Monday, September 7, 2009

South African Adventurers - Kingsley Holgate

Kingsley Holgate is a modern day African Explorer in the tradition of the first Victorian adventurers.

In the past decade he's led multiple expeditions throughout the continent traveling by foot, canoe, bicycle, inflatable raft, dhow and Land Rover. He's dealt with bandits, dangerous wildlife and many bouts of malaria to follow in the footsteps of his hero David Livingstone. With his trademark bushy gray beard, Kingsley is often photographed with a traditional Zulu calabash, which he fills with water to inaugurate each trip. The calabash is taken on the adventure and upon successful completion, the water is poured out in a thanksgiving ritual.

The Zulus call Kingsley “Nondwayisa uya Shinga” - the African Lilly Trotter – a water bird that stalks the rivers of Africa on long legs. Quite an apt name for someone who has become one of Africa’s greatest present day explorers. Unlike many of Africa’s early explorers who had

scant regard for local tribes, etiquette and custom, Kingsley has immersed himself in African cultures especially that of the Zulu. Kingsley is a founder member of Shakaland, South Africa’s leading Zulu cultural attraction, a living museum situated in the heart of Zululand. Kingsley has spent much of his life exploring the African Continent in the footsteps of the early explorers (see his latest book, Africa In The Footsteps of the Greatest Explorers). The first of which was an epic journey from Cape to Cairo, in inflatable boats and back-up four wheel drive vehicles, along Africa’s major waterways – registered with the Royal Geographical Society as a World First.

Considered a bit of David Livingstone himself Kingsley Holgate the Grey Beard of African Adventure is one of Africa’s most colourful Modern day Explorers. Well known on local and National Geographic Television, Kingsley is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a well-known author. His adventures many of which are world firsts include his son Ross and wife Gill. As a family they completed a 1993 Cape to Cairo journey in open boats, the Zambezi and Congo Rivers in the footsteps of Livingstone and Stanley and a circumnavigation of Lake Turkana theworld’s largest desert lake. Following in the footsteps of the early explorers the Holgate family has survived countless attacks of Malaria, the threat of bandits, wild animals and the danger of unexploded landmines.

Called ‘Extreme Latitude’ and travelling on foot, by bicycle, bullock cart, dugout and Land Rover Kingsley Holgate and his adventurous family have circumnavigated the world by land following the Tropic of Capricorn, a journey that became a seven part series on the National Geographic channel was highlighted in the Captain Morgan commercial and resulted in a successful book called “Following The Invisible Line – Capricorn”.

Their most recently completed Odyssey was called the African Rainbow Expedition. A journey by Land Rover convoy, Arab sailing dhow and inflatable boats up the East Coast of Africa from Durban to the Somali border and back. This One Net One Life expedition in which tens of thousands of mosquito nets were distributed to pregnant mothers and children under the age of five was the most successful ever undertaken in Support of Malaria Prevention.

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