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Volume - 17

Hunting Vaal Rhebuck Small Antelope - Big Reputation

Responsible Angling Its now up to individuals

Garden Route Marine Life

Facing the Facts

HUNTING I FISHING I ADVENTURES I CONSERVATION I DESTINATIONS


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Regulars

Contents

Featured species

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Hunting

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4 32 41 52

Bush pig African sharptooth catfish Peregrine Falcon Blossom Tree

19 27 49 55

A small antelope with a big reputation Bowfishing: An off-season alternative

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Rigging up for Trolling - Part 2 Responsible angling

23 29

The Garden Route in grandeur Travel & Stay

35 62

FIshing

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dESTINATIONS

35

cONSERVATION

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Garden Route Marine Life - Facing the Facts 42

Adventures

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Editors Letter Events Recipe: Rosemary seared tuna Product Review

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Green Flag Hiking Trails

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Editors Letter

With national heritage day still fresh in the memory banks, I find myself wondering how many of us took time out to appreciate our natural heritage. South Africa offers the nature lover such diverse opportunities to enjoy our natural heritage but World Rhino day on the 22nd was a conscious reminder that if we don’t preserve this, it could be lost for future generations. It’s all of our responsibility to contribute some of our time to ensure the future survival of many a species. African Adventures Magazine is fully committed to bring you content that will encourage every individual to peruse their love of nature and we encourage you to expand your interest in the vast number of activities on offer which is not only beneficial to mother nature but also advantageous to your health in times where we simply rush past the things we love. This is another exciting edition with a vast variety of excellent reads for every individual. We visit a beautiful stretch of coastline that is known around the globe as the Garden Route. The lucky ones who is heading there over the holidays can read about the incredible activities on offer on pg.35. Walk with us and have a look at a fantastic new initiative surrounding our hiking trails on pg.58 and see if your favourite trail is worthy of carrying the green flag. Enjoy this edition and I want to thank you for the wonderful compliments and request we’ve received over the last few months. “Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder

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Johan Viljoen


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hunting

A small Antelope with a big reputation

Fred Steynberg South Africa has been and still is the country that offers the most diverse and exciting hunting opportunities on the planet. One of the species that offers a truly challenging walk and stalk hunt in the right environment is the Vaal Rhebuck (Peleacapreolus). This species is unique to South Africa and because it is relatively rare it has become a sought after trophy among national and international hunters alike. Hunting a Vaal Rhebuck on foot among inhospitable mountains 2000m above sea level in an area where their movement is not restricted by game fences,where there is no planted grazing that may lure them in winter, where temperatures often reach double figures below zero, poses a real challenge. This challenge requires a hunter to have more ‘arrows in his quiver’ than your average ‘bakkie’ or ‘brandy & coke’ hunter. If luck is not at stake and an experienced professional hunter is not leading the hunt, then fitness, stealth, the ability to shoot long shots and an in-depth knowledge of this wily adversary will be an advantage and add to the success of the hunt.

Incredible eyesight

A Vaalie (as it is commonly called) in its natural environment is one of the most vigilant antelope around and there are many reasons for this. They have an incredibly strong instinct to protect their young, which are most vulnerable during the first couple of weeks after birth. Obviously,their young can run short distances almost immediately after birth but they are no match, at that age, for predators, such as jackal, that have stamina and are quick and sure footed in the mountains. Dogs that are used for game or vermin hunting purposes in some areas as invariably hunt and chase any wild animal. Vaal Rhebuck could fall victim and there is nothing that will make a herd of Vaalies more alert than the potential danger of a hunting dog pack in the area, often accompanied by humans. ‘Wild’ Vaalies will usually not stop before they reach a safe distance of 500m or more. Once alerted, they often stay alert for long periods thereafter. Unlike many other antelope, Vaalies do not run over the hill to avoid danger, they will run over the hill and up the other side so that they can easier detect whether they are being pursued and by what.

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hunting Thus, the best defense the herd has is their eyesight. They have incredible vision and members of the herd make turns to scan the horizon for any unnatural movement, colour or shape. Herds of 6 – 10+ individuals often have the advantage of including experienced old females that often lie down while the rest of the herd feed and stare at areas where they could expect danger. These old ladies can be identified by their lighter grey appearance and they often have their long ears drawn slightly backwards as they chew their cut and concentrate on detecting danger. Old female Vaalies will also lead the herd and have frustrated many a hunter as they have learned with years of experience where and when to be looking and how to stay out of harm’s way. The detection of a careless hunter by one of the herd members will result in a duck-like snort that will immediately send the herd fleeing or place them all on full alert. One of the biggest mistakes that trophy Vaalie hunters make is to misjudge this animal’s eyesight. When stalking Vaalies I often look back to see whether my client is low enough and if he is keeping his head down when crawling or sailing on his belly to a vantage point. Camo clothing, buffs to cover a white face and hiding bling (such as watches, sunglasses and shiny gun barrels...) are prerequisites and can help to achieve success. If it is in any way possible to compare the eyesight of two antelope that share the same habitat, then there is absolutely no comparison between the eyesight of a Vaal Rhebuck and a Mountain Reedbuck. It is difficult for a Mountain Reedbuck to detect danger beyond 300 – 400m but the Vaal Rhebuck can and will often react at potential sighted danger beyond 800 – 1000m.

Scent and the wind

It is not always possible to work the wind in the mountains and Vaalies will often spook at the slightest scent that is blown their way - it is, thus, important to work on a plan to avoid wind detection before the stalk. Spotting a Vaal Rhebuck trophy at a distance and working out that there is a way to get within range without been seen is one thing but the wind may have other ideas. A gentle wind that turns and swirls can make for a disappointing result after a hard stalk, but a strong steady blow will ensure a predictable, concentrated scent direction. Vaalies, like many other mountain game, have a serious dislike for a heath wind and will move to the lee side of the mountain or hill to avoid it. They seem to become distracted by a strong wind and appear less alert. I have often found that hunting in strong wind, although uncomfortable, enables me to stalk to within 100m from herds of usually alert animals.

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hunting 6th Sense and other game

Maybe Vaalies don’t have a 6th sense for potential danger but it often seems as if they do. I can recall on numerous hunts, while lying flat on my stomach, completely out of sight, inspecting a trophy buck, that after a couple of minutes one of the herd (often an old female) will stand up and without warning move the herd in a hurry. In all these cases, the wind was not an issue and they did not see me, so what stirred them? I have read with interest, numerous articles on Vaal Rhebuck and Mountain Reedbuck and some reports on their behavior are very general. One example is of writers mentioning that Mountain Reedbuck and Vaal Rhebuck do not share the same territory because Vaalies are too aggressive and would often chase off the Mountain Reedbuck. This may be partly true with large,established Vaalie herds where many of the individuals are mature. Small groups of Vaal Rhebuck, without the guidance of a mature female or dominant ram, will often adopt a herd of Mountain Reedbuck and they often graze and rest together. This is almost a symbiotic association as the Vaalies feel that there is protection within a larger herd and the Mountain Reedbuck are comfortable in using the Vaal Rhebucks‘ sharp senses to alert them of danger. Young bachelor Vaalies will often hang around Mountain Reedbuck herds until they are mature enough to confront a dominant, aging ram that has a harem. Vaal Rhebuck in the natural environment will almost always avoid farm livestock. I am not too sure whether it is the association with man, dog or potential disease but I have never encountered a Vaal Rhebuck herd in a heath environment, within daylight hours, closer than a couple of hundred yards from livestock. On more than one occasion,while stalking Vaal Rhebuck, I almost crept straight into a troop of Baboons that were foraging around and among a Vaal Rhebuck herd. Both groups seemed to rely upon each other to do the watch but neither seemed alert at all.

