A Visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

  Kirstenbosch National Garden - Paradise nestled against the slopes of Table Mountain.

I visited Kirstenbosch Botanical garden yesterday for the first time after 'LOCKDOWN' regulations have been relaxed. It was perfect weather for a garden stroll accompanied with my 7D canon!  Flowers sprung up everywhere after the recent rains and the flower beds resembled tapestries of colour.  Birdsong filled the crystal clear mountain acoustic and every so often a Sugerbird swooped passed me in full speed.

 The Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds were in abundance and were calling full volume from various different perches.  Cape Sugerbirds were also plentiful and did their usual diving down into the fynbos and suddenly swooping up in full flight with their long cascading tail- feathers painting their silhoettes against the skies. Cape Canaries, Forest Canaries, Cape Bulbul, Swee Waxbill, Malachite Sunbird and Cape White-Eye were a few of the bird species that I encountered.

Mountain streams were gushing over rocks and small cascades were prevalent upstream. 

The magnificent garden with all its romantic footpaths leading to different vegetation and flowerbeds offered me a walk in nature at its best!

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird 'blessed' with pollen

Cape Sugerbird clinging to a branch

Cape Sugerbird swooping up to a perch

Cape White-Eye

Forest canary posing on a flowering bush


Arctotus fastuosa

Cape Canary breaking twigs off for building its nest

                                                                    Cape Canary              
                                                           Forest Canary with a beak full of sticky seeds

                                                                                        Wild Flowers 

                                                                                    King Proteas against blue skies

                                                                   Malachite Sunbird posing on a Pincushion

                                                                   Swee Waxbill devouring little succulent seeds

                                                                                       Cape Bulbul

Gushing Mountain Stream


Brilliant Breakaway to the West Coast

 A Wondrous Weekend at the West Coast

After endless months of 'LOCKDOWN' my photographer companion, Vernon and I decided to 'lock up and go' at the first relaxed regulations.  The unspoilt West Coast was calling us.  Paternoster was chosen as our central point of accommodation and we booked at Azzurro, a small cottage for 2.

We departed from Cape Town on a Saturday and took the west coast road heading for Saldanha Bay as our first stop.  We visited the harbour with its kaleidoscope of colours, marine life and fishing boats.  As photographers we simply adore harbours with all its activities and perfect weather was an added bonus to our photographic skills.


Saldanha Bay Harbour

A Kelp Gull keeping guard on a mooring post

An oblivious seal sound asleep

Harbour Atmosphere

Kelp Gull Profile against the aquamarine backdrop of the ocean

Juvenile Kelp Gull at Saldanha Bay Harbour

After Saldanha Bay we were on our way to Jakobsbaai.  On the way I spotted a Black-Headed Heron in  combat with a juvenile mole snake.  The snake was a substantial size and we were amazed that it won the fierce battle and the entire snake was swallowed!

A Black-Headed Heron with its catch of the day - a mole snake

We admired the picturesque little village, Jakobsbaai situated on a rocky shore with tiny beaches.

Paternoster was our final destination and we checked in at a quaint white-washed fisherman's
 cottage, Azzurro situated in Mosselbank street, a stone's throw away from the beach.  The charming
cottage was perfect for our needs and we had seafood braais every evening.  To our amazement locals 
were roaming the streets selling fresh seafood to the visitors.  I questioned a fishmonger about the freshness of his crayfish and he answered: ' Madame, look he is still dancing!'  The crayfish were gigantic and delicious.  We were fortunate to have a taste of abalone as well.  One afternoon at low-tide we went to look for fresh mussels off the rocks and were lucky to find enough for a meal. The next day locals supporting their families directed us to the beach to get fresh fish from the boats and  we were introduced to 'Hottentot Fish' that was sold 5 in a bunch. Needless to say, another seafood delicacy on the braai!

Azzurro a quaint fisherman's cottage 

 Mussel Shells at the beach of Paternoster

Hottentot Fish sold in a bunch

Hottentot Fish on the Braai

Shopping at Paternoster

A Rocky Horizon from the beach at Paternoster

Entrance to Paternoster with all the directions needed!

A Scenic View of Tietiesbaai

Beach Cleaners

A Surfer at Paternoster Beach

A resident's dog chasing its ball

A happy doggy with its ball

A sunset with pastel painted skies

We had such a great time at Paternoster that our weekend got stretched out to an extra day or two.  St. Helena Bay and Velddrif were our last villages to explore.  The harbour at St. Helena Bay was completely deserted with no fisherman or any fish in sight - a grim sight of a severe 'LOCKDOWN' impact on the fishing industry.  

Fishing Trawlers moored at St. Helena Bay Harbour

At Velddrif we drove along Bokkomlaan admiring birdlife in the adjacent Berg River.  Flamingo's, Black-Winged Stilts, Herons and Egrets were in abundance. We took some photographs and visited the notorious Velddrif Hotel situated on the banks of the Berg River - an ideal location for bird photography. 
Leaving Velddrif for Paternoster I could not miss the Bokkom Stand at the exit.  I have never tasted a Bokkom and this was my chance. 

A Black-Winged Stilt

Bokkoms at Velddrif

The West Coast Weekend was an unforgettable adventure with incredible memories!