Read more about the article The grave of Ouma Dora Jacobs in Somerset East
Ouma Dora's grave

The grave of Ouma Dora Jacobs in Somerset East

I have a particular interest in historic graves. They often tell a tale of an era long past in a way books can't. But sometimes a grave from the modern era holds just as many stories. Such a grave I found in Somerset East, set back in the trees at the end of a lane next to the Somerset East Museum. This is the grave of Ouma Dora Dotyi Jacobs who at the time of her death at the ripe…

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Fungi in the Tsitsikamma forest

The Big Tree is one of the Tsitsikamma's most iconic attractions. To get to this 1000-year-old Outeniqua Yellowwood tree you have to walk about 500 meters through the forest on a wooden boardwalk. It takes you less than 10 minutes to get to the tree. Unless you're there on a quiet day with no other visitors around and you keep an eye out for interesting little tidbits next to the path. I did just that on my last visit, with…

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Moonlight cactus flowers in the Sundays River Valley

I recently attended the opening of the revamped Sir Percy FitzPatrick Lookout in Sunland hosted by Addo Tourism and was amazed by the beautiful flowers blooming all around it. I knew it wasn't indigenous but had no idea what it was, so I just took loads of photos of it anyway. A little research with the help of Google Lense later and I now know that this is the Moonlight Cactus, (Selenicereus grandiflorus), also called Moon Cactus. It is a…

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Karoo views and landscapes along 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 two mentioned towns in the…

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A Kite spider’s web in the forest

An early morning walk on a trail through the bush or forest often leads to the person in front doing strange dancing moves swinging their arms and ducking their heads. It's not due to music playing but rather them walking into a spiderweb spun overnight. Not always the most pleasant feeling, especially if you don't know what or where the actual spider is. A walk along the old Storms River Pass in the Tsitsikamma had me spot a spider's web…

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Percy’s Place – the most scenic view in the Sundays River Valley

I'm sure most South Africans have read, or at least heard, of the book Jock of the Bushveld. The book was written by Sir Percy FitzPatrick, (24 July 1862 – 24 January 1931) who in his younger years was involved in gold and diamond prospecting in Mpumalanga where Jock of the Bushveld also plays off. He also had involvement in the Anglo Boer War and politics. Not many may realise though that the Sundays River Valley has very strong links…

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Swallows planning their winter travels

I visited the Sundays River Valley in early April and while enjoying the view from the Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout noticed a couple of swallows on an aloe. It looked like they were having a conversation and I imagined it to be about their upcoming trip north. I'm no bird expert so as soon as I got home I had a quick look in my bird book to see what they were, and they turned out to be lesser striped…

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Addo’s endangered Flightless Dung Beetle

Driving around Addo Elephant National Park one tends to keep an eye on the bush and the distance fields. If you heed the warning signs close to the gate though you will also keep one eye on the road as well. You may just spot, and safely avoid driving over, one of the park's endangered residents. The Flightless Dung Beetle. I recently took the Addo Heights access road between Addo and Nanaga and spotted quite a few of these guys…

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Hiking to the Lower Van Stadens Dam outside Port Elizabeth

The history of Port Elizabeth's water supply starts way back when Frames Reservoir was built on the Shark River in present-day Happy Valley back in 1864. As the demand for water increased, the need for a bigger dam was identified and the Van Stadens Water Scheme was initiated. I'm always amazed how people say there is nothing to do in Port Elizabeth and how everything is too expensive. Did you know that you can take a short hike to see…

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Nieu-Bethesda’s historic NG Kerk

Whenever I visit Nieu-Bethesda I just seem to be attracted to the historic Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk or NG Kerk). There is just something to this beautiful building in this tiny village that has me going back to it time and time again. Also, the fact that there are so many different angles to look at it and then add to it the time of day and different weather conditions. I did a post on the church last…

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