People say that Africa has an effect on your soul and Mark Henson the ‘author’ of this site is no exception. He first travelled to South Africa and the province of KwaZulu Natal in 1993 and has been coming and going every year since. Twice now most years!
Before visiting South Africa Mark combined a love of cricket with his travels and spent two seasons playing club cricket in Melbourne, Australia, during the late eighties. The cricket was mixed with back packing trips around Australia and included scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, climbing Uluru (Ayers Rock) and canoeing around the Whitsunday Islands. He also used the long journey to visit more exotic places, camping in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and visiting New Zealand, Hawaii, Indonesia and Kenya. He worked in a pork pie factory to pay for his initial trip to South Africa in 1993, a step up from packing flour, peas and dried fruit to pay for his last Australian trip. In 2004 he worked as liaison for the West Indies cricket team during their ICC Cup winning tour and made a subsequent visit to Jamaica on a pre-world cup cricket inspection trip.
At home in Northamptonshire, England, Mark is a director of his families shoe component business. Outside of work, to quote a Simon Barnes phrase, Mark is a ‘Bad Birdwatcher’ and living in Northamptonshire there is no shortage of re-introduced red kites to keep him looking skyward. When time allows Mark can be found in local nature reserves. Weekends visits have recently taken in the RSPB reserves at Minsmere, Snettisham and Titchwell Marsh. Whilst in North Wales with wife Melanie the pair walked to the summit of Snowdon.
Mark now spends up to two months a year in South Africa and in 2006 spent six weeks driving the province in order to put the finishing touches to the site. Each trip based at his in-laws farm, in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, is combined with visits to a variety of protected areas checking on roads, accommodation and attractions.
The site contains travel articles written by Mark covering walking with the Big 5, whale watching beyond the surf off the Zululand coast and staying alone in a rustic camp in the African bush. He has viewed a wealth of animals including lions, leopards and cheetahs, had a terrifying encounter with a huge bull elephant, and developed a passion for birds. Mark has swum in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and hiked through the mountains of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, the provinces second World Heritage site.
Inspirations for the site come from the many friends he has made on his travels and his wife, Melanie, also from the province.
The site would not be possible without the co-operation, skills and patience of his brother in law Tristan who puts everything together. Simply without him there would be no web site