Not so Hidden Gems of South Africa latest issue of AWAYN magazine


Brad White Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve Hike

Oribi Gorge is a canyon in southern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, just west of Port Shepstone, which itself is 120 km south of Durban. The river(s) carved a extremely scenic route and canyon through the landscape. There are several walking/hiking trails which can be chosen from, we took the hoepoe trail up to the water fall. The mentioned length and especially timing shall be taken with care, it took us 4 hours to complete, as we took photo breaks and pleasant looks.

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Activities: CampingCamping HikeHike
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Hotel Nearby Hotel Nearby Picnic Area Picnic Area Parking Parking RV Parking RV Parking


Lorraine Wu The Tugela Gorge hike

The Tugela Gorge hike is the best one-day hike in South Africa. A information with packed lunches provided via The Cavern allows you to make a full day of this trip. This stroll need to now not be ignored and is a should do in KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and South Africa.

Sensible talking walks shoes are required for this walk and it can also be beneficial to take along a lighter pair of shoes/sandals to walk via the river to get to Gorge. In summer time make sure you take a costume for lovely swim in the rock pools. Drink plenty of liquids and take along a hat.

This stroll from Tugela vehicle park is a extremely good experienced of ‘climbing’ into the mountains. Although it may also seem a flat stroll do no longer let this distract you from the marvelous scenery. For the first km there is a very true direction and no one of a kind instructions are needed, the direction winds along, above and parallel to the Tugela river. Not long after crossing the intersecting circulate from Devil’s Hoek appear out for Policeman’s Helmet on the high floor to the proper overlooking Vermaan Valley.

The scenery is spectacular, and in spring and summer season the valley is a carpet of indigenous flora. The course meanders in and out of lush forests cascading down the hills into the river below. View web sites of the Amphitheatre wall get increasingly more mind- blowing as you strategy the Gorge – the wall rises over  1800m from the valley floor.

The last km thru Gorge entails three boulder crossings of the river – easy enough except in flood. Do no longer make the mistake of turning back at this point. With a little bit of effort the most picturesque surroundings in the park lies at the a long way give up alongside with a welcome cup of tea from The Cavern guide.

At this factor there are a number of matters to look for. The Devil’s Tooth, the tunnel ahead and the chain ladder. Pause for a swim in the crystal clear white sandstone rock pools before attempting the chain ladder.

Once at the Gorge, one encounters the Tunnel where the river flows thru an impassable rock formation. This can be bypassed with the aid of a scramble up a chain ladder to the right. Use the chain ladder to skirt the tunnel and get into the Amphitheatre and boulder hop up the Tugela for about alf a km, where for each step you are rewarded with a complete trade of scenery.

Remember to keep an eye out for thunderstorms which rapidly brew above the Amphitheatre wall, however all elssa take into account to revel in youself in this distinct place. The return down trip to the car park is faster than the uptrip so make positive that you revel in yourself and the scenery.


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Activities: BackpackBackpack HikeHike
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Dog friendly Dog friendly

AWAYN Editorial

This is Jody MacDonald

Jody MacDonald is one of the best and most extra ordinary photographers around! She has done it all! She lived lived at sea on a catamaran for a decade and is a co-owner of an offshore sailing business that does 5 year global kiteboarding expeditions. Jody, who was born in Saudi Arabia and has been traveling the world since she was a child, documents extreme sports, spectacular landscapes, and everyday scenes that open a breathtaking window on different cultures, from India to Mauritania to Morocco. 

We had the chance to ask Jody a few questions about her photography, explorations, and adventures.

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How did you originally got into photography?

I grew up in Saudi Arabia which had a huge impact on me. It think it opened my mind, imagination and curiosity to the world. I know my love for experiencing and exploring different locations and cultures stems from my formative years in the Middle East. After Saudi I returned to Canada to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation. I always gravitated towards art and physical education classes in school so in University I took some photography courses. Loving the immediacy of photography, capturing those amazing moments in time got me hooked as I was able to capture moments from my adventures. I started bringing my camera with me on my climbing, camping and paddling adventures and it quickly became a perfect marriage of my passions of travel, adventure and photography. After university I went on to pursue guiding opportunities in the outdoor adventure world eventually landing a job as a photo editor for a large Canadian outdoor retailer. This gave me the opportunity to learn the editorial side of the business but eventually I got antsy to get back outside. I quit that job to travel and explore and shortly after I found myself sailing around the world. I ended up living at sea for a decade. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to focus on becoming a better photographer so I began photographing my travels full time.

You have traveled the world and got exposed to many cultures. What is the most surprising fact you’ve learned which you would like to share with us?

