Greatest Places To Golf In Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa is home to some spectacular golf courses. Many of the area’s top courses offer up excellent playing conditions along with impressive views of the surrounding area, showcasing exactly what makes Cape Town such an amazing place. While traveling in Cape Town, I was able to play a number of beautiful courses, each offering up a unique and beautiful experience. Here is a list of my four favorite courses in Cape Town.

1) Rondebosch Golf Club

golf course mack prioleau

This is one of the most challenging courses in Cape Town, especially when the prevailing South Easter is blowing. You will not find a single weak hole: even the par 3’s are very tough. The indigenous pa annua greens are consistently rated the best year round greens in the area; the greens are fairly small and contain subtle breaks, but always putt well.

golf stats.001

2) Westlake Golf Club

Westlake Golf Club

Located on the slopes of the Silvermine Mountains, Westlake Golf Club is a very easy to walk golf course. The fairways are lined with spectacular trees that also provided an extra challenge on the doglegs. The panoramic views of the surrounding mountains make this course a particularly interesting and beautiful place to golf.

mack prioleau

3) Royal Cape Golf Club

Royal Cape Golf Club mack prioleau

Royal Cape Golf Club is South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious golf courses. Set in the backdrop of Cape Town’s Table Mountain Range, you will be able to enjoy some amazing views of Devil’s Peak and the long tail of the Table Mountain Range while you play a round of golf. The Club began back in 1885 and has continued to evolve and maintain its extraordinary heritage over the past 120 years. The parklands style course was built on relatively flat terrain, making it a very comfortable course to walk and it truly caters to all levels of golfer.

mack prioleau

4) Mowbray Golf Club

Mowbray Golf Club
If you are looking to play a course with a little history and tradition then Mowbray Golf Club is the perfect place: it has hosted seven South African Opens in its time. Mowbray is a beautiful parkland course with views of Table Mountain. The signature hole is the spectacular 15th, which is both attractive and challenging. This course is located in a very convenient place too, just 15 minutes away from Cape’s bustling city center.

mack prioleau

Best Hikes In Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is blessed with a number of amazing hiking trails. These hikes provide amazing views of the city, coastline, and vegetation. Throughout my time in Cape Town, South Africa, I took on a number of incredible hikes. Here are the three hikes that you must take on while traveling in Cape Town.

1) Devil’s Peak

mackprioleau

Devil’s Peak was the last of the “3 Peaks” that I hiked, and it happened to be my favorite as well. My group took the Saddle route to the summit, which took us about an hour and ten minutes; it was surprisingly a fairly difficult journey. Once you make it to the top, however, you understand why it is worth taking on Devil’s Peak. The views were better than I could have ever imagined. On one side, you get False Bay and everything in between it and Cape Town. On the other side is a great view of Cape Town, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.

2) Lion’s Head

mack prioleau

Lion’s Head hike is great for a quick trip; it is about an hour trip to the summit. Lion’s Head is much more manageable than Table Mountain or Devil’s Peak, making it the perfect place for anyone looking for an easier hike. During the day, the views overlooking Cape Town, Robben Island, and Camps Bay are spectacular. You can also hike up Lion’s Head during a full moon for the unique opportunity to see the beautiful city lit up from above.

3) Table Mountain

mackprioleau

I am very grateful for hiking Table Mountain, but after making the journey multiple times already, I will most likely stick to the cable car next time. It is quite an overwhelming experience the first time you experience the views from the top of Table Mountain. The elevation of this mountain is much higher than Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, giving you an interesting perspective of the surrounding landscape.  Cape car aside, the Platteklip Gorge route is the fastest way to the top, taking about an hour and a half to the top. Although your endurance will be tested as you essentially climb straight up tall steps. The reason Table Mountain is last on my list is because you have the same view the entire trip up the mountain.

My Favorite Surfing Spots In Cape Town

The surfing in Cape Town, South Africa is phenomenal. As I previously discussed, there are a number of great surf spots in South Africa, offering up a variety of conditions and atmospheres. Now that I have left Cape Town, I have had time to reflect on some of my favorite surfing locations in Cape Town. Here are my 5 favorite surfing spots in Cape Town, South Africa.

