The Zulu name for the Drakensberg, uKhahlamba, means “barrier of spears”. The precipitous basalt cliffs of the escarpment drop straight down from the flat plateau while tumbling waterfalls pitch onto the lower slopes, cutting out deep valleys separated by dramatic green ridges. (Images: Mary Alexander, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more freephotos, visit the image library.)Fiona McIntoshI’ve hiked many of the world’s best trails: the Annapurna Circuit and well-trodden path to Everest Base Camp, the Milford Track, the Inca Trail and the classic alpine Haute Route from Chamonix to Mont Blanc. But I rate the Drakensberg Traverse as one of the finest of them all.The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park has many marked trails on its lower slopes, but once up on the mountain you’re in the wilderness. And what a magnificent wilderness it is. The precipitous basalt cliffs of the escarpment drop straight down from the flat plateau while tumbling waterfalls pitch onto the lower slopes, cutting out deep valleys separated by dramatic green ridges.Hiking the length of the Berg, from the dramatic Sentinel Buttress in the north of the range to Bushman’s Nek in the south, is no mean undertaking. You need to strong, fit and well-prepared, but there are shorter options, one of the most popular being the five-day Sentinel to Cathedral Peak circuit.Apart from a few well-used steep passes that give access to the plateau, there are no paths and only a few difficult-to-locate caves as shelter, but if you’re an experienced hiker, or go with a guide, the Drakensberg Plateau is a pristine, rugged wonderland that you could spend weeks exploring.Most groups allow 10 or 11 days to complete the traverse, but as with so many hikes it’s a trade off – the more food you carry, the slower you go. When I did it we opted to go fast and light, taking only a week’s food.Not that we could go too light, given the altitude and the unpredictable Berg weather. Massive daily electrical storms are the norm in summer, and snow and blizzards happen throughout the year, so full wet/cold weather gear – including a lightweight four-season mountain tent and sleeping bag – are essential.The trailhead is the Sentinel car park, accessed by a good road from the Free State town of Qwa Qwa. Once you’ve signed the mountain register and paid a paltry sum for park entry you head out on the obvious trail up towards the great golden wall of the Sentinel.Other than by driving up the Sani Pass in the southern Berg, this is the only easy way up to the plateau.After contouring around the base of the sheer cliffs you find yourself in a gully, where two sets of chain ladders allow you to scale the impossibly steep rock band. They’re not for the vertically challenged, but if you steel your nerves and keep looking up you’ll be on the top in minutes.The summit of Mont aux Sources a couple of hours up the valley is a popular option with day trippers. It’s also the first peak you’ll bag on your journey, but before heading off take time to enjoy the incredible vistas. Hike to the edge of the Eastern Buttress for a bird’s-eye view of the famous Amphitheatre and follow the Thukela River to where it tumbles off the edge in a spectacular waterfall down to the valley a kilometre below.Once you’ve summitted Mont aux Sources – a somewhat anticlimactic event as the peak is really only a pimple on the raised plateau – head south to find a campsite. Take it easy – the air is thin at 3 000 metres and, until you acclimatise to the altitude and lack of oxygen, you’ll find any exertion, even sleeping, difficult.This northern section is the wildest, most spectacular part of the Berg – a hostile, jagged land of deep valleys and steep ridges. Often you’re above the clouds and the early morning mist rising from the plains below gives the mountains an eerie, isolated feel.The distinctive shapes of the free-standing peaks poke through the layer of white that obscures the valleys below – the Rockeries, Mweni Needles, Cathedral Peak, the Pyramid, Bell and Devil’s Tooth. The Zulu name for the Drakensberg, uKhahlamba, means “barrier of spears” – and from this vantage it’s easy to see why.You look down on soaring bearded vultures, pick out splashes of colourful flowers in the grass and occasionally catch a glimpse of a buck disappearing up a rocky slope. If the weather holds, the evening skies are studded with stars. It’s a magical place.Most hikers are content to head down the Tseketseke Pass to the Cathedral Peak Hotel, but if you have the time and energy carry on, over Cleft Peak and on to the fortress-like outcrop of Mafadi, South Africa’s highest point, which straddles the border with Lesotho.The quickest way south from here is through Lesotho, where the landscape changes dramatically. For the first time you’ll see other people – shepherds wrapped in blankets minding their sheep. At night they return, with their flocks and dogs, to their kraals and stone huts; at dawn you hear the sound of bells again as they take the animals back out to pasture.The biggest shock is when you cross the road leading up from the top of Sani Pass and see houses, metal sheds and the odd car for the first time in a week, but once you’re over the road you’re back in the wilderness.The southern part of the Berg, with its carpets of pretty flowers, green rounded hills and herds of sheep and cattle, is more welcoming than the north, so by the time the hike is over and you’ve found the unmarked route down to Bushman’s Nek you’ve been gently reintegrated into lowland life.There are