The Spirit of Ubuntu

Words by Gero Lilleike
Photos: Ubuntu Backpackers

 

Ubuntu Backpackers


Like a bright star shining in the night sky, this place lights up for one reason and one reason only, surfing. Once a year, Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape of South Africa becomes the focal point in the surfing world with the Billabong Pro being South Africa’s most anticipated surfing event held at the world famous Supertubes.

Ubuntu Entertainment Lounge

Surprisingly, I’ve never stayed in Jeffrey’s Bay and witnessed it in full swing but I was excited to witness it myself and booked into Ubuntu Backpackers. I decided to put the luxury of a bed aside and pitch a tent instead. The facilities at Ubuntu Backpackers are more than comfortable with everything you could possibly need at your disposal. Apart from camping, Ubuntu Backpackers offers ample accommodation in the form of five double rooms, one four sleeper mini-dorm and a ten sleeper dormitory.

Ubuntu Jazz

 

Ubuntu Backpackers is a friendly place filled with friendly people and owner Daryn Sinclair, with his cool, relaxed attitude is no exception and the vibe seems to rub off on everyone here. With a spacious, upstairs entertainment area, lounge and deck area, there is always time to socialise and meet new people in a warm atmosphere. The layout and artwork of Ubuntu Backpackers creates a warm homely feel and it certainly lives up to its name meaning ‘humanity to others’.

Ubuntu Artwork

 
With a world class surf break in sight, it’s easy to climb into the sea. Ubuntu Backpackers is ideally situated near Supertubes and the waves can be seen from the balconies. When the Billabong Pro is running, Jeffrey’s Bay turns into a buzz of activity with people from all walks of life descending on the town to feast their eyes on the great waves and the brave men who ride them. Parties are held throughout the town for the duration of the contest with bands and DJ’s rocking into the early hours of the morning, every night. If you are seeking peace and quite, go surfing, or escape into the surrounding garden, you will be pleasantly surprised to find hammocks and couches to keep you chilling for hours.

Ubuntu Quiver

So if you ever in Jeffrey’s Bay, surfer or not and find yourself in need of accommodation with a sweet vibe, pull into Ubuntu Backpackers, a fun experience is waiting for you here and you might just catch the wave of your life too.

Surf Of Your Life

For more information visit www.jaybay.co.za

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Jordy Smith clenches Billabong Pro in J-Bay

Photo’s and words by Gero Lilleike

Let’s forget about wasting drumrolls for Kelly Slater, it’s just not worth it. It’s a good thing King Kelly never showed up at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay because Jordy Smith was destined to remain champion and would have put Kelly Slater over his knee for a good old hiding.

In the final day of the contest, Jordy Smith came up against Mick Fanning in the final in less than ideal conditions in what was a closely contested heat, with Jordy taking the win. The previous day saw J-Bay lighting up with some solid swell and a full day of magnificent surfing from all the competitors. Standout performances included Jordy Smith eliminating Bede Durbidge with some insane manoeuvres. Julian Wilson also ripped into an incredible 10 point tube ride that was quite possibly the wave of the contest.

The atmoshere and vibe on the beach was equally entertaining and watching the pros at work was really amazing. Congratulations to Jordy Smith on his second win at J-Bay and to the rest of us South Africans, we can be proud.

Bloukrans Bungee Madness

The sun was out and the Bloukrans Bridge lay before me in all its greatness. It’s been three years since I first jumped off this world renowned engineering marvel situated some 40 km from Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route in South Africa.

Any way you look at it, jumping off this bridge is an experience that encompasses a hint of madness and requires courage of considerable preportions. For most of us, the thought of lunging off a bridge standing 216m tall is simply nightmarish.

However, in danger lies the pleasure and on this particular day my job was not to jump but rather to capture this act of madness. Walking over the grated steel towards the jump zone can be a hair raising experience. Far below, the Bloukrans River makes its journey to the sea and the reality of going over the edge set in. My heart started doing flip-flops and the fear of dying crept into my mind. It wasnt long before I had my harness on and the time to descend into the Bloukrans Gorge had come.