1) Long Beach

After four months of Cape Town surfing, I would call Long Beach, located in the surf town Kommetjie, my “home break.” It has a very consistent beach break, which is great for those that are new to the area. Located on the right side, there is a steep and fast short break, which ideal for the more advanced surfers; on the left side there are much more manageable breaks as well. The locals are nice at Long Beach, making for an extremely enjoyable surf. There are also some spectacular views of Chapman’s Peak here as well.

2) Big Bay

It was not until about a month and a half left in my trip that I had the opportunity to surf Big Bay, but it quickly became one of my favorite spots. Located just 20 minutes on the other side of Table Bay, the views overlooking Cape Town are truly spectacular. Big Bay also has beach break with multiple peaks. While the location is very crowded on the weekends, if you get there on a weekday morning, you will find the water nearly empty. When it is time to take a rest, there is a lively shopping center located right on the beach, with surf shops and restaurants, perfect for a post-surf beer or coffee.

3) Dunes

While it is a long journey to reach, Dunes is a regional classic for South Africans. After parking your car at Noordhoek Beach, you will then have to head another 30 minutes down the beach to Dunes. Once you are there, you will know it. It takes a fair amount of swell to get going, but when the conditions are right, the waves is a perfect and powerful: A-frame breaking to the left and the right.

4) Victoria Bay

I had the opportunity to surf Victoria Bay one time while we were doing the Garden Route road trip. Victoria Bay is a 3-hour drive up the eastern coast from Cape Town. Victoria Bay has a right point break that works consistently. There is a tough take off spot over shallow rocks, but once you are up it is a great long right.

5) Witsand

Located on the other side of Kommetjie, Witsands is somewhat of a last resort break. Although the waves aren’t usually the best, the water is crystal clear and there are great views of Misty Cliffs. Witsands is also rarely crowded, so it is nice to have some space and not worry about other riders.

 

10 Facts You Should Know About Hunting & Conservation

DIVING

Hunting is a great sport that provides you the opportunity to reflect on life in some of the most beautiful places on earth. One problem that surrounds hunting, however, is the fact that many people do not understand what it really means to be a hunter. Those not familiar with the sport think that hunters are simply looking to kill animals. In actuality, hunters will often times come home empty handed. Even if a hunt is successful, there is much more to the sport than killing. As you will see below, hunting actually is an influential part of conservation. Here are 10 facts that you should know about the sport of hunting.

1) President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, created our national forest and grasslands. 230 million acres of nature and wildlife are now forever protected for everyone to use and enjoy.

2) Approximately $371 million a year is generated for conversation, though an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows. This money puts a lot of people to work and helps fuel a number of great conservation programs.

3) Hunting supports 680,000 jobs, including game wardens, waitresses, biologists and motel clerks.

4) Through state licenses and fees, hunter pay, on average, $796 million a year for conservation programs.

5) If you tally up all the various fees, licensing and taxes, hunters raise over $1.6 billion a year for conservation efforts.

6) In a world that loves to go all natural and eat organic, hunting is the purest form of organic eating. Most game is high in protein and provides great nutritional value.

7) Over the past century, the populations of elk, whitetails, turkeys and ducks have grown from thousands to millions thanks to the help of hunters and programs funded by hunters. Without the efforts of hunters, many of the animals that are abundant today would have dwindling populations.

8) Hunters keep nuisance species in check and keep herd numbers healthy for a number of different animal species.

9) A study done by two individuals found that sport hunting offers great benefits to the inhabitants of the land. Most times, the rural natives are happy when a dangerous animal is harvested because the village becomes safer.

10) Eva Shockey, a Canadian hunter, said it best: “As hunters, we need to stand strong, unite as one and NEVER apologize for being who we are! We should focus our energy on being the best hunters we can be by challenging ourselves to be ethical, respectful and responsible so as to humbly uphold our proud heritage. Now, let’s get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

7 Surfing Tips For Beginners

mack prioleau

Surfing is an amazing sport. But just like any sport, it takes time, patience and physical coordination to learn how to do it. If you are new to surfing, there are probably a number of questions you are unsure of, including: what board to use, how to get up on the board, and how to behave around veteran surfers in the water? If you are looking to hit the water for the first time, here are 7 things that you should know.

