Last weekend I got the chance to be a tourist in my own city with a good friend Nicole Biondi, the chance to explore Cape Town without the usual responsibilities of making sure I had enough milk for breakfast, remembering to switch the geyser back on and having to hang out washing. Yes, it’s not having to worry about these everyday things that makes one feel like they are on holiday. What better way to start the adventure then a city sightseeing bus tour. Starting in Seapoint we wound our way along the coast to the Waterfront on what could only be described as a beaut of a winter’s day.
The Cape Town Red Bus makes several stops along its route but it was Kirstenbosch where we planned our first hop-off. Not only was it a perfect day to wonder through the botanical gardens but I hadn’t yet seen the latest addition, the tree-top walkway otherwise known as the Boomslang. Rising up several metres of the ground you walk out above the tree tops with fantastic views over the gardens and greater Cape Town. True to its name the Boomslang does wind back and forth between the trees and even sways like a snake does as it moves from branch to branch. So much so that if you’re prone to continue reading + see 9 more photos
If you don’t follow me on Twitter and, more recently, Instagram then you may not have been aware that I spent the better part of November travelling in Southeast Asia. A friend of mine planned the itinerary to the very last detail which meant all I had to do was get on the plane and what an adventure it was. Since I’ve been back, things have been a little hectic catching up with work and other boring things so I am still working through all the photographs. In the meantime here are some of the Instagram shots to give you an idea of the trip. To see the description for each photo click on the Instagram logo in the top right hand corner of each image.
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There is something about fresh sea air and the sound of waves breaking that guarantees a good nights sleep and that is exactly what we all got that night. As a photographer though I resisted the urge to sleep in and went out early to get some shots in that lovely early morning light and Agulhas didn’t disappoint.
Once everyone else had woken up we went into Struisbaai for breakfast at Pelican’s Harbour Cafe. It’s not gourmet but what was impressive was that every part of our cooked breakfast was hot which everyone commented on. Then we lost half of our group who went off to read more + 10 photos
On the third of a series of weekends away with SANParks we did a tour of Table Mountain National Park including some of the lesser known attractions of this diverse and rather spread out park. Although we all live and work at the base of Table Mountain there is a lot more to this National Park that stretches all the way from Signal Hill to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope. Once again transport was provided by the Green Cab meaning we could sit back and enjoy the views as we made our way to our first stop Boulders Penguin Colony.
We were shown around by the Section Ranger for Boulders who told us a little more about the penguins, in particular how some of looked a little unkempt with fluffy feathers and even patches of no feathers. However this is perfectly natural when they malt and starve for 2-3 weeks while they can’t fish because of continue reading + 15 more photos
I am not a die-hard fan but I did watch several episodes of Fawlty Towers growing up and think John Cleese is hilarious, so I was excited when Guy McDonald invited me to join him for Faulty Towers The Dining Experience which forms part of the inaugural FNB Variété Festival from 6th-20th of October 2012.
The venue was The Villa at the Cape Sun Hotel, a perfect location for what was to unfold. We were having a drink and chatting when Basil Fawlty appeared. He was hard to miss, being close to 7 ft and a remarkable resemblance to John Cleese in the original TV show. Then I noticed Sybil standing by the ticket desk with an old phone wedged between her left ear and shoulder chatting away while scurrying between all the other guests, collecting empty glasses, was Manuel the waiter.
We weren’t even inside and the show had begun. Basil called for Manuel to bring out the hor d’oeuvres but Manuel’s English isn’t very good and so he replied quizzically ‘Orders?” Basil a little frustrated repeats “hor d’oeuvres” but Manuel still only manages to hear “Orders” and isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do. So Basil simplifies the request to “Nuts” and Manuel finally gets it ‘Oh, yes the nuts. I go” and disappears round the corner. A little while later he returns simply carrying a tray of nuts and weaving between the guests. Basil notices that Manuel is just carrying the nuts around and not offering them to the guests. “No, no, no. Manuel you have to serve the nuts. Serve the nuts.” Manuel nods and Basil continued greeting the guests. I then watched Manuel who proceeded to pick up a single nut, throw it into the air and (more…)
I was up early the next morning and while there was still a thick blanket of cloud across the sky it had at least stopped raining. I had a quick cup of tea and ventured out with my camera, eager to get some photos after the terrible weather the day before. Although there was no sunrise to speak of I really enjoy shooting in the soft morning light and had some fun experimenting with depth of field on these thorny specimens. Before long the others started emerging from their chalets and we climbed into the bus to begin our tour.
