Hike @ Silvermine Nature Reserve – 14 May 2016

On Saturday, 14 May 2016, myself and another 17 members of the Gantouw Hiking Club did a 9.2km hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve.  The reserve was closed for a long time after a devastating fire in 2015 but opened again earlier this year.  The hike is a fairly easy hike (about a 2a or 2b maybe) and below is the map of the route we did. The only part us the piece on the left which include a bit of scrambling up rocks and little bit on the edge of the cliff but nothing dangerous.

The morning started out very misty but since rhe reserve is high up on the mountaing range, we were way above the misty clouds below.  However this made for some great photographs.

With the sun above us and to out backs and the clouds and mist in front below us, I had the rare experience of seeing a Brocken Specktre … yes I had no idea what it was either but had a person in the group who explained it.  It is basically your body that throw a shadow against the cloud below and form a rainbow around your shadow.  Tried to photograph it but did not come out very clear but you should get the idea.


We had lunch at  Noordhoek Peak bench, on the map above, the point top left.  Here we had a view of the sea below.

Gallery of photos taken during the hike, enjoy and comments welcome.


Hike – Wolvekloof, Franschhoek – 12 March 2016

Joined the Mountain Club of South Africa (Paarl/Wellington) on a hike to Wolvekloof, just outside Franchhoek. What a hike, highly recommended for anybody but be aware, if you not fit and do not like boulder hopping then stay away.  No need for lots of water since there is water all along the hike, but make sure you pack in something to swim in since the swimming pools are just great, cold but great.

Also be aware that you will need to have a 4×4 to get to the starting point of the hike.  We were 12 people with some cars and 2 4×4’s.  The drive to the parking area where we left the cars was not that great but if you take it slow then it will be ok.  We left the cars at the parking area and all got into the 2 4×4’s for a 6km ride up the  mountain on a small narrow track.

We drove past Berg River Dam with the 4×4’s which hardly had any water in it, it is very dry in this part of the world at the moment.

And then we were off

From now on it was just hopping over boulders and sliding down rocks.   Along the way was lots of small waterfalls and  cliffs all around with vegetation.

Eventually it was time for a breakfast and a nice swim.

After breakfast, the last stretch was ahead to get to the waterfall with beautiful scenery.

We reached the waterfall in time for lunch and well deserved swim.  Seeing the waterfall and just standing and feeling the water fall like little stones on your head made all the effort to get there worthwhile.  It is just magic.

Then it was time to hit the way back down which went much faster, like a magnet dragging you down.  The hike from where we left the 4×4’s and back to it is roughly 5km but it will take you 7 to 8 hours to complete.



Hike – Kromriver – 27 February 2016

Saturday, 27 February 2016 a group of 15 took the road from Cape Town, Somerset West and Malmesbury to go hike the Kromrivier.  This is a hike I always wanted to do but never got the chance and grabbed it when the Gantouw Hiking club got permits to do the hike.

The start of the hike is on the Worcester side of the Huguenot Tunnel just as you exit the tunnel.  At 8.30 everybody was ready and we set of on the approximately 10km hike out and back.

Some photos I took before the hike started while I was waiting for the rest of the party to arrive.

Here is a Google map of the route we walked and at some point you will see the zig-zag as we crossed the river.  If you plan to hike this then ensure you have good hiking boots since most of the way is over boulders and river rocks and a couple of sections is very slippery especially when climbing up via chains to the waterfall and big pool to swim in.

Photos on the inward hike.

And then we made our way up to the waterfall and a swim in the pool.  Be warned, this water is very, very cold.

And then after we had lunch and relaxing time at the pool, we made our way back to where we started.

I have now done a couple of hikes and must say this one is one of the top ones that I have done.  Recommended to anyone that just loves to get out and enjoy nature and it is a fairly easy hike. Last comment, it can get hot in the “kloof” so take lots of water and drink a lot.

Happy hiking and remember, what you take in you also take out, no litter and leave nothing behind.

Virgin Kite Surfing Armada, new World Records – 415 kiters

On 30 January 2016 an attemp was made to break the Kite Surfing world record that was held by Spain at Blouberg Beach, Cape Town.  The previous record was 353 kiters which was broken with the new record now standing at 415 kitters.

It was a perfect sunny windy day with perfect conditions for the kitters.

At 1pm the 400 plus kitters set off from the beach in front of Dophin Beach hotel up to Doodles restuarant, a stretch of about 1km.  When all was counted and verified, 415 kitters were in the air/on the water at the same time.

Photo Gallery:

More abour the event and the world record can be read on News24 and Traveller24.

SA Local Election – Done the deed in under 5 minutes – some observations and ID stamp picture going back to 1992.

Must say I was impressed with the IEC at my local voting station.  I was in and out in under 5 minutes with no issues whatsoever.  The one ballot had about 50 parties on it and must say I did not had a clue or have never heard about at least 40 of those parties.  The other ballot paper had about 30 names on it and I recognised probably about 5 of those names.  I just cannot see how the majority of those on the ballots will get any meaningfull votes.