Hunting and stalking vaal rhebuck trophies

Before talking a little about hunting trophy Vaal Rhebuck, it might be a good idea to mention that many ethical walk and stalk hunters will absolute cringe at the thought of pursuing this legendary trophy in any other way. Shooting a trophy specimen from a vehicle, at night, and/or in a cultivated green field can only be described as extremely unethical. Ethical hunting of a Trophy Vaal Rhebuck as already mentioned, requires fitness, stealth and an indepth knowledge of this species and its environment. In our fast, money dependent society, where everything needs to be done quicker and better, money can almost acquire anything in hunting terms that a hunter can really be proud of. But, what can be a more exciting part of the hunt than preparing for the adventure -practicing at the shooting range, sighting the weapon for long distance shots and understanding precisely where every shot will hit and at what distance, walking or running every day to improve your fitness level, and packing for any extremity. Ethical Vaal Rhebuck hunting should be done from first light and in winter (the legal hunting season). On the cold frosty mornings,herds of 3 to 10 individuals can often be found

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hunting where the sun finds the mountain first and from there they will later feed or move down to favourable areas. Early morning is often the best time of day, as stalking with the sun from behind, if possible, can be an advantage as it is difficult for animals to detect approaching danger looking straight into a low, early morning sun. Vaalies often graze during these early morning hours, are spotted easier and are less alert. Stalking Vaalies on or over any horizon must be considered a potential giveaway unless done with the utmost stealth. Vaalies know their horizons with every bush and every rock on it and will scan these as they know that nothing will go unseen when crossing the line between sky and earth. For a hunter this could be a good vantage point to spot and stalk from but the stalk should start way before reaching the perimeter. I often leave my client behind and sail to the edge on my own to inspect a potential hot spot or to suss out a trophy. Once there, I ensure that I have camouflaged my shiny white face before slowly lifting my head until I can see what I need to see. The hunter joins me later in the same way and with the same stealth if a trophy has presented itself. Pushing the gun into the direction of the quarry before moving into position behind it, might buy time when detected and is definitely the better approach. This tactic also works well after a good stalk or leopard crawl to a closer vantage point over rocks, bushes and long grass. Vaal Rhebuck will regularly lie down between 11am till about 3pm, especially on warm days. These herds are often surprised by hunters that did not detect them (Vaalies are hard to spot when they lie down in long grass) and that have almost walked over them. In some instances, if the hunter sits down immediately, the herd will stop for a quick look back at what had frightened them before running to a safer distance. These couple of seconds can provide a prepared hunter with a small window of opportunity for a quick seated shot if the target is within range. In the mountains, it can be important to range the target whenever possible to ensure the best bullet placement. Vaalies are not the toughest antelope on earth and will succumb quickly to a shot on the vital organs, but if wounded, can be very difficult to follow and find - three legged trophies are often never retrieved. To write about all that I have experienced while hunting Trophy Vaal Rheebuck over the past 20 years will fill many more pages and many more could be filled with each passing hunting season. The meat of a Vaal Rhebuck smells of herbs and wild (because of their diet) and is by no means tasty. It is ,however, not the meat but the everlasting sweet spot that is left in the memory of ethical hunter’s mind after a well earned hunt of an antelope small in stature but with a big reputation.

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hunting

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hunting

Bowfishing: An off-season alternative Engee Potgieter 14

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hunting s the hunting season comes to a close we all have to find a way to hone our skills and to keep in tiptop shooting shape for the upcoming season. Punching holes in paper is only fun for so long, other than putting all your bow hunting equipment aside to gather dust until the following season arrives you can take up bowfishing in the balmy summer months. Bowfishing is a sport, which is still in its infancy in South Africa but has been really popular in the USA for quite some years. Now the big question, “How do I get started?” It’s actually very simple; there are a few bow shops that stock a standard bowfishing kit that is very easy to set up. Bowfishing kits like one’s made by either Muzzy or AMS Bowfishing equipment are probably the best way to go. You can of course make a very basic bowfishing rig yourself, there are a couple of guidelines but you have to make everything from scratch. I prefer the above mentioned kits, which take all the frustration and headache out of trial & error home made rigs.

Example of a broadhead

There are a couple of things which are essential, polarized sunglasses are a must. It will be nearly impossible to try and see the particular fish you are shooting without them. Any bow will do, recurves are very popular because of their light weight, but I use an old round cam bow that has been hiding in the closet for quite some time. The only benefit of using such an “ancient” bow is that they are usually heavy and have a low let off, this will make your usual hunting bow seem like a breeze to hold steady. The bowfishing rigs consist of a spool & retriever that has a built in hand operated braking system through which the 30yds of

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Arrow rest and reel

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hunting 40lb dacron runs, an arrow rest (made especially for the very long and heavy solid fiberglass arrows) and two arrows with barbed tip attached. To top it off there is also a step-by-step instruction sheet. Any simpler it cannot be. The only thing you will have to add is a one-pin sight. Now, sighting in the bow is going to prove a task. After a whole heap of missed shots we found out that we had to sight our bows to shoot about 4� low at 15yards. This is to counter for the infraction caused by the water, (you remember what that grumpy old science teacher groaned?) to hit a fish one should roughly aim about 4� below the fish at basic shooting distances, which are usually short. Why we sighted our bows to hit low at 15yds is so that we can place our pins ON the fish while the arrow will enter the water at the right angle to ensure a good hit. It just feels better and improves discipline to aim at something than to hold over or under. On the fiberglass arrow is a cable slide to which is attached the dacron type line; this feeds into the line holder through the line retriever. It sounds much more complicated than it is. Another option for the line retrieval is to mount a close-faced reel on the stabilizer of the bow. The line that now comes out of the reel is attached to the arrow by means of the usual cable slide or home made version. To say that bowfishing is fun is an understatement! One can have hours of fun if the weather is good. Cloudy weather makes it hard to see the fish even with polarized sunglasses. Shooting fish is not as simple as it sounds. Fish are very cautious by nature and you seldom get straightforward easy shots at fish that are within range.

