Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fallow Deer

Fallow Deer

We found this dominant male buck and his small harem :) of Fallow Deer alongside the R310, heading out of Stellenbosch to the Spier estate. I use the word "harem" in jest, but in reality the reference is pretty much spot on as there's one dominant male buck that has fought for the right to mate with the females on the herd.

Although we spotted at least two males in the herd, the chance is great that only one of them will mate with the females. I believe it's a way of ensuring that the strongest survive and reproduce.

Do you know much about Fallow Deer, and exactly how one buck fights for dominance, and what happens when that male get's too old and is replaced by a younger, stronger, buck? Please leave a comment on this post!

Scary brown cows

Scary brown cow
I spent a long while, to no avail, trying to figure out what breed of cattle these are. Do you perhaps know? I though they were Jersey cows... but Jerseys appear to be a little lighter in colour, and these seem just a little fluffy, don't they?

As I approached the small herd, the big cow, and her wingman (wingwoman?) to the right of the photo, turned to stare me down. They sure do look mean, don't they? I was suddenly awfully glad that I was standing on the opposite side of the fence.

Tulips in May

I bought a bunch of Tulips from Woolworths for Kerry-Anne. While photographing them bathed in morning light I realised that taking photos of flowers, perhaps Tulips in particular, is as fulfilling much like photographing beautiful woman - light catches their contours in the most beautiful way.

Tulips are perennial bulbs, which means that they flower each year. Although often associated with the Netherlands, according to, they originate from the Turkish Himalayas.

Even though there are many varieties of tulips, due to our warmish winters and short spring it's only really the Darwin Hybrid that's easy to grow in South Africa. Visit for information on where and when to plant tulips and how to make sure they survive our slightly-tulip-hostile weather.

Even though I liked the main photo most, I thought that you may appreciate a few more photos of these lovely flowers. Click on the thumbnails below to see the the photos.

The sun sets on summer : 6#6

The sun sets on summer
Isn't this scene just idyllic? Imagine sitting on the deck of a yacht, sipping a cocktail, and listening to the gentle lapping of the calm Atlantic ocean against the side of the boat. At times like these it's difficult to understand why the Cape was called the Cape of Storms.

If you missed the previous 5 photos in this series, click here to jump to the beginning. :)

The sun sets on summer : 5#6

The sun sets on summer
As I explained in my first post of this series of photos, I'm a little behind on daily photos and trying as hard as I can to catch up. I'm posting this photo for this past Tuesday when it was unthinkable that Cape Town would ever see the warmth of summer again until the end of the year.

And there Cape Town surprises us all with a beautifully warm weekend filled with plenty of sun and warmth ideal for visiting the beach. Don't worry though, next week will see winter returning with all her chilly force. Brace yourself Cape Town - and remember to think of this weekend when you're freezing your toes blue towards the end of the coming week. :)

The sun sets on summer : 3#6

Sun sets on summer (and a pirate boat)
The boat that you see in the distance is the Jolly Roger - the pirate ship that parents sometimes hire out for kiddie parties.

Wouldn't it be awesome to hire the boat for an adult pirate party - at around this time of day?

In case you missed my previous post, I'm publishing a few photos of the sun setting on what could have been the last warm day until summer arrives at the end of the year. See the previous photo in the series here.

The sun sets on summer : 2#6

The sun sets on summer
Every once in a while Cape Town's setting sun treats us to the most beautifully brilliant-orange hue. I believe this has to do with the frequency of red and orange light being far lower than the other visible light in the spectrum. On days when a lot of dust has been scattered into the atmosphere the light with a higher frequency is easily blocked by the dust particles, allowing mostly the low-frequency orange and red light to reach us.

But, that said, I guess it's best not to think about the physics of light and to just enjoy the beauty of it. :)  In case you missed my previous post, I'll be publishing a few photos of the sun setting on (what I suspect may have been) the last reasonably warm day until summer arrives at the end of the year. See the first photo in the series here.

The sun sets on summer : 1#6

The sun sets on summer
It's kinda depressing that summer appears to be over. I'm really not enjoying this cold weather that we've been having of the past few days.

