Off the beaten track

I’m living in a small town through which the main road between Cape Town and the Southernmost tip of the African Continent runs. ‘Runs’, indeed for most tourists are racing in high speed mode from one ‘attraction’ to the other. It’s a pity to see people not experiencing the real beauty of a wonderful countryside. Sometimes I think; why not turn left or right into a gravel road and get lost … in a wonderful landscape with ever changing skies throughout the seasons. Yes; one can pick up some of that on the main road but it’s incomparable with the real thing. Our Swiss friends are visiting South Africa virtually every year and although they drive rural pace in the countryside they never got the idea to go into the deep … So I took them out one early morning. Yes, we also did the Southernmost Tip, for that was still on their list, but after the off the beaten track tour they had seen it there within a few minutes; the shipwreck nearby was far more interesting as was the illegal dumpsite of Cape Nature Conservation in a protected nature reservation (sad story), etc. etc. Oh … and we also went to Elim and in Arniston we had lunch in a place virtually all tourists/tour operators have yet to discover….

Well this is my contribution to this weeks photo challenge. Pictures all taken 23 March 2017 between 5:30 AM and approx. 2:00 PM and they clearly show the ever changing skies and the effect it has on the photos

Another Haiku sold

We are still working on the decoration of our Private Gallery. In the meantime however, thanks to marketing abroad, tourists are popping in (on appointment!!!). Yvonne sold this morning some jewellery pieces. And me? Just sold the natural whirlpool in the ‘Klip Rivier’ (Stone River) in Napier to a European customer.

With haiku:

Whirlpool Haiku

As the echo of my paces
reach outer spaces
I delve inward

whirlpool2

The Private Gallery

The Private Gallery in Napier, South Africa, opens soon.

Me and my wife have decided to open a Private Gallery. As soon as her studio is ready (yes we are building) the present studio will be converted in a small gallery which is only open on appointment. If all goes well we should be ready at the end of February. We live along the main touristic route between Cape Town and the Southernmost Tip of the African Continent in Cape Agulhas. Daily tour buses are passing by and for the right people who value originality the Private Gallery is an ideal stop over to buy a gift (either jewellery reflecting the treasures of the South African earth or landscape pictures of this region). In the meantime some tourist organisations and South African based tour guides have expressed their interests; some of them already visited with groups Yvonne’s present studio last year. private-gallery-yvonne

The off the beaten track botanical garden 2

(See also previous post)

Many tourists who travel to South Africa visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town. From a botanical point of view this ‘tourist trap’ has been continuously detoriorating since we live in this part of the world. And we also hear this all the time from horticulturists/botanists of name and fame from around the globe so we’re not alone in our view. Kirstenbosch becomes nice when you go up the (Table) mountain but hardly any tourist walks that far. Besides all this the other thing that stopped us visiting this garden is the excessive use of herbicides and other chemicals (most visitors of the picnic concerts are not aware of the fact that they are sitting on a lawn sprayed with MCPA that keeps the grass free of weeds ….).

How different is a visit to the botanical garden of Caledon (approx. 90 minutes drive East of Cape Town). It’s located in one of the oldest official declared nature conservation areas in South Africa. Maintenance is done by the municipality and volunteers and kept to a minimum such as keeping the paths open. All plants are endemic to this part of the world; not such a huge variety but a delight to wonder around and discover. The garden which has a nice flow-over to the surrounding nature is not weed free but so is nature. Last Sunday we had our bi-annual walk and enjoyed it. This time we went all the way up to the dam on top and via a different path back to the entrance. It was a 6 kilometer hike in the right time of the year. The Western Cape is a Winter rainfall area and the best time to visit this garden is between June and October when most of the plants are in flower.

 

The off the beaten track botanical garden 1

Many tourists who travel to South Africa visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Cape Town. From a botanical point of view this ‘tourist trap’ has been continuously detoriorating since we live in this part of the world. And we also hear this all the time from horticulturists/botanists of name and fame from around the globe so we’re not alone in our view. Kirstenbosch becomes nice when you go up the (Table) mountain but hardly any tourist walks that far. Besides all this the other thing that stopped us visiting this garden is the excessive use of herbicides and other chemicals (most visitors of the picnic concerts are not aware of the fact that they are sitting on a lawn sprayed with MCPA that keeps the grass free of weeds ….).

How different is a visit to the botanical garden of Caledon (approx. 90 minutes drive East of Cape Town). It’s located in one of the oldest official declared nature conservation areas in South Africa. Maintenance is done by the municipality and volunteers and kept to a minimum such as keeping the paths open. All plants are endemic to this part of the world; not such a huge variety but a delight to wonder around and discover. The garden which has a nice flow-over to the surrounding nature is not weed free but so is nature. Last Sunday we had our bi-annual walk and enjoyed it. This time we went all the way up to the dam on top and via a different path back to the entrance. It was a 6 kilometer hike in the right time of the year. The Western Cape is a Winter rainfall area and the best time to visit this garden is between June and October when most of the plants are in flower.

Trendy Places in Cape Town 4 (The Gallery Shop)

Many tourists in Cape Town visit the Green Market to bargain for souvenirs from South Africa; most of these not made in the Rainbow Nation. But The Gallery Shop in nearby Church Street is a different story. It showcases contemporary handmade craft and art from South Africa. The owner focuses on beadwork, jewellery, ceramics, felt and recycled materials; all made by crafts people in the region. The shop supports community projects and Aids Organisations. The unique items are small, lightweight and easy to pack. And, very important: affordable! With other words; you don’t have to bargain… 😉

galleryshop

Tomorrow …

This is the last week Emile Richter shows tourists around the restored watermill in 19th century village Elim. The village land is owned by the Moravian church and only villagers are allowed to build a house on a designated plot. Emile is one of the driving forces behind the restoration of the village including upgrade of the roads in and to/from. The watermill however is his favourite and he was deeply involved in the recent restoration of this monumental living piece of old-fashioned craftsmanship. Emile had this plan to grain locally harvested wheat and sell it locally and to tourists. The funding was already taken care for 3 years ago but as in everything the ‘mother church’ in Germany (‘Herrnhuters‘ ; English: Moravian Church) has to give permission first and that can take a long time Richter experienced. “In the church I always learned to tell the truth and nothing else but the truth. Now I’ve told them the truth they dismissed me as guide on a very short notice”.

Tomorrow is Emile Richter’s last day as host at the watermill.

elim21nov14-5