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Braam Malherbe & Peter van Kets
2 Apr 2013

Nightjar Adventurer 2013.

The Adventurers: Peter van Kets and Braam Malherbe

The Adventure: Completing the South Pole Challenge

The South Pole Challenge is considered to be the toughest race on the planet.  Celebrating the centenary of the race between Scott and Amundsen, six teams set off to cover 768km by ski, unsupported, with the finish line at the South Pole.  After 24 days of the planet's most extreme weather, Braam Malherbe and Peter van Kets arrived at the South Pole in third position, with Team British Green/Centrepoint.  In the true spirit of adventure, they spent the last week of the race carrying gear from the other team after Andrew Carnie fractured his arm.  Both South Africans agreed that this race was the toughest adventure event they had completed, and we are in awe of their sportsmanship.

Kai Fitchen
2 Apr 2013

Nightjar Adventurer 2013.
The Adventurer: Kai Fitchen
The Adventure: Kape 2 Kenya carbon neutral climbing expedition


Kai Fitchen set out to discover the beauty of Africa through sustainable travel, and share the importance of environmental awareness.  To do so, he travelled 14,000km from Cape Town to the summit of Mt. Kenya and back, taking time to engage with over 600 learners along the way to share his message.  This already sounds like an adventure, but Kai went one step further by keeping it Carbon Neutral.  To do so, he travelled on foot and by public transport (and yes, this includes his gear)!  14,000km is a long way to go by these means, and we are more than impressed that Kai kept up the educational impact of his journey all the way.

Ram Barkai, Ryan Stramrood & Kieron Palframan
2 Apr 2013

Nightjar Adventurer 2013.
The Adventurers: Ram Barkai, Ryan Stramrood, Kieron Palframan
The Adventure: Russian Winter Swim Championship

Three mad Capetonians arrived in Russia thinking that the water at Clifton beach is cold, but they were in for a shock!  -33 Celcius outside, and water only half a degree above frozen... they were planning on swimming a kilometre in this! After the water in a swimmer's eyelashes froze solid and she had to have them defrosted to be able to open her eyes, they started to worry that maybe they'd bitten off more than they could chew!  However, they decided they didn't travel all the way to Siberia, on invite nogal, just to pull out now, so they dove in and took all three podium spots for the endurance swim! 

Zack Buchan & Ross Walters
2 Apr 2013

Nightjar Adventurer 2013.

The Adventurers: Zack Buchan & Ross Walters.

The Adventure: A world first - a supported kitesurfing expedition from Ponto d'Ouro to Durban.

Over the course of 2 weeks, Zack Buchan and Ross Walters kitesurfed 430km, avoiding sharks and getting pounded by the surf when the wind died, chasing 'invisible streets' of wind in order to cover the distance.  They set out to satisfy an urge, a thirst for adventure, and were more excited to be doing what they loved than concerned about pushing boundaries - and that is how "a couple of fairly average guys in their mid thirties found themselves at the forefront of a new category in the sport, adventure kiting".  Their words, not ours - we think they are anything but average!

If you want to read their full account, hit up the Nightjar Adventurer page:

They are our first contenders; keep your eyes peeled for the next one!

Nightjar Adventurer 2013
2 Apr 2013

Adventure.  It's hard wired into our genes.  From game fishing far out at sea to scaling gnarly peaks, we seek it everywhere.  We've been doing it since the dawn of time, when bear-skin slippers and a sharp stick were cutting edge gear, and judging by what today's adventurers can achieve with modern technologies we'll be pushing the boundaries of our imagination for some time yet.  Why?

Because, thankfully, despite the nagging pressures of bonds, careers and children, there is still a small group of men and women who want to push themselves to their limit and find what lies beyond.  They are the reason the rest of us can also now aspire to climb Everest and paddle down the Amazon.

Over the coming weeks, we will profile the most inspirational adventures made by South Africans last year, and you can help us vote for the Nightjar Adventurer 2012...  So we invite you to sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed!

