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In Search of the Strange

In Search of the Strange – and other tales of South Africans at large is an armchair adventure travel book that I curated. Published by Struik (now Penguin Random House), it is really a list of some of my greatest heroes and their most audacious and authentic escapades – for better or worse. Here’s my introduction:

“Out there is a region like no other: a place in which you are completely extended, totally committed and strung out. You’re flapping on a limb in the wind.” – Andy de Klerk

A waterfall thrashed me once. I was brave and stupid. A beginner kayaker on a beautiful river. And in love: besotted with the flow of the water beneath my boat, the tingle of spray on my face, the warmth of this brotherhood of fellow travellers.

So I blindly paddled my way through fear, a fuddled landing and a botched Eskimo roll. Pushed deep by the force of who-knows-how-many tons of falling water, I thought about life and death. But mostly it was matters of ego that dominated: how embarrassing to die here, my heroes as onlookers. I bottom-crawled till the current spat me out…

Adventure, I have come to see, is not just for daredevil teens too stupid to care. Real adventurers face their fears with boldness, humility and honesty. Then they add wisdom. They push through, beyond their personal boundaries, journeying to the land of satisfaction on the other side of challenge. They are honest about fear, and about failure. They cry. They laugh. And they report back with compassion.

This is my list of great South African travel tales – or the most adventurous ones, at any rate. It is a most subjective list – and I make no apologies for that. For I have conned my way into the company of gods and goddesses. My wildest journey, my bumpiest ride was years back at the helm of a magazine called Out There, which celebrated the adventure lifestyle. Other magazines, especially Getaway and Men’s Health, have continued to laud the achievements of wild-at-heart South Africans, and encouraged us all to keep dreaming.

Content

African Odyssey (Tony Weaver)
Days of Wander (Jacques Marais)
The Camel and the Handsome Devil (Susan Storm)
Walking Africa (Jaco Wium)
Deep Thought (JP le Roux)
Kalahari Angels (Jennifer Stern)
Cunene Courage (Jaco Wium)
The Toughest Footrace on Earth (Fiona McIntosh)
Staying Alive (Graeme Addison)
Dhow Dreaming (Justin Fox)
Living Marion (Jaco Wium)
Happy River (Conrad Spamer)
Surviving Witels (Tony Weaver)
Chasing the Marine Dragon (Roger Horrocks)
The Ultimate Wave (Brian Valentine)
Diving Arctic (Brett Cormick)
Tuichi’s Own (Nick Helme)
Mahali Encounter (Brent Wibberley)
Storms’ Warning (Dominique le Roux)
Long Paddle in a Lost Land (David Evans)
Walking With Demons (David Bristow)
Big, Blank Wall (Andy de Klerk)
Merry Christmas, Mrs Gass (Roger Melvill)
Big Air, Big Attitude (Jackie Stein)
In Search of the Strange (Don Pinnock)
Climbing Himalaya (Andy de Klerk)

Media Reviews

iAfrica.com (Karen Whitty)

In Search of the Strange is an encouraging, inspirational read. Le Roux achieves what she has set out to do: to inspire readers ‘to stare your fear down, to step out and seek new places. And then return home with humility.’

Beeld newspaper (Cecile Cilliers)
In Search of the Strange is ‘n heerlike boek wat ek met oorgawe geniet het.” [“In Search of the Strange is a wonderful book that I enjoyed with relish.”

Style magazine
“… it’s an engrossing, entertaining read as the writers skilfully lure you to come along for the ride. Armchair travel at its best!”

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