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.

No show flowers

Bontebok

Good grief! I haven’t blogged in almost 2 months – very remiss of me. Winter depresses me, I am not inspired, I sit behind my computer planning for summer and occasionally staring out of the window at the miserable weather, wondering if it will ever be warm again. In typical Cape Town manner it does warm up for a few days, lulls me into thinking summer is back and then it freezes up again. Like today.

But it is officially Spring so a trip to ‘the flowers’ was in order this week, despite reports that this year they are not putting on a good show.

Speak to anyone in Cape Town about ‘the flowers’ and they know you’re referring to the fabulous spring flower display of the West Coast. This is when the arid desert of Namaqualand bursts into endless displays of little flowers that have been hibernating – some of them even save their seeds for several years to ensure there is always life. From all parts of the country, and the world, flower-lovers make the annual pilgrimage to see this miracle. It’s a long drive from the nearest city but it’s worth it to see carpets of flowers as far as the eye can see. The tricky part is to time it well because as beautiful as Spring is in this region, it seldom arrives on schedule. Autumn and Spring don’t really follow man’s expectations in South Africa so one can easily plan and book accommodation, only to find the flowers were better last week or will be next week.

Closer to Cape Town is the West Coast National Park. It’s only an hour away and I love this reserve for its diversity. The flowers are a mixed bunch as opposed to the same type for miles, and there is also game and lots of water. A perfect mix, in my opinion.

My new friend Sheila and I spent a day this week meandering through the reserve. We even did the touristy thing of ticking off every animal species we saw. We didn’t have lunch at Geelbek (as one normally does) but we stopped and ate rolls and other goodies whenever we were hungry. We had an Incident with a Falling Tripod, we rescued a puff adder that was in danger of being run over on the road, we were thrilled to have kudus running across the road in front of us, and we lost count of the many tortoises we saw ‘dashing’ across the road. We also contributed heavily to the Bovril Project. Bovril is a bit like the gnome in Amelie in that he gets to travel to interesting places and have his photo taken for a dedicated Facebook page. All in all we had a fabulous day, despite the fact that the flowers are, as reported, extremely poor this year. Perhaps they’re late but one thing is certain, they’ll be better next year!

Read about the park here and look at photos showing what the flowers are supposed to look like.

Puffadder

The little puff adder that we rescued – by asking someone else to flick it into the bushes.

weaver

I’m a rotten bird photographer so am rather chuffed with this shot of a weaver.

Seeberg

My favourite place in the park is Seeberg with this house built on a rock and with the best views of the lagoon.

zebra2

This is the best I could do with these zebras as they were very far away. The one in front is not dead, his tail was flicking.

Postberg beach

The beach at Postberg.

Gazanias

 

Bov goes West

The Bovril Project

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No rushing through this park

Bov in the flowers

Bov in the flowers

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In the nearby town of Langebaan, surrounded by monstrous displays of bad taste, is this old house – one of only a few that has been preserved.

 

Langebaan Lagoon make-over

seeberg window seeberg door

SA National Parks (SANParks) are very busy in the West Coast National Park. I spent a pleasant day there this week, no rushing, no deadline, and a great lunch with the birds at Geelbek.

The little old hut on top of Seeberg – a large rock overlooking the lagoon and offering the best views – is being turned into an information centre. I wrote about it here and took the pics above just 2 days ago.  Here’s more info – it wasn’t a lookout point, as I originally thought.

I was saddened to hear the houseboats at Kraalbaai are to be removed later this year.  I have great memories of holidays spent on the one my friend Caroline’s parents owned. It was the smallest of them all but we had the biggest parties. It was demolished a few years ago and now they will all go, except for one owned by the SA National Parks which they will rent out. Apparently they will also be building jetties and little houses in the same bay as the present location of the houseboats. I’ll reserve my judgement until I see the results but I hope they maintain the pristine condition of the park.

Houseboats

Soon these houseboats will all be gone.

kudu

This kudu was a rare treat to see.

 

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Lunch at Geelbek. There are warning signs that you need to watch your food because the birds are greedy. This crowd entertained us by fighting over the leftovers. There was a clear winner.

 

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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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