Posts

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AFRICAN THUNDER STORMS

How to photograph lightning

Have you ever looked at a thunderstorm and wondered how to take a perfect picture to capture the beauty of lightning?In South Africa, we get some very powerful thunderstorms and perfect opportunities to photograph lightning.

This is what I do: As most lightning storms in SA will occur in the afternoons or evenings it doesn’t mean that you sit and wait the whole day for the storm to appear on the horizon.

African Thunder Storms

No, you first have to do a bit of homework. From early in the morning, I will regularly have a look at weather Websites like http://www.africaweather.com and www.yr.no

to see if there are any storms brewing in the area or what the forecast will be for the rest of the day and evening…

From here I can decide what routes to follow and where my best chances will be for photographing storms and lightning.

African Tunder Storms

HTTP://WWW.AFRICAWEATHER.COM

Offer a subscription service where you can subscribe to an early warning SMS service and where you will be able to have a look on their Radar service on the website to see where the storms are etc. I will have my camera gear ready, lenses clean and batteries charged. Ready for the moment I need to scramble and do a bit of “Storm Chasing”.

No, not Storm Chasing like you see on the Discovery Channel of guys chasing tornadoes in the USA in their heavily armored vehicles, more like getting in my normal everyday car with at least half a tank of diesel and myself armored with a bottle of water for the road and a packet of wine gums to keep me awake on my way back late at night.

African thunder storms

Then, if everything goes according to plan I will head out in a direction and see if I can get in front of an approaching storm. What I have noticed the last couple of years while doing this kind of photography that you will get better lightning shots and less rain in front of a storm. Try to stay in front of the storm the whole time.

African thunder stroms

These storms can move fast and you really need to know the area very well to know where to drive. Once you are in front of the storm, at a good spot with a good view you can start setting up.

Get out the tripod, camera, lens (preferably wide angle lenses if the storm is close enough). As you will be shooting at night it is wise to have a torch or headlamp nearby the whole time. A soft cloth to clean the lens from dust or raindrops will come in handy as well. I set my lens to manual focus and using the Live View try to focus on an object in the distance or you can even set the focus to “infinity” on the lens itself if possible. Good focus is very important.

will set my Camera to “M” for Manual or “B” for Bulb so that I can set the desired shutter speed and aperture manually. To keep the shutter open for longer than 30 seconds you will need a remote shutter release to make sure you will not get any camera shake while taking the photo. If the storms is a bit far from me (let’s say about 10km or more) I will set the Aperture to F/4 or even F/3.5. This way you will get more light because of the bigger aperture and you will even see a lightning bolt way in the distance.

African thunder storms

When the storm gets very close, I normally change to a smaller Aperture like F/5.6 or F8. As the lightning strikes, it will be much closer and the light intensity will be very high.  The smaller Aperture will then allow less light into the camera.

Depending on how many lightning strikes you want in the photo and the ambient light available in the area you can keep the shutter open as long as you want. I normally keep it open for approximately a minute or less. Just keep shooting and try to stick to basic rules like “The rule of thirds”, straight horizons etc. If the storm gets too close try moving ahead again.

Please think of your own safety the whole time. Don’t stand under or too close to a tree, under electrical wires or too close to radio masts. You will be looking for trouble if you do!!! If you’re feeling really scared rather get back into your vehicle. Don’t take chances with lightning!!! Just keep to these basic rules and you will get those lightning photos you always wanted.

By Des Jacobs www.desjacobs.com www.afriscapes.com (Photo tours and workshops)

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Madeira – Portugal’s Garden of Eden, Madeira is known as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’

Since the day I met my Portuguese husband Carlo Neto, he promised me that we will travel to Madeira Island, also known as “the Pearl of the Atlantic” to this island his parents and family originated from. Our adventure began during the July holidays of 2014 when our 2 daughters were old enough to enjoy and appreciate this amazing trip that we were about to experience. All we had to worry about were booking our flights and packing our bags before we could set off to chase the sun to this breathtaking paradise and as a bonus escape the winter here in South Africa.

Madeira

Carlo’s uncle Fritz Helena and his wife aunty Sue Helena were waiting for our arrival at Madeira’s own International Airport. We were so lucky to have these two special people as our very own personal tour guides during our entire stay. They live nearby Ponta do Sol in a simply enchanting town called Calheta, Calheta is blessed with rare natural beauty and 8 parishes.

Calheta was, in fact, the first town in Madeira to import sand from Morocco. Calheta Village has an artificial yellow sand beach that opened in 2004. We thoroughly enjoyed the days we had on Calheta beach and all it had to offer.

