Of penguins and travel

We have been up and down the country, Rob and I, over the past two weeks – two weeks ago we were in Cape Town, on business, and last weekend we drove a rented car up to the Marakele National Park, near Thabazimbi in Limpopo Province.

Cape Town was gorgeous, blue skies, sunshine – and of course no rain. The water situation is critical. Every sip and drop precious.

We stayed with my mom, and over the weekend took her out for lunch at The Cellars restaurant at the Hohenort, where we took in an exhibition of Ardmore ceramics. This was the stuff we had seen last year in the Natal Midlands – crazy, fantastical, and way beyond our snack bracket. But still fun to look at.

On Sunday Rob and I took off for the V&A Waterfront, and a visit to the Zeitz-Mocaa – this will be a fixture on our calendar, I can see. And then in the afternoon we took my mom down to Boulders Beach, to see the penguins, and followed this up with dinner in Simonstown, down in the harbour. All rather pleasant.

Marakele was a rather different experience – glamping at the Bontle campsite, with rain making the Saturday pretty much a washout. Still, we slipped and slithered over the muddy roads, and had a few sightings before heading back to ‘camp’ for red wine and a braai. Sunday saw the weather improve – we drove up to the upper camp, and did a great circuit high up in the mountains above the Tlope campsite, and saw giraffe and zebra, a huge elephant, kudu, a variety of birds and so on.

Drove back to Joburg on the Sunday afternoon, with a memory card of photos and a tick bite to remember Marakele by. By mid-week the bite had become a nasty swelling, and by Friday the ominous black centre was more than visible. A visit to the doctor may just have averted a full-on dose of tick bite fever, though I have had a slight temperature, swollen glands etc.

Woke feeling quite a bit better this morning, which means there are photographs – this first lot is of the penguins at Boulders. There will be more from our travels to follow.

Cape Town, Table Mountain

We have for today only one offering, photographically speaking: a tongue-in-cheek image of Table Mountain, masked by a garage forecourt – the city undisturbed by and unaware of its extraordinarily beautiful and majestic natural surroundings.

The image may mildly amuse you, or it may leave you stone cold – I offer it merely as a pictorial token of life’s little ironies.

For friends and family, all well on the home front here, and on the work front too. Oh, and we are booked to fly back to Canada via London on the 20th of April, for a two week visit (me) and a slightly longer stay (Rob). Details to follow, via the appropriate channels.


Cape Town, Table Mountain

Zeitz-MOCAA Cape Town

The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Zeitz-MOCAA – is an instant architural landmark, both global and local, and an extraordinary addition to Cape Town’s cultural scene and to the V&A Waterfront.

Rob and I were lucky enough to get in on the opening weekend (there were 1 ½ hour line-ups, but we bought memberships, and skipped the queue) but the place was way too crowded to enjoy the artworks, and in any case the architecture itself was a thing of wonder.

So we wandered around, gazing up into the cathedral-like concrete flutes that rose towards the skylights, looking down the spiralling iron staircase and into the well of the cathedral, and I took a few photographs.

The structure itself is light-filled and airy, a honey-comb or corn cob, but the lines are so strong and dramatic, the architecture so bold, that I have chosen to adopt a more dramatic treatment.

My new photo blog is still under construction, so here are the images. Some or all of them are likely to be repeated, when the new blog is up. I hope you enjoy them here meanwhile.

The Cape, Mothers Day

I had had my misgivings, as readers of this blog will know, about the weather expected across South Africa on Mothers Day, last Sunday. But, contrary to expectation, the Cape was in glorious form – warm, bright, still, the sea on both sides of Cape Point calm as a pond, the waves turning crisply white as they reached the shore.

I took my 85 year-old mom – she could pass easily for 70, and a pretty nimble 70 year-old at that – for a variant on one of our usual drives, this time over the high road above Kalk Bay, along the coast toward Simonstown, and up over the steep Redhill pass to the crest of the mountain and down again onto the Scarborough side.

At Scarborough we drove down to the beach, a picture of tranquillity, and then on to Witsand, where I was taken by the shadow-lines on the white sands from the wind-breaks, and stopped to take some more pictures with the Leica (Digilux Typ 109) – still my go-to camera when I’m traveling light, or traveling on business.

Here are some images – old hat for Capetonians, but maybe an incentive for some of our family and friends in Canada and the US – and indeed elsewhere – to consider a visit.