1) What To Wear

When it comes to surfing wardrobe, the main factor to consider is the water temperature. If you are going to be in warm water, you will probably only need a pair of boardshorts and a rash guard – a shirt that prevents irritation from the sun and surfboard wax. However, if you are going out in some colder temperatures, you will want to invest in an assortment of surf wear to make the experience tolerable. You will want a sleeveless vest, a long-sleeved jacket and a head-to-toe hooded wetsuit. You should look for items made with neoprene, which is warm, tough and durable. Lastly, you will want to get a leash, which is a ankle strap that secures you to your board. The leash will save you from having to chase down the board when you wipe out.

2) The Right Board

Your first surfboard should be easy to handle and built to last until you are ready for something more advanced. The size and construction of the board are the two factors that impact the handling and durability the most. Longer and wider boards are much more stable. You should find a board that matches your size, however, even if you are small you will still want a board on the bigger side. As for construction, softboards, which are made of foam for extra buoyancy are good for true beginners. However, fast learners may want to consider an epoxy board, which consists of a foam core encased in epoxy resin. These boards are both buoyant and tough.

3) The Right Spot

The idea spot to learn to surf is the ocean equivalent of a kiddie pool: straight, sandy shoreline, free from hazardous rocks and reefs, with a few strategically placed sandbars. These conditions allow for waves to build, but not to overwhelming sizes. You will also likely avoid veteran surfers in these areas because the waves break up quickly. This means that you will not feel self-conscious or pressured while in the water. Veteran surfers can also be very territorial and often look at newcomers as a nuisance and a danger, which can be true. It is helpful to ask people where the place is very beginners wherever you go.

4) Get In Shape

Getting in shape makes it much easier to learn how to surf. Surfing is a whole-body surf, but certain muscle groups get worked much more than others. You need strong arms for paddling and core strength to pop up from lying on the board to standing. Balance is extremely important. If you want to be able to pop up and ride the waves you will need to have great balance to make your time in the water worthwhile.

5) Learn To Read The Weather

It is important to check surf reports and surf forecasts before you hit the beach. Surf reports and forecasts are readily available online or as a phone application. To apply the information, you will need to understand the key terms and some basic meteorology. Two important terms to understand are groundswells and windsells. Groundswells are high-energy waves, produced by strong winds far out at sea. Windswells, the products of local winds, are weaker. It is important to note that surf conditions are, in general, much less predictable than the weather.

6) Watch And Learn

You can learn a lot just by watching other surfers in the water. You should definitely take some time to observe from the beach before you get into the water yourself. Take note of physical features and objects, such as jetties, piers and fishing boats. Check for flags and signs that signal for hazardous conditions. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the line-up, which is the area offshore where surfers wait to catch waves. Avoid crossing the path between waiting surfers and the surf.

7) Obey Surfing Etiquette

Although it is an individual sport, surfing is very much a community where people share the waves. Learning and following the unwritten code of conduct is extremely important for beginners. It prevents accidents and shows that you respect your fellow surfers. For example, wait your turn in the lineup. It is also discouraged to catch a wave when another surfer is already riding it, so pay attention to what is going on around you.

For more information, please check out this article.

The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jump

Mack Prioleau

The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee is the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee at 707 feet above the Bloukrans River. The jump is situated at the Bloukrans Bridge on N2 Highway at the border between the Eastern Cape and Western Cape along South Africa’s Garden Route. The bungee jump is open 365 days a year and almost all weather conditions.

History

The Bloukrans River Bridge became the first African bridge for bungee jumping back in 1990. Since 1997, Face Adrenalin has operated the Bloukrans Bridge Bungee accident free.

World Records

There are a number of world records associated with Bloukrans Bridge. The following world records achieved at this location include:

  • Mohr Keet became the oldest person to bungee jump when he jumped from the Bloukrans Bridge on April 6, 2010 at the age of 96 years old.
  • Scott Huntly broke the world record for the most bungee jumps in a day when he jumped from the Bloukrans Bridge 107 times in nine hours. Scott completed this record on May 11, 2011 in an effort to raise funds for local communities.
  • Veronica Dean-Boschoff set a world record for achieving 19 jumps in a one hour span on May 9, 2002.

