Sunday 13 September 2015

Wildlife in Camps Bay

Since we have come to live in Camps Bay we have always seen a couple of Egyptian geese - which are actually ducks! - wandering around the beach area.  Last year was the first time we saw them with goslings.  And a few days ago on our walk to the beach we encountered this family.  Very alert about being approached, lots of quacking and a quick escape into the water!

Friday 4 September 2015

Haircut for the Palm

One of our most loved assets is the beautiful palm tree in front of Camps Bay Terrace in Victoria Road.  Due to its position it is very difficult to remove old fronds and parasitic plants on its trunk and one needs to find a specialist to do this.  This winter, when we had quite strong storms, lots of debris from this tree fell onto the electric fence, the stairs and even the pavement.  The fronds are large and heavy, and if they would hit a pedestrian it could actually be quite harmful.  So I set out to find the right team, and after two months of searching I finally found it!  To watch them was quite amazing, but they were very organized, security conscious and incredibly skilled.  The only issue was with the pigeons who are always nesting in this tree and who were very upset and noisy during this operation! Now peace has been restored and look at the results!

Before the cut

The counterweight to the "climber"

 Held by the rope clipped onto the harness - walking around the tree

The result

Monday 31 August 2015

Cape Town Concert

Cape Town City Hall is a prominent Edwardian building in the centre of Cape Town built in 1905 with honey coloured limestone imported from Bath in Englan. It looks out onto what is called the Grand Parade which is a large open space west of the Castle of Good Hope.You may all have seen Nelson Mandela adress the crowd of 250000 from the balcony after his release from prison in 1990. The City Hall is also the home of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra which regularly performs concerts there. We were lucky enough to attend the last concert where the world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell played the much loved Tchaikovsky violin concerto. One of the reasons this was so special is the fact that Joshua Bell purchased a 1731 Stradivari in 2001 and I wanted to listen to one of those masterpieces again. It was absolutely beautiful. The sound and the range of this instrument are just incredible. Nobody to this day has found out the secret of the Stradivaris unequaled quality. And Joshua Bells musical talent is amazing. The audience was virtually holding their breath when he started playing.  What a wonderful evening for us,  standing ovations, really unforgettable.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Today's rainbow

Clouds and rain and sun - this morning a beautiful rainbow spanned right across Bakoven Bay. Later another rainbow appeared at the foot of the mountain - very unsual but we were too late to capture it!

Thursday 13 August 2015

Our bird restaurant

After various unsuccessful attempts we are thrilled to announce that the Camps Bay Terrace Bird Restaurant has finally re-opened and managed to attract the little hidden gems in our garden area. We are so delighted to see the White Eyes and Sunbirds enjoying a drink of sugar nectar out of our bottle. The perch is becoming a hotly contested spot at various times of the day and we have to refill the bottle already weekly to keep our feathered friends happy.  It is another lovely aspect of our daily lives in this beautiful part of the world.

Male Sunbird

Female Sunbird

 Cape White Eye

Sunday 2 August 2015

West Side Story

We are very fortunate to have the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town where almost every production is short of marvellous.  Cape Town also has a big number of classical music lovers who patronise most performances to sell out stage.

We went to watch "West Side Story" last Friday and were absolutely blown away.  The performers, the scenery, the choreography, the lighting, everything was incredible.  To realize that we have such an amazing amount of talent right here is very uplifting.  No wonder there were standing ovations at the end. Obviously this particular story, based on Romeo and Juliet, cannot leave you untouched.  It is classical, emotional, inspirational and the outstanding music appeals to a wide spectrum of people.  It was good to see so many young people in the audience who hopefully will continue supporting this important venue.

If you are in Cape Town don't miss this performance, it is worth it!

The auditorium seats 1487 with provision for two wheelchairs. 
There are 23 rows of seats in the stalls and 8 rows on the balcony. 
The distance from curtain to back rows are respectively 26.10m and 29.70m

Go and enjoy! 

Saturday 1 August 2015

Not yet spring!

With the days getting longer and having such mild weather we were all fooling ourselves thinking that spring had already arrived.  This last week we had the coldest temperatures this year with some areas of South Africa well below freezing and snow on some mountains.  On top of that August is a windy month and we put on gloves and beanies for the first time when going for the walk on the beach.  The surf was huge, the sky was grey, the wind was blowing, it was definitely bracing but also very invigorating and beautiful.

