All the small things: What’s so important about the Western Leopard Toad?
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When it comes to conservation, toads are (arguably) not the sexiest of subjects. Competing for bandwidth among some of the most beautiful and dramatic species of the world (the snow leopard and mountain gorilla at the ultra-seductive end of the scale), these unassuming amphibians tend to be overlooked. In a captivating conservationist’s debate on how we should tackle the issue … Read More

That feeling of flight: Our Cape Canopy Zipline Adventure
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‘You can sit now,’ he said. I bent my knees to lower my weight and felt the harness tighten around my legs. With one gloved hand resting on the thick steel cable and the other clutching my harness I felt like the female version of Indiana Jones, ready to assume a heroic airdrop into the Temple of Doom. ‘And go!’ … Read More

The Jonkershoek Panorama Trail: Stellenbosch’s emerald gem
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An icy gust of wind flapped open the neck of my jacket. First thought: why hadn’t I brought the one with the hood? Second: had I died and gone to heaven? The view below us was extraordinary. In one direction, we looked up towards Mordor – rugged mountain peaks stretching up into the sky, yellow-grey shards of sunlight streaking to … Read More

The majestic Clanwilliam cedar tree: Why we owe it a second chance
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Not so long ago, I had the privilege of sitting in the dappled shade of a magnificent Clanwilliam cedar tree. The 12 o’clock sun was baking, and we were scrambling uphill, rock-hopping, missioning, endlessly, until among the stark, Cederberg sandstone came a brief moment of respite: a cool, flat rock under a mushrooming green canopy. Not many people know that … Read More

Nature as the antidote to modern life: Why it’s so good for us
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“Imagine a therapy that had no known side-effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost? It exists, and it’s called ‘interacting with nature.’” These words come from a study run by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, US professors of environmental psychology, known for their research into the effects of nature on people’s health. With a keen … Read More

A glass of rooibos red please: SA’s first indigenously wooded wine
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  Many of us love a good cup of rooibos tea, perhaps nowadays a red cappuccino. But have you ever had a glass of rooibos wine? Five years ago, the owners of Audacia Wines challenged themselves to find a ‘blue ocean opportunity’. Was there an innovative niche, a distinct competitive advantage, that could set their wines apart in the South … Read More

The Himalayan Tahrs of Table Mountain
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Have you ever seen a peculiar, goat-like mammal trotting the slopes of Table Mountain? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the infamous Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus), a large ungulate (“hoofed animal”) native to Northern India, Southern Tibet, China and Nepal (ref). The story of how these exotic, ‘wild goats’ found themselves on Table Mountain is a colourful one. Way back in … Read More

Why is Table Mountain flat?
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Let’s face it: it’s one of those questions our children will probably ask us, and their children will probably ask them – and it would be rather nice to know what to say. The geology behind Table Mountain is something we don’t often engage with, yet it’s because of this peculiar, flat-topped phenomenon that Cape Town is home to a … Read More

Sleeping under a rock rainbow: A night at the Wolfberg Arch
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  Pitching a small hiking tent beneath the Cederberg’s gargantuan star-speckled sky is something special; falling asleep with the silhouette of a giant rock arch towering above your head is just plain extraordinary. And then, of course, there’s waking up. A slither of sunlight crept across my face, forcing my eyes to open and my cheeks to feel the icy … Read More

Inverroche Gin: Fine fynbos flavours distilled
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Off the beaten track, in the little seaside village of Stilbaai on the Western Cape coast, Lorna Scott is making magic with a unique business idea born out of two things: a long-held fascination with distilling, and an awe-inspired passion for Cape fynbos. Her masterpiece is Inverroche Gin, a proudly South African, artisanal spirit, created with the indigenous flora of … Read More

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