Saturday, 31 May 2008

Fax2Email - A great resource for travellers


We have just come across this great resource for travelers - Fax2Email. Picture this scenario: you are happily traveling across South Africa with not a care in the world, when your passport is uplifted by an unsavoury member of society. In order to get your new passport, you need to have a copy of your ID document faxed from your home town in Lithuania.

Unfortunately, your mother has not yet discovered how to scan and email, as her first PC is barely two days old and finding the on/off switch is already presenting a problem. She has a fax machine, and after 7 years training, has finally figured out how to use it. Unfortunately however, you do not have access to a fax machine and are not quite sure where your next pitstop is going to be!

Enter Fax2Email - sign up for a Free Fax2Email number and you can have your own virtual fax number for life in seconds! Any faxes sent to this number will be routed to your email address (Gmail/Hotmail/Yahoo or other) and you can access your fax whenever you log in to your email on your laptop, mobile phone or at an Internet Caffe. NB - unlike other similar services offered, you CAN receive inbound Internation Faxes to your virtual fax2email number!!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Soaring In De Aar


De Aar has become known as one of South Africa's best cross country Paragliding sites. Situated in the Northern Province, between Britstown and Hanover, the dry arid conditions make it an ideal place to find excellent soaring conditions. The airfield has four active runways and launches are done with a payout winch, which is mounted on the back of a vehicle. Mountain launches are also available and both tandem rides and full training courses are offered here.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Something Different - Busy Bees


The South African Killer Bee is the most feared of all Bee colonies in the world and now you have a chance to confront your fear. H & D Honey Products near Winterton, have built a glass hive, so that you can view the bees at work safely from behind the glass. Visitors to the glass hive will find the tour extremely educational and the chance to sample their famous Peanut Brittle (made with lots of raw honey of course) is an added bonus. Tours are appoximately 30 minutes, but do vary depending on the size of the group. If you are in the Central Drakensberg, don't miss this rare opportunity.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hang Gliding Documentary


We stumbled across this excellent video on Hang Gliding (You will need a reasonably decent Internet Connection for this one). Although Hang Gliding is the baby sister to Paragliding in South Africa, the sport is still very popular. As with all soaring sports, the excellent conditions in Summer, attract many foreign pilots and many World Records have been set in South Africa.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Good News for Travellers to South Africa


SA Tourism, together with the tourism boards of several Southern African countries, are looking at creating a 'Uni-Visa'. This Universal Visa will enable them to gain access to countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is being developed with the objective of breaking barriers between the nations in the Southern African region to promote tourism. The `Uni Visa,’ is expected to be in place by 2009. More information from TravelBizMonitor.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Skydiving History to be made today!!


Michel Fournier is attempting to jump from a balloon at a height of 130,000ft (25 miles) above the plains of northern Saskatchewan in Canada. If he is successful, he will break four world records: fastest free fall, longest free fall, highest altitude for a human balloon flight and highest parachute jump. Michel, a former French army officer, has been preparing for this jump for over twenty years and will cost about $20 million by the time he jumps out of the Gondola. He is most definitely our Adventure Personality of the Month! (more information from the NY times)

Sunday, 25 May 2008

South Africa - A Golfer's paradise



South Africa is home to some of the greatest golf courses in the world. Whilst golfing itself, is not traditionally viewed as an adventure activity, the unique location of some of the country's courses definitely adds some spice to the game. The following wild animals have been spotted on some of the golf courses around South Africa; Giraffe, Elephant, Hippo, Crocodiles and plenty of different species of buck.

In summer one has to take special care when playing the inland courses as thunderstorms can build up very quickly. In these conditions, lightning is an ever-present danger and holding your 3 iron aloft, is a sure-fire way of meeting your maker a little bit earlier than planned. You will find the following Golf Courses and Golf Tour Operators on our site.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

That's gotta hurt....


We just found this video on You tube set to a really groovy track from the movie Dumb and Dumber. The moral of the story, is to check yourself and your equipment before undertaking extreme adventure sports. You may also want to check whether that hair-brained, vodka-induced idea, is in fact an adventure sport and not a free ticket to the orthopaedic section of your local hospital!! Enjoy..... :)

Friday, 23 May 2008

Mitsubishi Spirit of Africa



Sarel van der Merwe, South Africa's most respected rally driver, has teamed up with Mitsubishi Motors to create an annual 4x4 elimination event, called the Spirit of Africa.