A very cold light

Almost no beach left

Monday 20 July 2015


Sitting on our deck yesterday afternoon we noticed quite a large group of birds on the big rock in our little bay.  They were definitely black oystercatchers and I could not believe when I counted that they were seventeen in total.  When we moved into our house we were absolutely thrilled to see two of them.  This was obviously quite a long time ago, but to now count seventeen is phenomenal.  

The following text and photos are by the dedicated conservationist Peter Chadwick who has 30 years experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management.

African black oystercatchers are resident to the West Coast and Southern Cape, with occasional birds moving into KwaZulu- Natal. In the early 1980s their numbers plummeted to around 4 500 birds. Through conservation efforts, including banning off-road driving on beaches, the population now stands at around 6 000 birds.
Resplendent in smart, all-dark plumage, with bubblegum-pink legs and dagger-like bills the colour of a Bloody Mary, African black oystercatchers are among the most charismatic species of South African and Namibian coasts.  They frequent the ever-changing interface between land and ocean, foraging in spray-soaked intertidal areas pummelled by breaking waves. The birds time their movements to the millisecond, dashing forwards to snatch tasty morsels, then taking flight as the surf breaks dangerously close. They do not eat oysters, despite their name, but mussels, whelks and limpets. African black oystercatchers are thought to reach the grand old age of 35. They reproduce slowly, in common with most long-lived birds, raising one brood per season. The birds nest along the coastline of South Africa sometimes in just a depression of sand on the beach, on a dune or among pebbles usually with good surrounding views so as to avoid predation.

African Black Oystercatcher
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

african Black Oystercatcher landing on a wave smashed rock by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

African Black Oystercatcher flock by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

African Black Oystercatcher incubating on nest by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Winter has arrived

We had the coldest few days since the start of winter.  Although the sun has been shining on and off it has been freezing.  I could not resist and bought some coats for our little dogs, especially since Monty has problems getting out of his basket in the morning because he seems to be stiff and aching.
I never thought I would do something like that, but they look gorgeous and everyone we meet smiles at them. Isn't that enough justification?

Life is good!

Saturday 11 July 2015

On the beach

Our daily walk never ceases to surprise me.  The beach changes shape so much from day to day depending on the wind and the tides.  The sand movement can be as much as one meter within 24 hours.  And all this affects what is left behind from the ocean.  Yesterday was one of these magical days without wind and a wide beach and a beautiful sunset reflecting the weather that has now reached us today with grey clouds and rain.

Kelp - some dogs love eating it

Somebody was celebrating with flowers

 Waiting for sunset

Thursday 2 July 2015

Winter in Camps Bay

Yesterday was the start of the second half of 2015.  In Cape Town July is the coldest and wettest month although the days are getting longer already - hurray!  I don't know what happened to us as we were blessed with the most wonderful weather recently.   The dogs had a fantastic time on the beach, like many other people, surfers, swimmers and children on the playground or making sand castles on the beach.

We so enjoyed our walk and felt so happy that we had a gin and tonic on the deck, which is a drink that we usually only enjoy in summer.  We really love living in Camps Bay!

At the beachfront playground with the grand children

Happy walking

Saturday 27 June 2015

Kruger Park

From Limpopo we took a beautiful route along the Soutpansberg travelling East to the top end of the Kruger National Park.  We have never visited this wonderful park this early in the season.  It meant that everything was still green and lush, and not the best time for game viewing according to old established thinking.  What a surprise lay ahead of us.  Not only are the National Parks Camps beautiful, they are also well equipped and very comfortable.  On our first day driving south from Punda Maria to Mopani Rest Camp we had the most eventful day.

Not only did we see more game than we anticipated, we also saw unusal behaviour, like a secretary bird catching a snake, an elephant trying to mate in the river, as well as beautiful plants we could not name.

  A ground hornbill

 The secretay bird with the snake in its beak

A well deserved beer after a day's game viewing

Monday 15 June 2015


Our next stop was an overnight stay in Johannesburg to visit our new granddaughter on the way to Limpopo.  I am sure that all grandparents will understand that one has to use any opportunity to visit family that is not living close to you.

Little Eva, 5 months

Then we were off to the Mogalakwena River Lodge that is owned by our friends.  It is a beautiful place on the Mogalakwena River, far in the northwestern corner of Limpopo close to Alldays and the Tuli Block.  The Research Centre on the farm hosts students from all over the world to do research on various subjects while studying for their masters or PhDs. On the adjacent farm is the well known Arts and Craft Centre that employs local woman to produce beautiful embroidered scatter cushions, wall hangings, napkins as well as beaded items, one of the most charming being the baobab tree.

