Whistle through the wilderness

first_imgTaking a break with a herd of elephants. Tent town in the dry Shashe river bed. Awesome views across rivers and bushveld are plentiful. Children in the Wilderness learn about their environment.(Images: Tour de Tuli)MEDIA CONTACTS • Kim TaylorMedia spokesperson+27 11 807 1800RELATED ARTICLES• The pain is soon forgotten• Getting to know a different South Africa• Exploring bicycle culture in South AfricaLucille DavieSome 350 cyclists are getting ready for the ride of their lives – riding with elephants through game reserves in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.The eighth Tour de Tuli ride, a magical four-day, 300km mountain bike ride, takes place from 3 August, starting in Botswana and ending in the spectacular Mapungubwe Game Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. Cyclists cross the dry Shashe River bed, wade through the Limpopo River, and ride through elephant and lion country.Two days are spent riding through Botswana, before the crossing into Zimbabwe, where another two days are spent riding through bushveld. Then the route crosses to South Africa for the last night where riders have sundowners overlooking the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers, gazing into Zimbabwe and Botswana.The big five roam its diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and sandstone outcrops. Mopani bush, fever trees and ancient baobabs dominate the flora. This vast area, some 175 000 acres of pristine game land, is home to Africa’s giant – the elephant. Their silent presence, grazing quietly on large swathes of Mopani bushes, is an awe-inspiring feature of the ride. There are some 900 of these giants in the area, so riders are bound to bump into a few along the way.The Tour de Tuli is run by luxury ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris, and is its annual effort to raise funds for Children in the Wilderness. The last is a non-profit organisation that provides an environmental and life skills educational programme for children, with the goal of inspiring them to care for their natural heritage, and take charge of their heritage in the future. It operates in seven countries – Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.Tuli BlockLarge areas of the famed Tuli Block are covered on the ride. The block is a huge, shared game reserve between the three countries. Riders spend two days in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, starting in the Mashatu Game Reserve, or the Land of Giants. A further two days are spent in the Tuli Circle, after crossing the once-mighty, 800m-wide Shashe River into Zimbabwe, now largely a dry, sandy river bed, and finally crossing the Limpopo River into South Africa.“It’s not a race; this cannot be emphasised enough,” says Russel Friedman, one of the founders of Wilderness Safaris and a board member of Children in the Wilderness. “We spend five to six hours a day in the saddle, traversing pristine wilderness. The route does not include manicured single tracks; we follow animal tracks through areas that are normally only accessible to animals, elephants and now mountain bikes.“Many new friendships are created on the tour. The days are long, and tough, but well worthwhile being able to appreciate the biodiversity of these incredible areas,” Friedman adds.Tented campsFor those four days, 150 staff will move into the area with 2 500 tents, setting up five camps – two in Botswana, two in Zimbabwe and one in South Africa. They will ship in 100 000 litres of water for showers, over 15 000 litres of drinking water, 618 cases of soft drinks, 489 cases of beer, 177 cases of wine and spirits, 100kg of biltong, and 67 bottles of sunblock. Three 18-wheel trucks will load up the provisions, ready for tired cyclists when they wheel their bikes into each camp.And that’s not even the food, which will be brought in by 13 eight-ton trucks. All meals are provided, with support stations along the route making sure cyclists keep up their energy levels. Riders gather the night before the start at the Limpopo Valley Airfield in Botswana, across the Limpopo from Pontdrif in South Africa, to prepare to leave in batches the next morning.Children in the WildernessThe prime task of Children in the Wilderness, established in 2004, is to host children’s camps, eco-clubs and sponsor staff training. Wilderness Safaris hosts 16 to 30 children aged between 10 and 17 each year. During the year, eco-clubs are run at the schools, which foster in the children a love of wildlife. Other programmes include school feeding, water supply, school buildings and eco-mentoring training.“Children in the Wilderness increases children’s awareness, bridges cultural divides, broadens horizons, builds confidence, provides opportunities for new friendships and choices, and reveals career opportunities,” says the company.Eco-clubs, which take place at rural schools, follow a curriculum and take place weekly, monthly or every three months. They give schoolchildren who are interested in the environment a chance to meet, learn, discuss and expand their knowledge of environmental issues. They also look at health, HIV/Aids awareness, nutrition, life skills, geography, geology, arts and craft, and theatre.“In turn, Wilderness Safaris camp staff are allowed to be mentors and leaders, connecting them to their jobs, instilling them with pride for their culture and their community, and offering an enriching experience exposing new skills and talents.”Some 4 500 children have been hosted in Wilderness Safaris camps in the seven countries since 2001.The routeOn day one, riders take a 60km route which includes sightings of elephant or even big cat encounters within the Croton forests, zipping over slick rock formations, and lots of undulating single tracks. Riders overnight at the Amphitheatre Bush Camp in Botswana.On day two they head towards the Maramani Camp in Zimbabwe, a 72km ride, once again riding along single tracks on ancient elephant trails. An informal border crossing on the other side of the Shashe River is established, where an official at a wooden table on the river bank stamps riders’ passports.Day three consists of 58km of riding with spectacular sandstone features where herds of game feed all night. Riders cycle past eland, impala, and elephant, with baboons in the trees overhead. There are two options on day four: the longer and more challenging 84km route, or a shorter 47km route along jeep track.Crossing the LimpopoRiders have to cross the Limpopo River, which flooded earlier this year. During the floods, 17 000 juvenile crocodiles were swept down the river from a submerged croc farm. The organisers say that most of the crocodiles have been recaptured, but the river is low this year, and crocs prefer to spend their time in deep pools, so there is no risk of riders being taken by one lurking in the water, says Nicola Taylor, logistics manager of the tour.“There have never been any incidents with crocodiles,” she adds. In recent years, the event has attracted more overseas riders, she says, with an estimated 20 percent of the field flying in for the ride.The major sponsor is Nedbank, and the Andy Scott, the head of Nedbank Group Sponsorships, says: “The route for this year’s Nedbank Tour de Tuli, with its breathtaking fauna and flora, will be both challenging and rewarding for the riders and will go a long way to ensuring that the tour remains one of South Africa’s premier multi-stage mountain biking events.”Once you have paid your R20 000 entry fee, you might find yourself uncontrollably humming or whistling or bursting into song while cycling the Tour de Tuli – lots of people do.last_img read more

