Impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi) found in the Northern most regions of Namibia and Angola and the much larger Eastern Impala (Aepyceros melampus rendilis) most commonly found in Tanzania. I have hunted Impala for as long as I can remember and have taken my fair share with bow and arrow, and although they are regarded as common by some the humble Impala has a very special place in my heart. I enjoy hunting them and learn more about this unique antelope each time I head to the field. It might seem like a mere formality to shoot one with your bow from the comfort of a hide but few animals are as difficult to get close to as a herd of Impala, what makes stalking close to such a herd especially difficult is that there is often just one or two big mature rams and if you wish to put an arrow through their vitals you need to get past all the vigilant eyes and ears of the countless females and sub adult rams. 8

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hunting From March each year the early morning chill and the light brown leafs on the trees announce the oncoming winter, and this is also when you will start to hear the unmistakable roar and grunts of the Impala as he guards his band of ewes from others during the rut. This can be prime time to bag a trophy as they often drop their guard and concentrate more on fending off other rams, or visa versa, than feeding and keeping an eye out for danger. With a few basic tactics you will be awarded with a number of shooting opportunities on foot, the first thing you will need to do is to select the suitable area in which a good ram is holding and one that will have enough cover for you to take cover in while awaiting a shot. After selecting the area you are planning to hunt you need to get to know the lay of the land and prevalent wind direction as these two aspects will be the two most important determining factors in whether you get a shot or not. I like to set up on a pinch point on the edge of thick cover between where a herd ram is keeping with his females and where a few bachelor rams are cruising. These “conflict zones” are where the most action will be and you will be able to sneak in and arrow a ram. You might not get a shot at a ram on your first outing but you will gain an incredible amount of knowledge as to how and where they move with each outing, which in turn allows you to adjust your strategy to ensure a kill. The one aspect that helps a great deal is that once you are in the right area you need not move as the rams will be constantly moving in and out of the area as they chase each other. Only when two rams are busy fighting is it sometimes necessary for you to sneak closer and launch an arrow. If the area you are planning to hunt has little vegetation on ground level for you to use as cover you can rely on a tree stand or two, this is often the way I like to target a specific area of interest as it gives you a bird’s eye view of the action and allows you a few moments longer to prepare for a shooting opportunity as you can spot an oncoming ram and guess the route it is going to take. I have found that a pop up blind does not work as well as the new addition to the scenery often pushes the herd you are targeting out of the particular area, it is much better to build a simple ground blind out of natural material or use a tree stand than to use a portable pop up. Although it might sound like a guarantee at a trophy Impala it is rarely, although being preoccupied and not as cautious as usual, the ram’s route is not fixed and you often get winded by a ram that passes downwind of you on the way to rough up another. This is another area where a tree stand can be of great help as you can swing around and often get a shot is before the ram hits your scent, something you can’t always do on the ground at eye level. One thing that American hunters have perfected is the host of accessories that can be used to their advantage to lure a rutting buck in their direction. Various scent’s, grunt calls and decoys help them in “pulling” a big buck. We do not have that luxury. As far as hunting accessories go that help ensure that a specific animal or specie come our way we have a

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hunting long way to go, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try experiment with a few things to see what can and will work on African game under African conditions. The first of which is the decoy. The idea of using a decoy on African game came to me when noticing at which lengths a male antelope will go to protect his piece of real estate; I noticed that they will cover incredible distances to run off another ram or bull when spotting a trespasser in the area. So in true American style I decided to get an Impala ram to come to me as opposed to me going after it. I set up a tree stand in a suitable tree on the edge of some open ground I knew a herd of Impala grazed each morning, after clearing a few shooting blinds I left for home. The next morning I found my way back to the base of the tree by torch, slung over my right shoulder was my bow, clenched under the other was a full mount of an Impala ram. I clipped my bow to the pull up rope dangling from my tree stand and set up the mounted Impala about 30yards downwind and between me and the open area I was anticipating the Impala would come from, I quickly scampered up to my tree stand, got settled in and sat back patiently waiting for the sun to creep over the distant horizon. About two hours later I was just starting to soak up the first warming rays of sunshine when I spotted something out in the open to my right, it was the first of the Impala females walking in single file onto the short burnt grass, if all went well the ram should be bringing up the rear. At first it seemed that the females took no notice of the new ram behind me, occasionally one would glance in my direction, this all changed as soon as the ram arrived. He stopped right on the edge of the open and locked eyes with the intruder, after a staring match he started to make his presence known by circling his females and grunting and growling loudly, when this failed to scare off the “intruder” he stepped it up a notch and came towards the decoy. I hardly had time to unclip my bow and nock an arrow before the dominant ram pulled up 32yards away, he was staring at the still motionless opponent and this was just the gap I needed and I sent an arrow through his vitals. He was taken totally by surprise and took off in a semi circle only to stop and stare back at the decoy, oblivious of the bow shot, I could clearly see the Muzzy’s entrance wound halfway up and right on the shoulder in the bright early morning light and a moment later he suddenly stumbled and went down. It was one of the fastest kills I have ever seen. The rest of the herd simply went on feeding, one or two looked in the direction of the downed male but apart from that the world was at peace, I was ecstatic that it had worked so well! It proves that one should always be open to new ideas, trying new and different tactics can only serve to make you a more knowledgeable hunter, many don’t work, but those who do make up for the rest. I realised that it isn’t always possible or affordable to lug around a huge life sized mount of the specie you are hunting, so the next step for me is to make a few life sized painted cut outs of the most common species to use as decoys and 10

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hunting cover when stalking, as is often done by North American hunters when hunting Pronghorn Antelope. I have no guarantee that it will work, but I’m sure I will have a whole lot of fun trying it in the field. Don’t be afraid to chop and change your hunting strategy, you might just be richly rewarded for your effort. BIG IN BODY AND IN HORN, A MATURE IMPALA RAM FROM THE LIMPOPO BUSHVELD

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Featured species Quick Facts Swahili Name: Ngiri Size: 76 cm at the shoulder Weight: 50 – 113 kg Habitat: Savannas Diet: Grazer Gestation: 175 days Predators: Lions, Leopards

Warthog

Phacochoerus aethiopicus

Neil du Toit

Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of Africa south of the Sahara and are widely distributed in East Africa. They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling. (Camels and desert gazelles have developed a similar mechanism for survival in hot, arid environments. Physical Characteristics Males weigh 10 to 20 kilograms more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually only in males). The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog’s large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge. Sparse bristles cover the warthog’s body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles. The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.

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Featured species Habitat Warthogs are found in moist and arid savannas. They avoid rainforest, deserts and high mountains. Behavior When water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies. Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody. Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals, preferably aardvarks. Diet The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season. Caring for the Young Before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own. Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its “own” teat and suckles exclusively from it. Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing. Predators Lions and leopards are the warthog’s chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack. Did you know? • The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good. • When alarmed, the warthog grunts or snorts, lowers its mane, flattens its ears and bolts for underground cover.

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My knopkierie survival hunt Willem Pretorius It is strange how some seemingly unrelated thoughts can sometimes determine your actions, as happened to me the other day after reading this excellent and thought provoking article ‘Living Off The Land: Delusions and Misconceptions About Hunting and Gathering’ some time back - some very interesting points are raised and it’s an eye-opener for sure…. What are the actual caloric requirements for a person to live in the wilderness, and what food resources would that require e.g. what would the survivor need to procure each day in the bush in order to live in a sustainable manner for a prolonged period of time? It’s really a research document about how much 3,300 calories per day does your active body needs in a real survival situation, and how do you convert said amount of 3,300 calories per day into different food sources/animals per day without a fire-arm…..not so easy!! I could not agree more with what was said in that article about how difficult it is for modern man to survive sustainable over a long period of time out in the bush. I hope that you will like this next adventure photo chronicle story of mine about a primitive hunt for porcupine in Limpopo. From the making of a hunting club to the final conclusion of the hunt, and with the above mentioned article in mind and playing the ‘what if....’ game that only true survivalists/primitive hunters, old fools and the still young at heart tend to play when they get the opportunity to be alone out there! One afternoon some months later, while I was (unsuccessful again) solo primitive spear hunting warthog in Limpopo, I came across a active porcupine hole ground, half concealed under a brush. Then, as I stood there looking at that hole, I suddenly started thinking back 16

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hunting about what I’ve recently been reading on the net by some very clever armchair primitive food provider ‘survival experts’, and their theorizing without any real practical experience of the reality out there, about how they would survive out in the bush with only the basic of equipment. I don’t say here for a moment that it could not be done, as sustainable survival has been done by many ‘modern ‘people all over the world, and in different and various terrain. I myself have learned many useful things about this topic on the net, so I don’t shoot it down. Of course you can theoretically kill an elephant with just a knife, or cut off a finger or toe to feed yourself in bad circumstances, but really, I must sometimes question some of these ‘survival experts’ advice on some of these blogs! I’ve decided on the spot to hunt that porcupine that night, not with my trusted spear this time, but with a self-made hunting club (knopkierie) made on the spot, just to try something different in solo primitive equipment hunting under African conditions, purely for experiencing it for myself. If somebody else could learn something from my adventures (and my many-many failures), I would be very happy, but really, I do these things from a young age purely for my own experiences and enjoyment, and not to be another ‘know-it-all bore’.

