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The Mayfly Spinner
5 Aug 2014
 
     

The Mayfly Spinner

The Mayfly Spinner rates among my all time favourite dry fly patterns for small mountain streams. Not that we have prolific hatches on South African waters, but the distinctive profile is familiar and recognisable to the trout as something they have seen and eaten and enjoyed before. 

In a generic context this little fly simply looks like an insect of sorts. I used to use the conventional hour-glass style for the wings, but more recently have tied the fly using the Ellis Triple wing method. I have found that although a little more complex to tie, it has improved the pattern’s appearance, resembling more closely the wings of the natural insect and thereby improving the trigger qualities of the fly. 

For the tail I use a few strands of Coc de Leon and splay these by taking a loop or two of thread under the tail, two different coloured strands of Moose mane for the abdomen, white Z Lon for the wings (trimmed to shape) and a 2 to 3 mm strip of black razor foam over and below the wings to create a distinctive thorax. The foam also aids the fly’s floatability.

Guest blog by Peter Brigg 

callofthestream.wordpress.com

Magaliesberg Rock Climbing
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Magaliesberg Rock Climbing

The beautiful kloofs of the Magalies Mountains are only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria so are very popular with climbers in Gauteng. Most of the 1 800 or so routes are trad climbs, but there is sport climbing at Fernkloof and Wigwam. The climbs range from super-easy to those that will test the country’s top rock jocks. They are generally multi-pitch, on high quality quartzite with excellent natural protection...

(GPS coordinates: -25.836282, 27.475691)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/climbing/magaliesberg-rock-climbing

Silvermine MTB Trails
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Silvermine MTB Trails

Enter through a metal boom at the trail head and turn left 50 metres along a rutted road ascending towards the Elephants Eye cave. Pass the turn-off to your left at 1,3 kilometres, riding up towards the Sentech radio mast that is visible in the distance. At about the two-kilometre mark, the surface changes to dual concrete strips before you eventually crest at 2,2 kilometres. Pass the faint route to the fire lookout hut on the right and carry on straight up. The ride has views over False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean before reaching the ride’s highest point of 775 metres at the 4,5-kilometre mark. This is where the fun really starts...

(GPS coordinates: -34.076732, 18.405951)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/silvermine-mtb-trails

Mandela Monument
4 Aug 2014
 
     

Mandela Monument

“I could not imagine that the future I was walking toward could compare in any way to the past that I was leaving behind.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. (Picture taken at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.)

- Megan Pilditch

Bourke's Luck Potholes
3 Aug 2014
 
     

Bourke's Luck Potholes

The Motlatse Canyon Provincial Nature Reserve stretches over an area of 25 000 hectares.  Bourke’s Luck Potholes is on the reserve’s western border, where the Treur (now Sefogane) and Blyde (now Motlatse) rivers meet.  Long ago, swirling underwater vortexes, through erosion, caused these cylindrical potholes or cavities, which are also referred to as giant’s kettles. The potholes are visible from the cliffs above, where there is a 700-metre circular path with metal pedestrian bridges connecting viewpoints over these geological phenomena. They are named after a hapless fortune seeker, Tom Burke, who staked a claim close to the site in the 1880s.  He predicted the finding of large gold deposits in the region, but he was unsuccessful...

(GPS coordinates: -24.673738, 30.810122)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/animals-nature/bourke’s-luck-potholes

Sani Spoors MTB Trails
3 Aug 2014
 
     

Sani Spoors MTB Trails

Sani Spoors offer an intoxicating mix of mountain-bike trails of varying difficulty and skill levels, providing fun and excitement for the whole family. Adrenalin-filled downhills, strenuous climbs, gentle river trails and technical bridge-crossings all in one safe and scenically beautiful area. The Intshitshi Spoor is an easy amble along the banks of the Umzimkulu River, suitable for novices and children. The Milk Run and Jackall Joll are for the big boys... 

(GPS coordinates: -29.766119, 29.460847)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/sani-spoors-mtb-trails

The New Forest
3 Aug 2014
 
     

The New Forest: Burley, South West England

I definitely remember the man in the aged bicycle shop saying that this hike was possible to finish before lunch, but here I was. It was lunch-time and I was staring at the sun blaring through needle-like trees covered in moss, exhausted. I made the worst error, and mistook 8 miles for 8 kilometres… but I didn’t regret it. I found the New Forest is blanketed in a thick layer of orange and browning leaves in winter, the sky goes smoky grey and the sun filters through heavy leaves. After the sixth or so encounter, I stopped naming the wild horses roaming freely in the forest – after one stood obstinately in my path and I had to brave the underbrush to get around it. But, with the exhaustion and strange encounters, 8 miles is still nothing in a place like this.

- Brad Harris

Mandela House
2 Aug 2014
 
     

Mandela House

The Mandela House museum on the corner of famous Vilakazi Street in Soweto preserves the history, heritage and legacy of the Mandela family. The tiny red face-brick cottage where Nelson Mandela lived with his first two wives and children is now under the curatorship of the Soweto Heritage Trust. Though the museum has been modernised and includes a visitor’s centre, the house has lost none of its homeliness. Visitors can personally experience how one of the world’s greatest icons lived... 

