Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The lonely house

I just loved this scene of a lonely house - close to being a ruin although at least it still has its roof - in the Gamtoos Valley.  It's located on a dirt track a few kilometers off the main road through the valley, so not something many people get to see but well worth the stop to photograph.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blue cranes in the Overberg

Road trip stories.  I have many. Why?  Because it's a lot more exciting than just flying to your domestic destination.  So except for speed, what is the most exciting thing that could happen on an average flight? Chicken or Beef?

Road tripping to Cape Town with Shefetswe and Erenei, we were driving somewhere between Caledon and Bot River in the Overberg when my eye caught something in a field next to the road.  As I spotted it Shefetswe remarked, "Wow! Check the Blue Cranes." Well, I don't know which came first but I slammed on the brakes and shouted hold on... or shouted hold on and slammed on the breaks.  Shefetswe did remark afterwards that he just saw the gravel next to the road approach quickly.  I don't know what he was on about.  There was no skidding wheels and I had everything under control.   

The slight whiplash was well worth the sighting though.  About 100 Blue Cranes together in the field. Not something you get to see every day from where we come from.   

Why was this sighting to special for us?  The Blue Crane is South Africa's National Bird and is a threatened specie that is classified as Vulnerable.  This took place in September which is normally a time when flocks have broken up and breeding pairs dominate the choice areas.  This means that in Spring and Summer you normally see pairs or pairs with youngsters in open fields.  The flocks that remain together move to the fringes of the breeding areas and it must have been a flock like that which we saw..

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Overberg landscape

The Overberg landscape changes with the seasons with the best time to travel through the area being August and September.  That is when you will find green grain fields with wheat, oats and barley, interspersed by yellow canola fields, in splendorous full bloom.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Purple and green lines in the Overberg

Road tripping often allows you to see the most interesting and unusual sights.  Something you don't get wizzing overhead to your destination in a plane.  The Overberg is famous for it's canola fields covered in yellow flowers in spring, otherwise green fields in spring and and brown ploughed fields ion late summer going into autumn and winter.  Or that was until I saw this. Mmmm, very unusual. I don't know why but it reminded me of a couple of pictures of somewhere in Europe I've seen before.  If it wasn't for the sheep it could have been.  Whatever it is, it shouted out for me to pull over and grab my camera.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Blue and yellow on the Knysna Lagoon

It was a late afternoon on a gloomy day, our only day, in Knysna and I was taking a walk around Leisure Isle with a couple of friends.  The mission was actually one of a Geocaching kind, but two of us had our cameras with us as well and once the cache was found it became a photography trip.  With not a lot of sunshine around it meant that there would be no spectacular lagoon sunset so we found ourselves a couple of subjects in these two row boats moored a few meters away from the island.  It wasn't long and we were both flat on our tummies to try and get a low angle and a nearby fisherman was so interested in what we were doing that he nearly missed the slight tug on his line.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Table Mountain - Pulling the table cloth over

Table Mountain.  Probably the most iconic attraction in South Africa.  Something every visitor to the country wants to visit.  Being in the tourism industry I often get asked about Table Mountain by visitors and one piece of advise I always give is to go to the mountain at the first opportunity you get.  I was guided a tour down the Garden Route to Cape Town and on arrival in Cape Town we noticed the mountain was open.  There was bad weather forecasted and both the driver and I urged the tour leader to change the itinerary so that we could go straight to the mountain.  He didn't want to as we had four days in Cape Town before they flew out and there would be more than enough time.  Needless to say, the left without being able to go up.

The main reason for somebody not being able to visit the mountain is wind and often with the wind comes the table cloth.  There is a legend about the table cloth going back to the early days of the Cape.  It goes that the devil challenged a local called Van Hunks to a smoking contest on the mountain and after days of continuous smoking lost.  It is said that the table cloth appears every time Van Hunks and the devil decide to have a rematch up on Devil's Peak.  On my last visit they had a little puff, but not a full on competition.  Perhaps next time again.  Although it would mean I wouldn't be able to see my mountain.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Kouga Dam overflowing in all it's glory

This was my favorite photo from our visit to the Kouga Dam in the Gamtoos Valley to see it overflowing. I just slapped I with a bit of HDR to give it a bit of a more striking look. A dam like this overflowing is always a sight to behold.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Checking the Kouga Dam overflowing

A week or two three ago we spent the weekend at Tia Ghee Tented Camp in the Gamtoos Valley and heard that the Kouga Dam was still overflowing after good late winter and spring rains.  We immediately decided to take a drive up to the dam for a look and we definitely weren't disappointed.
From the tar road, very close to where it becomes dirt going into the Baviaanskloof, there is a dirt road turnoff to the left and about 7 or so kilometers later you arrive at the dam.  The low water bridge over the river was under water and the road on the one side of the cement bridge is totally washed away so we parked the car, took off our shoes and went a wading.

Just less than a kilometer's walk up the hill and we got to the lookout area at the top. What a sight!

The lookout area looks right down on the dam with views both upstream above the wall and downstream back to where the car was parked in the distance.

I really struggle to get Chaos Boy to pose for photos lately so was just too glad when he flashed me a smile for this one. *mxm* (which means tongue click for those who don't know) Teenagers!

With Drama Princess it's the total opposite.  She'll happily pose with a smile, do the natural thing and pretend to be looking at something or perform for the camera.
Walking back down through the tunnel on our way back to the car

One last pose as we made our way back through the river to the car.  Everybody was in agreement that taking the drive to the dam was a great idea, even if the KidZ complained all the way while walking up.  Coming back down they were all smiles.
Note - 3 November 2015 - At the time of posting this we just had a huge amount of rain dumped on us again over the last week so the dam is definitely still overflowing.  If you want to see this for yourself, do take a drive into the beautiful Gamtoos Valley this weekend.  Why not get away properly and book for the weekend at Tia Ghee?  You won't be sorry.