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hunting Bowfishing will teach you a lot about patience and waiting for a shot to present itself. You have to outsmart them by trying to blend in with the usually lush green surroundings. Standing dead still in deep shade also works well, this is why bowfishing is such a great means of staying on edge for the following bow hunting season, as you do all the above when hunting the usual animals. Other than being immense fun the rewards are also great, you get some time to hone your skills while harvesting some delicious fish to eat. Remember it is always important to get permission from the farmer to bowfish on his property. Shoot sensibly; only shoot as many fish as you need. If a days fishing is good you will have absolutely no trouble in filling your quota in no time at all. What the legislation is in regards to bowfishing is not yet clear; can someone shed some light on this? Please send any information you might have to info@africanadventures.co.za

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Featured species

Bush Pig Potamochoerus larvatus

Cobus Steyl

Main Characteristics Bushpigs are nocturnal and can be very dangerous, as they use their sharp tusks when threatened. Their numbers have increased in areas where predators have been taken out and where hunting does not occur. They feed on a range of foods from roots and seeds to insects, eggs and carrion. Bushpigs are also renowned for their crop raiding abilities. The Bush Pig is a strong, stocky pig with powerful forequarters. Its upper tusks are barely visible, but the lower tusks are razor sharp and grow to 7cm in length. It is very dangerous when surprised in the bush or wounded during hunting, it can inflict serious wounds with the sharp, protruding canines. An adult boar measures up to 900mm at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 150 kgs. Habitat Found in dense forests, underbrush and along rivers and streams at the bases of mountains of the Eastern Cape Province, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Northern Province of South Africa, and further northwards through tropical Africa. Diet Bush Pigs can thrive in close proximity to human settlements as a consequence of their stealth and predilection for agricultural food crops such as potatoes, maize, tomatoes, sugar cane and other vegetables. Some farmers consider the Bushpig as a pest because of the crop damage they cause. In the wild they feed on plant roots, rhizomes, bulbs,

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Featured species tubers, fruits and insect larvae which are rooted from the subsurface soil. Breeding After a gestation period of ¹ 4 months, the Bushpig gives birth to 3 - 8 young. This normally takes place between November and January. They are also the largest animals in the sub region to build nests. Sows bite off grass and pile it into heaps up to 3m across and one meter high, which when completed looks like a small haystack. Apart from suckling them, the sows leave the care of piglets to the dominant boar. It also readily wades in water to reach aquatic plants, and is a strong swimmer which wallows in mud to cool down. Once piglets are introduced to the group, boars assume the role of protector. Piglets remain with the group until the age of six months, and thereafter are evicted from the group by the dominant pair. Predators Their main predators of Bushpig are leopard and man. They are considered problem animals in most places due to their habit of destroying crops. Spoor Description The hoofs are broader than those of the Warthog’s, and the dew claws usually mark clearly in the spoor. The broader hooves are better adapted to the type of terrain where it usually feeds. The animals make continued use of the same routes to feeding areas, thereby forming narrow, clearly marked paths.

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fishing

Rigging up for Trolling - Part 2

Mike Laubscher

Lures with Plastic and Feathered Skirts Rigging up for Trolling Part 1 covered lipped type lures. In this article I will cover lures with Plastic and Feathered skirts specifically for targeting game fish. Marlin, on the other hand, is a different subject on its own and I am not covering this in this article, although many of these methods will work for Marlin. The tackle used for these lures could be 12lb, 20lb, 30lb or even 50lb tackle for general game fishing, the rigging would be the same and just the line class and tackle will change. Rods & Rod Positions For trolling these types of lures I prefer a shorter, stockier type rod and these lures are best trolled with the rods standing up in flush gunnel rod holders. I like these rods between 5.6ft and 6.0ft in length and they must be stiff. The shorter, stiffer rod is going to allow your lures to be pulled more consistently through the water especially at higher speeds as a softer or longer rod will let your lures jump all over and your line can easily wrap around the rod tip which could make you feel very unpleasant when you lose your catch and have a broken rod. The rods need to stand in an upright position to allow the correct action to be imparted to the lure and minimise line drag. Lines and Leaders On this type of trolling setup I prefer to use a high visibility line followed by a 10m clear wind on leader. Typically for a 12lb set up I use a 50lb leader, 20lb I use a 100lb leader, on a 30lb I use a 150lb leader and 50lb I use a 200-300lb leader. On my main line I make a 600mm loop with a Bimini twist, and then join this loop to the Dacron of the wind on leader with a 5 turn improved Cats Pawl. At the end of my leader I add a heavy duty swivel snap with a breaking strain at least 30% higher than my leader breaking strain and I make a small loop with a 4 turn figure of eight knot to join the snap swivel to the leader.

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fishing It is important that you use high quality snap swivels that can clip over properly. I make my own wind on leaders. The high visibility line will allow you to see your lines when you are trolling. Lure Leaders On my lures I like this leader to be 2.0m long, and on a smaller ski-boat this is important as you do not have the space to work with a long leader when handling the leader when the fish is by the boat. This leader breaking strain will depend on the lure you are using and on the tackle you are using to troll this lure, it is pointless pulling a tiny feather with a 100lb on a 50lb rig, and you also cannot pull a large Bonito Smoker on 12lb tackle, and so you must match you lures to your tackle. Typically here in KZN 20-30lb tackle is the norm and personally I use 20lb when fishing closer to shore in the shallows and 30lb when going deeper. On the 20lb tackle my lure leaders can be from 100lb up to 200lb and on my 30lb from 150lb to 300lb. I do not like to use any steel on my lure leaders even when fishing for Wahoo. Hook Rigs There are many different ways to rig your hooks. On smaller lures I like a single dangling hook with beads for the spacing tied directly to my lure leader. On medium size lures I like using a Pro-Rig which is 2 fixed opposing faced hooks on wire cable to which the leader is connected, this connection will be in the head of the lure and so it is all steel where the fish bites. These double hook Pro-Rigs also help your lure with swimming balance. You can also use a single hook stiff rig although I am not a big fan of them and it is important with this rig to set the hook upright by fixing the rig into the head. On larger lures a chain gang is the best, and again this must be fixed into the head of the lure, you can also use a Pro-Rig here or a double hook stiff rig with the hooks at 90 degrees to each other. CAUTION: Using any double hook rig can be dangerous especially to the person handling the leader and chain gangs are the worst for causing injuries, for those who are still learning or have inexperienced crew single hook rigs are a much better place to start. TIP: Once you have gaffed your fish, put him directly into the fish hatch from the water with someone opening this as you gaff and with the lure still attached to him close the lid, then unclip the lure and replace with another one and reset your spread. Later once the fish is dead and not slapping around you can retrieve your lure. This will go a long way to eliminating injuries. Lure positions in the Spread In your wake and prop wash there are certain key areas to place your lures, I call this the strike zone. Do not feed your lures out far behind the boat, the fish are attracted to your prop wash and wake.

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fishing Typically I will run 4, 5 or 6 lures in a spread depending on conditions, more wind means less lines so in bad conditions I only run 4 lines but in excellent conditions I will run 6. I call my positions as follows: • Short outrigger - Usually 28m behind the boat • Long outrigger - Usually 30m behind the boat • Short corner - Usually 20m behind the boat • Long corner - Usually 22m behind the boat • Shotgun - Usually 40m behind the boat • Prop wash - Usually 12-15m behind the boat You need to plan your lures and where you put them and do not just put any lure in any position, in windy or bad conditions I will only run the outriggers and corners and in my opinion these are the hottest positions in the spread. The smaller lures must be further back on the outriggers and shotgun positions and the larger lures closer in on the corners and prop wash positions. A nice spread that covers most species from Dorado, Wahoo, Tuna and Sailfish is as follows: • 5-7 inch feathers on the outriggers with or without birds • Bad little Darters or Sailfish Catchers on the corners with or without a daisy chain ahead • Dorado Catcher, Sailfish Catcher or Large Feather on the Shot gun, always runs with a bird. • Diamond Coyote in the prop wash Trolling Speeds These types of lures like to be pulled fast and you can vary the speeds according to the species you want to target. • 6-7 knots - Tuna & Dorado • 7-8 knots - Dorado & Sailfish • 8-9 knots - Sailfish & Wahoo • 9-10 knots - Wahoo & Marlin Some tips when trolling that work for me. Run your motors at different speeds about 1000rpm apart as this will create harmonic frequencies that will attract fish to your boat. Run one motor trimmed up high and the other trimmed down low. Troll in a zig zag pattern when going directly into the swell or in a following sea as this keeps the lures down better and when you change direction some lures speed up whilst others slow down which can induce a strike. Lure Colours It is true when they say bright lures in bright conditions and dark lures in dark conditions, but water colour also plays an important role. If you are unsure mix up your spread, typically run bright colours on one side of the boat and darker or more natural colours on the other side.

