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~ I dont blog about things to be liked. I blog about things that I like ~ ... so that one day, on my death bed, I will have said and done what I wanted to do, and die peacefully without regrets.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..' Oh shit....She's awake'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Support Earth Hour 2009

As an avid Hiker and Nature lover, I believe it would be wrong if I did not post information on how to support Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March 2009.

Something that Earth Hour IS NOT:

  • it is not about switching off your electricity - its about switching off the lights.

  • it is not about saving electricity - it is about a gesture to create environmental awareness within the governments of our worlds.

So here it goes: Juanita x

What is it all about?
This is a Global attempt by the WWF to petition to the United Nations to take on a stronger stance with regards to the devastating effects of Global Warming.

Why MUST you register for it to work?
By registering at Earth Hour you will become part of a larger petition of 1 billion names that will be sent to the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year to put pressure on world leaders to pass legislation on climate change.

What do the WWF need to make an impact at this meeting?
1. Internationally - we need 1 billion signatures and 1000 cities’ involvement
2. Nationally - we need every South African, in every town.


    This is not a job that one South African can do. It is about everyone participating.
    This is not about saving electricity, it is about a global effort to save the earth.
    This is a call to all South Africans and everyone around the world to join in, because your participation will make a world of difference.

There are 3 things you can do to help support this cause:
    1. Firstly you gotta Register. Click here to sign up on
    2. SMS your postal code to 34017 at a cost of R2. (South Africa only)
    3. Switch off your lights for 1 hour on the 28th of March 2009, 20h30 - 21h30. (In South Africa)

Things to do when you switch off your lights at home.
    1. Book and spend the night in an overnight hut during a fantastic hike. (For hiking permits please call the CapeNature call centre on 021 659 3500)
    2. have a picnic.
    3. have a braai. (BBQ for those who do not know SA terms)
    4. bring out the candles.
    5. play card games or board games.
    6. let the children have a fun sleep-over. (help make them aware of the influence they too have)
    7. go for a walk in the moonlight with your pets and the whole family.
    8. Every 1 person supporting this initiative, is 1 more person closer to the Global Goal.
    9. Document it with your video/camera your version of what your city did during.

Who are the public faces supporting this cause?

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    Andrew Boraine
    Bryan Habana
    Charlene Truter
    Dave Pepler
    Deon Meyer
    Derek van Dam
    Etienne van Heerden
    Francois Groepe
    Jo-Ann Strauss
    Leon Schuster
    Marc Lottering
    Mayor Amos Masondo
    Moroka Swallows
    Patricia de Lille
    Ryk Neethling
    Soli Philander
    Tammy-Anne Fortuin
    The Parlotones
    The Stormers
    Vali Moosa

    taking place during Earth Hour

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Encounter with an African Lion

A story of a volunteer student and their remarkable encounter with the King of the Jungle:

How my day started:
We awoke at 7:30am to the calling voice of Brass our guide. Unusually for the South African way of life her call sounded quite urgent ...

The 'shocking' news that followed:
We were gathered in the kitchen and given the announcement that we were about to embark on a 24 hour survival which included a Treasure Hunt! We were to leave with only the clothes we were wearing, no food or water was allowed (Brass had padlocked the fridge and food cupboards!) only cameras to record our findings. Our sleeping bags would be collected later that day. The group of 25 people were divided into two and sent out on a Treasure Hunt, with a list of objects, animals and tracks to find.

Gathering a respectable collection of Shit:
My team set out to the right of the Campfire entrance. There hadn't been many sightings of animals in the last two days and the Bush seemed relatively quite. We concentrated on the list, gathering a respectable collection of shit from the native animals, large and small. We recorded many of the tracks, birds and insects that we came across, and now seemed to be getting close to the end of our Treasure Hunt. One of the last instructions was to walk in front of the Hawk Eagle's nest. We were lucky to witness one of the birds actually sat in its nest high above us.

