Archive for the Namaqualand flowers Category

Pick of the Pix.

As some of you know I am a professional photographer working out of Cape Town, South Africa and hope that the photographs in my posts have been fairly interesting. The professional  work  has been connected to theatre  and dance so this type of photography was pretty new to me. After having a look through all the photos from the trip I decided to do this post of a few that I think stand out from the rest.

Interesting to note that only 2 of the photos were taken with a high-end camera – actually a not so high-end Canon 20D with an 80-200 2.8f lens – and all the rest with a point and shoot type Canon G7 camera. I was truly amazed at the quality of the G7 and it was only for the photos of  birds that I switched to the 20D.

Sunrise at Brandkaros near Alexander Bay.
Sunrise at Brandkaros near Alexander Bay.

This is one of my favourites and I am using it as the desk top of my computer.

Beach at Alexander Bay.
Beach at Alexander Bay.

The feeling of desolation in this photo sums up the story of Alexander Bay itself.

Hazy sunset at McDougalls Bay.
Hazy sunset at McDougalls Bay.

Golden Sunset at McDougalls Bay.
Golden Sunset at McDougalls Bay.

Every sunset at McDougalls Bay seemed to produce  different tonal qualities.

Ship wreck at Port Nolloth.
Shipwreck at Port Nolloth.

This happened fairly recently and they were  hoping to re-float her.

Shipwreck just south of Kleinzee.
Shipwreck just south of Kleinzee.

Not much chance of re-floating this wreck!

Spot me if you can.
Spot me if you can.

Photo of very well camouflaged chameleon taken near Kleinzee.

Dragline taken at Kleinzee.
Dragline taken at Kleinzee.

Namaqualand flowers just outside Nababeep.

Namaqualand flowers just outside Nababeep.

Flowers near Springbok.

Flowers near Springbok.

According to most of the locals I spoke to 2009 has not been a great year for flowers.

Seal on the edge.

Seal on the edge at Hondeklipbaai.

About 10 seconds after I took this shot the seal took a headlong dive into that churning white water.

Still standing!

Still standing! (Dooringbaai)

Talk about the power of the sea – the noise when that wave hit that wall was like thunder.

Bird Island at Lamberts Bay.

Bird Island at Lamberts Bay.

The noise, and to be honest the smell, when you went down wind of these thousands of Gannets was quite something.

Bird on the wing.

Bird on the wing.

Toutch down at Verlorenvlei

Touch down at Verlorenvlei

Both bird shots above were taken at Vensterklip using a Canon 20D camera.

Well I hope you have enjoyed looking at the photographs as much as I did taking them. Hopefully there will be plenty more, at new locations, in the coming months.

Alexander Bay to Elands Bay – The Highs

Overall I enjoyed my 2 month journey from the Richtersveld through Namaqualand and down the West Coast and although there were some lows there were  many more highs. The highs include places, sights and people that I met along the way. Overall it was the people that I met and chatted to that really made the trip worth while for me.

Koos and Letia
Koos and Lieta Prince

Met up with Koos and Lieta at Brandkaros and I am sure that it was the 2 days that we shared that spurred me on to continue my journey in spite of all the set backs  I had suffered. They have been caravanning around SA for years and taught me a lot. Wonderful couple.

Pieter van Wyk
Pieter van Wyk.

Meeting up with and spending a morning with this young man was definitely one of the highlights of my journey. I am not going to try and recap all about this remarkable 21 year old so if you want to read more about him go to this link. I hope that one day, soon, he will have his book published, be awarded a bursary and given the opportunity to further his education at University.

Annemarie and Saome Reck.
Annemarie and Saome Reck.

I spent a wonderful morning with this mother and daughter team who manage a B&B right on the banks of the Orange River. Talk about making the most of very little.

Alta
Alta Kotze.

I enjoyed Port Nolloth and also received one of my biggest surprises in a long time when the lady above broke into song so that I could hear her voice and one of her own compositions. Truly amazing. I hope she gets the opportunity to further her ambitions and become a full time singer/composer.

George Moyses.
George Moyses.

Although I was not too happy with the caravan park at McDougalls Bay I did love the setting and also got to meet a real character who lives there in diamond diver George.

Dragline at Kleinzee.
Dragline at Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.

The 2 photographs above represent one of the the most pleasant days of my journey and I have to thank Gert Klopper of De Beers for showing me round Kleinzee and Dudley Wessels for taking me on the 4×4 trail along the coast. I thought Kleinzee was great and was amazed at what is being done there to make sure that the town does not go the way of places such as Alexander Bay. I see a big future for Kleinzee and if I had some spare cash I would buy property in the area as an investment or as a retirement option.

I enjoyed Springbok,  the Springbok Caravan Park and exploring places like Nababeep and Okiep as I had travelled there 40 years ago and it was interesting to see how much things had changed –  for the good and  the bad.

Fields of flowers at Skilpad.
Fields of flowers at Skilpad.

Kamieskroon, because of the good caravan park was great and I also enjoyed my visit to Skilpad in the Namaqua Park where I spent a day looking at the beautiful Spring flowers.

Hondeklip Baai

Hondeklip Baai

Friendly people.

