Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Peace Start 2014. Launch at Heia Safari Ranch

It was somewhat ironic that this peace initiative was being launched
in a week where a civilian plane was shot out of the sky,
and Israel and Hamas are fighting over land in the Gaza strip.

Gaby Burmer and her daughter Bianca with Cito Otto,
ex front man of Wonderboom and now the "face" of this project

Gaby, together with Graham Watkins, one of the performers.

One of the charities that will benefit from Peace Start

Cito telling it like it is.

While he spoke about the concert and the worldwide events,
there were plenty of cyclists out on the various MTB Trails


A stick and a hoop is always a great plaything for a small child.
Not certain how "entertained" Mom is

Cito doing his Bon Jovi impersonation 

A large crowd of celebrities and Brand ambassadors
were enjoying the stunning weather

"Put your hands together"...

The young lady in the hat is Andra,
one of the performers

You might remember him as the guy in the leopard skin Speedo from the Vodacom advert
Michael de Pinna is one of the brand ambassadors

Another cyclist finishing...

Helen des Bois is another of the brand ambassadors

Cito suprised with a birthday cake

Tim, Bronwyn and Brian striding in to the launch

Collett Dawson the powerhouse behind the project

This is the line-up for the concert.
This event is part of a series of concerts held all over the world on September 21.

"Travel & Things" was an entrant in this competition.


All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page:

Going nowhere...slowly

A cold July morning finds me on the Gautrain,
Bound for ORT and a day visit to an African neighbour...
Or so I thought.

As it was a 07h30 call time,
I made certain that I would be there with time to spare.
Little did I know that time was to be the least of my problems.

Early morning as Alex awakens

I thought that this power station was abandoned...
judging from the smoke, I was wrong

Morning sunshine catching the power plant

The sun sneaking in through the carriage window

My arrival at ORT.
No luggage and no rush.
The way I have always wanted to travel.
With "travel" being the operative word...

Not sure why this plane was "peeing"...
perhaps it is fearful of flying,
or it has just seen the flight plan!

Unfortunately NOT my plane.

So, despite my reservations about the chain,
I chose to have breakfast.
And I was pleasantly surprised by the service and the food.
Both very good...
And it was here that I sat from 07h00 until our flight was cancelled several hours later.
I must say that it was not the fault of the new carrier,
but rather of the Civil Aviation Authority of the non aforementioned country.
I have chosen NOT to mention the carrier, as the problem was not theirs.
I hope that they get their problems sorted out real soon and I look forward to flying with them

At least these Swallows do not have to rely on an airline to take them to their destination.

Our pilots leaving to go home?
I don't know...
But I was not too far behind them as I headed the Gautrain
and back to where my car was parked.
There were positives aspects...
1] I saved several hours of parking fees
2] I got to get "fast-tracked" through passport control.
So not a total waste of time.
However, as a freelance Blogger, it was hard earned money out of my pocket

"Travel & Things" was an entrant in this competition.

All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page:

Monday, July 21, 2014

The full team and route...Kilimanjaro Challenge 2014

And so the training begins in earnest...
First team meeting complete
Boots have been collected and soon the team walking will commence

Pre and post climb accommodation will be at either Keys Mbokomo or Keys Uru. 

 Both of these hotels have good views of Mount Kilimanjaro 
and are classified as modern "tourist" standard hotels.

The rooms are of medium size, and are all en-suite.

The MOST important piece of equipment...
A Port-a-loo.
We did not have one on the last climb,
and I will NOT make that mistake again.
This team will have some home comforts!

Thanks to Cape Union Mart,
these air mattresses will allow the team to sleep comfortably.
Another item that I did not take with in 2006

This is the itinerary for the October, 2014 Challenge...

The Rongai Route
Sunday 05 October 2014  
After an early breakfast, a senior guide will conduct your climb briefing.   
You will then be driven to Rongai Gate, where you will meet the rest of your guides and porters. 
 After the formalities at the gate have been completed, begin your ascent to the first cave en route. 

