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About US

Active Escapes is a small business that has been fine-tuning naturally good getaways since 2007. We offer a wide range of excellent hiking, slackpacking, trail running, biking and adventure based holidays, all fully customisable to your interests and energy levels. Whether it's an extreme mountain biking holiday, or a break with a cooler of beers and a fly rod, we have a place in mind or a tour to suite.

Tucked away in the small farming town of Howick, Active Escape's head quarters can be found a toss of a takkie away from the adventure packed hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. We are smack in the middle of some of the country's best mountain biking, an hour from the hiking trails of the Drakensberg, and 90km from the warm water surf of the Indian Ocean. No surprises that we love where we live!

This new website is long overdue ... and a long time in the making. We hope that you able to easily pilot your way to the adventures in the destinations you are after. We have also created an Active Escapes Blog where you'll find stories and pics from our trips; scheduled tours and upcoming events; equipment reviews; photo galleries and videos which we believe to showcase the delights of outdoor adventure

Who is Active Escapes?

Sarah Drew: Director

Sarah is the founding member of Active Escapes. She completed her Masters in Geography, case studying different models of community based tourism along the Pondoland Wild Coast and then worked as a tourism researcher for Haley Sharpe SA. This was followed by some UK stints in events management on various EU initiatives. A fervent traveller with a particular penchant for sweat-induced adventure, she spent many happy months backpacking around SE Asia and South America with her eccentric sister.

These travels provided first-hand experience with many eco and adventure-based tourism operators and inspired thinking on the untapped potential that existed back home. It was cruising down the Beni River in central Bolivia that she decided it was time to trade in her blackberry for bicycles, and start her own active holiday operation.

Sarah is passionate about the outdoors and is prepared to try most things... at least once. When she get's leave from her laptop, you'll find her happiest on two wheels, or bundu-bashing a potential new route. She will find any excuse for a 'route scouting' mission, and gets ultimate satisfaction from putting together distinctive adventures in unique destinations.

Kath Fourie: AE's Media Mogul

Kath is an outdoor enthusiast who was fortunate enough to grow up in the beautiful KZN Midlands. With a background in environmental science and geography, Kath has travelled all around the world in pursuit of fun and adventure. After graduating from Rhodes University in 2004, Kath spent a few years working in the market research arena in Durban, and tackled a variety of other unique jobs including TV production and lecturing game ranch management.

Through all of these completely unrelated fields, her work experience created a fondness for writing and photography. She progressively moved towards the full time freelance lifestyle, and now lives in the chilled out town of Howick, a hop and a skip from her local rock climbing crag and hundreds of kilometres of forested bike riding. Kath can write just about anything (from a recipe to an education manual), but her knack lies in being able to craft writing suitable for a variety of media, which is what she does for us.

At Active Escapes, Kath works on a part-time basis to help create a plethora of marketing material. When she’s not trailing runners down the Wild Coast with her camera or filming a white water rafting trip, she’s writing blogs and trail descriptions, creating website texts, designing banners and buttons for our online needs and a whole bunch more. She’s a general media handy-woman, and that’s the way we like it.

Kath also has a penchant for the more extreme side of outdoor sports, which is why you’ll find a fair amount of hair-raising videos and images on our blog! However, when she's not smashing herself up on the Down Hill track; she's quite into music, art and food too; elements of which you will find creeping up in our online resources. You can check out her own blog here.

Carlos (speedy) Gonzalez: Mountain & MTB Guide

Carlos hails from Barcelona, Spain. After completing his Honours in Physics he paid off the student loan working as a computer analyst. This was followed by a move to the fiscal haven of Andorra, working in the computer department of a bank, for six years.

Living in the heart of the Pyrenees he got to enjoy many active pursuits in the great outdoors. However, life took on a monotony and Carlos decided a new challenge was needed. In 2003, he quit his job, put his suit and ties into storage (which he never retrieved), sold his flat and car, and flew half-away around the world, bike in tow, to the most southern tip of South America. 18 months and 33,000 km's later he reached the Arctic Sea in Alaska. Somewhere between Barriloche and Bogota, he met his South African wife, Bridget Ringdahl, with whom he shared the road (and his tent) for several months. Although they needed to part ways in Cartagena, he knew where he would be headed next.

Life has been good since his arrival in South Africa. It was September 2005 and he fell in love with South Africa straightaway. He has since qualified as a professional mountain guide, and as his friends joke, embarked on a serious love affair... with the Drakensberg, where he spends most weekends. Inbetween, he continues his bicycle adventures, now also offering guided cycle tours in the Himalayas, Spain and South America. However, South Africa is where he hangs his hat at home!

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