Friendly people.

Loved Hondeklip Baai and the people. If you love the sea I think it would be a great place to have a holiday house or even to retire.

Strandfontein

My set-up at Strandfontein

Although I found Strandfontein a bit of a strange place I did enjoy my caravan site with its private ablution block.

Doring Baai and the power of the sea.

Doringbaai and the power of the sea.

The last part of my journey included Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. Lamberts Bay was interesting and I enjoyed exploring and meeting some of the locals. To be honest the best thing about Elands Bay was that it was only 5 km’s from my final caravan park call Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip with Verlorenvlei in the background.

Vensterklip was great as, again, I had a private ablution block and it was really quiet and peaceful. It also provided me with an opportunity to try my hand at photographing birds.

On the wing?

On the wing?

If you read my previous post you will see that the highs far out way the lows of my journey.  As to the question will I carry on with my voyage of discovery the answer is YES. There are still so many more interesting places to see and people to meet that, God willing, I would like to carry on until I have covered the whole of the South African coast line.

Alexander Bay to Elands Bay – The Lows

I have been back in Cape Town for a week and had some time to think about my trip through the Richtersveld, Namaqualand and the West Coast. There are still so many more places that I want to visit on my voyage of discovery as my original aim was to travel the whole of the SA coast over a 3 year period. So after 2 months of my journey is this still what I want to do?

I am going to start with the lows as most of these occurred  at the beginning of my trip and, apart from one or two problems later on, the majority of my journey was great.

The biggest low for me was the problem of my new deep freeze which just did not do the job. I had bought a lot of frozen food before I left Cape Town as I was not sure what would be available, and at what cost, in some of the small towns I was going to. Having to throw away over R500.00 worth of food was a real downer. This  happened at Brandkaros which is 27 km’s from Alexander Bay. The drive to Brandkaros was also a low as the road was terrible for towing a standard caravan and caused some pretty heavy damage.

My site at Brandkaros

My site at Brandkaros

One of the worst problems I had at Brandkaros was the troop of about 30 monkeys that came into the park everyday and caused chaos by over turning the rubbish  bins  and jumping on the caravan and tent. The first time it happened I just wanted to pack up and leave.

Not one of my favourite animals.

Not one of my favourite animals.

I did find out, after a day or two, that they did not like the crackling sound of the shock-stick that I had with me.

I found that some of the caravan parks were badly run down and poorly maintained with the worst part being the ablution blocks. Some of them are appalling and here I think of Brandkaros, McDougalls Bay, Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. If only the managers or owners of these parks knew how much caravanner’s talk amongst themselves about the parks and basically judge them on the ablution facilities. A prime example of this was Kamieskroon that everyone raved about, which had very average sites but fantastic ablutions.

Brandkaros ablutions. Really bad but I was told just before I left that they were budgeting on spending quite a bit of money to upgrade them.

Brandkaros ablutions. Really bad but I was told, just before I left, that they were budgeting quite a bit of money to upgrade them.

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort.

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort?

McDougalls Bay ablution block.

McDougalls Bay ablution block.

What a place of contrasts. The site was the most run-down and yet was the most expensive  on the first night that I stayed there as it was “in season” and cost me R123.00. You can not leave anything outside as people just walk up off the beach and steal. They also have a big problem with beggars. Even when I went back there after Brandkaros they wanted to over charge me. McDougalls Bay itself is stunning and it is such a pity that they do not do more with the caravan park.

Lamberts Bay Caravan Park.

Lamberts Bay Caravan Park.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

I stayed at Lamberts Bay but not at Elands Bay and have put them together as they both fall under the same name and telephone number for information and management. Lamberts Bay is bad but from what I saw Elands Bay is shocking. Sadly both have been badly neglected. I say sadly because with good management and an injection of funds by the municipality both have the potential to attract a lot of people into the area all year round.

Lamberts Bay Harbour

Lamberts Bay Harbour

I enjoyed the town of Lamberts Bay but found the street sellers and beggars to be very aggressive and make life very unpleasant.

Something that I can not understand is the inconsistency of  pricing at the  parks. I paid from a low of R45.00 per night at Kamieskroon to R123.00 per night at McDougalls Bay. As I said Kamieskroon was great McDougalls Bay not!! One thing I did pick up on was that where there was competition  the better and less expensive the sites were.

Overall not too many lows and I know that when I post the highs they will be strongly in the majority.

Doringbaai

8km’s south of where I am staying at the moment, Strandfontein, lies the little fishing village of Doringbaai or as it was originally know Thornbay. Dooringbaai is well know as an area for whale watching. Southern Right whales enter the bay to calve from May to November and can be seen breaching and swimming  with their calves in the protected waters. There are also wonderful hiking trails on both sides of the village offering excellent whale viewing opportunities. Unfortunately for the 2 days I was in Dooringbaai there was a massive sea running and no chance of any whale spotting.

There is not really a whole lot to write about Doringbaai so hopefully the photographs and captions will give you an idea of the village.

Central to Dooringbaai is the Light House and Harbour area so I spent quite a lot of time there having fun looking for different things to photograph.

