samjbasch

Sam Basch's Best Travel Tips
Humour
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Taking me for a (taxi) ride

As the taxi driver speeds away from my hotel to the airport, I soon realise he is heading the wrong way. But it’s not simply a question of turning around: he has to “trick” the taxi to save his skin…

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From the Attic
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The allure of trout and flyfishing

By Sam J Basch

Flyfishing is an art – certainly a skill. Those doing it well are impervious to the cold and discomfort of venturing out on a chilly morning in Dullstroom to outwit the trout. This they do using a lure to resemble a real insect and calling them strange names like Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear and Red Eyed Damsel.

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Sam Basch
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Rescue of an amazing archive

By Sam J Basch
When it comes to valuable documentation in the country’s archives that may get lost or destroyed – as recently happened at the University of Cape Town – fate sometimes plays an amazing part to come to the rescue.

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From the Attic
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A glimpse in time

Sam J Basch

There’s almost nothing as useful to illustrate the passage of time as a photo album.

Some 35mm colour slides of a student tour to Europe in 1974 provided a glimpse in time, just as if paging through an album. Pulling back the curtain of time revealed cobwebbed memories stored in the far recesses of the mind.

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Sam Basch
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Sights of Silesia

Sam J Basch

Visit Wrocław (pronounced ‘Vrotsh-waff’) in Poland’s Silesia province for its vibrant art scene, museums and culinary delights – and history. While Covid-19 is restricting overseas travel for now, this intriguing city and environs have much to offer the tourist. Nearby is the site of arguably the most daring World War II incident, ‘The Great Escape’ master-minded by South African-born RAF pilot Major Roger Bushell.

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Opinion
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Fools at the wheel

Sam J Basch

What is it about a flashy car and its driver? We have Henry Ford to thank for mass producing the motorcar, which empowered people and became useful to us. Now there are just too many, adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully not for long.

But for many the car equals status; a symbol of wealth and power. That’s fine. But many of these obnoxious fools drive like hell, and park where they want. Confront them at your peril: they become abusive and threatening.

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From the Attic
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Around the Cape

Sam J Basch

It took a huge container ship stuck in the Suez Canal last month to focus the mind on the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope. This historic route between west and east was opened by Portuguese mariners Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama more than 500 years ago. In 1988 a similar voyage was recreated in commemoration of that maritime feat.

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From the Attic
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Ancient knowledge

Sam J Basch

A tour of the Basotho Cultural Village in the spectacular Golden Gate National Park is a true revelation. The two-hour herbal trail not only gives one an insight into ago-old traditional methods of treating ailments and injuries, but also reveals ancient rock art, some of the oldest evidence of human culture in Africa.

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Sam Basch
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Time flies

By Sam J Basch

As the unmanned rover Perseverance landed on the red planet last month, its tiny Mars helicopter will “test powered flight on another world for the first time.”

On earth, the Wright brothers pioneered powered flight more than a century ago. Since then, aviators have broken the sound barrier by flying faster than sound and astronauts have ventured far, to walk on the moon. In time, humankind will go even further, to live on another planet.

How astonishing has been the achievements in aviation – in a fraction of time?

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

“Miserable Hovels”

By Sam J Basch: An early traveller from England described the town of Graaff-Reinet as consisting of “a few mud huts and miserable hovels.” Today visitors from around the world, many opting for the award-winning historic Drostdy Hotel, come to admire its architecture and art galleries, museums and food. And to visit the nearby Camdeboo National Park, a great feature of which is the Valley of Desolation with imposing age-old rock formations dating back 150 million years towering above the expansive valley floor.

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