Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I finally got to visit Hole in the Wall

One of my absolute travel highlights during 2017 is the fact that I finally got to visit the Hole in the Wall near Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast.  It was somewhat of an embarrassment to be somebody promoting and marketing the Eastern Cape but having to say that I have never been there. It's not the closest destination to where I live in Port Elizabeth though so it's not like I could just pop up to go and see it.  About two years ago I was in Coffee Bay en route to Durban and wanted to go, but circumstances led to me not being able to.  It means that this time around there was no way I was going to miss it again. Non at all.

Coffee Bay is a good 6 1/2 hour drive from Port Elizabeth and knowing that I left PE early to give myself enough time to see one of South Africa's iconic geological attractions.  After checking in at the hotel in Coffee Bay and declining the invitation of gin and tonics from a few travel colleagues who had arrived already, I headed the 8 km or so down the coast towards Hole in the Wall.  There are two options to view "the wall".  One from the hill above and the second from the rocky beach.  I opted for the former first and followed the track up the hill.  What a sight! 

After taking in as much from the viewpoint as I could I headed down to the bottom.  Rather than leaving my car at the normal parking spot and allowing myself to be harassed by the "informal guides", I wangled my way into the grounds of the Hole in the Wall Hotel and after a chat to the GM made my way out the gate and along the path to find myself face to face with this Wild Coast icon.  I literally felt like I could spend all day here and if I had brought a towel and lunch I may well have done just that.  Finally I can tick one of the big things off my South African travel bucket list. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Spending a day in the Tsitsikamma - video

I have always wanted to make travel videos.  When I started working as a tourist guide in 1998 I had a little video camera which I filmed my tours with.  Back then I didn't know anything about editing.  The video was basically what I shot and I had to make sure the video was rewound just far enough for the next shot to start where I wanted it to.  All those videos are somewhere on VHS tapes in a cupboard at home.  Somewhere I kinda lost the whole video thing and started enjoying photography and blogging.  But as a blogger I started to feel like I'm falling further and further behind many other travel bloggers who started including more video on their social media platforms.

A few weeks ago we headed out to the Tsitsikamma for a day and I decided that it was time to give video a go again.  Rather than go out and take photos all day, I took video clips on my DSLR camera and on returning downloaded a very easy to use video editing program.  This week I finally had a chance to play around with it and once I started I couldn't stop.  I realise that with the DSLR obviously not having an anti-shake like a video camera has I should probably have used a tripod, but I live and learn.  I must say that I was quite impressed with the end result.  Obviously, I still have a lot to learn, but you can definitely be sure that you will be seeing a lot more video from me in future.

So here it is, my first video called A day in the Tsitsikamma.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Going surfing in Coffee Bay


One of the very popular activities to do when young international backpackers visit Coffee Bay is to learn to surf.  Most of the backpacker lodges in the area offer surf lessons and there is always somebody walking around with a surfboard either heading for the waves or out of it.  This young lady just finished her surf and was making her way back to where her friends were waiting for her. Now surfing is something I have never tried and something that is still on my bucket list.  Perhaps next time I visit Coffee Bay...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Koffiebus and Teebus on a moody day in the Karoo

The Karoo Heartland has a unique beauty which I have really learned to appreciate more and more as I have gotten older.  If you're a forest or beach person then the Karoo may not be for you, but if big skies and open spaces feed your soul then there is no better place.  One of my favorite Eastern Cape Karoo Heartland landmarks is the Koffiebus and Teebus mountains outside Steynsburg.  Although there are many similar Karoo koppies throughout the whole region, the fact that there is a thick one (the coffee pot) and a thin one (the teapot) next to each other like this is quite noticeable.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Ninja Turtle problem in East London


I was in East London a couple of weeks ago and noticed the neighbourhood watch board on the guesthouse gate.  Neighbourhood watch groups do an amazing job getting residents together and curbing crime in residential areas and I live in a suburb with a very active neighbourhood watch. Looking at this board though I thought to myself that we're very lucky in our area not to have a Ninja Turtle problem like they do in East London.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beware the Warthog

 
Being from the Eastern Cape we all know that there are areas where you have to be very careful driving at night.  Unlike our friends in the Big Smoke it's not robbers and highjackers we have to be careful of, but rather Kudus.  These big antelope jump fences up to 2 meters tall and come and browse on the side of the road after dark, often jumping into the road and colliding with cars when they get startled by the bright lights.  Because of this Kudu warning road signs is a regular sight on the roads of the Karoo Heartland.

But lately, a new sign has stuck its head out.  A Warthog warning sign.  Now warthogs don't jump fences, for that their legs are way too short.  But they do burrow underneath and they can often be seen on the side of the R75 road towards Graaff-Reinet from Port Elizabeth.  Hence, Beware of Warthog signs. 

For some reason, I just want to sing, "Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase. Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze..." when I drive past them. Go figure...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The road is long...

When I downloaded this photo of me sitting in the road near Jansenville in the Karoo Heartland from my camera onto the laptop and saw it, the first thing that came to my mind was "The road is long..." from He ain't heavy, he's my brother by The Hollies.  The tune, melody, words, everything.  It's probably also the best description of my life lately.  Between work and personal life it's been busy, busy, busy with lots of time spent on the road and driving my desk when I'm not, catching up on admin.  I wouldn't have it any other way though because I love what I do, but in the process blogging was the one thing that was left on the luke hot back burner.  There just hasn't been much for blogging and I really need to make a plan to change that.  But a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  So at one stage or another, I need to get back into blogging and this is as good a time as any.  I posted for the first time in over six weeks on Port Elizabeth Daily Photo earlier this week and its time to get Firefly the Travel Guy going again after this break.  So, "The road is long, With many a winding turn..."