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Escape+Explore https://escapeexplore.com Travel | Africa | Guided Tours Tue, 19 Nov 2019 08:07:29 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://escapeexplore.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-EE-Favicon-Grey-32x32.jpg Escape+Explore https://escapeexplore.com 32 32 Photography Tours – Play with light in the Cape https://escapeexplore.com/photography-tours-play-with-light-in-the-cape/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 15:22:07 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=800 Our one-of-a-kind photography tours frame your experiences in the Cape beautifully.

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The adage ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ is one we embrace at Escape + Explore. Every trip we lead is designed to challenge our guests positively. Whether out on a SUP board watching penguins gliding past, tasting an exquisitely crafted wine with a winemaker or, learning about the rule of thirds on our Cape Peninsula photography tour. The stretching of the mind and the growth that follows is where the experience comes alive for our guests.   

Integral to our ethos of providing tours that unlock once-in-a-lifetime moments for our clients is the principle of collaboration.  

Penguins at Boulders

Designing tours of a particular quality requires the meeting of minds. The latest example of this is our newly developed photography tours in Cape Town. We’ve teamed up with the experts in the field of teaching folks how to capture the very best images while on safari, Pangolin Photo Safaris. We believe photography is not a niche activity. Our Explorer Guides have been trained by best-in-class photo guides to deliver engaging guided tours in the Cape with a photography slant. And, we provide the gear! The Canon DSLR cameras we use on our tours are for the active urban explorer- just like our trips. The hardware is light-weight and despite their intuitive technology is easy as pie to operate. Fun fact: we’ve not had one single camera dropped to date. Phew!

Table mountain from Blouberg beach Urban Exploring the colourful Bo Kaap Scenic Hout Bay near Chapmans

Suddenly, the prospect of dragging teenagers around the most southern tip of Africa becomes an appealing one. They’ll have something to do! Unlocking an incredible experience is about finding common ground. We understand that excellence begins with relevance. Natural by-products of our expertly planned, guided photography tours are that parents relax and for the younger ones, boredom is banished. This results in the fun factor rising exponentially, along with the ratio of real smiles per trip. This trip will take you to all the places you’ll want to visit while you’re in Cape Town. Uniquely, our route is designed to chase the sun, harnessing the ‘magic light’. As every photographer knows this intangible quality has the power to transform a good picture into an exceptional one. 

Table Mountain

At the end of your trip, before returning the DSLR camera to your Explorer Guide, remember to take the memory card out. It’s yours to keep, with our compliments. Frame the pictures, share them with your friends and family.  Once home, don’t forget to revisit them often to remind you of the carefree, spirited moments you shared with us in the Cape. 

Kirstenbosch Boomslang experience photography Kalk Bay

Contact our team of friendly Adventure Architects about booking your photography experience in the Cape. 

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BRAVE Rock Girls https://escapeexplore.com/brave-rock-girls/ Tue, 10 Sep 2019 12:04:23 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=753 Our internship and leadership program focuses on supporting BRAVE Rock Girls, a grassroots nonprofit organisation from one of Cape Town’s most underserved communities, empowering girls to find their voices.

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September in South Africa. Abundant wildlife, wildflowers and whales. The warmer, longer days invite broad smiles. This month marks the start of Spring, and so naturally, it is a time of stock-taking as much as it is regeneration. Within the month, we celebrate Heritage Day (September 24th), a national holiday affectionately known by the locals as ‘National Braai Day’. On this particular day, it is customary to gather our friends and family, toast to the beauty of our country, reflect upon our history and ponder our future. Here at Escape+Explore, we believe the future is female!

Rock-Girls-Road-Trip

Our internship and leadership program focuses on supporting BRAVE Rock Girls, a grassroots nonprofit organisation from one of Cape Town’s most underserved communities, empowering girls to find their voices, stay in school and become economically independent young women. We believe our support of BRAVE Rock Girls, is a catalyst for raising South Africa’s future leaders and to achieving gender equality.

Rock-Girls-Silhouette

Escape+Explore’s connection with the BRAVE Rock Girls officially launched back in 2017 with The Brave Adventure Academy to create the next generation of female adventure guides in SA. Girls between 14 – 18 from underprivileged communities train alongside our guides to learn practical life skills at the cutting edge of African Travel. 