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World champ Fanning wins J-Bay Open

first_img21 July 2014Reigning ASP world champion, Mick Fanning of Australia, took a giant step towards a fourth world title when he defeated compatriot Joel Parkinson in the final of the J- Bay Open in sensational waves at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa on the weekend.After a holding period, all the elements came together on Saturday to produce an epic finale in pumping 6-to-10 foot (2-3 metre) hollow waves.On fireFanning was on fire from the outset of the title-decider, seamlessly threading together powerful rail work and deep tubes in the double-overhead waves to rack up a 17.00 point total in the first half of the 45-minute encounter.Parkinson, the 2012 ASP world champion, and like Fanning a previous two-time winner at J-Bay, fought his way back into contention with rides of 7.43 and 6.17, but was still looking for 9.57 points from a final ride when time ran out.Dream final“I never dreamed that I would get to surf a J-Bay final with Joel (Parkinson),” Fanning said on the podium afterwards.“I’m so tired, but it’s a dream-come-true kind of day. I had a great start with that 9.00 ride, but there were still 40 minutes to go and anything could have happened.“Joel is one of my favourite surfers and my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were kids.“I’m so stoked, it was such an incredible day of waves and I’m just so thankful that I got to surf it. A big thanks to Cheron (Kraak), Koffie (Jacobs) and the ASP for bringing the event back to Jeffreys Bay.”The victory, Fanning’s second of the season after he won at Bells Beach in April, moved him up to number three on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) rankings behind Brazil’s Gabriel Medina and Parkinson.Parkinson was gracious in defeat and equally complimentary about the quality of the surf at Supertubes.‘An amazing heat’“It was an amazing heat and Mick is such a good tactician,” he said. “I made a couple of bad decisions, and I just didn’t get the right waves.“It would’ve been nice to get a win, but that was a brilliant day of surfing and it was so wonderful to be part of it. I feel like surfing won today. There was just so much good surfing and the waves were incredible.”Another Aussie, Matt Wilkinson was eliminated by Parkinson in the first semi-final after the eventual runner-up posted a an 8.83 and backed that up with a perfect 10-point ride to leave his giant-killing compatriot needing to replace both his scores.Wilkinson, who had previously dispatched 11-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater in round three and 2007 J-Bay winner Taj Burrow in the quarterfinals, fought back with a series of swooping turns on his backhand to earn a 9.77, but was ultimately still short of 9.07 points.‘So stoked’“I’m so stoked to have made it to the semi-finals,” Wilkinson said. “I came into this competition with almost no results so far this year, but I feel that I’ve improved in every heat. It feels really great to have so much support, especially for the goofy- footers, who have done so well at this event.”In the second semi-final, Owen Wright built on his victory over ASP world number one Gabriel Medina in their quarter-final encounter, to take an early lead over fellow Australian Fanning. However, the reigning world champion took control with rides of 7.17 and 8.0 before posting an excellent 9.00.Despite Wright earning a 7.23 to get out of a combination situation, he still needed a near-perfect 9.77 when the siren sounded.‘That really set me back’“I chose a couple of wrong waves at the start of the heat and that really set me back,” Wright said aftewards.“Mick was just clinical in his approach to the heat. I feel so privileged just to be here, competing at J-Bay. It has been by far the best event for me. I’m loving it.”ASP Heritage SeriesLegendary surfers Tom Curren of the USA and Mark Occhilupo of Australia took to the water in front of an enthralled crowd at Jeffreys Bay for the first nstalment of the ASP Heritage Series, which is designed to celebrate and honour the foundational contributors to the sport of surfing by showcasing rematches between iconic surfers.Curren, a three-time ASP world champion (1985, 1986, 1990) and Occhilupo, the 1999 ASP world champion and winner of the first ASP event in J-Bay in 1984, did battle in the epic conditions.With Curren posting a perfect 10, he put the Australian in a combination situation, and even though Occhilupo took a final long ride down point he was unable to post the excellent scores needed to take victory.‘ The waves were so good’“I got a little carried away during that 10 point wave. The waves were so good,” Curren said.“It’s Sonny’s [Miller, the renowned surf filmmaker who passed away earlier this week] birthday today, so I just want to dedicate this to him.“I love J-Bay, the waves are amazing and the people are wonderful. It’s so great to watch all the guys compete here in such good conditions.”‘That was sensational’“I had a blast out there. I think me and Tom put on a show,” Occhilupo said. “That was sensational. It was all about surfing J-Bay in all its perfection and putting on a great show for the crowd.“Tom ripped and it was also great fun. I think the ASP Heritage Series will really grow legs. I look forward to seeing other legends match up.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Tim Cook: About That iPad Number…