You may have noticed that I'm about a week behind on publishing photos. So, please excuse me while I take the opportunity to catch up by posting a small set of photos that I took on Friday. This set of pics may after all turn out to be the our last reminder of Cape Town's last warm day until summer arrives!

Do you recognise the location?

Cranes in the mist

Cranes in the mist
There's something beautiful and yet sad about harbour cranes on a quiet rainy day or in the mist, don't you think? They look so lonely and bored - as though they're just longing to pick up those long straight legs and give them a good-old stretch and perhaps take a walk to the end of the pier. They remind me of the giant walking trees, the Ent, from J.R.R. Tolken's Lord of the Rings.

Silly, this thought, isn't it? :)

Best waffles in town?

Best waffles in town?
I took this photo inside of Den Anker, a well-known Belgian restaurant at the V&A Waterfront. But, before you go thinking that Den Anker serves the best waffles in town... allow me to tell you my story.

Several months ago we had waffles at a restaurant called Blonde, just behind the Company Gardens in Cape Town. The waffles that we had that night were undeniably the best that I'd ever (ever) tasted. I tried typing a sentence to describe how awesome they were, but I just can't seem to come up with something to adequately convey how great they really were.

Subsequent to our visit to Blonde, we were told that Den Anker sells great waffles - so, we naturally headed over there to give theirs a whirl. Unfortunately, even though they were pretty good (and a definite second-place contender) the waffles that we had at Blonde significantly outclassed any waffle we've ever had - including those at Den Anker.

Do you know who sells "the best" waffles? If so, and as long as you don't say Milky Lane, please do leave a comment on this post.

Blonde closed down for a little while - but I believe that they'll be opening again... in which case, you know where to find me. ;)

Boxing at The Armoury

Boxing at The Armoury
We went along to watch one of Kerry-Anne's online friends fight at The Armoury Boxing Club in Woodstock. That's her, Nechama, in the black. This was the first boxing match that we'd ever attended, so it was pretty exciting - we weren't sure of exactly what the setup would be, and I guess we weren't really ready for the sheer brutality of the sport. That said, it was pretty awesome.

There were nine fights on the night, and even though we only had time to stay and watch two of them - I have to say that it was very entertaining. The interesting thing about the fights were that the contestants weren't boxing for points, or to decide a winner... which I guess does away with some of the complexity associated with the sport and makes it just a little more fun and perhaps less fierce.

This type of boxing (ie. non-competitive boxing) is referred to as "White Collar boxing" because the fighters are regular people - not professional athletes - and generally do boxing as a replacement for going to gym (which, don't you think, is an excellent idea!?).

If you're interested in going along to see a fight, take R50 and some extra cash for drinks to The Armoury in Woodstock on 29 July 2011. It's guaranteed to be a whole lot of fun. Below are a couple of photos that show a little more of the evening, but if you'd like to see a whole lot more, click through to our complete Boxing Night at The Armoury album.

Largest antelope in Africa

Sticking more or less to the same theme as my previous post - this one shows a photo of Africa's largest antelope, the eland.

Male elands can grow to a mass of about 900kg whereas females generally don't exceed 600kg (probably because they watch what they eat and go to gym more often). What I find amazing about the eland is that even though they weigh so much, from a standing position they're able to jump about 2.5 meters into the air! I guess that shows how muscular those legs and thighs are!

Even though the Wikipedia article mentions that some South African farmers have switched from cattle to eland (due to eland being more hardy) I can't say that I've ever seen eland meat in the butchery or on a restaurant menu. Have you?

An ostrich family

An ostrich family

Click on the photo to see the large version - isn't the baby ostrich cute? :)

Ostriches are native to Africa and are (as I guess many of you will know) the largest bird in the world. At a hefty mass of around 120kg, and with proportionally tiny wings, it's no wonder that ostriches don't fly. What I found surprising however was that a bird of that mass is able to run at approximately 70kph! Not bad going hey!?

If you do visit South Africa, you may come across ostrich fillet steak on our restaurant menus, or in our supermarkets. The meat looks a lot like beef steak; only darker in colour and with no visible fat. In fact, it's an extremely healthy alternative to beef steak since it tastes a lot like beef but contains very little fat or cholesterol.

