5th – 19th July 2012
Unravel Surf Travel is going to the Transkei and it represents several steps in an exciting new direction! We are going to explore paths never walked on before and we will invent ways of sharing our stories of adventure! We’ll explore the heartland of Xhosa Culture and the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, in an attempt to learn more about our own humanity. We will surf, do yoga, meditate and beat the drum under the clear African sky, around the camp-fire and in our own hearts! And all of it will be captured in unique and fascinating ways!
About the Transkei
…Imagine women walking back from the forest, as the sun sets, with huge bundles of wood on their heads… walking to village where the old people are the respected ones, where a father sits next to his ‘kraal’ telling stories the whole afternoon to wide eyed children… where old women sit in the afternoon sun smoking their pipes while the pots are cooking on the fires… where a whole family lives in a one room rondawel (hut) without electricity or taps… happily…
The Transkei is an area of roughly 45,000 square kilometres. The name Transkei was used by the Apartheid Government of South Africa, prior to 1994, in reference to the river Kei and the name literally means the area beyond [the river] Kei. Officially the name Transkei no-longer applies, but unofficially the name is still widely used. Compared to the rest of South Africa the Transkei remains a wild and relatively untouched area. Under the Apartheid Government of South Africa, with it’s policy of ‘separate development’, the Transkei was a Bantustan, a segregated ‘homeland’ reserved for black people only. The Transkei was one of two Xhosa Bantustans, or ‘black African homelands’, designated specifically for black Xhosa-speaking people.
For some time these and other ‘homelands’ were officially classified as independent countries or nation states, but the only country to recognise them as such, was Apartheid South Africa.
The United Nations referred to the Transkei’s independence as invalid and re-iterated its labelling of South Africa as a racist régime. The UN also called upon all governments to deny any form of recognition to the so-called independent Transkei.
After South Africa’s first fully democratic election in 1994, when the ANC (African National Congress) took over control of Government from the NP (National Party), the Transkei was re-integrated into the Eastern Cape Province. You will probably not find the name Transkei on any official and up-to-date map of South Africa.
South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela, was born in Mvezo, a small village on the banks of the Mbashe river in the District of Umtata, the capital of the old Transkei.
For various reasons the Transkei remains a poorly developed area. Some people blame the ANC Government, especially after Nelson Mandela retired in 1999, for neglecting its own people and the development of infrastructure.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that the Transkei is far less ‘developed’ than many other areas of Sout Africa. The big cities like Cape Town, and other well developed tourist areas like the Garden Route, may impress visitors with its sophistication. One could be excused for thinking that this kind of development belongs in a first-world country. In some other areas of South Africa there are cities with lots of good quality roads and big shopping malls. The Transkei, however, poses as a huge contradiction to this first world image. The areas supposed backwardness may even be a contributing factor towards being so neglected, even after 1994.
After visiting places like Cape Town many travellers have commented that the Transkei is where you will really find ‘Africa’… Off course this statement is based upon Africa’s internationally projected image and the fact remains that there are many places in Africa that does not necessarily remind one of ‘Africa’ at all…
But, as in various other areas of South Africa, in the Transkei people really do live in a way that seems unaffected by the development of so-called ‘western civilization’… Many villages are rural, traditional and undeveloped, most people do not speak any English at all and if there are roads they are few and far-in-between. There are some modernised towns in the Transkei, but the vast majority of the Transkei remains a rural wilderness and many people still live in huts, made in the traditional way with wood, grass, mud and cow dung.
While the national average of white South Africans ranges between 9 – 11 %, out of a population of about 50 million people, in the Eastern Cape, where the former black Xhosa homelands of Transkei and Ciskei are found, there is a very high density of black people and only a small number of whites. In some areas of the Transkei estimates put the number of white people at less than 1%, for example in the OR Tambo District Municipality, where only 0.1% of the 1.6 million inhabitants are white.
Most rural villages in the Transkei are still without electricity and running water, people use water tanks or, more often than not, they walk to fetch water from nearby rivers. Most roads are gravel and many people rely on small scale subsistence farming for survival.
About Unravel Surf Travel Transkei Camp
Our journey into the Transkei will take us through the heart of this hinterland. We will be based in Mdumbi, about from 300km, by road, north-east of the city East London. Mdumbi Beach and Mdumbi River is an awesome playground. The beach is one of the best and most secluded beaches in South Africa. It is safe and protected against most windy conditions. Beautiful rock pools and reefs stretch out for kilometres north and south of the beach while Mdumbi River hosts stunning river mangroves.
