Bull’s eye for the rhino

bulls eye rhino

This is quite a powerful way to highlight the plight of rhinos.

On the Sea Point beachfront promenade these are metal sculptures that, individually, are meaningless. But stand in a special spot and look down at the combined shape of each piece and you see a rhino.

You get the same view as the poachers do when they take aim with their high-powered rifles.

We’re losing them at such a rate that apparently in 10 years there will be none left.

In 2007 there were 13 killed

In 2008 there were 83 killed

In 2009 there were 122 killed

In 2010 there were 333 killed

and so it goes, increasing annually… last year there were 1004 killed and this year we can expect that number to double, at least.

And all because some people in some parts of Asia believe the horn has special medicinal properties. It doesn’t. It has no more property than your hair or nails, because it’s made of the same stuff.

Efforts to curb poaching are clearly not working, especially when rangers are involved. Rhino horns could be cultivated to be removed without killing the animal but there are some who don’t believe this is the answer. I don’t know what the answer is but I believe that there is no hope for these animals – they are doomed.

There’s probably one being shot at right now as you read this. If the bullet doesn’t kill it instantly, he is weakened enough to be tracked and then his horns are hacked off. He is left to bleed to death. Or it’s a female and her calf cries and cries, as any baby would.

And elephants are next.



Giant tree, gone


A few months ago the restaurant in the Company’s Garden – aka the Gardens Tearoom – in the centre of the city was closed down and the Zingara Group was awarded the tender for a new restaurant. Immediately, there was controversy and in typical Capetonian manner we all jumped up and down, worried about this change. The tearoom was seen as charming and olde worlde, was inexpensive, and was an institution. We like our ‘institutions’ whatever that may mean.

On the other side of the coin was the opinion that change was needed, the food was not great, and tourists wanted something better. I doubt anyone had actually asked the tourists what they thought but I’m on the fence with this issue until they open. Yes, the food was mediocre but the service was quick and friendly, and no-one went there for fine dining. A quick snack during a walkabout, surrounded by trees and squirrels and ducks was all that was required. But, as I say, I decided to remain on the fence – not my usual position, I must be getting mellow.

The Zingara Group does not offer cheap quick meals so the general fear was that they would open something too ‘fancy’ for the Garden, would detract from the charm of the setting, and be too expensive for locals. They were quick to issue a press release promising to keep the ‘historical integrity’ of the tea room. A tearoom in South Africa is an olde world unpretentious little restaurant, there are very few left and they don’t generally inspire much confidence these days.

I often walk through the Garden with clients so I am looking forward to seeing what the new restaurant – Haarlem & Hope – will offer.  They should open this month but when I was there this weekend it didn’t look as if this deadline will be met. However, that’s not my bugbear today.

I peeked through the fencing to see the progress and my eyes almost popped out when I saw that the magnificent old eucalyptus tree that was the talking point of the restaurant is no more. This tree was massive and had the most stunning bark. Now, I’m all for chopping down alien trees because they often prevent the natural vegetation to grow and they are too thirsty. But in this case the Garden is full of exotic trees and the Camissa River running under the city is being completely ignored as a source of water. This is an urban setting, not the mountainside where fynbos needs to be the focal point!

It appears that this tree fell down after they took over – how convenient, it was a bit messy. A eucalyptus tree will coppice when trimmed so why was this not permitted to happen? Did it break so far down that it could not coppice?

Tree stump


This looks like the trunk, apparently to be used to create a play area for children.


A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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