Winners and Terence collecting there climbing boots,
with thanks to Morne at Hi-Tec
 The climb should take approximately 2 to 3 hours.  
This part takes you through the cultivated area of the mountain, 
where you can see how local farmers tend to their lands on the slopes.  
Overnight at Simba Camp (1,800m).
Photo: These are my boots from 2006. Just the way they came back from that trip. Time to put the laces in and take to the hills.
My Hi-Tec boots from 2006...
still dirty...and will once again be with me on this attempt
Monday 06 October 2014  
Early in the morning, begin trekking out past the second cave, and on to the third cave.  
This should take you approximately 6 to 7 hours.  
The climb today is relatively difficult, taking you through forest and well into the moorland.  
Overnight at Kikelelwa Camp (3,800m).

Bianca Schulte
Food and Beverage manager at Heia Safari Ranch
Tuesday 07 October 2014  
This is an acclimatization day - you will hike further up the mountain, 
then return to third cave for overnight.

David Batzofin
Travel writer, photographer, broadcaster and educator
Wednesday 08 October 2014  
Continue ascending to Mawenzi Tam Hut, which should take approximately 7 hours to get to.  Overnight camping at Mawenzi Tam Hut (4,330m).

Terence Parkin
Olympic swimmer and athlete
Thursday 09 October 2014  
Depart to Kibo Hut, which should take you approximately 4 to 5 hours.  
Settle down for an early night camping at Kibo Hut (4,703m). 

Winners Sishenge
Deputy principal of St Vincent school for the deaf
Friday 10 October 2014: 
Summit Day!!   
Today you will be heading for the highest point in Africa - Uhuru Peak (5,895m).  
You will be woken around midnight to commence the 5 hour hike,
 on heavy scree up to Gillman's Point (5,686m).  
You will be walking in the dark as the ground is frozen and this makes it easier to ascend this steep section.

 As you reach the Crater Rim, the sun should be rising to display Africa in all its glory beneath you.  
The views are spectacular and it makes the entire journey worth every step!

Continue another 1 or 2 hours to Uhuru Peak, along the wide paths of the crater rim, peering down onto massive glaciers shining in the morning sun. 

Me at the summit  in 2006
Arriving at Uhuru can be quite emotional, with the strain of the summit finally behind you and Africa surrounding you! 

After a few photographs at the summit, begin your steady descent to Kibo Hut for a rest and some nourishment, then continue to Horombo Hut to camp for overnight.

The team...jumping for joy outside our favourite coffee shop in Linden
The Argentinean Bakery
Saturday 11 October 2014  
After breakfast, descend to Marangu Gate.  
You will be transferred to Keys Hotel for a well-needed shower and an evening of celebration by the swimming pool. 
 Overnight at Keys Hotel on a bed and full English breakfast basis.
Sunday 12 October 2014  
Your tour ends today after breakfast and you will be transferred from Keys Hotel to Kilimanjaro Airport.  

Once again, all being well, the Radio Today flag will flutter at Uhuru Peak.
And this time it will be joined by several others!

Stay tuned to my " Travel & Things " radio show as we build up towards the expedition.
The show airs on a Saturday between 09h00 and 10h00 (South African time)
The show is rebroadcast on a Wednesday between 19h00 and 20h00 
1485am broadcasts live from its Johannesburg studio
and nationally on DStv audio channel 869.
Radio Today (@Radio2Day) also streams via its website:
AND on cell phones:
All the podcasts can be found via this link:
So you have no excuse!


Displaying Behind the Scenes_Master_JPG change.jpg
Publicity is being handled by Di Sparks



"Travel & Things" was an entrant in this competition.
Not a winner, but one of 24 travel Blogs that entered


Marked images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission.
Team photographs were taken by Emil Wessels. Other images were supplied by Google Images
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page: