Friday, March 18, 2016


Yesterday was the first time I ventured up the pass after the fire.  It was quite amazing to see the expanse of black veld.  It was also very interesting to see how quickly the new growth has started coming through in places, and the little patches that the fire missed where a lonely flower would be in full bloom.  

I was told that a big fire like this occurs every twenty-five years or so, and it is something required by nature.  jI have since been told that 25 000 ha burnt.  I have made numerous phone calls and sent emails trying to verify that, but without any success, so I stand to be corrected.

Early on in the drive, four Klipspringers crossed the road, and later on up the pass there were another five.  They have a sharp call and at first I thought it was a bird of prey, but then watched the one calling and her stomach gave a huge heave to get the noise out.  On the way home via Meiringspoort, right on the road, were yet another two, so a total of eleven in one day was pretty rewarding.

So well camouflaged.

Big eyes and a cute wet nose.

The burn.

Through the foliage you can see the burn line and how green the mountain is beyond it after a rain.

How the landscape changes.

Protea pods bust open to release the seeds.


To get the close up of the seed being released, the best I could do was get it with a branch in the way without falling over the edge and into the valley below (and without disturbing nature and breaking  off the branch which is illegal), 

Burnt leaves which disintegrated leaving a singed bud.

The 'flower' after the flower.

New shoots.

New life begins.

A patch of greenery around a mountain stream.

The fire didn't reach this little patch.

The same stream on the opposite side of the road that was burnt.

This one survived the burn.

Nature Conservation buildings that were saved.

This one survived too and is keeping the insects busy.

Every here and there, where a patch survived the flames, a bloom appeared celebrating life.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Sometimes we say we feel as thought we're floating above the clouds.  Well today I was truly was, and not even in an airplane, I was still firmly on terra firma.  

I had no guests in the guesthouse today, so I jumped into my car with my camera early in the morning and headed over the pass before they closed it for road maintenance.  (After this I will blog the results of the fire, but this so blew me away, that I want to blog it first.)

When I came over the pass, I  had no idea of what awaited me there.  This was a scene that I don't believe is seen very often.  It was so beautiful, that I took way too many photos, but I just couldn't help myself.  So forgive me for some repetition.  It was very difficult choosing which to post.  A bank of cloud lay just below me, and continued in every direction as far as the eye could see.

It was fascinating watching the cloud or mist rising up the mountain and the speed at which it moved.  

There was a little surprise of a vintage soft-top motor car club that I met along the way.  They seemed to blow out of the mist one by one.

A breathtaking view.

The mist rolling over the peaks of the distant hills.

Peaks of distant hills and mountains.

As far as the eye could see, the cloud lay as a turbulent sea.

Mist creeping up the valley.

Someone forgot to take the corner.

Heading down the Swartberg Pass.

And out the mist came a stream of vintage soft-top cars.

The Belgians in this group were more interested in photographing their cars than the views.

Mist creeping up another valley.

An old De Chevaux.  So damn cute.  I just love them. Don't know why, but they always remind me of a grasshopper.

Heading into the thick of it.

And then came a break in the cloud.

Looking back.

I just love the soft muted tones this picture presents.

One of the old stone ruins that was used to house the prisoners that worked on building the pass.

Back into thick mist.

And this friends, is what it looked like from the bottom looking up.