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 Saturday after taking my new car for a spin in the mountains behind Paarl and taking in lunch at a wine farm we were on our way back to Cape Town on the N1 when on the spur of the moment we thought we would visit Butterfly World just off the highway.
As you enter the greenhouse you are hit by the humidity and warm temperature that the butterflies are dependent on but you soon forget about this as you are surrounded by hundreds of butterflies from very colourful ones to ones with transparent wings (see above). They flit about seemingly unperturbed by your presence and some may even land on you although you are cautioned not to touch them as they are very delicate. It’s not only about these winged insects though as through the next door is the continue reading + 7 more photos
It feels like only just got back from my trip to America and now I’m off again but locally this time – more to follow in future posts.
The States was great though and if you haven’t seen any of my photos yet be sure to check out my post on Chicago’s buildings and skyline , a time-lapse of the six days of flying at Oshkosh and why it took me an hour to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. After three weeks of summer in America it has been quite a shock coming back to winter in Cape Town and even more so when the deck outside my room was covered in hail.
Winter in Cape Town is not all bad though as in between the cold fronts and rainy days we do get some absolutely glorious days when there is no wind, the sea is calm, the air is clear and the sky is blue. It’s days like these that make you forget all the rain and damp. It’s days like these that remind you just how magic a place Cape Town is to live. It’s days like these that even driving to work one just has to stop and admire the city in which we live. And it’s days like these that I have to stop and take a photo to share with you.
Do any of you have a view like this too, on your drive to work?
It is days like these during the winter months that make you feel like there is no greater place to live. The reason I’m going to miss Cape Town is that tomorrow I am heading overseas (more about that in my next post) but I will be back and hopefully by then the weather will have improved and everyday will be like today.
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
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