Monthly Archives: January 2014

Farmish houses

Farmish houses
These buildings are about 200 meters to the left side of the scene I shared in my previous post. I suppose one could call them farm houses, but they seem to me rather to resemble houses where the farm labour force live, rather than where a wealthy farm owner lives (which I suppose make sense, given that the farm owner is a large company).

Barbed wire sky

Barbed wire
Those buildings in the distance are chicken broilers belonging to one of South Africa's largest chicken manufacturers. Oh, wait, manufacturers? I mean, they're one of South Africa's largest poultry producers.

Their brand name is County Fair (which I often mispronounce as Country Fair), but the company's actually called Astral Poultry, and produce feed, eggs, chickens and a variety of other poultry products.

The real brown cow

The real brown cow
Contrary to my previous post - this is actually a cow, not a bull. And, you know, for some reason I never realised that lady-cows actually have horns!

Anyway, can you see how she actually looks female, while the one in my previous post looks male? I wonder if it's this obvious for all cattle.

The mountains of Stellenbosch

The mountains of Stellenbosch
Those are the beautiful mountains that our little wine-loving town of Stellenbosch backs onto. Wouldn't you love to live in these surroundings?

We really do seem to have the best of both worlds here in Cape Town: We're almost surrounded by the ocean (as peninsulas tend to be), we have a great big mountain towering over our city, and we have big open winelands with beautiful blue mountain ranges. This truely is a remarkable part of Africa!

This photo was taken from the delightful Asara wine estate. The location on Google Maps has been wrong for some time now - here's a map I created to show you the way.

Truth’s old coffee machines

Truth's old coffee machines
For the sake of general knowledge and trivia, did you know, the first steam espresso machine was developed and patented in 1884 in Italy by one Angelo Moriondo? That's not so long ago, now is it?

I found this gem at Truth Coffee Roasting, a popular coffee shop in Buitenkant Street. I'm sure it's no longer in use - they do, after all, have far more sophisticated espresso machines these days. But still, it's quite pretty - don't you think?

Not a hipster

Not a hipster
This bike has definitley seen better days. It's clearly been very well used, and given that it looks like both wheels have been flat for some time, I'd hazard a guess that it's purely an ornamental piece, a not-so-trendy bicycle that Cape Town's hipsterati would certainly pass up in exchange for a more fitting mode of bicycular transport.*

* To be honest though, so would I, actually. ;)

How Table Mountain’s tablecloth works

Table Mountain's tablecloth
If you've ever been in Cape Town and taken a long look at the tablecloth-like clouds covering the mountain, perhaps you've wondered how it is that there could be no other clouds in the sky, except for the sheet covering our flat-top mountain. Perhaps you've also been as transfixed as I've been, watching as the clouds roll down the side of the mountain, disappearing into nothingness.

What happens is that a warm south-easterly wind blows up the back of the Table Mountain range, until it reaches the summit (which is about 1000m above sea level) where it quickly cools down as it meets the cold air covering the top of the mountain. Because cool air isn't able to hold as much moisture, condensation and a thick cloud results.

The air continues to move towards Cape Town and Table Bay, and as it falls off the edge of the mountain it descends, meeting warmer air that's able to absorb the cloud's water vapour, making the cloud disappear, literally into thin air. :)

Suburb of lights

Suburb of lights
No, it's not quite Paris (well, not even close), but the lights of the little suburb of Camps Bay look somewhat pretty at sunset, don't you think? It's a little trixy to see what I mean on this small version - so go ahead, click on the photo to see the big picture, and what I mean. :)

Clouds at sunset

Clouds at sunset
The moon was just-about full, and I guess most thought it would be a perfect evening to hike up Lion's Head. The thing was, even though it's summer, and the day had been really warm, we had enough cloud-cover to obscure the moon almost completely - making the descent dark and slow-going. I remember looking at the top part of Lion's Head when we reached the bottom, noticing how the flashlights formed a sort of sigma symbol as they zigzagged down the hill.

The golden ocean picnic spot

The golden ocean
The rock on which those folk are standing is a little lower down from the main pathway the leads up Lion's Head. Besides for the top of Lion's Head (with it's 360° views) - that's a pretty perfect place for a picnic heh?

Get fit on Lion’s Head

Get fit on Lion's Head
It's a beautiful view of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay, don't you think?