First stop was Rolandale Restaurant and Farmstall, on the side of the N2 highway, for a full breakfast and you know you’re in farm country when the bacon is twice as thick as the stuff you get in the supermarket. Ready to tackle the day it was back on the bus and through the village of Suurbraak. This village is nestled among streams of running water and sheltered by giant oaks with history dating back to the ancient trade routes of the Quena (Hottentot) people of Southern Africa. From here we made our way up and over the Tradouw Pass. It is hard to capture the scale and beauty of the Tradauw Pass, even more so when the weather isn’t ideal, but it is definitely worth doing if you are in the area.
At the northern end, just over the pass, is the small town of Barrydale and we had the privilege of continue reading + 7 more photos
It was a beautiful morning and so we decided to earn our breakfast by walking from our accommodation at Duinepos to the Geelbek Restaurant. We had only just started walking along the road when we saw a group of ten eland that crossed the road in front of us. We experienced that special something of being able to walk freely amongst nature and wildlife; as we stood watching them, they stared back at us. Eland are the largest antelope with a shoulder height 1,5 to 1,75 m and can have a mass up to 900 kg. Both sexes have horns, which have one to two tight spirals. They seemed to be hungry too and after checking us out returned to browsing the fynbos as we continued on our way.
At Geelbek we met up with and were introduced to Eddie who was going to be our tour guide for the day. Eddie has in fact just retired as a ranger from the West Coast National Park but having worked there 22 years he knows the park like the back of his hand and who better to show us around. continue reading + 7 more images & a video
Quad biking, sand boarding, bird watching and delicious seafood are just some of the attractions of the West Coast outside of the flower season. This last weekend we got to experience a selection of these as guests of SANParks on a weekend of discovery.
We all met up at the SANParks offices in Kirstenbosch gardens from where we were taken by the Green Cab to our base for the weekend, the West Coast National Park. As much as I like driving it was actually a pleasure to be driven and before we knew it we had arrived at the park which is just 120km outside of Cape Town, perfect for a weekend away. There are several options of accommodation within the park and we stayed at the Duinepos Chalets nestled in amongst the natural fynbos.
After dropping our bags we went out for a quick tour of the park and to the lagoon for a swim as it was a very warm day despite the cloud that was blowing in off the Atlantic Ocean. While the West Coast National Park may not be able to boast the big five it is home to several of the smaller cats like the caracal and African Wildcat as well as several antelope such as springbok, eland, red hartebeest, bontebok and my favourite, kudu, which we were lucky enough to see.
Anyone who has visited Cape Town will know just how cold the Atlantic Ocean is. Even in summer, the beaches are packed but there are very few people in the water. The Langebaan lagoon however is usually several degrees warmer making it a great destination for water lovers and some of our group took full advantage of this. continue reading and see 7 more photos
So it’s been a busy couple of weeks. We’ve had friends from America staying with us, the financial and tax year-end has come and gone not to mention the numerous family birthdays in the past couple of weeks including mine two weeks ago. I’m not big on celebrating birthdays but it is a great excuse to catch up with friends and family and that’s what we did. Seeing as my uncle was visiting from Durban my mother organised to get together a whole lot of old Zimbabwe friends, including a few surprises, that now live in the Cape area together to celebrate his birthday. We moved all the furniture out of the lounge and set a table for 22.
As I continue to enjoy photography I find it difficult to take pictures of people because I feel like I’m invading their space. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like having my own photo taken. I’m even more apprehensive in low-light conditions where you need to use a flash which makes taking a photo even more intrusive. So here are some photos from the evening, all of them taken without conitnue reading and see 9 more photos
Those of you who know me will testify to the fact that I’m not the world’s greatest cook. It’s not that I can’t cook, nor that I don’t want to; I guess I just haven’t had to cook that much in my life. I can follow a recipe in a book but mine never comes out like the life-size picture on the opposite page and my logical mind is left wondering why the garnish wasn’t included on the ingredients list.
On the recent camping trip I took to the Kgalagadi we met to discuss the shopping list. It was decided that we would share the load and each person would be in charge of a dinner at which point I said “hold on, I’m not sure that’s going to work.” After some debate I agreed that I was happy to cook a meal as long as someone told/showed me how to do it, the deal was made. I was going to be taught how to make Lamb Shank. I only discovered some time later that Lamb Shank has to be cooked for hours and I started thinking that I had lost out on this deal but I also started thinking that it would be a great opportunity to take some, or thousands, of photos during the process and make a time-lapse video. Plus I could then show it to all my friends who would otherwise never believe that I had actually cooked a meal.