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fishing In this article I want to cover the rigging of hard plastic lures with lips and how to set them up in your spread. These types of lures work best when pulled as fast as you can, but in many cases they are always popping out of the water which means that they are not swimming correctly. When rigging up these lures I have found that heavy leaders simply do not work with these lures as the drag created by these heavy lines upsets the movement of the lure and does not allow them to get to their designed depth and they keep on losing their balance and come popping up out of the water. The smaller the lure; the bigger the problem. The method that I now use is working well and I can pull these lures as fast as 8 knots without any problems, the smaller lures (Under 10cm) may be limited to 6 or 7 knots. I use a No. 7 stainless trace wire (No. 5 wire for lures under 10cm) and I prefer wire with a brown colour to it. I use a haywire twist to join the wire to the lure with a large loop so the wire does not interfere with the lures movement, and then make the wire 300-400mm long and with a haywire twist and a very small loop tie on a small swivel. I like the Centro size 14 swivel which is rated 80lbs and is really small. When tying your haywire twist ensure you do this properly with 3-4 loose twists of both sides around each other and then 4-5 tight wraps of the tag wire, at all times make sure there is no kink. From there I tie my main line 20-30lbs directly to the swivel using a figure of eight knot and use no leader at all, so far even for toothy fish like Wahoo and King Mackerel I have had no problems and the longer steel wire compensates more than sufficient for this. Ensure that your lures are tracking straight by running them next to the boat and if needed you can tune them by ever so slightly bending the wire loop from the lure that the ring attaches to the nose of the lure in the opposite direction. These lipped lures can be classed into two main categories: • Shallow Runners • Deep Runners Shallow Runners These are lures that run between 1-3m below the surface of the water, the two I use most are the Rapala X-Rap Splash Baits and the Halco Laser Pro’s and I prefer these two brands because I have found that they swim the best compared to other types I have tried.

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Featured species

African sharptooth catfish Clariasgariepinus

Mario Smit

Main Characteristics The African sharptooth catfish is a dominant freshwater fish that can grow up to 1.7m long and weigh up to 60kgs, with an estimated maximum lifespan of 8 years. The sharptooth catfish is thus considered to have a rapid growth rate and, depending on the ambient conditions, reach a standard length of 200mm in just one year. This fish has four pairs of long trailing sensory organs, known as ‘barbels’, around its mouth which resemble a cat’s whiskers, hence the name ‘catfish’. These whisker-like tactile organs house the taste buds of the catfish and are used to search for food in murky water. The body of the sharptooth catfish is elongated, with long, low dorsal and anal fins and a smoothly rounded tail fin, and the body has no scales. Cat’s whiskers Care should be taken when handling the catfish as it possess a strong, hollow, bonified leading spine-like ray on its dorsal and pectoral fins. As a defence, these spines may be locked into place so that they stick outwards, which can inflict severe wounds. Colour varies dorsally from dark to light brown and is often mottled with shades of olive and grey while the underside is a pale cream to white.

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Featured species The small eyes of the catfish are set far forward in the flat and bony head, while at the back of the head there is a subsidiary breathing organ above the gills that allows it to take in oxygen directly from the air. Habitat The native range of the African catfish covers most of the continent, it can be found in almost any habitat, but thrives in slowflowing rivers, as well as ponds, or dams. Catfish have also been recorded in the upper reaches of estuaries. The presence of an accessory breathing organ enables this species to breath air when very active or under very dry conditions. They remain in the muddy substrates of dams and ponds and occasionally gulp air through the mouth.

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fishing

RESPONSIBLE ANGLING

Illegal targeting of great white sharks led to the cooperative development of responsible angling guidelines for sharks

www. sharkconservancy.org In recent months it has come to the attention of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) and conservation groups that recreational anglers are increasingly targeting great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharius). As an internationally protected species (listed on CITES Appendix 2), it is illegal to target great white’s and the trade in any of their products is prohibited. Following a meeting between MCM and the WCSAA to address this issue, revised gear and angling techniques were proposed and are being developed to ensure that the chance of catching white sharks is minimized. This inclusive conservation tactic is being hailed by club anglers and government as a means of promoting a responsible angling ethic within the rock and surf fishery. If you would like information about this, contact the South African Shore Angling Association. In light of the interest and support from club and recreational anglers, MCM and the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) were encouraged to develop responsible angling guidelines for sharks, skates and rays to promote conservation and sustainable use of animals targeted in the recreational sector. And so, with the assistance of the

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fishing anglers themselves, we would like to encourage all those anglers who enjoy the thrill of catching sharks to stick to these guidelines to ensure your activities have a minimal impact on the animals by increasing their chance of post-release survival. The purpose of these guidelines and the new Green Marine Angling Programme is to encourage a sense of cooperation between anglers and South Africa’s scientific and management communities, simultaneously promoting information sharing between the sectors and encouraging the development of cooperative partnerships. To learn how to participate in the Green Marine Angling Programme and assist us with the collection of valuable information, please contact Meaghen McCord at 083 757 8920 or meag@sharkconservancy.org.

Responsible angling guidelines: Sharks

Contrary to popular belief sharks, skates & rays are very sensitive to improper handling techniques by recreational anglers. Because they spend their life in the water, these animals possess several unique characteristics that make them unsuitable for life on land. Although the survival rate of sharks, skates and rays caught by recreational anglers remains largely unquantified, anglers can minimize damages and increase the chance of survival by following a few simple guidelines. Some background information: Sharks evolved more than 400 million years ago! Having outlived the dinosaurs and survived several mass extinctions, one would imagine them to be hardy, durable animals. However, although perfectly designed for their environment, sharks

are very sensitive to stress, particularly stress induced by fighting & handling during angling. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is that, unlike terrestrial animals, the internal organs of sharks are not housed within special cavities that protect them – instead, they float around rather loosely within a single, soft cavity. This makes the organs particularly susceptible to damage when dragged over hard surfaces or lifted out of the water. Ocean athletes? Another reason is that sharks suffer from acidosis. Have you ever run a marathon or over-exerted yourself during a hard-core gym session? If so, you probably know how sore your muscles are the next day. This muscle soreness is caused by acidosis – or the body’s inability to produce enough energy to supply the demands of the muscles. Interestingly, sharks suffer from the same condition which is heightened by extreme exertion endured during angling. Acidosis in sharks can, and often does, lead to the death of the animal. Why a responsible angling technique? Because of the nature of recreational angling, many fishers are keen to minimize