The ladies of the Craft Centre singing goodbye to us

When we stay there we go for game drives or lovely walks in the bush,as there are no predators to be worried about a really beautiful experience.  It makes us look at the smaller creatures as well as the flora, and there is always something new to discover.

When we return we can relax on the beautiful deck on the river, where we can watch waterbuck coming to drink, as well as a host of birdlife, and this time at last we saw the African Finfoot for the very first time!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Autumn Safari

It has been a while since I last posted something, and I cannot believe how long ago that was!  Nevertheless I did think about my blog often and now at last have settled down to continue.  
Chris and I love going into the bush, and traditionally we visit the Limpopo Farm of our friends every year during the quiet months.  This year was earlier than usual, so the weather was still warm in the Lowveld and the autumn colours had just started coming in.
We had decided to use this opportunity to drive up to the farm that is in the northwestern corner of South Africa and then continue our journey from there. We took the road to Kimberley that we had not used for quite a number of years and stopped just outside the town famous for it's huge hole created by the diamond rush of last century.  When we left the town we saw two dams on either side of the road with one of those absolutely pink from hundreds, maybe even thousands of flamingos.  It was still cold, so most of them were stationery, but some started moving through like a column of soldiers, and some even started flying.  It was an amazing sight and a fantastic start to the day!

Monday 2 March 2015

Art and Design

Last weekend saw two events running concurrently.  The Cape Town International Art Fair and the Design Indaba 2015.  What was very interesting as I went to the Art Fair was the fact that some of the exhibits to me were craft or design rather than art.  This fair focusses on African artists, promoted by local as well as international galleries. The different media represented were absolutely amazing, some combinations that I had never seen before. There were sculptures in blown glass, bronze and wood, and pictures in oil, watercolour, mixed media, lithographs, metal, textiles and more.

The difference in the works ranged from realistic to abstract, conservative to challenging, some uplifting, some quite depressing and not something I would like to have in my home, but most of them thought provoking.  Some had titles that helped to understand what the artist was trying to express, some left it to one's interpretation.  At a conversation yesterday my friend Elbe said that she finds the artist's comments very helpful to look at an artwork with different eyes, which I found very interesting.  Elbe is very involved in arts and crafts and has just launched her second book on this subject on Friday, so I really appreciate her opinion.  Anyway, I was completely overwhelmed after having seen so many different works and have attached a photo of a work which is not a wood cut or lino cut but a pencil drawing!  I had to look very closely to actually see the pencil marks.  Hope you enjoy this!

Artist: Cameron Platter
Title: You

Artist: Nature
Title: Moth in our kitchen yard

Saturday 28 February 2015

Fun Outings

February is a wonderful month in Cape Town.  Although this year we had a lot more wind than usual we had fabulous hot weather.  The vibe in Camps Bay is definitely holiday time. One of the most enjoyable things to do for us is to go and have lunch with our return guests, most of whom have become good friends.  Henni and Walter Ploog first stayed with us many years ago, and this year Walter's brother also came to visit for a while.  So Chris got out his old XK120 Jaguar and off we went to Hout Bay for a seafood lunch at Mariner's Wharf, overlooking the beach.  What a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer's afternoon!

Chris' favourite car

Lunch on the deck at Mariner's Wharf

The beautiful Hout Bay Beach

Monday 23 February 2015

Load Shedding

You may all know that we are having real problems in South Africa at the moment due to lack of planning and maintenance of our power stations.  We have been through a similar situation a few years ago and installed a UPS system for our private area so we had some lights, computers and TV still running while the rest of the house was in darkness.
As we have many guests who love watching live sports events and movies in the evening when relaxing we have now installed the same for the Penthouse and the Suite.  No need to ever worry again about sitting in the dark while on holiday at Camps Bay Terrace!
We are planning to do the same for the Lodge and Palm Suite - watch this space!

Thursday 12 February 2015

Special Events

On 10 February we had the great honour to host a wedding ceremony at the Lodge for the first time.  This was not the usual young couple with hundreds of guests, but a very private affair. The guests wanted a small, intimate event, with apparently only six people knowing about their plan!  I was so excited and was hoping for good weather as it started as quite a gray day with a few drops of rain in the morning. Luckily it cleared beautifully in the afternoon and was perfect for the ceremony.  The guests were kind enough to send me photos and allowed me to post them on my news blog!  A wonderful backdrop for a great couple!  Thank you, Keith and Sam!  Wishing you many more years of happiness together!

 Signing the register

 Toasting with friends

 Doesn't she look lovely!