Famous Visitors

The Bloukrans Bridge attracts adrenaline seekers from all over the world. Face Adrenaline has played host to the following visitors:  Prince Harry, Jack Osbourne, Thabo Mbeki, the Zuma family, Bobby Skinstad, Hansie Cronje, Fanie De Villiers, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and The Amazing Race.

If you are up for an adrenaline rush then you need to take a trip to the Bloukrans Bridge. Check out some photos from my bungee jump below.

 

Table Mountain Sunrise Summit

Table Mountain Sunrise: Mack Prioleau

Last week a group of my Vanderbilt friends and I hiked Table Mountain for sunrise. We took the Platteklip Gorge route, which overlooks the Cape Town for the whole hike. The hike was tough and long (about 1.5-2 hours) but was well worth it once at the top. We summited right at 5:30 in time for first light and enjoyed the breathtaking views for a few hours before taking the cable car down. Thankfully the cable car was running this time.

The Platteklip is the most direct route to the top of the mountain, making it extremely difficult. However, the path is well constructed, with stone steps and anti-erosion gabions. But this route is by far the most steep, so it is recommended to give yourself some time to get up. The views while ascending the mountain are spectacular, which certainly makes it worth your time to stop and take in your surroundings.

Witnessing the views from the top of Table Mountain for the sunrise was certainly worth the effort. Watching the city of Cape Town begin to wake up and come to life while looking down from above is a pretty surreal experience.

Table Mountain is an amazing hike at any time of the day, as it provides amazing views of both the city, coastline, and the unique plants to the area. To put it in perspective, there are more plant species on Table Mountain then there are in the entire United Kingdom. While hiking up the mountain, you are likely to encounter rock hyraxes, colorful lizards and a variety of birdlife.

Check out some of the pictures of our hike up Table Mountain below.

  • Table Mountain Sunrise: Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau

  • Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
  • Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
  • Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
  • Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
  • Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau
    Table Mountain - Mack Prioleau

Great Hikes In The Lone Star State

With such an expansive and diverse terrain, the state of Texas offers some of the best hiking trails in the country. From steep mountains to swampy grasslands, there is a wide range of trails to explore. There are over 70 national and state parks throughout the state, giving you a seemingly endless list of possibilities for those looking to experience the outdoors. I recently read this great article, which inspired me to list some of my favorite hikes from around the state of Texas.

1) Sam Houston National Forest

Lone Star Trail - Mack Prioleau

Located in Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston National Forest has a spectacular 128-mile Lone Star Hiking Trail that meanders through the forest. It will take you several trips to see all the trails within the park, making it a great place for regular hiking.

2) Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend _ Mack Prioleau

Located in Bend, Texas, this state park is home to over 32 miles of trails. Colorado Bend has a diverse terrain, featuring impressive hills, canyons, and a 60-foot tall waterfall (Gorman Falls).

3) Palo Duro Canyon

Palo_Duro_Canyon_Mack Prioleau

Palo Duro Canyon is located in Canyon, Texas near Amarillo. The canyon offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails. You will be able to find a number of challenging hikes as well as beautiful views and colors.

4) Wolf Mountain Trail

Wolf Trail _ Mack Prioleau

This hike is located in Pedernales Falls State Park, which is just west of Austin, Texas.The 7-mile loop trail is a great way to spend the day. The top of the mountain provides incredible views of the surrounding hill country.

5) Lost Maples State Natural Area

Maple Mack Prioleau

Located in Vanderpool, Texas outside of San Antonio, a hike through Lost Maples State Natural Area will have you feeling like you traveled to the northeast. The park’s name derives from the bigtooth maples; the best time to come is in the fall to witness the full display of fall colors.

6) Enchanted Rock

enchanted_rock_mack_prioleau

The Enchanted Rock, located north of Fredericksburg, is a must-see for all Texans. This giant mass of molten magma provides an extremely challenging hike. The panoramic views from the top, however, are truly worth the effort.