(GPS coordinates: -26.238666, 27.908707)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/mandela-house

Die Groote Kerk
2 Aug 2014
 
     

Die Groote Kerk

Die Groote Kerk at 39 Upper Adderley Street in Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest ‘official’ place of worship. In fact, it was the first Christian church erected in the Cape soon after the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck. The foundations for this spectacular church were laid in 1700. This path to spirituality was not an easy one and after many alterations and building problems the original church was demolished and rebuilt. The building was completed in 1841. Today the only remains of the original dwelling are the old tower and the carved pulpit that was sculpted by Anton Anreith...

(GPS coordinates: -33.924645, 18.421015)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/die-groote-kerk

Pioneer Museum
1 Aug 2014
 
     

Pioneer Museum

What is today known as the Pioneer Museum was started in 1848 by David Botha, a Cape farmer who settled on the farm Hartebeespoort (in present day Silverton). IIn 1975, the property was proclaimed the Pioneer Museum. At the Pioneer Museum guides in period costume take visitors on tours of the farmhouse. It is an excellent example of settler architecture with its mud walls and cow dung floors. Visitors are shown demonstrations of activities that would have formed an essential part of everyday life on a frontier homestead: candle making, milking, milling and tanning. Traditional food demonstrations are especially popular...

(GPS coordinates: -25.735161, 28.309557)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/cultural/pioneer-museum

Traveller's Rest
1 Aug 2014
 
     

Traveller's Rest

Traveller’s Rest comprises two farms with rock art sites open to the public – Sevilla and Salmanslaagte. Rather than being guided to the sites you can walk at your leisure on any of a number of marked rock art trails. It is the ideal place for a weekend or overnight stay and the art is breathtaking. A guidebook on the trail at Sevilla by Peter Slingsby is available at Traveller’s Rest. You can also pick up a pamphlet with a shorter description of the art on the Sevilla trail...

(GPS coordinates: -32.070556, 19.075717)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/rock-art/traveller’s-rest

The Man with the Golden Car
1 Aug 2014
 
     

The Man with the Golden Car

The only words that we managed to muster were, “Only in Durban”. Literally, where else in the world would you find a car like this? The reflection from the car shone so bright in my eyes it actually blinded me. But I couldn’t stop looking, and the owners didn’t seem to mind a bit.

- Megan Pilditch

Devil's Peak via Saddle Path Trail
31 Jul 2014
 
     

Devil's Peak via Saddle Path Trail

There’s no shade on this route, the easiest way to the top of Devil’s Peak, so start early as it’s a fairly sustained climb, but the unusual perspective on Table Mountain and the 360-degree view from the top make the effort worthwhile. Park on Tafelberg Road opposite the sign to “Devil’s Peak via the Saddle” and follow the trail as it gradually ascends to the contour path...

(GPS coordinates: -33.95525, 18.424229)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/hiking/devil’s-peak-saddle-path-trail

Breedtsnek Road MTB Trails
31 Jul 2014
 
     

Breedtsnek Road MTB Trails

Breedtsnek is a district dirt-road pass straddling the Magaliesberg mountain range and is the only road over the mountains between Rustenburg and Hartebeespoort. The road is also popular with Sunday drivers, so it can get very busy on weekends and you may get more excitement than bargained for if you can’t resist high speeding down hills. For a demanding return ride of 55 kilometres, start and finish at the Bird Store General Dealer on the R560 Hekpoort road in Gauteng. For a less demanding, 10-kilometre return ride, start at Sugarbush Hill Cottages about 30 kilometres from Rustenburg on the North West province side of the pass...

(GPS coordinates: -25.815664, 27.416114)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/mountain-biking/breedtsnek-road-mtb-trails

Drakensberg Canopy Tour
30 Jul 2014
 
     

Drakensberg Canopy Tour

The Drakensberg Canopy Tour is South Africa's fifth treetop tour, the second in KwaZulu-Natal - and the longest of them all. It’s based in the indigenous Blue Grotto forest at the Drakensburg Sun Lifestyle Resort in the Cathkin Valley. After a safety briefing and demonstration you are kitted up with a full body harness, pulley, gloves and helmet before being transported in an open vehicle to the start of the tour. There are 12 slides zigzagging above, below and even through the indigenous forest canopy. Safely harnessed and always under the supervision of highly qualified guides, you can relax and enjoy the ride...

(GPS coordinates: -29.003416, 29.421473)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/drakensberg-canopy-tour

Hot Mineral Springs
30 Jul 2014
 
     

Hot Mineral Springs

Aliwal North is a small Eastern Cape town and is relatively unknown aside from its two hot mineral springs, which have extremely high concentrations of minerals and gases. It is believed that the concentration of gas is so high that the first restaurant built here was able to maintain its cooking fire from gas that was funnelled from the springs. The hot mineral springs draw many visitors and the Spa Holiday resort produces water at about 34 degrees Celsius in its indoor and outdoor pools…

(GPS coordinates: -30.715174, 26.714029)

Read more at www.nightjartravel.com/activities/hot-mineral-springs

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