Simon’s Farm

My nephew farms some land in the Swellendam area of the Western Cape, set against a stunning backdrop of the Langeberg Mountain range. He uses completely natural, sustainable farming principles, and keeps mostly pigs, although there are a couple of goats and sheep who have been adopted along the way. Saroo, the Great Pyrenees farm dog is the protector of all! Here is some more information about Simon’s farming philosophy:

We spent a night in the area and here are some of the images.

Back in beautiful South Africa

This is the land of my birth, and much as I love and appreciate being a citizen of the USA, there are definitely ties that bind me to South Africa. I have family ties here, and it is also one of the most beautiful countries in the world. That’s not just my opinion; it is echoed by many who have traveled here. I have returned every year since I left (except for a brief COVID interruption) and although like most countries, this one has it’s share of problems, the beauty is unchanged. Here are a few images of places in the Western Cape area.

Word Pictures

I’m back in the USA after spending a month in the country of my birth, South Africa. So many stories to tell, so much I could say, about the sadness and the hopelessness, the unnecessary suffering. Mainly due to corruption and theft. Theft from the people who have been robbed of an opportunity to create a great new African example of growth and prosperity. Theft by those in positions of authority at every level who have used those positions to enrich themselves at the expense of a naive and trusting people who believe their empty promises and vote them into power. I took these photos to illustrate a theme that is repeated everywhere in this country. The disparity between the haves and the have-nots. There’s plenty of blame to go around and plenty of opinions, but it is what it is.

Monkey Business

I have posted about these guys in the past, but since nothing much else exciting goes on in my Mom’s retirement village, here is another episode, season 2 🙂

People put out food for the birds before they go to bed – big mistake! Problem is that monkeys get up earlier than the birds and so apply the old adage – “ya snooze, ya lose”.

Actually there was some other excitement the other morning, and it wasn’t good excitement. Five of the residents’ homes were broken into and robbed during the night. The little village is surrounded by a wall with an electric fence, and there are gate guards on duty 24/7, but these things still happen. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the old folks were still pretty rattled, especially one lady who sleeps with her phone right next to her bed and who discovered it gone the next morning!

Walking the Ciskei Coastline

I took another short break from the city of Durban and flew approximately 300 miles south to East London, and from there traveled back north a few miles to the quaint coast town of Gonubie where my sister and brother-in-law have a house. The house is on the Gonubie River lagoon, and we decided this morning to swim across the river and hike north along the beach for a few miles to a place called the Kwelera National Botanical Garden, also on the beach. It turned out to be more challenging than we expected, since a lot of the terrain was very rocky and flip flops should not have been my choice of footwear. We expected it to take an hour and it took more like 3 hours to cover the 4 mile stretch of coastline. Fortunately we were picked up by car at our destination so didn’t have to walk back. These are a few of the photos I took along the way.

The Sounds and Scents of the African Bushveld

I think that for those like me who were born in Africa, the pull of the wild stays with you, no matter where one wanders throughout the course of life. There is something that nourishes the soul when standing on untamed soil listening to the sounds of the birds and letting your senses absorb the wildness of the land and its inhabitants. This is the best of Africa, its finest gift.

Been photo mining

We are almost at the end of a long, hot summer and I’m so looking forward to feeling less lethargic and more energized to get out there and photograph my world. In the meantime, I sat in my airconditioned office and dug back through some old folders and reminisced about past adventures. Here are a few taken in South Africa over the last few years. Such a long way to go and now even more tedious thanks to the COVID19 virus, but amazingly beautiful and worth the effort. Soon I’ll be heading to the North Carolina mountains for some fall photography – can’t wait.

Driving the False Bay Coastline

There is so much to do and see in and around Cape Town that it is hard to narrow your choices. I chose to spend yesterday following the coast of False Bay and stopping off at the various beaches and fishing villages along the way. Long before GPS was invented, the sailors of old returning from long sea voyages to the east confused this picturesque bay with the more famous Table Bay a bit further along the coast, thus giving False Bay its name.

False Bay is an huge C-shaped curve in the coastline to the southeast of Table Mountain. At its widest point it is a staggering 20 miles across the bay! The bay is littered with small villages and numerous long sandy beaches, some of which have managed to escape any form of urban development. One of my favorite spots and a place I have visited numerous times over the years is the fishing village of Kalk Bay. As they have since the early 1900’s, the brightly colored boats ply the clear waters daily, bringing in fresh fish that is sold at the harbor upon their return. Seals await the scraps and compete with the seagulls for the choice portions.

The picturesque railway line that connects all the little towns along the coast is an important commuter link with the city of Cape Town.

South Africa – land of beauty … and potholes

Upon arriving back in South Africa after being away for over a year, (courtesy of COVID19) I was constantly reminding myself to drive on the left hand side of the road. I came to the realization however, that in many parts of the vast Free State, it was a moot point. The general rule is that you drive on the side of the road that has the least potholes. More than once I was surprised by an oncoming car on my side of the road, but after a quick re-calculation, I realized that no, I had not reverted to the American way, this was the new South African way. Once I got the hang of it, I was weaving happily from side to side at top speed with the best of them.

The Drakensberg Mountains

Searching for inspiration in a dry and dusty desert (photographically speaking), I revisited archived image folders of far away places. These memories are particularly poignant. My mom and I were spending a few days in the South African Drakensberg mountain area, and I persuaded her to accompany me on a helicopter ride to do some aerial photography. She was 87 years old at the time, and in the beginning stages of a bout with Shingles, but she gamely acquiesced, and so off into the sky we flew. I was impressed with her spirit of adventure, since she was very obviously nervous at the prospect but threw caution to the wind for the sake of the experience.

Mum on a 8,000ft plateau where the helicopter landed for breakfast

This is a magnificent mountain range, spanning 600 miles and towering over 10,000 ft. in height. The translation of Drakensberg is “Dragon’s Mountains”, and our family spent many vacations in this area when we were children, hiking, horse-riding, and swimming in the clear mountain streams.