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The weak spot on Apple’s September quarterly earnings report was the iPad sales number: 14 million shipments, down from 17 million in the June quarter.That’s almost three times as many as the number of Macs Apple shipped during the quarter, but it reflects only 26% growth from last year and 18% fewer iPads than the June quarter. Hardly a growth rate to be ecstatic about when the bold prediction is that the iPad/tablet industry will grow to zoom past the PC industry.Tim Cook’s comments on Apple’s earnings call should soften the blow a little.He said:The drop in iPad sales (to people) from the June quarter wasn’t as big as the reported drop in iPad shipments (to the sales channel). This is because iPad channel inventory had grown by 1.2 million units in the June quarter, so the September quarter didn’t have that same boost.This also affected year-over-year shipment growth, as the year-ago quarter was also uncharacteristically strong. It, too, included channel inventory build.So: iPad sales to people, or “sell-through,” actually increased 44% year-over-year, vs. the 26% in reported “sell-in,” or shipments.14 million shipments actually “exceeded” what Apple had anticipated. Apple expected a seasonal decline in September quarter iPad shipments vs. June quarter iPad shipments. OK.One reason Apple expected a sequential, seasonal decline: Because K-12 sales taper off after the June quarter, while higher-ed sales pick up in the September quarter. And higher-ed customers are still buying notebook PCs for the most part. (Mac laptop sales grew 9% year-over-year and grew 31% from the June quarter.) I don’t know how large edu-related sales are for either the iPad or Mac businesses, but this sounds plausible.People also delayed iPad purchases because of new product rumors.Fair enough. One quarter isn’t a reason to get worried about the iPad, anyway.But two big questions remain:How big is the iPad market really going to get? Is this something everyone’s going to have, or a luxury gadget?How will the iPad mini affect the overall iPad business? Especially if there are severe shortages during the holidays.See you again to go over this in January. Tags:#Apple#iPad Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologycenter_img dan frommer Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

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The Power of Association

first_img“We have all the capacity, expertise, and resources that an alternative future requires.” ~ Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging, 2009This powerful phrase is one that has given me the most hope in my work, and has buoyed my spirits when change seems impossible. When I take a moment to reflect on this truth, a world of possibilities opens up in my mind. Suddenly, I’m not trying to solve a problem anymore, I am working with others to re-imagine, iterate, ask “what if…?” What a gift it is to know that each group, each community of practice or geography, has everything they need to create change and to thrive.Where do the capacity, expertise, and resources come from? In The Four-Legged Stool, co-founder of the Asset Based Community Development Institute John McKnight suggests that the real power resides in associations. Groups of citizens coming together to “make power,” as opposed to “delegating power” to elected officials. (McKnight, 2013; Block, 2009)A few ways associations come together to “make” power.The Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) movement is rooted in identifying the assets of individuals, associations, and institutions, and matching individuals with people or associations that have an interest or need in that asset. ABCD pays particular attention to the importance of assets in social relationships within formal and informal associations (networks) (What is Asset Based Community Development, Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation).Why focus on social relationships when trying to re-imagine an alternate future? Don’t we just need to identify needs, brainstorm ideas, agree on a course of action, and create a plan? Linear problem solving approaches (like logic models) works well for some issues, but they do not work as well for complex issues. In fact, it is linear approaches that prevent anything from truly changing (Block, 2009). Block posits that community is a conversation. And conversation “is the action step that makes creating an alternative future possible.” The power of this action step is in the shift that occurs when people come together in a pluralistic and interdependent way, as Block describes:“It moves us from having faith in professionals and those in positions of authority to having faith in our neighbors. It takes us into a context of hospitality, wherein we welcome strangers rather than believing we need to protect ourselves from them. It changes our mindset from valuing what is efficient to valuing the importance of belonging. It helps us to leave behind our penchant for seeing our disconnectedness as an inevitable consequence of modern life and moves us toward accountability and citizenship.”Associational connections provide space for the making of meaning and expression of values. The conversation that is created by the association members both strengthens social capital and is created by the continued building of social capital . What have you done or could you do to “make power” by connecting people with each other? Please share your thoughts in the comments.last_img read more

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