We developed our relationship with the BRAVE Rock Girls in support of our belief that having a Rock Girl on tour with us creates a meaningful exchange between our clients and the youth of our communities, providing an enriched experience. We have had many first- time experiences from visiting Robben Island and Table Mountain to teaching the girls how to ride bicycles, surf and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) alongside our clients. The effects of uplifting one BRAVE Rock Girl affects the whole community, and our Academy has given the younger girls the confidence to follow their dreams.

Rock-Girls-BRAVE-photo

“Escape+Explore gives us the confidence to not only speak up but to climb mountains, surf waves and explore our own country.”

Miche Williams – Founding BRAVE Rock Girl who now sits on the governing council of the prestigious African Leadership Academy 

 

Watch the video of BRAVE Rock Girl’s first-ever international road trip. This experience was a powerful catalyst for nation-building that breached borders. 

BRAVE Rock Girl has been committed to being girl-led since being established in 2009. This ideal is at the heart of the BRAVE Leaders Programme.  Ask us more.

Rock Girls - Hiking Micro Adventure Rock Girls - Yoga Micro Adventure 1 Rock Girls - Micro Adventure Surfing

An initiative that Escape+Explore, together with our trade partner Abercrombie & Kent has launched with BRAVE Rock Girls is the BRAVE Hub House in Sea Point, Cape Town. One of BRAVE Rock Girls’ senior leaders, Audery February, is 19 years old and a now-former resident of Mannenberg, Cape Flats. Audery is passionate about being a Rock Girl because she wants her voice and the voices of girls across South Africa to be heard. Audery writes regularly for the Cape Times as a BRAVE Rock Girl reporter and speaks on radio and television about BRAVE Rock Girl’s work. She also interns with Escape+Explore as a junior guide, conducting tours of Rock Girl benches and other unexplored areas of Cape Town. There is plenty more room for partners in our travel community to join forces with us to support BRAVE Hub House.  Contact us to find out how you can be a part of this movement. 

Rock Girls - Hiking Micro Adventure2 Rock Girls - Micro Adventure Surfing1 Rock Girls - Yoga Micro Adventure

Audery says, “Manenberg is a gang-infested community that’s wracked by violence, abuse, early school dropouts, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse. Some of us don’t have a safe living environment. Some of us live with too many siblings in a two-bedroom house. Without privacy, it was difficult to focus on our careers. The hub helps us face this by doing what we want in life to better our futures. It also helps us reach our goals. I am joined in this residence by my two fellow senior Rock Girl leaders. We are mentors for Junior rock girls that we meet up with weekly, and we organise transport for our outdoor activities for other Senior Girls/Junior Girls. We plan Junior girl workshops.”

Escape+Explore’s Upliftment Tour offers guests a unique insight into community-based projects such as MonkeyBiz and the Hout Bay T-Bag Project, among others. This tour is hosted by a BRAVE Rock Girl and is a super experience for families to enjoy. BRAVE Rock Girls are also available to join any of our other tours. The supplement for this is a direct contribution to the livelihood of these inspiring young women. 

Contact us to speak to our friendly team of Adventure Architects about how you can include a BRAVE Rock Girl in your next Escape+Explore experience.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Escape+Explore’s Flipping Fantastic Helicopter Adventures https://escapeexplore.com/escapeexplores-flipping-fantastic-helicopter-adventures/ Tue, 10 Sep 2019 10:50:01 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=735 Our Helicopter Adventures allow our guests to escape the crowds, maximize exploring time, land in uncharted territory and experience trails few get to access.

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Cape Town is a jaw-droppingly beautiful city, no matter from which vantage point. There are, however, distinct plusses to hopping in a helicopter and taking in her scenery, as the crow flies. Our Helicopter Adventures allow our guests to escape the crowds, maximize exploring time, land in uncharted territory and experience trails few get to access.

Aerial view of Cape Town from a helicopter

Top three reasons to book our Escape+Explore Helicopter Adventures: 

1) Remote landing spots either pioneered or exclusive to Escape+Explore.

2) Multidrop helicopter adventure days with complete flexibility to change the day as you go.

3) Seamless on the ground adventure crew ready and waiting at each landing spot.

We aim to explore the highlights of the Cape Peninsula by combining the virtues of a helicopter with those of our intuitive, knowledgeable Adventure Guides. We start by taking in the city from a bird’s eye perspective before dropping down to ground zero to explore some of our favourite places (also loved by locals), in the Cape. We offer two by-design helicopter adventure products. Helicopter seats four passengers plus the pilot ensuring everyone gets a window seat.

