Tag Archives: stunning landscape

Hills, Views, Caves, Stones, Bones and… a Space Turtle?

2 Mar

Our roving reporter is on the case again, sending more shots from his latest visit to the the west coast of South Africa.

They went walkabout into the wild and wide open spaces…100_2720_stitch

Around and about the area where Geoffrey currently lives and works.

They went up in the hills…Southern skies lodge from the hill opposite

And above the Rooibos tea fields…rooibos 1_stitch

They walked and climbed in the sweltering heat, which he said reached a staggering 47 degrees C on occasions, swimming in reservoirs to cool off.

John said he thought it was a bit hot!

They kept an eye open for caves, knowing the signs and getting a feel for finding them…100_2813

Large…bushman's cave

A bushman’s cave.

And small…caves, large and small

Complete with bones, this one. Click to enlarge and have a poke around.

They had a sleepover in one of them…100_2804


A room with a view…

100_2779Especially on a misty morning…cave 2_stitch


But sadly no paintings to be found.

Been said John’s a bit of a caveman. Like father like son, I’d say.

Geoffrey douses the fire…

dousing the fire

Where they cooked up sausages and drank  beer. No stomach churning bush tucker trials here, though it’s hardly glamping.

There’s lots of these…100_2761

And these…100_2774

Not sure what either are called but some are found only in this area.

And here’s the space turtle…

Rocks eroded into wierd shapes, space turtle

Or, if your imagination is a little jaded, rocks that have eroded into weird and interesting shapes. 

I don’t expect there’s too many of these about. What do you see?

Speaking of rocks…100_2493

A rare collection of treasures…Nature table R

I imagine the bulk of these were collected by the boys but if I know John, he will have had a hand in a few of them.

He loves all that archaeological stuff. Hand axes, digging stones and so on. John just has a knack of stumbling on these relics and cannot go anywhere without bringing back nature’s souvenirs.

He will spend hours perusing these in museums. We have some fun days out.

We have some back at the bus too – spoils from previous years – obviously irresistible to the John.  

Even back in the UK, we’ll go for a walk and he’ll end up with a pocketful of bits and bobs. Sometimes he even picks up washers, nuts, bolts, rubber bands or other such useful items, which he hands to me like presents to be cherished. And I do,  of course.

Maybe it’s a condition with a name – like Tourette’s. But quieter.


Unlike me, John is very much a morning person and captured this…Klipspringer at dawn

Klipspringer – a small African antelope – at dawn.

Some of the panoramas are 2/3/5 or more pics that I’ve stitched together. That really is such clever software.

Now John knows I can do this, he is taking snaps with stitching in mind and I look forward to the next batch.

This one has to be my current favourite…view 1_stitch


Don’t forget, you can click on any of these images to bring up to full size. A further click will enlarge that particular area of the photo, should you wish to see even more detail.

Bot Rivier

24 Jan


It would be very wrong of me to leave here without first giving you the tour. Or at least a bit of a look around.

As you approach from Cape Town on the N2, a major national road running west/east, it would be so easy to hurtle by and miss it altogether. And that would be a shame.

It’s essentially a small town, hardly a holiday destination, but not without a certain charm. It lies at the foot of the mountains and is surrounded by the most stunning landscape, which opens up as you come through  Sir Lowry’s Pass and  Houw Hoek Pass, known locally as simply “over the mountain”.

Shop - didn't know I had a business here did you?

Most of the action goes on in the square, where there is a shop, cash machine, bottle store, estate agency, hardware store, filling station and of course the Bot Rivier Hotel, the local pub. It’s also a stop for the Baz bus – a kind of hop on hop off anywhere arrangement that serves backpackers in South Africa. And of course they do the wine thing here.

Hotel stoep

From the stoep of the hotel you can watch the comings and goings, (people-watching here is second to none), banter with the regulars or simply gaze into the distant hills as you unwind with a cold beer. It’s long been a favourite haunt of the John and has become so for me too; a place to chill or catch up with the gossip – everyone knows everyone here –  amid pleasant surroundings.

There’s a huge tree that overhangs; its yellow flowers making a colourful carpet as they fall on the breeze, a water feature that acts as watering hole for the many pets that are every bit as much characters as their owners, a bird bath and, occasionally, a foot-bath for John. It’s a comfy kind of place. Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons are favourite times, the latter often bringing live music which, in my experience, is usually very good.  And the free snacks aren’t bad either.

There’s a supermarket and a Chinese cheapie shop up the way, known amusingly as The Mall, where there’s a slightly larger selection of provisions on offer. Serious shoppers though need to go further afield.

Railroad crossing

Train - what train?

John makes himself at home at the Shuntin Shed

A train line bisects the town, where you have to stop and look to make sure nothing is coming, though I’ve never once seen the train. I hear it though, several times a day, as its engines labour to carry goods to and from the coast and its sexy air horn cuts through the air. Apparently, the nearby Shuntin’ Shed, now a restaurant, shakes like hell when a train goes by. I’d love to be there then but my visits so far have proved fruitless. Still, it’s a pleasant place to be, lounging on giant sofas on the wooden deck that also has – you guessed it – magnificent views.

We also hear the ghostly whistle of a steam train in the mountain behind the bus…wooo wooo it goes. Turns out someone left the door open on the Vodacom tower on John’s top boundary and the wind whipping round this is the source. But I prefer the ghost train theory – romance over science every time.

Close-up shanty


There’s the obligatory shanty – everywhere has one, big or small. They fascinate me and I want to paint these ramshackle dwellings. I must try and get shots of the ones around Cape Town before I leave. Remarkable structures and the townships there are massive.

"Council housing"

Slightly upmarket, is what I suppose is Council housing.

Solar panels

Note the solar panels – definitely the way to go here.

Mountain View Cafe

Like the horns...

Then there’s the individual homes – some more individual than others….

Individual and Gorgeous - see the plants on the roof?

Smart - note the proud owner

Nearly home - nearly caught them

Chasing the neighbours up the dirt road

The road home from the pub, depending whether you go the dirt road or the tar road, is quite exciting or scenic respectively….

The scenic route home from the pub

Time stands still in Bot Rivier and they still talk of the Boer War. But I like it here – even though I’m on the wrong side…