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The Karoo Star Shrine

Image courtesy of Adam WelzNuclear explosions, ice-cold kisses, fish fossils, James Bond, eight thousand new galaxies, white guys getting up to mischief in township shebeens … the Karoo town of Sutherland, home to the Southern African Large Telescope, ain’t as sleepy as it looks.


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Secret World of the Desert River

cunene riverThe boy was anxious for a parachute. He had been told our safari to the Cunene River between Namibia and Angola would be no sedate affair for tourists but a mission into crocodile-infested creeks, raging maelstroms and a plunging abyss – into The Border.


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Diamond Fever

diamond diggersNear Kimberley, scores of wretchedly poor miners dig by hand in search of miracles. In the great journo tradition I’m deathly hungover, and when I lurch towards the guide he takes two guarded steps backwards. Am I too in the grip, unawares, of diamond fever?


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Union Jack Bohemia

drinking contest kznWe’re sitting on bales of hay on an open ten-ton truck, murdering the drinks. Guys in jesters’ caps totter arm in arm, beers raised in salute to the blazing blue skies of KwaZulu-Natal’s Midlands. It’s like The Canterbury Tales with a brewery sponsorship.


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World Inside the Beacon’s Eye

Image courtesy of Kim LudbrookTechnology and cost-cutting are putting the lights out on the old men of the sea – and closing the book on their stories of far-flung places. Lighthouses and their keepers may be isolated, but the histories they accumulate speak tellingly of wider events.


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