ON TOUR! Latest GPS timestamp: 2013-06-26 21:44:28
  • Durban Urban Turban.
    • 01/11/2017
Final days in Durban, which could easily be mistaken for a seaside resort with its miles of sandy beaches and promenade.
Europcar didn't look too impressed with how muddy the car was when I returned it!
Inland, a built up CBD with some grand historical buildings, and an international melting pot - Durban has the biggest Indian population outside if India, resulting in the local speciality snack, Bunny Chow, half a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with curry. The owner of the restaurant I stopped in complained that the area was being spoiled by an influx of foreigners - referring to northern Africans and in particular Nigerians moving in. Wandered through various busy shopping streets and markets, including the Muti market which sells a wide range of witchdoctor supplies, with unidentifiable animal body parts hanging up above tubs of roots, spices, and miscellaneous crazy stuff.
Durban's museums all seem to be free which was a nice bonus. The Kwa Muhale museum is housed in the buildings originally used for issuing work permits and passes to natives under the "Durban System" where blacks were excluded from the city.
Adding insult to injury, the natives were further indentured by the banning of home brewing, forcing them to spend all their wages in expensive municipal beer halls.
Also a big and informative exhibit about HIV. The art gallery was small, but happened to be hosting the World Press Photography exhibit, something I've made an effort to visit in London in recent years, always a sobering and eye opening experience.
The troubles depicted worldwide made stepping out into the Durban sunshine seem like the calmest, safest place in the world - I had been warned that it was risky to walk around town but did not see any evidence of this during the daytime - nevertheless had left valuables at the hostel.
Just waiting for the airport shuttle bus now, 24 hours ish to blighty!
  • Wrecks n Whales
    • 01/11/2017
Said goodbye to the mountains and headed for the coast, passing through valleys of logging operations and sugar cane plantations, and stopping to visit one of the world's 47 Richmonds, named after the original by immigrants thereof.

The coast is a different world, built up and affluent looking. And sunny!
Staying at a very liberal and hippy bar/hostel where I met some interesting locals, one friendly dog, and two unfriendly dogs who wanted part of my leg for dinner.
Halloween night, a bbq and the big rugby match meant a party atmosphere, until the cape blue stripes came back to defeat the Sharks and drinking turned from celebratory to disconsolate.
This morning went scuba diving on a wreck named "Purpose", a 140 metre long cargo vessel lying in 30 metres of water off Aliwal Shoal. Visibility was excellent and loads of fish and nudibranch to look at, never mind trying to identify pieces of boat! Super bonus was hearing whale song, a first for me. The downside was that it was very windy, meaning serious rough swell on the surface and making the 15 minute boat ride back to shore a battle with seasickness!
I would love to have dived on the reef here also, but not in this weather! Another reason to come back.
  • Sani Insanity
    • 01/11/2017
So I climbed it, couldn't see anything though!
The 14km drive to the south african border post at the bottom of the pass was testing enough for my little hire car, and from there the road is 4x4 only (until it gets tarmaced!), so I had to walk. Easy enough, reached the top in under two hours and got stamped both in and out of Lesotho at the same time.
Visibility was about 50 metres at this point, so it was compass out to head across the trackless moorland plateau towards Hodgsons Peaks, which stand either side of a gently curved pass, known as the Giant's Cup.
Long story short, weather got worse, had to use the GPS on my phone to navigate, but reached both peaks (3250m) and got back to the border post by 2pm, (20km + 1600m ascent).
Coincidentally, at the top of the pass is a Lodge with a bar, the highest pub in Africa, currently busy with tourists on day trips where they essentially just get driven up the hill for lunch.
Still, a log fire, vin chaud and soup are always nice, fortifying me for the descent, during which the rain got worse, turned into snow, and I arrived back at the SA border somewhat damp.
The most interesting part was yet to come though, as the rain had turned the 14km dirt road into a slippery mud bath, which I slowly slid around on, praying I wouldn't fall off the sides of the road into a deep ditch or worse!
Needless to say I survived thanks to my amazing rally driving skills.
  • Mad about Mountains
    • 26/10/2017
Lazy morning, plenty of stretching before setting off towards Giants Castle. Quick stop at the Macedonia cheese shop for some fried halloumi and then on to visit the Main Cave, a 6000 year old bushman rock art attraction. Picturesque surroundings but crap paintings compared to what I've already seen in Zimbabwe Matapos.
Next overnight stop is Drakensberg International Backpackers, a grand title for a remote off the grid location run by a rag tag bunch of blokes who prefer to drop out of the rat race. Its a tranquil location, self sufficient for power and water, bordered by Kamberg game reserve and Highmoor national park. Hiking up the adjacent escarpment I encounter Bushbuck, a big deer thing, (but apparently not the elusive Elang) and, baboons, eagles and traces of porcupine as well as m [...read the rest]
  • Mountain of the Dragons
    • 26/10/2017
Rented a car, (a Renault Sandero?) And bought the cheapest tent in the supermarket and headed for the mountains. I've been pining for some good hills and hiking for months, its been frustrating seeing hills in the distance from the truck and not being free to visit, or being restricted to gentle guided group walks.
So I am a little frustrated to find that the national parks here either forbid or heavily discourage solo overnight hiking, for reasons or safety both due to the usual twisted ankle scenario, less usual snake bites, or the chance of being mugged by Lesotho drug smuggling shepherds!
Fortunately there are enough taxing and spectacular day hikes to soften the the blow.
First stop Golden Gate park, named for its colourful sandstone buttresses and overhangs, which are especially [...read the rest]
  • Aftermath
    • 26/10/2017
After landing in Jo'burg, took the Gautrain (the modern, super secure, world cup 2010 local transit) to Pretoria for a couple of nights recovery at an airbnb apartment.
Was told I was braver than most for daring to walk from the station but seemed like a good area. Spent the next day walking around the whole city. First visiting the Voortrekker Monument, a huge monolithic structure commemorating the exodus and trials of the Boers leaving cape town to settle the northern states, as after various bloody run ins with the Zulu natives.
Then walking educational, CBD with some grand if dilapidated buildings and on to the Union Buildings, which being government property can't be entered, but the surrounding park contains a huge statue of Nelson Mandela with arms aloft (fast show thieving jacke [...read the rest]
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Africa Overland 2017
latest trip pic
Safari tour in a big yellow dustbin lorry

Travelling from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, through game reserves and whatnot, with Oasis Overland
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Africa Overland 2017
Safari tour in a big yellow dustbin lorry
Travelling from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, through game reserves and whatnot, with Oasis Overland
North Sea Cycle
cultural bike ride around northern europe
Over a couple of months, i'll be testing my legs by riding from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Bergen in Norway. Approx 2000 miles, sounds like a lot but not very much each day on average...
Caribbean 2016
3 weeks of sun, sand, and craziness
A much needed relaxing break in the Cayman Islands... was what i expected, but instead almost none stop action, sports, sightseeing and partying. And then 10 days in Cuba, a beautiful, welcoming, and bewildering place like no other. And then back to Cayman for more awesome...
Tour du Mont Blanc 2015
A 10 day hike around Europe's biggest peak
The alps in the summertime are majestic. This walk, between 1500 and 3500m took in breathtaking views, high altitude camping, wildlife, and charming locals. After completing the walk i spent a few days relaxing on the shores of, and in, Lake Geneva.
Wales Walk 2014
A three week struggle across Wales on the Cambrian Way
Having skipped Wales on last year's LEJOG, i wanted to finished the job. The Cambrian Way provides 18,000 metres of ascent, the same as Everest - and twice that of the Pennine Way or Cape Wrath Trail. So it was hard work!
LEJOG 2013
1800 mile trek from one end of Britain to the other
After being a nomadic traveller for two years, I wasn't ready to go back to real life and get a job, but i wanted to do something constructive. Whilst in other far flung parts of the world i was often embarrassed by my limited knowledge of my home country. So i bought a train ticket to Penzance. And i walked.
South Pacific 2012
Beaches and reefs, palm trees and cava
A month relaxing in the Cook Islands, another month relaxing in Fiji and Samoa, with lots of diving, snorkeling, book reading, cava drinking, sunbathing and such. Then hitting the tourist trail on New Zealand's North Island, from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Off to Australia for a couple of weeks of modern world, then flying to Singapore, numerous public transport adventures through Malaysia and Thailand to the gap yearers mecca of Bangkok before flying home.
North America 2011
Backpacking around the US and Canada
Summer camps in New Hampshire, backpacking around the East Coast, protesting at the White House, traveling across Canada to track down my namesake, couchsurfing and hitchhiking through California, bears, snowboarding, crazy cyclists, Christmas in San Diego
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