1. First, after founding this potential meat source’s location, is finding a suitable branch in a nearby tree from which to create a sturdy club or knopkierie that I’m going to use to try to dispatch the porcupine with. The branch finally selected is indicated on the photo if you look carefully... 2. One of my pocket knives that I had in the bush that day was a handy and versatile Victorinox lock blade folder with a potent little saw blade that I used to first saw the branch from the tree, and then to remove the unnecessary twigs from this branch. 3. I next started to clean and shape the branch with my bigger blade In this case a cold steel recon scout. 4. Here I’m nearly finished ‘smoothing’ the branch down, and finishing the 2 ends of the kierie. I truly believe that for this type of ‘primitive hunting’ situations, to carry a sharp 3- blade combo at all times, - first a good pocket multi-tool, a bigger fixed blade belt knife

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hunting and lastly, in my back pack, a smaller skinning knife. 5. Here is the end product with a nicely weighted ‘head’ on one side, and a hole at the other end for a piece of rope to put around my wrist when hitting. It took me about an hour to make this knopkierie on the spot. 6. Here is my hunting knopkierie on the right of the picture, with the porcupine hole in the left back ground half under the bush. 7. That night, after a long time of sitting quietly in ambush, and later even starting to seriously doubt my own madness there alone in the moonlight while patiently waiting and hoping for a porcupine to emerge from its hole, I finally get a chance! Although the moonlight was not that bright due to some clouds, one of the porcupine’s excellent senses made it aware of when I quickly advanced on it with my raised club, in the process cutting it off from its hole. Just before I could hit it, the porcupine started turning its back on me, threatening with its dangerous and extremely sharp and germ invested quills. The first blow was aimed at its head but connected it on its side quills, but before it could recover, I fortunately got a quick second blow in and connected it with my knopkierie -this time on the side of the head and killing it instantly. While standing there in respect in the quiet night listening to the ‘death-rattle’ of its quivers, I realize as an older hunter that I know that I was extremely fortunate and lucky during this particular hunt, as it’s not really that easy as it all sounds here, and I’ll probably never ever be able to do it again! I then called the game ranch owner and my good friend on my mobile to come and pick me and my prey up with his truck and called it a successful hunting night. It’s not always that safe or brave to stumble home for about 5 km through the dense Bushveld in the cloudy and humid moonlight night where there are leopard and hyena prowl the night, especially carrying a bleeding animal and armed only with a hunting knife and knopkierie, in any case,I really only wanted to push this primitive night hunting adventure only so far!

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I’m sure it could be done, by a younger or braver hunters than me, but my adventure and experiment of proofing to myself that solo hunting a porcupine with a home-made knopkierie could be achieved once in a very rare blue moon by an average older hunter in a survival/provider crisis situation. Here is the said knopkierie and the porcupine the next morning, in picture 7. It makes a delicious meal, and stewed in a potjie with veggies, you would swear its lamb, as it got lovely tender red meat! 8. Here is the porcupine with my 7‘- hunting knife to give some comparison of its quills. 9. Porcupines are also quite capable to defend themselves against big predators like leopard and such in the wild. 10. Some more porcupine quills for size/length comparison. Until next time,and always remember that in this type of ‘game’ it’s primarily all about the ethical hunting experience, enjoying nature and the outing, and not so much all about the blood. Well, if you have this type of mind-set, then there is also never any unsuccessful hunting trips!

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fishing

fishing

Record Sailfish off Durban

Mike Laubscher of Blue Water Charters | Durban

June 16th 2008 was a lovely Durban winters morning, it was warm, the sun was shining, the skies were clear and the wind was a mere breeze. The seas were flat and the water crystal clear. Further down south from Durban there had been the recent devastating floods which had put an end to the very promising 2008 annual sardine run, and yet there was no evidence of any devastation with such a perfect day. It was just my friend and I on the Boat and we had snuck out for a midweek fishing quickie. We started out the day just south of Durban and had been collecting live mackerel for bait; we then took the boat only about one nautical mile out slightly south of the old whaling station and proceeded to prepare our live baits. I then cast out my live bait and as it hit the water there was a big splash and the line went tight and I picked up the rod to strike but I hesitated as this do not feel like any fish I had ever caught before and I could not quite make out what to do and so I just started retrieving as not line was being taken. After about 30 – 40 seconds it became evident what we had on. It was a greedy gannet and it had my hook right through the “elbow� part of its wing. Not wanting to hurt the bird we reeled all lines in and I proceeded to slowly and carefully bring him in. Eventually we got him to the boat and had to distract him with the boga grip so we could grab him behind the head to prevent that sharp beak from inflicting revenge on us. Once we got the angry gannet onto the boat and it realized we were not hurting it but actually trying to help him, even after it stole our mackerel, it settled down and allowed us to cut the hook and remove it. Once this was done we ensured that the bleeding was not bad and we let it fly. We did not see the bird again after that episode. We then started out the whole procedure again getting our live baits out. I was still rigging my mackerel when my friend cast out his mackerel and as it hit the water there was a

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fishing splash again. We both thought Gannet, but when the reel started screaming we realised it was something much bigger and then we saw a Saily jump clear out the water not far from the boat we knew the fight was on as the Saily was the size of a small Marlin. At his point I grabbed the video camera and started recording and by the time I had it all working the Saily was already about 300m from the boat, and so the fight began and the little Diawa reel was starting to run out of line and we had to follow the Saily with the boat. We got him close to the boat and as soon as he saw the boat he was off for another 300m plus and we again had to follow him and this happened three more times. On the second to last time we got him to the boat he we right around the boat and then went deep, but eventually one hour fifteen minutes later we got the boga grip attached to him and brought him onto the boat. It was a heavy fish and the two of us struggled to lift it out of the water without hurting it, but we did it. I then videoed my friend holding the fish and he was struggling to hold it and nearly fell overboard with the fish wrapped up in his arms as if it was his first love. He had a smile wider than the length of the fish and there was absolutely nothing you could do or say to him that could wipe it off his face. (Actually the smile lasted for more than a week). We then measured the fish from the lower bill to the fork in the tail and it was 3.57m long, we were not able to weigh the fish as the scale we had only went up to 30Kg. According to Rudy Van Der Eslt’s “A Common Guide to Sea fishes of Southern Africa” a Sailfish (isyiophorus platypterus) can attain a maximum of 3.0m and so this Saily was as big as they get and according to his chart would have had a weight of around 70Kg, but as I mentioned we could not weigh it. Also according to this book the current SA angling record is 64.9Kg which makes this Saily at least 5Kg over the current SA record. We both are avid supporters of catch and release and without even discussing the matter we both proceeded to gently ease this graceful giant of the deep back into the water (who cares about an official record, we know what we got and it is on video) and we then ran

Reel Run

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Revival

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fishing the one motor slowly an helped this fantastic animal to revive itself. After fifteen minutes the Saily made a graceful bow and disappeared into the deep to live another day. We were happy, we were proud, we were ecstatic as we new we had got a trophy which most likely will never be repeated in our lifetimes, but we have a memory that we can keep with us through to our golden years, and it is a good memory because the Saily lived on. The tackle used was a little Daiwa Sealine SL20H Reel, Spooled with Suffix 24lb Line and a 50Lb Flouro carbon leader on an Owner 5/0 Game Hook. The hook was just pushed through the upper jaw section of the live mackerel that was used as bait. This is a very simple rig, but it is good for catching several species like Dorado, Tuna, large Bonnies and even Couta who all love live or even dead mackerel. Ideally for Couta you would want a wire trace. It is best fished on the drift as a trap stick whilst you are jigging and so on. Off Durban we catch the mackerel on small yozuri’s type lures, and they are plenty full in the shallower waters around Durban. There are 2 x of mackerel that we get which is the Common mackerel (scomber japonicus) which is the one we used and the one I have found the game fish to prefer and then there is the Sugar mackerel (rastrelliger kanagurta) which does not get the same amount of hits. Another favorite of game fish is the maasbanker (trachurus trachurus) also known as horse mackerel. Small live striped bonitos or eastern little tuna can also be rigged in the same way with great effect and even red eye sardine if you ca keep them alive long enough to get them rigged. It shocks me to see guys killing Sailfish just for their egos so they can get to show someone or make a trophy. Please guys take a photo and put them back, you will earn far more respect that way, and if you think that showing your face in a photo with a fish like this that you killed is going to earn you respect, you are wrong those days are gone. I can proudly say that in more than 30yrs of fishing I have never killed a Billfish. We really need to start making an effort to preserve our resources and learn how to handle these fish photograph them and release them. If you need a trophy it is as easy as taking your measurement on a photo to prove them and photos of the fish and any unique markings or scars and there are many taxidermists who will make your trophy without the need to kill the fish. Look after what we have left, so our children and grand children can also see these creatures and not just read about them. One person can make a difference.