Madeira

The Ponta do Sol beach is hidden away in a small cove in the village of Ponta do Sol, between the slopes of the valley. One just can’t help but fall in love with this little gem, with its beautiful sunsets and excellent pebble beach. We’ve  spent many afternoons with our daughters sunbathing, swimming, relaxing and playing on this beautiful beach.

Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, south-west of Portugal and the main agriculture here is sugar cane, banana and wine production. Historically the sugar cane was worked by slaves owned by a Flemish lord João Esmeraldo, a close friend of Christopher Columbus. There are many religious nature traditions, strongly rooted in the Madeira culture, but also traditions linked to crafts, music, and even the evolution of the island’s economy. We were very blessed to visit a couple of these churches and busy, noisy, colourful covered markets stocked with fresh fish, tropical fruits, spices, beautiful flowers and local crafts.

The Aquaparque de Santa Cruz, close to the airport was definitely the highlight of our Madeira trip for both our daughters Carla, Simoné and me…

Madeira

It boasts 5 toboggan slides of varying heights and speeds and a fast and slow river. There are 2 leisure pools too as well as play parks for the younger guests.

We also treasured our visit to Machico town and Machico beach, this historic, peaceful town was the landing point of the discoverers and offers a number of good quality guesthouses and restaurants.

Madeira

Uncle Fritz took us to many little towns and beaches, but the Porto Moniz Natural swimming pools are the highlight of my stay. These natural salt water swimming pools are made up of volcanic rock, into which the sea flows naturally, we also visited the aquarium.

Another must see when visiting Madeira is the Traditional Santana houses close to the Santana Municipal Council. This is a preservation area, expanded by the municipality of Santana, in memory of local heritage.

Other memorable places we visited on the Island were the Ponta do Pargo Light House Viewpoint, the Marina of Funchal, CR7 Museum which tells the story of the Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and houses all of his individual and team trophies won. Our daughter Carla was totally smitten. Our youngest daughter Simoné was very excited about our visits to the botanical gardens and all our different rides in the cable cars. Don’t let me even start talking about the gardens and flora, it is simply magnificent…….

Madeira

I really loved our visit to Ponta do Garajau where you’ll find the statue of Cristo Rei de Garajau, carved by Georges Serraz in 1927 and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the amazing view over the ocean. I was brave enough to walk all the way down the path… It felt like I was entering the sea what a wonderful feeling.

We also enjoyed every minute of our time spend in Funchal, the biggest city in Madeira. It is modern but at the same time kept an authentic historic centre that will amaze you. We went on an unforgettable Yellow Bus trip around Funchal, very similar to the Red Bus trips in Cape Town….

We had so much fun at the Madeira Theme Park. The Park’s main attractions are the 4 multimedia pavilions; “ Discovery of the islands”, “Future of the Earth”, Fantastic Voyage in Madeira” and “A World of Islands”. A replica of the Monte train, traditional ox carts and nets, a traditional Santana house, a windmill, a maze and even a lake are some of the Park’s attractions.

Madeira

Uncle Fritz took us to the Cabo Girão Skywalk too. At 589 meters, the Cabo Girão Skywalk is the highest cliff skywalk in Europe and 2nd highest in the world. As I was looking all the way down from the glass deck to the ocean my legs went absolutely numb… what a thrilling experience.

Another very special memory is our visit from Funchal by cable car to the Church of Our Lady of the Monte in Funchal. We climbed to the bell tower terrace and oh my word we experienced the most spectacular view of Funchal.

Madeira

Monte Village was built in 1565 as a summer refuge for Funchal’s aristocracy. Constructed in 1741, the Church of Our Lady of the Monte is the resting place of Charles 1, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

We had an absolute blast and we just couldn’t get enough of this astonishing Island with its warm friendly people, it’s breath-taking nature, it’s incredible history and it’s wonderful opportunities to go for walks and find so much to see and do. Should you seek a place to stay, away from the hustle and bustle, then Hotel Jardim Atlântico (Jardim Atlantico) is just the place to be. This exquisite Hotel promise for a very memorable stay. Here we had the pleasure of meeting a very stunning lady working at the Hotel, named Rita Santos, we learned that she also stayed in South Africa many years ago…….Although she loved South Africa she loves Madeira more!

Madeira

Maybe one day if I am fortunate enough I could go and retire in Madeira this magnificent Island that I love to call paradise… But first I want to travel and see the world!

Content by Tanya Neto

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THE RO-‘MANIAC’ TOUR TO THE REDBULL RACE

For extreme enduro racer, Barend Erasmus, taking part in the Redbull Romaniacs race in Sibiu, Romania is part of the enjoyment. Visiting this exotic, mountainous country also leaves a great impression in scenery.

