Introducing … ‘Doucheplates’

I’ve been observing the increasing number of personalised plates on our (Western Province – WP) roads with alarm. They’re incredibly expensive and yet in this ‘tightening of the belt’ environment there are more and more of them. My opinion is that unless they’re used as branding for a company vehicle, they’re just douchy. A few here and there are witty but mostly they’re a colossal waste of money. They’re not referred to as ‘vanity plates’ for nothing. So, I’m no longer satisfied with sharing them on Facebook, I’ve given them a whole new category in this blog. And here are a few to get the ball rolling.


Must admit I almost wet myself when I saw this one. So many possibilities.


Whatever this means. Many doucheplates are enigmatic to the viewer but of course there’s an explanation if you have time to waste finding the owner.


Sex Violence Nudity?


I did a double take for this one and as luck would have it, someone was sitting at the wheel so I asked. It’s the owner’s name. It’s not the business name though so it’s borderline douchy with a touch of wit.


Gotta love small towns …

A few quirky moments from a recent trip.

tea cups

Look carefully at these cups. I didn’t get it at first. That ‘ledge’ is to prevent the drinker’s moustache from getting dirty or wet. These are in a ‘feather palace’ in Oudsthoorn.



These donkeys are all named after South African politicians. The guide (you can just see his arm) greets them all by name. “Hi Winnie! Howzit Helen? Middag Auntie Pat! Hey you, PayBackTheMoney!!” and so on, there’s about 10 of them. Of course not a single tourist gets it but we laughed like kids.

cat sign montagu

When a newcomer moved into the lovely little town of Montagu her cats took some time to settle in and the townspeople kindly allowed this sign to be erected outside her home (there’s another one on the other side of the road). The cats are no longer alive but the signs are part of the town’s charm.

3 colour roses

One rose bush, three different colours. On Viljoensdrift Wine Estate outside Robertson.

sacred ibis in montagu

Montagu again. Slap bang in the centre of town is a sort of bird sanctuary. These sacred ibises cover the tree and weigh it down as they perch on the branches. Their nests are packed so close together that several nests forms one large nested area.

dwarf ostrich

A dwarf ostrich. Very rare.


Sometimes, guesthouses in small country towns try too hard when it comes to decor. This place had bits of fabric strewn in all sorts of unnecessary places (like around a toilet) and you can’t imagine what tables and plates of food looked like. These umbrellas shoved into the hedge left me speechless. Other than OTT design, it was a lovely place to stay in!

Leave wild animals in the wild!

Elephants for Pic a day 2

How natural is this? Note the sticks.

I’m duplicating an entry on my touring website’s blog because the message needs to be spread as far and wide as possible.

I’ve just come back from a 10-day trip with tourists and was outraged and saddened at some so-called ‘wild animal encounters’ that these people insisted on doing – and which the agency in their country happily provided, in total ignorance or apathy. I used to think feeding elephants at a specific game ranch in Oudtshoorn was okay but now that I know it’s connected to riding elephants, it’s a complete no-no.

Wild animals that are used for close encounters with humans have been broken from a very young age to stop them from doing what comes naturally – being wild. They are beaten and tortured into submission. They are removed from their parents before their eyes open. They are placed in cages. They are taken to regions where they have to adapt to unnatural surroundings. They cannot find their own food so have to be fed. They are given food that is not in their normal diet. They are forced to do things that are unnatural and are kept in check with sticks and threats.  At some stage they become aggressive and have to be ‘retired’ – what do you think that word means for an animal?

They are brutalised by humans for financial profit and then discarded when no longer useful. Some of the places that offer this have the nerve to advertise it as ‘a natural experience’!! The staff have been fed a script to field questions. It’s all complete lies and if you probe hard enough, they will admit it’s not true. Why do they keep doing it? They need a job and it’s hard to find a good one.

Some people are shocked to learn the back-story to these activities and will never do it again but some just don’t care because money is more important.  The solution is simple : South African tour operators could simply refuse to book these activities and explain politely why they are refusing. The result will be that reserves and breeders will have no demand and will be forced to stop. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? Probably not but I will never do it again and will refuse to take such bookings. If I’m with a group and it’s already booked, I will not take part and I will not keep quiet.

lions for pic a day

Directing the lions into the perfect spot for a photo opportunity. Sticks, sticks and more sticks.

Elephants for Pic a day

Everyone standing around to feed juvenile elephants apples and pineapples.

ostriches for pic a day

This is also not exactly natural but at least the ostrich has not been tortured and one can argue that ostriches are bred for the same purpose as cattle – for meat and skin.


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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