The Expeditioners “Explore Africa”

Explore Africa Flyer12 Flights, 5 weeks, 2 people, 1 continent. Africa.

For 12 days we explored Senegal– from the concrete and hectic streets of downtown to the serene silence of the Sine Saloum delat, where Baobabs pock the landscape–gnarled roots reaching for the sky. Patiently.

The trees are old. Ancient. Yet they are left alone by the locals. Spared of the fire-pit that serves as they’re stove. But it’s not out of reverence that they avoid being cut. The wood is too moist, and doesn’t burn. It’s how they survive the arid and hot summer months–by conserving water in they’re wood–in they’re bark. And they don’t sprout leaves in order to contain energy and conserve water.

Thanks to booking with points–our flights across Africa were circuitous. From Senagal to Mali to Ethiopia– we finally made it to South Africa, where we went on safari in Kruger National Park. Rhinos, Elephants, a Cheetah, Imapalas, and much more– and some mysterious ant/spider bites! Many stories and photos to show from this segment.

Then we flew from Nelspruit to Cape Town. Table top mountain was clear on the only day we had available to go up it! Luck!

From there the drive was delightful to Hermanus and on to Gaansbai– where we got to partake in one of the top ten world dives/ activities to try once(or more;) in your life– shark cage diving with great whites!

And onto Mozambique– to scuba dive with giant groupers and trek across white desert dunes overlooking emerald waters.

This was the very succinct itinerary– and we’ll be writing the details of each adventure (as indeed there were many) in the first issue of The Expeditioners Magazine.

Stay tuned for lots and lots of stories and videos through The Expeditioners social media, and the upcoming Expeditioners Magazine!

We were lucky to deal with a whole slew of wonderful operators and sponsors:

Lavacore International, Aeris, Hollis, Oceanic, Sharklady Adventures, Villas do Indico, Aguita Canarias, InReach Canada, Lowepro, Kenko, Varanda hotel, Outlook Lodge & Safaris, Budget Car Rentals South Africa

The Kruger Feline

The Cheetah

Photo by The Expeditioners Bella

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is renowned for having a stunning array of wildlife. But it is the “Big Five” that most visitors hope to see on their visit. The “Big Five” is a term originally used by hunters in reference to 5 of Africa’s most dangerous animals to hunt: The Leopard, The Lion, The Elephant, The White Rhino, and The Buffalo.

There are few places in the world where one has the opportunity to see all of these in their natural and wild habitat.

For of the “Big Five” are usually easy to spot in Kruger. Elephants and Rhinos are huge, and make them easy to spot. The Buffalos are often in a herd, making them again easy to see. Even Lions tend to be in a group, lazily resting in the daytime, to conserve energy for their evening hunt. The leopard though, is something else.

Known to be Africa’s most efficient hunter, the Leopard is a solitary animal that usually hunts at night. Weighing between 100 and 200lbs, it has been known to pull-up a full-sized Impala up a tree.

Our wonderfully knowledgeable safari guide (Debbie) from Outlook Lodge and Safaris explained the above and more to us about Kruger’s Leopards. She even found us a Leopard Den where we got a quick glimpse at the mother’s tail. Alas, the den was too far away for a good photo—and for our own protection, as well as Kruger’s wildlife, nobody is allowed to exit a vehicle while on safari.

A couple of days later, Bella and I picked up our car compliments of Budget Car Rentals South Africa at Kruger Airport, only a skip away from the park. We b-lined for the Numbi Gate to the park, and began our self-drive safari adventure.

We quickly spotted Rhinos, Impalas, Buffalo, Wild Dogs, Zebras, Elephants, Giraffs and more. But it was the morning after, as we drove along the S36 dirt road near Lugmag that the climax to our photo safari came. We were putting along, eyes peeled to our respective sides of the road , when suddenly a Leopard ambled non-chalantly onto the road in front of us!

“Love! It’s a Leopard!!!” I exclaimed. (Little did we know it was actually a Cheetah)

We fumbled with our cameras and watched it walk in front of us, completely aware of our presence, yet unperturbed by it. Understandable, as when you’re at the top of the food chain, not much worries you.

We followed.

For over 100 meters, the feline stayed in front of us, periodically glancing back at us. At one point, it was only a few meters away from us. Bella’s camera snapped photo after photo while I figured out how to drive standard with my left hand while simultaneously taking photos.

A moment later, the cheetah stopped one last time to look at Bella before disappearing into the tall grass. At the time we thought it was a leopard, but after doing some research, we believe it was a Cheetah.