Ro-maniac

Why did you go to Romania? Sometimes I ask myself, why participate in the Redbull Romaniacs hard enduro?

Ro-maniac

The answer is simple: “It is an addiction.  I enjoy riding my bike in places that seem impossible, pushing my body and mind beyond its limits.  To see how far I can push myself.”

At that moment, I ask myself questions like: “What am I doing?”… “Am I crazy? ” I cannot begin to explain the feeling of fulfilment and pride when completing an Extreme Enduro race like Romaniacs. It is a tremendously rewarding feeling. After finishing in the top 20 in the 2016 Romaniacs, I thought never to do it again.

Yet a week after I got home, I started planning to enter the 2017 race.

Although this year’s race was utterly extreme and taxing, the same thing happened again. I am already looking forward to going to the 2018 race. The more I do this the better I get at riding extreme environments in this type of races.

Ro-maniac

What is the airport like? The Sibiu International Airport is reasonably small, surprisingly modern and very sufficient.

Although the staff is friendly and accommodating, they are very strict on security.  They want to know everything about you and what you are doing there They check your passport picture ten times to make sure that it is really you on the picture. Ro-maniac What was your first impression of Romania?  When you step out of the airport a whole new world opens up!

There are yellow taxis everywhere waiting to transport tourists to their next destination.  To make the experience more fascinating,

the drivers can hardly speak any English. Romania is a very poor country but certainly, a country where you can relax.

Ro-maniac

The locals are very friendly and look relaxed as they take each day as it comes. They obviously dress differently from us and I find their shoes very fascinating. Their sneakers have very high soles, more than double of what I am used to in South Africa and the ladies wears funny pointy flat leather shoes also not something that I am used to.

Ro-maniac

I also find the unique culture with the historically significant landmarks and Medieval architecture very appealing as a tourist.

Ro-maniac

What Tourist attractions are there in Romania? I only visited Sibiu and a few surrounding villages where everything looks if it was built hundreds of years ago.

It feels like going back in time straight back to Medieval times, there is nothing modern around there.

There are a lot of tourist attractions in and around Sibiu but because I went to Romania for the Romaniacs Race,

I didn’t get a lot of time to do sightseeing. I personally love the dramatic mountainous scenery, where the race takes place and the coastline on the Black Sea with its picturesque landscapes. 

What are the Hotels and Restaurants like in Romania? In Sibiu, they have beautiful hotels like the Ramada, Continental and the Ibis, where a night’s stay will cost around 70€ to 100€ per person and it include breakfast.

Generally, the rooms are spacious with comfortable beds and air-conditioning. The big showers are roomy enough for two. The restaurants are reasonably priced and on par with South African restaurants.  I found the traditional dishes delightful, the soups are to die for!  Since I am a steak lover, my favourite eateries where The New Yorker and Benjamin Steakhouse. These establishments are a little more expensive. then the others but the meals are worth every cent. Ro-maniac

Tell me about your flight to Romania? According to me the easiest way to get to Sibiu in Romania from South Africa is direct to Munich in Germany and from Munich to Sibiu.  Total travelling time, including 1:45-hour wait for the connecting flight to from Munich to Sibiu, was 11:45 hours. I paid R20 000 for this return flight.  Make sure you eat and drink enough during the flight as the restaurants at the airport are extremely expensive. I paid the equivalent of R150.00 for a Croissant and a bottle of water!

Ro-maniac

Does South Africans need a visa to travel to Romania? As South Africans, we do need a visa to travel to Romania.  Applying for the visa online is fairly trouble-free. Once you submit all required documentation and they will send you the date that you have to go to the Embassy in Pretoria.  A week after visiting the Embassy you can collect your passport with the visa at a total cost of R900.00

Ro-maniac

What about Romania will you always remember?

What humbled me is the people’s acceptance of their meagre lives. They seem satisfied with very little and despite their simple life, they always smile. Once again I realized how fortunate I was.

Ro-maniac

Would you recommend Romania as a holiday destination? Yes, I would absolutely recommend Romania to anyone who enjoys travelling and exploring new places.  Experiencing the Romanian culture, the mountainous scenery, great architecture and the local’s passion for life makes Romania well worth visiting.  If ever I get the opportunity to explore more of Romania, I would gladly do so!