Helicopter-Adventures

Our first and most popular Helicopter Adventure is the Cape Peninsula Spectacular

Our scenic Helicopter Adventure transfer whisks you from Cape Town to charming Simon’s Town. Explore with Penguins – Stand Up Paddle, kayak or, take an interpretive conservation walk near iconic Boulders Beach. Next, we head to Cape Point, where we hike the coast. Here, it’s all about shipwrecks, whales, white sand and wildlife. Our appetites awakened, we enjoy a delicious lunch at Crofters Kitchen with Chef Nicky Gibbs. Stretching legs, we explore Noordhoek Farm Village with a Cheeky ‘Kick Ass’Ice Cream or Coffee. The afternoon takes on a more leisurely pace as we take a drive along Cape Town’s most scenic coastal road, Chapman’s Peak Drive, replete with 144 curves. We end the day off with the ‘lekker’ local South African tradition of sundowners. Cheers! 

From $550 per person supplement on your Escape+Explore Private Cape Adventure.

Helicopter adventures Helicopter adventures Helicopter adventures

Our second Helicopter Adventure tour is the Full-Day Multidrop Heli Adventure

Enjoy a la carte exploring at its best. This tour seamlessly combines our adventure helicopter with a full Escape+Explore ground crew. The chopper will stay with guests throughout the day allowing exclusive access to some of the Cape’s most scenic areas as you become far removed from the crowds. Based on the weather and guest’s interests, we will drop down into three different areas on any given day with a ground crew at each, ready and waiting to explore.

From $1,750 per person supplement on your Escape+Explore Private Cape Adventure.

We look forward to talking to you about your next enquiry for Escape+Explore’s Helicopter Adventures.

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Quirimbas Archipelago Mozambique SUP Expedition https://escapeexplore.com/quirimbas-archipelago-mozambique-sup-expedition/ Tue, 29 Mar 2016 07:45:58 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=693 360-degree video footage shot by www.InGenius-VR.com is the next best thing to actually being there. We’ll let the footage shot during Escape+Explore’s pioneering SUP expedition do the talking.

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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the 360-degree video footage shot by In-GeniusVR is the next best thing to actually being there, giving a powerful foretaste of your travel destinations and a brilliant way to inspire your wanderlust. We’ll let the footage shot during Escape and Explore’s pioneering SUP expedition to the inviting coastline of the Quirimbas Archipelago in Mozambique, do the talking.

SPOT THE DOLPHINS!

VR 360 MozambiqueOpen this clip on your smartphone, tablet, PC or Laptop and scroll around 360 degrees sphere of this action footage of Escape+Explore’s Pioneering 2015 Expedition to the Quirimbas. Test your virtual reality (VR) navigational skills and let us know how many dolphins you spot?

 

 

 

360 SUP EXPEDITION

SUP Expedition MozambiqueWhet your appetite for our SUP adventures with this immersive 360 Degree ’teaser’ of our expedition. From landing at the gateway to the Quirimbas, Ibo Island and spending a night in the historic ’Swahili’ ambience of Ibo Island Lodge prior to setting sail on a traditional Dhow for the SUP adventure of a lifetime, a SUP safari over warm Indian Ocean waters, along pristine palm-lined beaches and dolphins’ playgrounds.

 

 

HOW BEST TO VIEW 360 FOOTAGE

Dhow Safari MozambiqueVR/360 can be viewed on laptops, tablets and smartphones (with or without extra headsets) – both YouTube and Facebook – support VR 360, simply move your mouse or your phone around to ‘look around’ the full 360 degrees of view. For best results, online 360-degree video should be viewed at the highest resolution via Chrome or Firefox browsers. Alternatively, Facebook and YouTube are enabled for the viewing of 360 videos which can be shared and viewed there.

 

 

ABOUT IN-GENIUS-VR

In-Genius-VRIn-Genius-VR is a specialised unit of The Network Productions International, a South African production company based in Cape Town which has been producing high quality commercial commercials and stills, for twenty years.  InGenius-VR was formed in early 2015 and boasts a  highly qualified team of programmers, creatives and film makers, who are able to supply all image requirements for their clients – stills, traditional 2D and 360 degree video. Find them here www.ingenius-vr.com or view their YouTube Channel

 

 

THE FULL STORY

Mozambique SUP SafariIf all this Virtual Reality footage puts you in a spin, have a look at the full 3 minute documentary of our journey through the Quirimbas, also produced by the In-Genius-VR team.