"The Spirit of Africa Trophy is a test of 4x4 driving created for those who want to test their own skills against the toughest African conditions and against other serious 4x4 teams all over Southern Africa. The Spirit of Africa Trophy is a unique and challenging test of 4x4 driving skills for contestants."

The elimination round of the event starts tomorrow in Northern Kwazulu-Natal. The top sixteen teams will then be invited to compete in the finals, for the Spirit of Africa Trophy, which takes place in neighbouring Mocambique. The prize is an all expenses paid trip for the winning team to any Motorsport event in 2009. You have probably missed your chance to enter this event, but keep an eye out for next year's event on the Spirit of Africa website.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

To all the Fishermen out there - Catch this One!!


A flying fish was captured on film by a Japanese video crew. The film team were in a ferry which was doing 30kph and the fish stayed airborne for a record 45 seconds. For the full story - click here. If you think catching a flying fish is a bit too challenging, why not try out some of the many Deep Sea fishing charters in South Africa. We have a huge variety of game fish along our coastline and almost every coastal city has at least one charter operator.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Dinner in the Sky


If you still consider yourself a couch potato and want to ease your way into this whole adventure thing, why not give this a try! "Dinner in the Sky is a unique event meant for anyone who wishes to transform an ordinary meal or meeting into a magical moment that will leave a lasting impression on their guests!" Launched in Belgium, we now have access to this unique culinary adventure in South Africa. Dinner in the Sky made it's debut in Cape Town, but is currently situated at the Monte Casino in Johannesburg - I am sure the foul winter weather in Cape Town had something to do with that. In case you were wondering, the platform is suspended 50 metres above the ground and can accommodate 22 people.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Land Rover Adventure Story Community Portal


Land Rover has just beefed up it's adventure micro site. The site, entitled 'Go Beyond', is a unique collection of Adventure Stories from across the Globe. It is well laid out and easy to navigate. Some of the stories featured on the Home Page at the moment are, "I surfed a glaciers Tidal Wave", "We travelled Pole to Pole" and "I travelled to the edge of space". Sadly, there are only three South African stories featured, "I am the World's fastest swimmer", "My restaurant serves dinner 50m above the ground" and "I learnt how to scare Elephants". I am sure we can change that :). If you have a 4x4 and would like to take it somewhere other than the morning school run, check out the 4x4 tours and trails on our website.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Quad Biking in Kwazulu-Natal



South Africa has an abundance of excellent Quad Biking Adventures, from quided eco-tours to fast paced racing. In Kwazulu-Natal an excellent way to go up Sani Pass in the Drakensberg is by quad bike. Sani Pass Quad Tours offer a safe and very professional guided tour up Sani Pass and their equipment is very well maintained. If you intend going up Sani Pass, remember to take your passports with, as you will be going through the Lesotho border post.

Another excellent operator is All Out Adventures in the Central Drakensberg. They also offer a Gorge Swing, Paint Ball and Guide Horse Trails and can tailor make a package to suit your needs.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Africa's first Tobbogan Track - Cape Town


South Africa's first Tobbogan Track is now open in Cape Town. The track is just over 1.25km long and the sled has it's own brakes, enabling you to whiz down as fast (up to 40kph) or as slow as you like. We will add more information on this exciting adventure activity as soon as they are listed on our site.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Whale Watching - Featured Listing


Advantage Tours are based in St Lucia, a small town about two hours to the North of Durban. They offer whale watching tours aboard the Advantage Charter and tours of the greater St Lucia Wetlands Park aboard the Advantage Cruiser. Danie Bennett holds the only whale watching concession in the area and was one of the first operators in the country to offer a money back guarantee if you don't see any whales. Riƫtte Bennett captains the Advantage Cruiser and tells us that apart from the serene beauty of the Wetlands Park, you will see Hippos, Crocodiles, Fish Eagles and many other birds. For more information on this activity or to make a booking click on this link - Advantage Tours

Friday, 16 May 2008

DIY Paraglider takes to the skies!


We came across this story on wired.com, about a young South African man who made his own Paraglider from Fertilizer Bags and baling wire. By all accounts, the home made Paraglider did not travel to far, but did allow Cyril Mazibuko to drift up a hill (while pointing into the wind) and to descend down a gentle incline, in no wind conditions. Cyril is now a qualified Paraglider Pilot and takes part in local competitions - a true adventurer!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Is it a bird?...Is it a Man? - It's Jet-man!


