Driving up Heatherbank Road between Charlo and Lorraine, one could easily make a head move and think you are driving past a farm and not necessarily still in the middle of the city.
One of my favorite things about driving through the Karoo Heartland during the winter is seeing the aloes in bloom. But there is another Karoo succulent that grows between the aloes that most people don’t really notice called Noors. The Noors is a type of euphorbia and found especially around the town of Jansenville. They are smallish, thorny plants with milky sap and the reason that the region is called the Noorsveld.
The origin of the name noors is uncertain but is believed to originate with the British whom the prickly plant with its yellow flowers reminded of gorse. It is supposed that “gorse” evolved via Dutch speaking settlers into “noors”.
The noors is frequently chopped as fodder for stock with the result that Noorsveld farms can carry one unit per morgen compared with one unit per three morgen in Karoo conditions where the noors does not occur.
A week or two ago I had to go on an urgent work-related road trip and popped into two of my favorite villages, Nieu-Bethesda and Hogsback, before heading down to East London for the night. It was literally whistle-stop visits with no sightseeing. All business. Barrelling along the N2 between King William’s Town and East London the sun was setting behind me and the best I could do was snap a pic in the car’s side mirror at a hundred and mumble mumble kilometers an hour.
A couple of weeks ago a number of containers full of export oranges fell of a ship in Algoa Bay during a storm and those oranges have now made their way to the beach, washing up along the Wild Side, Schoenmakerskop, Sardinia Bay and, in this case, landing up in a rock pool at Beachview. Unfortunately the time these fruit spent in the ocean means that they aren’t good for human consumption anymore and people are discouraged from picking them up to eat.
The Boardwalk buildings reflecting in the lake on a windless morning
One moment you are leisurely strolling with your toes in the sand next to the Maitland River and the next instant sweat is pouring down your forehead as you climb THE dune.
The Tsitsikamma and the Langkloof is linked by a short pass over the mountain between Oudebosch and Kareedouw on the eastern side. The pass only has 7 bends, all of them are minor. It does offer sweeping views of the Tsitsikamma mountains to the left (west) with the green valley on the right dotted with dams. The vegetation changes very suddenly as one crosses over the top and you enter the Langkloof.
After a day in the Tsitsikamma I decided to detour via Kareedouw before heading back to Port Elizabeth and just had to stop on my way down to the town to take some photos of the beautiful proteas flowering right next to the road. The important thing to always remember is that you are not allowed and should never pick the flowers to take home with you.
There is nothing as beautiful as a Karoo sunset. Combine that with a late afternoon game drive that includes sundowners with a beautiful view. Jackpot.
Wide open spaces, a slight breeze, the sound of the veld, the last light as the sun disappears and colours the clouds shades of red, orange and yellow as the sky turns different hues of blue.
How about a little roadtrip around PE? Start on the beachfront and follow Marine Drive along the Wildside to Schoenmakerskop, around to Sardinia Bay and then onto the Seaview Road to Seaview, Beachview and Maitland (perhaps as far as the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve), before returning along Kragga Kamma Road to Port Elizabeth.
This is what the road past Beachview on the way to Maitland looks like. Views for ages.
One of the protea species that you see quite often in the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve is the Pincushion Protea. Pincushion Proteas normally have lots of flowers on each plant with the flower heads lasting for quite some time. You get them in yellows, oranges and reds and always make for the most beautiful photographs.