I think the most surprising thing and not so surprising thing is that there is a human connection between all of us. Despite our religion, language, culture or ethnicity, we all fundamentally have the same needs and wants and I’m constantly surprised by that when I’m in a remote village in the middle of nowhere. 




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What is the most memorable trip you’ve had?

Hmm, I have had many but one of my highlights for sure was during our 5 year world kiteboarding expedition. We sailed 600 miles across the Mozambique channel from Madagascar to an island group located off the southeast coast of Mozambique called the Bazaruto archipelago. This island group is considered to be one of the most beautiful destinations on the African continent. Upon our arrival we could see a massive 20 mile sand dune on the island of Bazaruto. Everyone onboard just looked at each other speechless. We new we had to fly it.

The east side of the dune juts out of the Indian Ocean at a perfect angle for paragliding and is a few hundred meters above the sea. The downside we figured out was that getting to the dune was extremely difficult. There is a huge shore break that denies access to the beach. So we plotted our attack at low tide. Deciding that keeping the dingy ashore wasn’t an option, we decide to anchor it 10 or so meters off the beach. With a gentle sea breeze we proceeded to explore and fly the dune. We were in heaven..we had discovered this never before flown 20 mile sand dune and had it all to ourselves. It is the stuff that even vivid dreamers cannot imagine and as a photographer it just couldn’t get any better. The way the light danced and played along the sand was mesmerizing. I flew and photographed for hours. It was perfect until one of us spotted our dingy washed up on the beach. By the time we reached it there was no obvious damage we would have to wait again for low tide to make any attempt to leave.

We ended up sleeping on the dune that night in our paragliders and awoke again to more perfect flying conditions. Being quite possibly the most playful and beautiful soaring site on the planet, we had to keep flying. Only after we were completely, sunburnt, exhausted and dehydrated did we manage to get the dingy through the shore break and back to our catamaran. It was magical. 

What equipment do you use to captures your footage? What are some of the challenges of using them?

I use a variety of cameras. Mostly I use Canon and Leica cameras and I have a Hasselblad and a few Polaroid cameras that I enjoy taking portraits with. Some of the challenges are that my Canon is too big but great for shooting action. My Leica’s are great for slowing down and being inconspicuous but they are not fast when you need them to be and my film cameras are always more labor intensive. Dealing with film, storing it, developing it, not knowing if the shots worked, etc…is always a challenge but those images are always the most rewarding. 

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When you’re presented with a less than ideal situation, how do you find your subjects and produce images you would be happy with?


I think adapting to the challenges that arise on assignments is one of the best parts of being an adventure and travel photographer. When the going gets tough you have to problem solve and improvise. For me it’s about finding people who can help facilitate what you want to achieve, be very open to opportunities and any changes that occur. You have to be able to act quickly, improvise and be spontaneous. You have to trust your gut and seize the moment and enjoy that process rather than become overwhelmed by it.  

Closing Thoughts … What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s looking to get into photography, or surf photography?

It is a tough job, a tough industry and with most artist related professions doesn’t provide a lot of income. Therefore, first and foremost it has to be your passion. One that is so strong that you can’t imagine not doing it. Then you have to go out there and shoot. Shoot your ass off. Be curious about life and the things around you. It is an essential part of being a good photographer. Photograph the sports or subjects that you connect with and mean something to you. Be very critical of your own work and submit only your absolute best shots to editors. You will start making contacts and as you get better you will begin to get published. Be patient and persistent. 

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More ADVENTURES highlights


Charles Moore Rocky Bay Resorts Park Rynie South Africa

Durban has become the country's surf centre because of a high population density of surfers and a great year round climate. South swells wrap around the Bluff Peninsula, and focus on the long piers and groynes that punctuate the coastline. When the conditions are right, then powerful, hollow beachbreaks are the result. There are a few reefs to consider including the world class tubes of Cave Rock. Most Natal spots are best on low to mid tides with light offshore winds, which unfortunately, are rare. Many foreign surfers coming to South Africa have sharks at the top of their mind, however Durban has not had a single attack since shark nets were put in place in 1962.
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Activities: SurfingSurfing ChillingChilling
Amenities: Dog friendly Dog friendly Child Friendly Child Friendly


Juerg R. Eberhart Maletsunyane Falls

Maletsunyane Falls, one cataract on an Orange River tributary in Lesotho, 75 miles (121 km) southeast of Maseru. It is one of the highest waterfalls in the world with a drop of 192 meters and is important to Lesotho as a tourist attraction. The pony ride to and from the falls is spectacular, beautiful, traveling through beautiful fields and local villages. An experience from this world.


The falls are the most beautiful we've ever seen, better than Niagara Falls, better than Victoria Falls, perfect in a natural setting.


