Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Bay’

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.

From Brandkaros to Port Nolloth.

Yesterday was the day of my move to Port Nolloth or should I say to McDougall Bay 4 kilometres south of Port Nolloth . I was dreading the first 27 k’s as it was over the dirt road that had nearly shaken my poor old caravan to pieces 16 days earlier. I was told that it would be best to drive as fast as I could as it would smooth out the corrugations so, after saying my goodbyes to Apie and Analine du Toit, off I went.

It might be easy to drive at 80/90 kpm on a dirt road when not towing anything but with an old caravan behind you it ain’t so. The road did feel a bit smoother but I think more as a result of the rain a few days earlier than anything else. The only thing of interest that I saw on the first part of my trip was a jackal as it crossed the road just in front of me and ran off into the veld. To quick for me to try and get a photograph I’m afraid.

After what seemed hours I finally came to the end of the dirt road and onto the tar. I pulled over at the first opportunity to have a quick inspection inside and out. Horror of horrors the fridge door had come off again and there was a huge mess inside. I cleaned it all up, as best I could at the side of the road, got the fridge door back on, the goodies packed away and off I set.

On the road again!
On the road again!

The drive from Alexander Bay to Port Nolloth is about 80 k’s on a really good road. It was, however, difficult to pull over to stop and take photographs as the shoulder of the road is very narrow. I mostly took photographs out the window so they are not too great.

The straight and narrow
The straight and narrow
The contrasts are unbelievable
The contrasts are unbelievable

As you can see by those land dumps there is mining all along the coast line.

I wonder who on earth thinks up these names?
I wonder who on earth thinks up these names?
After the recent rains there are already patches of brightly coloured flowers.
After the recent rains there are already patches of brightly coloured flowers.
Ariva ariva!!
Welcome!

As you will see it was only about 15 minutes after the welcome sign that I thought I had made a big mistake.

If you have read one of my earlier posts you will know that I stopped overnight at McDougall Bay just over 2 weeks earlier. Wonderful setting, position wise, but basically the sites are just sea sand. Anyway I was told that it was in season and the price was a flat R123.00 per site per night. If I came back after the season it would be R99.00 less 30% discount for over 60’s so just under R70.00 per night.

When I arrived I was told the price I had been given was a mistake and it was in fact 30% off the high rate which works out to about R86.oo. I started jumping up and down and the manager phoned her boss to try and clarify what the correct price should be. (Just as an aside there were only 2 other campers  and there are 93 sites.  Go figure!!) After an hour I was eventually told that I could pay R70.00. I later met up with a couple from Cape Town who had stayed there during the HIGH season and the most campers on any night had been 4 and all stayed over for only 1 night. Wonder why??

My new base for a while.
My new base for a while.
The view and sounds are superb.
The view and sounds are superb.

I have been warned not to leave anything outside as people walk off the beach and steal.

As you can see it is going to be a batle to keep the sand at bay.
It is going to be a battle to keep the sand at bay.

Cool and misty.

Cool and misty. Compare to yesterdays shot.

I woke up this morning to find it cool with quite a heavy mist that will probably stick around the whole day as there is no wind. Have been into town to the Spar Shop which is very well stocked. They even have some vegetarian foods.

Once I have posted this I am going to take a long walk along the beach and then just relax for a while.

The remotest B&B in S.A.?

Each time I have travelled from Brandkaros to Alexander Bay and back I have been intrigued by a sign at the side of the road, about 20 k’s from Alexander Bay, that advertises a B&B. On my way back from Alexander Bay on Wednesday I determined to stop and have a look around.

B&B in the desert

B&B in the desert

You can’t really miss it because of the brightly painted bits of scrap metal.

The B&B is managed by a mother and daughter team, Annemarie and Saome Reck, and is owned by someone living in Hong Kong. Annemarie started the B&B about 18 years ago and has managed it ever since under various owners. She is from the area as she and her husband used to farm nearby until he passed away.

Salome and Annemarie Reck

Salome and Annemarie Reck

There are 5 rooms, 3 inside and 2 outside, and also an extra house about a 100 meters away for when things get really get busy. Unfortunately it has not been too great recently as the pont at Sendelingsdrift is not working and people from Namibia can’t cross over there and as a result they have had many cancellations. ( The same thing has happened at Brandkaros and I have been the only one staying there for days now.)

