Emotional in the time of Corona

Last day before South Africa’s total lockdown begins tonight at midnight – that’s when both hands are on the 12, facing straight up. The only thing I’m grateful about is I didn’t need to go to the shops today. I suspect the locusts were out in full force.

Stats: 927 positive cases, 12 recovered, 2 critical, zero mortality.

These are surreal times and I still can’t believe this is actually happening.

You know the world is topsy-turvy when a business radio-show host breaks down in tears after playing the recording of the CEO of one of the country’s top companies (Edcon) addressing his suppliers. I thought I was hearing things but this evening Bruce Whitfield broke down completely on hearing Grant Pattison, who had also broke down towards the end of his call wherein he told his suppliers that he cannot pay them this month – they are mostly small or medium businesses.

Here is the clip from the show.

The most eerie thing is hearing and reading about hospital and medical personnel preparations. They have sent home everyone who does not need a bed and doctors and staff that are not needed, and are literally standing by waiting for an avalanche of sick people. Some hotels and community buildings have been put on stand-by. A company that makes prefabricated buildings is on stand-by, having been sanitised and prepped. Factories are re-configuring their machinery to make emergency equipment, such as ventilators. Think about that.  An entire country, on stand-by for mass illness.

It’s all just a bit too fucking much, quite frankly, and my emotions are all over the place.

My friend Gerald Schreiner put this on his Facebook status tonight and I think it’s worth repeating:

As we go into lockdown tonight in SA, I’d like us all to think about the major shift that is happening. This is the end of the world for the lack of a better phrase. The end of what we know. This past 10 days already we’ve been in self imposed isolation, and it has made me think of what this is teaching me about how I interact with my environment. People and planet. The current world order cannot continue. That much is obvious from the way we are reeling from the impact of this virus. I’m going to spend my time in isolation doing some soul searching about my intentions for this new world that’s coming, the impact I’d want to make and the effects want to have. Not to simply just plod on. Amidst the anxiety I have learned that there is possibly, just possibly a lot of lessons and ultimately a whole new world we can shape. So friends, near and far. Trite as you might think it is, think about the contribution you want to bring to a new world. And what that new world should look like for ALL of us on this Earth. And of course, may you and your loved ones stay safe. 🙏🏾

I think that pretty much sums it up and should give us all pause for thought.

Photo below : sunset on Knysna lagoon – days of oysters and bubbly and a lot less to worry about, had we only known it then.

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Bestie roadtrip, day 3: Knysna, Montagu Pass, Oudtshoorn

Keurboom Beach 2 After a quick visit to the beach to see what the previous night’s high-tide had left behind, we hit the road again. Direction: Oudtshoorn, via Montagu Pass, highlight number 2 of this trip.

We stopped at Keurboomstrand (pic above) and Keurboomsriver for a quick look-see, then in Knysna we drove around Leisure Isle drooling at the houses, the lagoon, the gardens, and finally the small nature reserve … how lucky are the people who live here and have this as their backyard. We forgot to do a selfie for Facebook.

lagoon with boat

Knysna lagoon

aloes

The nature reserve on Leisure Isle is so lovely and we were spoilt with aloes wherever we went on this trip since they’re in full bloom at the moment.

We needed some rolls for our picnic lunch so I suggested we go to a bakery on Thesen’s Island that I’ve heard so much about but has been closed every time I’ve been there. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it was closed today. I’m doomed to never get a crumb from this place, that’s for sure, this is my 3rd attempt. Everyone raves about it but I’m starting to have my doubts it is ever open. So we bought rolls at a garage shop and laughed ourselves silly at an old lady who almost missed her bus because her husband was walking very slowly. You had to be there. Yes, we’re like that.

As we approached George I began acting like a guide/navigator and out came the printed spiel from Google and my precious copy of Passes & Poorts published by Getaway. Within minutes we saw the sign and zipped off down the gravel road, much to Heather’s delight whose car doesn’t see enough gravel roads. Again, we forgot to take a selfie.

After a few hours of exploring every inch of this pass we finally arrived at our destination for the night – Oudtshoorn, world capital of the ostrich industry, home to South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction, the magnificent Cango Caves, and the location of the one mistake we made on this roadtrip. More on that tomorrow.

Click here for more photos.

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This pass is an off-road bikers’ delight.

pass to pass

This is some hike – between Montagu Pass and Outeniqua Pass.

long lunch

Long lunch at the side of the road.

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Caroline standing on the railway line distracting drivers.

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This was tempting when we reached the small village of Heroldt at the bottom of the pass but they were closed.

The western head of Knysna

Blog lagoon

Knysna – place of wood or place of ferns – no-one knows exactly what the name means but anyone who’s been lucky enough to go there knows one thing: it’s lovely and deserves its oft-awarded title of “South Africa’s favourite town” or something along those lines. There’s more to Knysna than the town, restaurants and waterfront (although I love those too). There are forests to explore, old gold mines, arts and crafts, back roads, hill tops and .. the other side of the heads.

The famous Knysna headlands, or ‘heads’ as they are known, form the entrance to the lagoon which is a very delicate eco-marine reserve, home to the famous Knysna Loerie, the rare Knysna Sea Horse and the Blue Duiker. Sadly, there are no oysters farmed here these days but because the area is famous for oysters, you can find them on almost all menus, brought in from nearby Mossel Bay.

The Eastern Head is home to some of the area’s largest and most expensive homes with magnificent views, and one can drive to the top and take a short walk to view the magnificent views from the clifftop. You can have a drink at the restaurant situated at the foot of the cliff and watch the boats that dare to enter the lagoon through the notoriously dangerous heads with their currents so strong they have a rich history of shipwrecks. Apparently Lloyds will not insure a boat for navigating this channel.