various other easily accessible peaks, such as Champagne Castle, Giants Castle and Thabana Ntleyana, the highest point in southern Africa, to bag along the way. I’d thoroughly recommend these short detours from the most direct route for the views and sheer exhilaration of standing on top of the magnificent peaks.A traverse of the Drakensberg is an adventure you’ll remember all your life. So savour the moment, smell the flowers, look at the dramatic rocks and explore the caves and overhangs for rock art. You’ll soon appreciate why the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and will long to return.Peak High Mountaineering offer the full traverse of the Dragon’s Back and other guided hikes in the Drakensberg. Phone +27 33 343 3168, email email@example.com or visit www.peakhigh.co.za.Related articlesWorld heritage in South AfricaThe adventure starts here Walking for Eden, and elephants Slackpacking in the Cederberg Unforgettable SA hiking trails South Africa’s tourist highlights Life’s a beach in South Africa Useful linksPeak High Mountaineering Official Drakensberg tourism site Drakensberg Tourism Association Drakensberg Super Traverse Exploration Society of Southern Africa
15 February 2012 The South African government aims to create more than 1.5-million job opportunities in the next two years through its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which officials say has proved effective in the fight against poverty. A review of the programme’s funding model, currently under way, is also expected to make it easy for municipalities to access start-up grants to speed up community-based job creation projects. Addressing a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday, Public Works Minister Thembelani Nxesi said the review would allow municipalities to receive 40 percent of their allocated EPWP grant as start-up funding even if they didn’t produce work plans, which was previously the case. “We have witnessed major weaknesses in the way the funding model was implemented, so with the review we will be providing technical assistance to the municipality to allow them to use the start-up funding to create the necessary jobs without having to wait,” Nxesi said.Half-a-million jobs in 2011 The EPWP plays a crucial role in government’s job creation drive, with half-a-million jobs created by the scheme in 2011. An estimated 79 000 work opportunities were created through community work programmes. About 1 335 jobs were facilitated by the National Youth Development Agency, which also provided career guidance to more than 5 000 young people in 2011. Nxesi said a third-quarter report, to be released in the next two weeks, would show a further increase in the number of jobs created through the EPWP, mostly in rural communities across the country.Major state infrastructure programme The target of 1.5-million public works jobs by 2014 is said to have been influenced by the infrastructure programme announced by President Jacob Zuma last week. During his State of the Nation address last Thursday, Zuma unveiled plans to expand the country’s infrastructure programme as part of efforts to create five-million new jobs in this decade. Analysts have said the move will allow the state to play a more leading role in employment creation in the face of a weakening world economy and falling company profits. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, also addressing the briefing, said the emphasis on infrastructure expansion in the State of the Nation address created an ideal opportunity to introduce a labour-intensive approach to development. “It is envisaged that many EPWP work opportunities will be created,” Dlamini said. Source: BuaNews
This film shows the creative potential of projection mapping in organic environments.Most video producers and filmmakers are accustomed to having their finished work projected on a flat screen, but have you ever seen footage projected on organic surfaces? That’s exactly what Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad did in their art film Projections in the Forest.Instead of using a traditional projection mapping surface like a screen, building or wedding cake, the artists decided to use the rugged and organic surfaces found in the forest, from mushrooms to spiderwebs. The result is an avatar-like image that can only be described as amazing.The film was inspired by a natural phenomenon known as bioluminescence, the emission of light by a living organism. The filmmakers took careful considerations when projecting their video on the forest to play off the natural beauty and shape of the objects in nature, rather than simply project a square image on them.If you haven’t already seen the video here it is:As you can probably imagine, shooting the video was quite a feat to accomplish. In the following behind the scenes video you can see what went into creating this innovative project. The artists had to work day and night to get the perfect shots, while overcoming some challenging obstacles like frogs jumping, lining up the projections, and working with a complicated rig.From the video we can see that Friedrich and Tarek used a combination of Photoshop and After Effects to create the luminescent designs.If you want to read more about Projections in the Forest check out the website that Friedrich and Tarek created for the project. On the website you can read more about how they got the shots, where they drew their inspiration from, how they prepared, and the entire production process.What did you think about this video and technique? Share in the comments below.
