My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Posts tagged “life

Avro Shackleton MR.3 engine run at AFB Ysterplaat

Last Saturday I joined Hilton Mundy of ShortFinal.TV at the SAAF Museum Ysterplaat in Cape Town to film the engine start of the only remaining airworthy Shackleton MR.3 aircraft in the world. I was also lucky enough to be inside during the event filming the action from inside the cockpit. Here are a few of my photos from the day as well as the videos edited by Hilton Mundy.

The SAAF Shackleton being towed out of the hanger

see 6 more photos + 2 videos

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Quad biking on the dunes in Lamberts Bay

…The next morning we woke early, got dressed in our new Hi-Tec gear and gathered at the Green Bus for the next instalment of our Wild West Coast Adventure.

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


Family, friends and birthdays

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.

a bird's-eye view of the dinner table set 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


How to cook Lamb Shank – Timelapse

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.

grinding pepper over the onion

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Camping in the Kgalagadi

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


Enjoying what St James has to offer

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.

Panorama of sunrise over False Bay viewed from St James

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


Kicking it at Kirstenbosch for New Year’s Eve

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.

Guy McDonald, our MC for 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


Looking back at 2011 – what a year!

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.

January

walked with lions in Victoria Falls

February

got to see my nephew in real life for the first time

March

Went on a staff trip to the Wuyuan region to see the rapeseed flowers in bloom

April

went to my first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai

May

practised until I could solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 3 mins & made a video to prove it

June

I taught my last lesson at Yinhe Experimental Primary School

July

had a mud bath in the limestone caves of Yangshuo, China 

August

I realised a dream and visited New Zealand 

September

saw this reflection at sunset in Lake Tekapo 

October

I arrived back home in Cape Town 

November

got up close and personal with the Silver Falcons while filming aviation videos for ShortFinal.TV 

December

got to spend Christmas with my family for the first time since 2008

Who knows where 2012 will take me but it’s going to be hard to top this.

Happy New Year!


Huge waves on the rocks at Llandudno Beach

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.

spray being thrown up after a wave crashes on the rocks

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>


Stones fly at the Toyota Swartland Rally 2011

Back in September just after I got back from overseas I got invited by my friend Guy McDonald to go and watch the Toyota Swartland Rally. Guy used to navigate in a rally car and is passionate about the sport so spectating with him is a lot more than just watching cars drive by. Plus, I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice my panning photography which it was and here are a few of my favourite shots.

continue to see 9 more images