If you know of an adventurer who you feel must be considered, please do use the submissions box on the Nightjar Adventurer page.

For more:

April Newsflash
1 Apr 2013

News Flash: Research shows teenagers were just as difficult in the Stone Age.

New archeological finds have revealed that older sub-adult early hominids (colloquially, teenage neanderthals) had a remarkably modern predisposition for asocial behaviour. Sites have been found with bone evidence of these teens sitting with their arms crossed, with their backs to the communal firepit. Analysis of anchoring groove marks on the facial bones (remnants of muscle structure) suggests glum, downtrodden facial expressions. In one cave, a younger skeleton was found hidden from view of the group behind a rock, cradling what appears to have been an early model of the iStone.

For more, see

Photo Credit: Stephanie Watson/Flickr

This week
29 Mar 2013

This week on Nightjar.

I've seen monkeys clambering all over a car but really..! We'll go the distance to get that photo, hehe. Just remember this weekend that it's ok to make an effort for a good photo, memory, and so forth, but we'll all seen that photo of the lioness with the camera in her mouth, so don't forget to think about what you're doing! 

This week in the magazine, Do It Now takes us BASE jumping in Utah, all around the little adventure sports capital that is Moab. If you're looking for some inspiration to jump, or just like to live vicariously, this is a thrilling read. Lize de Kock gives us a great exploration of Hanoi, from Silk Street to the Amazing Cave. Paul Winter gives us a great guide to kayaking around the Transkei coast. 

Best wishes to those of you celebrating Easter, or just relishing the public holiday, and do enjoy the weekend!

Ringlet Butterfly
22 Mar 2013

Will the miracle of a caterpillar turning into such a wonderful winged creature ever cease to amaze? Some butterflies are around throughout the year, but in the summer months in South Africa, their gorgeous colours are prominently on display throughout the country. Identifying different groups of butterflies is easier than you think: swallowtails and emperors are large and flashy, the tiny blues have a blue upper side and a white, dotted underside, tips are mostly white with coloured wing tips and the slow flying acraeas are orange with black spots. This beautiful dark-webbed ringlet butterfly is active in the northern third of South Africa from September to May – did you see one this summer?

 - Dianne Tipping-Woods

Botha House
21 Mar 2013

The historic Botha House, immutably perched on a hill overlooking Pennington Beach and the Umdoni Golf Course, was once a holiday cottage for heads of state. It is now run as a guesthouse and anyone can appreciate the timeless views from its historic rooms, expansive veranda or beautifully maintained garden. Situated in Umdoni Park, which protects about 200 hectares of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, it was built in response to General Louis Botha’s request for “two or three acres … to put up a cottage for Annie (Botha’s wife)”. The foundations of the Cape Dutch structure were laid in 1919 and it was presented to the South African Nation for the exclusive use of the South African Prime-Minister in Office. Since then, it has hosted numerous dignitaries, prominent business people and heads of state. Staying here is like stepping back in time, with the house retaining its original furniture, fittings and period art.

You can read more about some of the activities in Umdoni Park here:

 - Dianne Tipping-Woods

Grape Crushing Adventures in the Midlands
20 Mar 2013

I had the luck of being able to attend the annual Grape Crushing Festival that is held by the Stables Wine Estate, located on Nottingham Road in the Midlands. Every year a large number of people attend this festival to celebrate the end of the summer harvest season. I got to stand in a giant container filled with grapes, and “tromp” on them to my hearts delight until they basically turned into wine.

By the end of it I had grape pulp covering me from head to toe, but it was by far one of my favourite experiences in KZN. Afterwards there was a dance performance, food stalls, music and giveaways to enjoy. Find out when the next festival is and get tromping!

 - Daniella Toscano


19 Mar 2013

The RattRace, Saturday 20th July 2013

N.B. Entries close 30 April

Although there’s enough single track to amuse, this 30km fun cycle/run through the rugged veld of northern KwaZulu-Natal is one that the whole family will enjoy. And it’s for a good cause. The event is held in memory of famous battlefield raconteur David Rattray with all entry fees and fines going directly to The David Rattray Foundation.