 

 

 

 

BEHIND THE LENS

360 VR drone footageThere is something very special about being on a pioneering trip of any kind. The Escape and Explore SUP expedition was no exception. We were very lucky to have Duncan Robson and Keith Shirley and their team capturing the experience. Here is an album of some images of our trip, they shot behind the scenes.

Adventure Specs:
Riding: Red Paddle. Wearing: Columbia. Kept Dry By: Overboard. Powered By: PowerTraveller
More 360 and Adventures coming your way soon.

CAPE TOWN OUR BACKYARD

Cape Town 360 VR footage360 view of some of the most popular spots we like to show off on our Private Cape Adventures. Look out for the paragliding high above Lions Head just amazing in its full 360 degree glory.

 

 

 

 

NAMIBIA THE NEXT FRONTIER

Namibia 360 VR footageNamibia watch this space Escape+Explore are in the process of putting together the ultimate Namibian adventure. Here is a 360 Degree taste from our partners In-Genius-VR of this amazing country.

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Quirimbas SUP Expedition https://escapeexplore.com/quirimbas-sup-expedition/ Mon, 21 Sep 2015 08:43:48 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=703 Embark on a truly unique Mozambique Stand Up Paddle Journey. Awaken your inner adventurer with an un-equaled island and cultural exploration in one of the last undeveloped places in Africa.

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Escape + Explore Pioneer Quirimbas SUP Expedition

Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique 19th and 26th October 2015

An exclusive invite to partner Tour Operators and/or their clients to join our Pioneer Quirimbas SUP Expedition to Mozambique.

Quirimbas SUP Expedition Quirimbas SUP Expedition Quirimbas SUP Expedition

Trip overview: 2 Nights Ibo Island Lodge, 3 Nights remote island camping, Stand Up Paddling and sailing a traditional dhow between Islands and along uncharted waterways.

Who can go: Escape+Explore partner Tour Operators and Press plus their guests are invited. This is a voyage of discovery rather than a vacation or holiday as you help us establish the itinerary for future trips to the area launching in 2016. As we have a dhow following intermediate paddlers relatively new to the sport are welcome as we have the option to rest on the dhow during the day.

What to Expect: 

Do you have a sense of Adventure? Want to explore a region where few have been before? Leave behind the modern world combining the freedom of Stand Up Paddling with the backup of a traditional Dhow to navigate the ancient trading routes of Northern Mozambique.

Embark on a truly unique Mozambique Stand Up Paddle Journey. Awaken your inner adventurer with an un-equalled island and cultural exploration in one of the last undeveloped places in Africa.

More details and to enquire about claiming your spot on this trip contact Ingram Click Here

Ibo Island QuirimbasThe aim of this trip is to lay the foundation for future Escape+Explore Stand Up Paddle adventures to the remote Quirimbas Archipelago. Combining Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and dhow sailing exploring rarely visited coastal rivers teeming with rare bird species, through pristine mangrove forests and between remote deserted uninhabited beaches and islands. Follow ancient trading routes, snorkel off white sandbanks and sleep in mobile eco fly camps set up for you by your crew on pristine tropical islands.

The Quirimbas SUP Expedition will start in luxury at Ibo Island Lodge with 2 nights to explore this on a historic Island that time has forgotten. Once the hub of the mighty East African trade routes, Ibo provides plenty of mystery, culture, heritage and wonderful photographic opportunities. From Ibo we will set sail under the expert care of an experienced dhow captain and a local crew who will set camp each evening and conjure up fresh seafood and traditional cuisine over an open fire under island stars. All you have to do is soak up this once in a lifetime experience.

ibo island mozambiquePioneer Itinerary 

DAY 1 – Arrival Exploring the Secret History and Culture of Ibo Island.

19th October (or 26th October)

Depart Cape Town. Mango: 06:00 – 08:05.

SAA Airlink Flight Johannesburg to Pemba
Depart Johannesburg 11h30 arriving into Pemba 14h20

Fly Pemba to Ibo Island.

Explore the historical forts and Stone Town of Ibo Island.

Welcome beach dinner feast and trip debrief with local dhow crew.

