Thursday, 31 July 2008

Escapades - So what does this word actually mean


Have you always been a bit curious about the name of our website - AdventureEscapades.co.za? Well, we thought we would try an enlighten you with some definitions we found online.

From FreeDictionary.com
  • (Noun) - An adventurous, unconventional act or undertaking
  • a mischievous act or adventure [French]
  • a wild and exciting undertaking (not necessarily lawful) - we like this one :)
  • any carefree episode
  • an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates
From Merriam-webster.com
  • a usually adventurous action that runs counter to approved or conventional conduct
FreeDictionary.com also had a reference to a Sexcapade, which is not quite what we had in mind when we were having our brainstorming session. We fancy that there are enough other sites on the web to meet the demand for this extreme adventure :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

South Africa - Getting there...



If you are looking out your window at the beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain, after an otherwise uneventful flight from Germany, and the wind is howling across the active runway at Cape Town International, you may be in for your first Adventure Activity before you even set foot in South Africa.

This video was actually taken in Germany, but demonstrates how difficult it can be to land a Commercial Passenger Jet in a severe Crosswind. The pilot actually shows a tremendous amount of skill in averting a disaster after the left wing tip actually scrapes the ground, but perhaps he/she should have made the decision to abort the landing before getting into such a situation?

If you are on your way to our beautiful country, or are planning a trip in the near future, you will find this travel information on South Africa very useful.

Happy Landings :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Red Bull BWA Winner - Twiggy Baker

Photo: Mark Healey from Hawaii
Credit: Barry Tuck - Red Bull Photofiles

Last Saturday saw the crowning of Twiggy Baker as the 10th winner of the annual Red Bull Big Wave Africa competition held near Hout Bay in Cape Town.

From the Competition Website, "South Africa’s Baker, who hails from Durban, dominated the half hour final with two bomb waves, which he rode resolutely, scoring 8.2 and 9. Like previous winner John Whittle, also of Durban, Baker modestly attributed his victory to luck, saying he was fortunate the winning waves came his way, before he dedicated the win to his late father, who passed away 20 years ago to the day last weekend."

Congrats Twiggy Baker from all of us at AdventureEscapades.co.za - what an awesome achievement!!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Renault F1 Team Roadshow SA



With an Abundance of motorsport enthusiasts throughout South Africa, and still no Formula 1 Grand Prix, it is of little wonder that F1 starved Johannesburgers, turned out in their masses to attend the spectacular GPG ING Renault F1 Team Roadshow.

With no entrance charge to discourage, it was all out action with Giancarlo Fisichella and Nelson Piquet Junior, thundering through the streets of Sandton, leaving audiences breathless.

The last F1 Grand Prix to be held in SA was in 1993, and coincidently took place at the Kyalami race circuit, very near to Sandton. The race was won by Alain Prost, driving for the then unstoppable, Williams Renault team.

Thanks to Renault, South Africans were given the opportunity to get close to the cars, team and drivers.

AdventureEscapades.co.za wishes them the best of luck in Hungary this weekend.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

South African Weather


South Africa has some extreme weather. In summer, especially in the inland areas, Thunder Storms often build up during the early afternoon and can become quite violent. Although predictable on a hot summer's day, they can develop very quickly and it is thus advisable for all aviation related sports to treat the sky with due respect. During a thunder storm, visibility reduces rapidly and there is usually a heavy downpour of rain and/or hail, as well as lightning and thunder.

In winter, the air is more stable, although there is usually a lot of haze as a result of an inversion. This makes navigation very difficult and it is advisable to fly with somebody who knows the area and to make sure you have a spare set of batteries for your GPS. The danger in winter, as can be seen from this photograph of a glider doing a high speed fly past, is the rapid approach of a cold front (right of picture).

An otherwise beautifully calm day, can deteriorate rapidly as the front sometimes approaches at speeds of up to 50km/hour. Strong winds and the formation of low Orographic cloud, make these conditions very dangerous for sport aviation pilots - so check with the local Met office at the beginning of the day before embarking on any cross country flights.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Adventure Activities under R100 - Cool Runnings



We recently decided to test out the facilities at Cool Runnings, South Africa's first Summer Tobbogan run. Cool Runnings is situated in Tygervalley in Cape Town and is relatively easy to find. This must be one of the best 'Bang for your Buck' activities available in Cape Town, with an unlimited daily ticket costing less than R100.