7) Guadalupe Peak

GuadalupePeak_Mack_Prioleau

Located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 110 miles east of El Paso, you will find the highest point in Texas. While it is quite a long drive out west, the unparalleled views make it a place worth checking out. If you are up for the 3,000 feet to the top of the peak, you will be rewarded with breaktaking sights. On a clear day, you can even see the distant sierras on the other side of the border.

Hiking Lion’s Head In Cape Town, South Africa

Lions Head (1) Mack Prioleau

Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, located between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion’s Head, which peaks at 2,195 feet, is a great half-day hike that provides amazing views of the city of Cape Town and the Atlantic Seaboard.

Originally, the Dutch settlers had named the peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) and it’s counterpart, Signal Hill, was referred to as Leeuqen Staart (Lion’s Tail). The two mountains the the space between them closely resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx.

The composition of the mountain, from the rocks to the flowers is both equally beautiful and interesting to observe. The lower portion of Lion’s Head was formed by the Cape Granite and the Malmesbury formation, while the upper peak consists of flat-lying sandstone.

While hiking Lion’s Head, you will be sure to see some people paragliding off the mountain. The slopes and idea wind conditions make it a very popular launching point for the paragliders as you can see in the video below.

The mountain has unique and rich biodiversity, with three main types that are vegetation that can only be found in Cape Town. Granite Fynbos, an endangered vegetation, can be found all along the hike. Peninsula Shale Renosterveld, which is critically endangered, can be found on the lower slopes towards Signal Hill. Sandstone Fynbos, which is also endangered, can be found on the summit of Lion’s Head.

The hike takes a few hours and can be quite challenging. The climb begins at Signal Hill Road, at the base of Forestry Road and winds around the head to a section with chains. The chains have been added to assist climbers over the steep, rocky section of the mountain. You can bypass the route with chains and take an alternative route, but this climb is challenging as well.

Check out some pictures from my hike up Lion’s Head here:

  • Lions Head (1) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (2) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (3) Mack Prioleau

  • Lions Head (4) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (5) Mack Prioleau

 

Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips

When I am back in Texas, one of my favorite things to do is spend time out on the water fishing for largemouth bass. These fish have a distinct appearance and are actually one of the most popular game fish in North America. If you are new to fishing or interesting in trying your hand at largemouth bass for the first time, I have compiled a list of some great tips, tricks and tactics to help make your fishing trip as fun as possible.

largemouth bass Mack Prioleau

1) Fish During The Pre-Spawn

The best time of the year to fish for bass is during pre-spawn, which starts in the spring when the water begins to heat up to around 55 to 65 degrees. During this time of the year, both the male and female bass will move to shallow waters, begin aggressively feeding and looking for the best place to next. The bass will actually move to such shallow waters, that you can usually locate the bass right from shore. There is no question that this is the best time of the year to catch your trophy bass.

Note: Remember to catch and release female bass so they can finish their spawn and continue the cycle of life for bass.

2) Know Bass Habits

If you want to have success out on the water, then it is important to understand the habits of the bass. The type of weather dictates where bass may or may not be, so you should base your location off the weather conditions. When the sun is out, the bass will look for shelter. When it is cloudy or there is little sun, the bass will move out from their protective shelter. Having an understanding for where bass would look for shelter in the water can help you locate the best place to fish.

Mack Prioleau3) The Best Time Of Day

The best time of the day to fish for bass is either during the early hours of the morning or the last few hours going into the evening. If it is a cloudy day, the bass will feed during the afternoon time. It is recommended that you get to your fishing hole of choice about an hour before sunup and/or sunset.

4) Always Keep An Eye On The Line

It is easy for your fishing line to get frayed from contact with rocks, gravel, branches, stumps or any other objects in the water. Therefore, you should frequently check your line right above the lure you are using. The last thing you want to do is lose a bass because your line broke.

5) Size Doesn’t Matter

The size of the lure does not dictate the size of the bass you could catch. A largemouth bass will strike prey that is 25% to 50% of its length. A large lure can also catch small bass. If you are not catching any fish on the lure you start with then you should try a smaller lure and see if that can produce some bites.

 

Info courtesy of Fishing Tips Depot.