August, double prison breakout

August, 5th month of lockdown, and restrictions were once more lifted slightly. The biggest treat was being able to travel outside of ones metro area. What joy! But before that my first break-out was my first trip to a supermarket since March. I chose a store that specialises in fruit and vegetables with many bargains involving buying large quantities. My shopping companion behaved like a prison warden, constantly warning me to move away from people, to stop chatting (I thought I recognised someone but it wasn’t him, blame the mask) and to calm down when my mask caused my specs to mist up resulting in explosive anxiety.

We finally emerged with more vegetables than I have ever bought at one time, including an unnatural quantity of carrots. It seemed obvious to make carrot cake. My cake turned out delicious but I learned two things: it doesn’t require an awful lot of carrots so not really ideal if the goal is to use up many bunches bought on special, and it also requires several somewhat expensive ingredients like nuyts and cream cheese. All of that no longer mattered when one of the dogs jumped on the table and ate the cake that had been barely touched by humans.

The other massive major breakout was .. wait for it .. my first trip out of town. I had complied with the restrictions because I understood why they existed so, until we were given the go-ahead, I hadn’t left town (I don’t know how some of my friends are still alive after ignoring rules because their inconvenience is more important than national safety). Anyway, where to go? My budget was very low but I wanted to be at the coast – because we’d been forbidden from walking on the beach for several months, can you believe that?

Lucky me, I have a friend, Veronica, who lives with her sister in the tiny village of Britania Bay, two hours from Cape Town and has what we call a self-catering unit that she rents out, below the main house. It’s literally on the beach .. you step out the front door, take three steps and you’re on sand. Perfect.

I spent three nights there, I wish it had been more. Morning and afternoon beach walks, sunsets to die for, a trip to the nearby lagoon at the West Coast National Park famous for its flowers at that time of year, dirt roads, open roads, new faces and no cooking! One day Veronica gave me a guided tour of the nearby villages and bays and we even had fish and chips at a restaurant – our first post-lockdown restaurant meal, with a beer, too, seeing as prohibition was partly lifted. Small pleasures.

If you ever want a simple, beautiful and very inexpensive getaway do yourselves a favour, book this. Rustic but comfortable and very well-equipped.

The joys of a supermarket full of fresh vegetables and the most delicious carrot cake – most of which was stolen by a very bad dog. At least I managed to have one slice.

On the way home I popped in briefly to see the Tinie Versveld Private Reserve near Darling. This piece of land has been beautifully preserved with rare and previous Renosterveld. The yellow canola in the distance is very photogenic but mono-cultures like that have destroyed more than 90% of the Western Cape’s very special Renosterveld so this reserve is especially precious.

Almost home again, Table Mountain with Lion’s Head to the right.

Ending off with the link to my crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to save my tourism business. I thank you in advance for any assistance you can give.

Dislaimer: the advertising on this blog is random and chosen by WordPress, nothing to do with me and I derive no income from it.

(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?

A new toy, sunset and a chance meeting

sunsetperson

There’s this couple, Cathy and Terry,  with whom I’ve been interacting online for some time. They live in Simon’s Town and are what is known as ‘Friends of Cape Point’. This means they spend a lot of time in the Cape Point Nature Reserve helping with various tasks such as repainting signboards and generally keeping the reserve clean.  A huge number of Capetonians don’t appreciate the natural beauty of Cape Point and there are many who can’t get there often due to its somewhat isolated location at the tip of the peninsula. For Cathy and Terry it’s so close by and they love it so much that it’s virtually their backyard.

They have a website devoted to the reserve (check it out, loads of interesting info) and they maintain one of my favourite Facebook pages – What’s The Point? – which is regularly updated with photos to make anyone jealous of their proximity to this lovely place. They hike there a lot and know where to go to see the various animals and birds and flowers that most visitors miss as they rush through. We share a common opinion that it’s a great pity most visitors don’t spend enough time there. I wrote about that just this past week in a blog post here, for which they kindly allowed me to use some of their photos.

