I try living my life to a motto I coined back in high school, inspired by Sean Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens” and the whole concept of the “Courage Zone” a.k.a. Robert Frost and his road less traveled. It reads: The courage zone is my playground.
More often than not, though, I find myself “playing” in the comfort zone and the life motto becoming something of a gimmick, not a motto to live by. So that’s why I decided to go hike a section of The Rim of Africa in 2019.
The Rim of Africa is arguably one of Southern Africa’s toughest continuous unmarked wilderness traverses (it’s off-trail for 90% of the way). It stretches some 750 kilometres across South Africa’s Cape fold mountains (Ceder-, Lange-, Skurwe-, Hex River- & Outeniqua mountain ranges) and only happens once a year because of weather and logistical reasons. You have to carry everything you need to survive up and over mountains for 7 days straight at a time.
I heard about this journey from a friend of mine, and decided I wanted to do a section (7 days of the 62-day total) of the hike. We booked our spots somewhere in June for the section traverse that would take place in October. I was deliberating on whether I should leave my heavy Panasonic S1 mirrorless camera and 2 lenses (weighing around 3kg with a huge battery bank and small tripod), or just borrow a lighter camera from someone for this mountainous trek instead (The S1 is the heaviest camera in it’s class, except for it’s brother, the S1H). I also didn’t know exactly what I would be filming, except for some timelapses when I had the opportunity. I was hoping to meet someone interesting or inspiring that partook in the section, and then ask them if I could make a profile video of them.
Very soon after starting out, I realised that the story element I was looking for, was the three thru-hikers doing the full Rim of Africa in 2019. On the departure day, about 90 minutes in, one of the original thru-hikers decided to call it quits due to medical concerns and head back, ending his planned thru-hike. I witnessed how the other three thru-hikers was forced to say goodbye in a matter of minutes to someone they had been spending time with day-in and day-out for about a month. I then started to spend more time with them and approached them with the idea of making a video about their journey.
The video turned out better than what I could have hoped for. I captured the halfway mark of their 2-month journey, which was a pivotal story element in the short YouTube documentary. Carrying an extra 3 kg’s worth of gear with me up and down mountains and filming in between with a GoPro gave me amazing B-roll footage to work with. I left my audio interview kit with the shuttle driver who would be picking us up again in Montagu, on the rest day, and when he arrived I interviewed the three of them with my tiny little tripod.
This was the end result:
But that was not the end of the story! After releasing the YouTube video about 3 weeks later, it did really well with views and shares on social media, thanks in part to the guys
But that was not the end of the story! After releasing the YouTube video about 3 weeks later, it did really well with views and shares on social media, thanks in part to the guys from Hiking South Africa who shared it on their page and socials. I took the liberty of contacting The Rim of Africa Trust, just to try my luck by askin
from Hiking South Africa who shared it on their page and socials. I took the liberty of contacting The Rim of Africa Trust, just to try my luck by asking them if I could return to hike the last section and capture the last part of the thru-hikers’ journey, which would
When I arrived they were surprised to see me, having not known that I would be joining for the last section. I in turn was surprised that they had not seen the first video that I had published yet. They had been in wilderness from then up until now with little cellphone reception. It was a great moment when I showed them the video on an
iPhone and I could see their reactions first-hand.
Editing part 2 was more of a challenge, because I filmed much more content than I needed, but it turned out quite nice:
If you would like to learn more about The Rim of Africa, you can have a look at www.rimofafrica.co.za
I would highly recommend hiking a section of this iconic wilderness experience sometime in your life!