Travel and Photography Blog

The Cape St Francis Lighthouse

There are 49 lighthouses (according to Wikipedia) along South Africa’s 2800 km long coastline. The oldest is the Green Point Lighthouse built in 1824 while the newest one was built at Groenrivier Mouth in the Northern Cape in 1988. I have a thing for lighthouses and wouldn’t mind traveling from lighthouse to lighthouse one day when I’m big to be able to tick them all off as visited. The lighthouse at Seal Point in Cape … Continue reading The Cape St Francis Lighthouse

Blue Cranes at sunset

As the sun was setting in the west after an amazing game drive at Samara Private Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet, we stood with gin and tonics in hand enjoying the end of another stunning late winter Karoo Heartland day. Suddenly we heard a noise over a nearby rise. The ‘krraaarrr krraaarr’ call of blue cranes. Not one or two, but a flock of at least 60 or 70 coming in to overnight at the nearby … Continue reading Blue Cranes at sunset

A Nieu-Bethesda fossil tour

Many many millions of moons ago the Karoo was an inland sea which over time slowly started to shrink. About 265 million years ago, the Beaufort Group of rocks within the Karoo sequence was beginning to be deposited by massive rivers draining into the shrinking inland Ecca Sea. As these rivers filled the basin with sediment that entombed the remains of land animals that lived around them. This period is known as the Permian Period … Continue reading A Nieu-Bethesda fossil tour

A Gamtoos Valley outing

The Gamtoos Valley with it’s citrus farms, beautiful scenery and interesting little corners is one of our favorite day excursions to just get out of the city for a bit. The advantage is that it is nice and close to Port Elizabeth, so you are in the valley after like only a 40 minute drive. We try to see and do something different every time we go which is probably two or three times a … Continue reading A Gamtoos Valley outing

Nieu-Bethesda valley view

Nieu-Bethesda is a quiet little village. One for contemplation and somewhere you go to find yourself again. There are a few places you can do it during a visit, but one of my favorites is with a flask of coffee and a lunch (breakfast) box filled with rusks up at Mariette se bankie at the Uitkyk. From here you can see the whole valley with the village on the far side and towering Compasberg in … Continue reading Nieu-Bethesda valley view

Crossing the Swaershoek Pass

I don’t know how many times my tourism friends in Cradock and Somerset East have asked me if I have driven over the Swaershoek Pass yet. I just heard about the beautiful Karoo landscape and stunning views but because the route is 76km of dirt road I’ve been a little hesitant. But that changed recently when the N10 road outside Cradock was blocked due to protests and I had to take the alternative between the … Continue reading Crossing the Swaershoek Pass

Mountainside cycads at Kuzuko

Cycads, or as we know them in Afrikaans, Broodbome, (all Encephalartos species and Stangeria eriopus) are the most threatened plant group in South Africa. They are also one of the most threatened groups of plants in the world. In South Africa almost 70% of our cycad species are threatened with extinction, with four species on the brink of extinction and seven species with fewer than 100 plants left in the wild. In South Africa it … Continue reading Mountainside cycads at Kuzuko

Going on a game drive at Kuzuko Lodge

Over the Zuurberg mountains in the southern part of the Eastern Cape’s Karoo Heartland lies a place of glory. That bit should actually be written with caps as Kuzuko Lodge‘s slogan is Place of Glory. Most game reserves are located in a part of the province where lush subtropical thicket vegetation is prevalent which makes Kuzuko different. Wide-open spaces, sparse vegetation, dry climate and often warmer temperatures. Due to this Kuzuko doesn’t have big numbers … Continue reading Going on a game drive at Kuzuko Lodge

Willows in 1938 before the resort was built

Port Elizabeth Then and Now – The Willows Holiday Resort

The Willows Holiday Resort along Port Elizabeth’s southern coastline close to Schoenmakerskop has been a popular weekend and holiday destination for a very long time. In the early days people came here, pitched their tents and enjoyed the surroundings with very little else around. Willows Resort after it was constructed in the 1950’s consisted of rondawels with communal bathrooms that had “long drop toilets” and a gas geyser for the showers. Later on enclosed verandahs … Continue reading Port Elizabeth Then and Now – The Willows Holiday Resort

Antie Evelyn se Eetplek in Nieu-Bethesda

Some people have eating in a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Paris on their bucket lists. Others want to eat in a restaurant because a certain famous chef designed the menu. I wanted to have dinner at Antie Evelyn se Eetplek and when the opportunity arose I packed my overnight bag and headed into the Eastern Cape’s Karoo Heartland to the village of cement owls, fossils, leivore and Auntie Evelyn. Nieu-Bethesda. Auntie Evelyn Oliphant has … Continue reading Antie Evelyn se Eetplek in Nieu-Bethesda


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