It was the coldest and wettest day we’ve had this winter in Cape Town and there was some doubt as to how enjoyable our weekend away was going to be at the Bontebok National Park, just outside Swellendam, but I for one was looking forward to getting away and the chance to unwind, whatever the weather. While it rained for most of the 240km journey out along the N2 and was still drizzling when we arrived, all of our spirits were lifted as we were dropped off at our awesome wooden chalets overlooking the Breede River and we were excited to see that they had heaters in them too.
The chalets at Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp are fully equipped and are ideal for two adults but can accommodate more by use of a sleeper couch. Each one has an outside deck with covered braai area and the hiking trails start at your doorstep.
Having unpacked, settled in and put on another layer of warmth we headed to Die Stroom function facility, where we had a braai with Bulelwa, the Park Manager and some of the rangers. As we sat around the table we got to know more about the park and continue reading + 2 more photos
The sun rose to reveal a beautiful dawn with just a few clouds in the sky proving the old adage correct. There had been talk of cancelling the morning’s itinerary if it was wet but now it looked certain that we would get to do what was probably the most anticipated activity of the weekend – quad biking on the dunes in Lamberts Bay. We did first have a two-hour drive to get there but we had Piet, a West Coast Tour Guide, ride along with us who was a font of information on the area. He explained how the dunes in the WCNP are moving inland at a rate of 3 metres a year and may one day cover the R27 and how the trains on the Sishen-Saldanha railway line that are up to 4km in length, including 10 locomotives and 342 cars, are some of the longest production trains in the world.
By the time we got to Lamberts Bay the weather had closed in but it wasn’t raining so the quad biking was still on. At West Coast Safaris and Quads, we were greeted by Johan who gave us a quick demonstration on how to operate the quad bikes, which were fully automatic so even a complete novice would have no trouble. Then a safety briefing and we were ready to go.
I had been quad biking before but this was different. continue reading + 6 more images
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.
Having been out of the country for two years, when a friend said there was seat going begging on a trip to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I jumped at the opportunity and I could barely contain my excitement about getting back into the African bush and my first chance to photograph wildlife with my DSLR camera. The Kgalagadi is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, crossing over the border into Botswana and the border of Namibia forms the Western boundary of the park.
With the trailer hitched on we set off from Cape Town at 4:00 am heading towards Clan William, Calvinia and then up Van Rhyns Pass, the border between the Western and Northern Cape provinces with this spectacular view on the way up.
The landscape changes dramatically once you are over the pass and I strongly recommend taking some loud music with you to avoid falling asleep at the wheel as there is no radio or cell phone signal and the road is long and straight. We stopped in Brandvlei, with 37°C on the dashboard temp display, and a guy at the petrol station asked ‘have you ever been to the Devil’s Pit?’ to which we shook our heads and he replied continue reading & see 6 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
I know it’s been a while but since New Year’s Eve but the start of 2012 has been a busy one for me; more about that in posts to come. Right now though it’s time for a bit of catch up so I’m going to let the pictures do most of the work.
As a group of friends we had started discussing plans for New Year’s back in October with nothing being set in stone. Time marched on, suddenly it was December and we still hadn’t made definite plans when my mate, Guy McDonald, said that he was MC’ing the Kirstenbosch Concert and that we should all join him there so that’s what we did. We made sure we got there early, as the gates opened, to get a good place on the grass. Then all that was left to do was sit back, relax and enjoy the music. Meanwhile Guy had to keep going up on stage to introduce the next act and here he is, doing what he does best, entertaining with no less than 3 costume changes over the course of the evening.
I took along my camera as I continue to experiment and improve my photography. This was going to be my first experience of photographing a concert which was tricky with the low light and lots of movement but it was fun none the less and I got these few shots that I was pleased with. continue reading & see 8 more photos
This has been quite a year. I spent the first six months completing my second teaching contract living in Xiaoshan after which I travelled around China for several weeks before jetting off, via Malaysia, to New Zealand for six weeks before returning to South Africa and ending with a quick visit to Zimbabwe for a high school reunion at the end of the year.
All in all, I’ve visited ten different countries, enjoyed taking off 20 times and have taken close to 15000 photos with my new Canon 550D. I did this picture review back in 2010 and you liked it, so here is my snapshot review of 2011. Enjoy!
NB: click on the images to read the full story on their respective blog posts.
Who knows where 2012 will take me but it’s going to be hard to top this.
Happy New Year!
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.
One of my favourite places to go is the end of the rocks on the left hand side of Llandudno Beach especially when there is a large swell running. As the waves crash against the rocks spray gets thrown 10s of metres into the air which is spectacular to watch. As I was driving home a couple of months ago I could see the large sets of swell rolling in so I grabbed my camera and went down onto the rocks to capture this to share with you.
When the sea is this wild it can be very dangerous at the end of these rocks. Several people have been washed off the rocks and some have even died. My dad and I once had a close call a few years back. We had been watching the waves down at eye level through a gap in the rocks and I asked “what do we do if a really big wave comes that reaches us; Do we run or stay put?” to which my dad replied – continue reading, see 4 more photos & a video>