Sunday, 30 November 2008

Blue Rock Cableski


Last week I went to Blue Rock Cableski and was absolutely amazed by how inviting the venue is. To put you in the picture, Blue Rock Cableski in Somerset West is located precisely at the bottom of Sir Lowry’s pass. As you approach the pass heading towards Hermanus, if you turnoff to the right towards Sir Lowreys Village, the entrance to venue is a stones throw away on the left.

You enter the gates at the top of a cliff overlooking the lake and drive down the side to the clubhouse at the bottom. The first thing that struck me was how incredibly blue the water is. I have never, anywhere else seen, a fresh water lake that has such a clear majestic turquoise colour, and with rock face as its backdrop, it’s very picturesque

A point that I took cognizance of is that you don’t have to be able to ski to enjoy it, in-fact they tell me most people who participate have never skied before. You can start on a kneeboard which they say anyone can do, graduate to wakeboard and if you think you are ready for the skis, you are welcome to give it a go. For those that are more skilled, there are ramps and jumps and the pull definitely isn’t to slow for it.

I was there for a meeting, and regrettably didn’t bring my costume. I should have done so as it was an horrendously hot day in Cape Town and it looked like loads of fun. At the time of my arrival, there was somebody on the water kneeboarding and it really didn’t look too difficult. And for boys, well lets just say the was plenty of good scenery, some of which where playing volleyball.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

A E Client Testimonials


Photo: Tandum Skydive Adventures

As a follow up to yesterday’s Blog Post where I went into some detail, probably too much, about our product offering and how it is our clients get Bang for Buck, I hereby share some testimonial with you in support of it, and thank the operators in question for writing to us.

Lebo's Soweto Backpackers (Guided cycle tours): Being listed on Adventureescapades.co.za helps us to maximize our on-line exposure. We already received a number of enquiries although being listed for a short period, this makes us trust the product!

The Woods Paintball: AdventureEscapades.co.za has worked very well for me and has proven to be a successful and cost effective alternative to brochure advertising. I have had numerous enquiries come through that have lead to bookings with some having been for big corporate groups that have resulted in repeat business. I cannot commend Ernest enough for the work he did in getting my listing page to look as good as it does and for the effort he put into authoring the content. For me the feature that comes in particularly handy is the sms notification of enquiries telling me to check my e-mail. The concept is great, the service is excellent; it is terrific value for money and has way exceeded my initial expectation. For me it has delivered first-rate returns.

Tandem Skydive Adventures: I have been very impressed with the quick and efficient service I received when signing up with AdventureEscapades.co.za. The enquiries I have been receiving through the website has been reliable and serious leads which have mostly been turned into real business.

Allure Charters: The blog is THE BEST IN THE WEST. Thanks so much for the great work you are doing

Friday, 28 November 2008

Advertising, Bang for Buck


I received an e-mail earlier from a lady wanting us to do some advertising in a Natal North Coast magazine, as always I had a good read to see what it’s all about and as usual I was floored by what they want to charge. I enjoy this sort of thing as it confirms my faith in our own pricing structure and serves to remind me that there aren’t too many around who provide as much Bang for Buck as we do.

To emphasize my point, I have rates for having our flyers placed in the rack at the Petrol / Convenience stop on N3 Durban South Coast. An A4 leaflet is R300, 00 per month and if you decide to go with both garages, (there is one on either side of he highway) they will give you a 10% discount, making it R540, 00. For a page on our site such as the The Huey Helicopter Co’s, the cost is only R297, 00 and it comes with bells and whistles.

If you did click through to the The Huey Listing, you would have seen that our flagship offering is a full page spread, the main body comprises of three sections for word content, with two photographs per section to support it. They also come with an enquiry form which generates an e-mail to the operator, as well as SMS notification when a client fills it out.

Search Engine Optimization: On www.google.co.za if you search the terms Adventure Activity or Adventure Activities, we come up first (below the sponsored links) and have done so for several months now. Flagship listings are given additional exposure as they regularly feature in this Blog and we also promote them in our forum. Our Blog feeds directly to our home page (down the left hand side) and has a fairly substantial readership with you of course being one of them. Here’s a sample of a Blog post we did for Len and the boys from Allure Charters.

We also do extensive offline marketing of the site. Our site traffic is significant; we average on between 8000 and 10 000 unique / new visitors, 60 000 page views and 270 000 hits, per month. There are several search facilities having focused our initial development on making it as user friendly as possible as well as aesthetically appealing.

On the home page there are six display windows that all feature flagship listings which click through to their unique page; it works on an automatic rotational cycle creating home page exposure for all vendors. It also ensures that home page content regularly changes, keeping the site fresh and exciting.

AdventureEscapades.co.za in essence, presents activity operators with a very affordable medium with which to communicate directly to their target market both locally and abroad. Our concept is in many ways unique and does deliver significant and measurable results. All this and more, for a fraction of the cost of mainstream advertising, if you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to give me a call on 079 887 8033.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Kiteboarding Cape Town


For the last month I have been fortunate enough to have operated out of Big Bay Cape Town, home to every Kitesurfer, his Dog and his Beetle car. Whenever I find myself in Western Province Country, I stay at an apartment that has spectacular views across the water to Table Mountain, and contrary to Durban, the sun sets over the sea which can be absolutely breath-taking.

Although I don’t kitesurf myself, I am always amazed at what can best be described as the “Kiteboarding Culture” that exists in these parts, everybody does it. In the Big Bay, Blouburg, Table View area, people eat drink and sleep kiteboarding….drink again, then drink some more,

There are days when the winds really pumping and from the beach you get to see the most amazing jumps, I do however from a spectator viewpoint also enjoy the milder days when the sky is literally littered with hundreds of kites creating a massive collage of colour against the turquoise blue backdrop.

AdventureEscapades.co.za is proud to have Gavin Spowart and his Cyclone Extreme Slingshot brand listed on our site. Gavin has competed on the pro-circuit and his Slingshot products are widely considered among the best in the business, he operates out of Durban and Big Bay and is the man to speak to if you are wanting to get started.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Kayak To Clifton


On the Beach road Sea Point Area, directly opposite Three Anchor Bay and not far from the Moulie Point Lighthouse, you will find an Adventure Activity operator called Coastel Kayak who for just R250, 00 per 2 hours, will take you on awesome Kayak excursion along the Atlantic Seaboard.

What makes this outing a special occasion, is that by launching from Three Anchor Bay and heading up towards Clifton, paddlers get to take in spectacular views of Lions Head, Table Mountain as well as Cape Towns most famous beaches, while paddling a route that's sheltered from the Peninsulas notorious South Easterly winds.

Their trips consists of a 3 - 5 km journey South towards Clifton Beach, a beach well known for its ultra soft white sand, and transparent topaz blue Atlantic water. Surrounded by spectacular mountains and indigenous fynbos, it is a magnificent bay to soak up the view and rest before returning to shore.

The above photo is one of several that was taken by the Coastal Kayak team in December 2007, using an underwater housing camera. A group of Husky Dolphins escorted 3 paddlers from Clifton Beach all the way back to Three Anchor bay, epitomizing the type of adventure experience, that one simply cannot put a Rand value to.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Adventure Racing, Uge Events


Image: www.flickr.com, by lumilon

AdventureEscapades.co.za received an update e-mail from Nicholas Mulder of Uge Events letting us know what’s going on in the wonderful world of adventure racing. He makes reference to the final event in the 2008 Uge Salomon Trail Running Series to be held at Konka Camps, just beyond Magaliesburg. It's scheduled to take place on Saturday 20th December 2008 and race distances will be approximately 10 and 20km.

He says we can expect an announcement within the next few weeks as to what will be happening in the 2009 season. He mentions that In the meantime, we should diarise the Uge Events Classic Adventure Race (150 to 200km distance) this one is to be held in North-eastern Free State, from 30 January to 1 February 2009.

WELL that’s todays post, short and sweet, Im rushing off to diarise :)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Skyimaging, Aerial Photography



A friend of AdventureEscapades.co.za Jason Barker has a very interesting profession. He has a company is called Skyimaging and what they do is aerial photography with difference. Anybody who has looked into it knows, aerial photography can be hellishly expensive and understandably so, helicopters are not cheap and neither is fuel these days. These guys have come up an alternative technique that is very cost effective and exceedingly innovative.

Jason has mastered the art of doing aerial photography using remote control aircraft and has become renowned for his ability to produce top rate aerial images. They utilize unmanned helicopters, unmanned airplanes, telescopic masts, helium blimps and sometimes conventional helicopters to obtain very unique types of aerial photography.

Although they have an excellent reputation and word of mouth is as some say, the best form of advertising, Jason not unlike ourselves, is a big believer in on-line marketing and has come up with an excellent idea with which to display his wares.

On their Skyimaging website they are running a series of Durban Stadium, World Cup 2010, Arial updates. He has already posted several pic’s documenting the stadiums progress, however with construction now heading for the home stretch, the decision has been taken to do so every two weeks.

The above picture sequence, serves as an example of the work I have made reference to. To find out more about Jason, Skyimaging and what it is they do, to see some brilliant photographs, or just to follow the stadium’s progress, visit www.skyimaging.co.za.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Volvo Ocean Race


Following on from our previous post, here is an image taken from the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. This extreme sailing event has been in the news, partly because the race organisers have made a sport which is traditionally not a spectator sport, into an interactive experience.

They have achieved this by putting loads of Moola into the Marketing of the race, but also by putting together an outstanding website. Along with information, pictures and realtime updates, you can now follow the race in realtime in both 2D and 3D.

This has allowed ordinary people to understand the tactical nuances of a race such as this and appreciate the skill of the Skipper and his/her crew. We will be following this race closely, so expect more updates here.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Table Mountain by Cable Car - A family Activity

Photo Credit: Sally Newell from Flickr.com

I recently had the opportunity to go up Table Mountain again. Having not been up for a long time, I was pleasantly surprised at the whole experience.

As we were coming from Somerset West, some 30km away, we were unsure what the weather and queues were going to be like, so I quickly called up the Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way site. On it were links to the current weather as well as two live webcams - one for the lower and one for the upper Cable Station.

From previous experience, I kind of expected to park a long way from the lower Cable Station and have a long hike to the ticket office. Not so - we managed to park within 100m of the Ticket Office and had our tickets in a snap. I took particular note that they offered a Family ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children), for under R400. Whilst this is still a fair amount of money, it did offer a substantial discount off the normal price.

The trip up was quick and everybody got to see a full panoramic view, as the Cable Car has a rotating floor. Once on Table Mountain, we had an hour's walk on the top. The route was well marked and although there were a lot of people on top, it did not feel crowded. For those of you who favour the more extreme Adventure Experiences, there are a number of alternative ways to come down the mountain.

Firstly, Abseil Africa offer abseiling down the Western side of Table Mountain. Alternatively, you can hike down the many designated routes (preferably with someone that knows the Mountain - it can be extremely dangerous when the weather closes in), or you can Paraglide down. I must say the latter would be my choice!!

The weather was superb on the day we went up and we were particularly fortunate to see the start of the second leg of the Volvo Round-the-World Yacht race. This is definitely a must do activity for both Local and International Adventure Tourists.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Great White Hoax


Don’t believe everything you read, is good advice that has been handed down through the ages, and since the advent of e-mail and the World Wide Web, its more pertinent now than ever before.

There is an e-mail doing the rounds displaying the above pic, in big bold font the caption reads “This was taken on Saturday, 25th October 2008 at Fish Hoek Beach.............” The reason why it looks so real is, well, it is real, except it was actually taken on the 28th September 2006.

There is a Cape based organization called Shark Spotters whose strap line reads “Safety Conservation Education Research.” Their website is www.sharkspotters.org.za and they are the experts with respect to monitoring shark behavioral patterns and whereabouts. The photo in question was taken by their research team and to find out the truth regarding it, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Springbok Day, 1 December


There’s an e-mail doing the rounds that some may consider controversial. It touches on a subject I and many other South Africans feel very strongly about. Nonetheless, I wont bore you with my personal opinions on the matter, have a read, and make of it what you will.

“As you are no doubt aware, the Springbok emblem is once again under attack, specifically by the SA Parliament's Sport Portfolio Committee.

They demand nothing less than the complete abolition of the Springbok emblem and it's replacement by the King Protea as the symbol for rugby. They also demand no further use of the term, Springboks, to describe the South African national team. They will not consider any compromises, despite the fact that Nelson Mandela supports the Springbok emblem and that it is quite evident that the Boks have massive public support.

So much for building the Rainbow Nation, reconciliation and fashioning the united non-racial society we yearn for!

The driving force behind this lunacy is Butana Khompela, the same man who threatened to confiscate the Springbok team and management's passports before the World Cup, if the team was not "transformed enough." Despite the massive support show by the country for the Springboks during both World Cup wins, this little bureaucrat with an axe to grind continues to seek the destruction of a beloved emblem which has been in existence for over 100 years.

What can we do?

On 1 December 2008, South Africans all over the globe are planning to stand up in visible protest against political interference in the issue over the Springbok emblem.

On this day we ask all of you to wear your hat, blanket, jersey, t-shirt, cap, scarf, pants, gloves or whatever, with the Springbok emblem on it .
Whether it is to work, school, church or even parliament, as long as the emblem can be seen.