On good-weather days hundreds of people walk up Lion's Head - and then you get the few like the two in the lower left corner that sprint up the hill.

The average person will take an hour, or perhaps an hour and a half, to walk up Lion's Head, whereas the two in this photo probably took only twenty or thirty minutes to hit the summit.

The problem with running up the hill is that as the path narrows and the cliffs become more treacherous, it's pretty darn dangerous for the runner and for the people they're running past. I think it was last year that someone graciously stepped aside for a runner, lost their footing, and fell to their death.

Use Lion's head to get fit - but don't endanger others - rather walk the narrow sections.

Hiking Lion’s Head from Signal Hill

Signal hill, a view from Lion's Head
Friends enticed us into walking up Lion's Head on Friday evening. Truth be told, they never had to convince us - just look at the view!

We only arrived at about 19h00, a little later than we'd hoped. By that time our friends had already walked about 70% of the way up to the top, and we'd driven about a kilometer past the start of the hike to find a spot to park. We knew that we wouldn't make it to the top by sunset, so we decided to take a different route, around the right side of Lion's Head - starting from Signal Hill.

The route we took was quite a long, comfortable, footpath that winds around the top of Sea Point and Bantry Bay, finally taking a steep switchback route to meet up with the main path to reach the summit. This photo was taken on the switchback, just before reaching the main path.

I'll post a few more pics in the next day or two. It really was a pretty pretty sunset from above.

White roses, blue skies, pretty photos

White roses, blue skies, pretty photos
I don't really enjoy talking landscape photos - I really like taking photos of people and of flowers. Not groups of people, or fields of flowers - rather more interesting and intimate shots; like the one above, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.

In a lot of ways I find taking photos of flowers is similar to taking photos of people, woman in particular I guess.

Hermanus beach

Hermanus beach
He started digging a little while after we arrived. By the time we started getting ready to leave, all we saw were spikes of orange hair sticking out from below. As we were walking away, back to our car, I think I heard him yell down to someone in Chinese. It was a strange day at Hermanus.

Pig’s Snout Kloof – Stanford to Hermanus

Pig's Snout Kloof - Stanford to Hermanus
While driving from Stanford to Hermanus friends pointed out Pig's Snout Kloof - a formation that I'd actually never heard of previously.

Can you see the pig lying down, with the front of it's snout facing the camera? Do you see it's two eyes? If you click on the image to enlarge you'll perhaps even be able to make out the two waterfalls, one running from each nostril. Kinda gross, but there you have it. :)

Here's a map, with Google StreetView showing the location, and an extra photo, zoomed out a little.

Observatory sidewalks

Observatory sidewalks
One of the things that I love about this part of Observatory is the sidewalks and the pillars that line them. I think modern suburbs seem generally to have somewhat less character than these older ones; wouldn't you agree?

I wonder if people 50 years from now will look back at our modern suburb store-fronts and make similar comment about how the character in today's designs has been eroded. Probably not hey? ;)

Neoliberalism = Colonialism, really?

Neoliberalism = Colonialism, really?
I can't say that I see the rational in this equation. I suppose it's a communistic (or perhaps rather socialistic) viewpoint, which in their ideals has merit, but from what I can tell tend to be counterproductive in their implementation.

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken!
Who's stroke of genius was it to re-appropriate Zeus's words in their marketing campaign?

To be honest, The Kraken's a pretty clever name for a brand of rum - given that it's the name of a legendary sea monster, and that it's popular knowledge that ye olde sailors used to spend many hours drinking rum on their long ocean voyages (assumedly telling tales of that legendary sea monster).

I took this photo outside of Desparados bar, in Observatory.

Lost lover?

Lost lover?
The fact that people actually pay money to these people is quite astounding to me. The thing that they're really paying for is hope, not the return of a lost lover.

Two things jumped to mind when I read this - the first was "Patrick Jane", and the next "charlatan". Someone should seriously prank these people - it'd make a great YouTube clip. :)

Gritty Observatory

Gritty Observatory
You may already have worked out that this suburb was named due to its close proximity to an actual observatory - the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, founded in 1820.

Being so close to Cape Town itself makes this suburb one of the oldest in the province, and the reason for it looking old and worn out.