About Ibo Island: Imagine a remote Mozambican island lost in time and almost forgotten to the outside world for nearly a century. Picture grand, majestic architecture, some lovingly restored to their former glory while others have fallen into crumbling, marvelous ruins. Ibo’s 200-year-old ghost town and 16th Century forts make for a fascinating journey to an era long forgotten. Interact with the amazingly friendly local people and observe their unique island culture and heritage and a way of life that has not changed for hundreds of years. On Ibo Island the secret art of silver smithing is still alive and well as well as the dark art of voodoo! Wander around the mysterious ruins amongst forts and ancient trade buildings with many fascinating stories waiting to be told.

ibo island lodgeAbout Ibo Island Lodge: Ibo Island lodge has spectacular views over the waterfront and accommodates guests in simple yet elegant air conditioned rooms. A historic colonial mansion with high ceilings has been stylishly renovated to accommodate the lodge with various verandas, tropical gardens and a spectacular roof top restaurant that provides the ideal venue to watch the sun go down.

Overnight Ibo Island Lodge

 

ibo island
Day 2 –
Dolphins, Sand Bank Breakfast and Exploring a remote River Estuary

20th October (27th October)

Sunrise and Dolphins: Rise at Sunrise to jump aboard our traditional Dhow to Light House Point on Ibo Island for an opportunity to paddle and swim with Bottlenose Dolphins in clear blue water.  Far from a commercial experience this is a secret spot that only local fishermen, the owners of Ibo Island and a handful of other people know about. The dolphins are friendly and seem to enjoy approaching water craft. A very special experience.

Sand Bank Breakfast and Snorkel the 18th Century Wreck: Paddle (or jump aboard the dhow) to a sandbank off Ibo Island that presents itself at low tide. A well-deserved breakfast will be served with time to relax and snorkel including exploring the wreck of an 18th Century Coal Steamer submerged next to the sand bar.

Be the 1st to SUP the remote Darumba Estuary: We will set sail from our sand bank to the mainland. It would be hard to find anywhere that feels further from modern civilisation than the beautiful Darumba Estuary. Pass a handful of small fishing villages and the most amazing birdlife as we wind up the estuary with a pushing tide to take us beyond the normal fishing boat channels for a chance to navigate real off the charts Africa! The Dhow will wait for us at the Estuary mouth as we enjoy a slow paced paddle up stream with aid of the tide. Turning with the tide we’ll head back to the dhow for a late lunch before returning for our 2nd night on Ibo Island.

Estimated Paddle Distance 10-15km Tide Assisted.

Overnight Ibo Island Lodge

sup Mozambique
Day 3 – Explore Remote Island Village Life and fine white beaches.

21st October (28th October)

Paddle an Ancient Mangrove Canal: Either relax before breakfast or join a paddle through an ancient Mangrove canal cut by slaves in the 1790’s linking Ibo Island to Ilha de Quirimba the island that gives the name to the Archipelago.  The canal enables us to reach the island of Quirimba via the mangroves and provides a unique paddle into the watery canals and trees where few modern boats can go.

Paddle to Ilhe Metemo Matemo: After breakfast head out from Ibo Island to Ilhe Matemo. One of the bigger islands in the area with some of the finest beaches and home to our first island camp. Depending on conditions we will paddle with the Dhow following between the two islands.  The day will be spent exploring the waters around Matemo including some amazing snorkeling and picture postcard beaches. 2km from our beach camp is a local fishing village that has had little exposure to tourists which we can walk to and get a real taste of authentic island life in this remote part of the world.

Paddle Distance: 12km including open water between the two islands and sheltered paddling along the reef of the island itself.

Overnight: Beach Camp Matemo Island

mozambique dhow safari
Day 4 and 5
Paddle between Coral Atols and Deserted Island

22nd & 23rd October (29th 30th October)

Paddle to Mogundula Island via sunken reefs and coral atolls: Leaving Camp at Matemo we will paddle via Rolas Island giving us a chance to rest and snorkel. Now on ‘island time’ the rest of the day will be unrushed as we continue our paddle via The Zala Banks and Rolas Reefs enroute to Mogundula Island giving us a chance to watch the sea life in this protected and pristine marine reserve dart about our boards.

Coconut Crab arrival at Mogundula: Uninhabited our welcome at the islands white sandy spit that protrudes from the end of the island will more than likely be from the World’s largest land Crabs ‘Coconut Crabs’ incredibly rare (and not at all dangerous!).