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fishing their impact on the marine environment. By taking several small steps, you can help ensure your shark survives its encounter with you. Take these simple steps to minimize stress on the animal: • Remove all hooks and line, if possible. If it is not possible to remove the hook, cut the trace as short as possible to minimize the chance of entanglement. • Keep a tight trace line at all times so the animal cannot entangle itself in the trace & try to keep the trace line away from the body. This will also minimize the entanglement risk. • Try not to use ‘J-hooks’. J-hooks can be easily swallowed and may cause permanent damage to the animals’ stomach and/or intestine. Instead, try to use circle hooks. Even better, a barbless hook will inflict the least damage. • If you do not like the idea of barbless hooks, try flattening the barb instead. • Try to minimize the fight time. This will ensure the sharks’ acidosis levels do not rise to extreme levels & its ability to recover will be much greater. • Do not use a gaff to land the shark. Instead, reel it in as close as possible and use a stretcher to carry it. • Do not drag, carry or hold a shark by its tail. The spinal cord of sharks is like a human’s & any unnecessary pressure on the spine can inflict permanent damage;

are not held in place like a human’s. Instead they are specially designed to be supported by water and their organs are easily crushed when out of their environment. Use your rod (or similar item) to measure the length of the animal. Length-weight conversions exist for most recreationally caught elasmobranch species, so you can always determine the weight afterward. • Do not carry or drag the shark by its gill slits, eyes, spiracles or any other opening. Sharks require all their uniquely designed senses to hunt and maneuver effectively. Their gills also enable them to breathe and any damage to the gill slits may result in a slow death by suffocation. • Minimize the shark’s time out of the water if you must take it out of the water. • If you must remove the shark from the water restrain its movement by putting pressure on the pectoral fins (if enough support is available to assist you). Also use a stretcher. • Take all photos of your catch quickly. By minimizing your interaction time with the shark, you can improve its chance of survival. Clive Kinghorn +2783 481 0328 www.free2fish.co.za bigfish@iburst.co.za

• Do not drag the shark over a rocky surface. This will cause damage to both its skin & its internal organs. If there is sand nearby land your catch there instead. • Try not to take the shark out of the water to measure or weigh it. A shark’s internal organs (liver, heart, genital organs, etc)

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events

Not to be missed NORTH WEST

GAUTENG ABSA Johannesburg International Boat Show 5 - 7 October Johannesburg 082 411 8769 Bierfest Sandton 10 - 14 October Sandton 087 985 0635

Huisgenoot Skouspel 5 - 14 October Sun City 087 230 7290 Bosman Weekend 18 - 20 October Groot Marico Santa van Bart - 014 503 0085

KwaZulu-Natal Berg & Bush

Halfway Toyota Training days 12 October - Honeydew 13 October - Fourways Ryan - 073 845 2003

19 - 20 October Drakensberg Charmaine 083 230 9091

Johannesburg International Motor Show 18 - 28 October Johannesburg 011 494 2894

Mpumalanga Three Provinces Fly Fishing Festival 17 - 20 October Christiana 072 552 7267

The Hunters Half Marathon Challenge and 10km 29 October Hatfield Pieter van der Merwe - 082 593 8778

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Lowveld Croc Canoe Marathon 12 - 13 October Nelspruit Eric - 082 376 9795

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events Cradock Agricultural Show

WESTERN CAPE

31 October - 2 November Cradock

Stanford Stretton’s Bird Fair 1 - 6 October Stanford Liz Hochfelden - 082 766 8319

Suzette - 048 881 2778

Northern Cape

Cape Town International Boat Show 4 - 6 October Cape Town central 083 384 8595 Breedekloof Outdoor Festival 11 - 13 October Breede River Valley 083 384 8595

Ghaap River Xtreme 4 - 6 October Kimberley 082 821 6604 Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon 17 -27 October Augrabies Nadia Arndt - 083 309 7755

Simons Town Penguin Festival 12 October Simons Town SANCCOB - 021 557 6155 Dragon Boat Festival Regatta 12 October

Limpopo Sasol Marakele Birding Breakaway 18 - 19 October Marakele Natational Park Ampie Venter - 083 258 5924

Muizenberg

Zimbabwe

Sue Swanepoel - 078 160 3620

Eastern Cape Grahamstown Flower Festival 5 - 6 October Grahamstown Sharon Richner - 072 244 3863 Transkei Trout Open 11 - 13 October Transkei 082 653 2503

Halfway Toyota 4x4 Trips by Gerald O’Brien 4 - 16 October Mana Pools and Gonarezhou Contact Email: gerald@halfway.ws Cell: 082 874 6138

If you would like to publish your event here, please send details of event to: info@africanadventures.co.za

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Destinations

The Garden

Routein grandeur

Leaving Cape Town The N2 highway carves and meanders some 800 kilometers between Cape Town in the Western Cape Province and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The Garden Route – the name given to the stretch of forested, coastal area between Mosselbay and Port Elizabeth – is the brightlycolored cherry on this southern slice of Africa. The best way to explore this area is undoubtedly, to self-drive. All along the Garden Route, mountains dip and rise alongside a rugged coastline whose cliffs, estuaries and sandy shores are lapped by the Indian Ocean. Pressed between these forces of land and water are ancient forests, pristine beaches and secluded seaside towns. Golf and great whites Considered by many as the official westernmost point of the Garden Route, Mosselbay has a mild year-round climate, good beaches and friendly locals. Golf has become a big attraction here, thanks to numerous world class courses. Yet it’s not all leisurely walks and casual golf in Mosselbay. The town is one of the only two places in South Africa from which visitors can go cage diving with great white sharks – something to think about when you slice your ball off of the cliff at Pinnacle Point!

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Destinations The formal route Slightly north-east of Mosselbay is George, an important link in South Africa’s road network, and a crossroads for both coastal explorers and those traveling inland. For a uniquely South African experience, be sure to head north of George for a quick visit to Oudtshoorn, South Africa’s ostrich capital. Although it’s located just a few miles inland, the Oudtshoorn landscape is a dusty contrast to the thickly forested coastline of the Garden Route. Visit one of the Ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn and experience the frenetic, somewhat crazed madness that ensues from getting mixed up with these bald, chubby birds. It’s not all ostriches in Oudtshoorn, though; the area is also famous for the Cango Caves. Believed to have been formed more than 65-million years ago, the caves are regarded as one of Africa’s most important natural wonders. And if the caves don’t impress, the nearby Cango Wildlife Ranch surely will. The centre is one of the world’s foremost cheetah breeding projects and also boasts rare white lions, bengal tigers and crocodiles. Welcome to Wilderness Leaving George behind, Wilderness is undoubtedly where you will next want to stop for a day or two. With an impressive collection of long, secluded beaches, lakes and rivers, the small intimate town is the perfect place to enjoy a secluded getaway. The magic of Knysna From the moment you approach Knysna, driving alongside the massive lagoon, it’s all too obvious why this town is the unofficial capital of the Garden Route. Try not to swerve off the road when you first notice 36

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Destinations the impressive Knysna Heads – the two large sandstone cliffs that stand guard on either side of the estuary mouth. In Knysna, visitors can just as easily explore the lagoon, forests and rivers as the bustling town centre. As the Oyster capital of South Africa, Knysna is a place where people love to eat. The culmination of the town’s oyster obsession is the annual Knysna Oyster festival, which takes place from late June to early July. Plettenberg Bay Packed with marine life, lined with long beaches and buzzing with daytime activities and nightlife, it’s easy to see why many South Africans spend their summer in Plettenberg Bay. There are also a variety of special places located just outside Plettenberg that must be visited. These include The Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Treetops and bridge jumps Heading east once again, it’s time to tame your fears in Tsitsikamma. Some 80 kilometers of rocky coastline comprise the Tsitsikamma National Park, a place of deep, heavily scarred gorges, cliffs, tidal pools and thick evergreen forests. There are walking trails that range from comfortable day-long hikes too much longer treks. For a less strenuous experience, take a canopy tour. Standing almost 100 feet in the air, surrounded by 100-year-old hardwood trees, visitors slide along cables, zipping from platform to platform in the treetops. Not to be outdone by the heights of Tsitsikamma, the nearby Bloukrans Bridge offers a heady rush of a different kind. At 216 meters, Bloukrans is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world.