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fishing

Bass Fishing Locations in Kwazulu Natal The province of Kwazulu Natal (KZN) offers some of the best largemouth bass fishing in South Africa. Most of the province is low lying; with a fairly hot climate providing a long growing period for bass, the resident Florida strain and Northern strain hybrids can grow very large as a result. The current South African largemouth record weighing in at 6.29 kg was caught by Julian Van Zuydam at Midmar Dam in 2004. The region has numerous, excellent bass fisheries, such as Albert Falls, Inanda, Midmar and Goedertrouw (now renamed Phobane), the later being a serious candidate to produce the next SA record. Albert Falls Dam Albert Falls ranks as one of the top bass fishing waters in South Africa, its proximity to Pietermaritzburg and Durban make it an easily accessible and popular venue. Albert Falls is home to some very big Florida and Northern strain hybrid largemouth bass, fish of over 4 kg have been caught with 5 kg lunkers not uncommon. Albert Falls, along with Goedertrouw is a real contender to produce the next South African record largemouth. Albert Falls is a top-up dam for Nagle and Inanda Dams downstream so water is released or allowed to build up at irregular intervals, water levels are therefore unstable leading to some interesting fishing and skitish bass. In fact fishing at Albert Falls is not easy but for those who are willing to persevere the rewards are great. The lake is fairly warm and offers almost year round bassing. THE ALBERT FALLS BASS CLASSIC The annual Albert Falls Bass Classic is held towards the end of August each year is one of the most prestigious events on the South African bass fishing calendar. Capacity

290million cubic meters, surface area 24 km2.

Slipway

Yes, good slipways at camp sites and resorts.

Fish Species Available Structure

Recommended Lures Facilities

Largemouth bass (Florida strain), Carp, Bluegill, Barbel, Tilapia and numerous other species. Varies according to water levels and includes standing trees, stumps, bull rushes, drop-offs and underwater humps. The standing trees in the middle of the dam are always good producers of fish which are particularly susceptible to flukes. Reports indicate that the area near the Umgeni River inlet offers good fishing on crankbaits. Albert Falls is mainly a soft plastic dam, Carolina rigs are popular in deeper water, Texas rigged worms (chartreuse is a popular color) around standing trees, skip shads and slaty slings are deadly, crankbaits can produce fish in the open water areas. Good launching and accommodation facilities are provided by Msinzi Resorts including shady camp sites on the water’s edge, self catering bungalows are also on offer.

Security

Good.

Warnings

Wind - the lake is large and wind can come up quickly causing large waves, leave the water immediately in such circumstances.

Contact Numbers

Msinzi Resorts: 031 765 7724.

Bank Fishing Potential

Good, the grassy banks provide plenty of scope for bank angling.

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fishing

Bivane Dam Bivane Dam is a 700 hectare impoundment in the quiet and remote hills of Northern Kwazulu Natal. The dam has become a bass fishing destination of note since 2005 as more and more bass anglers have “discovered” this little know gem of a lake which must rate as one of South Africa’s most scenic bass fishing waters. Bivane is easily accessible, being roughly in the centre of the triangle formed by the towns of Vryheid, Pongola and Piet Retief. The fact that there are no crocodiles, hippos or malaria makes Bivane a popular destination not only for bass anglers, but all manner of water sport enthusiasts, nevertheless it’s large enough to accommodate everybody. The dam has an abundance of structure of all kinds but the very clear water makes a stealthy approach essential. The dam is the venue for the annual Bivane Bass Challenge in June where some good size fish have been taken in recent years. Accommodation is available in well kitted out chalets built along the edge of a steep incline overlooking the dam, camping and caravan sites are located on a flat area just below the chalets. Capacity

Surface area 700 hectares.

Slipway

There is a slipway at the resort, it's a tricky one though with a "S" curve that needs to be negotiated. A floating jetty and tyres ensure that no damage will occur to your pride and joy once it's in the water.

Fish Species Available

Largemouth Bass, Yellowfish, Carp, Barbel.

Structure

Submerged humps, weeds and aquatic grass line the shoreline, standing trees, rocky drop-offs and points, vertical cliff faces, shallow back waters, Bivane has a bit of everything.

Recommended Lures Facilities

The ultra clear water favors natural color soft plastics (weightless flukes, creature baits, lizards). Spinnerbaits in natural colors also work well. Don't leave your topwaters at home either, they can be deadly in the low light of early morning and evening. Fully kitted self catering chalets on a ridge overlooking the dam as well as caravan and camping sites.

Security

Excellent.

Warnings

None.

Contact Numbers

034 413 1314 or 034 413 1315.

Bank Fishing Potential

Good bank fishing potential around the resort, the northern shoreline is tribal land so might best be avoided.

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fishing Craigie Burn Dam Craigie Burn is one of the few dams in Kwazulu Natal with a healthy population of smallmouth bass although largemouth are more common. While fish of up to 3 Kg have been caught, around a kilo is more likely. The dam has not received much fishing or boating pressure in the past but seems to be getting more popular recently. Craigie Burn is a storage dam for farmers down river so the level varies according to their needs, when levels are high the grass beds and weed pockets are a productive area to fish. When levels are lower the rocky outcrops are the more productive spots on which to focus. Being a fairly high lying dam the water temperature is cooler than other lakes in KZN, it’s also very clear. The water becomes very cold in the winter when snow can often be expected, at such times fishing becomes very tough, even impossible. Capacity

22.7 million cubic meters.

Slipway

At the camp site, a fee is payable.

Fish Species Available

Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Yellowfish. Craigie Burn is primarily a grass dam with aquatic grass beds being the dominant cover in an otherwise somewhat featureless impoundment. Notable exceptions are a sunken farmhouse, d b h b k k b k h l f f h ll hf d Flukes in natural colors (water melon) are popular, as are chartreuse or white spinnerbaits. Crankbaits in Bluegill, Baby Bass or Perch colors are also reported to work well.

Structure Recommended Lures Facilities

Camping and caravan site which is located on the peninsula that juts into the dam.

Security

Unknown

Warnings

None.

Bank Fishing Potential

Bank fishing is possible over most of the dam.

Goedertrouw Dam (Phobane Lake ) Goedertrouw Dam (now called Phobane Lake) is a lake of some repute amongst bass anglers. The one time SA largemouth bass record of 4.575kg, caught in 1985 stood for 7 years before being beaten in 1992 with a bass of 4.81kgs. In recent years attention has shifted to the Southern parts of KZN, today most anglers have all but forgotten about the lake, this is perhaps a good thing for those who take the time to travel to this somewhat remote but massive impoundment. It’s not an easy dam to fish, more often than not the water is muddy to slightly muddy. BIG BASS These days some huge largemouth bass are being caught at Goedertrouw. With a lake record currently standing at 6.12 kg (13 1/2 lbs) caught by Carl Gutzeit in 2008 and fish of over 3 kg being taken on a regular basis, the chances of this lake retaking the largemouth record are pretty good. Goedertrouw is the only dam in Kwazulu Natal with pure Florida strain Bass, being a notoriously fickle creature this makes for sometimes tough fishing, but the rewards can be great, just ask Carl. Being in the Kwazulu Natal lowveld the lake is fishable pretty much year round. Situated 200 km form Durban it’s possible to fish as a day trip, the lack of camping facilities in fact makes it a necessity so be prepared to get up early and return home late if you plan on fishing this lake.

