Sharon Van Wyk

Home for the holidays

It's madness. School's out and the kids are hanging around the house. You can't afford a proper holiday, but you can't handle another day of couch potatoes laying in front of the telly.

Destination Durbanville

The phrase “Destination Durbanville” doesn't exactly set one's travel taste buds tingling -- and a visit to Cape Town North hardly registers on the “must-do” list. But once the outrageous cost of accommodation in the Mother City has set your wallet shivering, the prospects for both look brighter.

Cheap and cheerful

For most South Africans school holidays mean increased stress levels - on the mind, body and wallet.

The perfect panoramic paradise

There are a few special places that, no matter how many times you visit them, always stir the senses, refresh the soul and banish the stresses and strains of everyday life. For me, Mpumalanga's Blyde River Canyon is one of these places.

A public resource

Assessing the impact of developments such as the Coega harbour project in Port Elizabeth is something the public can become more easily involved in, thanks to a new electronic toolkit. The right to a healthy environment is enshrined in the South African Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Going bos the family way

"Would you like to go and have a look at a rather large African rock python?" game ranger Werner Miller politely asks the guests relaxing around the swimming pool at Thandeka Lodge. Simultaneous cries of "Yes!" give him his answer and in minutes his Land Rover is laden with passengers readying their cameras for the shot of the century.

Digging deep for the truth

The science of forensics, popularised by TV programmes like <i>CSI</i>, is nowhere near as glamourous as Hollywood would have us believe. Especially when it comes to exhuming mass graves and recovering and identifying the victims of genocide. This is a task all too familiar to forensic anthropologist Clea Koff, one of 16 scientists chosen by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal to go to Rwanda to unearth evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Jumbo breakthrough

African elephants are the most studied big mammal species in Africa. But in spite of all we know about them, there is still a lot that we don't know. A project being conducted by the Wildlife Environmental Physiology team at the University of the Witwatersrand's school of physiology is exploring how the elephant's body functions in the heat of the savannah.

Space – SA’s final frontier

When Mark Shuttleworth donned his space suit and ventured into the "final frontier" of outer space, he took with him the aspirations of the nation and stirred our ­collective consciousness. So it came as no surprise when Cabinet last year approved the establishment of South Africa's first space agency, tasked with coordinating research into space technology.

Promoting a culture of science in SA

Making science popular to the masses has always had its problems. The image of the geek -- an overly studious science boffin with no fashion sense or friends -- has not exactly helped. Thankfully, the dawn of the digital age has changed the way the public regards science and technology.

South Africa leads the way down south

It's hard to imagine extreme cold, sub-zero temperatures, howling winds and a woarld cloaked in snow and ice when you're sitting in 30°C-plus by a sparkling swimming pool bathed in South Africa's trademark sunshine. But for an elite group of South African scientists ice is nice, and, more to the point, it is home.

Try some Madikwe magic

As I sit and watch the kingfishers hunting at the edge of the Marico River, it's hard to remind myself that four short hours ago I was in the heart of the urban jungle, full of stress after a long week at work. A few hours of driving has transported me to the beautiful Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West.

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