Tell me about Bleed for Isak? Isak Du Toit is a 24-year young man from Nelspruit. Three years ago, he was just like me. He loved riding his bike enjoyed going out with friends, he lived life to its fullest! Unexpectedly everything changed. First, in 2014, he lost his one eye in an accident at work. In 2015, he got seriously ill and he had a heart transplant at the age of 22. As if that wasn’t enough he was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago! Ro-maniac I met Isak recently his story and positive outlook on life, despite what happened to him, really touched me. Isak gets 4 pints of blood every month and creating awareness for blood donating is something very close to his heart. I have decided to start a campaign to create awareness of the importance of donating blood, there are thousands like Isak who’s lives depends on people donating blood and organs. I urge you, please join hands with us and support this worthy initiative

I choose 28 October for this event because on 28 October 2015 Isak received his new heart, and I feel we should celebrate his life.

In conclusion: I would like to thank all my sponsors that made it possible for me to compete in the 2017 Redbull Romaniacs Race Without you I wouldn’t have been able to go…

Ambassador Foods KTM Nelspruit Malelane Toyota The Lowveld community

I appreciate your help – Thank you

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BMW Motorrad Days 2017 in Garmish Patenkirchen

A must do pilgrimage for every BMW motorcycle enthusiast is to the gathering at Garmish Patenkirchen, a ski village on the border between Germany and Austria, a weekend of motorcycling overload that attracts about 4500 riders on the first weekend in July annually.

Thomas Böhm the operations instructor from Sabie Valley Rider Academy situated between Sabie and Hazyview was invited to promote the training facility at the event in a massive tent that was filled with BMW Motorrad Partners from all over the world.

BMW Motorrad Days 2017 in Garmish Patenkirchen

Thomas relates to the never-ending activities on offer from test-rides, new product displays,

Enduro rides, the wall of death displays and displays by stunt rider Mattie Griffin and Sarah Leito. Also, don’t forget the beer and German food available from multiple beer tents and gardens.

BMW Motorrad Days 2017 in Garmish Patenkirchen

The event is filled with BMW motorcycles from all eras with a big emphasis on older bikes and the custom scene, with multiple companies specializing in custom and retro bikes displaying their latest creations, doing a good trade in custom parts.

BMW motorcycle enthusiast

BMW Motorrad has a huge display tent of all the latest models, rider gear and accessories available with a knowledgeable crew on hand to share their enthusiasm and information on the life style products, with the slogan “Make Life a Ride”.

Make life a ride

The days are hot with most attendees participating in rides heading south to the Alps in the day then enjoying the

the long evenings browsing and watching shows till the sun set at about 10 mp when the real party starts

with big name bands rocking the crowds in multiple venues at the show until the early morning hours.

BMW motorcycle enthusiast

Most South Africans will combine this must do pilgrimage with a riding holiday in the Alps incorporating famous mountain passes like Stelvio Pass, Gross Glockner and the amazing riding in the Garda Lake area in northern Italy.

Thomas Böhm

If you want to be part of this amazing experience in 2018 please send Thomas Böhm an email to thomas@rideracademy.co.za to receive a special offer on a package deal put together by

Sabie Valley Rider Academy.

Written by:  Thomas Böhm

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Spring Flowers in the Cape Region

We spoke to Piet van Zyl, former owner of Matzikama Tours and Accommodation in Cape Town, who specialized in spring flower tours in the Western Cape mainly. He gave us some guidelines for first-time visitors.

Timing is everything – This is probably the number one thing that visitors miscalculate. Being a hotter area than the rest of the Cape, spring starts earlier.  The flower season peaks between early August and late August and it is dependent on the winter rains.

As a general rule, the wild flowers begin flowering first in the Northern Cape in Namaqualand in late July/early August.

They then advance southwards through Nieuwoudtville and the Cederberg region and then begin in the West Coast at the end of August. Thus the West Coast offers the best chance of seeing spring flowers in early September.

However, there is a large element of luck involved as it all depends on the amount of rain. Some years are better than others! If there has been a steady flow of gentle cold fronts during the winter, then it is likely to be a good flower season. But one or two violent storms interspersed with dry weather are not so good.

Spring temperatures are also important. If it heats up too quickly then the early visitors have glorious sunshine but the flowers do not last very long.

The bottom line is that ideally, you need to go with an attitude of acceptance and ideally be prepared to explore other aspects of the area if the flowers are not so amazing. For example, the Cederberg has some stunning mountain passes to enjoy. View rock art, do a walking trail or visit Rooibos tea farms. The towns have attractive coffee shops to enjoy and arts & craft shops to explore.

Visitors might not feel they need any tips for flower viewing (how hard can looking at flowers be?). But there is quite a lot to consider if you would really like to get the most out of this experience. Piet suggests you visit the Tourism Information Centres and talk to the locals, who are very hospitable and enjoys sharing their knowledge with visitors, to get the information you wouldn’t necessarily find in books or on the internet.

