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Attention to detail

By sungazer 2013.06.10 in Photography

I often don’t make a good hiking companion, especially when I have my camera with me. Details in nature fascinates me and I can keep myself busy looking plants, rocks and insects for longer than many others. So I am mostly not so focus on the destination, but enjoying the journey 🙂 Hope you enjoy these photographs!

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A new addiction

By sungazer 2013.06.09 in Island life

There is something about island life that is extremely appealing to me. Maybe because I live quite far from the ocean, which I love. So the idea of being surrounded by the ocean, especially tropical waters, is the ultimate for me! So great was the excitement when we were setting off to Mauritius for a two week holiday. And it was there that I got addicted to snorkeling!

We stayed with friends that lived in the north eastern part of the island, in a small village called Roches Noirs.

Closest beach from where we stayed and also on a bus route, which are almost never on time

Closest beach from where we stayed and also on a bus route, which doesn’t mean much – almost never on time

sugarcane-fields

Years ago sugarcane was the main income for the island. Today many sugar mills are abandoned and machinery took over most of the jobs. Many people had to find a new way to earn a living.

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Casuarina trees were introduced in Mauritius in 1778, and later on planted all along the coast line because of their high salt tolerance and as part of a tree and water conservation system. Locals set up camp underneath them over weekends and public holidays.

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Late afternoon snorkel excursion – waves breaking on the reef on horison

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A day trip to Ile aux Cerf was one of our highlights. Here the kids are enjoying the shallow water between two islands.

Paragliding

Just off the island is an anchored floating raft, from where you can do parasailing – this was so much fun!!

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Snorkeling became a real addiction – I just couldn’t get enough of the wonders of the ocean

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Poverty is very real for many. This shop is a familiar sight in many villages.

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Our next excursion was to one of the small island just north of Mauritius. This was the

view looking back on the mountains in central Mauritius.

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Going past Gunner’s Quoin

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Enjoying Gabriel Island,
while they’re preparing lunch on the catamaran

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Lunch served on the boat with this lovely view – Mauritius in the distance

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3-in-1: Skippers, cooks & entertainers.
Unfortunately sound is not great, but this is the music they played for us Sega live

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This little beach was also a highlight with its sand as soft and fine as flour

We were sad to leave after two weeks, but little did we know that this was only the beginning of our Mauritius adventure. In my next post I will tell you more about mixing with the locals.

I am in love with …mountains!!

By sungazer 2013.03.23 in Mountains

Where I live there are no mountains close by. Unfortunately. I love to just stare at mountains, drinking in the beauty, the change of light, change of seasons in a short time frame. The overwhelming size. The silence. The cool air….

I do have favourites when it comes to mountains and right on top of that list: The Drankensberg Mountains

View of Champagne Castle with a peak of 3248m

View of Champagne Castle with a peak of 3248m

We had to sign in at the ranger on duty before we could start our hike and to get a map of the area. The Drakensberg Mountains have notoriously fickle weather and many hikers needed to be rescued or even died.

We did a day hike up to the first plateau

We did a day hike up to the first plateau

Reaching the plateau, but the top of Champagne Castle was covered in clouds

Reaching the plateau, but the top of Champagne Castle was covered in clouds

This Berg/Mountain Adder was baking in the sun on the path. Their venom is neurotoxic (nerve-destroying) and needs to be treated as an emergency.

This Berg/Mountain Adder was baking in the sun on the path. Their venom is neuro-toxic (nerve-destroying) and if bitten, needs to be treated as an emergency.

Stopping for lunch and coffee

Stopping for lunch and coffee

Heading down on the contour - within 15 minutes after this photograph was taken, clouds rolled in our  visibility dropped to about 2 meters and shortly after rain started to pour down, making our path very slippery.

Heading down on the contour – within 15 minutes after this photograph was taken, clouds rolled in our visibility dropped to about 2 meters and shortly after rain started to pour down, making our path very slippery.

 

We experienced the Drakensberg at its best. All seasons in one day. After descending for more than two hours we made it back to the base to check out. Soaking wet, but truly happy and fulfilled!

