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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Nieu-Bethesda’s owl sellers

Nieu-Bethesda's biggest export item, as in what people take away with them, must be their cement owls. It all started at the Owl House where Helen Martins transformed the house and then the yard, the latter with the help of Koos Malgas. Although there are so many different cement figures in the yard, the owls are the most prominent. No wonder it's called the Owl House. It's also the one thing most visitors to the village want to go home…

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Chokka boats in Port St Francis

Ahhhhh, St Francis Bay. Beaches, canals, luxury homes, a Jack Nicholas designed golf course, laid-back holiday atmosphere, girls in bikinis (I just wanted to put that in), surfer boys, sundowner cruises and lekker seafood. Like any good infomercial and destination, there's always a, "But wait, that's not all..." Located between St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis is one of the only private harbours in South Africa called Port St Francis. The chokka, or squid, industry in the area started…

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Road scenes of Nieu-Bethesda

Nieu Bethesda's Dutch Reformed Church The village of Nieu-Bethesda really is a special one. High on the to-do list of travelers wanting to visit the Owl House, learn more about fossils or just experience Karoo country life. It's also somewhere to go and find yourself, recharge your soul and rediscover your being. Nieu-Bethesda only had dirt roads, no street lights nor a petrol station. The best way to explore the village is literally on foot with your camera in hand,…

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