The harbour and lighthouse.
The harbour and lighthouse.
The lighthouse was commisioned in 1965.
The lighthouse was established  in 1963.

As mentioned there was a massive sea running while I was there so took these to try and illustrate.

The noise when the waves smashed into the rocks was like thunder.
The noise when the waves smashed into the rocks was like thunder.
I would hate to have been hit by one of the waves.
I would hate to have been hit by one of the waves.
As the wave dissapated it left this fine mist.
As the wave dissipated it left this fine mist.
Would not have liked to be on the old jetty.
Would not have liked to be on the old jetty.
How that building was still standing I have no idea.
How that building was still standing I have no idea.

In amongst all the mayhem of crashing waves I found this succulent near the lighthouse.
In amongst all the mayhem of crashing waves I found this near the lighthouse.
Staying with the nauticle theme is the local restaurant and pub.
Staying with the nautical theme is the local sea food restaurant and pub.

As I was wandering around I met up with Peter and Michelle who run the very interesting looking self catering establishment called Thornbay Accommodation. Peter is an ex diamond diver who also ran and managed the local concessions. He and Shirley arrived in the area from Durban about 30 years ago and were first based in a caravan at a place called Die Punt just on the north side of he Olifants River. He knows my friend George from McDougalls Bay and in fact it was in Dooringbaai that George  started as a diamond diver. What a small world.

Thornbay Accomodation.

Thornbay Accomodation.

Welcome to Thornbay!!The octopus was created by Lachlan, also an ex diamond diver, from Lamberts Bay.

Welcome to Thornbay!!The octopus was created by Lachlan, also an ex diamond diver, from Lamberts Bay.

I had a look round inside and was very impressed with all that was offered to make one’s stay  comfortable and  enjoyable . Just loved some of the pieces hanging on the wall.

Anyone for crayfish?
Anyone for crayfish?
Fish?
Fish?

Sail away!

Sail away!

All in all I really enjoyed Dooringbaai even though the weather was not great. As it is only about 350 km’s from Cape Town it would be a great spot to just get away from all the hustle and bustle of  of city life and just relax. The area boasts many activities such as swimming, fishing, quad bike and 4×4 trails, wineries and restaurants.

Verbé Caravan Park – Kamieskroon

While in Springbok I heard a lot of talk about the wonderful Verbé caravan park in  Kamieskroon and was told I must stay there. There are 2 caravan parks in Kamieskroon but was told by everyone I must go to the Verbé as it was great. By the way the other park is called the Kamieskroon Hotel and Caravan Park and when I had a quick scout round it looked fine to me.

Entrance to Verbé Caravan Park.
Entrance to Verbé Caravan Park.

When I arrived at the park I was actually disappointed as it did not look like anything special, in fact the stands and ground were pretty awful as they were uneven and not a blade of grass in site.

Some of the sites.

Some of the sites.

That building on the left is a Lapa but I did not see anyone using it.

I also found out when I tried to hammer some pegs into the ground that it was incredibly hard. It took me 3 times longer than normal to set up and my hands were really sore at the end of it.

My set-up. I kid you not that ground is like rock.
My set-up. I kid you not that ground is like rock.

It was only after I had taken a stroll, quite a long stroll actually, up to the ablution block that I understood why everyone had spoken so highly of Verbé. I have been on and on about the terrible, sometimes shocking, ablution blocks I have had to use and how caravan park owners/managers just have no idea how important good, clean ablutions are to caravanner’s.

The ablution block.
The ablution block.
Inside the gents section. Spotless!
Inside the gents section. Spotless!

Just goes to show that even an average park will get really good revues if the ablutions are half way decent.

Dina the park manager.

Dina the park manager.

Another reason why people like coming here is the very helpful and charming Dina the manager at the front office. What a nice lady! Nothing was too much trouble and she made sure that all ran smoothly.

Saw this old bell holder at the top of the park.

Saw this old bell holder at the top of the park.

The park and surrounds from the old bell holder.

The park and surrounds from the old bell holder.

The building on the right, with the mast, is the police station. We had a black out for a few hours the one night and they run a massive, very noisy generator, for the duration.

Saw this beautiful flower at the entrance to the park. (Specially for Michael)

Saw this beautiful flower at the entrance to the park. (Specially for Michael)

The town of Kamieskroon is situated 67km south of Springbok and is set in the granite rock formations of the Kamiesberg range. The towns origins lie in the 1860’s, 7km north of the towns present location and was called Bowesville (later Bowesdorp). But in 1924, because there was no room to expand, the church council decided to demolish the church and rebuild it at its present site in Kamieskroon.

The Kamieskroon NG Church

The Kamieskroon Church

Commemorating the fallen in the Anglo Boer ar of 1899 - 1902.

Commemorating the fallen in the Anglo Boer War of 1899 - 1902.

Kamieskroon is essentially a town that services the surrounding farming community. There are quite a few B&B’s that come into their own in the flower season and there are also some wonderful hiking trails. In fact you can hire a guide steeped in Namakwa knowledge who offers hikes along uncharted trails, but, Kamieskroon is synonymous with spring flowers and extends the season with brilliant shows of  Bulbinella latifolia and many other species.

Older Posts »