The Western Head is something altogether different. The Featherbed Nature Reserve is 150 hectares of private land, has no accommodation, access it limited and it can be reached only by boat.  If you don’t have your own boat, a Featherbed cruise is the best way to enjoy this beautiful spot. After a ride across the lagoon you are taken to the top of the cliff in an old tractor and walk back down with a guide to give you more insight, and then enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch overlooking the lagoon.

 

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The Eastern Head, all built up.

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The Western Head, serene, pristine nature.

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Loved this rock.

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I had no idea there are caves under the Eastern Head.

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Our guide wasn’t around to tell me who this Schultz was.

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I can’t imagine what purpose this tunnel served.

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Tiny beach and rickety boardwalk.

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I thoroughly enjoyed eavesdropping on the conversation these 2 were having. They were complete strangers and the youngster was explaining about all the places he’s travelled to.

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It was hot and shady bits like this were few and far between.

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It was a perfect day to enter the lagoon through this usually very dangerous channel and the yacht had no problem.

 

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Couldn’t resist a few more of the tunnel

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And another on the return of my walk.

 

 

Funky Knysna guesthouse

This guesthouse in Knysna epitomes the funkiness for which the town is famous. It’s called Bamboo, the guesthouse. On a trip with clients I was thrilled that they wanted to get to their fancy 5 star hotel as early as possible every afternoon. This meant I had more time to enjoy this great little place where I was staying. Not as expensive as my clients’ hotel but much more fun.

The owners are very creative and have filled the gardens with all sorts of clever things. We’re talking recycling and inventiveness here, everything seems to have been picked up at markets and junk stores and nothing is wasted – lots of inspiration for hoarders!

It rained most of the time I was there which only added to the fun of feeling as if I was in the middle of the forest and gave me an excuse to hang out in the bar where everyone was friendly and fun. I loved it and want to go back!  Tip: have the pancake for breakfast, best I’ve ever tasted.

Palm

Every room has a name and this was mine. It was small but had a lovely deck with a view over part of the garden – I loved it.

 

decking

It was raining, the decks were slippery, I was carrying several bags, and the twisting paths were a labyrinth around the property so I got lost several times but so did everyone else. It was part of the fun. This path leads to my room.

stuff

Luckily, I had lots of time to explore everything. The owner told me she loves shopping for junk and always comes home with masses of items. I believed her.

boxes

Loads of little treasures like this all over the place.

hanging baskets

Not your regular hanging baskets

pool

An unusual swimming pool

inside

In winter the bar and dining area with their various fireplaces must be very cosy.

mural

A beautiful mural on one of the stoeps.

table

Lots of mosaic items.

windmill

More pretty stuff in the garden

mandela knysna

Only in Knysna

more detail

Nothing is thrown away

spades

There’s a use for everything

(Re)solutions

New year  resolutions are not my thing at all, but today does symbolise a fresh start of sorts, and it’s not a bad time to plan things and create a wish-list and maybe dust some cobwebs away.

1Jan_2014 roadtrip

This year’s site visit and exploration roadtrip will be the West Coast and the Cederberg region.
These trips are very useful to expand my knowledge and they double up as a sort of holiday. This year I’d like to have someone with me, as opposed to doing it solo, as I’ve found on previous trips that a second pair of eyes is needed. So, to that end, I’ll be looking for the right person who wants a fairly-cheap mid-year roadtrip. Applicants must have a sense of adventure, an eye for a good photo, valid driver’s licence, and at least a week to spare.

1Jan_CapeGoodHope

A mandatory stop when visiting the Cape Point Nature Reserve, as do millions of people annually, is a brief visit to the official spot known as the Cape of Good Hope. Everyone has their photo taken at the sign showing this iconic Cape that almost everyone on earth has heard of. No, not this sign, the sign that reads ‘Cape of Good Hope’.
Unfortunately, there isn’t sufficient parking for those extremely busy days – which are increasing all the time. It gets quite chaotic there, as huge buses and dozens of smaller vehicles all stop to disgorge tourists wanting that iconic shot and a walk along the rocks. Despite there being loads of space to create more parking, it’s all pristine fynbos and a very precious conservation area but some sacrifice will have to be made because the numbers are not decreasing any time soon.

1Jan_TableMt

There’s no photo to illustrate the cobwebs I need to clear so this one of Table Mountain with the wind bringing the cloth of cloud over it will have to suffice to remind me to deal with a certain personal issue that requires urgent closure. Winds of change and all that.

1Jan_Life rocks

Once I’ve achieved the above, I will own this t-shirt.

1Jan_watchmoresunsets

Watch more sunsets.
I want to start a sunset club. We’ll meet regularly to watch the sun set from a different place, everyone brings something to eat or drink, everyone takes photos and we choose a winning shot.

1Jan_RobbenIsland

This giant wall poster is what greets you on arrival at Robben Island. Three men of extremes.
My biggest tourism wish for 2014 would be to see this island’s organisation take a turn for the better with a visit that is more enriching and stream-lined. I’d see it as a big bonus if new types of trips could be available, such as walking tours and full-day tours.
Cape Town runs a world-class tourist city but Robben Island lets the side down, big time.

1Jan_explore hidden Garden route

Funky is more important than you realise. Funky is a life-saver.
My last visit to Knysna made me fall in love with it again after a bit of a fall-out. This gorgeous corner of a newly-discovered must-return guesthouse had a lot to do with that.
My next visit will be one of deeper exploration into the forests and passes. A second pair of eyes will be required for that, too. Please apply within.

1Jan_Let the children

Can we dare to dream of a world where all children everywhere are treated with care, kept safe and given lots of love?

Disclaimer

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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