The first set of lion tracks...
We approached the dust road and to my excitement I noticed several lion tracks that appeared to be fresh. We had seen some on a previous game drive but I had never come across them myself. We circled a good example and took a photograph. As we moved on I came to the front of the group. We were close to the end and were wary that the other team may have finished first.

Our first encounter...
As the end came in sight we suddenly heard a loud noise. It sounded as though a car was moving quite closely through the Bush. There are many cars that move through this area so we were not alarmed. The sound continued - like the revving of an engine. A member of my team even joked that it could be someone here to rescue us from our 24 hour survival! Suddenly, within a second, we knew that it was not a car but the almighty roar of the African King. To our right he sprung out of a bush which had camouflaged him perfectly. Being at the front of the group I was one of the first to witness his enormous jaw of teeth and impressive black mane. His name, as known to the Balule Nature Reserve, Big Boy


His call hit us like a brick wall, and the shock was as if a bolt of lightning had hit me. He must have been only 20 metres away, and believe me that is too close for comfort when on foot! There is nothing like a lion's warning roar. It passes through you with such conviction that you understand perfectly what he wants you to do. In that split second I learnt of the difference between man and Lion. Even though I have spent some time at Campfire I did not fully understand the power of a lion's presence. We were truly in his kingdom; and he did not want us there.

What to do when you 'run' into a Lion:
When a lion jumps out at you every ounce of your body wants to run. It is our natural instinct of survival that tells us to run from danger. However as you will well know this is the one thing you do not do in this situation. I simply remember spinning on one foot simultaneously towards my friend Kat to see the rest of the group only just realising there was a lion. I heard Brass to the right of me shout the instructions: “STOP! DON'T RUN! GET BEHIND ME, NOW!”. It is in these moments that you truly appreciate the work and training of an experienced nature guide like Brass.

How we survived this attack:
We followed Brass' instructions, grouped together to create an object bigger than the lion, and slowly backed away. I was too nervous to walk away with the lion to my back, therefore I walked backwards, treading on many thorny bushes on the way. My heart has never pounded so fast and the adrenaline had seriously kicked in by now. My legs were bleeding from the thorns and I think my face may have lost its tan!

Back on 'safe' grounds:
Brass had now contacted Laetitia and her group joined ours. Laetitia announced that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we were now to approach the lion as a bigger group. At this point my survival instinct was working strong and the last thing my body wanted to do was walk back. However I understood that the lion would not approach us in a large group and he would warn us if he wasn't happy. I think we might have only walked 15 steps when he practised his vocal cords once more. It wasn't as close this time but BOY did it have the same effect! After many minutes of looking through the bush Laetitia had a visual but she was unsure how many lions there were, so we were instructed to walk to a safe spot where we would be picked up.

The reason he was so aggressive:
From the safety of our vehicle we approached the lion once more. By now we had noticed many vultures circling the sky. A KILL! Now my shock had changed to excitement as I knew how rare it was to walk into a lion and its kill! As we drove down into the dry river bed the carcass came in sight. It was a young, female buffalo. We had seen buffalo for several weeks leading to the kill. It was then, there to my right, that his majesty casually walked to the right of our vehicle. Being on the right side of an open top “Bakkie” (pick-up) I wasn't feeling too comfortable, in fact I might have tried to slide under the seats at this point! I could now see how huge he truly was.

The rest of HIS family:
Driving between the carcass and the lion his partner came on show. He had a young lioness with him, her coat was almost perfect. She was beautiful! They were alone and had probably ventured out for a little mating time. Maybe they thought a buffalo would be a romantic meal - yummy! The buffalo's body had been devoured, only it's head, limbs and exposed ribs remained.

Inspecting the carcass of the buffalo:
After about ten minutes, the lions moved off into the Bush and Laetitia felt it was safe to investigate the carcass. In groups of four we each inspected the carcass to see how the animals and vultures had eaten this animal. As a part of your learning experience at Campfire you learn of the Clean-Up Company, therefore it was important that we observed this first hand. Rigor mortis had not yet set in, meaning it had been killed in the early hours of that morning. The blow flies had began to crawl over the remaining meat and soon its body would be consumed by the scavengers of the Bush.

