George Orwell

My bookshelves and never-ending lists of books to read are mostly comprised of writers who are old(ish) or dead. This arises partly from my education, having studied English at university and devouring the work of Atwood, Joyce and Swift. Even during high school, the colonial influence of our country’s past meant we were reading the work of old, dead guys like Dickens and Golding. I am happy to hear that my cousins who are in school now are being prescribed South African books as well, but I have a deep love and appreciation for the “classics” nevertheless and there is no denying the profound veracity of their themes.

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The Strongest Animals in Africa

The best thing about this list is that some of the mightiest creatures in Africa are actually very small. There are many strong animals on the continent, but the rest of the planet’s strongest animals – grizzly bears, anacondas, tigers and leaf cutter ants – are found in other parts of the world. But the African animals on this list make for a pretty interesting collection nevertheless.

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The fact that this entire film is named after John Wayne’s character, John Chisum, probably just shows the kind of clout Wayne had – particularly at this stage of his career; and the fact that Chisum was a real person feels practically incidental. However, Chisum is about much more than one wealthy man in the West, and the more interesting character portrait rests in Billy the Kid.

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The Searchers

A great sense of atmosphere is created when watching a Western and none more so than The Searchers, an epic collaboration between director John Ford and Western icon John Wayne. It may be over 50 years old, but there is still a sense of grand and sweeping melodrama in its theatrical settings. This theatricality is extended to the physical performance of the actors, seen in the staged fight choreography and the fluttering hand of a woman as she gazes into the panoramic vistas of the American West.

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Africa’s Most Endangered Animals

Compiling lists starting with “Top 10” or “The Most” are never easy, because no matter what topic you choose, opinions always differ. In compiling this list of Africa’s most endangered animals we have used the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a guideline and have stuck to overland safari animals, which means we have excluded various animals including marine species. The animals on the list have been selected due to their status as Endangered or Critically Endangered, which are the highest threat levels before being declared Extinct in the Wild or Extinct. When going through this list, bear in mind that there are thousands of other species under threat, in our oceans and in other parts of the world.

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Feeling Folk | An Interview with Jeremy Loops

Delving into the meaning of folk music can be convoluted and tedious. For the sake of brevity, and context, it can be defined as music that provides a sense of place. But with today’s global village, boundaries of definition are constantly broken down as a melting pot of cultures combine in an attempt to create a universal appeal, and place becomes a murky concept. This is particularly pertinent in a country such as South Africa, where there continues to be so much division. Besides the obvious socio-economic reasons, a divisive factor also stems from a lack of understanding or shared experiences. So while we all share a place, how can we appreciate it together?

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Cheetah Cubs Born at Inverdoorn Game Reserve

Following the release of free-roaming cheetahs at Inverdoorn Game Reserve is the recent birth of four cubs at the cheetah centre’s breeding camp. For more than a decade the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation, based at the reserve, has been rescuing and rehabilitating cheetahs. Captive breeding amongst these big cats is notoriously difficult, but the Cape Cheetah team has preserved despite the ongoing challenge. They conduct daily runs with the cheetahs, which form part of their rehabilitation and facilitate the breeding process – particularly for the females. The hard work has been rewarded with a litter of cubs, giving renewed hope to this threatened species.

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A Fish Out of Water

Last week Sophie and I headed to Hermanus to chat social media and South Africa with top local bloggers Dawn Jorgensen, Di Brown and Linda Markovina. They hosted a workshop at the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC), an old stone building fringed with brick-red window frames and tucked into a rocky cliff right next to the ocean. With the crash of the surf as our soundtrack for the day, we hungrily scribbled hints and tips that appeased our appetite for all things travel and tech.

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