Our trip to Canada towards the end of 2016 and into 2017 was mesmerizing. Not only did we start out 2017 with a beautiful 5 km Resolution Run in Vancouver, but the most snow in more than 10 years turned Lynn Valley, our base in North Vancouver, into a winter wonderland.
Visiting Oupa Doep in the rainy season has always been about playing in the Kavango overflow. The boys slightly apprehensive at first for crocs and all things toothy lurking in the long grass, always hit the ground running. Oupa’s home, in the trees behind the boys, is a lush garden of river frontage forest, roses, vegetables and all things green, set on the bank of the Kavango River (or rather on an island when the river comes down in flood) with Namibia to the south and Angola to the north.
March / April is our rainy season in Uis. And with an abundance of large, dry riverbeds, we are sometimes treated with a flash flood like this one in the Omaruru River in southern Damaraland. The Omaruru which turned into a washing machine in a matter of seconds was the most exciting playground imaginable.
Enroute to Ouma and Oupa in Keetmashoop we cut the trip in half, opting to overnight at a lodge in the Kalahari south of Mariental. The boys have always been able to turn a mass of sand into a race track, a police or fire station or just a place to dig some holes. And nothing was better than a red Kalahari dune in the rainy season of southern Namibia.
Our castle in Damaraland is our home in Namibia, our place to think, observe, plan and connect. And a special time of the year is when the rain clouds build and create these mesmerising sunsets over the uber beautiful Brandberg Mountain.
My inspiring and beautiful wife is always ready for any adventure. We share the same dreams for the boys, love travelling and are always ready for any adventure, be it running or climbing the planet, or searching for the elusive Snipe with our playful boys.
The Brandberg Rhino Run was in its third year in June 2017. We decided that this year, we not only want to generate more awareness for the enormous efforts of Save the Rhino Trust, we also want to add additional events, which is exactly what we did when we signed up 10 runners to complete the Fastest Known Time (FKT) to the summit of the Brandberg, the highest mountain in Namibia. The events were huge successes and not only did we manage to generate additional awareness for the plight of SRT, we also held a virtual race that was run as far as New Zealand, Japan and the UK, tow show the world that Namibia and Save the Rhino Trust cares deeply about protecting the last truly wild population of black rhino on the planet.
Summer in Europe was simply spectacular during our visit in June / July. Not only did Riana run the Chamonix Alps set in the south of France, we also snorkeled the Med in Italy and walked the cobblestoned streets of Cortona. In addition, we were lucky enough to witness one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet, which I summited on the same trip via the Hornli route out of the beautiful town of Zermat in northern Switzerland.
Zanzibar has always been a special destination for us. Walking the streets of Stone Town, playing football with the local boys or visiting the numerous markets creates more than memories; you become part of the daily hustle, the traffic, the heat and rain and ultimately part of the beat of Africa.
I must admit, we were all a bit apprehensive about the Storms River canopy tour during our 4 week trip to South Africa in late 2017. Vivi was really quiet and we were not sure what to expect while standing on the first of more than 10 platforms set 30 m above the forest floor. From here we zoom along more than 50 m of thin steel cable from platform to platform. But he handled it like a pro, yelling from one giant Yellowwood to the next.
While doing voluntary military service at School of Armour in 1996 many of us new recruits felt it being a waste of time and energy. It is only when you look back at something that was emotionally and physically hard, through the eyes of someone else, that you realise what an achievement it really was. In this instance in a non planned adventure we visited Tempe, my old military base in Bloemfontein, in Nov 2017. Zee was especially reluctant, while Vee could not wait to get out of the car and climb on the myriad of old armoured cars including the vehicle I was trained on, the Elephant mark 1B battle tank. Needless to say, both boys ultimately played their hearts out, which made my 12 dusty months in 1996 completely worth while.
What a fitting end to 2017, spending the last day of the year on the Okavango River at our favourite camp, Drotsky’s, in northern Botswana. We were all looking forward to fishing for Tigers. The boys were excited, bringing their little rods from Uis to the Delta hoping to catch (for the first time) a fish. It turned out that Vee caught his first tiger and the first fish of the day. But of course just before landing the fish, the Tiger jumped on to the boat, biting a chunk out of the skipper’s arm. Now recall we had a boating accident in Zanzibar 4 months earlier so Vee was apprehensive at the start to even set foot on the boat, constantly worried that it will tip over. But, we persevered. Zee showed us how to cast like a pro and we ended the year like we started, grateful for what lay behind us and excited for what awaits.