Does it make our encounter any less special? No! We will indeed be talking of that day for a long time to come!

Gear: Bella had her Kenko Polarising filter on her lens, removing the sun’s glare on the photo and creating a crystal clear image.

South Africa Adventure Sponsored by: Outlook Safaris, Budget Car Rentals South Africa, LowePro Canada, Daymen Canada

You can watch the fastest animal in the world..in slow motion here! It’s spectacular to watch!

Ancient Ice

We had been driving for hours at a snail’s pace. The roads were like skating rinks, and angled. It was a heavy winter for Icelandic standards. Still, our adventure van from Kefcar car rentals ambled along.

We finally pulled into Jokulsarlon– a glacial lagoon with enormous icebergs that float around in a seemingly orchestrated dance before being sent out into ocean, to break-apart and melt.

There’s a black sand beach neardby where you can find the remnants of these massive icebergs littered like forgotten jewels.

This is one of them.

Newfoundland Camping

Newfoundland

National Geographic rates Newfoundland as a must-visit location! Stunning coastline, fabulous plateaus, and moose! Moose everywhere! Most people visit during the summertime–but The Expeditioners opted to go on the cusp of winter, at the end of November, beginning of December. Suffice to say that we had Gros Morne National Park all to ourselves.

Bella had sprained her ankle rock-climbing, but still opted to come-along on the adventure–part of which consisted trekking up Gros Morne. This photo was taken just after setting up our tent to a full moon.

Back-Country BC

Back-Country BC

I’ve been skiing since I was 5 years old. Every weekend, my parents would drop me off with the YMCA ski school which would take us to a different mountain for the day. The surrounding area of Montreal has the highest concentration of ski hills in the world. Mont Saint Sauveur, Owl’s Head, Orford, Tremblant, Mont Blanc, Sutton, Jay Peak, Bromont, Chanteclair and many more. While these hills are nowhere near the majesty of Canada’s West Coast Mountains, they sufficed for my adolescent and teenage years.

About 6 years ago, I went to ski Whistler and Blackcomb in Canada’s West– and learned what a true ski mountain consists of. Extremely long runs, inspiring views, and powder… lots of powder! Yet this was not to be the final step in the evolution of my skiing, for indeed it was only a few years ago that Bella and I got into the world of back-country skiing and touring.

Exponentially harder, back-country skiing consists of heading into remote regions with a special ski binding that allows your heel to lift. By donning ‘skins’ (fuzzy mohair strips that attach with glue to the bottom of your skis) you are able to literally ski uphill. You begin below the tree line and wind your way through pine trees, across avalanche chutes, and up into the alpine.

It can take hours to reach your destination– always heading higher and higher. The exertion is exhausting, as you carry your gear/food/water in backpack. But it is well worth it. For once you reach the top, you get to lay fresh tracks in knee deep powder, with not a soul in sight except for your ski partner. It’s liberating and extremely rewarding.

In this photo you see Bella after an awesome descent in British Columbia’s Marriot Basin.

Where to stay while you ski: Canada’s back-country has a network of huts up in the mountains, so that you can leave all your camping gear in the hut while you run epic powdery run after epic run.

It took us 5- hours to reach the Wendy Thompson Hut in Marriot Basin which is owned and operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. We did it in a snowstorm and late in the day and without knowing the route. You can easily shave off a couple of hours if you know the way.

Required Equipment:
1. Back-Country Skis, or Snowboard
2. Avalanche Transceivers
3. Shovel
4. Backpack
5. Skins
6. Ski Poles
7. Gloves/ Tuque/ Wool Socks
8. Shell Jacket
9. Down Jacket
10. GPS (not necessary, but good to have in the back-country)

The World Of Trak Kayaking

Sea- Kayaking allows one to explore otherwise inaccessible places. From remote lakes to rugged and stunning coastlines– a kayak is the perfect medium to go camping. You can fill it with your equipment and head off to discover the world!

It was when we began exploring third world countries that we began to understand the importance of having our own sea kayaks. We wanted to explore lakes and oceans with the kayaks available in places like Belize and Mexico, but quickly discovered that the boats were barely sea-worthy and even less so for the type of multi-day expeditions that we so thoroughly enjoy.

Enter the TRAK KAYAK. A folding kayak that fits into a golf bag, has a hydraulic system to stretch the frame, and can carry a superb payload! We have taken ours to Iceland, Mexico, Australia and all over Canada!

Learn more about them at www.rethinkkayak.com

Manicouagan

 

Expedition Whitsunday

RGG_5272

test