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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Koiingnaas - A Photographic Journey Part 7 (days 77-90)

Namaqualand has been good to me. It has restored my soul and afforded me space to breathe. Hondeklipbaai has been nothing short of breathtaking, and I could hardly imagine that I would derive equal pleasure from my stay in Koiingnaas, yet this is exactly what happened. I immediately struck up new friendships and made new acquaintances, ensuring I would never have a dull moment. In today's blog, I take you on yet another photographic journey of Namaqualand, but this time we concentrate on the little known town of Koiingnaas.

The severe drought that Namaqualand is suffering, has caused a number of fatalities under the tortoise populations.

Incessant windy conditions have led to interesting tree silhouettes lining the landscape.

The stables have fallen into disuse, but make for beautiful pictures.

Evidence of mining and roadworks still abound.

The old mine offices have been taken over by the municipality, but are in dire need of upkeep.

It became immediately apparent that the people of Koiingnaas took an interest in their gardens and that there were a number of residents with a quirky sense of humour.

While in Koiingnaas, I came across a number of wrecks which held wonderful photographic appeal.

I was sad to come across this abandoned preschool which must have been a gem in the 'good old days' and still bore testimony to marvelous investment in infrastructure.

Classrooms are still fully curtained and carpeted, yet sadly standing empty on the vast plot of land.

Puzzles and other LTSM equipment were simply left behind when the school was abandoned.

A lovely sunset over the ocean as viewed from koiingnaas.

A stone outside an abandoned coffee shop still bears testimony to an era of better times when strangers and locals alike were welcomed back.

The flower season was coming to an end, but pretty blooms could still be found where care was being taken by the locals.

Something that never ceases to amaze this Gautenger, are the whale bones that can be found in most gardens along the West Coast.

I was at a braai with some friends when this pretty sunset could be seen over the roof tops.

I took a walk with one of the local artists, Corna van Wyk, who was rummaging through the dump sites around town in search of interesting objects to incorporate in her art, when we came across this statement piece discard half buried in the sand. 

I found the root system of this chopped-down tree to be fascinating. 

The colour combinations, along with the play of light and shade, made this discarded mug an interesting find. 

The neighbour's cat caught a Fisk's House Snake, which is an extremely rare snake with only 21 recorded sightings ever. Fortunately I was with people who recognized the snake and I was able to snap a couple of quick photos before the snake succumbed to its wounds, as delivered by the cat. The snake was then delivered to the University of the Western Cape for dissection and research. 

Some of the best memories I have of Koiingnaas, are the early morning hikes along the coast of Somnaas, an uninterrupted stretch of coastline. 

Old car wrecks always make for interesting photos. 

And then I awoke one morning to the news that one of the houses standing empty in town, had been broken into with food stolen from the cupboards. This was big news in a town where crime is almost unheard of. 

I travelled with the organizers of the intended Namaqua hiking trail and came across the most interesting owner of Soutfontein. This lady had interesting tales to tell of forgotten years and life styles. This was an old reaper and baler.

Typical Namaqua building style. 

Lovely accommodation available from a most interesting landlady. 

Brilliant photo ops against the setting sun. 

An intended stop-over along the hike. 

Namaqualand in all its splendour.

On one morning I had a fabulously fun time helping a friend to prepare eats for a meeting. What a fun lady to work with! 

Locals believe that when the turtles walk, there will be rain forthcoming. On this particular day, I came upon no less than three traveling turtles. 

Yet another example of one of the interesting gardens in town. 

 I have lost count of the pretty sunsets I had been witness to in Namaqualand.

Somnaas - a beach where lonely hikes seem to be in the order of the day. 

A meerkat feasting on discards in town. 

 Finally it came time for me to say goodbye to the peaceful countryside of Namaqualand. I took to the road with some friends to encounter one pretty valley after another as we traveled to Strand in the Western Cape.

Sunset over the ocean in Strand. 

