South Africa: Hout Bay

Relatively speaking, Cape Town was pretty busy over the Christmas/New Year period. It never felt congested like it does in Kathmandu so much of the time, but getting a dinner table at a nice waterside restaurant got very competitive, very quickly. Cammps Bay is a popular destination for dinner and you need to score a seat early for an evening “sundowner” but, on the evening of our wedding anniversary, the weather turned stormy and the restaurant seats filled even earlier. There was nowhere left to sit, so we decided to skip the pre-dinner drink and drive further down around the coast to Hout Bay and have dinner at a large old-fashioned seafood restaurant we’d discovered earlier in the week.

Once they learnt it was our wedding anniversary we got a great seat next to the window overlooking the beach and bay. The wind whipped, the small window panes rattled and the sky threatened rain. I felt like we were back in Devon or Cornwall in the winter watching the weather come in. We saw dog walkers on the beach and watched kids playing in the freezing cold ocean, tossing huge clumps of seaweed at one another, and it slowly grew dark. I ate so much fabulous lobster I could barely move.

Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

The stormy sky is the only clue to the bad weather. The wind blew hard, rattling the glass in the restaurant window. I felt like I was on the coast in England.


Kung foo kicks and seaweed throwing in the freezing water!


Full of wine and lobster!

Lastly, a few photos of Hout Bay in the day time:

Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

It was an unassuming kind of place with warehouses to store freshly caught fish and kiosks selling fish and chips at local prices.


seals, hout bay, cape town, south africa

Hout Bay seals!…who swam over from seal island for a photo and a snack from the handful of tourists

Hout Bay, Feeding a seagull, cape town, south africa

I liked watching people interact with the seals and seagulls. This guy was clearly a regular.

South Africa: Penguins!

I don’t know why I’ve struggled to get the South African stories down from our trip at Christmas. Lots of competition, I guess…. But here’s a little photo tale of our visit to the penguin colony near Simon’s Town, about an hour or so south of Cape Town. Its become a significant tourist attraction about half way down the drive to Cape Point, but its very well done with the penguins’ well-being in mind, and its doing its part to monitor the African Penguin population.

African Penguins have recently been reclassified from “vulnerable” to “endangered” and the numbers have continued to steadily decrease despite the establishment of the Boulders Penguin Colony in 1983. This is due in part to the usual depressing list of environmental challenges that all marine life faces today, but at least the colony is providing an income towards their conservation, as well as an opportunity for environmentalists to monitor their progress.  It was my first time seeing penguins in the wild:


That’s not snow or ice. I’m pretty sure its penguin poop!

Beach walkway at Boulders Penguin Colony

The walkway allows visitors to get up close and personal with the penguins without any physical contact. They seemed pretty used to humans and just ignored us!

Penguins, Cape Town, South Africa

Yes…I still felt like I was watching a cocktail party…

Moulting penguins, Boulders penguin colony

…a cocktail party where some guests were much better dressed than others!

Moulting penguin

I think this poor little guy was about to be shown the door.

nesting penguins

They are noisy critters too. Someone should explain to me why they do that while they’re nesting

African penguin

There were little fibre glass shelters dotted around on the scrub land near the beach. This guy looks like he doesn’t want visitors!


Cees Odd Ball Photo Challenge 2015 Week 13

Driving back from visiting a community farm — in the middle of nowhere — we came upon this giant statue of a baby Buddha and had to take a photo!  He had a neon wire halo (unfortunately you can’t see so well in the photo) which lights up at night. Even more odd were the electric cables running across his body. Bizarre, sincere, and a little creepy all at the same time! buddha statue

30 Seconds: The Birds (and the Bugs)…

This evening, after some unseasonably heavy rain, I returned home from work to a cloud of dragonfly-like bugs swarming across the garden. I followed their source, across the flower bed, to a patch of dirt where the bugs were hatching. They seemed to be materializing from thin air, struggling for just a few seconds to find their wings, then moments later they fluttered up and flew away. The crows had spotted them long before me, and were watching greedily from the surrounding rooftops. They watched, they waited, and then swooped down for bug snacks. The life span of some must have been less than one minute: a murder of crows, indeed!

Its not uncommon to see crows at dusk in Kathmandu, but you usually hear their raucous cries first. As the sun goes down, they circle the tree tops to nest for the night and it feels (and sounds) just like a Hitchcock movie. So, with apologies to Hitchcock, here are some shots of this evening’s bug and bird spectacular that happened right in my yard!

30 Seconds: Chitwan Village Night Fall

As sort of a second installment of my recent stay in Chitwan, here’s a follow up video to The Bridge.

Most evenings, we like to sit by the river with a glass of wine, fight off the mosquitoes and watch the sun go down. Across the same bridge, a ten minute walk away, is the nearest village. On our second to last night there, we took a stroll over and shot the evening routines. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

For me “fresh” doesn’t really mean signs of Spring like melting snow or fresh flowers.  In pollution-choked Kathmandu, fresh is the quality of the air, and visiting a place where the plants are green and not coated in dust.  The good news is that an hour drive out of the city takes you out of the valley’s smoggy haze and into a cleaner, fresher environment.  And although I was tempted to do a Nepali interpretation of “fresh” with wonderful mountain views, my mind kept going to South Africa where we visited this Christmas.  Oh, the fresh air, bracing winds, sparkling, sunny, blue skies, and freezing cold waters that clear out your lungs and take your breath away!  Now that’s fresh!… Here’s a late afternoon walk we took along Cape Town’s, Cammp’s Bay in December:

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30 Seconds: Kathmandu from the Back Seat

We have drivers here in Kathmandu. I’ve a personal driver who takes us back and forth to work and motor pool drivers that take me to work events. Its a necessity really, not a luxury. I don’t think I could ever stand to drive here myself amid all the traffic mayhem or take the crowded, tiny micro buses that serve as public transportation. So I spend a lot of time in the back of a car, watching flashing images of people, places and things fly by the window. The surprising, the colourful, and the sometimes downright scary, make up for the monotony of traffic and the blare of omnipresent horns. Sometimes, I try to capture all of the craziness with my camera, but often soon as something interesting appears, it is gone. But, occasionally, I succeed and a little bit of the city is captured with my lens. Here’s a set of some of the better images, presented as close to realism as I can manage. Plug your ears!