We will stay at Mdumbi Backpackers, in traditional rural village huts. Although located in a fairly remote area Mdumbi Backpackers is fully equipped and offers simple but comfortable accommodation in either double / twin or dorm rooms.
Our daily focus during the camp will be on Surfing, Yoga and Photography.
The Mdumbi point offers five star, classic point break surf, rated one of the best in SA! At its best, when the banks are on and conditions are perfect, expect a wave running for almost one kilometre! There are various other surf spots in the area, some for advanced surfers only and others that are more accessible for intermediate level surfers. Mdumbi beach offers gentle waves that are friendly enough to teach total beginners!
About the Instructor
Hermann has been a level 1 ISA (International Surfing Association) qualified Surf Instructor since 2011. Hermann could swim before he could walk. He started playing around in the ocean at the age of 5 and started surfing at the age of 9. He surfed his first provincial competition at the age of 13 and reached the finals of two consecutive Western Province Junior Surfing Trails in 1998. Unfortunately his competitive surfing career was abruptly interrupted at a young age when he went to boarding school in 1999 but he continued surfing throughout high school and several years of working and travelling all around the world. In 2010, at the age of 25, he started giving surf lessons as a means through which to rediscover his childhood passion for the beautiful art of riding waves.
Yoga & Meditation
Our Instructor will introduce and teach this ancient and powerful system of great health and personal growth that offers countless benefits to body, mind and spirit. The practice is based on a vigorous and fluid style of yoga called Ashtanga Yoga – but it will be adjusted to each individual’s ability so that they may grow within the practice at their own pace. Through Yoga, participants will learn how to keep the body supple, strong and healthy with Yoga Asana (Postures); how to practice basic yoga breathing for great energy! (Pranayama); and learn Meditation for mental clarity, inner strength and tuning into grounded and joy-filled emotional states.
By the end of the camp you will have your own yoga practice which you can take with you wherever you go and use as you see fit in your life! In addition participants will also learn about good nutrition.
About the Instructor
Jubee lived and travelled in South East Asia studying yoga, meditation and martial arts from the age of 19 to 24. He has been practising various forms of yoga intensely for 8 years and has been teaching for 6 years. He is a certified Tai Chi, Meditation and Yoga instructor with the Universal Tao (www.universal-tao.com) He is also certified to teach yoga with Danny Paradise. (www.dannyparadise.com) Jubee is also a registered and certified Body Stress Release Practitioner (www.bodystressrelease.co.za) and he advises patients and clients on nutrition and general good health.
The Transkei presents one with amazing photographic opportunities… rolling hills, unspoilt & pristine landscapes, indigenous forests, empty beaches and a fascinating local culture. Excursions to local villages, nature hikes and guided walks will be organised with the aim of maximising your photographic experience! We will seek out the best light at the just the right moments and play around with landscape shots, portraits and everything in between! Professional photographers will be on hand and always nearby to give advice and tips on how to capture amazing moments and take your best photographs ever! Bring your camera and an extra battery because you will not want to stop shooting!
Surfing, Yoga and Photography always manage to keep our travellers almost completely occupied for the duration of our camps. However, as always, we will explore the surrounding area and organise fun and adventurous activities in addition to the daily program. However, when you arrive in the Transkei, you will soon realise that there is no possibility of being rushed and seeking to full-fill a day that was created as already being perfect. The going will be easy and there will be plenty of time left open for simply appreciating the surrounding nature.
Some of the extra activities on offer are: fishing, river canoeing, snorkelling, horse riding, cave & waterfall exploration. In Addition to that we will also organise various cultural visits and rural village tours where you can meet and interact with people from local rural villages. We will also explore the beauty of the surrounding natural environment and incorporate photography and meditation into guided nature hikes. In the evenings we will share our stories around the fire and organise drumming circles for those keen to play the African drum or Djembe. In some African languages the word ‘djembe’ translates to “everyone gather together in peace” and this defines the drum’s purpose. We will combine this with some African dancing lessons and cultural information sessions.
The focus of Unravel Surf Travel is to take all participants, organisers and guests alike, on a personal journey of discovery. Precisely because of the remote nature this camp’s destination, more so than ever before, we will focus our attention on the personal exploration of ourselves.
Unravel Surf Travel Transkei SURF ~ YOGA ~ PHOTO Camp will be an unparalleled experience!
Something that you will never forget…
To make a booking email:
~ Special discounted rates apply for South Africans ~