Today I wasn’t going down alone. I was accomanied by a Face Adrenalin crew member who would ensure my safe return. Soon I was attached to the wench and we started our descent into the Bloukrans Gorge. The experience was freaky. The wench was creaking earily and I thought my end was merely seconds away. The thought of plummeting to my death consumed me. I laughed at the thought and wondered why I had done this. 

Within a few minutes we found ourselves in the trees below. The feeling of touching the ground was surreal. I only had five minutes to get into position, I had to move, quickly. It wasn’t long before the jumping commenced and my camera went snap, snap, snap.

After savouring the pleasure of capturing the madness, it was time to return to the safety of the bridge. With the wench securely attached, our ascent began and the thought of dying became too real once more. Half way up, we stopped. The operator was toying with our emotions, leaving us hanging there to contemplate life and what it means to be alive. I shouted into the gorge with my echo carrying for miles into the empty vastness of this place . The wench creaked under our weight. Thank goodness we were moving again.

I reached the bridge, my legs were weak and my heart was beaming with happiness. Being alive never felt better. Today I learn’t to appreciate every single moment, because every moment is sweetly rare. For more information visit www.faceadrenalin.com

Billabong Pro J-Bay Kick Off

Words by Gero Lilleike

Photo: ASP World Tour

Somewhere in the world, a champion is tearing into some epi-stellar waves, not to mention Kelly Slater in Fiji, but here in South Africa, our very own champion, Jordy Smith, has started his assault at the 2011 Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay, offloading a well deserved 16.87 points in the first heat of the contest. 

King Jordy

It seems that the Supertubes machine hasn’t quite turned on yet but the 3-4 foot surf gave Jordy Smith plenty to work with. Click here to watch Jordy showing Kelly who the real king is. Now all we need is for King Kelly to get to J-Bay and hand over his crown. Drumroll… 

Live News from Leatherfoot to follow later in the week, for now, keep up to date with the latest action at www.billabongpro.com . Aloha.

Slaughter on the Salt River

This story was published in the CXpress on Wednesday 29 June 2011. Author: Peter Clyro

FIVE hikers – who wish to remain anonymous – were walking along Salt River in The Crags, east of Plett, when stumbling upon five poachers butchering a bush pig.

Upon sighting the hikers, the poachers made a hasty escape into the forest towards Kurland Village, leaving a substantial part of the carcass floating in the water. Local police officers were immediately informed but at the time of writing it was unclear whether the poachers had been apprehended. The scene described by the hikers is a gruesome one. “The carcass was in the river and the pig skin was hanging in a tree. The rocks were covered with blood and we found the guts lying in the bush. We also found the bush pig’s head floating in a pool nearby – it was really terrible.” They managed to dismantle and partially destroy a trap set up by the poachers. Poaching in The Crags is a common occurrence and with poverty-related social challenges rife in Kurland Village and surrounds, long-term municipal and conservation intervention is needed to curb the on-going poaching of the area’s wildlife. Nature conservation bodies such as the Southern Crags, Redford Road and Natures Valley conservancies are working relentlessly to prevent this practice, e.g. by regular anti-poaching patrols.

Nick van Tonder, an intern conservation student based at Ingwe Forest Adventures, is actively involved in conducting snare sweeps in the Southern Crags Conservancy (SCC) area – part of a snare removal programme in The Crags. “Snares have been an on-going problem with not only our wildlife being caught, but also occasionally domestic animals. The proliferation of snaring incidents at identified hot spotspoints to an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. “We seek to break this cycle by processes that involve property snare patrols as well as community-based education,” says Van Tonder. Volunteering is a key component in nature conservation and organisations such as Willing Workers in SA(WWISA), the Orca Foundation and Ingwe Forest Adventures offer nature loving volunteers the opportunity to assist in conserving nature and making a difference. For more info on these volunteer programmes, contact WWISA on 044 534 8958, Orca on 044 533 5083 or Ingwe on 083 442 6115.