As the last group were about to look at the carcass we heard Big Boy once more from the rear of the second car. He was now ready for us to leave, and we were more than willing to please him!

Bed Time in the wild:
That night we slept 100m from the carcass in the dry river bed. Even though I had been scared, the opportunity to hear lions at night while sleeping under the African sky was not one to be missed. As we sat baking stick bread on one of four fires surrounding our camp we suddenly heard the roar of the lion once more. With the wind being so fierce that night the sound coming from the direction of the kill seemed as though it was right next to us. The five huddled around the nearest fire, including myself and Laetitia, jumped and ran to the furthest fire. We later leaned this was probably another male fighting over the carcass, and had nothing to do with our presence ... phew!

That night as I lay there trying to sleep we heard the lions many times. Their calls are unlike anything you will ever hear, and we knew that they weren't far away. On many occasions we could hear twigs being snapped around our camp, and the thought of having a wee in the dark was now quite scary. I never thought I'd be scared to go to the toilet, or should I say Bush toilet!

How safe were we that night?
As my group awoke at around 5am to leave for another project the car lights illuminated the floor. There on the sand, just a few meters away from our camp were dozens of fresh lion tracks. I guess it doesn't get much closer than that!

A story of a life-time:
I now feel extremely privileged to have walked into Lions, and feel this story will be told for decades to come. It isn't until you experience an African animal in its natural environment that you sincerely appreciate its existence. Seeing them in the wild is the only way to see them and I hope this remains the truth for a long time to come.

I would like to thank Brass, Laetitia, Adele, B and the rest of the Campfire staff for making these experiences so special and unique.

Laura Preston - Written by Laura Stacy Preston and experienced by the Campfire Crew August-September 2008

Source: Campfire Safaris

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hiking Wallpaper Boomslang Cave

I like the contrast of the darkness and the candle light reflection on the people. This picture was taken by Alex Aitkenhead whilst hiking inside the Boomslang Cave early in January 2009.

To save above image on your desktop, do the following:
  • right click on image
  • open in a new window / new tab
  • right click on image again
  • save as desktop / wall paper / back ground (depending on your software version)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thanks for your Support

I would like to share with you just a few of the responses (support) I have had since I sent out the email with regards to people throwing their cigarette buds out of their windows (see post below) in this insanely hot, dry and windy climate that we are experiencing right now...

Thanks guys, you rock!

From: Grant : On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 2:07 PM,
You go Girl ... There is nothing more (except maybe shark cage diving) that pisses me off. I firmly believe that they should tax each cigarette 50c for the fact that hardly any smokers keep their butts in their cars and for littering everywhere. The money should go to fire fighting organisations, the fire fighters and who ever cleans up all the stompies.

From: Donna Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 4:47 PM
This is great- thanks for your efforts in trying to protect the environment from morons like this. My favourite approach when I catch people in marked business vehicles chucking out cigarette butts is to e-mail the company concerned with the details of what happened and I generally get a great response from them, as it really does their company image no good to have employees acting in this manner. But for private individuals it is pointless to report them to the cigarette hotline, as no one has ever been prosecuted for this illegal activity as a result of phoning in to the hotline, so this is a great alternative approach. Keep it up & I will try the same thing next time I see an offender. And I have forwarded the mail, so I hope it keeps going till she sees it!

From: Janine Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 12:30 PM
I'm so glad you did send this .. we need more awareness that this is just unacceptable!
Well done J!!

From: Meriel Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 12:33 PM
Well Done Juanita – I call the Stompie Line on 021 424 7715 – Cape Talk often advertises the number – not sure who they are but they always take down the details of who and when.

From: Peter Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:13 PM
go girl!

From: Lejane Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:40 PM
I AGREE wholeheartedly with this – 100%. That is just around the corner from where I live and can you imagine if I had to try and evacuate 15 cats and four dogs and a fish….
Thank you thank you.