The abseiling was incredible. It's organized so well. Professionals are the men running it. It's all about safety, and it's 100% safe. You need no experience whatsoever. And it's just an incredible ride to the bottom alongside the 204 meter (670 feet) falls. Equally wonderful is the hike from the bottom of the falls. So is the drive from and to Maseru as well.

Go here if you're going to just one place in Africa. The horses ride. Do the robbery. Experience the lodge.March/April is the best time of the year - the mountains are green and there's lots of little waterfalls in the mountains. Hiked to Maletsunyane from Semonkong lodge (arriving at the same side as the waterfall), and also rode around (on motorbikes) to see it from the opposite side. Majestic from the opposite side ... but standing next to where it tumbles down gives a whole new perspective on how high it is. If you have time, do a pony trek to the falls ... and ask at the lodge for Elizabeth, the blanket-lady, to show you her collection of Basutho blankets.


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Activities: HikeHike TourismTourism
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Dog friendly Dog friendly Picnic Area Picnic Area


Charles Moore KwaZulu-Natal coastlines

Broadly speaking, the KwaZulu-Natal coastline is divided into three zones: Durban, North Coast and South Coast. Durban, or Surf City, has The Golden Mile of perfect beaches tucked between a series of piers. These are all consistent beach breaks capable of holding sizeable winter swell and summer cyclone swell. The most popular of these are: Bay of Plenty; New Pier; North Beach; Wedge and Dairy. Further south towards the harbour, uShaka and Vetches only pick up when massive southerly winter swells wrap around the harbour and onto the reef. South of the harbour, bluff beaches meeting the oncoming swell provide solid surfing conditions at the likes of Ansteys, Cave Rock, Brighton and Garvies. Of these, Cave Rock offers the biggest, best waves, but, with a reef bottom, only experienced surfers should apply. The South Coast, with its many reef and beach breaks, holds the promise of perfect hollow waves, especially if you’re in the water early before the wind picks up in summer, or in winter when the swell is big and conditions generally glassy. The first South Coast beach, Amanzimtoti, is a 20 minute drive from Durban, followed by Warner Beach. Further south, Scottburgh’s consistent right point break means there’s always someone in the water, while Happy Wanderers’ right reef break is empty until conditions are perfect. An hour further south are a number of good reef-to-sand surf spots: Margate; Uvongo; St Michaels; Umzumbe and Lucien. North of Durban, surf spots worth a visit include Ballito, Umdloti, Westbrook, Umhlanga, Salt Rock, Sodwana Bay and Richards Bay. Of these, Ballito and Umhlanga have the best waves and enjoy a vibrant beach culture, with oodles of accommodation, while Westbrook features a long right when the swell is not too big.
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Activities: SurfingSurfing WindsurfingWindsurfing Kite SurfingKite Surfing
Amenities: Accepts Credit Cards Accepts Credit Cards Alcoholic Beverages Alcoholic Beverages Dog friendly Dog friendly Child Friendly Child Friendly Food Nearby Food Nearby Hotel Nearby Hotel Nearby


Nicolas Bayne Enjoy a hike at Cederberg

The Cederberg Wilderness Area lies some 200 km north of Cape Town. This tremendous region in the Cederberg vicinity stretches from the Middelberg Pass at Citrusdal to north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam, encompassing some 710 ha of rugged, mountainous terrain. The Cederberg is renowned for its surprising landscapes and rock formations, as nicely as its namesake, the increasingly rare Clanwilliam cedar tree.

Winters in the Cederberg are bloodless and wet, while summers are heat and dry. The most rain falls between May and September, and it regularly snows in the greater parts. 

The Cederberg Wilderness Area offers unsurpassed opportunities for recreation. In the primitive wilderness, away from bustle, one finds house and peace. Activities which are well suited to the desert atmosphere, such as trekking and rock climbing are encouraged. Various hiking routes crisscross the desert region. These routes furnish get admission to the wilderness, and hikers may also explore the region at will. Rock mountaineering is popular and is authorized for the duration of the area, furnished that rock surfaces do now not end up damaged. The cliffs of the Krakadouw and Table mountain peaks are the most famous mountaineering sites.

These are thousands of rocky overhangs and caves with best examples of rock art. These paintings may also be anything from 300 to 600 years old, and very touchy to damage. They are a fundamental phase of the desert area’s fascination and site visitors find out them for themselves. Rock art is protected via the National Monuments Act, and vandals who deface rock artwork face fines of up to R10 zero or two years imprisonment or both.

Pets, including dogs, are not allowed. 

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Activities: BackpackBackpack HikeHike
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Restrooms Restrooms