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fishing

Inanda Dam Inanda Dam is located on the lower Umgeni River in the beautiful Valley of 1000 Hills. The dam is only 30 km from Durban, making it an ideal and popular bass fishing destination for residents of that coastal city. Inanda is a fairly deep and long (23 km) impoundment that winds its way in a series of “S� curves through the hills. The lake is surrounded by rural farmland and has numerous bays and inlets with enough, varied structure to keep even the most discerning bass angler happy. Structure includes standing timber, brush, points and drop-offs. RECORD SIZE BASS The dam is home to some big, largemouth bass with the current lake record standing at 6.1 kg, caught by Carl Gudzeit in 2007, fish of 5 kg are not uncommon. BASS TOURNAMENT VENUE Inanda is the venue for the annual Inanda Bass Classic held in April each year, one of the most popular events on the South African bass fishing calendar. Capacity

242 million cubic meters, surface area 14 km2.

Slipway

Yes at the camp site.

Warnings

Largemouth Bass, Mozambique Tilapia, Redbreast Tilapia, Natal Yellowfish, Bluegill, Sharptooth Catfish, Carp, Mottled Eels, Tank Gobys. Varied structure including standing timber, drop offs, brush, points and other aquatic vegetation. Plastic baits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures (frogs and spook type lures) and crankbaits. Camping facilities at the dam managed by Msinsi Resorts, facilities include a small shop, slipway, ablution blocks and a security guard. Questionable - the dam is surrounded by tribal lands and settlements, avoid going ashore and make sure that vehicles are locked and parked in a secure area (camp site). None.

Contact Numbers

Msinsi Resorts: 031 765 7724.

Bank Fishing Potential

Possible in the camp site, the dam is surrounded by tribal areas so bank fishing is not recommended elsewhere.

Fish Species Available Structure Recommended Lures Facilities Security

Midmar Dam Midmar Dam lies North West of Pietermaritzburg and South West of Albert Falls Dam. The dam is very popular with water sports enthusiasts, some bass anglers avoid it for this reason but for those willing to brave the jet skis and water skiers the bassing can be 28

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fishing rewarding. It must be emphasized though that fishing this lake is not easy due to the large number of leisure boats. SOUTH AFRICAN RECORD BASS For all the talk about not being an easy dam to fish, Midamar does hold some huge Florida/ Northern strain hybrid largemouth bass. The current South African record largemouth bass weighing in at 6.29 kg was caught by local Bassmaster Julian Van Zuydam in September 2004. NATURE RESERVE The dam is located within the Midmar Nature Reserve, so if the fish aren’t biting you can always go and view the wild animals. Structure Recommended Lures

Facilities

Many bays and drop-offs, aquatic weeds. Crank baits, spinnerbaits, mojo rigged soft plastics. According to Julian Van Zuydam, current SA record holder, a junebug worm fished slowly along the bottom can be deadly, and he should know. There are three separate campgrounds within the resort controlled by KZN Wildlife, of which two have water frontage. At present two of the campgrounds have limited electrical plug point facilities. All sites are served by communal ablution blocks, with hot and cold running water. Thirty two fully-equipped chalets (including a six bedded chalet especially equipped for the handicapped) provide comfortable accommodation in a scenic area overlooking the dam. These chalets are all equipped with DSTV. In addition, sixteen rustic cabins, are available to the visitor. These are equipped with refrigerators and electric stoves, but have communal ablution facilities.

Security

Good.

Warnings Contact Numbers

Boaters should be prepared to negotiate the high volume of boat traffic.

Bank Fishing Potential

Bank fishing is possible along large areas of the shore.

KZN Wildlife: 033 330 2067 or 033 330 2068.

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fishing

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Featured species

Istiophorus platypterus

Johan Barkhuizen

With its oversized dorsal fin and great leaping ability, the sailfish is the most visually arresting member of the billfish family. The sailfish is dark blue on top, yellowish-blue in the middle and silvery white at the belly. Sailfish can change their colors almost instantly - a change controlled by their nervous system. The sailfish can rapidly turn its body light blue with yellowish stripes when excited, confusing its prey and making capture easier, while signaling its intentions to fellow sailfish. The upper jaw, like many related species, is elongated into a vicious spear point. The sailfish’s most notable feature is the dorsal fin, which is long, very high and colored cobalt blue with dark spots. Sailfish have been recorded swimming at speeds up to 109 km/h, making them among the fastest of game fish. They can swim 100 meters in 4.8 seconds. Another notable characteristic is the elongated bill, resembling that of the swordfish and other marlins. They are therefore described as billfish in sport fishing circles. Sailfish grow quickly, reaching 1.2 – 1.5 meters in length in a single year, and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller pelagic forage fish and squid. Generally, sailfish do not grow to more than 3 meters in length and rarely weigh over 90 kilograms. The sail is normally kept folded down and to the side when swimming, but it may be raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it Cont. on pagte 34

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events

Not to be missed GAUTENG

KwaZulu-Natal

Halfway Toyota 4x4 Driver Training and Outing days 5 April - Halfway 4Ways 6 April - Halfway Honeydew Ryan Otto - 073 845 2003

Africa Bike Week 1 May Margate Lisa - 021 657-4952

4x4 Outdoor show 5-6 April Voortrekker Monument Alan - 082 344 0238

Limpopo

The Rand Show 18 - 28 April Johannesburg 011 462 1989

Naboom Fiesta 19 April Naboomspruit Johan Pont - 082 801 3972

HuntEx 2014 26 - 28 April Gallagher Convention Centre Adriaan - 012 803 5986

Lions 4x4 Charity Event 1 May Phalaborwa 083 646 3686

Richies Model Cars, Toys and Hobby Fair 27 April Randburg Josh - 072 254 1730

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Splashy Fen 17 - 21 April Underberg 031 563 0824

Naboom windpomp fees 1 - 3 May Naboomspruit 076 533 4513

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events WESTERN CAPE Klein Karoo National Arts Festival 29 March - 5 April Oudtshoorn www.kknk.co.za Barrels & Beards Harvest Celebration8 5 April Bot Rivier 082 852 6547 Constantia Food and Wine Festival 11 - 13 April Constantia Carryn - 083 679 4495 Kirstenbosch Garden Fair & Plant Sale 12 - 13 April Claremont 021 671 5468 Canal Walk Motor Show 24 - 28 April Century City 021 529 9600 Langebaan Lagoon Celebration 26 - 27 April Langebaan 022 772-1515

SA Cheese Festival 26 April Stellenbosch Mariana Rabie - 021 975 4440

Freestate Free State Easterfest 7 April Fiksburg 081 300 1546 Willem Pretorius Wildfees Marathon 12 April Ventersburg Johan - 082 671 9553

Northern Cape Tankwa Arid Birding Bonanza 4 - 6 April Tankwa Karoo National Park Jenny - 021 559 7636 Oorlogskloof Mountain and Gorge Run 26 April Nieuwoudtville 021 789 0188 Steak Evening 31 April Velddrif 022 783 0005 If you would like to publish your event here, please send details of event to: info@africanadventures.co.za

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Featured species actually is. This tactic has also been observed during feeding, when a group of sailfish use their sails to “herd� a school of fish or squid. Habitat: Sailfish are an offshore species and are associated with waters near the Gulfstream and near the 100 fathom line. Behavior: They feed aggressively on small fish and squid. Sailfish move inshore to shallow water and spawn near the surface in summer. Females swim slowly with their dorsal fins above water, accompanied by one or more males when spawning. Fishing Tips and Facts: Blue runners, pinfish, mullet, scads, ballyhoo and squid attract cruising sailfish. Sailfish are known for their fast runs, acrobatic jumps and head-shaking attempts to throw a hook. Sailfish tire easily and should be revived after a long fight to ensure their survival. Most anglers release these fish. Additional Information: Its name originates from the greatly enlarged first dorsal fin that runs almost the length of AA its back and is covered with spots.

