Looking for flowers – finding stone!

  We took two days off near the end of August to see the yearly explosion of wild flowers in Namaqualand. With relatively good and early rainfalls in July and August the landscapes above and below would normally have have been spread with carpets of yellow, orange, pink and red wild flowers. This year however …

Cape Town’s Waterfront on a sunny winter’s morning

    Albert Luthuli (1898-1967) President-General of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1952-1967. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Price “for his fight against racial discrimination”. Luthuli House – the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg – is named after him. – Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu (born in 1931) received the Nobel Peace Price in …

The white washed walls of Stellenbosch

                  For the more politically inclined, the title of this blog ought to be ambiguous. Ambiguity is not intended here, but words have this political thing of revealing and/or concealing divergent aspects of truth (see Pablo Neruda’s “meta’fore!” – in the film Il Postino). Here, however, I …

Heritage Day – a walk up Lion’s Head

Tuesday was “Heritage Day” – so called to remind us of our cultural diversity and with that to remind us of our unity as a nation. People with Zulu ancestry are celebrating the remembrance of Shaka Zulu (c.1787-1828), once king of the Zulu nation. Others are proposing this day to be called “Braai Day” the …

Views of Betty’s Bay

There are many aspects of life in Betty’s Bay, which are worthwhile exploring. Looking across the fence, there is an artist’s studio and next to him a chef, former owner of the then only worthwhile restaurant in the immediate area, now a full time chocolatier; next to us a couple retired as we are, she …

Little Camargue at the Cape – Rooisand Nature Reserve

A few kilometres outside Kleinmond on the road to the villages of Botrivier or Hermanus, turn right to enter a wetland area preserved as “Rooisand Nature Reserve” – little Camargue at the Cape. “Kleinmond gets its name from the ‘small mouth’ of the Bot River that seeks to enter the sea at the main beach. Part of …

Harbour Road, Kleinmond, revisited

Despite the obvious criticism one must have in respect of sensitive town planning or the lack thereof, Harbour Road, Keinmond, is worth a visit, more than ever before. As with all new challenges in life, they raise the spirit to do well against all odds. With love as always Colleen & Walter Betty’s Bay, 1st …

Cloudscapes

Travelling on the N2 between Botrivier, Caledon, Riviersonderend and Stormsvlei last week Easter Monday, early in the morning. Colleen photographed from the moving car and Walter in postproduction cropped and did some careful adjusting. With love from Colleen & Walter Betty’s Bay, Sunday 14 April, 2013

The red sands of the Kalahari

The sand grains of the Kalahari are covered with red iron oxide giving them their colourful sparkle and particular softness. Walking barefoot over the red dunes leaves your feet untouched and clean. We will return to the red sands of the Kalahari. With love from Colleen & Walter Bettys Bay, Tuesday 9 April 2013

Cave of our ancestors

Colleen’s old friend Tim and his wife Di from England stopped by on one of their visits to South Africa. They are always keen on all aspects of South African history – last time we explored Genadendaal, which to their and our surprise they hadn’t heard of – and this time we thought we should …

Images – some of our favourites and why

Going through one’s collection of images, there will always be some that one holds for a moment longer. This one and all the others form part of the Stations of the Cross leading through the meadows of the village up to the pilgrimage church St. Ursula on top of the hill. The pilgrimage church (Wallfahrtskirche) is in itself a …

Cape Winter Food and Caribbean Girl

“I quickly glanced at my watch; 4:45 a.m. Zulus have a word for this time of the morning – uvivi – which means the darkness before the dawn. And it’s true. In the Zululand bush, the darkness is most intense just before the first shreds of haze crack the horizon.” (Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer. …

The Jungle and I: Notes from Gabon

1670 map of West Africa by English cartographer John Ogilby. Depicts the African Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, and Slave Coast from Guniea south through the modern nations of, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Ogilby modeled this map after the 1639 Hondius / Janesson …

Riebeek Kasteel afternoon

Riebeek Kasteel Many artists, culinary, of craft and fine art – have chosen Riebeek Kasteel as their place to work and be, away from the city – Cape Town. The neighbouring town of Riebeek West has brought forth two sons of the nation: Jan Smuts and David Francois Malan – both Prime Ministers of South …

