AN AFRICAN SAFARI-Going trekking? Helps you pick the right haversack--

The MABULA GAME RESERVE entices with its wild and unpredictable surprises-


Ahush descended over already quiet group of jungle safari junkies as soon as me,the amiable ranger driving u.

Covering an area of about 12000 hectares,MABULA GAME RESERVE is a rare sight for sore eyes.It is a private game reserve that is also home to what is called in the safari lingo the 'Big five'-leopard,lion,elephant,rhinoceros and the buffalo.The savannah is a varitable visual extravaganza and the resort where guests are put up is no less splendid.There are about 47 rooms -including chalet-style thatched air-conditioned cottages,suites and luxury tents.Located in the jungle ,away fro the main area of the resort,your communication with the human world is via a whistle,to be used for emergencies.Your arrival could be heralded by the wild beats of the resident drummers who also double up as dancers and dabble in churning out haunting tunes with a kudu horn too.


U can move through acres of bush land,stopping to get the innumerable perfect shots of everything from ibex to wildebeests.The buffalo sighting is less celebrate than it should have,but is saving up all your excitement for the pride of lions.Vehicles navigate itself through an area where the grassy undergrowth is thicker than usual.And soon enough,u can hear a gruff coughing and the ranger whisper to u to look.Busy zebras,distracted giraffes,sunbathing alligators seemingly oblivious to the world and unknown birds swooping down to perch on the Marula trees standing sentinel over the grassland,uttering harsh cries to remind u that u are unwelcome intruders.


Lions are the real stars in Mabula while giraffes provide added entertainment;a baby rhino with its mother


How to get there:u can fly in to Johannesburg and then drive two hours northward to reach Mabula Game Reserve.There are direct South African Airways' flights from Mumbai,flying four days a week.Mabula is about 200 km from Johannesburg International Airport.

Pocket Pinch:the tariff at Mabula varies according to season and on an average ,expect to pay about 3,250 rands for single occupancy per night with three meals,two game activities and VAT included with stay.

Exchange Rate:1ZAR=5.56INR approximately.


Mabula is an oasis of luxury in the middle of the jungle 

Bag the best

Going trekking? Helps you pick the right haversack.

     Before embarking on his first ever trekking trip to Sikkim late last year, one of the first things software professional Bidyut Mondal started looking for was a good haversack. I wanted to buy a quality haversack that was not only stylish but also sturdy,” he says. Moreover, he wanted one that could be used daily, and not flung in a corner of his cupboard once he came back from the trip. 

     A haversack originally referred to a single-strap bag made of canvas or leather, something similar to the one carried by the popular fictional character Indiana Jones. But thats no longer in vogue the definition of a haversack has undergone much change over the years. Today, any bag that is carried on the back or shoulder may be called a haversack.

     And as far as the material is concerned, buyers again have a lot to choose from. Haversacks made of canvas, fustian, a mix of canvas and leather, nylon, polyurethane and other water-resistant material dominate the market. “The choice obviously rest with the user, who should first decide on the purpose of such a bag. If one wants to go on a trek and chooses a haversack made of canvas, I wouldnt say the person knows what he or she is doing,” says Srimoy Haldar, a sales-person at a Calcutta mall. On the other hand, haversacks made of canvas could be the perfect choice for travel during summers and also for daily use as these are generally stylish.

     The first thing that must be kept in mind while buying a haversack is its size. Some people opt for large bag that can be used only occasionally while other go for smaller one, which are not very useful for long trips. Striking the right balance is important,” says Rana Roy, partner, Ubac trips. Mountain Equipment, Calcutta 

     Most people tend to buy fancy haversacks, ignoring a basic utility factor it ability to carry weight. Style and usefulness should be balanced,” says a spokesperson for Reebok, the popular manufacturer of sports footwear, apparel and accessories.

     A much favored but low weight-carrying haversack that many college students are seen with is the single, wide-straps bag that is slung across the chest or back. But these bags cannot carry heavy loads. And most big companies do not make them.

     Buying a haversack from the roadside could be light on your pocket, but you may regret the purchase later. These haversacks are not well made. Moreover, they are design in such a manner that you might end up injuring yourself because of faulty weight distribution. Haversacks that are not branded are of low quality and at times dont even last one trip,” says the Reebok spokesperson. 

     Reebok has a range of haversacks on offer. The prices start from Rs.1699. If there is any manufacturing defect, the product can be exchanged. Ubac, too, provides a lifelong warranty for all its haversacks, the prices of which start from Rs.950. Other popular brands include Cliffline, Stikage and Ibex. Many sports brands like Nike and Puma, too, sell haversacks.

     Haversacks for laptops have of late become quite popular, with many brands now available in the market. These bags come with extra padding to protect the equipment in case of a fall. “The shoulder straps should be strong, adjustable and well cushioned so that you have no problem carrying it. This is especially important when you are traveling or trekking over long distances,” says Roy. 

     Haldar says that enthusiasts could check out new brands like Giordano and others that have entered the market in recent times. “One advantage of buying their bags is that the prices are relatively lower than those of the more established brands. Moreover, in terms of quality, they are as good or even better,” he says.  

     As far as style is concerned, Ranas advice is clear: the simpler the better. “Every haversack that is stitched well looks stylish,” he adds. “Factors such as color and style depend on ones choice. People usually prefer dark colors,” says the Reebok spokesperson. 

     Since a haversack involves a one-time investment, the cost shouldnt be a factor if a customer is looking for a quality bag. And that is precisely what Mondal believes. He, therefore, preferred to shell out Rs.1900 for a waterproof polyurethane bag, which he now carries not only on his weekend getaways but also on his official trips.