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Fanie van der Walt In this article we will discuss a few pointers and tips to keep in mind the next time you plan to go 4x4ing. Enjoy it and remember, safety first! 1) Read your owner’s manual thoroughly before going off-road, or on road for that matter. Learn your vehicle. 2) Never go out alone as a short trip could be costly. Venturing off the highway alone is never suggested. One can’t foresee everything that could go wrong. Being prepared yourself, having your vehicle prepared and maintained to a reasonable degree will help counter some problems, but not all. Taking along another car is a smart thing to do, chances are both cars won’t quit while out. The second car could surely tow out the first, or go for help if necessary. 3) Always make sure your vehicle is prepared before departing. 4) Adopt a relaxed and upright driving position with a loose grip on the steering wheel, taking note to keep your thumbs out of the center section of the wheel, thus avoiding broken thumbs from steering wheel kick-back. This is a common problem on vehicles not equipped with power assisted steering. 5) Contact between your right foot and the gearbox tunnel will help increase throttle control. The use of a “dead-pedal” on the left is also helpful. DO NOT use the clutch pedal as a “dead -pedal”. Once the clutch is engaged (out), keep your foot clear. 6) Know your minimum ground clearance. On vehicles equipped with “live” axles (fixed), the minimum ground clearance is the lowest point of the axle housing, normally the differential. This minimum clearance always remains the same as the axle goes up/down with the wheels. To obtain your minimum clearance, measure from the differential housing (its lowest point) to the ground, there it is, your minimum ground clearance. The minimum won’t change, though maximum can when a wheel climbs up.

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adventures 6A) On vehicles fitted with independent suspension however, the front wheels are attached to the A-arms which go up/down independently from each other, at the same time the center portion of the chassis/ suspension goes up/down as well, though the exact opposite of the wheels. Type of terrain, as well as braking can affect your ground clearance dramatically; when the front wheels are bottomed on their suspension points (up in the fenders as far as they can go), your chassis and front suspension pivot points are now very vulnerable to damage as they come closer to the obstacle. It is a proven fact, that for heavy duty off-road work vehicles fitted with “live” axles are preferred.

As you can see from above, the ground clearance varies as the suspension moves up/down. Left: In its unloaded position you could have 8” (example), while Right: In its bottomed position it could reduce to half. Always be aware of vehicle ground clearance and obstacles. 7) Suspension & Wheel Travel. Since the time man first developed wheeled vehicles his thought must have been on smoothing the ride. Leaf springs have been around since what must be the beginning of time. Horse drawn wagons, buggies and the famed stage coaches had leaf springs. The leaf spring has two advantages over any other form of suspension, in that a) it’s cheap to produce, and b) they will carry heavy loads. A number of today’s 4wds are still built with leaf springs, while others have gone the Coil spring route. Coil springs do allow heavy carrying capacities to an extent while offering a smoother ride and better wheel travel/ articulation (movement up/down & angle of axle). Other manufactures have sought to create car like rides on their 4WD vehicles by fitting independent front suspension, either torsion bar or coil sprung, though neither of which is in its element when off-road. The best set up? Coil sprung/Live axles; this set up offers smooth ride with extreme rates of wheel travel (wheel movement up/down) and is still cost effective to build. Independent front suspension, as described in #6A, is expensive, car like, and offers little to the off-roader, as it can be damaged easier than a live axle, has more pieces to maintain/damage, and cannot offer the wheel travel and stability when off-road. 8) Know your “Approach angle”, “Break-over” and “Departure angle” (Opposite). Knowing

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adventures these figures (i.e.: Clearance), you’ll be able to negotiate obstacles much easier without damage to your vehicle. Interested in learning what these figures are on your vehicle? Try a long broom stick. Placing it under the edge of the tyre, and then lifting up until it makes contact with the body, you now have some idea of your angles. When off-road, drive up to your obstacle slowly, then stop get out and look to check clearances upon approach. When clearing the obstacle, be careful to “walk” the rear wheels off, remembering always that most 4WD vehicles have some sort of overhang beyond the rear axle (when “walking” your 4x4, the use of brakes, a spotter and your own sight will enable you to creep the rear wheels off the obstacle). Damage will result if care is not taken. As far as break-over is concerned, also known as “high-centered”, this too will take a keen eye, the assistance of a spotter, and practice.

9) Know your vehicles height and width. Think about parking garages and parking spaces, will your 4WD clear the obstructions within the structure? Now apply the same to overhanging trees, narrow washes and rocks. Easy really. 10) Check the area(s) in which you plan to travel off-road. Ask locals about conditions. Purchase and review local maps. And... When in doubt, get out and take a brief walk to review the terrain ahead. This walk could save hours of digging and/or winching, or the anguish of having your new 4WD damaged. 11) Be aware of changing weather conditions, the last thing you want is to get caught on the desert floor. When in doubt head for high ground (when heavy rains come in), and get out of the washes or off the desert floors. Beware of fast running water... if you can’t swim it, don’t drive into it. Many vehicles have been lost in rough weather and water. Beware! 12) Know your Four-wheel-drive system. Unlike days gone by, the systems of today vary in their modes of operations and capabilities. Review your owner’s manual or talk with an expert concerning your vehicle make. Don’t assume anything. 13) Engage Low-Range before you need it. Choose the correct gear for the situation, see #12. Note: On vehicles fitted with a manual center “Diff-Lock”, this should be disengaged once traction has been regained. However, Low-Range should be kept engaged until clear of the hazardous area(s). FYI: This center differential-lock is just that, a lock, locking

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adventures the front & rear drive outputs of the transfer case together. When unlocked (disengaged) it will prevent “axle windup” within the drivetrain. Vehicles fitted with a standard HighLow/2wd-4wd system have no center-differential, and when engaged in 4WD for long periods they will induce axle windup. You may notice that in tight turns while in 4WD that the front wheels will seem to hop and buck, this is the windup trying to escape from the system. Don’t be alarmed. 14) Before entering a difficult section, make your choice of gear selection. Remember that you should ALWAYS use 1st gear (First, Low-Range) on down-hills for maximum engine braking effect, and keep the use of brakes to an absolute minimum, the use of which could cause sliding and loss of control. To correct a sliding vehicle, turn into the slide and apply some throttle, you will now have to straighten the steering wheel and let off the throttle. Gear selection for up-hill use depends on the make of vehicle, though 2nd or 3rd would be a good place to start. Choosing too high a gear can lug or stall an engine, keep your eye on the tach. Using steady rev’s of 1800-2200 rpm is a good starting point. 15) If conditions are soft (marshy ground, sand, etc.) it may be advisable to lower tyre pressures. This helps improve traction, and will reduce sinking. Tyres will have to be reinflated for road use. 16) When ground conditions appear difficult, such as rocks, ruts, etc., it is advisable to select a path by foot prior to driving through, thus reducing the chance of getting stuck or damaging your vehicle. The use of a spotter is also recommended. The use of a spotter is always a good idea. 17) Exercise care when applying the throttle. Excess throttle will cause wheel spin (digging) and could stop forward movement. Don’t dig with your wheels, otherwise you’ll be digging with a shovel! 18) Momentum of a fast moving vehicle will always overcome the drag and reduce the traction needed from the wheels. When it is clear that NO obstacle is in the way to cause damage, a fast approach to a steep hill, soft sand, mud, etc., can very often be effective. Keep wheel spin to a minimum, thus keeping forward movement. 19) When crossing ditches, ruts, logs, etc., always try to keep as many wheels as possible on the same type of surface. Avoid getting the wheels airborne. Also ditch & log crossing should be done at 45-degree angles, not head on, thus keeping traction loss to one wheel only. 20) Always be aware of obstacles under your vehicle, keeping in mind you only have so much ground clearance. Avoid existing deep ruts, sudden changes in slopes, plus remember your approach and departure angles. Always be aware of where your RightRear tyre is, and what it’s about to contact. 21) Maximum advisable wading depth is approx 20-inches. If equipped, fit the bellhousing wading plug prior to setting out. Make sure your engine air intake does not suck water,

