Sunday, July 25, 2010


Catching mice is a common activity for rural boys in much of Southern Africa. In Lesotho for example is a seasonal tradition and here in Malawi it appears to be quite common. I caught up with a few boys digging for mice – Mbewa- the other day. They were keen to show me their haul which they dig out of the rodents subterranean tunnels and pound them with cupped hands before the mice can make their escape. These are then roasted on sticks and enjoyed, although not yet by me....

These guys were quite keen to get their photograph taken with their prize. The gang was led by two feisty little guys who were clearly the ones making the decisions’. While taking some photos one grabbed my arm sharply and then indignantly said “Hey, I am not an orphan!” I must have looked confused at the his proclamation and he boldly restated “I am NOT an orphan!” to which his other precocious ring leader buddy said, “yes, me too, I am not an orphan...I have TWO parents! OK?”. Looking a bit annoyed with me I answered, “well I wasn’t here to know if you are orphans, I wanted to see what you were catching. I am also a hunter and want to see what you are hunting.” This seemed to impress them at which time he asked to have my camera... So I had my go at digging for mbewa, much to their amusement.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Notable Quote:

While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.

Henry David Thoreau

Deepdale Hella-Hella Revisited.

Note: This is an older post I included to test this new blog, enjoy!
The Deepdale Hella Hella Bridge section on the Umkomazi River in South Africa truly is member of what Celliers Kruger, in his book Run the Rivers of Southern Africa, calls the 'Old Classics Club`…and rightly so. The 38-odd kilometre paddle takes you through one of the most beautiful river valleys I have ever seen and the white water is a good class 3-4, depending on water levels. Most of the bigger rapids are awesome boulder gardens with umpteen chutes and boofs and great boat scouting 'boogy-water`.
Thirteen local paddlers (the largest group ever on this section to our knowledge) assembled for a 2 day over night trip in late November. It is doable in one day but then you must be floating by 8am and paddle hard! One of first drops is Deepdale Falls, a multi-line 12m beast with a reputation for hurting paddlers. We had some world class paddlers on this trip and only Luke Longridge had the cojones to giver 'er! He ran a good line but over-rotated and face planted a bit. His peaked helmet was a necklace when he surfaced….

Tau Tona - Visiting Dante

This is an old post from 2008 I added to test this new blog - enjoy!
I just got back from a trip underground at the worlds deepest mine face. AngloGold Ashanti’s Tau Tona gold mine in Carletonville, South Africa reaches an incedible 3.7kms into the Earth’c crust and it is quite an experience being down there. Safety is their number one priority and rightly so, evacuation just doesn’t happen fast when you are that tucked away under kilometers of rock and under threat from collapse, fire, toxic gas, machinery and flooding.
The virgin rock temperatures are 55 celcius while the air is artifically cooled to 28.5 deg (the neighbouring mine uses snow blowers!). However, the humidity is stifling and there is little air movement. For those unaccustomed, it is a sweat bath in confined spaces! To see the work in progress is facinating as is seeing the miners and hearing the fanagalo - buka lo number three ka mina phansi…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sad first post...

I just learned of the passing of an acquaintance in an avalanche. Out of respect and not being the bearer of gossip I'll leave his identity anonymous.

Suffice to say, he was a true role model and example. He was a truly great person to be around, to learn from his vast experiences and spend time with on the river -and a I say this not as a kind gesture invoked by tragedy, but as a genuine admission.

He was always willing to share a shuttle upstream or an afternoon river run and could always draw on his vast advenutres to share an anecdote or all-ends-in-humor epic from his trove of accomplishments.

An intelligent, well educated man who could only have brought net value to the world and his immediate surrounds. No-one holds more value than another but damn, some people just leave to0 soon!

RIP 24