From: Ingrid Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 3:04 PM
Ja shit man this makes me see RED, is this a taxi driver or her chauffeur I wonder!?! Stupid, stupid woman!! Isn't this now a criminal offense, doesn't someone have a contact in the License Department?

From: Jackie Date: Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 7:34 PM
Hi Juanita, Well done. Looks like Morgan T? There is a telephone number you can phone and give the registration number as well as make of car and in the event of a fire in that area, they will be able to track the vehicle and occupants if you are willing to sign an affidavit.
I have reported offenders before and it works like a charm. I agree wholeheartedly and feel most strongly about this. How about the woman who died on table mountain when a British tourist threw a cigarette out. He nearly went to jail as he should have

From: Tamsin Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM
I’m a smoker and NEVER throw my cigarettes out the window. In fact if I’m outside I never throw my ciggie down on the ground – my litter goes with me.

From: Cape Town Conferences
Hi – daar’s ‘n nommer wat mens kan bel om haar te rapporteer. Bel net jou local traffic department. Ek het dit nou nie by my nie maar ek het dit in my motor op ‘n stukkie papier vasgeplak. Die ou het ook dalk gedink hy word uitgevang met sy skelmpie! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

From: Paul Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 3:56 PM
I believe there is a hotline now for this very thing i heard it on the radio the other day government implemented!!Good luck with this im with you all the way

From: Brenda Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 12:57 PM
Hi Juanita, There is also a number you can call to report the culprits: 021 424 7715. You need to provide them with the time, date, make of car, registration number and location.
I, personally have reported quite a few people already. It's disgusting! I drive around with a piece of paper and pencil in my car as I see people flicking stompies out of their cars on a daily basis. They can be fined up to R1000 (should be a lot more as far as I am concerned).
Kind regards

From: Lynette Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 5:09 PM
Hi Juanita , Many thanks for your email (and sms), your blog site looks great. I love the fact that you expose nature destroyers - keep that going!
Kind regards

From: Belinda Date: Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 9:01 AM
Sorry for all my smoking friends, but I so agree with this email, I have no problem with people smoking, but please don’t litter by throwing your cigarettes out of the window. What if everybody threw all their rubbish out of the window. I am so glad somebody finally got up the courage to say this!

Report Offenders 021 424 7715

A Heatwave has hit the Western Cape. The entire Table mountain (see live Webcam) is covered in the smog from the fires around Cape Town again.

If you notice anyone throwing their cigarette buds out their windows whilst driving, please REPORT OFFENDERS and call the following number :

021 424 7715

Remember to note the following:
  • person’s location
  • description of offender will be great
  • date and time if possible
  • license plate number is a must
  • a photograph will also be good

And this is why I have done the above

... this is what our mountains are looking like right now:

Jonkers Hoek in Stellenbosch has practically burnt to the ground. These pictures were taken on the 10th of March 2009 by a local resident of Jonkers Hoek.

Source: Die Burger

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wasting my life away...?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hiking Wallpaper Flowers at the Amphitheatre

During the summer months in South Africa, the flowers are in abundance ontop of Table Mountain. Thanks to Alex Aitkenhead for sharing this picture with us which he took when he visited the Amphitheatre in the Silvermine East area.

To save above image on your desktop, do the following:
  • right click on image
  • open in a new window / new tab
  • right click on image again
  • save as desktop / wall paper / back ground (depending on your software version)

New to reading blogs?

I have heard so many people saying they are new to reading blogs. Here is the 'low down' of what you need to do:

1. The blog is written in date order. Latest posts are at the top and older posts below them. Older posts have a link to them - find the link if you scroll right to the bottom of this screen - see Older Posts.
2. Click on the post header if you wish to make comments below the articles. Comments are most welcome :)
3. I blog our hikes to help other people find nice hiking routes, but also because we love taking pictures on our hikes.
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Thanks for reading my blog and hope you enjoy the read.

There is an old saying...

The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.