The best way to have a well-rounded trip would be to include the West Coast National Park for its Postberg flowers, wildlife and birding, some of the quaint West Coast Towns like Paternoster, Yzerfontein and Saldanha, for their laid back atmosphere and fresh seafood, the Cederberg for its rock art and mountain beauty, Wuppertal for its interesting history and Citrusdal for the beautiful orange orchards. Darling is also well known as a cultural experience, with the Eva Perron theatre and culinary delights. The entire flower area has become well-known for its vineyards and boutique wine cellars, and the West Coast Wine Route will give you options, whichever route you take. If time allows, the flowers in the north, though further away, around Vanrhynsdorp and Springbok are glorious and well worth the trip.

Cape Town to Richtersveld 850km: Johannesburg to Springbok 1160km:

Springbok to Richtersveld 297km. We did this trip in spring after good rains. It was one of our most memorable travel experiences! Richtersveld, a world heritage site, has the most amazing scenery in a desert environment, with a remoteness that stills the soul. Set in a great loop of the Orange River, the deep canyons and jagged mountains, unusual rock colours, the rare kokerboom or quiver tree, the strange halfmens tree, unique succulents and isolation make for a lifetime experience. In spring, the desert can bring forth a host of wild flowers. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces.

Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Only 4×4 vehicles are allowed in the park. For detailed park information, booking and how to get there visit the park’s website. There are no shops in the park, but fuel and cold drinks can be purchased at a small general store at Sendelingsdrift. The shop is open on weekdays only. Tel: 012 428 9111 for central booking or 027 831 1506 at the park itself. The trip to Springbok is 568km from Cape Town and 1160km from Johannesburg.

Springbok is close to the famous Goegap Nature Reserve, also known for its birding.  Springbok is a great springboard from the north, with the top flower destinations of the Namaqua National Park, Kamieskroon (visit the Skilpad Flower Reserve – named for its tortoises), Garies and Bitterfontein, all en-route to Vanrhynsdorp and Clanwilliam.

To reach Vanrhynsdorp from Cape Town is a 308km trip and Springbok to Vanrhynsdorp is a 260km drive. If you are camping, the Vanrhynsdorp private caravan park is close to town on the Main Gifburg Road. The Caravan Park has a quiet, well managed, farm like atmosphere and also offers guests the option of staying in self-catering units. Camping sites have power points and ablution with hot water. There’s a restaurant with a great a la carte menu. Tel: +27(0)27 219 1287: +27(0)76 293 2578.

Vanrhynsdorp itself has flowers on various farms and it is best to contact tourism for the best places to go, both in town and in other areas. T:027 219 1552: Van Riebeeck Street, Vanrhynsdorp.

Vanrhynsdorp is home to Kokerboom,  the biggest succulent nursery in the world (Tel: 027 219 1062: Cell: 082 811 5474)  and to the Latsky Radio Museum with its interesting displays:  Monday – Saturday 9 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm: Tel: +27-27-2191032: 4 Church Street.

From Vanrhynsdorp you can do the following breathtaking day trips:

Take the 182km circular route from Vanrhynsdorp to the coast and back. From Vanrhynsdorp take the N7 to Klawer, and visit the Klawer wine cellar. From Klawer, drive to Vredendal, famous for its flowers and wine. Continue to Lutzville with more wine cellars and then on to the flowers at Standfontein and Doringbaai, home of Fryers Cove wines on the coast. Not only do you go through the beautiful Olifants River Vallery, a rich wine, fruit and vegetable farming area, but get to enjoy the quiet beaches along the coast. See our article on the West Coast Wine Route. Or you can go to Nieuwoudtville.

Drive 52km over the awe-inspiring Van Rhyns Pass, to Nieuwoudtville, the bulb capital of the world and visit the flower reserves and farms for amazing floral carpets.

Drive 52km over the awe-inspiring Van Rhyns Pass, to Nieuwoudtville, the bulb capital of the world and visit the flower reserves and farms for amazing floral carpets. Visit the Hantam Botanical Gardens that boasts an incredible 1350 plant species, and is found on the Oorlogskloof Road and the Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve, close to town.

A great day trip from Nieuwoudtville, is to take the R357 north out of town, and visit the Nieuwoudtville Falls, the Quiver Tree Forest at Gannabos, a private farm, where trees grow to 400 years old and produce vivid yellow flowers in May, June and July, as they have been doing for many thousands of years.

This forest is spectacular at sunset. Further on, Loeriesfontein has a rather interesting windmill museum.

