Climbing Kili is magical. For many people it's also life-changing. If you already live in Africa, especially at high altitude in Johannesburg, you'd do yourself a disservice if you didn't give the highest free-standing mountain in the world at least serious consideration. You don't need to be a mountain-climber. All you need is a spirit of adventure, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of humor.
Part 2 of a two-part series about the Wild Coast Meander, a 5-day slack packing hike along South Africa's Wild Coast starting at Kob Inn. Read on as we continue from Wavecrest Beach Hotel and Spa to Trennery's Hotel and finally Morgan Bay Hotel, the ending point of our journey.
Nowhere but Africa are you so pampered when embarking into the wilderness, and this is very true for the Wild Coast too. You might think of deserted landscapes and rugged terrain to be conquered by sheer power of will, but in reality porters carry your bags and you walk along mostly flat stretches of beach ending at a nice hotel – and inevitably its bar – every afternoon.
The South African Wild Coast along the Indian Ocean in the Southeast of the country is one of the most beautiful and untouched wild places on Earth. If you hike along it on the Wild Coast Meander, you encounter nothing but pristine beaches, a few cows, and an occasional rondavel. Look for yourself and you'll see what I mean.
Throughout much of our time in South Africa, our friends had been trying to talk us into a camping trip into the bush, but we initially resisted. You know, on account of lions, pythons, elephants, broken axles and such. We were smart enough to know that camping in Africa is not the same as camping in a National Park in the United States.
I may have managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but one thing I didn't manage to do was use my climb to raise money and awareness for a good cause. If you've read my book, Kilimanjaro Diaries, you'll know that I made light of the fact that all Kili climbs seem to attract people yearning to do good, and that I seemed to be the lone exception. Here is someone who does support a cause.
Frankly, I feel like our 3-year stint in South Africa was one giant nonstop adventure. I mean, you could already get a nice jolt of adrenaline by simply driving from Joburg to Hartebeespoort Dam and passing the first "hijacking hotspot" warning sign. But I suppose you are reading this because you're looking for another type of adventure. Here is a list to get started.
Just like climbing Kili, being involved with a sports team in one of the most impoverished townships in South Africa is incredibly difficult and rewarding at the same time. In both cases progress is very slow. You take one step at a time. Often the route is not direct and you find yourself circling the summit instead. I'm thrilled to bring two passions of mine together in one great cause.
One of the chapters I had the most fun writing for Kilimanjaro Diaries was the one I named Peequality: The Last Frontier of Women's Equality. In it you'll learn of a series of contraptions, each one niftier than the last, which are supposed to help women on the go who have to "go" and for whatever reason don't have the time or privacy to squat the old-fashioned way.
The Drakensberg: What a spectacular mountain range. When you see its spiky ridges you can easily understand how it got its name. What I wasn't expecting was how green everything was. You could imagine being in Ireland or Scotland or even Hawaii, not somewhere in Africa. During winter of course everything turns brown, but when we were there they were a vivid green.