A visit to Avontuur Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch, had me tasting some of the best duck I'd ever had! The company also proved to be brilliant as I met an eighty year old lady whose nature matched the name of the estate.

Having an extra day in Strand before traveling back to Johannesburg, I was able to quickly meet up with two long lost cousins at this surf cafe on the Strand beach front. This was the perfect finish to a spectacular three months.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
You may prefer to follow the traveling blog, A Pretty Tourist.
For more crafty ideas and great product reviews, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
If you are in a literary mood, follow Miekie's musings, stories and poetry on A Pretty Author - Miekie.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making life PRETTY.
You can subscribe to any of these blogs and receive regular updates by email. Simply register your email address at the top of the applicable blog.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hondeklipbaai & Koiingnaas - A Photographic Journey Part 6 (days 62-76)

To say that I am taken with Namaqualand could very seriously be considered an understatement. I am quite smitten. And who wouldn't be. From its brisk sunrises to golden sunsets, crushing waves, beautiful wildflowers, rampant wildlife, wide horizons and deafening silence, there is little that does not enchant. In today's blog I take you on yet another photo journey of my stay in Namaqualand. This time, we start in Hondeklipbaai, visit Springbok via the Wildeperdehoekpas, and end up in Koiingnaas. Prepare to be dazzled!

Golden sunsets over the ocean is a sight that will never grow old

The dogs and I set out for our walk on a crisp sunny day, only to be overtaken by an icy fog that clad our world in an eerie embrace of white mist. 

My first impression of this curious creature was that it had to be a grasshopper. Closer inspection revealed that it has to be cricket. This deduction is solely based on the research I did on crickets when I illustrated my children's book Tuinstories. I'd love to get some feedback from people who actually know about bugs. 

Sometimes you simply have to stop and marvel at the beauty of the minutest of flowers on your way 

I arrived home from a walk to find the children gathered in the street, engrossed in a game of soccer. I knew it had to be soccer when I saw one of the players lying on the ground!

I climbed a tall sand dune and was rewarded with a view of Namaqualand stretching into eternity in front of me. 

 A view of Hondeklipbaai, spread out along the white dunes of the Namaqualand West Coast

The day greeted the night with a sunset clad in golden hues

Today the ocean was stirred up. Something had awakened its passion. Whether it was by anger or love, it was hard to tell, but that it was breathtaking, was undeniable.

I came across this curious little youngster taking a peek at what was going on in the outside world. 

The day broke with a spectacular sunrise

During my stay here I have seen many flowers come into season, and wilt away as their season passed, only to be replaced by more pretty counterparts following short on their heels. I also enjoyed seeing how even the dying and decaying part of the process was still beautiful. 

These tiny yellow buttons had been lining the fields for a couple of weeks now and I had been watching them in great expectation. I was delighted to find that they were bursting into tiny little flowers when I left the house one morning for my walk. 

One of the things that I hold dear about the West Coast, is that you can find a beach completely devoid of other humans, within walking distance from town, on a bright sunny day.

 One day I entered the municipal offices in Hondeklipbaai to come upon this postal service. Each pigeon hole has a range of five consecutive numbers on it. You simply sort through your pigeon hole and leave your neighbour's post be.

Yet another fascinating sight are these bamboo-clad rocks that resemble giant hairy monsters resting on the beach. 

At this stage of my trip, my friend was returning home and I had found another dog-sitting gig in Koiingnaas. Koingnaas is roughly 7 km from the ocean with a spectacular flat land view that still affords a glimpse of the great waters in the distance. It used to be a mining town back in the days of De Beers. There is still mining going on around the town, but the whole town is no longer the property of one company.

On the very first morning of arriving at Dudley and Aletta's, Aletta took me to their closest beach, Somnaas. This is a spectacularly beautiful beach with white dunes seemingly stretching into eternity. I believe it is only the remoteness of the location that is the saving grace of this beach, or it too would be flooded with tourists. 

 An open earth, sea and sky.

On this day the beach was strewn with blue bottles, fascinating me with the play of light as the sun's rays hit their frail bodies. 