An excellent flower experience can be enjoyed by driving south from Clanwilliam. It is only 228km from Cape Town and 80km from Vanrhynsdorp on the N7. You will pass the Klawer Cellars en-route from Vanrhynsdorp, so make a stop.

Clanwilliam offers the magnificent Ramskop Wildflower Reserve, next to the Clanwilliam Dam. A wonderful day trip from Clanwilliam is the 140km round trip to the Biedouw Valleyand Wuppertal. Not only are the flowers overwhelming, but Wuppertal is a village lost in time and an experience itself. You can enjoy something to eat at the little shop in Wuppertal.  To get there, take the R364 from Clanwilliam over the Pakhuis Pass and turn right onto the Biedouw Valley/Wuppertal road.

If you are interested in Bushman Rock Art, take a really professional guided tour with the Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project.

Citrusdal is situated on the Olifants River and is famous for its citrus orchards. It is 170km from Cape Town and 58km from Clanwilliam along the N7. However, there is a wonderful gravel route from Clanwilliam along the dam, towards Algeria.

After approximately 30km, you will access the N7 again. No traffic, pure bliss (this is the same road you took to visit the Ramskop Wildflower Reserve).

The Postberg area of the West Coast National Park that is only open in flower season is a brilliant spot and the park itself is also a sight to behold, where wildlife on the plains mingle with the flowers. There are also bird hides in the park. The towns of Yzerfontein and Darling are also good flower spots.

From Citrusdal, an interesting route can be taken over the Piekernierskloof Pass and onto the R399 to Velddrif, which is also well known for its birding and fishing. From Veldrif, experience the quaint West Coast Villages of St Helena Bay, Britannia Bay, Paternoster (very popular village with great seafood) and Tietiesbaai. Drive through Vredenburg en-route to the West Coast National Park and Postberg. In Postberg you can enjoy a picnic at the Uitkyk picnic spot. An interesting attraction, 13km from Vredenburg on the R45, is the Fossil Park. On the same road, 37km from Vredenburg is Hopefield.

The veld around Hopefield provides its own natural display of springtime flowers when the green winter wonderland is transformed to an overnight spectacle of bright indigenous daisies and fynbos. There are four botanical zones: renosterveld, sandveld, reed veld and vlei areas. At the Hopefield Show, these regions are displayed in the exhibition hall to reflect Fynbos in their natural habitat. This very popular show takes place at the Hopefield Sports grounds on the last weekend of August each year.

In Langebaan visit the Strandloper Seafood Restaurant for a fresh seafood indulgence.

From the WCNP drive to Yzerfontein and enjoy a meal at the Strandkombuis Seafood Restaurant on the beach or participate in an authentic Bushman cultural experience.

Drive to Darling on the R315 and visit the Tienie Versveld Wildflower Garden, the Renosterveld Reserve, Wayland Farm, Contreberg Farm on R307 Darling-Mamre road and Oudepost Farm. Wayland and Oudepost are only open for flowers during August and September. Here millions of these exotic flowers are cultivated for local and export markets. The Groote Post wine farm also offers long walks in its beautiful natural surroundings.

Piet also stressed the fact that you need to book early to avoid disappointment the ‘season’ is very short and people book way in advance.  His last private tour was in August 2017 when he took his mother-in-law and grand-mother-in-law to observe Mother Nature at her proudest: spring flowers spring as this was a lifelong dream of Grandma. Piet says that everybody should go there at least once in their lifetime.

Written by:  Ista van Zyl

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Get To Know Carolina

Carolina is a town situated on the Johannesburg to Swaziland route (R33 and R38) in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. The town lies in the grass and wetlands region of Mpumalanga at 1700 meters above sea level. It is a mixed farming and small-scale coal- and precious-stone-mining community.

Get To Know Carolina

In the late 19th Century there was an important wagon route from Johannesburg to the gold fields of the Kaap Valley in the East. Farmers in the area that was to become Carolina decided to establish a town as a stopover for wagon trains, and one of them, CJ Coetzee offered them a portion of his farm providing the town was named after his wife. Carolina was duly established in 1882 and named after her. The town was proclaimed in 1885. The village was totally destroyed during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War and was later rebuilt.

Situated in the vicinity of Carolina is the magnificent Komati Gorge and linked Komati River. This beautiful area allows for many a day picnicking, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating or just generally relaxing and soaking up the warm sun. Numerous exciting watersports can be enjoyed. In addition, this lovely area is home to an abundance of vibrant birds. The Komati area is any bird lovers delight! Situated just to the North West of Carolina is the picturesque Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve. This nature reserve is a very popular birding area and home to more than 200 species of spectacular birds. In addition to birding, there are also a few exciting horse and hiking trails that can be enjoyed in the Carolina area. Most of these lovely trails are day trails, but for the adventure seekers, there are several 2-day trails available where one can stay overnight in a trail hut.

