African diamond safaris bring a whole new meaning to upscale adventure
Wynand Hendrikse is a diamond diver. For 20 years, he’s spent his days sailing off the western coast of South Africa, exploring a private offshore concession an hour south of the Namibia border. His office is on a boat, and his uniform is a wetsuit and fins; his mission is to scan the shallow sea floor for precious minerals. Almost every day he spends on the water, he hauls up a pile of diamonds, which he then turns into bespoke pieces at his Stellenbosch design studio. His clients, he says, include sports stars and actors, but he rebuffs you if you ask for their names. In other words, his life doesn’t suck.
For hundreds of years, a rough marine system called the Benguela Current has provided a bounty of conflict-free diamonds in an area called the Angola-Benguela Front. The diamonds, which originated deep in the earth, were swept to the ocean floor over millions of years after circulating through African waterways along various rivers and…….