Toast Coetzer was born in Cradock in the Eastern Cape, and grew up on a farm in the district where his parents instilled a deep love for nature in him and his siblings. After discovering during high school that he loved writing and taking photographs, he attended Rhodes University where he got a degree in Journalism & Media Studies (he later also completed a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at UCT).
His journalism career and his love for the outdoors came together when Weg/Go magazine started employing him to document distant corners of South Africa, and later beyond. During his 12 years at the magazine he has travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres in pursuit of the perfect campsite, the most epic view, the most joyful gravel road to drive. He has searched for forgotten battlefields in KZN, given shepherds a lift in the Drakensberg and mixed tales with the Bushveld’s best in Alldays. He has hiked up an active volcano in the DRC, come face to face with mountain gorillas in Uganda and searched (and found) the green-headed oriole on the slopes of Mount Gorongosa. He has filled countless magazine pages with his stories and images about our wildest places, from his beloved Eastern Cape Karoo to Namibia’s rugged Kaokoveld, from the Okavango River to Tanzania’s Ruaha, from Mali to Mauritius and (almost) all in between. He has been to Timbuktu, Ujiji, Uitenhage and Tonteldoos. He has a particular love for distant ocean islands like St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Marion, and the birds that keep there, like albatrosses.
Toast is also a co-presenter of the travel show Weg Agterpaaie, now in its third season on VIA (channel 147, DStv), a regular photographic guide on Weg/Go’s Botswana tours and speaker at events ranging in topic from photography to birding. He was awarded the PICA Award for Travel Writer of the year in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Toast is also in a spoken-word band called The Buckfever Underground, the co-editor of a literary zine called Ons Klyntji and a host of The Unhappy Hour, which broadcasts live from Cape Town on community radio station Bush Radio 89.5 FM every Sunday 6-8 pm. But give him a mountainside anywhere in Southern Africa, and the outline of a Verreauxs’ eagle above, and he’s happy as can be. You can follow him on Instagram @toastcards (and yes, he still writes postcards…)