Travelling with friends – a tribute to companionship

Our friends Karin and Michaela have returned to Germany. Our time together was all too short but it was a happy, easy and altogether memorable time.
In the last six weeks we have had the immense good fortune to travel the length and half the breadth of South Africa and, catching our breath, have found the experience to have been enriching and rewarding in terms of sharing it with our friends. First an almost 4ooo km trip to J0hannesburg – Lesotho and through the Karoo to Prince Albert back to Betties. And then from Betty’s Bay to Montagu, Oudtshoorn and Wilderness where we stayed for a week. Both trips were spectacular in terms of country, landscape and weather. The months of March and April again showed themselves as the best times to travel in South Africa.
This blog is a tribute to our friends and the enjoyment we all shared.

Above top: On our porch in Betties – sharing a reflective hour with our friends from France – Colleen – Richard – Karin and a pair of elegant legs (Arlette’s, I presume).
Above below: Karin, Michaela and Colleen at the new Kleinmond harbour front which is presently undergoing major debatable changes.

About to watch a movie – Ratatouille – in French! – or was it Les Triplets de Bellville? Colleen, Karin, Michaela, Eliane, Arlette and Richard. By happy coincidence the visit of our French and German friends overlapped here in Betties.

At Moontide Guest Cottage, Wilderness, where we stayed as Karin and Michaela’s guests.

Michaela, Colleen and Karin at breakfast and below their respective portraits.

Above: Maureen, the owner of Moontide – our enchanting hostess.
Below: The breakfast terrace on the Touw River lagoon.

Guesthouse on the Victoria Bay beachfront which is for sale and where Michaela and Karin had a very enjoyable stay the very first time they came to South Africa in 2002. In a moment of madness we said to one another: Let’s buy it!

Coffee time after a ferry ride on Knysna lagoon.

Karin first and then Michaela successfully negotiating the raging waters of the Touw River on a pontoon.

Boardwalk through indigenous Knysna forest.

The reflective moments come naturally here.

The waterfall of the mighty Touw River.

Braving the treacherous “rooibos tee” depths of the waterfall pools.


Along the river mornings
soft tucker of a boat exploring
the rim of things.
A distant chain saw singing
deep deep in forest’s deepest depth.
So near again.
And far
far far away.

The afternoon in the Harold Porter Botanical Garden, our favourite haunt, on the afternoon before their departure to Germany.

To Michaela and Karin
with love!
Walter & Colleen
Betty’s Bay, Friday 20 April 2012

A magical place, always – the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

We are happy to be back after a three long months’ journey into Europe and are enjoying the simple things in life again – a long sleep after a night’s deluge, waking up to a cool but bright blue sunny sky, brunch with home-baked bread, champignons fried in butter with garlic and smoked paprika, braised tomatoes topped with herbs from our early summer garden and a drive out to the Botanical Garden to refresh our senses.
Stepping into the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden at any time of any day is always a joy. It is so beautifully and unobtrusively laid out against the mountains that one is hardly aware of the many hands continuously at work to bring nature and culture together to form a harmonious entity. And seeing that our own garden has some elements of this type of naturalness we jokingly treat the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden as an extension of our own. Others surely must have similar sentiments. It is a sign of a well designed garden that you immediately feel at home in it as if you had planned it this way yourself.

Entrance to the Garden.
The deep blue sky of the day reflected in this pond at the entrance to the garden.
You are invited, drawn into the kloof.
Further and further, away ...
and you are held, to view, to ponder ...
the mountains ... are they really blue ... they are, it's really true ...
and other colours to consider ...
so blue the day ... how do the flowers know which dress to wear ... they know, they do ...
And you. Sitting by the brook. Time does stay still at times, does not as always flow away. Sitting by the brook. By and by ... here. Being. Aware.

What very happy day we’ve had.

With love
from Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 13 Nov 2011

A Walk in the Garden

The Garden here is the Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay – a sister garden to the big one in Kirstenbosch. Whereas Kirstenbosch is splendidly spread out against the inland side of Table Mountain, Betty’s Bay Botanical Garden is beautifully laid out between mountain and sea. The fault lines here seem to run parallel to sea and mountain to create a particular serenity. You view and walk and feel surrounded by much more than what you see. The magic of the place is so much more encompassing. Somehow. Mother’s day was the occasion and while trailing behind I took a few shots I felt did or would convey a little of this truly enchanted garden.

Setting off.

Destination of Waterfall walk.
View into Waterfall Kloof
View into Leopard's Kloof
Orangebreasted Sunbird (Nectarinia violacea, Roberts no. 777) surrounded by Wild Dagga flowers (Leonotis leonurus)
Exit - the sea, where Indian Ocean and Atlantic are merging, in the distance.

With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Tuesday May 10, 2011