The day we went the weather was typically cold for Cape Town in the Winter, but luckily the rain held off, as they close down if there is any moisture on the track - the brakes tend not to be as effective in the wet!! It really is loads of fun for all ages; the younger children manage to overcome their fear very quickly and the older folks manage to bring out their inner child for the afternoon :)

This clearly is a professional and safe operation, with staff strategically positioned along the track to ensure that everyone has equal amounts of fun and plays nicely! Watch this space for a full review as soon as Cool Runnings is listed on AdventureEscapades.co.za.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Orlando Towers Update


AdventureEscapades.co.za has communicated several times this week with Susan Craig of the Orlando Towers vertical adventure center, who informs us that the response to their offering from both the media and adventure enthusiasts alike, has been overwhelmingly positive.

Apart from their main activity, the world first heart-pumping swing between the two vertical cooling towers, they also invite you to jump into the depths of their giant hollow concrete structures, once home to a column of super-heated steam that marred the Soweto Skyline.

We look forward to reviewing the Big Swing and their forthcoming attraction, a Bunjee Jump from the centre of a catwalk mounting joining the two towers 100 meters up….WOW.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Kitesurfing Coast To Coast


Cape Town's West coast is widely regarded as Kitesurfing's Mecca. With Table Mountain as its backdrop, Big Bay, Blouberg offers unrelenting high speed wind, consistent surf and unsurpassed adrenalin; with wind speeds that reach as high as 60 knots, this is a venue that is not for the fainthearted. On the same stretch of coast there are several flat water options of which Langebaan is a worldwide favourite.

Durban: The Kwazulu Natal coastline is known for its fantastic Kitesurfing locations, warm water temperatures and great surf conditions. With predictable winds and warm sub-tropical climate for the most, conditions are ideal. While Natal does experience sufficient wind throughout the year its actual windy season runs from September through to March.

Port Elizabeth: Port Elizabeth is known as The Windy City……..Need we say more?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Kitesurfing South Africa



Kitesufing is a no boundary adrenalin sport where the sky is literally the limit.

There are many reputable retail outlets supplying Kitesurfing gear throughout South Africa. The vendors more often than not are skilled participants themselves, with an overriding passion for it. Most outlets offer the services of experienced instructors while Durban, Cape Town and never to be left out Johannesburg, do boast Kitesurfing schools.

As there are very real dangers associated with the sport, there are several aspects to it that simply cannot go unlearnt and it is thus advisable, where possible, to take tuition from a trustworthy local trainer, who is well experienced with local conditions.

With training courses now readily available for beginners to the advanced……..what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Michael and Roy - Adventure Personalities



One of the many reasons why AdventureEscapades.co.za is proud to associate ourselves with SkydiveKZN, is that the operators Roy and Michael do have hearts of Gold.

Roy’s better half Antoinette is actively involved with a Durban orphanage (St Martins House) and on weekends the SkydiveKZN team treat the children to a fun day out. Although the boys are to young to skydive, they get to spend time in the plane and are taken with on quadbike cow patrol rides. They are wholeheartedly made to feel part of the team and do get caught up in the excitement.

Many people merely talk about community involvement, but these guys are definitely walking the talk!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Featured Activity - SkydiveKZN



Michael and Roy, our first-rate colleagues from www.skydivekzn.co.za and their crew, did a fantastic job of providing a tandem skydive to our lucky winner of the Salt Water Girl magazine skydive competition, Marlise Bosch.

First time jumper Marlise, her mother having completed several jumps herself, was buoyant in the presence of her family and at no point showed signs of second thoughts. Her confidence was further inspired by the tremendous professionalism and enthusiasm displayed by Michael, Roy and the SkydiveKZN team.

After boarding the plane and watching it take off, the next glimpse we saw of her and her jump partner was them falling from the sky. A smooth landing took place on the grass area in front us while Marlise, looking very content, was sporting a massive adrenalin fueled smile. An hour later it was still there! Her only comment after landing was "Wow, that was mindblowing, the best adventure ever" Which we feel says a lot considering she bungee jumped at 13!

AdventureEscapades.co.za wishes to thank SkydiveKZN and Salt Water Girl magazine for partnering us on this initiative.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Hermanus Whale Festival


The Hermanus Whale Festival will be taking place in September and October this year. The annual event is the only Enviro-Arts festival in South Africa and visitors flock from around the globe to Hermanus, which is about an hours drive from Cape Town.

Hermanus is known as the best Land-based whale watching destination in the world, although in season, these magnificent creatures of the ocean have been seen frolicking all around the Cape Peninsula.

If you want to legally get 'up close and personal', AdventureEscapades.co.za has a comprehensive list of Boat-based Whale and Dolphin watching operators along most of the Eastern Sea Board.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

World First in SA - Cooling Tower Big Swing


The Orlando Towers Vertical Adventure Centre, launched the World's first Big Swing between two de-commissioned cooling towers, on the 12th of July in Soweto (South of Johannesburg.