Participants get discounted rates at Fugitive’s Drift lodge and, space permitting; you can even bring your own tent or sleep out on the verandah! Seems the perfect excuse to make a weekend of it. Entries and accommodation requirements must be confirmed by 30th April.
[email protected] 


Nightjar Travelled
16 Mar 2013

Get off the beaten track, stay out a little longer, catch the last rays of the day and then leg it off the mountain in time for a good dinner and fine glass of vino. That's the best way to get shots that stand out from the crowd. In this pic you can see the path snaking up Kasteels buttress, our escape route to get down before dark, and right down on the coast lies Bakoven. Oh, and don't forget your head torch!


Gariep Dam
12 Mar 2013

Looking for a halfway stop on your journey between the main metropolises? Gariep Dam in the Freestate offers a diverse range of activities to keep the body busy or to rest up. Situated on the Orange River the dam provides water to parts of the Vaal. The largest dam in South Africa is popular with boaters, anglers and watersport enthusiasts and is host to watersport festivals in the summer months.  Alternatively there is the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve to explore, home to a range of ‘small’ but interesting animals. There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.

 - Megan Pilditch

Of course, we have plenty more info on site if this caught your eye:

K-Way Winter Gear
5 Mar 2013

We’ve just had a sneak preview of K-Way’s winter gear offerings – and my word there’s some funky stuff about to hit the shelves. I drooled over the hi-tech sleeping bags, imagining myself on some epic Arctic expedition, and there were plenty of items from their range of vibrant fleeces, softshells and jackets that I tested in the ice-box and would happily add to my wardrobe. But my first purchase will be their new, lightweight Swan down jacket. I’ve had similar jacket - that I bought overseas - for years and it’s showing its age. But, since it’s equally appropriate as a chic-looking, windproof outer layer or as a technical, breathable ‘sweater’ worn under a waterproof or softshell, it’s probably the most versatile garment I’ve ever had so I can’t wait to replace it. Best of all the K-Way Swan costs half what I paid for my old trusty feathers. Local is lekker.

 - Fiona McIntosh

5 Mar 2013

Last week we profiled Kai Fitchen for Nightjar Adventurer 2013, and I saw that he had been a member of the Mike Horn Pangaea Expedition to the Himalayas.  Naturally, I wanted to know more about this expedition, but in a busy week some things are easily forgotten.

I then had the good fortune to obtain a copy of Cape Union Mart's official magazine - The Intrepid Explorer - and as luck would have it, the first page I opened it to had a full-page photo of Pangaea!  So, as I learnt and for those of you who are as curious, Mike Horn has been sailing around the world on Pangaea, a 35m yacht, non-stop for the last 4 years with the goal of taking his years of experience as one of the world's greatest modern day explorers, and inspiring young adults around the world to want to explore our planet, and hopefully thus be motivated to preserve it.  Well, judging by what Kai has achieved, Mike certainly has inspired!  You can read more about the expedition at, and you can get the full article on the Intrepid Explorer Facebook page

Not heard of The Intrepid Explorer yet?  That might be because the first edition flew out of Cape Union Mart stores like gold dust.  It's well worth a read, so keep an eye out for the next edition in April.

A trip to the Middle East (4)
2 Mar 2013

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Carved out of granite and sandstone, Wadi Rum is Jordan's jewel. Tucked away in the south of Jordan, and stretching to the Saudi Arabian border, Wadi Rum makes you feel as if you are on another planet. Strange outcrops, eerie formations, black mountains of rock rising out of pink waves of sand accompanied by the silence of the desert and the rustic Bedouin life turns even the most prickly of travellers into a dreamy Aladdin. Spending the night in Wadi Rum under the stars, or going for long meandering walks beneath a full moon is a must.


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