Jose Rizal U shoots for a Final Four berth when it battles resurgent Mapua, while Arellano fights for survival against San Sebastian in NCAA Season 93 basketball on Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.A victory by the Heavy Bombers in the 2 p.m. clash with the Cardinals will book a return trip to the Final Four for coach Vergel Meneses’ charges, who last made the postseason two years ago.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa View comments The Chiefs, at 6-9, are teetering on the brink of elimination but a win could muddle up the race for the remaining Final Four berth. —CEDELF P. TUPAS Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ Although they are already out of the running for a Final Four spot, the Cardinals remain dangerous after last week’s back-to-back wins—their first this season.“What’s important is that we have our fate in our hands,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses in Filipino. “We want to continue improving this late in the season and this game (against Mapua) gives us another chance to do that.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Bombers are also looking to continue their three-game win run and avoid a playoff for the last postseason spot. JRU is coming off a 60-58 victory over San Sebastian on Friday.Arellano, on the other hand, hopes to fan its Final Four hopes against San Sebastian in the 4 p.m. clash. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:11’Not just basketball’: Circumcisions, pageants at Philippine courts00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Stags brace for tough stretch, seek to end Final Four drought LATEST STORIES Read Next
Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Jayjay Helterbrand announces retirement Christian Standhardinger was drafted first by San Miguel in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netWith San Miguel taking Christian Standhardinger as the top overall selection in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday, doubts were raised as far as his availability for Gilas Pilipinas is concerned.But the 28-year-old forward reaffirmed his position with the Philippine team, noting that whenever he gets the call, he’ll be more than glad to once again don the national team colors.ADVERTISEMENT “I’m very committed to Gilas. If they want me to play for them, I would be honored to play for Gilas. Nothing changed here,” he said.For now, what’s next for Standhardinger is Hong Kong before Manila to suit up for San Miguel.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’ll play for six months there,” he said, referring to his stint with Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).“Every PBA team knew that when they draft me that I’m not gonna be available for the next six months. So I’m gonna play in Hong Kong and try to win a championship there. After that, I can’t wait to be a part of the PBA and a part of San Miguel and I hope to continue winning championships here,” he said. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ LATEST STORIES Read Next Standhardinger flew back to Hong Kong late Sunday night to return to his ABL team.The opening of the new ABL season is on November 25, which is expected until the middle of April.By then, Standhardinger gets to finally join the Beermen in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Barcelona chief Abidal unimpressed by Fabian Ruiz after Napoli scouting tripby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona chief Eric Abidal was left unimpressed by Fabian Ruiz during a weekend scouting mission to Italy.Abidal traveled to Italy last weekend to see Napoli defeat Lecce at the Stadio Via del Mare.And the subject of his trip was Napoli pair Ruiz and Kalidou Koulibaly.However, Abidal came away unimpressed by the antics of Spanish midfielder Ruiz, says Mundo Deportivo.He scored the third goal for Napoli and could not think of anything better than celebrating in the face of angry local fans – a gesture that did not go down well with Abidal. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Residents of Sawyers in Trelawny are hailing the upgrading work done on the community’s primary school by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF). The project, undertaken at a cost of $21 million, included construction of a new sanitation block and reading room, erection of perimeter fencing, provision of water tanks, and an industrial stove and freezer for the canteen. Clevy Armstrong, who was one of the first students to attend the school when it opened in 1948, expressed gratitude to JSIF. He said the improvements will enhance learning at the institution. “The community boasts a splendid refurbished building to accommodate our children in a clean, hospitable, sanitary and healthy learning environment. It is also a conducive environment for our teachers, who are now more energised to work with our children so that they can learn better,” Mr. Armstrong said at the recent handing over ceremony. He noted that the community has been given a lasting legacy. “JSIF, you have made our dream come true; you have left us a legacy. We will stand by the teachers to see to it that no vandalism takes place, and that everything is maintained and kept to the best,” he stated. “We want you to know of the great significance this is to us in Sawyers and surrounding communities. This is a