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adventures otherwise great engine damage will occur. Though some vehicles are known for driving through deep water, we don’t suggest it (you need specialized vehicles & equipment). If you have to cross that stream, survey it first. If the water is glass smooth and you can’t see the bottom, a muddy bottom is usually the norm. If choppy and rough, rocks are then the cause. When surveying you’ll have to check depth, current speed, condition of the stream bottom (does it offer traction or not?). Don’t try driving against the current, and if you have to cross, take it a right angles, or angle your way down stream to the opposite bank, letting the current help you along. You are in... don’t splash, this will normally cause an engine to be soaked (causing it to quit, or suck water down the air cleaner). Begin slowly and create a “bow-wake”, taking care to keep a steady speed. 22) After driving through deep water (or mud), make sure your brakes are dried out immediately, thus being fully operational when needed. This can be done by driving a short distance with the brake pedal applied lightly. You should also check your air filter for water. 23) When dealing with mud, refer to #10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 for starters. Now think about what gear you’ll use, we normally try second gear low-range (possibly 3rd with a V8 & automatic), keep a steady speed, not too fast, and try not to spin the wheels, as if they are, you are not going forward. If you loose forward movement, lift off the throttle slightly, enough to stop the spinning and see if you regain traction, normally you well. Throttle control and traction is the key to driving in the mud. 24) Should you get stuck, careful thought and experience will usually provide a solution. However, the trick is not to get stuck in the first place. The idea of having a winch is great, but just in case you don’t have one, look at your situation, then clear any/all obstacles from in front of all four tyres. Adjust air pressure as necessary, then begin a rocking motion (forward-reverse, etc.). In most cases it will do the trick. If not, it may be necessary to jack up the car and place rocks, matting, etc., under the tyres for added traction. It may also be necessary to remove all payload from the load space area. 25) Rocks, these can be tricky, and it’s almost an art, either of getting through, or smashing your car (ala Rubicon). We’re not “rock climbers” here at “ORE”, and all Beginner & Intermediate courses avoid the rough areas (Advanced & 1-on-1 course may choose to go to such areas). When off-road however, you’ll always encounter rocks of some sort or another. Careful driving and spotting can help you avoid vehicle and wheel/tyre damage (be careful with the sidewalls on your tyres, rocks can tear them open). Survey the area chosen first. Walk it. Use your spotter as necessary. Find that path through. Drive slowly and with caution, remembering your ground clearance, approach/departure angles, plus your break-over clearance. If rocks are too large to put under your car, you’ll have to go around, or... over them. 26) Hill climbing, some think, is a sport in itself. When you see off-roaders rushing up a particular hill for the sole reason of getting to the top, you can be sure trouble isn’t too far behind. In most cases this is a useless sport, damaging the trails, and usually the vehicle (everything from broken axle shafts from excessive wheel spin, to roll overs). If you have to go

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adventures up, refer to #14 & 18 for starters. Should your vehicle stall part way up, don’t panic! Quickly hold the brakes, engage reverse (re-start engine if needed) and release all pedals, letting the vehicle back down in gear via engine braking, stay off the brakes! With the engine now above you, and the weight shifted onto the rear axle, your vehicle is quite unstable and can go into roll-over-mode very easy. If... the front end begins to slide to one side, quick use of the throttle will straighten the vehicle out, as soon as its once again straight with the trail, release the throttle, DO NOT touch the brakes, as the front end will try to pass the rear when the weight shifts further. We’ve seen what happens to a number of these types of off-road wrecks, sometimes with nasty and deadly results. When coming down front first, engage low-range/first gear and then nose it over the edge. Let the engine and gearbox do all the work (engine braking). Don’t panic, try and stay off the brake pedal. If it starts sliding, touch the throttle enough to overcome (out run) the slide, then release the pedal once again letting the engine do its thing. Easy really. 27) Side slopes are another hazard of off-roading. Some vehicles can operate on a 45-degree side slope, but only with traction. Basically, try to avoid such dangerous situations when possible. 28) Don’t overload your vehicle. Keep in mind that loads should be distributed evenly within the vehicle if at all possible. Loads behind the rear axle will sag the rear of the vehicles, thus limiting departure angle/clearance. When a roof rack is fitted be extremely aware of weights and how they are distributed. Excessive loads will change the center-ofgravity, thus making the vehicle less stable. Also, beware of the additional height of the vehicle with the rack fitted. 29) Once clear of your off-road area it is most important that you check over your vehicle completely before commencing with your highway travel. It is important that the vehicle is checked over completely for leaks or brush hanging from the frame, or anything else that could prove hazardous to you and your vehicle or other drivers before commencing freeway speeds and travel. Be sure to check & inflate the tyres. 30) A quick and brief reminder... • Remember to check out difficult or unfamiliar terrain. • Remember to drive smoothly with throttle, brake and steering control. • Remember to use common sense; it may be all you have. • Remember to always wear your seatbelt. • Remember to drive within your abilities, not over your head. • Remember to never go out alone. • Remember to use 1st gear/low-range on down hills... engine braking. • Remember to always check your car afterwards, re-inflate tyres, etc. • Remember to TREAD LIGHTLY! 42

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Featured species

Tauraco corythaix Karmen Joynt The Knysna Turaco, or, in South Africa, Knysna Lourie, is a large turaco; 40 - 42cm from beak to tail, 260 - 380g, one of a group of African near-passerine birds. It is a resident breeder in the mature evergreen forests of southern and eastern South Africa. It is an unmistakable bird, although often inconspicuous in the treetops. It was formerly sometimes considered to be a subspecies of the Green Turaco of West Africa but vocal and chromosomal differences have now led to it being classified as a species of its own. The easiest way to identify it from other green turacos is by the white tip on its rounded crest. The Knysna Lourie has a sharply curved short but thick orange-red bill and a white line just under the eye that contrast with its mainly green plumage. It has a tall green crest, which is tipped with white. The eye is brown and the eye-ring deep red. In flight, Knysna Turaco shows conspicuous red primary flight feathers. Sexes are similar. Distribution Found almost exclusively in South Africa, in the narrow strip of forest extending from Mpumalanga, through KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Can be found also in Mozambique and Swaziland, though, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 20 000 - 50 000 km, though most of its population is concentrated in coastal Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

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adventures Featured species adventures Status The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10 000 mature individuals). Global population trends have likewise not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. According to the CITES II, it is not globally threatened, but future population projections indicate it will be affected by coastal deforestation. General habits: Evergreen/riverine forests, from sea level to 1800m. The Knysna Lourie is usually seen flying between forest trees, or hopping with agility along branches. Turacos are social, moving in small, noisy flocks. Feeding It feeds mainly on fruits and berries, with seeds, leaves, insects, and earthworms making up the rest of its diet. Breeding It nests at different times of the year, depending on the region. Adults form monogamous pair bonds, and both parents contribute equally to incubation, brooding and feeding. Nest Though social, Turacos nest solitude. The nest is built by both sexes, and is a flimsy platform of twigs, placed in thick tangles of leaves in a tree or in dense creepers. Eggs It lays 1 - 2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 20 - 24 days. Young The chicks stay in the nest for about 22 days, after which they clamber around the surrounding branches. They attempt their first flight at about 28 days, becoming independent a few weeks after this. Adults feed their chicks predigested fruit. Young birds take about a year to develop full adult coloration. Juvenile birds have a shorter crest without the white tips. Call It has a loud kow-kow-kow-kow call. 46

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Conservation

World Heritage Sites in www.africasafari.co.za South Africa Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage is both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America and of course those sites in South Africa that make up our world’s heritage. What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. UNESCO’s World Heritage mission is to: • Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage; • Encourage States Parties to the

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Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List; • Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites; • Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training; • Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger; • Support States Parties’ public awarenessbuilding activities for World Heritage conservation; • Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage; • Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage. Inscription on the World Heritage List is but the first step in the World Heritage mission. Coordinated through the World Heritage Centre, the international community, from States Parties, to NGOs, corporations, and local populations, are active across the globe in support of the goals of the World Heritage Convention. Every year thousands

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Conservation of projects, valued from cents to millions of dollars, are underway in support of World Heritage. From emergency assistance to safeguard properties in danger, to long-term conservation, management planning, technical assistance, professional training, public and youth education, and awareness building, the World Heritage Centre is at the forefront of the international community’s efforts to protect and preserve.

Africa. It supports an abundance of Nile crocodile and hippo, as well as rhino (both black and white), elephant, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, impala, duiker and reedbuck, amongst a host of other species. While swimming in the lake is prohibited due to the presence of crocodile, recreational options abound. You can dive on coral reefs or walk for miles along golden beaches; explore great dunes and wander through magical coastal forests; or roam across grassy plains as the wind carries the whistling calls of reedbuck on the alert. You can try your hand at canoeing while enjoying a wilderness trail, and if snorkelling, angling or boating take your fancy, this is the place to indulge yourself. Migrant whales cavorting along the coast, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, nesting on the beaches at night in summer, add to the park’s special attractions.

Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park: A very special slice of Africa, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park offers eco-tourists some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable. Besides Lake St Lucia - a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary - the park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Ubombo mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Sodwana in the north. This diversity gives rise to a multiplicity of fauna and flora, unrivalled anywhere in South

From Mapelane the park stretches northwards, incorporating St Lucia Game and Marine Reserves, False Bay Park, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay, Mkuzi Game Reserve and the Maputaland Marine Reserve. The 260 000 ha park is internationally recognised, with two parts of it registered as Wetlands of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention. (The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 152 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1609 wetland sites, totalling 145.8 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance).

