For New Year’s I was lucky enough to be invited to join a friend and his family camping in Wilderness, a coastal town just beyond George along South Africa’s Garden Route. Approximately a 5 hour drive from Cape Town I have often driven through Wilderness on my way to Knysna but never really stayed there. My friend and his family have been going to the same camp site for the last eight years so are basically locals and I was the newbie. As the name suggests, Island Lake camp site is on the edge of a lake that is used for a variety of water sports and we had our own speedboat. As excited as I was at the opportunity to water ski, having never done it before I was a little trepidatious but willing to give it a good go.
Not one for being able to sleep in I was up at first light every morning which is great for sunrise photography and also the best conditions for skiing before the wind gets up and disturbs the water surface. The early bird catches the worm and my first morning there I got a space on the boat and off we set. The others, who had skied before, all had a go and then it was my turn. I had planned to water ski but the wake board rope was out and so I though why not try that first. I jumped into the lake, which was surprisingly warm, and strapped myself to the board while trying to listen to advice as what to do. All ready the boat started to pull the rope taut and this was it, ‘hold on and let the boat pull you up’ I was told. read more + 8 pictures
Last weekend for my dad’s birthday we decided to go away as a family but long car journeys aren’t that desirable an option with two young nephews. Looking closer to home I suggested we try one of the SANParks cottages in the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park, better known as Cape Point. Luckily for us at relatively short notice there was availability and plenty of beds for our whole family and a few friends.
As the weekend neared the weather forecast wasn’t the best but nothing a fireplace and several bags of wood couldn’t fix. The rest of the family all went out on the Friday and I joined them on the Saturday. After lunch and an afternoon nap, there was a break in the rain and so continue reading + 13 more photos
Last weekend Guy McDonald and I travelled to the Garden Route area for the final round of the National Rally Championship. Friday’s stages were in George while Saturday’s were to be in Knysna so we decided to stay in Wilderness, right in the middle of the action. Set behind the seaside village, along the banks of the Touw River is the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park where you can either camp under the stars or stay in the log cabins like we did.
There is something about the smell of a log cabin that reminds me of continue reading + see 13 more 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
That’s right, later today I leave for America. This will be only my second time visiting America and considering my last visit barely lasted three days I can hardly contain my excitement as this time I will be spending nearly three weeks in the USA while visiting as many different states. And yes, you guessed it. I’ve started another blog where you can follow my adventure so check out Rory in America.
Why am I going to America? Primarily for Oshkosh.
Like most of my friends over the past few weeks you’re probably wondering what the hell Oshkosh is. Well, in a sentence, it’s the greatest aviation show on earth. Those of you who know me and have been following me will know that I am a little obsessed with anything to do with flying. I even book international plane tickets not based on the most direct route or the cheapest ticket but by aircraft type. Seriously, who does that? Well me, and so I will be flying with Emirates from Cape Town to Dubai on an Airbus A340 so as to be able to fly on their A380 from Dubai to New York before catching an internal flight to Chicago.
I teamed up with my friend Hilton Mundy, who founded ShortFinal.TV, last year to film a behind the scenes documentary called In the Jump Seat during the 2011 Ysterplaat Air Show. We have just finished the editing of this and it is in production so if you haven’t ordered your copy yet then do it now – here. We are both passionate about aviation and so it didn’t take long for Oshkosh to appear on our radar (excuse the pun). Hilton had decided he was going and it didn’t take a lot of convincing to get me on board. We are joining the guys from Air Adventure Tours who take over other aviation enthusiasts from South Africa and organise everything including catered camping on the airfield a mere 5 minutes walk from the flight-line.
Once again I was up early. I opened up the curtains to see clear skies and quickly got ready to explore one of the hiking trails while the others slept late. Although the grass lining the path was wet from the overnight rain and my pant legs were soon soaked it was too nice a morning to turn back early. The path soon opened up and I managed to make it to the viewing deck, on the Bushbuck trail, where I took some time to just sit in the stillness of the morning watching the fish feeding in the shallows while the rising sun bathed the opposite bank in light – a peace that you can’t find in the city.
I would have stayed longer but our tour was due to start at 9am and I still had to get back to the chalets. While it might not have the big five, one of the attractions of the Bontebok National Park is that you can walk freely without having to worry about dangerous wild animals as well as being able to get up close to some of the fynbos. It is also one of the last remaining ‘renosterveld islands’ with several endemic plant species.
Back at the chalet, while I was packing the last of my things, this opportunistic little bird was hovering around on the balcony waiting to be invited in for tea. Quickly reaching for my camera, I caught this interesting shot as he continue reading + 5 more photos
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
On the 2nd January I packed a few bags, my wetsuit and moved to St James where I was going to be house sitting for friends of mine who were on holiday in Thailand. Working freelance I hadn’t really had much of a holiday since getting back from China as I had to take work when it came up so I treated this week like my own holiday. It was like a summer beach holiday with perfect weather most of the time. I was greeted with this view every morning.
So all I had to do was open the curtains to check the surf conditions and for the first 4 days it couldn’t have been better with regular swells and no wind. A friend of mine had been trying to get me to go longboard surfing and staying so close to Muizenburg I couldn’t really say no. Suffice to say the very first day we paddled out, after renting boards from the Surf Shack, I managed to continue reading & see 4 more photos
Ever since I bought my first DSLR camera earlier this year I have been wanting to try time-lapse photography and it struck me that Christmas morning could be a fun scene to capture. Christmas this year was special for several reasons:
– It’s my first Christmas at home for three years as I have been living in China for the last two,
– It’s the first time my sister has hosted Christmas Eve dinner for the whole family,
– It’s also the first Christmas that my nephew, William, at 18 months has been old enough to sort of know what’s going on,
– And the first Christmas in my sister and brother-in-laws new house.
So I set up my Canon 550D in the corner of the room and set the remote interval timer to take a picture every four seconds while we sat in the lounge opening all our presents. Now you can sit back and enjoy the action that took place over two hours earlier today in this short 90 second video.
Having lived in China for the last two years and then travelling around New Zealand for 6 weeks I am now back in South Africa. Lots of people have asked if I am back for good and to be honest I can’t say for sure. I have experienced so many new things living overseas for the last two years that I can’t help but want to carry on and experience more. However living in a foreign country particular one where you don’t speak the language takes its toll and there was a part of me that just needed a break. Africa is my home and I’ve missed it.
So I’m back in SA, back in Cape Town for the foreseeable future where I will continue to work on my new photography hobby while chasing dreams of flying and sharing it all with you right here.