Travel postscript

Editing our collection of photographs, we thought to share a few more pics from our recent travels. Morija schoolchildren On the road to Malealea Malealea valley Ascent to Swartberg Pass – Oudtshoorn approach Swartberg Pass – descent into Prince Albert With love Colleen & Walter Betty’s Bay Friday 27 April 2012

Wilderness

This is Wilderness on the Garden Route just about half-way between George and Knysna where we had the good fortune to be invited by our friends Karin and Michaela to stay with them in a cottage they had hired on the Touw River lagoon. We explored Knysna and went on a ferry trip to the …

Im Haus der Sprache wohnt das Sein

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) argued that we as people cannot assure a secure foothold because everything we produce is potentially capricious and because of that we have to allow our Being domiciliary rights in the home of language. Of that nature was our discussion with Herman Perold, philosopher friend from Prince Albert who together with his …

Mission Trail’s End

We had left Morija and were travelling South to Thabana Morena where the Baccuet girls had been living after the war. Their father, the Rev. Ernest Albert Baccuet was commissioned as chaplain to accompany the Basotho regiment in the British forces during World War II in the Middle East (Syria) until they were fully repatriated …

Lesotho Impressions

Lesotho impressions – they all were coloured by accompanying our friends into their missionary past. We let them lead us ahead and in a way stood back and observed rather than explored. Such are then our impressions of Lesotho – a land of utter beauty, a land of poverty, a land of thousands of eager …

A Massive Intervention – Mohale Dam

Mohale Dam (completed in 2002) together with the earlier constructed Katse Dam (completed in 1989) now form part of phase I A and B of the envisaged three phases of the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme which was conceived mainly to supply the South African industrial centres on the Witwatersrand and the Free State with water, …

In our Father’s Garden – under the Pepper Tree

Our friends from France – Eliane and Arlette together with her husband Richard – are on a nostalgic journey to places in Lesotho where they were born and grew up as children of Missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, today called Lesotho Evangelical Church – the second largest faith group in Lesotho after the …

Alpacas at Helderstroom

Colleen had diarized the Villiersdorp Alpaca Open Day on Sunday. A good opportunity to give Michaelene and Gary an outing and for ourselves an excuse for a little excursion into the countryside. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas and were bred for their wool whereas the llamas served as beasts of burden. However, “Llamas, along …

Summertime – at long last!

What a wonderful weekend we have had, busy but so very enjoyable. Summertime – at long last! Michaelene, Colleen’s goddaughter and her boyfriend Gary, both cerebral palsied, flying in from Jo’burg for their annual holiday with us and Thekla and Adam giving us a midday treat at Casparus. This stretch of beach will soon be inundated …

Pióbesi Torinese – a visit in Piedmont

We were invited by the family of Barbara and Filippo Gautier di Confiengo to spend a weekend with them together with Dirki and Katie in their home in Piedmont. Dirki had formed a close friendship with their son Carlo. Last year, in a freak accident Carlo fell to his death. Since then Dirki has become …

Industry and Art – the Iron Works in Völklingen

The Völklingen Iron Works, a giant monument of 19th century industry, dominating the skyline of Völklingen, is now a World Cultural Heritage Site and a place for major exhibitions. The last exhibition – The Celts. Druids. Princes. Warriors – has just closed, attracting nearly 200.000 visitors. Further sections of the plant – blower shed and works …

House of Icons Traben-Trarbach

This icon and most of the other icons on display at the House of Icons in Traben-Trarbach were written by Alexej Alexandrowitch Saweljew (1920 Kiev – 1996 Traben-Trarbach). Saweljew re-discovered and used the Byzantine technique of icon writing taking the recipes to his grave. His icons are referred to as “modern icons” according to the …

Bay Harbour – The Market, Hout Bay

Globalized marketing has made shopping easy but has also taken the fun out of it. The loss of individuality is the price paid for convenience. You can pick and choose virtually anything anytime anywhere at your leisure from supermarket shelves. Humans do, however, need to have that casual social interaction – something that till operators …