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Conservation The ongoing fluvial, marine and aeolian processes in the site have produced a variety of landforms, including coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and extensive reed and papyrus wetlands. The interplay of the park’s environmental heterogeneity with major floods and coastal storms and a transitional geographic location between subtropical and tropical Africa has resulted in exceptional species diversity and ongoing speciation. The mosaic of landforms and habitat types creates breathtaking scenic vistas. The site contains critical habitats for a range of species from Africa’s marine, wetland and savannah environments.

UKhahlamba/Drakensberg Park: Recognised by the ancient mystics of our land as breathing new life into the human spirit, the inescapable allure of this 200kilometre- long wonderland owes much to its intense relationship with people... the million-plus years of Stone Age occupation in particular. This culminated in the tragic disappearance, during the late 19th century, of the San hunter-gatherers colloquially referred to as Bushmen. Migrating chiefdoms from the Great Lakes of Central Africa had in the 13th century

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been humbled by the sheer magnitude of this uKhahlamba - Barrier of Spears destined to become the western extreme of their Zulu Kingdom. The ox-wagons of Boer settlers negotiated its precipitous passes in 1837 on the Great Trek from British dominion in the Cape Colony to a ‘Promised Land’. The name Drakensberg was coined forty years later when a Boer father and son reported seeing a dragon a giant lizard with wings and a tail - flying high above the cloud-shrouded mountain peaks. From the massive basalt cliffs of its northern reaches to the soaring sandstone buttresses in the south, the Berg - as it’s popularly known - offers a myriad delights to anyone of any age who needs to ‘get away from it all’. Peace and quiet is the catchphrase amid this unsurpassed grandeur where the world’s second- highest waterfall tumbles down a series of breathtaking cascades. The uKhahlamba – Drakensberg Park has exceptional natural beauty in its soaring basaltic buttresses, incisive dramatic cutbacks, and golden sandstone ramparts. Rolling high altitude grasslands, the pristine steep-sided river valleys and rocky gorges also contribute to the beauty of the site. The site’s diversity of habitats protects a high level of endemic and globally threatened species, especially birds and plants. This spectacular natural site also contains many caves and rock-shelters with the largest and most concentrated group of paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, made by the San people over a period of 4,000 years. The rock paintings are outstanding in quality and diversity of subject and in their depiction of animals and human beings. They represent the spiritual life of the San people who no longer live in this region.

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Conservation which the caves formed, started out as coral reefs growing in a worm shallow sea about 2.3 billion years ago.

Cradle of Humankind: The Taung Skull Fossil Site, part of the extension, is the place where in 1924 the celebrated Taung Skull - a specimen of the species Australopithecus africanus - was found. Makapan Valley, also in the site, features in its many archaeological caves traces of human occupation and evolution dating back some 3.3 million years. The area contains essential elements that define the origin and evolution of humankind. Fossils found there have enabled the identification of several specimens of early hominids, more particularly specimens of Paranthropus, dating back between 4.5 million and 2.5 million years as well as evidence of the domestication of fire 1.8 million to 1 million years ago. It is an extension to the site inscribed in 1999. The Site lies mainly in the Gauteng province with a small extension into the neighbouring North-West province, and covers 47 000 hectares of land mostly privately owned. The Cradle of Humankind Site comprises a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossillised remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids. The dolomite, in

As the reefs died off they were transformed into limestone that some time later was converted into dolomite. Millions of years later after the sea had receded, slightly acidic groundwater began to dissolve out calcium carbonate from the dolomite to form underground caverns. Over time the water table dropped and the underground caverns were exposed to the air. The percolation of acidic water through the dolomite also dissolved calcium carbonates out of the rock into the caverns, which formed stalactites, stalagmites and other crystalline structures. Continued erosion on the earth’s surface and dissolution of the dolomite eventually resulted in shafts or avens forming between the surface of the earth and the caverns below. Bones, stones and plants washed down these shafts into the caves; and animals and hominids fell into the caves, became trapped and died. The bone and plant remains became fossilized and along with various stones and pebbles became cemented in a hard mixture called breccia. At least seven of the twelve sites have yielded hominid remains. In fact, together these cave sites have produced over 850 hominid fossil remains, so that to date they represent one of the world’s richest concentrations of fossil hominid bearing sites. The scientific value of this area lies in the fact that these sites provide us with a window into the past, to a time when our earliest ancestors were evolving and changing. Scientists have long accepted that all humans had their origins in Africa. Through the use of biochemical evidence they have argued that the split of the

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Conservation human lineage (Hominidae) from that of the African apes took place around 5-6 million years ago. The study of hominid fossils from sites in Africa thus enables scientists to understand how these hominids have changed and diversified since then. The Cradle of Humankind site is made up of the following, to name a few: • Mohale’s Gate • Sterkfontein Caves • Swartkrans • Minnaars • Plover’s Lake • Drimolen • Kromdraai • Bolt’s Farm • Coopers B • Gladysvale • Haasgat • Gondolin • Wonder Cave

Mapungubwe: One thousand years ago, Mapungubwe in Limpopo province was the centre of the largest kingdom in the subcontinent, where a highly sophisticated people traded gold and ivory with China, India and Egypt. Mapungubwe is an area of open savannah at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers and abutting the northern

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border of South Africa and the borders of Zimbabwe and Botswana. It thrived as a sophisticated trading centre from around 1220 to 1300. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years. Mapungubwe was home to an advanced culture of people for the time – the ancestors of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. They traded with China and India, had a flourishing agricultural industry, and grew to a population of around 5 000. Mapungubwe is probably the earliest known site in southern Africa where evidence of a class-based society existed (Mapungubwe’s leaders were separated from the rest of the inhabitants). What is so fascinating about Mapungubwe is that it is testimony to the existence of an African civilisation that flourished before colonisation. According to Professor Thomas Huffman of the archaeology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Mapungubwe represents “the most complex society in southern Africa and is the root of the origins of Zimbabwean culture”. Between 1200 and 1300 AD, the Mapungubwe region was the centre of trade in southern Africa. Wealth came to the region from ivory and later from gold deposits that were found in Zimbabwe. The area was also agriculturally rich because of large-scale flooding in the area. The wealth in the area led to differences between rich and poor. In the village neighbouring Mapungubwe, called K2, an ancient refuse site has

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Conservation provided archaeologists with plenty of information about the lifestyles of the people of Mapungubwe. Besides the rich cultural heritage of the place, most of the continent’s big game roam here. There is also a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life, and the park, known as the Limpopo Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area, is likely to become a major tourist attraction. Mapungubwe is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is an open, expansive savannah landscape at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. Mapungubwe developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years.

Robben Island: People lived on Robben Island many thousands of years ago, when the sea channel between the Island and the Cape mainland was not covered with water. Since the Dutch settled at the Cape in the mid-1600s, Robben Island has been used primarily as a prison. Indigenous African leaders, Muslim leaders from the East

Indies, Dutch and British settler soldiers and civilians, women, and anti-apartheid activists, including South Africa’s first democratic President, Nelson Rohihlahla Mandela and the founding leader of the Pan Africanist Congress, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, were all imprisoned on the Island. Today, however, Robben Island also tells us about victory and ‘the indestructibility of the spirit of resistance against colonialism, injustice and oppression’. Overcoming opposition from the prison authorities, prisoners on the Island after the 1960s were able to organise sporting events, political debates and educational programmes, and to assert their right to be treated as human beings, with dignity and equality. They were able to help the country establish the foundations of our modern democracy. The image we have of the Island today is as a place of oppression, as well as a place of triumph. Robben Island has not only been used as a prison. It was a training and defence station in World War II (1939-1945) as well as a hospital for leprosy patients, and the mentally and chronically ill (18461931). In the 1840s, Robben Island was chosen for a hospital because it was both secure (isolating dangerous cases) and healthy (providing a good environment for cure). During this time, political and common-law prisoners were still kept on the Island. As there was no cure and little effective treatment available for leprosy, mental illness and other chronic illnesses in the 1800s, Robben Island was a kind of prison for the hospital patients too. Since 1997 it has been a museum. The museum is a dynamic institution, which acts as a focal point of South African heritage. It runs educational programmes for schools, youths and adults, facilitates tourism development, conducts ongoing research related to the Island and fulfils an archiving function.

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Conservation outstanding value to science.”