Yves Rossy, a former Swiss Airforce pilot, has finally achieved Leonardo Da Vinci's greatest fantasy and can fly through the air! Yves has been involved with this project for over seven years and his latest flying wing now has four model jet engines attached to it. Surprisingly he has no standard flight controls, but uses subtle changes in his body position to control the flightpath. Yves and his flying wing have reached speeds of up to 200km an hour and have even managed to climb slightly. He plans to do some further modifications, which will allow him to do aerobatics and even take off by himself. For those lucky enough to have a reasonable Internet connection, with no Telkom latency issues, here is a YouTube video of Yves Rossy.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Annie Boon makes SA aerobatics history


Annie Boon recently made South African Aerobatics history, when she became the first woman to lead an aerobatics formation. Flying in a three ship formation of Yak-52's, she took to the skies at the Welkom Airshow two weeks ago and by all accounts, did not even realise that she was making history. South Africa has a proud history of producing world class aerobatic pilots. Amongst them is Glen Dell, who has previously won the world aerobatic championship and is currently participating in the Red Bull Aerobatic circuit. If you are a pilot looking to improve your flying skills, or a novice looking for an extreme adventure, check out the aerobatics listings on our site.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Pelican crashes into swimmer


In a bizarre reminder that even swimming can be dangerous, a pelican collided with a swimmer off the Florida coast. The Pelican was apparently diving for fish and must have had some sort of visual impairment. The result - 20 stiches in the poor swimmer's cheek! Pelicans can weigh up to 15kg and the Malmatian Pelican has a wingspan of up to 3.5m. The moral of the story is to keep a sharp lookout in and above the water at all times :)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Indaba 2008 - we were there...



We have just come back from Day 1 of the Internet Marketing Seminar held at Indaba 2008 in Durban. SA Tourism managed to round up an excellent selection of speakers, including Rob Stokes from Quirk, Grant Lapping from Acceleration Media and Stafford Massi (Country General Manager - Google South Africa). Rob had a very interesting and insightful presentation on online reputation managenent and was later joined by Stafford in a whirlwind overview of SEO. It was extremely interesting to listen to their different viewpoints on the importance of organic versus paid search and Stafford made some interesting comments on upcoming enhancements to Google SA. The good news for SA Internet Users, if one is to trust Stafford's crystal ball, is that Pricing will drop drastically and access increase substantially in the next 18 month's, as competitors rapidly break down Telkom's monopoly. Good news for both local and international tourists wanting to stay in touch with family, friends and communities!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Tour d'Afrique - a different way to get to SA



The Tour d'Afrique will be ending in Cape Town tomorrow, at Quay 6 on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This certainly is a slightly more strenuous way of getting from Europe to Cape Town, but WOW, what an adventure, and an extreme test of endurance.

"Tour d`Afrique will be a 96-stage race broken up by 23 rest days and a day of travel across Lake Aswan for a total of 120 days. The overall winner will be the cyclists with the lowest accumulated time. The stages will be an average of 123 km (77 miles) each - the stages may occasionally be in the form of a time trial. The race is broken into seven sections and section Champions will also be named."

The Awards Dinner and multi-media show of the Tour, will take place at Venue 5, Hamilton’s Rugby Football Club, Number 1 Stephan Way, Green Point
(From Beach Road, Green Point, turn into Fritz Sonnenberg Road, then 2nd road right into Stephan Way) - A few extra spaces are available, but booking is essential. R130.00 including wine. Contact Theresa Brown - Tel: (021) 674 5398 Cell: 084 353 1975

Saturday, 10 May 2008

SA Weather Service - Aerosport Page



The South Africa Weather Service provide a range of aviation related products, which include a page for aerosport. If you click on the link above, you will come to a page where you can select the area of the country that you are in. You are then able to access forecasts on, winds (at different levels), thermal strengths (at different times of the day) and the convective cloud base (also at different time of the day). This information is invaluable to glider pilots, Paragliders, Balloonists, Microfrighters :), Skydivers and members of the general aviation community. There is also a wealth of additional information on this page and on their site - a really excellent resource. Well done to the guys at SAWS for providing this information to the aviation community!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Surfing in South Africa