Mangaged by Actor and Adventure personality Christopher Beasley, the facility will also be offering bungee jumping, rap jumping, abseiling, zip lines and climbing walls in the near future. At this stage they are only open on Wed / Fri / Sat / Sun, but you can book online to avoid the queues.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Lewis Pugh - Adventure Personality


Lewis Gordon Pugh is a man on a mission, an environmental mission to be specific. Having just become the first person to complete a long distance swim at the Geographic North Pole, in temperatures ranging from 1.7ºC and 0ºC, he is now planning a 1200km solo Kayak trip from Svalbard (Norway) to the North Pole.

Apart from yet another test of his amazing endurance skills, he is trying to create greater legal protection for the area, through his Polar Defense Project and will plant 192 Flags (One for every country in the world) when he reaches the North Pole.

Lewis is well equipped to tackle this crusade, as he studied law at UCT in Cape Town, as well as the University of Cambridge and then went on to become a Maritime lawyer in London. He now spends most of his time lobbying world leaders to protect the environment. AdventureEscapades.co.za supports his cause and wishes him well on his journey.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Website Update - New Feature coming soon


View Larger Map

We will soon be adding a customized google map for each of our Flagship listings, which will help you easily locate your favourite Adventure Activity. You will be able to view a map, satellite imagery and terrain, and also get additional directions to the activity. Watch this space for an update on when this feature goes live.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Fastest Zip Line in the World?



The Pronutro Zip 2000, located near Sun City, north west of Johnanesburg, claims to be the world's fastest, highest, longest, steepest zip line.

The ride starts about 300m above ground on a Mountain and is 2km long. Speeds reached during the descent are between 140kph and 160kph! A strong head for heights and a need for speed are prerequisites for this Adventure Activity.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Red Bull Big Wave Africa


The window for the tenth annual Red Bull Big Wave Africa will be opening on the 24th July. This premier, paddle-in, big wave surfing event will attract a field of 24 surfers, 12 South Africans and 12 International surfers. The window for the event ends on the 31st August 2008.

The 24 man field will be divided into four 6-man heats (top 3 from each heat will advance to the semi-finals) and two semi-final heats of six competitors each. A draw will be conducted on the morning of the contest to decide which heat will surf first. The duration of these heats will be approximately 60 minutes and each surfers’ best two rides during that period will be tallied to determine his total for the heat. The three competitors with the highest tallies in each semi-final will advance to the final.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Round the World Skydive


John Hillam (56), a Skydiving Instructor from the UK, is aiming to do 100 jumps in ten different countries to highlight Crohn's disease and colitis. John started his epic adventure in Ireland and then travelled through Spain, South Africa and Australia, on to the halfway mark in New Zealand.

The next leg of his journey will take him to South America, the West and East Coast of America, and then finally on to Canada. We wish John well on his trip. You can make a donation to the cause here and also follow his adventures on his blog.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Long Walk To Free Fall



In addition to the thrill that is consequence of flinging oneself off a very high structure; another aspect to the Bloukrans Bungy is the hair-raising walk that takes you to the jump site.

The Bloukrans River Bridge situated on the N2 highway east of Plettenberg Bay does encompass the world’s largest single span concrete arch and while traffic passes overhead, Bungy jumping takes place from the platform at its centre.

One way of getting to the top of the arch is to proceed down an elongated catwalk mounted to the underside of the road. This specially designed catwalk is the same in length as the bridge is in height, thus necessitating a seemingly endless 216 meter trip. It’s also 216 meters above ground and is in essence a see through steel grid making walking on it somewhat daunting.

Fortunately as an alternative you can now go via The Flying Fox, a 200 meter cable slide that is the newest addition to the Bloukrans offering.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The Sabie Experience - MTB Stage Race


The Sabie Experience is a four stage Mountain Bike race organised by Fiona Coward. This race covers some spectacular scenery and will be held from the 13th to the 16th of December this year.

Entries are restricted to 350 riders and last year the event was fully subscribed. To register for the event, head on over to the Sabie Experience website, which also gives you loads more information about the event.

Fiona also organises two other MTB events, the MTN Panorama Tour and the Dirty Double, a series of mini staged events held at four different locations.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Bungi jumping, New Heights



According to the Guinness Book of World Records, South Africa’s Bloukrans River Bridge is home to the world’s highest commercial bungi jump; a claim that for some does evoke dispute? The name is Bond, James Bond. Few Bond enthusiasts will ever forget the spectacular bungi featured in Goldeneye which depicts 007 leaping into a seemingly endless freefall from the top of a very high dam wall. Today, the location for that scene, the Verzasca Dam near Locarno, Switzerland, too hosts a commercial jump and not surprisingly it is them that are doing the disputing. With Bloukrans boasting a massive 216m (the length of two back to back football fields) the Swiss claim theirs is 4m longer.

