ADVENTURE CENTRALFrom the Cederberg mountains to Maputo: Are you searching for an adventure holiday destination? South Africa’s top adventure photographers recommend theirs.
1 THE CEDERBERG MOUNTAINS - ROCKLANDS
“Rocklands in the Cederberg has become one of the world’s climbing meccas, with probably the best bouldering on the planet,” says outdoor photographer Jacques van Zyl. “Every season climbers from all over the world pour into the area. The place is enormous, with fields of boulders as far as the eye can see, and the potential for new lines is endless. I doubt that it will be tapped out any time soon.
“Two hours from Cape Town, it has become my default winter weekend destination. There is also high-lining and trad climbing on the cliffs and slack-lining in the camps and over the dams. Andrew de Klerk even pioneered the country’s first base jump here. The locals are generally friendly but the landscape is breathtaking, it looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park.”
2 NEW ZEALAND
“I did a cycle touring trip down the whole of New Zealand, camping and riding my BMX along the way,” says veteran BMX snapper Wayne Reiche. “It was amazing. If you are into the outdoors and seeking adventure, it ticks all the boxes in so many different categories: mountain bike, BMX, snow, surf, camp etc. The list is endless.
“Places that I would still like to go explore? Iceland, Puerto Rico and Eastern Europe. In Iceland, I’d like to explore some of the ‘harder’ remote parts of the country, camping and cycling in tough conditions to find out what I’m really made of. I’ve seen some good BMX spots in Puerto Rico and rumour has it that there are many more secrets to unlock. BMX and the old forgotten communist architecture of Eastern Europe…I would love to go shoot there!”
“I’ve been to Maputo in Mozambique and there is some really interesting Portuguese architecture to skate,” reports skate photographer Jansen van Staden. “Big churches, wide roads, wide sidewalks, friendly people, and awesome hills to bomb. You’ll be skating the crustiest spot and around the corner you’ll find a spot with a pristine surface that looks like it was built for skateboarding. If you want to link up with the local skate scene, they usually meet at the Igreja Catedral close to the Independence Square. They will gladly show you all the goodies to hit up.
“Also, on a recent trip to Uganda from Mozambique, I passed through Nairobi in Kenya. The inner city looks very modern. I saw a lot of potential – I don’t think there has been a skate trip down there yet…”
4 ICELAND - THE DRAKENSBERG
“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place with a greater microcosm of varying landscapes and weather, which are the basic building blocks for any adventure,” says Kelvin Trautman, the globe-trotting adventure photographer who is based out of London and Cape Town.
Trautman also recommends looking closer to home. “We’re all in search of wild and remote places to go adventuring, but the reality is these are often far from home. Not true in the case of the Drakensberg mountains. Only a few hours’ drive from a number of major urban hubs in South Africa, this mountain range still has peaks and valleys that only a very few intrepid souls have ever ventured into.”
5 CAPE TOWN
“Having travelled around the globe for almost a decade, my list of adventure destinations is endless, from Hawaii to Mexico, the Caribbean, Brazil and the Canary Islands,” says surf photographer Sacha Specker, thumbing his well-worn passport. “But if I had to choose, it would be our very own Cape Town. We have uncrowded 2–to-20-foot pumping surf 300+ days a year, and wind in every direction for the kite crew. The Indian and Atlantic Oceans are a few minutes’ drive from each other. Whether it’s deep sea fishing, spear fishing, fly fishing, camping or hiking through pristine mountain ranges, it’s all no more than three hours’ drive away, and affordable.
“But if you’re getting on a plane to prime your senses for an international adventure, the Caribbean is high on my list. Pristine tropical waters, littered with waves well documented and discovered, are relatively uncrowded with hospitable and friendly locals who are happy to share the stoke. It’s a true island adventure. Jungle-covered mountains and valleys blanket the interior of Puerto Rico – ‘the enchanted island’ – which is home to elevated caves in the mountain tops, phosphorescent lakes and a rich cultural heritage in the old town of San Juan. Rich or poor, Puerto Ricans are happy people who take pride in their beautiful island.”
6 INACCESSIBLE AFRICA
“There are stretches of coastline on the African continent that are presently inaccessible to surfers and surf photographers due to war, political instability and private or corporate-owned land,” says surf photographer Alan van Gysen, who is something of a guru when it comes to pioneering African surf trips.
“It’s these places that have yet to be documented or explored for surf potential that I believe are the final frontiers of surf exploration globally. Places like Somalia on the African east coast, Libya in the north, the Republic of Congo west and the diamond reserves of the south. As and when these places become accessible, without a doubt we’ll see some interesting discoveries.”
7 MADAGASCAR; MYANMAR
“Madagascar has been my favourite adventure destination so far,” says adventure reportage photographer Tyrone Bradley. “Everything about the place feels so alien. It’s as if you’ve travelled into a different age. Traveling there is intense too. Whether flying or catching a zebu cart transfer, you’re in for a wild ride. There is plenty of surf around and it cranks, but best of all there is so much coastline that if you’re willing to mission, you can have all to yourself.”
“I’ve recently been to Bagan in Myanmar, another beautiful place that will stay with me forever. This shot was taken on my last day in Bagan.“