Get To Know Carolina

Carolina not only boasts magnificent beauty but fine cultural and historical heritage. Besides the spectacular sandstone architecture, this area boasts a few fine examples of San rock art which can be seen and explored. To add to the historical heritage of the Carolina area, there are also a few interesting Battlefields which can be visited. Make sure you visit the Market Square, Burger Monument as well as other historical memorials.

Other exciting activities that can be enjoyed in the area are 4×4 adventures, quad biking and game viewing. Definitely, a town where you can keep yourself busy for a weekend.

Get To Know Carolina

Hanna’s Antiques and Coffee Shop

While I was in Carolina looking for interesting places to write about I came across a little gem called Hanna’s Antiques and Coffee Shop.

Get To Know Carolina

I was pleasantly surprised with the small town hospitality of the locals and the old house converted into a coffee shop filled with antiques strategically placed to create a homely ambience, and everything is for sale!

Get To Know Carolina

The owner, Hannetjie Van Aswegen is a Carolina resident since 1976, this former teacher always had a love for antiques and built up her collection throughout the years, this collection is now for sale in her shop.

Her clientele consists of many diverse people who drive through to Swaziland, residents from surrounding towns who heard about this gem from others.  Locals having coffee and catching up with friends, business people having meetings and they even do parties and functions at the coffee shop. Even clients from Gauteng drive all the way to this small town to buy antiques!

Get To Know Carolina

I also discovered a very nice coffee table book in the shop – Carolina’s Ancient Sites – Fiction, Facts and Mysteries by Prof Ton Sanders.

This book traces the history and disinters a treasure trove of archaeological sites in and around Carolina that produce fascinating stories of the town that have yet been left buried or untold. A “must have” for any historian and those interested in the rich history of Carolina and the Southern African region.

Get To Know Carolina

A: 47 Steyn Street Carolina 1185

T: 071 592 4936

W: www.carolinaguesthouse.co.za

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Seascape Photography By Des Jacobs

Author:  Des Jacobs

Really good seascape photography is not about expensive equipment or hi-tech methods. You need a decent DSLR camera (any make will do), good lenses and a basic understanding of camera settings. You will need a tripod. Also a wide angle lens. A 10-20mm lens, 10-22mm, 11-16mm or 17-40mm. The basic 18-55mm lens or similar lens will also do the trick.

It is not compulsory but it is wise to invest in lens filters to attach to the lens to get more special effects. Personally, I think a Circular Polarizing Filter is a must when working with water. Not only will it get rid of reflections in the water but also darken the whole scene a bit to be able to work with slower shutter speeds. An ND8 filter will also come in handy when doing water photography as it gives you a much slower shutter speed when not working in shady or overcast conditions.

Des Jacobs Photography

If you really want to be artistic you can try a ND400 or ND500 filter. With this, you will be able to use shutter speeds of 2 minutes or even longer depending on the light conditions available. Make sure you buy the correct size filter for your lens.

Most of the time your timer function on your camera will work fine to limit camera shake but if going for longer shutter speeds than 30 seconds you will need a remote to trigger the shutter.

Des Jacobs Photography

Work with the weather. Make sure you know what the weather will be like when you do the planning for your photo shoot. I use a website called www.yr.no for most of my weather forecasts when I plan a shoot. It will give an indication on what kind of clouds there will be if it will rain etc. Also, make sure you know at what hour the sun will rise or set. Try to avoid very windy days. The chances are good that your photos will blur because of camera shake. Early morning before sunrise and late afternoons with sunset are the best times to photograph seascapes. Make sure you are at your ideal spot at least 20-30 minutes before sunrise or sunset.

Camera Settings

I like using “Aperture” mode when doing seascape photography. This way I can decide on what my depth of field must be. Normally I choose a wide depth of field so that everything in the photo will be sharp and in focus. With a 10-20mm lens, I normally set the aperture to F/11. The camera will decide for itself what the shutter speed will be according to the available light. Before sunrise and after sunset the shutter speed will be very slow and during the day, while the sun is shining the shutter speed will be very fast. I like doing seascape photography in the early mornings and late afternoons. Personally, I like the colours during the golden hour. I also like the slower shutter speed effects on the water.

