A little retro adventure

chappies net 2

Chapman’s Peak

Today, out of the blue, I was asked if I wanted to go for a motorbike ride with someone I’d never met. Yeah yeah, I know, but it’s a Facebook thing and it came about after a long debate on art. I jumped at the chance because it’s been years since I rode a bike, and after some discussion about jackets and boots (it’s over 30 degrees today so this didn’t sound right but ‘safety first’) I was ready and waiting at the gate with my camera. I had visions of selfies in the rear-view mirror like so many other people seem to manage easily, but those are not as easy as you think.

So, off we went to look at the burnt-out mountains. First we sped off down the motorway towards Ou Kaapse Weg at over a zillion miles an hour.  I held on very tight. We stopped twice to take photos and look around. We went over Chapman’s Peak which has reopened despite what I think is considerable danger of falling rocks. After out first stop I was comfortable and let go of  Marius. I held the handy bars at the side and even leaned back gently against the container-thingie. Totally cool!

Downside of riding a bike: The clothing. The jacket I wore weighed a ton and made me very hot when we were not moving. The helmet soaked my head with perspiration. The gloves are as thick as a mattress so there’s no chance of holding a camera. Getting on and off is a very graceless affair with rude words.

Upside of riding a bike: You see more than from inside a car, much more. Fuel consumption is way better than a car.  Nipping in and out of traffic and getting up Ou Kaapse Weg in minutes is a joy. People look at you but they can’t actually see you under the spacesuit. The road really does come up to meet you, especially going around the bends of Chappies and that hairpin bend on Ou Kaapse Weg, but you can close your eyes.


The desolation of Silvermine.

silvermine 2

Check it out! The ‘boney’ in question BMW 1200, because when it comes to bikes, size does matter.

silvermine seed looking for a home

This little seed was rolling around looking for a home.

silvermine new life

Life sprouting already.

silvermine sign

This sign ..

silvermine sign not burnt

and this sign … why has this one survived?

silvermine other photog

We weren’t the only ones taking photos.

silvermine false bay

In the background, Muizenberg mountains where it all began.

chappies net

Chapman’s Peak. The nets are still there but have been heated so much that they need attention and may not be strong enough to hold large boulders.

chappies still beautiful

Chappies still manages breathtaking views.


There we go, the perfect selfie.


We can see clearly again

alphen 10 march

What a pleasure to see the mountains clearly again and to not have the stench of fire in ones nose while walking the four-legged wonder.

Last week was hell. Mountain fires, the hottest day in 100 years, driving through smoke, smelling smoke all the time. It’s not over yet because the mountains are still burning in Jonkershoek near Stellenbosch, and other regions, but the Peninsula is back to normal, whatever that is.

If you’re on Facebook check out these excellent photos from the Silvermine area (only part of the 6000 hectares that burnt last week) – fire is always so photogenic.

My previous entries about the Tokai Manor House and ghost received hundreds of hits last week because there were rumours that it had burnt down so people were Googling it like mad. It has not burnt down, it is still there. The surrounding plantation did burn however, and a few houses in Zwaanswyk.

And of course these fires didn’t actually fit in with my planned tours but some improvisation around clients’ special interests helped a bit, and I even landed up being a guide in my own old neighbourhood. Check it out here. I’ve just received awesome feedback from them so clearly I did something right.

Ok, enough blowing my own trumpet; it’s wine o’clock and the garden needs watering – I have a special way of combining the two.


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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