From a jumper’s perspective: “What a wonderful dispute to have.” Adventure Escapades, salutes them both.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

New Adventure Category - Flight Training


We have just added a new Air Adventure Category on AdventureEscapades.co.za - Training and Introductory Flights. Whether you are looking for an Introductory Flight as a gift, or would like to learn how to fly a Fixed Wing Aircraft or Helicopter, we have all the information you need.

South Africa's vast open airspace, moderate climate, favourable exchange rate, well-equiped flight schools and modern airports, makes it one of the best places in the world to learn to fly. You are one click away from embarking on a career in aviation.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Durban July - SA's premier Horse Race



South Africa's premier event on the horse racing calendar “The Durban July” was again held in magnificent splendor worthy of the occasion. Since its early beginnings in July 1897 it has evolved into a gala of champagne racing, high fashion, elegance and fine cuisine. The main race is contested over 2.2km and boasts a payout of around 2 million Rand. For only the second time in its history it resulted in a dead-heat with favourite Pocket Power having shared the spoils with British bred filly, Dancer’s Daughter.

The superb Greyville racecourse home to the festivity essentially offers a fun day out where knowledge of horse racing is not a prerequisite. The last four races are run under floodlights ending with the Durban's traditional race 13. This is a wager where losing your shirt along with your trousers your sox and your jocks has a literal implication. For some, especially on a cold night, this is adventure activity at its most extreme.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

AdventureEscapades.co.za - New Team Member

A big welcome to Desiree, our newest team member! Desiree has recently joined the team and will be assisting us with the administration of AdventureEscapades.co.za, as well as providing sales support.

Desiree has an impressive background in administration and finance, and will often be the face on the other side of the telephone/email! She enjoys all outdoor activities and next on her wishlist is a tandem skydive.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Aerobatics in a Tiger Moth



Fancy an aerobatic flight in a vintage Tiger Moth? Well, there are several places throughout South Africa that offer aerobatic flights in a wide range of aircraft, including such vintage gems, like the Tiger Moth and Boeing Stearman.

This particular video was actually shot in Australia, but shows the grace and agility of this beautiful machine. If you don't fancy yourself leaving the ground, but rather enjoy watching the action, make sure you are at the annual Virginia Airshow in Durban this weekend - we will be there! The show is on Saturday and Sunday and features all the top airshow performers.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Bloukrans Bungy Jump



More from the Bloukrans Bungy Jump - this video gives you an idea of the height of the bridge above the gorge. The Bloukrans Bungy Jump is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world and is operated by Face Adrenalin. Check out Bungee Jumping on AdventureEscapades.co.za for a list of places where you can jump in South Africa.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Windsurfing the Cape Town Beaches



We stumbled across this video of some extreme windsurfing action in Cape Town. In one of the early scenes, you can see a windsurfer doing a double forward 'flip' - awesome stuff!!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Clipper 07/08 Round the World Yacht Race


The Clipper 07/08 Round the World Yacht Race has just ended in Liverpool. The race is a 35,000, 14 stop, test of endurance with boats representing their city of origin.

South Africa was represented by 'Durban 2010', which finished sixth overall. The colourfully branded yacht, skippered by Durbanite Ricky Chalmers, proved to be an invaluable marketing tool for the city, keeping Durban in the international sporting spotlight for almost a year and affirming her title as 'Africa's Sporting and Events Capital.'

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Hunting in South Africa


South Africa offers a wide variety of options for hunters. Big Game Hunting, Small Game and Bird Shoots are all very popular and available in most of the Central and Northern parts of South Africa.

Whether you are looking for your first Big Game Trophy or would like to bag a small buck for Biltong, you will need to obtain the services of a Professional Hunter/Guide who will give you all the information and assistance that you require.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Southern Drakensberg - Kwazulu Natal


The Drakensberg is a range of mountains separating Lesotho and South Africa. The Southern Drakensberg is fast becoming an Adventure Haven, with a vast range of Adventure Activities on offer.

River Rafting, Hiking, Quad Biking, Mountain Biking, Gliding and Microlighting, are just some of the many activities on offer in this region. Situated about two and a half hours from Durban and about 6 hours from Johannesburg, the area is popular with both Local and International tourists.

For a comprehensive list of activities available in this region, use the Quick Search facility on the top left of the home page on AdventureEscapades.co.za

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Update on the Freedom Challenge


The Freedom Challenge is an endurance Mountain Biking Adventure, which takes riders from Pietermaritzburg in KZN, to Paarl in the Western Cape.

The leading riders have just passed Prince Albert in the Karoo and are due to finish the race in a few days. The Freedom Challenge has recently been upgraded, and apart from a very nice facelift, there is a really cool add-on supported by sportstrack.net. Here you can track the racers in real time as their positions on overlayed on the route map. Check out the current positions here.