Send this email to all South Africans and fair-minded friends of South Africans so that they may take part on the 1 December 08.
Whatever you do, REMEMBER, 1 DECEMBER 2008, IS THE DAY ON WHICH YOU CAN TAKE PART IN A WORLDWIDE PROTEST ACTION.

Supporters do it in green - with the Bok on their chests. Send this to all Bok supporters that you know and lets show support round the globe.”


Photograph: www.flickr.com

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Bundu Paintball KZN



In a recent trip to Johannesburg, I was somewhat surprised to see just how many paintball venues there are around the province and dare pose the question, is getting together with friends and shooting one another, Johannesburg’s favorite pastime? I am just as amazed at how many paintball enquiries we get through the “Contact Us” functionality on our AdventureEscapades.co.za website, a clear indication that the sport has a huge following and continues to grow.

If you are heading to Currie Cup Country for the holidays, (Well Done Sharks) particularly the KZN North Coast Ballito area, and bushball is your paintball discipline of choice, do not despair! Bundu Paintball will ensure you don’t have withdrawal symptoms.

Bundu Paintball is an excellent Bushball venue that is owned and operated by By Phillip Wolmarans and his dad, two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They also own the Ndlondlo Reptile Park situated on the same stretch of land, presenting us with an alternative activity, to keep those members of the family occupied who perhaps would prefer to be in the company of snakes, as apposed to being shot at.

Jokes aside, as KZN bushball venues go, you have to go a long way to beat this one, and the Reptile Park is also well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

All Terrain 4x4, Trevor Knutsen



Today’s post is a personality profile on Trevor Knutson, owner operator of All Terrain 4x4. The above slide show is a depiction of what it is Trevor does.

He drove his first 4x4 and tractors at his first job in 1975 for the CSIR, and since 1990 has been actively involved in all aspects of 4x4'ing. This includes training, repairs, selling, and rebuilding. In the past 4 years he has constructed and maintained 4x4 training tracks and personally trained over 500 people. He has also worked with corporate groups and vehicle launches of up to 400 people at a time.

To add to his resume, he also has over 20 years experience in all aspects of the film and the broadcast video production industry.

Trevor trains for most major brands, and on vehicles from the old originals to the newest, latest, electronically-aided 4x4's. To maintain the highest training standards, he keeps himself up to speed by constantly going on new model training courses.

He strongly upholds eco-friendly practises and it's for this reason he trains the way he does, personalised, practical, and with a strong emphasis on eco-friendly driving techniques.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Bloukrans Bridge Bungy


We recently put together a Bloukrans Bridge Bungy listing page for our adventureescapades.co.za adventure activity web portal. Uploading this Tsitsikamma based operation, gave us tremendous pleasure as the Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, owned and operated by Face Adrenalin, is the highest commercial Bungy Jump in the world, and therefore represents an adventure experience that little else compares to.

With respect to the content of the said listing page, we took a different approach and began with an introduction authored by an adventure activity enthusiast who having completed several jumps, gave us his personal take on it. This is what he had to say:

“A Google search of the term “Bloukrans Bungy” tells us that for many who have participated, the experience has had such a positively profound effect on their lives, that in a manner not dissimilar to the spiritually enlightened, they feel a deep need to go out and spread the word.
This ICON of South African Adventure Activity, operating for several years now, has been the source of inspiration for endless Bloggers, forum posts, aspiring adventure writers, and loads and loads of YouTube videos, none of which are remotely capable of capturing its true awesomeness. For those who have jumped, it’s impossible to explain, for those who haven't it's impossible to understand, you simply have to experience it for yourself. Jumper, AdventureEscapades.co.za”

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Soweto Adventure



“Slowed down when I reached the power-station. I’d only been there twice before with Stanley, once in the dark. And it’s a veritable maze of paths and tracks. Managed to stay roughly on course. Across the railway-line and in among the houses. But then I lost my way. Drove this way and that, losing all sense of direction in the dense cloud of smoke that obscured the sun.”

The above paragraph is taken from AndrĂ© Brink’s classic novel “A Dry White Season” which is what I was reading earlier on the plane heading from Durban to Cape Town. To put it into context, the stories protagonist Ben Du Toit, is relating his fear as an Afrikaans schoolteacher, going into Soweto during the Apartheid 1970’s. Although it was first published in 1979, it is impossible to recommend too highly and remains one of the best books I have ever read.

As per the above slide show, the very same power-station the paragraph makes reference to, is now home to the Orlando Towers Power Swing. It is a world first, and is a BIG BIG Swing that takes place from the top of Soweto’s landmark Cooling Towers.