Kleinmond harbour – archaeology of a development

The very word “development” fills one with misgivings where and when big money is invested in a scheme to uplift a utilitarian area such as an old harbour with nothing more than a slip-way for small fishing boats, an abalone breeding factory, a row of funky shops and run-of-the-mill eateries to service the tourist trade …

Game spotting – ways in the wild

One has a general idea of what it means to visit a game reserve. You get up early. Shortly before dawn. On one of the open Safari vehicles you need to dress warmly or you freeze your butt off even with lots of blankets provided. The driver/ranger is a trained and knowledgeable person, spotting game …

Harvesting Coffee

Flesh of the de-pipped fruit. Dear Darryl who had invited us to his house in Margate, showed us among other places of interest, the Beaver Creek Coffee plantation in Port Edward. It was too late for a guided tour, so we tasted their various blends of coffee, bought a packet of the finest for our …

Ride along the Wild Side

The wonderful countryside beyond the Kei River, denuded as it has become over the centuries of all trees, is nonetheless blessed with deep dark fertile soil and could in fact feed the whole of South Africa – if the people themselves were geared for agricultural activity, which they are not – they are pastoralists – …

Fairview

We had a special reason today to celebrate and went out to “Fairview” on the outskirts of Paarl for lunch. It is a most accomodating place any day or time of the year. Most deliciously, you are greated by a goat, goat-greeting from his tower above. Such is the vibe and the atmosphere there, the …

The Singing Bone

A dear friend of ours – Naomi – is on a yacht sailing in the Aegean Sea and our own memories of life on the Greek islands were refreshed, among others funeral rites which are foreign to most of us but are still practiced in Greece. After three or more years the remains of a …

Boca Budi Sauce – sort of pesto, but different

In Southern Chile where Lake Budi touches the Pacific Coast our Antarctic Traveller Petz experienced a meal with a wonderful sauce which he eventually extracted from the in-keepers of Boca Budi and which he subsequently named “Boca Budi Sauce”. Here is the recipe: A big cup of delicious (home-made) mayonnaise A fistful each of coriander and …

Laingsburg – a Karoo town in distress

In the middle of the Karoo town of Laingsburg, on the main road, there is a sign indicating the height of the 1981 floodwater. Colleen recalls her emotions passing through town a few days after the flood with trees and muck flung about, gras and branches sticking out of windows. Walter read and heard about …

The feel of summer – an absence of darkness

Betty’s Bay, Tuesday 4 January 2011 The sun has reached its highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere and the hours of sunlight have begun to diminish ever so little. But the summer’s heat is here. Time to open the windows wide and enjoy the warmth which is always tempered by a continuous breeze from the …

The Myth of the Winemaker

Visiting with Marco and Caitlin on a farm in the Voor-Paardeberg district, just about equidistant from Paarl, Wellington, Malmesbury and Durbanville, where they have hired an old farmhouse. From their bedroom and stoep they have a view of Table Mountain in the distance. This is a shot from our bedroom at 5:30 in the morning. …

Kite surfers

We had been to see Glenda, Jason, Tyla and Cailyn’s new home at Atlantic Beach Golf Estate west of Cape Town – an upmarket new housing and golfing estate planned to fit esthetically and environmentally soundly into the sensitive West Coast dune vegetation. Living relatively near to a major city and yet breathing fresh sea …

Hermanus morning

Left home for the coastal town of Hermanus to have breakfast at the Saturday morning Waldorf organic market. Lots of freshest veggies; all kinds of breads, cheeses, honey, soaps, flowers, plants, pottery, and among others solid brass replicas of maritime instruments such as an astrolabe. Nice, jolly people all around make it a pleasure to …

The voice of thunder

The voice of thunder is a powerful thing. It awakens you at night. And you have nowhere to turn. The voice of God in its many disguises. And you are full of fear. What if? What if the roof caves in under the weight of water thundering down. What if lightning strikes your neighbour’s shining …