Mother and daughter are very friendly and were more than happy to show me around and for me to take photographs. Again I will let the pix speak and just offer a few comments. All I can say is that Annemarie has tried to be as creative as possible, without much to work with, and in fact many passers-by stop and ask if the place is also a museum.

The main house

The main house

One of the rooms inside the house

One of the rooms inside the house

The 2 wendy house type rooms and ablutions.

The 2 wendy house type rooms and ablutions.

View from the front of the house.

View from the front of the house.

It really is a bit like an oasis in the middle of a desert. That is the Orange River in the distance and the dark area between the road and the river used to be an olive plantation.

The dinning area

The dinning area

The bath garden

The bath garden (My name for it)

The charge per person  per night is R250.00 and breakfast (R60.00) and dinner (R75.00) are extra. I reckon if one is passing through the area it would be a great and unique place to spend a night or two.

If you wish to see more photographs of the B&B please click on B&B photos

Alexander Bay revisited

Yesterday (15th) I drove to Alexander Bay  to buy a few things at Sentra Supermarket and decided to take photographs in the town itself to give you an idea of what is happening there.

The place is named after a prospector in the region from 1838 to 1848 named James Edward Alexander. Little did he know of the fabulous riches that he transported his goods over to be shipped from just south of the river mouth. The diamonds were only discovered in 1928 and it was proclaimed a State Alluvial Digging under the Department of mines with a work force of 45 whites under strict supervision.,

The outer perimeter of the  town was fenced off but had also been divided inside by fencing, the miners in the southern section and their families in the northern Section. The men were only allowed out every 150 days for 2 weeks. This inner fence only came down in 1974.

I  read  a little pamphlet that tells of how things were round 1980 -” Alexander Bay is a modern mining village with all necessary amenities and facilities with attractive living quarters, vegetable gardens, lucerne fields and orchards”. It certainly is not that way now.

Even today there is a distinct North /  South feel to the town – mining area South and houses, shops, schools etc. in the North and the town is still fenced off and one has to sign in to gain entrance. Of course where they do the actual mining is still a high security section today.

Welcome to Alexander Bay.
Welcome to Alexander Bay.
The boom gate where one has to sign in.
The boom gate where one has to sign in.

Once through the boom you can only turn right as left takes you to the mining area which is high security.

I think I am going to let the images do the talking and just offer a few comments. The one thing I will say is that the town has the feel of everything going downward. Most places look dirty and unkempt although you can see where special efforts have been made to spruce things up.

Old diamond safe house
Old diamond safe house

They found over 2500 carats of diamonds under that stone stuck on the wall

Old church (I think NG) now used as a creche
Old church (I think NG) built in the 1930’s is now used as a crèche
The swimming pool
The swimming pool

I believe they are going to repair the pool and use it for diver training

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The Clinic

The Pharmacy

The Pharmacy

The clinic is used for consulting and has no beds and the Pharmacy is not open at all.

Interestingly I did bump into the newly appointed doctor for the area and he is from the US. He knew my fathers name. He too was a doctor, and we had a nice long chat in English.

Old derelect shop

Old derelict shop

Derelect building

Derelict building

The 9 hole golf course.

The 9 hole golf course.

The fairways and rough are the same and the greens and T boxes are not too great.

The sports field

The sports field

Looks fine from far but on closer inspection the stands are starting to fall apart.

The shopping centre

The library and shopping centre.

Because everything has to be brought in by road the prices of all goods is pretty horrendous.

In June last year over 200 of the employees were offered and took severance packages so about 1200 people have moved from Alexander Bay. There are huge fights going on in the community as to what has happened to all the millions of rands that have been pumped into the region and they are, according to the local newspaper, “Gat vol” with everything and are demanding answers.

Wild flowers near the golf course

Wild flowers near the golf course

May the above image be a sign of better things to come for the people of Alexander Bay

I have now consolidated all the pix taken in and around Alexander Bay at this link – Alexander Bay Pix

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