Des Jacobs Photography

Try to get a good composition before taking the photo. A nice rock in the foreground, a piece of driftwood or something else that will make the photo interesting. Make sure to set the focus on this subject. Also, make sure the ISO is set to 100 when doing this kind of photography.

www.desjacobsphotography.co.za

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Toyota Warrior Race 2017 Powered By Reebok

The Toyota Warrior Race is South Africa’s largest obstacle course race series. It’s a sport that incorporates trail running along with various physical challenges in the form of hindrances. With 8 events in 4 provinces consisting of 3 distances, The Warrior Race offers athletes from different sporting backgrounds the opportunity to compete with one another, to live out their sense of adventure and to break barriers never thought possible. The series is all about encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle, with an emphasis on the importance of being brave and overcoming challenges that put your body, mind and spirit to the ultimate test.

Toyota Warrior Race

Distances:

Rookie – Age 10 and older – 5km – 15 obstacles

Commando – Age 13 and older – 10km – 20 obstacles

Black-ops – Age 18 and older – 15km – 30 obstacles

Upcoming Events:

There are 4 Toyota Warrior Powered by Reebok events left for 2017

TOYOTA WARRIOR 5 POWERED BY REEBOK BLYTHEDALE COASTAL ESTATE

August 19 – August 20

TOYOTA WARRIOR 6 POWERED BY REEBOK TIERPOORT

September 16 – September 17

TOYOTA WARRIOR 7 POWERED BY REEBOK MEERENDAL

October 21 – October 22

TOYOTA WARRIOR 8 POWERED BY REEBOK RIVERSANDS

November 25 – November 26

We attended –  TOYOTA WARRIOR  4  POWERED BY REEBOK KWANYONI LODGE

MAY 27 – MAY 28

We were not surprised to see that CITYBUG was the shuttle service used – that’s how we know them – always involved with community projects.

Thank you CITYBUG

Citybug

For more information visit http://advendurance.com/warrior/

 

 

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Tiger Fishing In The Mighty Zambezi River

Written by: Sylvia von Lindeiner – Waldau

Anyone who likes to fish has the wish to hook a big Tigerfish at least once in their life. They are a highly sought-after freshwater game fish because of their speed and aerial displays when hooked.

Tigerfish

When I asked my friend Eddy van Deventer why he is so passionate about tiger fishing his reply was short “Well it’s very simple! Tigerfish gives an angler one of the best fights!”

The best spot to do so is, hand down, the mighty Zambezi River – home to some of the largest tigers on the planet. “Tiger-heaven”

I am personally not the best fisherman or more like the worst. My friends who are very much into fishing like to refer to me as a ‘civilian’, apparently a commonly used term in Zimbabwe among the guys who participate every year at the Kariba Invitation Tiger Fish Tournament, to describe someone who is absolutely useless when it comes to fishing.

Tigerfishing

But despite being terrible at catching fish (or anything for that matter- even the right man), I would never say no to a fishing trip with these non-civilians as a fishing trip in Zimbabwe on the mighty Zambezi does not only give you the ultimate chance to experience the catching a massive Tigerfish but also guarantees you extraordinary Big Five game viewing and the most stunning and calming scenery.

The Zambezi Valley bids the perfect mix of game fishing and first-class game viewing from some unique safari lodges.

Fishing on the Zambezi or in Kariba is always done from boats with crocodiles and hippos around you. Sometimes the boats get tied up on the sandbanks for lunch and some bank fishing in the afternoon. But be careful of wildlife!

According to some of my friends, who certainly know more about this subject, the three main areas to catch Tiger in Zimbabwe are the Upper Zambezi, Kariba and the Lower Zambezi:

The Upper Zambezi above Kariba promises you a catch throughout the year. However, from August to December it is recommended to go trolling whereas January to April drift baiting is most recommended.  June to September are the best months to use spinning as a fishing method.

Kariba, where they prefer to go trolling spinners or other artificial lures as well as live bait. Lake Kariba is approximately 220kms long and in parts up to 40kms wide and gives anyone stunning game viewing and fishing occasions from the many lodges and houseboats that are available. Most houseboats are fully equipped with delicious cuisine, a crew and tender boats which allow to go and explore the lake and further fishing spots.

And last but not least- the lower Zambezi, where they mainly use live bait or fillets and go drifting with the current. Once again – one is also promised spectacular game viewing with buffalo, numerous elephants, lions, leopards and many antelope species. Birders will certainly also love this area and so if the fishing is getting a bit quieter- the nature and wildlife, as well as all the birds, will not let you get bored until those hungry tigers finally bite again!

Zambezi River

All these areas are best during the summer months but fish can be caught throughout the year.