I even found a lost ostrich egg on the beach 

Natural tidal pools make for great places to bathe and relax 

Aletta striking a lone figure on the beach as she strolls ahead of this trigger happy photographer

 I have almost become used to encountering tortoises on my walks around Namaqualand. Almost, for I hope I never become disenchanted by the glory of life.

Fraying cable rope creates interesting textures 

The main street leading into Koiingnaas lined with trees 

Church to the right, library to the left and (just out of sight) bottle store to the far left. 

My idea of how a selfie should be taken as my image is reflected in the windows of what used to be a grocery store in the heydays of Koiingnaas. 

Signs of an era that has gone by 

 The gutters have been turned into planters by the winds and birds lifting the seeds on high

A pretty path leading nowhere, though I am sure it used to serve a purpose 

There is evidence of an era of love and care everywhere

This is Pieter, who has decided, with total disregard for my allergies, that my bed is the best place to sleep at night. I have long since resigned myself to the fact that I have to travel with allergens. So, I pop a pill and welcome Pieter to bed. 

It was time for a shopping spree in Springbok and we took the Wildeperdehoekpas there. I decided to take a break from photographing everything as I remembered this pass to be one that offer some of the most spectacular scenes one can imagine. I wanted to simply sit back and enjoy the moments offered by the drive. However, when we suddenly came upon the illusive Klipspringer, I had to break my fast from the camera momentarily.

A close-up of the Klipspringer

 In a previous blog, I showed you pictures of how my shoe had started to come apart. I used all sorts of tricks to extend its life until my return to civilization. In the meantime, the second shoe was also starting to come apart. Dudley gracefully offered to take my shoes in hand and spent a good hour in fixing them for me after purchasing the right glue for the job. Words seem to fall short when someone serves you with such a grand gesture. But this single action illustrates brilliantly the characters of the two people I have come to respect and love.

The two babies left in my care after Dudley and Aletta went off to visit their human children. This is Mini (Minnie?) and Maxi.

 My view from the stoep in Koingnaas with the ocean still visible on the horizon.

The bus stop, a relic leftover from the booming mining days. 

Dudley's bee hives

These hairy worms have fascinated me ever since my first encounter with one of them. Their time is running out and it is time for them to shift shape and morph into larvae. I took this video to show you how swift these worms are able to move.

A lovely sunset over Koingnaas

On a a crisp clear morning I found an early bird keeping a lookout for, what I must assume to be, an early worm. 

Sunset in a garden that is a haven of peace

As the weather in Koiingnaas was hot and sunny, I made myself a lovely Beetroot & Peas Salad with a yogurt dressing, which I enjoyed in the company of the lady who came to clean the house. I found her to be a bubbly sister in the Lord with whom I had lots in common, making the meal a most enjoyable one.

The next day the sky was overcast and the temperatures dropped dramatically.

This time I was in no mood for salads and opted for oven-baked veggies and chicken instead.

I came upon this Hamerkop (Hammer head) as I was taking photos of the abandoned play park in Koiingnaas. Beautiful! 

An abandoned park always fills me with a sense of sadness. This place should be filled with the laughter of frolicking children. Instead, it is quiet, empty and lonely. 

 This old man was in no hurry to leave when I happened upon him, but finally he must have had enough of me and my camera. He hoisted himself on all fours and slowly walked off with great dignity.

An abandoned coffee shop bears testimony to the fact that Koingnaas is no longer a booming mining town.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
You can follow Miekie's daily Bible Study blog, Bybel Legkaart, here in English & Afrikaans.
You may prefer to follow the traveling blog, A Pretty Tourist.
For more crafty ideas and great product reviews, visit A Pretty Talent on Facebook.
If you are in a literary mood, follow Miekie's musings, stories and poetry on A Pretty Author - Miekie.
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making life PRETTY.
You can subscribe to any of these blogs and receive regular updates by email. Simply register your email address at the top of the applicable blog.