Also highly recommended is what we like to refer to as the Soweto Experience, compliments of “Lebo’s Soweto backpackers”. Besides guided cycle tours, and taking guests to the places of historical significance, if you’re up to it, they will also introduce you to Soweto’s vibrant night life.

I have spent quite a bit of time in Soweto lately and thoroughly enjoy going there. I cant help wondering if author AndrĂ© Brink, at the time his book went to print, would ever have imagined that in 2008 people from all walks of life would celebrate Soweto’s rich history, by participating in some amazing adventure activity.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Base Jumping Awsome Footage



This has got to be one of the most awesome YouTube videos I ever seen, hopefully you can see it too. One of the frustrations that all South African bloggers share is the inconsistency of our bandwidth. When initially finding this footage I couldn’t wait to share it with you, I’ve since tried viewing several times again, and keep getting the message that this video is no longer available. Cntrl F5 a few times and Wallah! its back. Hope you don’t experience the same.

Once again its base jumping, an adventure activity that is as extreme as it gets. I have met many skydivers, Bungy jumpers and others involved in adventure industry who agree that to base jump, you have to be a card or two short of a full deck. There’s no questioning the risk involved, one does however upon seeing a sequence like the above, get a feel for why they do it. If for no other reason than the brilliant Coldplay soundtrack, enjoy……

Friday, 14 November 2008

Sandboarding Personality



For those of you who participate on our forum, you’ve probably already seen the above video featuring among others, Morne Stevens of Ladybird Sandboarding. In his forum post he fills us in on his recent trip to Swakopmund, where pushing the limits was high on the agenda. For more about that, you can click through from HERE.

I met with Morne in Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon, and firstly, I think I owe him an apology. Whereas I usually feel energized at the prospect of meeting adventure personalities, I was suffering terribly from flu that day and just wasn’t my usual enthusiastic self. Nonetheless, Morne is a really good guy and it was pleasure talking to him and finding out what drives him.

He comes across as being extremely dedicated to his sport with his first priority being to grow it. He has a whole lot of other things on the go and doesn’t depend on adventure activity for his livelihood, in other-words, it’s not about the money for him. I get the impression that individuals who train with him are looking to improve and become competitive, rather than the once-off thrill seeker.

We spoke about the upcoming Sandboarding South Africa event, to take place in Betty’s Bay on Saturday, November 29th. For anybody who is interested in finding out more about this amazing sport, he suggests attending, it begins at 9:30 am, and won’t disappoint.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

High Speed Boating


I recently met another interesting adventure personality whose specialty is also boats, in his case, its high speed boats offering high speed adventure. Jacques Nel, operating out of Langebaan, Gordonsbay and Houtbay is a partner in a business called Bugaloo Adventures and taking people on high speed boat rides, is what they are about.

They are for all intents and purposes, water adventure experts, and are vastly experienced. Among their many boating accomplishments, being overall winners of the 2004/2005 Trans Agulhas Offshore Inflatable Boat Challenge, is one that stands out.

Their Mission Statement:

”Our mission is to provide the most exciting and unforgettable adventures in the most professional manner with the safety for customers and respect for the beautiful environment as a priority.”

Included in their product offering are Jetski Seafaris, Snake & Tube rides and also Waterski outings. If you are interested in finding out more about this heart pumping adventure experience, visit www.bugaloo.co.za

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

4 x 4 Advenutre, Classic Jeep Style



This morning I met with Trevor Knutson of 4x4 All Terrain who has chosen to list his one of a kind, 4x4 adventure experience, on South Africa’s most comprehensive adventure Activity web portal. In order to get his page up and looking good, he has given me some amazing photo’s which tell the storey, and make me want to take part.

Trevor is a vastly experienced 4x 4 instructor, as well as a registered Satour guide. He has got some genuine classic 1947 Willy's Jeeps and is in the process of purchasing another two. The opportunity his activity presents, is to experience the vastness of the Cape Towns West Coast dunes in an open Jeep, while sun sand and wind, stimulates an amazing sense of freedom.

Each Jeep goes out with an experienced 4 x 4 driver and can take three passengers; participants can either drive themselves under the instructor’s supervision, or he can do the driving for you. Trevor was a bit hesitant to use the word adrenalin as they do accommodate various types of 4x4 experiences, and not everybody enjoys pushing the boundaries.