South Africa has some of the best surfing spots in the world and regularly hosts top surfing competitions. The photo above was taken off Durban and is of Jordy Smith, a young surfer who is already making a name for himself on the International Surfing Circuit. If you have always wanted to try your hand (or rather feet!) at surfing, why don't you contact Endless Summer Tours. They will get you balancing on the board in no time. If you already are an experienced Pro, fear not, they also do surfing tours and will act as your guide and show you all the best surfing spots on a custom made tour.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Reverse Bungi Jump - with a twist



Something a bit different today. We found this video clip on YouTube. It shows an EXTREME stuntman doing a very fast reverse bungee in a narrow gauge. At the top of his reverse jump, he unclips the bungee rope and deploys a parachute, landing on almost the exact spot where he took off a few seconds before! Well worth a watch if you are on a reasonable Internet connection. Click on the link, if you would like to find some NORMAL bungee jumping sites in South Africa. SA boasts some of the highest bungee jumps in the world and the sites along the garden route have spectacular views.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Last Gliding Post this month - I promise :)


I went up to the Drakensberg last weekend to do some gliding, but the weather forecast was not all that great. On Sunday morning, we took the Motorglider (Grob 109) out fairly early and took off while the rest of the crew were getting ready for flying. The cold front, that had brought temperatures down to freezing point the night before, was just passing through and I had a suspicion that we may find some good lift. We immediately picked up a strong, gusty thermal that took us up to 8000ft and then headed off to the Berg. Although the wind on the ground was reasonably calm, I picked up that we had a 45 knot headwind - perfect conditions for wave flying. Within a few minutes we were firmly established in the wave and climbed up to 14,000ft, at over 1000 ft/min (5m/second) - see the instruments in the first picture above. The wave was still strong, but we bailed out as we did not have any oxygen and took a gentle glide back to the airfield. This was definitely one of those flights that I will remember forever.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Abseiling in Lesotho

This photo will be entered into our 'hall of fame'! The picture was submitted by Steve Pike of Wavescape.co.za - the little yellow spec on the top left is Steve abseiling down the side of the waterfall in Lesotho. Steve said the abseil was about 30 minutes and was a mind-blowing experience. The sound of the waterfall next to him was deafening! Lesotho is entirely landlocked by South Africa and is sometimes referred to as the mountain kingdom, as most of the country is above 10,000ft (3000m). Lesotho is within driving distance of most major cities in South Africa and boasts a number of adventure activities, including, mountain biking, 4x4 tours and trails, Skiing and Snowboarding, Hiking, Mountain Climbing and Gliding.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Skydiving in South Africa

Skydiving is a very popular sport in South Africa, as the weather is generally great all year round and there are excellent facilities available. Adventure seekers can get there kicks from any of over 20 skydiving clubs. Most of the clubs operate on weekends only, but some of the tandem operators can accommodate you during the week.. Most clubs offer tandem jumps, accelerated freefall courses and ab-initio training. You can expect to pay between R1500 and R2000 for a tandem jump.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Guess what this contraption is used for?

A bit of fun today. Can anyone hazard a guess as to what this contraption is and what it is used for? A clue - without this unusual looking machine, this adventure activity may not get off the ground. There is nothing up for grabs for this little competition, except kudos and admiration from the AdventureEscapades.co.za team! Post your answer in the comments section below. Good Luck :)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Decision Time - Oribi Gorge Swing

Oribi Gorge on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast is packed with adventure activities. The Gorge Swing is not for the feint hearted, but we rate it as one of the best in the country. The Wild Five operations team are friendly and very professional and the setting is amazing, with brilliant views from the top of the gorge. If you are in the area, this is a must do!!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Kitesurfing in Cape Town

One of the Kite Surfing meccas of South Africa, Cape Town has just the right blend of Sun and Wind - the backdrop of Table Mountain also takes a lot to better! This picture was submitted by an avid Kite Surfing fan and captures some 'airtime'. For a list of Kitesurfing lessons and operators, have a look go the Kitesurfing page on AdventureEscapades.co.za

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Magic of Flight - Now showing at IMAX

Although we generally like to encourage our readers to get off their bums and do the activities themselves, two movies currently showing at IMAX are well worth watching. The first is 'The Magic of Flight', which brings the thrill of flight and jet aircraft technology to the big screen. It starts with the Wright Brothers and covers key turning points in aviation over the last 100 years - a must see.

The second film is 'The Grand Canyon Adventure', which features some amazing River Rafting and details various environmental issues. If you watch the film, you are automatically entered into a draw to win a River Rafting Experience on the Tugela River for you and 3 mates!