Place camera on rock. Set aperture. And walla…
The Estuary at Port Edward, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Saturday night.
The power utility Eskom, had a further mishap at one of their plants yesterday which resulted in a blackout that lasted nearly four hours where I live. That was time in which I meant to download all the photographs from the two cameras I had taken on my recent road trip around the country.
Luckily it was only four hours, which meant I could catch up on the latest news following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris by what is believed to be Muslim fundamentalists. Looking around the interwebs, it is disconcerting to note the scale of hatred being directed at ordinary Muslims and Islam. This is pretty unfair as they are as much victims as the rest of us. The whole of Islam cannot be blamed for the misguided actions of a minority of fundamentalist idiots.
I managed to get in a post yesterday which was meant to show my solidarity with the victims and also my stance on freedom of speech which should of course be inviolable. It must be recognized that yesterday’s outrageous attack on Charlie Hebdo, was an attack on our freedoms.
On to other less important things…
I’m back at work and it sucks after such a long vacation. This week has been draining. It seems as if there was a conspiracy to hold back completion of all projects for me to return and take care of them.
Today I managed to download all my photos and will start cropping etc. The one above is one of them taken while driving, as we descended from the majestic Karoo down to the Eastern coastline of George.
I hope to start posting some of them here soon. Until then…
It’s time to hit the road. Tomorrow we embark on an epic South African road trip.
Johannesburg – Graaff-Reinet – Plettenberg Bay – Cape Town – Colesberg – Bloemfontein – Durban – Johannesburg
A total of 3886km, excluding the local trips in each destination. That takes care of nearly the whole of December.
And so I got to go pack and catch some zzzzzz’s…
Let me make it quite clear. I’m no wine connoisseur, but as I’ve grown older I’ve developed a taste for good wine; a real liking for this nectar of the gods.
How do I know which wine is good? I don’t. If it tastes good, it’s good wine. I generally prefer white wine to red, but recently I’ve started liking a certain brand of rosé. I also tend to stay away from the cheap plonk; which is not to say that I buy expensive wine.
A lady friend heard about a wine tasting event that is held annually at various venues along the Vaal River in South Africa, and suggested that we give it a bash. So this Sunday past, six eager wine tasting virgins drove down to the Vaal Meander and a place called Stonehaven-On-Vaal, to see what all the fuss is about.
Being a skeptic, I was well aware of the suspicions against people who claim to be wine experts. However, part of this excursion included a boat cruise on the Vaal River with lunch and wine (tasting) on board, not to mention the companionship of four beautiful women… and I was not about to miss that.
At the restaurant prior to the cruise, we were allocated an expert of sorts who served us 26 different wines to taste. I think the idea was to swirl, sniff, taste and spit out the remnants into a bucket provided, but I couldn’t be bothered with all that; I just quaffed down every portion poured into my little goblet. My companions however tried valiantly to play the part, and we all rated our wines on a score-card provided.
We could not complete tasting all 26 different wines, before boarding the boat for the cruise. The “expert” was kind enough to allow us to return after the cruise to complete our little wine tasting adventure, which we did. Even then we just could not go through all of them, but managed around 18 labels, including that served on the boat.
I am pleased to say that I gave 5 labels a perfect score of 20, which unsurprisingly differed wildly from my companions ratings. So I guess it all comes down to personal taste. Perhaps I was being too generous, or maybe a little drunk, but there you have it.
All in all it was an enjoyable outing, well worth the measly cost. Seems there’s going to be a beer festival at the end of the month at the same venue. Guess what? Yep, we’re in…
It’s never a great idea to pack on the morning you are going away somewhere for an extended stay. Especially not when you’re departing at 4:30 that same morning.
But now I know for sure.
The girls and I holidayed in the amazing Mpumalanga Lowveld area last week and I forgot to take my cameras. I never leave my cameras behind when going away on holiday. But this was a first, and only because I packed in a hurry. Somehow the bag with the cameras whose batteries I had charged the night before, never made it to the car. Which meant I had to take a few pictures with my stupid cellular phone. I hate that thing; more so if/when I have to use it for more than just making or receiving calls.
But I did. And I got shitty pictures.
Awful, aren’t they? Please use the link above to get a decent idea of how beautiful this area of South Africa is. The German tourists seem to dig it. Met quite a lot of them taking in the sights, and every one I spoke to was impressed with the natural beauty of the Lowveld. Or maybe they’re just still so happy after that fantastic World Cup win.
By the way, the picture with my car visible in the background through those empty curio vendor stalls is not one of the natural attractions of this area, although I’m still pretty pleased with that four and half year-old Honda. I was just fascinated with the way the stalls looked in the setting sun.
The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air. – Wilbur Wright
Sitting on a plane this weekend, looking out over the port side wing during takeoff, I contemplated how often I had flown, but had never given much thought about mankind’s ability to fly. I had always taken it for granted that aeroplanes are there to take you from just about anywhere to anywhere else.
When we reached cruising altitude, I convinced myself that the aeroplane just has to be the greatest invention in the world, ever.
Up to this point I like many other people thought that the Internet or World Wide Web was mankind’s greatest invention, together with electronic communication and the computer. But there’s nothing quite like being face to face with someone, or witnessing a marvellous vista or object in person… on the other side of the world.
Flight has liberated us from the tedium of land and sea travel and saved a lot of valuable time in the process. It’s mostly convenient, if not a little expensive. But can a lifetime experience, or the ability to be practically anywhere at will, be measured against cost? And you can get alcohol on most flights.
Airports however are a necessary evil. I hate every corner of them, except the corner with a bar. Until such time as our brilliant scientists and engineers figure out how to make flying cars an everyday reality, I suppose we will have to live with airports.
Since I was hosting a couple of swell gals on this trip to the Kruger National Park and doing all the driving, I have been rather lax in snapping pictures. This is all I have.
I’m not sure if this is the same fella who was loping around right outside my chalet on my visit last year, but he might as well be because it’s damn near impossible to tell them apart. I have in the past mistaken this species for an iguana, but from the brief research I’ve conducted, looks like a monitor lizard. I’d be grateful if anyone could set me straight.
I haven’t snapped bush pigs before. Incidentally, I’ve always thought that bush pigs were otherwise known as warthogs, but they are definitely not as I now know that warthogs run with their tails up.
Snapped these in Lower Sabie, Kruger National Park this weekend. The girls seemed to be quite taken by its simple beauty. Haven’t the foggiest what variety they are though.
Thanks to my Facebook friends, I now know that these flowers are known as the Impala Lily or more specifically the Winter Impala Lily, as this particular variety blooms from around mid-July to September. They’re quite common around the Kruger National Park area.
Apparently the plant contains a water latex that is highly toxic, and domestic animals have been known to die after consumption, but not wild animals. The extracted latex has been used by indigenous tribes to make poisoned arrows.
It’s cousin, the Summer Impala Lily is on the endangered species list because of plant poaching.