About Mogundula: Mogundula Island is one of the best islands in the archipelago which is why we spend 2 nights here giving us a fantastic base from which to explore. Known by the locals as the island with the sacred lake it provides us with beautiful bird watching, pristine swimming off the sandbank beach and excellent snorkeling. It is rare for an island in the region to have an inland lake and this adds to the wild life and lushness of the island. Our mobile camp is set under the shade of trees on the beach edge.

12km Paddle.

Two Days Exploring Islands and Reefs: Over the next two days we will explore this remote area paddling to the Macaloe Island (5km) with it’s fascinating and rarely visited 17 century fort and church. We will seek out deserted islands and submerged reefs living a Robinson Crusoe life.

ibo island community
Overnight: 2 nights Mogundula Island

Day 6 Depart via Rural mainland Mozambique

24th October.

We will set sail from Mogundula to the remote mainland village of Mucojo, from here we’ll get our first real experience of remote North Eastern mainland Mozambique as we take the 4 hours transfer back to Pemba an adventure in itself. Expect to see huge Baobab, Mango and Cashew nut tree’s set amongst the rural villages that dot the road.

SAA Flight

14h55 arriving at 17h50

Johannesburg – Cape Town 20:45 – 22:55

View From Space, The Plane and Your Paddle Board
Quirimbas MapQuirimbas Google Map

Ibo island sand bankQuirimbas SUP Expedition Costs:

For our Quirimbas SUP Expedition we have had our logistics in Mozambique sponsored by Ibo Island Lodge. As Pioneers you will need to see this trip as a voyage of discovery rather than a vacation or holiday as you help us establish the itinerary for future trips to the area launching in 2016.

19th October Departure or 26th October Departure

Tour Operator Partner/ SA Resident: 25,000 Rand / $1925 / £1,250

Guest Rate: 32,000 Rand/ $2,475 / £1,600

Includes:

  • SAA Airlink – Return Flight Johannesburg – Pemba
  • Flight Pemba to Ibo Island
  • Return Road Transfer Mucojo to Pemba
  • 2 Nights Ibo Island Lodge
  • 3 Nights Remote Island Camping
  • All Meals (Some Drinks).
  • Stand Up Paddle Boards
  • Support Dhow Crew and Fuel

THANK YOU to Ibo Island for sponsoring Accommodation and a Dhow to make this pioneer trip possible.

More details and to enquire about claiming your spot on this trip contact Ingram Click Here

SUP mozambique

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Alex Walker finds his Serengeti in the ocean https://escapeexplore.com/alex-walker-finds-his-serengeti-in-the-ocean/ Mon, 08 Jun 2015 09:17:28 +0000 http://escapeexplore.com/?p=706 Alex Walker, Voted top Safari guide in Africa, finds his Serengeti in the ocean. Escape+Explore set him up with a surf lesson with 9 X SA Surf Champ Nikita Robb.

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Pictures & Text By Alex Walker: Voted top Safari guide in Africa in both 2014 & 2015 Alex Walker is one of the most respected guides in Africa.
alex walkerAlex Walker stretching at sunrise at ‘Surfers Corner’ Muizenberg. 

Nature has always dispensed chicken soup for my soul’s nourishment. The sea mimic’s the large open spaces I call home when the wind blows, the Serengeti’s swaying fields of tall grass parody the ocean. A long-held ambition of mine has always been to learn to surf. Bound to the bush by my chosen occupation as safari outfitter and guide, I never made the time to indulge myself. A casual conversation with the effusive and very persuasive Ingram Casey reawakened that dream. Though I can admit to having a thoroughly bendy rubber arm, in this case I casually emptied my schedule for a couple of weeks, pre “We Are Africa” a travel trade show in Cape Town.

alex walker surfing muizenbergThe maiden lesson with Escape+Explore’s 9 X SA Surf Champ Nikita and fellow walking guide Andrew Harkness from Botswana.

Ingram set me up with 9 times SA ladies Champ “Nikita Robb”. Shy yet affable, Nikita exudes a mellow confidence, instantly alive when her toes touch the water. Prerequisite beachside pop ups, procrastination in the form of a protracted stretching session. Game face on (can I do this without making too much of a fool of myself?). A maiden lesson in the frothy foamies, of the not so tropical Muizenberg – the “berg”. Paddle, paddle, paddle. Back foot, front foot and here we go, hahahaha I’m up. Ooooops I’m off… So much for the controlled dismount we were shown on the beach. A few repeats of the same, and that’s it, you’re hooked.

alex walker safari legendThe safari legend is up and at it!

