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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hondeklipbaai & Koiingnaas - A Photographic Journey Part 6 (days 62-76)

To say that I am taken with Namaqualand could very seriously be considered an understatement. I am quite smitten. And who wouldn't be. From its brisk sunrises to golden sunsets, crushing waves, beautiful wildflowers, rampant wildlife, wide horizons and deafening silence, there is little that does not enchant. In today's blog I take you on yet another photo journey of my stay in Namaqualand. This time, we start in Hondeklipbaai, visit Springbok via the Wildeperdehoekpas, and end up in Koiingnaas. Prepare to be dazzled!

Golden sunsets over the ocean is a sight that will never grow old

The dogs and I set out for our walk on a crisp sunny day, only to be overtaken by an icy fog that clad our world in an eerie embrace of white mist. 

My first impression of this curious creature was that it had to be a grasshopper. Closer inspection revealed that it has to be cricket. This deduction is solely based on the research I did on crickets when I illustrated my children's book Tuinstories. I'd love to get some feedback from people who actually know about bugs. 

Sometimes you simply have to stop and marvel at the beauty of the minutest of flowers on your way 

I arrived home from a walk to find the children gathered in the street, engrossed in a game of soccer. I knew it had to be soccer when I saw one of the players lying on the ground!

I climbed a tall sand dune and was rewarded with a view of Namaqualand stretching into eternity in front of me. 

 A view of Hondeklipbaai, spread out along the white dunes of the Namaqualand West Coast

The day greeted the night with a sunset clad in golden hues

Today the ocean was stirred up. Something had awakened its passion. Whether it was by anger or love, it was hard to tell, but that it was breathtaking, was undeniable.

I came across this curious little youngster taking a peek at what was going on in the outside world. 

The day broke with a spectacular sunrise

During my stay here I have seen many flowers come into season, and wilt away as their season passed, only to be replaced by more pretty counterparts following short on their heels. I also enjoyed seeing how even the dying and decaying part of the process was still beautiful. 

These tiny yellow buttons had been lining the fields for a couple of weeks now and I had been watching them in great expectation. I was delighted to find that they were bursting into tiny little flowers when I left the house one morning for my walk. 

One of the things that I hold dear about the West Coast, is that you can find a beach completely devoid of other humans, within walking distance from town, on a bright sunny day.

 One day I entered the municipal offices in Hondeklipbaai to come upon this postal service. Each pigeon hole has a range of five consecutive numbers on it. You simply sort through your pigeon hole and leave your neighbour's post be.

Yet another fascinating sight are these bamboo-clad rocks that resemble giant hairy monsters resting on the beach. 

At this stage of my trip, my friend was returning home and I had found another dog-sitting gig in Koiingnaas. Koingnaas is roughly 7 km from the ocean with a spectacular flat land view that still affords a glimpse of the great waters in the distance. It used to be a mining town back in the days of De Beers. There is still mining going on around the town, but the whole town is no longer the property of one company.

On the very first morning of arriving at Dudley and Aletta's, Aletta took me to their closest beach, Somnaas. This is a spectacularly beautiful beach with white dunes seemingly stretching into eternity. I believe it is only the remoteness of the location that is the saving grace of this beach, or it too would be flooded with tourists. 

 An open earth, sea and sky.

On this day the beach was strewn with blue bottles, fascinating me with the play of light as the sun's rays hit their frail bodies. 

I even found a lost ostrich egg on the beach 

Natural tidal pools make for great places to bathe and relax 

Aletta striking a lone figure on the beach as she strolls ahead of this trigger happy photographer

 I have almost become used to encountering tortoises on my walks around Namaqualand. Almost, for I hope I never become disenchanted by the glory of life.

Fraying cable rope creates interesting textures 

The main street leading into Koiingnaas lined with trees 

Church to the right, library to the left and (just out of sight) bottle store to the far left. 

My idea of how a selfie should be taken as my image is reflected in the windows of what used to be a grocery store in the heydays of Koiingnaas. 

Signs of an era that has gone by 

 The gutters have been turned into planters by the winds and birds lifting the seeds on high

A pretty path leading nowhere, though I am sure it used to serve a purpose 

There is evidence of an era of love and care everywhere

This is Pieter, who has decided, with total disregard for my allergies, that my bed is the best place to sleep at night. I have long since resigned myself to the fact that I have to travel with allergens. So, I pop a pill and welcome Pieter to bed. 

It was time for a shopping spree in Springbok and we took the Wildeperdehoekpas there. I decided to take a break from photographing everything as I remembered this pass to be one that offer some of the most spectacular scenes one can imagine. I wanted to simply sit back and enjoy the moments offered by the drive. However, when we suddenly came upon the illusive Klipspringer, I had to break my fast from the camera momentarily.

A close-up of the Klipspringer

 In a previous blog, I showed you pictures of how my shoe had started to come apart. I used all sorts of tricks to extend its life until my return to civilization. In the meantime, the second shoe was also starting to come apart. Dudley gracefully offered to take my shoes in hand and spent a good hour in fixing them for me after purchasing the right glue for the job. Words seem to fall short when someone serves you with such a grand gesture. But this single action illustrates brilliantly the characters of the two people I have come to respect and love.

The two babies left in my care after Dudley and Aletta went off to visit their human children. This is Mini (Minnie?) and Maxi.

 My view from the stoep in Koingnaas with the ocean still visible on the horizon.

The bus stop, a relic leftover from the booming mining days. 

Dudley's bee hives

These hairy worms have fascinated me ever since my first encounter with one of them. Their time is running out and it is time for them to shift shape and morph into larvae. I took this video to show you how swift these worms are able to move.

A lovely sunset over Koingnaas

On a a crisp clear morning I found an early bird keeping a lookout for, what I must assume to be, an early worm. 

Sunset in a garden that is a haven of peace

As the weather in Koiingnaas was hot and sunny, I made myself a lovely Beetroot & Peas Salad with a yogurt dressing, which I enjoyed in the company of the lady who came to clean the house. I found her to be a bubbly sister in the Lord with whom I had lots in common, making the meal a most enjoyable one.

The next day the sky was overcast and the temperatures dropped dramatically.

This time I was in no mood for salads and opted for oven-baked veggies and chicken instead.

I came upon this Hamerkop (Hammer head) as I was taking photos of the abandoned play park in Koiingnaas. Beautiful! 

An abandoned park always fills me with a sense of sadness. This place should be filled with the laughter of frolicking children. Instead, it is quiet, empty and lonely. 

 This old man was in no hurry to leave when I happened upon him, but finally he must have had enough of me and my camera. He hoisted himself on all fours and slowly walked off with great dignity.

An abandoned coffee shop bears testimony to the fact that Koingnaas is no longer a booming mining town.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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