Source: fifa.com

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Destinations

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Recipe

Rosemary seared tuna

www.cookbook.co.za

This seared tuna recipe is for those who prefer a more savory fish dish to the salmon with mango salsa. It’s really simple and the roasted plum tomatoes are fantastic and makes the plate look attractive. What you need 2 Tuna steaks (150 – 200 grams each) Juice and grated rind of 1 small lime 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon garlic

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary 2 medium plum tomatoes halved 1 small red onion sliced salt and pepper

The process Make a marinade with 1/2 the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, lime rind and lime juice. Add the tuna steaks and toss around to coat them. Cover and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Heat your oven to 200 Celsius, place the tomatoes in an oven dish, cover with the onions, sprinkle over a little rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast them for 15 minutes. Heat your grill pan to medium hot and cook the tuna steaks until browned and rare inside. Serve with the roasted tomatoes and a squeeze of lime.

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Conservation

Garden Route Marine Life Facing the Facts

www.oceans-campus.com The South African Garden Route is known for its pristine beaches, biodiversity, consistent weather, the Big 5 and great whites. The region is a powerful reflection of what the entire African continent has to offer. However, disoriented sea turtles washing up on the shores due to human impact, illegal catches of great whites leading to death, and suffocating African penguins due to oil spills are threatening the creatures that South Africa prides itself on most. As the root of these problem, humans must ask themselves how far they are willing to go before they make the changes necessary to guarantee the survival of the region’s endangered species. Below are the perilous stories of four beloved marine animals in the Garden Route that face extinction and what can be done to ensure these animals remain alive for future generations. Knysna Seahorse Residing off the coast of South Africa in eelgrass and algae are small, delicate creatures endemic to the Garden Route. If you get the opportunity to come face to face with this endangered seahorse while peering through your snorkel mask in the Knysna estuary, consider yourself lucky. Knysna seahorses, also known as Cape seahorses, are fascinating to say the least. Like chameleons, this seahorse changes pigments to blend into its multicolored surroundings. A mythical looking creature, straight out of a tale of the lost city of Atlantis, these seahorses have reproductive habits that are just as unusual. They ritualistically dance with one another before mating during breading season to reinforce their connection and synchronize reproduction. Once the female seahorses lay their eggs into a 42

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Conservation marsupial like pouch on their male partners via their ovipositors, the three-week long gestation period begins. Finally, when the babies are ready, they hatch out into the water. Sadly, these charming creatures are critically endangered, which is a result of human activities like farming, property development, and excavation in estuaries. Due to their extremely limited distribution range in just three Garden Route estuaries, Knysna seashores cannot replace their lost stock and is the first seahorse species to be listed as endangered by the IUCN. They are legally protected in South Africa under the Marine Living Resource Act of 1998, meaning it is illegal to collect or keep them without a permit. This is an important step in removing the seahorse off the IUCN Red List. Keeping this species in existence strongly depends on the health of Garden Route estuaries. Researchers at The Seahorse Trust are working hard to improve the quality of the seahorse’s habitat. If you want to get involved in removing the Knysna Seahorse from the Red List, email info@theseahorsetrust.org or visit their website for more information. www.theseahorsetrust.org. Great White Sharks Great white sharks are one of the most successful apex predators on Earth. In fact, they remain almost unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. If you are lucky enough to see one through the bars of a cage, you will quickly realize that these animals are one of the world’s most misunderstood apex predators. Humans mistake these elusive, inquisitive beasts as merciless killing machines because of their enormous size and breaching habits as they sneak up on pray to attack from below. However, they are not what popular media and our own fears make them out to be. Surprisingly, chairs and toasters kill more humans than great white sharks do annually. The sad but true reality is that some humans are ‘killing machines,’ as fishermen are hunting great white sharks to the brink of extinction. The IUCN recognizes these beasts as vulnerable. Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Conservation Trust based in South Africa’s Gansbaai discovered that the global great white shark population may be as low as 2000. The movement to protect great whites began in 1991 in South Africa, when the country became the first in the world to introduce shark conservation. Part of this movement was the commencement of the cage diving industry. People willingly travelled long distances for the chance to come face to face with these ultimate predators. Fisherman realized great white sharks had more financial value alive than dead, and they capitalized on shark tourism because of the great number of great white shark individuals found off the coast of the Garden Route. However, despite their protected status in South Africa, great whites still face serious threats. Fishing, shark nets, and declining fish stock still threaten the population of great white sharks. Sadly, these marine animals cannot replenish their population because of their low fecundity, which means that their slow growth, late maturation and few young makes specie recovery slow. The country still permits the use of shark nets that target large predatory sharks. In addition, illegal sports fishing of white sharks continues to be a problem, as well as illegal harvesting of great white shark parts, such as fins, jaw, and teeth. This year, a South African fisherman by the name of Leon Bekker was the first person in the world to be found of violating the Marine Living Resources Act, which

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Conservation includes killing, disturbing, or possessing great white shark parts without a permit. The South African government is working on expanding shark ecotourism by transforming the marketing of the “Big 5” into the “Big 7,” which will include lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, rhino, sharks, and whales, as part of their effort to save these animals from extinction. If you are interested in seeing this elusive creature for yourself, head over to the northern most portion of the Garden Route, Mosselbay, for some shark diving with White Shark Africa. You can get involved in the conservation of this majestic giant by visiting the Oceans Research website at www.oceans-research.com.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle If you get the chance to meet one of the Garden Route’s loggerhead sea turtles, you won’t have to question why it is necessary to conserve these amazing creatures for future generations. These turtles travel long distances to lay their eggs on the warm beaches of Mozambique and South Africa. If you are lucky you can see their adorable hatchlings making their way into the ocean between November and March. However, hatchling populations are diminishing and loggerhead turtles face serious threats of critical endangerment due to bycatch from commercial fisheries, shark nets, human development in marine habitats, collection of eggs and meat for consumption, wildlife trade, and climate change. One of the biggest problems for hatchlings is human development. By instinct, hatchlings head toward the brightest horizon to reach the sea. Typically, the brightest horizon is over the sea, but in places where there is extensive human development, bright lights from houses and commercial development can disorientate the turtles resulting in some turtles heading to certain death in the opposite direction. The hatchlings that make it to the sea must avoid being eaten by marine predators like sharks and other sea turtles to survive and even if they do they can still face entanglement in fishing nets and death or severe injury by boat propellers. Hatchlings cannot dive until they have 44