For those wanting to relax and casually take in the scenery while touring, that can definitely be arranged, for those who want a little more action, you won’t be disappointed either. Normal 4x 4‘s such as Land Rovers Land Cruisers and double cabs are also available. So, If you are heading to Cape Town and want to play in the sand, give Trevor a call on 082 775 4941.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Catamaran Cruise Cape Town


I recently met with a charter operator who has this really magnificent sailing catamaran berthed at Cape Towns V & A Waterfront. I was certain that they would be targeting a niche market, specifically those who benefit from the exchange rate, and that it would in all likelihood, be out of reach for the average South African.

Upon enquiring, I was flabbergasted by the affordability of it and was amazed to discover that a cruise along Cape Towns Atlantic Seaboard, in fact costs considerably less than most other adventure activity you are likely to encounter.

The company is called Cruise IQ and offer sea excursions aboard their stunning vessel at various times throughout the day. From what I gather, their standard offering is their Bay Cruise, which heads towards Robben Island, Blouberg or Clifton beaches, depending on weather and wind direction.

My personal choice would be the Sunset Cruise, and ideally, would want to head towards Clifton. For those who have never been to the Mother City, in Cape Town the sun sets over the water and it is absolutely breathtaking.

On their brochure it says: “Clients want to feel like a millionaire sailor, even if only on a 2 hour trip. This is the special experience that “iQ” will give her guests at the V&A Waterfront.”

At a cost of less than R200 per person, why not live a little. For more info visit www.cruiseiq.co.za

Monday, 10 November 2008

Reel Rock Tour Comes To Cape Town



I got this e-mail today promoting the Reel Rock Film Tour, coming to Cape Town, scheduled to take place on the 17th of November at a venue on the Corner of Collingwood & Anson, in Observatory. I read the short blurb and at the bottom where it says READ MORE, I clicked through and read more which is where I found the awesome YouTube video you see above.

As Luck would have it I am in Cape Town on the 17th, and as they say in the classics, I’m there like a bear. This is how the mail read.

"The worldwide Reel Rock Tour Comes To Cape Town:
CityROCK, Monday, November 17, 2008, 8 pm, R50

About the program:
The 2008 REEL ROCK program includes the best new climbing adventure films of the year. The program is divided into two halves the first consisting of a variety of short films, and the second showcasing a festival cut of the new feature movie from Sender Films.

READ MORE"


I look forward to seeing You There.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Uge Salomon 65km Adventure Race


An e-mail from 'Nicholas Mulder' of “Uge Events” came through earlier this evening notifying us of what’s next on their calendar with regard to Adventure Racing. It makes for interesting reading as it gives one the impression that they have put some serious thought into making it both challenging and novice friendly. This is what he had to say.

Hi All,

With the culmination of the Sprint Adventure Racing Series for 2008, Uge Events now moves onto presenting the 'Uge Salomon 65km Adventure Race on the 22nd of November. This year's venue is Rust-de-Winter, on the Gauteng / Limpopo border. The race leaflet is attached.

The race will involve mountain biking (approx. 45km), running and trekking (14km) as well as paddling (6km). However, for teams who don't have access to boats, we have designed the course so that those teams can complete a short swim, followed by a hike around the dam to get to the various checkpoints. The race should be spectacular, taking teams through various bushveld game reserves. Although 65km is quite a long way, teams will have up to 12 hours to complete the course. Compulsory equipment has been kept to the minimal safety equipment to encourage novice teams to enter.

There are also 2 remaining Trail Runs in the 2008 Series, at Rust-de-Winter on the 23rd of November, and near Magaliesburg on the 20th of December. Race leaflets for these two races will go out later this week on our website, www.ugeevents.co.za

Best regards,

Nicholas Mulder
Uge Events


(Photo Courtesy of www.flickr.com)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Aerobatics in a Glider


If you are a frequent flyer, a scenic flip in a light aeroplane or glider, might not be the right thing to get the adrenalin flowing. Fear not though, there are a variety of aviation activities that will have you either screaming for more or begging for mercy :)

One of these adventure experiences is an aerobatic flight in a glider. Most standard training gliders are not designed to do extreme aerobatic maneuvers, but are capable of doing some of the more traditional one's, like the Loop, Wing Over and Stall Turn.

Although aerobatics in a training glider is smooth and graceful, if you have never experience the world upside down from a few thousand feet above the ground, you will still get an amazing kick out of this.

There are unfortunately no Commercial Glider ports in South Africa, but there are a lot of clubs all across the Country. Most operate on weekends, but if you want a glider flight, it is important to liaise with someone from the club during the week to ensure that you don't arrive to an empty airfield.