Similarly to Woodstock, Observatory (affectionately known as Obz) escaped segregation laws of the apartheid era, developing a interesting mixed culture of its own, and when I think of Observatory, for some reason I think of artists, musicians, hippies, crystals, dream catchers, incense, and hipsters. :P

A quiet Lower Main Road in Obz

A quiet Lower Main Road in Obz
This was the first time that I've seen Observatory's Lower Main Road so quiet. I've previously only visited in the late afternoon or evening when the whole road is teeming with activity. It was only just after 8am, but it seemed quite strange to be almost the only person walking along the sidewalk.

Summer rain in Cape Town

Summer rain in Cape Town
As I mentioned in my previous post - it's been raining for a few days in Cape Town. Traffic on Buitenchragt Street was more congested than normal with everyone being slightly more cautions (or nervous, rather) on the road.

We were talking about the rain earlier in the week and commented that while it's normal to have a few days of rain here and there in Summer, the amount of wet weather we've had seems to be somewhat higher than normal.

What's interesting is that when I looked back in my archives I found that I posted an article in January 2009 with a link to a page showing that Cape Town's historical average rainfall in January is about 11mm. I'm not sure how much rain we've had in the last 9 days, but I feel fairly sure that it's a lot more than the 11mm average.

Rain at Burnside Road

Rain at Burnside Road
You wouldn't say that it's summer in Cape Town - it's been raining on and off each day for a few days now. I pity folk who planned on a lovely summer holiday in Cape Town this week; what poor luck!

Chicken karahi special!

Chicken karahi special!
When I saw this sign in Woodstock's Lower Main Road I had no idea what chicken karahi was. Friendly Google was helpful enough to explain that it's a Pakastani and North Indian dish that uses plenty of chili to make it hot 'n spicy. The price of R120 doesn't seem like an exceptional bargain though - unless it's a family pack that they're selling (which is possible if, as I suspect, the white writing in the lower left corner reads 1KG).

Cash for scrap

Cash for scrap
It's very rare to find brass house numbers or copper taps on the street-facing side of peoples houses these days. The rise in unemployment caused people to resort to stealing valuable metal from the front of houses so that they could sell the bits and pieces to companies that recycle scrap metal. These days you'll find that most homes use non-metal numbers and plastic taps on the front of their properties.

Chicklets ‘n chickens

Chicklets 'n chickens
We recently spent some time with friends in the little town of Stanford. One of our outings was to the Klein Rivier Cheese Factory, just a kilometer or two outside of the town itself. We found these liddl' ones hustling about on the lawn - cute heh?

The farm itself has a small shop that sells cheese and other nibbly bits. Right next door is the farm's restaurant that serves an assortment of treats, including picnic baskets for two, filled with cheeses, meats, breads and wine. If you're in the area, it's certainly worth stopping in for lunch.

Groot Constantia’s vineyards

Groot Constantia's vineyards
To capture this one, I took ten paces the the left of where I shot the photo in my previous post. This really is a beautiful part of Cape Town's southern suburbs. Read more about Groot Constantia in my previous post.

Groot Constantia’s avenue of trees

An avenue of trees
Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa, dating back to 1685 when the Dutch East India Company's colony administrator granted Governor Simon van der Stel rights to the land.

If you're visiting Cape Town and intend on making Kirstenboch Botanical Gardens part of your trip, then consider visiting Groot Constantia afterwards - the estate's a mere 15 minute drive from the botanical gardens. Even if you don't stop at Simon's (one of the estate's restaurants) for lunch, you can still walk around the beautiful grounds, taste the wine, and relax under the large oak trees.

Note: Simon's is a good restaurant, but they don't provide wifi and have very sketchy mobile data reception. In fact, the whole Constantia suburb area has particularly poor mobile data reception.

Sea Point Public Swimming Pool

Sea Point Public Swimming Pool
Happy new year folks! If you've been spending the festive season in Cape Town you'll have been treated to the contrast of hot-hot sunny weather and cool sea breezes.

Thousands of Capetonians, and those visiting our city, find their way to the beach after their New Year Eve celebrations. The public swimming pool in Sea Point is right next to the ocean and is a great beach substitute for those who either don't like the gritty beach sand experience or parents who prefer to keep their kids from the dangers of crowded beaches.

The pool is open from 07h00 to 19h00 in Summer and costs R20 per adult and R10 per child. Drive along Sea Point's Lower Beach Road - the swimming pool's right next to the takeaway food stalls at the end of the promenade.