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Conservation reached at least one kilogram and thus forage for jellyfish and mussels on the surface of the surface of the ocean. Scientists in Plettenberg Bay are increasingly finding off course loggerhead hatchlings swashing up on their beaches. A researcher at the Orca Foundation in Plettenberg Bay stated, “We rehabilitate turtles less than one kilo that were caught in the current and blown off course. Some have been attacked by birds and some come in very weak and die. We keep them for four to five months and then when they reach one-kilo, release them out into the sea.” It is much more difficult being a loggerhead turtle than a human in South Africa’s Garden Route. Humans have it easy, spending their days lounging on the beautiful beaches of Plettenberg Bay, or diving off the coast of Tsitsikamma National Forest. So, if you spot a lost sea turtle while lying on a beach or while swimming in the ocean, contact the Orca Foundation at 081 724 5366, who will do their best rehabilitate any loggerhead turtles found in the area. If you want to get involved as a volunteer at the Orca Foundation, visit their website at www.orcafoundation.co.za. Abalone South African abalone, gastropods with an ear shaped iridescent spiral shell to protect vital organs, is one of the Garden Route’s most endangered marine animals. These marine snails have been over exploited due to their symbol as an aphrodisiac in the East as well as their delicious flavor that has been described as richer than scallops with a calamari-like firm texture. In addition, their beautiful glittering shells are a popular centerpiece for art and jewelry. Abalone used to be one of the Garden Routes most plentiful marine species, but the demand for this snail is bringing this species toward extinction. The most common abalone to South Africa and largest in the world, the Perlemoen, is one of the most popular seafood in China and Chinese are willing to pay huge sums of money to get their hands on one. Abalone was once a legal trade in South Africa. However, due to exploitation over the amount fishermen could legally harvest, harsher restrictions had to be put in place. Finally, the South African government banned commercial trading and required special permits for handling abalone. Yet, those without permits stayed in the business and illegally traded the gastropods. Recently, the abalone was removed from the list of endangered species after being on the red list for several years. Trading is allowed under very strict and monitored conditions to ensure the species can and

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Conservation will thrive, but illegal poaching remains a problem in the Garden Route. Poachers are known to steal abalone from farms and have been known to make up to as much as R160,000 in just a few days with their stolen goods. For the past few years no permits have been granted for the harvesting of wild abalone and the sale of abalone meat is prohibited in the country. To report poaching call the DAFF Fisheries tip-off line at 028 313 2703 or call your nearest police station. While researchers and rehabilitation centers are doing their part to mitigate the problems causing maritime degradation, overfishing, and species loss, the issues contributing to the endangered marine life are just too big for a bottom up style method of problem solving. As government designated marine parks show commitment to protection the natural environment of nature reserve and terrestrial animals, the South African government needs to devote more effort into monitoring and the enlarging of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Tsitsikamma National Park in the Garden Route was declared the first MPA in South Africa in 1964 and has since then been a fountainhead of marine life. The park covers 80 kilometers of coastline, but it acts as a pipeline of marine life as far as 2000 kilometers away. Scientists at the Orca Foundation in Plettenberg Bay explain that if you protect 10% of coastal zones then you will see up to 90% of the marine life restored and scientists see the benefits from Tsitsikamma’s marine protection all the way in Plettenberg Bay. The Bay is fed by the Tsitsikamma conveyor belt, making the MPA a fantastic example of the possibilities MPAs have in South Africa as well as internationally. Currently South Africa has already designated 21 MPAs, which add up to 10% of the country’s coastal region. Unfortunately, the results are not what scientists have predicted due to insufficient monitoring of the areas. It is one thing to protect a coastal zone, however, with a lack of resources and personnel, it is difficult to monitor. In South Africa, an estimated 7% of MPAs are not regularly monitored, which is one of the main reasons illegal poaching of great white sharks and abalone still exist. We might be far off from replenishing the populations of these declining species due to slow government bureaucracy, but you can play a part in aiding these marine creatures now by giving back to the organizations that strive to protect them. AA

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Featured species

Falco peregrinus

Compiled by Cobus Steyl

The Peregrine Falcon is a raptor, or bird of prey. Adults have blue-gray wings, dark brown backs, a buff colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks. They have a hooked beak and strong talons. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.� They are commonly referred to as the Duck Hawk. Peregrine falcons are the fastest-flying birds in the world – they are able to dive at 322 km per hour. Diet Peregrine falcons eat other birds such as songbirds and ducks, as well as bats. They catch their prey in mid-air. Range This bird is one of the most widely distributed species in the world. It is found on every continent except Antarctica. It can survive in a wide variety of habitats including urban cities, the tropics, deserts and the tundra. Some migrate long distances from their wintering areas to their summer nesting areas. Behavior Peregrine falcons have adapted to living in many cities and make use of tall buildings that provide suitable ledges for nesting and depend on the large populations of pigeons and starlings in cities for food. They dive and catch their prey in mid-air. Peregrines have few natural predators. Peregrine falcons mate for life and breed in the same territory each year. The male courts the female for about one month, using aerial displays.

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Featured species They make a nest, or scrape, on ledges and in small caves located high on a cliff. Some peregrine falcons will use man-made structures such as bridges and skyscrapers to nest. Reproduction Mating season: Late March through May. Gestation: 29-32 days for egg incubation. Clutch size: 3-4 eggs. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for about one month. The chicks start to fly in about 42 days, but are still dependent on their parents to learn how to hunt. Peregrine falcons are very territorial during breeding season and will vigorously defend their nests.

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Product Review

Polarized sunglasses by Gareth Adams Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce the glare from surfaces like water, snow, and glass. They can be highly useful for sports, driving, and fishing by helping the participant in these activities to see more clearly, allowing for the avoidance of potential hazards. While they may be somewhat more expensive than conventional sunglasses, some consumers prefer polarized sunglasses because they selectively block out glare, rather than making the whole field of vision dimmer, which can be dangerous in some situations. Light has many interesting properties, especially when reflected from another surface. Polarized sunglasses take advantage of one of these properties, known as polarization. Normally, a light source produces waves which go in all directions. When light is bounced from a surface like glass, water, or snow, the light waves polarize, meaning that they orient along an axis, which is usually horizontal. A vertical polarizing lens can reduce the brightness of these light waves while still allowing optical information through. Because of their vertical polarizing orientation, polarized sunglasses are ideal for dealing with reflective glare conditions, depending on the angle. Experimentation with polarized sunglasses can yield an angle at which no light is filtered out, because the glasses are horizontally aligned along with the glare. At other angles, polarized sunglasses will filter out some or all of the glare, allowing the wearer to see with comfort and without potential eye strain. Polarized sunglasses are unfortunately not as useful when the sun is directly overhead or low to the horizon, because the angle of the reflected light waves changes from this horizontal configuration. Polarized sunglasses are primarily used in situations where the wearer needs to be able to clearly see, but also needs to have dangerous glare filtered out. Glare makes seeing difficult because the glare hurts the eye and obscures details which may be hidden behind it. Conventional sunglasses will block out glare, but they will also block out subtle details about the wearer’s environment which may be dangerous. These polarized sunglasses designed for outdoor use usually come in a variety of configurations from very lightly tinted and mildly polarizing to heavily tinted and strongly polarizing. Some also integrate color tinting for visibility in specific conditions such as snow. Some 3-D movies also use polarizing glasses. Usually one lens is horizontally polarized and the other one is vertically polarized, so that each eye sees a slightly different version of the movie screen. The eyes attempt to reconcile the two images for the brain, and the 52