very valuable gift which will be highly cherished at all levels, and we are grateful to all who contributed,” Mr. Armstrong added. Principal of the institution, Shelly-Ann Griffiths, said the school is a “beacon” in the community and has vowed to protect it for the lasting development of the area. Longtime teacher at the school, Patricka Clarke, stated that the improved and secure environment will provide a boost for the 106 students and six teachers. “I am truly happy. Children will be coming to a very safe environment, bathroom facilities are here, and a kitchen, where they will get warm meals every day,” she noted. Meanwhile, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Linda Miller, urged the school community to take responsibility for the “wonderful, new learning environment” which they have been provided. “We are going to protect Sawyers Primary School and we are not going to destroy it. This new school belongs to the community, and we have to take the very best care of it,” she stated. By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter
Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. Companies in this story: (TSX:TOU)Dan Healing, The Canadian Press CALGARY — Natural gas prices in Western Canada are so low that a partner in the country’s first LNG export project is shutting off money-losing wells and throttling back its exploration program.Malaysian-owned Petronas, which has a 25 per cent interest in the $40-billion LNG Canada project, has been curtailing production by between 50 and 200 million cubic feet per day from wells in northeastern B.C. capable of producing 700 million cf/d, the CEO of its Canadian branch says.The practice is one being adopted by a growing number of western Canadian producers to avoid selling their natural gas at prices that often don’t even cover the cost of pipeline transportation. “We talk a lot about oil infrastructure,” said CEO Mark Fitzgerald of Petronas Energy Canada Ltd. in an interview, referring to oil price discounts in Western Canada blamed on full crude pipelines.“Gas is trapped as well and if you compare the prices that Canadian gas producers are receiving against our U.S. peers, the differentials are significant and costing us a significant amount of money.”The company invested heavily in natural gas exploration in northeastern B.C. from 2012 to 2016, employing more than 25 drilling rigs at peak times to prove the resource potential as part of its longer-term plan to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal.It is running only one rig now, Fitzgerald said.Petronas backed out of its $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project in 2017, but joined the LNG Canada partnership led by Royal Dutch Shell last May.The partners agreed to go ahead with their project this fall, but it isn’t expected to be ready to begin supercooling natural gas and shipping it out until late 2023 or early 2024.Ian Archer, an associate director with IHS Markit, said Western Canada’s gas industry was stable from 2000 to 2008, with production of about 16 billion cf/d and prices of around $10 per gigajoule, but that changed when new drilling and well completion technologies emerged that allowed the U.S. to dramatically grow shale gas production.Cheaper U.S. gas began displacing western Canadian gas in markets like California, Eastern Canada and New York, and the price in Western Canada dropped by half, with production falling to around 13 billion cf/d by 2012, he said.The trend worsened when the new drilling technologies began to be used in northeastern B.C. and northwestern Alberta to produce light oil products like condensate, which is in demand as a diluent to mix with raw bitumen from the oilsands to allow it to flow in a pipeline.Condensate wells also typically contain high levels of natural gas and the boost in gas production back to over 16 billion cf/d has overwhelmed pipeline capacity and dropped gas prices this year to a projected $1.43 per gigajoule, about one-third of the price in 2014, said Archer.Meanwhile, the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub spot price is forecast to average US$3.17 per GJ in 2018 (about C$4.12), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.Pipeline companies are spending billions of dollars to expand their gas systems in B.C. and Alberta, which will improve market access, but it’s difficult to see where the gas can be sent to win better prices, Archer said.LNG Canada’s first phase is expected to require about two billion cf/d of gas to produce about 14 million tonnes per year of LNG, but most of that gas is expected to come from the partners, so a big price improvement isn’t expected, he said.The best hope of better prices is stronger demand from additional LNG facilities, conversions of coal-burning power plants to gas and more growth in the oilsands, where natural gas is used to produce steam and power, Archer said.Mike Rose, CEO of Tourmaline Oil Corp., says his Calgary-based company froze gas production at about 1.35 billion cf/d at the end of 2017 because of low prices and has switched its focus since to oil production growth.Gas marketing is more important than ever, he said, as Tourmaline tries to move more gas to any hub that offers better prices than those in Alberta or B.C.“It’s the most challenging time that I’ve ever seen in the Canadian oil and gas sector by a long shot.”