Zebras and zonkeys

A zonkey is a cross between a zebra and a donkey... really, I'm not kidding. Okay, sometimes they're called a zebonkey, zebronkey, zebrinny, zebrula, zebrass, zedonk, or zeedonk. The equines in the photo of run-of-the-mill zebras that we found at the Vredenheim Wine Estate on the R310, close to the well-known Spier estate.

Click on the images below to see more zebra pics.

The mafiosa

I've always thought there was something sinister about penguins. Perhaps it's the way they just stand there - or how when they move they waddle. Perhaps it's that dead pan poker-face. They're very creepy.

I took this photo at the African Trading Port at the V&A Waterfront.

African Trading Port at the V&A Waterfront

African Curios
I'd never been into African Trading Port at the V&A Waterfront simply because living here we see so much African art that one tends to become a little jaded. On this visit to the V&A Waterfront we wandered inside and to be honest I was surprised at the wide variety of items that the shop had on offer.

Today's photo is of one of many containers absolutely filled with small statues of African animals carved from soapstone. Even though the store is located in a prime tourist area, these carvings cost only R10 each - which to me seemed like a fair bargain. (I can't say much for the price of the other items - I never really looked at prices.)

Even if you're not intending on buying anything, you should visit the shop just to see the huge variety of items sourced from all over Africa. You'll find African Trading Port located close to Den Anker and the NSRI slipway at the V&A Waterfront.

Dude, where’s my bike?

Dude, where's my bike?
In light of a recent comment by Dieter on this post, this post's title makes reference to a silly movie that holds good memories for Kerry-Anne and I. Surely you can guess the movie's name?

Fortunately (well, unfortunately actually) the bike attached to the Wheel of Excellence wasn't a prank. Rather, the bike was an advertisement by the wheel's sponsor, The Cape Epic - an annual MTB race which (this year) started on the 27th of March and ended on the 3rd of April seeing about 1200 entrants complete a 707km journey. And wait for it... wait for it...

Now that's epic! :P

The hike to Crystal Pools

Steenbras River mouth
I love hiking in or along mountain rivers and swimming in dark brown pools, so since the day that I heard about it I've wanted to hike up to Crystal Pools, near Gordon's Bay. The problem was that we could find very little information on the Web about exactly where the hike is located and how to purchase permits. After scouring the Internet we spent 2 hours of playing telephone tag, trying to find someone at various nature conservation departments to tell us (a) where the hike starts and (b) where to purchase a permit.

We called 13 (or more) telephone numbers from Cape Nature to the Koggelbaai Nature Rerserve and everyone gave us a different story. After driving out to more or less where we imagined the hike would start, we eventually we located the unmanned entrance to the hiking trail and found a visitors book that contained a page that had been stamped with an official-looking stamp. This (the last number at the dead-end of telephone numbers) proved to be the right one! The ranger on the other end of the line used his 2-way radio to contact the ranger on who should have been manning the entrance to the hike station... and we were told that it was okay for us to go in without purchasing the R15/p permit. What an anti-climax it was after 2 hours of phoning around!

So, to save you the trouble, see the Google Earth image below (and this map) that shows the location of the gate (where, according to some, you can purchase the permit) as well as the location of the three pools - about 1.7km up the Steenbras river. Today's main photo is of the bridge that crosses over the river, and you can see that bridge to the bottom left of the Google Earth photo below.

To find the entrance to the hike, drive about 6km outside of Gordon's Bay, towards Rooi Els. You'll find parking about 100m after the Steenbras river bridge. Leave your car there, cross the road, and walk back in the direction of the river. You'll see the little wooden cabin where you can theoretically purchase a permit.

Before planning your day, be sure to call 021 856 4975 and confirm that the gate will be open and that you are able to purchase a ticket there. Also, just because we had such a run-around, be sure to get the name of the person that you speak to at that telephone number. :)

EDIT: See Githa's comment below for more information about booking.

If you'd like a preview of what you'll see on the hike, take a look at Coda's photostream on Flickr - he has a few great photos of the hike and the pools at the end.