 

Sporekrans Hiking Trail

By sungazer 2013.03.09 in Hiking Trails

Sporekrans Hiking Trail is situated in a private game reserve in the Eastern Free State and during the winter months, popular for hunting. Temperatures in summer rises to 35 degree celcius during the day, but because of cool mountain air flowing in, drops quite a bit at night. We stayed in the hunters cottage, next to the hikers accommodation and had the whole reserve to ourselves. The hiking trail turned out to be one of my all time favourites, with a good variety of landscapes, that made the 10 kilometers seem to go a lot faster. We enjoyed a swim in the the cold rock pools, the scenery of sandstone cliffs we had to walk through and the most incredible view from the top and the overhang. This trail is really well planned, although we had trouble crossing at some point because of recent floods, washing away a bridge. Would love to go back there one day, showing it to my daughter, with whom I was pregnant with at the time

Sporekrans Hking Trail - 2 day circle route (22 km)

Sporekrans Hking Trail – 2 day circle route (22 km)

Hunters hut we stayed in

Hunters hut we stayed in

Sporekrans - named after the interesting patterns in the sandstone

Sporekrans – named after the interesting patterns in the sandstone

Time to cool off in the rock pools

Time to cool off in the rock pools

Resting the shadow

Resting the shadow

Incredible view from the overhang

Incredible view from the overhang! Also serves as an overnight stop

Really well planned route - see the bridge above our heads?

Really well planned route – see the bridge above our heads?

Heading for the ladders

Heading for the ladders

Second ladder on top left, taking you to the top of the mountain

Second ladder on top left, taking you to the top of the mountain

Looking back

Looking back

View from the top

View from the top

On our way back we had to get an alternative route to compensate for the bridge that had been washed away by recent floods - bridge was supposed to crossover the water

On our way back we had to get an alternative route to compensate for the bridge that had been washed away by recent floods – bridge was supposed to crossover the water

Eastern Free State....I will be back soon!!!

Eastern Free State….I will be back soon!!!

 

Playing with fire

By sungazer 2013.03.08 in Photography

In South Africa having a braai (barbeque) is the ultimate way of enjoying a meal with friends or family. We do it often and we LOVE it! On these photographs, my two cousins are having fun with sticks they have put in the fire.

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Katse dam – in the heart of the Mountain Kingdom

By sungazer 2013.03.08 in Mountains

Lesotho is a neighboring country to South Africa and like the Eastern Free State, not too far away from where I live. While on holiday in the Eastern Free State, we decided to do a day trip to Katse Dam, not only the second largest in Africa but also the highest, set in the heart of Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. The main function is to supply water to South Africa and hydro-electricity to Lesotho. Just like the Drankensberg in South Africa (post for another time), there is something magical about the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho.

Next time we will take our tent and pitch it on the camp grounds, set high up on the side of the mountain, overlooking the dam wall. We had to rush back not to drive in the dark on the narrow roads of Lesotho, but stopped often to take photographs and to enjoy the splendor and the greatness of the Maluti Maountains! It was pitch dark as we drove out of the mountains, heading for the border post. Our hearts and minds overwhelmed by beauty of Lesotho.

 

Basic living conditions in the mountains

Basic living conditions in the mountains

 

Heading for the Maluti's

Heading for the Maluti’s

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One of the many waterfalls

One of the many waterfalls

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Katse Dam wall in a distance

View of Katse Dam

View of Katse Dam

View over Katse Dam

View over Katse Dam

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Can you spot the person on the top of the mountain?

Can you spot the person on the top of the mountain?

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Mafika Lisiu pass | 3090 m

Mafika Lisiu pass | 3090 m

 

Boshoek – sandstone mountains, black bass and good coffee

By sungazer 2013.02.28 in Mountains

This was one of those places, that is hidden away from society, that makes you feel you can stay for a whole month. We left just before New Year not knowing what to expect. We found an old sandstone farmhouse, spacious and comfortable with the best view. The next few days we set out fishing for black bass, swim in the cold mountains pools, drink coffee on the veranda and enjoy catching up as a family around the fire. Pure. Simple. Nature.

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