Next day, a tough one, missioning it out to the backline. Hard graft, keep paddling, head down, head up, make like an Agama lizard chest up crashing through the impact zone to the back. Finally, huffing, puffing, wow that was hard work. It’s comfortable out here sitting in the swell. Really familiar, cosseted once again in natures rhythm. Paddle, paddle, paddle, a shove from the back and her we go. Back foot, front foot, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, my foot finds its way to the centre. I’m up. Wow, I’m actually up. Ha. A big wooohoo from the backline, Nikita providing the effervescent one-man cheering section.

cape pointExploring the deserted beaches at Cape Point.

It’s not all, stand up and ride. There are a lot of crash landings, but confidence must be running high because the next day we’re off, early doors to Cape Point. Today we’ve hooked up with Kirsten, our guide, the mission; to explore Cape Point, it’s distinct fynbos, geology, geography, and history, all that embraces this extraordinary habitat. Sunrise stretches out, mists hug the valleys, endemic cape sugarbird sing out. Our safari leads us to the quiet plat boom beach, Ostriches lie in the sand. Kelp forests decorate the rocks where crystal clear waves crash onto the beach. Nikita illustrates the nuances at play with a diagram in the sand.

Atlantic Ocean at Cape PointLooking down at the pristine Atlantic Ocean during the safari at Cape Point.

Hollow waves, driving power behind them. Helpful hint, “stay back on your board when you pop up or you’ll be nose-diving”. Pummelled, again and again, fighting my way paddling to the backline to try once more. Crouched riding hands-on, never truly standing, feeling the raw power and exhilaration. Sensational… Battered and beaten but far from subdued, we spent the remainder of the morning exploring, diving amongst the burnt sienna, bright amber, and golden rust colours of the rolling Kelp. Shy lobster skitter along the sea bed, thistle coloured mussels encrust the rocks. Intense colours burst through the ice-cold crisp saltwater. Stimulating a creative bent, the desire to capture these images on paper.

Muizenberg sunset surfCatching the last of the days waves.

The intensity of this special day was by no means counteracted by resuming lessons at the berg. Nikita’s mentorship dislodged an awkward bungling technique, spawning a credible if unconventional surfer. There’s a point where you begin to feel like you belong. An aspiring would-be member of the surf mafia… For me it was not solely the elation of catching a wave, it was the flow, sense, motion and drift. The sea nourishes a sense of wellbeing. Thank you, Ingram, for setting me up, thank you, Nikita, for your calm humour, your gentle passion, your mellow serenity.

dividerAbout Alex Walker

alex walkerVoted best guide in Africa in both 2014 and 2015 Alex Walker is one of the most respected safari guides in Africa. Owner and head guide of Alex Walker’s Serian a charismatic collection of exclusive and intimate safari camps in the prime wildernesses of Kenya and Tanzania. Alex was also actively involved in the formation of the Mara North Conservancy and has wrought a life out of his adulation for wild untouched spaces. Alex spent his childhood with his father’s trackers, scouting the bush of Southern Tanzania, Kenya and the vast wilderness of Southern Sudan. With over 25 years’ experience guiding and outfitting safaris throughout East Africa, he has honed his passion for walking. A keen cameraman, Alex continues to keep a hand in by recording some of Africa’s unique images and loves to reveal the inimitable magic of life through a lens. A man of the bush in April 2015 he came to Escape+Explore with a brief not only to learn to surf but to get immersed in all that makes surfing special.

Find out more about Alex Walker’s Serian www.serian.com. Watch this space for a new ‘Surf and Turf’ Safari combining exploring the wilds of the Mara and Serengeti with Alex with our in depth surfing experiences in Cape Town.

dividerAbout Nikita Robb

Nikita RobbCurrently, the 9 X South African Surf Champion and the first lady to achieve 4 back to back wins. Nikita competed for 2 years on the ASP World Tour ranking amongst the top 20 surfers in the World whilst surfing every corner of the planet. Nikita’s led 2 month-long dedicated surf expeditions along the entire coastline of South Africa and through to Mozambique.

Growing up in a hotel Nikita was quite literally born into hospitality in East London, where the surf conditions are wild and scary at times, it was the ideal place to be thrown in the deep end and come out on top, forever riding aboard.

Despite being a complete water baby exploring the mountains and nature reserves of South Africa are her passions out of the water.

See Nikita in this action surf movie

The post Alex Walker finds his Serengeti in the ocean appeared first on Escape+Explore.

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