AdventureEscapades.co.za has more information on Gliding and a list of Gliding Clubs in South Africa.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Westline, Aviation Thoughts


Westline Aviantion, although also a charter operation with two of their helicopters permanently based at Dragons Peak in the Drakensberg, specializes in helicopter and fixed wing aircraft pilot training.

While visiting their website I stumbled across a newsletter that was posted on the 31st of July which made for very interesting reading. Unlike my business partner Gary and his dad who are both pilots, I am not a huge aviation enthusiast yet everything the article conveys, makes perfect sense and is best described as logical.

The author Charlie Marais expresses his deep concern regarding accidents that have marred the aviation fraternity over the past year and poses the question of how it is possible for some of these accidents to have happened.

He says to venture one magic solution to this problem is unfortunately not possible, but he goes onto list what he says is for sure, and draws attention to some non-approved practices that is surmountable to negligence. Here are 3 of the points he raises.

1. If you venture there where you are not properly trained to venture, you will surely pay a price. Aviation is too complex and dynamic an environment to get the hang of it as we go, formal training and controlled exposure is the only stepping stones towards competency.

2. Getting home-ites. What is so important that you would bet your life on it, very well knowing that the odds are stacked against you? Logic must somehow feature somewhere in all of this. Why is it that this phenomenon is so potent that one would do things willingly and knowingly that is outside the rule book, or outside our scope of capabilities?

3. How come we do not believe the cautions of our fellow man and trainers? How come you can know better than those with experience?


He goes into more depth and makes mention of a few other thoughts he has, all pertaining to aviation safety and not taking unnecessary risks. Reading it, I couldn’t help but feel that the same logic applies to motoring; respect for the rules, sticking to the basics, and resisting all temptation to be bravado, would bring road incidents down considerably.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

See Soweto on a Bike



A Flagship listing we have on our AdventureEscapades.co.za site that really seems to capture people’s imagination, is Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers. We are firstly and for mostly an adventure site and deliberately steer away from advertising accommodation, where we do make an exception is, is if the venue provides adventure activity which Lebo’s most definitely does.

Lebo’s offering is truly unique, what he and Maria do is, they cater for people who want to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Soweto, a township of historical significance and a place they have a tremendous passion for.

Known far and wide for their Soweto By Bike Tours, participants get to visit places like migrant worker's hostels, Meadowlands, Hector Pieterson Museum, Nelson Mandela's and Bishop Tutu's house and then finish it off with a relaxing cold drink at the local shebeen (Traditional Pub). For persons who would prefer not to cycle, guided tours around Soweto can also be arranged by car or by walking around in the community.

Other activities include a visit to the informal settlement Kliptown where the Freedom charter was signed in 1955, as well as playing volleyball and football on the local sports field just outside the backpackers. For those who like to party, they welcome you to join them at nightclubs, local pubs and also at festivals, bearing in mind they do provide accommodation should you need to stay over.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cape Town By Helicopter


Sport Helicopters at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, have been going since 1990 and was founded by the late Mr. Ernest Macdonald along with his son Robert who today still owns and manages it.

Ernest Macdonald using single & multi engine aircraft, pioneered scenic flights for tourists around the Cape Peninsula and Cape Winelands during the mid 1980’s. Having started Sport Helicopters with a single Bell Jetranger, today the Company owns and operates two 4 seat Bell Jetrangers, a 6 seat Bell Longranger, and an authentic ex Vietnam Huey Helicopter.

With Cape Town being widely regarded as among the most beautiful places on earth, a helicopter ride around the peninsula presents the best possible vantage points for viewing its magnificent coastlines and awe-inspiring mountains.

There are various flight packages to choose from which collectively cover all of Cape Town’s scenic hotspots including Twelve Apostles, Clifton, Camps Bay, Constantia Nek, Llandudno as well as the "Republic" of Hout Bay. They also fly to Chapmans Peak, Noordhoek Beach, Cape Point, Fish Hoek, along Muizenberg, Constantia Valley, Groot Constantia ending with a low level flight around Table Mountain and the City Bowl. Flights around Robben Island are available on request.

Flight duration ranges from 20 minute packages going up to 1 Hour, keeping in mind that helicopters cover a lot of mileage in a short space of time. For those who really want a spectacular day out, they do also offer special tours to the Cape Winelands where you are wined and dined at World Class Venues.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Off-Road Adventures, Sani Pass



Sani Pass is a spectacular mountain road and is located in an area as well known for Adventure Activity, as it is for its natural beauty. Sani serves as an entry point into Lesotho and marks the start of what is affectionately known as “The Roof of Africa,” the scenic route linking the breathtakingly picturesque Drakensberg, with the awe-inspiring mountains of Northern Lesotho.