Map to Crystal Pools

Dinner and our wedding anniversary at Brio

Brio Restaurant

Since this was our 13th wedding anniversary (we married young, by the way ;)), we decided to go to the classy Brio for fine dining, live jazz and a bit of style.

All in all, the evening at Brio was pretty darn good. The small jazz band was awesome and the warm and cosy atmosphere was perfect. I'd recommend a visit, but be aware that it is fine-dining, so don't expect to pay Spur or Ocean Basket prices!

Birdie nom nom

Birdie nom nom
This sign is located right outside the fast-food outlets at the V&A Waterfront. Due to the high concentration of seagulls, and to make the sign a little more accurate, I would have added "For your own safety..." to the front of the plea.

Do you remember the book or (as I do) the movie The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock? Do you think it's a co-incidence that this is called the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront? Neither do I. Don't feed the birds people! :D

Aqua Restaurant at the Cape Quarter

Aqua Restaurant at the Cape Quarter
Aqua Restaurant at the popular Cape Quarter in De Waterkant use to be known as Tank - remember beautiful Tank? Well, the new owners have spiced things up a little and seem to have expanded the place quite considerably. The best place to sit is outside, in the square, but unfortunately by the time we booked all the outside spots had been snapped up by those smarter than I.

Nevertheless, the experience was pretty good - the staff were friendly and smart, and the seafood platter was pretty darn yummy. The particular sushi dish that we ordered (smoked salmon and creame cheese) was unfortunately a fair to moderate disaster, so much so that we left some of it behind (can you believe!?). Kerry-Anne's heard that the other sushi is pretty good, so perhaps we just chose something out of our taste-range... and to be fair, who orders sushi with smoked salmon!? :) )

All in all, I'd visit Aqua again, although I'd be smarter next time and book a table outside. For details I'd point you to their website, but to be honest it's as much a disaster as the sushi was, so for more information, a map, and a few photos visit their page on Dining-Out.

The dog of the ocean – the Cape Fur Seal

Cape Fur Seal
Sightings and interactions with the Cape Fur Seal (also know as the Brown Fur Seal) is extremely common around our coast - specifically in harbours, and on remote rocky beaches or islands.

Each time that I see a seal up close I'm again amazed at how their looks and mannerisms resemble that of man's best friend - perhaps it's the brown-grey fur, or how they roll around in the sea, or perhaps the whiskers and pointy snout. Whatever it is, aren't they just awesome?

South Africa banned the hunting of seals 21 years ago, but one of our close neighbours, Namibia, still allows these seals to be hunted and clubbed to death. The slain seal cub's fur is sold exclusively to a (much hated) man by the name of Hatem Yavuz, who in turn sells the fur to the fashion industry.

Doesn't that just suck? :-(

A Ford Fairlane and the old Immorality Act

Ford Fairlane
The sign on this Ford Fairlane (which can be found at Evita se Perron) reads:

"This Ford Fairlane once belonged to Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout's husband, Oom Hasie. In 1958, Dr J.J. de V. Bezuidenhout became a cabinet minister in the government of Hendrik Verwoerd. He held two portfolios: Minister of Water Affairs and Minister of Black Housing - and combined his portfolios into one by building a black township in a dam.

The two bullet holes in the front window are a reminder of the failed assassination attempt on his life at The Wolwekloof turn-off along the Warmbad road in 1959.

Dr Bezuidenhout was arrested in 1960 for breaking the Immorality Act. He was found on the backseat of this car in a compromising position with a Swazi waitress from the Laagerfontein Grand Hotel. After interventions by his wife and her powerful friends in the National Party, all charges against Minister Bezuidenhout were dropped. The woman disappeared."

Unfortunately the old Immorality Act wasn't enforced because the cabinet Minister was married - it wasn't that kind of morality that the government concerned themselves with. Isn't it weird now to think that there was once legislation that prohibited inter-racial romantic relationships?

Life guards at Big Bay

Life Guards at Big Bay
The guys in the boat are presumably from the Big Bay Life Saving Club, located about 100m to the left of where I took this photo (close to all the restaurants at Eden on the Bay). I presumed that they may have been warning the surfers of some unseen danger - perhaps a shark. The only confusing part was that the surfers looked far too calm - leading me to wonder exactly what the life savers were doing!