Cape Floral Kingdom: The Cape Floral Region - comprising eight protected areas stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape - was the sixth South African site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). Unesco’s World Heritage Committee declared the 553 000 hectare Cape Floral Region to be “outstanding universal significance to humanity”, describing it as “one of the richest areas for plants in the world”. The Cape Floral Region “represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa, but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora,” Unesco said in a statement. “Its plant species diversity, density and endemism are among the highest worldwide, and it has been identified as one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hot-spots. “The site displays outstanding ecological and biological processes associated with the Fynbos vegetation, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region,” Unesco added. “Unique plant reproductive strategies, adaptive to fire, patterns of seed dispersal by insects, as well as patterns of endemism and adaptive radiation found in the flora, are of

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The “serial” heritage site comprises eight protected areas considered to be the most important examples of the Cape floral kingdom: Table Mountain, De Hoop Nature Reserve, the Boland mountain complex, the Groot Winterhoek wilderness area, the Swartberg mountains, the Boesmansbos wilderness area, the Cederberg wilderness area, and Baviaanskloof, which straddles the Western and Eastern Cape boundary. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden on the slopes of Table Mountain is included in the site, the first time a botanical garden has been included in one of Unesco’s world heritage sites. The region follows the Cape fold belt of mountains, the Cedarberg and Hottentots Holland mountains, then cuts through the Langeberg, Outeniquas, Tsitsikamma, Swartberg and Zuurberg mountains, encompassing key sections of the Cape floral kingdom, the smallest and richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and the only one to be contained within one country. South Africa has the third-highest level of biodiversity in the world, thanks in no small part to the Cape floral kingdom. The Table Mountain National Park alone has more plant species within its 22 000 hectares than the whole British Isles or New Zealand. A stretch of land and sea spanning 90 000 square kilometres, or 0.05% of the earth’s land area, the Cape floral kingdom contains roughly 3% of the world’s plant species - at about 456 species per 1 000km2. Of the 9 600 species of vascular plants (plants with vessels for bearing sap) found in the Cape floral kingdom, about 70% are endemic, i.e. occur nowhere else on earth. The area’s freshwater and marine environments are similarly unique, with

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Conservation plants and animals adapted to highly specialised environments. And when it comes to fauna, the kingdom boasts 11 000 marine animal species, 3 500 of which are endemic, and 560 vertebrate species, including 142 reptile species of which 27 are endemic. Vredefort Dome: Vredefort Dome, approximately 120km south west of Johannesburg, is a representative part of a larger meteorite impact structure, or astrobleme and has been declared South Africa’s seventh World Heritage Site (2005). Dating back 2,023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme found on earth so far. With a radius of 190km, it is also the largest and the most deeply eroded. Vredefort Dome bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event, which caused devastating global change, including, according to some scientists, major evolutionary changes. It provides critical evidence of the earth’s geological history and is crucial to our understanding of the evolution of the planet.

250 - 300 kilometres in diameter. Some 70 cubic kilometres of rock would have been vaporised in the impact. The Vredefort structure is currently regarded the biggest and oldest clearly visible impact structure on Earth. Within the ring of hills at Vredefort is found granite gneiss rock. The force of the impact produced deep fractures in the underlying rock. Rock melted by the impact flowed down into the cracks, producing what are now exposed as ridges of hard dark rock the granophyres dykes. This contrasts with normal geological dykes, where molten rock from deeper in the earth has flowed upwards through cracks.

Despite their importance to the planet’s history, geological activity on the earth’s surface has led to the disappearance of evidence from most impact sites and Vredefort is the only example on earth to provide a full geological profile of an astrobleme below the crater floor. When visiting the area you will notice small hills in a large dome shape with beautiful valleys between them. The ring of hills we see now are the eroded remains of a dome created by the rebound of the rock below the impact site after the asteroid hit. The original crater, now eroded away, is estimated to have been

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Ziziphus mucronata

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Ziziphus mucronata, or as it is more frequently known, the wag-’n-bietjie tree represents life as we know it. The young twigs are zigzag, indicating that life is not always straightforward. Two thorns at the nodes are also significant; one facing backward represents where we come from and one facing forward, represents where we are going. Description Thorns and twigs - Ziziphus mucronata is a small to medium-sized tree, 3-10m high; with a spreading canopy. The main stem is green and hairy when young; year old branches often zigzag; the bark is reddish brown or roughly mottled grey, cracked into small rectangular blocks, revealing a red and stringy under-surface. Young stems are reddish brown. Leaves are simple, alternate; ovate or broadly ovate; vary enormously in size from

tree to tree, 30-90 x 20-50 mm, tapering or often mucronate apex, base strongly asymmetrical, cordate to rounded on one side; margin finely serrated, often badly eaten by insects, glossy green above, slightly hairy and paler below; 3to 5-veined from the base; veins covered with fine hairs when young; petiole up to 20 mm long; stipules, when present, take the form of small thorns at the nodes, one straight and one hooked. Leaves turn golden yellow in autumn. Flowers are borne in dense clusters in leaf axils; green to yellow; Âą 4mm in diameter; inconspicuous (October-February). The fruit is a smooth, shiny, leathery, spherical drupe, 12-20 mm in diameter, reddish-brown or deep red when ripe, slightly sweet, the pulp is dry. The fruit sometimes stays on the plant long after the leaves have fallen (March-August). The seeds are usually solitary, elliptic and compressed.

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Geographic distribution The buffalo thorn is distributed throughout the summer rainfall areas of sub-Saharan Africa, extending from South Africa northwards to Ethiopia and Arabia. Natural habitat Ziziphus mucronata grows in areas dominated by thorny vegetation in both temperate and tropical climates. It is also found in a wide range of habitats such as woodlands, open scrubland, on rocky koppies, open grasslands, on a variety of soils along streams, nutrient-rich valley bottoms and forest margins. Derivation of name and historical aspects The stipular thorns at the nodes give the tree its common Afrikaans name of wag’n-beetjie. For all their smallness, these thorns are extremely vicious, and all those who have come into contact with them,will know that you have to wait-a-bit if you want to free yourself from them. Historically, the genus is of interest. Christ’s crown of thorns is supposed to have been made from Ziziphus spina-christi Willd, a species which closely resembles Z. mucronata but which grows from central Africa northwards (Palmer & Pitman 1972). Ecology Although the fruit of Ziziphus mucronata cannot be counted as very tasty, the tree itself plays an important role ecologically. The leaves and fruit are sought after by birds of many species, wild animals and domestic stock. Giraffes are known to be especially fond of the leaves of this tree. Impala often feed on the dead leaves lying under the tree. Its inconspicuous, green to yellow flowers produce abundant nectar and often yield a good honey. 58

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Medicinal and cultural uses A decoction of the glutinous roots is commonly administered as a painkiller for all sorts of pains as well as dysentery. A concoction of the bark and the leaves is used for respiratory ailments and other septic swellings of the skin. Pastes of the root and leaves can be applied to treat boils, swollen glands, wounds and sores. The berries are edible and were used by residents in the former Transvaal in making porridge. The fruit can also make a beer if fermented properly. During the Anglo-Boer war, the seeds were ground and used as a coffee substitute. Africans have many beliefs and superstitions attached to this tree. Zulus and Swazis use the buffalo thorn in connection with burial rites. It was once customary that when a Zulu chief died, the tree was planted on his grave as a reminder or symbol of where the chief lies. Hence the name umLahlankosithat which buries the chief. A twig from the tree was and is still used to attract and carry the spirit of the deceased from the place of death to the new resting place. Wood from this tree is used for timber, wagon making and fence posts as it yields a yellow, fine-grained, heavy wood which contains 12.2-15.7% tanning matter (Watt & Brandwijk 1962). The elasticity of the shoots makes it suitable for bows and whip sticks. Some African tribes use the thorny branches to make kraals or hedges. This protects their livestock from lions and other predators.

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Destinations

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Recipe

TORTELLINI CHILI www.facebook.com/oumabeer62 A quick and easy, 30 minute, one pot chili with cheese tortellini that is just perfect comfort food! INGREDIENTS: • 6 cups beef broth or chicken broth •1 tablespoon oil • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed •1 onion, diced • 1 can diced tomatoes •3 cloves garlic, chopped • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional) •1+ tablespoon chili powder • 1 teaspoon oregano •1 teaspoon paprika • 8 ounces fresh cheese tortellini •1 teaspoon ground cumin • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste •1kg ground beef or turkey WHAT TO DO: 1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the onions and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes. 2. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika and cumin and cook until fragrant, about a minute. 3. Add the beef and brown, about 6-8 minutes, before draining any grease. 4. Add the broth, beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and tortellini and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the tortellini is tender, about 10 minutes.

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Travel & Stay

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Travel & Stay

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