In Today’s post we focus on Off-Road Adventures, our resident 4x4 and Quad Tour specialists operating in that majestic area. They present both quad and 4x4 enthusiasts; with the unique opportunity of combining Fantastic Mountain scenery with the thrill of off-road action on terrain that’s perfectly suited for it.

Before the quad tour begins, they assemble with guests at the Himeville Hotel (5 km from Underberg) and from there, drive them up Sani Pass in 4x4's and 4x4 taxi's! This is an adventurous trip on its own offering spectacular views and cuttings that are among the best you will ever see.

If participants have their own 4x4 they are welcome drive themselves up and join the team at the top. From there it’s onto the quads and a second adventure begins. Here you have 2 options to choose from, one is to go up to the well known Saddle Lookout Point which is about a one hour trip, the other is along the Sani River and is about an hour and a half, both promise to be awesome experiences.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Praise For AdventureEscapades.co.za



It’s always good to know that clients are happy and to get an indication as to whether or not we are doing things right. Although, we have received several testimonials from activity operators on our AdventureEscapades.co.za site, the one I want to share with you is particularly nice and is the kind of thing that makes this sort of work incredibly rewarding. To Julian thank you so much for the feedback, it’s a pleasure doing business with you.

AdventureEscapades.co.za has worked very well for me and has proven to be a successful and cost effective alternative to brochure advertising. I have had numerous enquiries come through that have lead to bookings with some having been for big corporate groups that have resulted in repeat business. I cannot commend Ernest enough for the work he did in getting my listing page to look as good as it does and for the effort he put into authoring the content. For me the feature that comes in particularly handy is the sms notification of enquiries telling me to check my e-mail. The concept is great, the service is excellent; it is terrific value for money and has way exceeded my initial expectation. For me it has delivered first-rate returns.

Julian Shore, The Woods Paintball, Tel: 076 454 3309

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Base Jumping ....Why?



Admittedly base jumping is one of those adventure activities I generally avoid writing about as I have zero experience with it, don’t personally know anybody who does, and in truth I don’t think it’s something that should necessarily be encouraged. The reason for touching on it today is simply that I came across the above YouTube video which has the most awesome Base Jumping sequences and wanted to share them with you.

I recently also came across a whole lot of skydiving quotes and from what I can gather skydivers generally don’t think to highly of their extremist counterpart. One of the quotes I refer to went something like this "If you bounce while skydiving, most people will feel sorry for you and feel some pain, even if you screwed up. If you bounce while BASE jumping, regardless of what you did, you're just an ….." (Sorry about that, this is a family site and censorship was warranted).

Base Jumping, unlike other adventure activity, is not something you can wake up, decide you want do, and live the experience that same afternoon. It is very high risk and requires total awareness to ensure pin point accuracy with respect to calculation. It is an individual sport where participants are entirely dependant on their own ability to get the timing 100% right, the slightest miscalculation means it ends in disaster.

For those who participate in Base Jumping it is incredibly specialized, whereas with a Tandem Skydive and a Bunji jump for that matter, the hard work gets done by vastly experienced experts for you, all you have to do is arrive on the day and jump when they tell you to. Although, those featured in this video no doubt have years of experience under their chute, what I would like to know is, how on earth did they gain it?

Surely at some point in their lives they made a conscious decision that jumping off giant structures is what they wanted do, and without having yet gained any experience as such, proceeded to jump off a reasonably high something, opened a parachute and landed safely, just to get the ball rolling.

Mmmmm while us mere mortals struggle to get our heads around the “How”, seeing this awesome footage does at least go some way towards explaining the “Why.”

Saturday, 1 November 2008

AdventureEscapades.co.za "Paintball"


You are securely positioned, adrenalin pumping, your team is holding the perimeter, unbeknown to the enemy in the surrounding shrubbery, the order to attack is eminent, GO! GO! GO! GO

If its paintball you want, you have come to the right place – AdvantureEscapades.co.za proudly presents paintball enthusiasts with an array of paintball options from which to choose, particularly in the Johannesburg area where it has been taken to the next level in terms of venues, facilities and shear passion for it.

In the highly unlikely event that you don’t already know, Paintball is an ever popular sport in which players eliminate opponents by shooting paint filled, breakable, marble sized gelatin balls at each other, using a rifle that works on compressed air.

A day out at a paintball circuit is guaranteed to test your skill, speed, accuracy and fearlessness, while having a tremendous amount of fun in the process.

To find out more about some of South Africa’s finest Paintball Venues, CLICK HERE