This afternoon I went down to Kommetjie with Vida and Vangie for a sunset walk and to try out the new camera. Sitting on a bench watching surfers and the sunset I began chatting with a lady taking photos nearby.. and within a few minutes I realised I was chatting with Cathy! It’s always pleasant to finally meet someone you’ve met and appreciated online and the chance of it happening in the same week we’ve been chatting back and forth about my blog post felt rather serendipitous. They say Cape Town is like a village sometimes, but still..

That chance meeting sure made up for the fact that my first efforts with this camera were a dismal failure! Caroline, hurry back from your roadtrip and help me figure out all these settings, please, not a moment to be lost here!!!

bird

I was really chuffed to ‘get the bird’ but not much merit to this pic.

slangkop

For some reason I had an urge to take a photo of Slangkop lighthouse through the bars of the gate. So I did.

Snow in spring

My dismal failure at snow peaked mountains from Silvermine.
Yes, the zoom is fabulous, but yes I need to work out how to not distort everything else in the process.

sunset

surfers

Table Mt from Kommetjie

Very very bad shot but illustrates the power of the zoom, which is not even used fully here – that’s the cable car station and restaurant at the top of Table Mountain – 40kms away!

Roadtrip – Overberg!

Dunes at Witsands

Sunset at the mouth of the Breede River, Witsand

One day, when I win the lottery, I’m going to leave the city and spend the rest of my life road-tripping – a fabulous vehicle, the open road, funky hotels and luxury guesthouses, beautiful scenery and quirky little towns … ahh man, I could spend my life like that.

In the meantime I’ll happily go on roadtrips with clients  – tiring, less freedom, less time, but better than sitting behind a desk. Next week I’m off to the Overberg – alone, no clients – to check out specific places because I want to develop a new 2 or 3 day tour instead of doing day trips to see whales in Hermanus.  I am madly excited about one of the places where I’ll be spending a night – it’s the most wonderful private reserve in the Overberg – Grootbos. I can’t wait because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Their website alone has me mesmerised. You can expect photos and a report.  And tweets if you’re there. Or Facebook.

It’s whale season so it reminds me of a particular trip I took a few years ago looking for whales in the Witsand area which is further up the coast than I’ll be going next week. We spent hours and hours watching them frolic but the photos I took with a no-zoom-happy snappy were so bad – we came to the conclusion that they are the least photogenic creatures on earth.  The sunsets certainly made up for that and we had lots of fun.

Tomorrow I’ll write about road-tripping in the Karoo because that’s where I plan to be based after I win the lottery – it’s the perfect place from which to explore South Africa and it doesn’t rain much.

Arniston cave

High tide so we couldn’t go into the cave, Arniston

me in cave

But I was talked into climbing in and out of a small cave via the tiny hole at the top.

Sunset

Another sunset

Wreck Cape Infanta

I loved Cape Infanta – it’s so isolated that it’s very unspoilt. There are wrecks all over the place, strange sand caves, and these stones were an absolute bitch to walk on.

Gaetan at agulhas

Gaetan was very happy to be at the southern-most tip of Africa.

sunset home

And the trip ended with yet another magnificent sunset as we drove over the pass towards Cape Town. It kept changing from pink to orange and I have about 70 photos of it. But I chose this one.

Sunset on the prom

After the drenching rains of last week, we’re back to normality for April – sun and not too cold, and … NO WIND!

Today was especially lovely and after a meeting at the V&A Waterfront I detoured to Mouille Point to watch the sun go down next to the lighthouse (which is not called the Mouille Point lighthouse, by the way, but the Green Point lighthouse, because the Mouille Point lighthouse used to exist near what is now Granger Bay but was demolished  yonks ago. But you knew that, right?)

The Promenade was full of joggers, strollers and lovers; the sea was as calm as a lake, kayaks and sunset-cruising yachts completed the picture of a city where no-one seems to work because it’s just too darn pretty to stay indoors!

I’m becoming unsatisfied with my camera phone but it still does a better job than my regular camera at this time of day.

20130423_181952

20130423_182018

NEW trees and sail ship

There’s a magnificent tall ship moored right next to the Table Bay Hotel and it’s open to the public but there were too many people queuing so I decided to abandon that idea.

I’ve been co-opted to organise a school reunion (more on that later) and in the process of tracking down some people I discovered one of my old classmates is a great photographer. Check out his work here.

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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