The oher thing I observed was that the DA had a table right outside the door of the voting station.  As far as I know, parties are not allowed to do any cavasing today and under the banner of checking whether your name is on the list, thay came very close to canvasing.

I have now collected a fair amount of stanps and stickes in my ID book.  Here is a picture of it

As you can see it goes all the way back to the Referendum we had in 1992 and variuos elections since then. Can you recognised the stamp that was used today? Yes I did remember to blank out my ID number 🙂

Have you done your deed today and what was your experience like?

Pigeon – 1; Telkom – 0

As mentioned in a previous post, a Pigeon raced against Telkom today to transfer 4GB of data over a distance of about 70km.

To no-one’s (well maybe the management of Telkom 🙂 ) surprise, Winston, the pigeon won by a lot of bandwidth to spare.  It took Winston only 2 hours 6 minutes and 57 seconds to transfer the data from Howick to Hillcrest.

Congrats to Winston, hope he got a nice bowl of yummy seeds to munch on.  The question now remains – will carrying data between Howick and Hillcrest become Winston’s full-time job. 

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Pigeon beats ADSL handsdown .. classic.

I found this via Watkykjy and it is classic.  I am quoting the whole letter verbatim:

Hi Guys/Gals

We are having a bit of fun at the expense of our favourite telecoms provider Helkom. Let me explain. We have satellite call centres which are connected via business ADSL’s to our main data centre. As usual these connections where very unstable and extremely slow. This caused a huge amount of frustration for us as we need to move voice logs(100’s of megabytes) a day up to our main databases for QA and legal purposes. Our company runs on sales and without voice logs we have no binding contract between us and the customer. So they are pretty essential.

Anyway I read a Aprils fools white paper about Avian carrier networks a couple of years ago. Basically it is a protocol that uses racing pigeons as a network layer. This got me thinking about how fast we can transfer the data by racing pigeon. I discussed this idea with my CIO one night having a couple of drinks. When we did the math we found out that we can transfer the data faster by pigeon for certain sites. So we made a project of it. Next week Wednesday is Pigeon VS ADSL day here at the unlimited world. We have the media involved so check the Sunday times for a article on this event.

Basically we will be flying a pigeon with a 4GB micro SD card from Howick to our central site in Hillcrest. We did a dry run yesterday. Here is the stats: Pigeon took 48 minutes to deliver the data. ADSL is still downloading. Telkom got hold of this via the media and is currently in a flat spin. We got a call from Telkom asking us for our circuit numbers so they can make sure we have good service.

Here is the best part. We spend +/- R 45000 a month just on rental for these lines. If we moved to the Avian Carrier Network we will be saving a whopping R 35 000 a month.

Check out the facebook group, do a search for Winston the pigeon on facebook. Also watch the local press for some tongue in cheek articles about our great Helkom.


PS: The Original White Paper is located here: http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2549.html

Also check this link for more info: http://pigeonrace2009.co.za

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Mark Shuttleworth nominated to the new SABC Board

I just read that Mark has been nominated to the SABC board.  Although I think that the SABC needs somebody like Mark on their board and that he would do a stirling job, I doubt whether Mark would accept a nomination like this with all the things he is involved in.  Being on the SABC board is probably almost a full time job these days with the mess that the SABC is in and I cannot see Mark leaving some of his duties at Canonical and Ubuntu to join the SABC board.

I might be totally wrong here and who knows, maybe Mark has allready agreed to this.  Would love to hear his comments about it.

Other notable names is Max du Preez, Mimi Coertze, Cliff Saunders and World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan.

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What is this world coming too .. as mad as hell – break in while sleeping.

I should probably not be writing this at this moment because of the way I feel.  I am as mad as hell.

While we, my daughter and myself, were sleeping, somebody (probably more than one person) came into my house and took some of my stuff.  I know it is just stuff and everybody tells me that we should be glad we did not wake up.  But still, having one’s privacy invaded like this is not nice at all .. in fact it sucks big time.

How they got into the house, we not exactly sure.  All doors were locked and only one window in the kitchen was open.  They got away with my cellphone, 2 old laptops, my new laptop bag with couple of things in the bag and the most valuable thing was probably my new Canon camera.  In the laptop bag was my passport, and you all know what a slept it will be do get that replaced.
Also there was 2 credit cards in the bag that I hardly use but still had to get it cancelled and a couple of loyalty cards.

Except for the camera, that was in the kitchen, everything else was in my study.  They took the money out of my wallet but luckily left all my bank cards alone.

It is things like this, where they do not even care anymore whether somebody is in the house or not, that will make me pack my bags and leave this country.  Yes, there is crime in other parts of the world, but I am sure that it is not as bad as this and as blatant as what is happening here.

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