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Product review result is the illusion of a three dimensional image. Experimenters with several spare pairs of 3-D glasses lying around can play with the effects of polarization for themselves. What makes Smith Optics probably the best on the planet. Polarized lenses with photochromic technology to adapt to ever-changing light conditions With Smith Polarchromic we combine the glare-free benefits of advanced polarization with UV sensitive, self-tint-adjusting photochromic technology to bring you the most advanced sunglass lenses we have ever created. How do we do it? Precise amounts of silver halide crystals are infused into the glass lens material during their creation. These microscopic crystals automatically change orientation in response to UV light which results in a shift in tint either increasing or decreasing Visible Light Transmission (VLT), fine tuning the tint of your lens in response to ambient light conditions as they change throughout the day. Smith Polarchromic never wears out or gets tired lasting the life of the your sunglasses. The result? You get a lens which offers crisp optics and soothing light levels at all hours allowing you to focus on what matters most from dawn to dusk. Technology-smith-polarization Precision polarization engineered to obliterate glare It’s like noise-canceling headphones for your eyes. Glare off of horizontal surfaces like snow, water, and asphalt, decreases depth perception, reduces visual acuity, and causes eye fatigue. We precisely align the polarized visual layer inside our lenses to filter out 99.9% of this “visual static� for a finely tuned view of the action. Technology-lens-construction The hidden science behind the best lenses your eyes will ever know The glare stopping benefits of polarization meet tint shifting photochromic magic in the most advanced lenses we have ever created. Versatile and comfortable, Smith Polarchromic lenses automatically darken or lighten as a response to the level of light you are exposed to. These polarized, variable tint lenses darken on exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Once the UV is removed (for example by walking indoors or having the sun drop behind the tree line), the variable tint lenses will return to their lighter tint state. Technology-hydroleophobiccoating An advanced lens barrier engineered to never stop repelling contaminants and moisture Repels moisture, grease, and grime. A barrier between your lenses and the world. Water will bead up and disperse without streaking. Smudges from fingerprints are wiped clean easily.

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The Keurboom is native to a small, narrow strip along the southeastern coast of South Africa. Virgilia oroboides is found below 1200m above sea level in a narrow strip along the coast from the Cape Peninsula to George. Description: Virgilia divaricata and V. oroboides are very similar and are often confused with one another. Both are small to medium-sized trees, with a bushy, rounded to broadly conical growth habit with branches growing close to the ground. They are very fast-growing when young, attaining up to 1.3m. In a year, and reaching their full height in only a few years. V. divaricata rarely exceeds 10m in height; V. oroboides can reach up to 15m. They are also relatively short-lived, their average lifespan being 12 to 20 years. The bark is silver-grey and smooth in young trees; as the tree gets older the bark turns grey and rough. The trunk can grow up to 600mm in diameter. Ecology: The flowers of both species are rich in nectar and attract many insects and birds, such as sunbirds, carpenter bees, honey bees and ants. Also, many birds such as doves and white-eyes nest in them. In the forest, the large handsome Ghost Moth, Leto venus, lays its eggs at the foot of the Keurboom so that the hatching caterpillars can bore into the wood. The Blue Butterfly, known as the Lucerne Blue, Lampides boeticus, breeds on lucerne and on Keurboom trees. Uses and cultural aspects: In earlier times the wood was in high demand for the production of yokes. It was also used for spars, wagon-bed planks and rafters, and can be used for furniture. The transparent gum that exudes from the bark was once used as a substitute for starch.

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Featured species

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GREEN FLAG HIKING TRAILS Prof Leon Hugo Green Flag Trails Accreditation entails that for a safe and comfortable hiking experience, there should be an accurate description in the promotional brochure (for hikers to make an informed choice) in terms of the following: • Service and trail facilities • Accommodation • Type of environment • Difficulty rating of the trail and • that the trail and accommodation facilities will be managed according to minimum standards to ensure that it is user friendly, safe and environmentally responsible. The concept: What is the aim of GREEN FLAG HIKING TRAIL ACCREDITATION? The delivery of sound quality products and services is an indisputable requirement for any industry. Tourism is an industry that runs on the principle of supply and demand. If good products are being put on the market, there will be a strong demand and the industry will flourish. Tourists (the demand side of the equation) make decisions to participate based on the availability of information. Therefore the SA Tourism Grading Council has developed the star rating system for tourism accommodation to distinguish between different levels of accommodation and for effective marketing: so that tourists can make an easy choice and be assured of a good quality experience.

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Hiking is part of this tourism business that will only be successful if trails of excellent quality are being developed and marketed effectively so that hikers can make an informed decision. Currently hikers have to “take a chance” when going on any hike as there is little information available on the quality of trails; word of mouth being the main, albeit a very subjective, way of acquiring information. The aim of the GREEN FLAG TRAILS ACCREDITATION SYSTEM is to ensure that trail owners provide hikers with a responsible product and excellent information so that they can make an informed decision whether a specific trail will be to their liking or not. If the hikers then experience this anticipated (promised) conditions, they will be satisfied hikers and regard the hike as good value for their money; spreading the word that this is a good trail. The need for ensuring quality control on the hiking trails of South Africa is an established concern of the two main hiking bodies in the South African Hiking sphere: The SA Hiking Trail Owners Association (SAHTOA) and the Hiking Organization of SA (HOSA). They thus encourage all trail owners and operators to have their trails accredited for the sake of a profitable and sustainable industry. What information is to be provided to the hikers on a GREEN FLAG TRAIL? Hiking satisfaction is not (always) dependent on luxury facilities such as in the hotel accommodation sector. Hiking is by-and-large a nature orientated activity. Bigger is not necessarily better. Hikers often prefer rustic accommodation instead of luxuries like bathing or swimming in a mountain pool instead of having a hot bath. Some prefer wilderness; others the security of a rural environment. The GREEN FLAG TRAILS ACCREDITATION SYSTEM ensures that the hikers will be given the correct information to make their own choice. A hiker wants to know first of all where the trail is and through what type of environment it runs. The grade of difficulty is also of paramount importance: “Will I be able to make it?” Based on these and also the accommodation facilities and trail services, and (especially) safety (of the hiker and his vehicle at the car park), he/she can make an informed choice whether the type of trail is a desirable one. If wrong information is given, the experience will be negative and the trail will be labeled as a “poor trail”. If it is correct however, the trail will be to his liking – and thus the hiker will be satisfied and spread the word of the trail being “good”. There is therefore, generally speaking, no such thing as a typical” good trail” due to the subjectivity of hikers’ perceptions; similarly as “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”.

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adventures What can a hiker be sure to experience when hiking a GREEN FLAG TRAIL? First of all a hiker will be sure that the chosen hike will be in an environment to his liking, that the accommodation facilities will be as promised in the brochure; that it will be a safe hike and that the trail and the environment will not be in a poor state of neglect. What requirements are put to the trail owner in order to be accredited as a GREEN FLAG TRAIL? • The trail manager must be honest in his marketing drive: providing for the hikers what is being promised in the promotional material. • The trail should be well-marked and all structures on the path need to be safe. • Good maintenance, for the sake of environmental responsibility as well as hikers’ comfort, is a prerequisite. Conclusion Accreditation is therefore not an attempt to judge between “good” and “bad” trails but to identify, acknowledge and to reward, those trail owners that show a responsible management approach in contrast to trail owners who negate the enjoyable experience and safety of their clients and the condition of the environment. Furthermore it ensures a good hike to hikers who are entitled to a “value for money” experience. The Green Flag accreditation system is a welcome and much needed management tool which will improve and promote the sport of hiking. For more information on the technical aspects and how the accreditation works please visit our website for the full article at www.africanadventures.co.za/adventures/green_flag_hiking_trails

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Travel & Stay

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Travel & Stay

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