While visiting their website I came across an interesting article on rip currents, how they work, how to identify them, and (more importantly) how to escape them. I've always heard that in the event of being caught in a rip current that you shouldn't try to fight against it, but rather swim along the shore until you escape it. Read the article, take a look at the pictures, and familiarise yourself with the technique - it could save your life. :)

Past South African flags

Past South African flags
I found this old mat (sans the artistically-edited-in new South African flag :D ) at Evita se Perron, a popular political history museum of sorts in the tiny town of Darling (a little way up our West Coast).

South Africa's current flag, besides for being unique in that it has 6 colours (in the main design), carries a fair amount of symbolism - surprisingly more than one may realise. Visit the Southern African Vexillological Association's site for an interesting overview on the meaning behind each colour and the general flag design.

If you're very into flags, then also take a look at this poster (which it looks like the vexillological association sells for a small fee). It gives a fairly comprehensive view on the various flags flown over our country in our colourful past.

In case you're wondering, the Afrikaans sentence "Vanaf die geboorte van 'n nasie tot 'n onafhanglike republiek" means "From the birth of a nation to an independent republic" in English.

An old South African political poster

An old South African political poster
This old political poster was created by a political party called the Herstigte Nasionale Party (Reestablished National Party). The HNP is one of the minority parties who still believe in racial segregation. Essentially, that's more or less what this poster tries to convey - Bly Blank My Volk means Stay White My People and tries to convey the message that the Afrikaner people should remain segregated; white; and Afrikaans-speaking.

Essentially, their intent is to protect the interests of the "old" Afrikaner nation. I think that their fear is that because Africa is a continent with a huge black majority that their identity as a people is at risk... which I guess is a fair concern.

Whether or not you and I subscribe to the ideals of the HNP isn't really relevant to me - what I find it interesting that a people feel the need to protect their identity with such fervour. It's not really something that I'm able to identify with.

Table Mountain trip : The Cable Car (10#10)

The Table Mountain Cable Car
In case you missed it, see the previous post in this series. This is the last photo in my series covering our trip up Table Mountain. In case you missed the series, click here to start from the beginning.

This photo of the cable car reminds me of a couple of years ago when the cable way offered adrenaline junkies the opportunity to bunjee jump from the car. Can you imagine being suspended half way between the upper and lower cable stations, stepping up to the open door, and diving out head first? What a rush hey!?

Table Mountain is competing to be included as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. If you think she's worthy of being included in the seven then please visit and cast your vote! Thanks. :)

Table Mountain trip : Devil’s Peak (9#10)

Devil's Peak
In case you missed it, see the previous post in this series.

When viewing Table Mountain from it's post-card perspective, Devil's Peak (the subject of today's photo) is the tall pointy mountain located on the left side of Table Mountain. Based on this photo, you may be surprised to find out that even though it doesn't look that way, at 1000m above sea level, Devil's Peak is a mere 87 meters shorter than Table Mountain!

Just like Table Mountain, one is able to hike to the top of Devil's Peak. However, apparently it's only really safe to hike up the peak from it's western front - from the saddle between it and Table Mountain... and then only by experienced hikers, not casual walkers. :)

Table Mountain trip : The city view (8#10)

Cape Town from Table Mountain
In case you missed it, see the previous post in this series.

How many cities in the world are so perfectly located? Cape Town finds herself on the edge of the large bay known as Table Bay, and she's cradled by Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and Devil's Peak.

Take a moment to click on the photo to see a large version. Where in the world have you seen a city that has a tall flat-top mountain that's so easily accessable to everyone visiting her? It's not often that cities have such a prominent structure that rises 1km into the sky and gives visitors a 360° aerial perspective of the city. We're truely priveledged to live in a city built on the slopes of Table Mountain.
I know that I may sound awfully dramatic (and perhaps a little over-exited), but no matter how many times I'm go up there, I never get tired or blasé about the view from the top. It's truly and amazing perspective on the city.