New Delhi: After the “Pradhan Mantri hisab do” campaign, Trinamool Congress unveiled “Jumla Meter” on Tuesday countering BJP’s vision document, released on Monday. Rajya Sabha MP and senior TMC leader Derek O’Brien, addressing a press conference here, pointed out 15 reasons for “how the Bharatiya Janata Party has failed to deliver on its 2014 election manifesto promises.”Countering the saffron party’s promise of strengthening labour-intensive manufacturing, the TMC asserted that unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent was highest in the last 45 years. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’On the state and centre relation for national development, the party alleged that “Federal structure is killed, where the ‘Special Category Status’ for Andhra Pradesh has been denied. In fact, inadequate funds are given for flood relief to non-BJP states like West Bengal and Kerala in the last five years.” O’brien also claimed that since the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was launched, only 1.8 per cent sanctioned funds have been utilised. Even in the five years, the average agricultural growth has decreased to 2.9 per cent. The TMC leader further also said the investment in agriculture declined to 18.8 per cent in 2016-17 from 43.2 per cent in 1980-81. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KEmphasising on the 2014 poll promise on black money by the BJP, TMC’s ‘ Jumla Meter’ says that “Black Money Taskforce set up by the government made no significant progress in bringing the black money stashed abroad. People named in Panama Papers are not made public, and no significant action has been taken. Demonetisation actually helped in making black money white.” O’Brien asserted that TMC’s priority after coming to power would be to ensure Assembly elections in Kashmir and passing the Women’s Reservation Bill. He also claimed NDA would fall short of a majority and win a maximum of 180 seats. “Our polls say NDA will get 180 seats. Make no mistake BJP, after May 23 TMC will be among the top three parties in Lok Sabha elections and we will come to power along with other opposition parties.” In the 2014 general elections, TMC emerged as the third-largest party with 34 seats, after BJP, Congress and the AIADMK. A three-member TMC delegation would visit the Election Commission on Wednesday at 11.30 am and will hold a press conference outside the Election Commission. They will take up the issue of NOTA button position in the VVPAT panel and the transfer of four senior police officers. On Monday, West Bengal chief minister and the party supremo Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Election Commission protesting the move of the EC.
Chennai: To showcase the contribution made by the Public Sector Organizations in nation-building and social progress, NLC India Limited celebrates 10th Public Sector Week from 10th to 16th April, 2019, organized under the ageis of Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), an apex professional organization representing the Central Government Public Enterprises. NLCIL observed the 10th ‘Public Sector Day’ in a befitting manner at the function organized at Corporate Office premises, Neyveli, on 10.04.2019, wherein Rakesh Kumar, CMD, NLCIL and also the Chairman of SCOPE, hoisted the Public Sector Flag and NLCIL Flag in the presence of Functional Directors of NLCIL. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalRakesh Kumar recalled the background and necessity regarding evolution of Public Sector Enterprises. The PSUs were incorporated after Independence to create employment opportunities, to develop infrastructures, to improve industrialization and to solve the socio-economic problems prevailing at that time. Started with five PSUs, today the country has 339 PSUs, of which 257 are in operation and others are in the construction stage. As on 31.03.2018, the total capital employed by CPSUs are Rs. 13.73 lakh crore and CPSUs have witnessed a growth of 4.5 times over a period of past 20 years, he added. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostRakesh Kumar also informed that the Central PSUs contributed Rs. 3.50 lakh crore as dividend and tax to the exchequer during the Financial Year 2017-18. As on 31.03.2018, the CPSEs gave direct employment to 15 lakh employees and the volume of indirect employment will be manifold, he said. While highlighting the performance of NLC India Limited, he said that NLCIL officers are able to install 2.50 MW of Solar Power Project in the Andaman Island in a record time of two and half months and NLCIL’s first coal mine is almost ready for operation at Talabira, Odisha. The NLCIL CMD has appreciated the employees of NLCIL as they are well equipped to face the challenges, manage the changes in the industry and are able to deliver results with maximum speed. Earlier, N Muthu, ED/HR welcomed the gathering while S Gurusaminathan, CGM/HR rendered vote of thanks. R Vikraman, Director (HR), N N M Rao,Director (Planning & Projects), Prabhakar Chowki, Director (Mines) and Shaji John, Director (Power) – designate of NLCIL, officials, staff, TUs, engineers and officers associations participated in the event.