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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Koiingnaas - A Photographic Journey Part 7 (days 77-90)

Namaqualand has been good to me. It has restored my soul and afforded me space to breathe. Hondeklipbaai has been nothing short of breathtaking, and I could hardly imagine that I would derive equal pleasure from my stay in Koiingnaas, yet this is exactly what happened. I immediately struck up new friendships and made new acquaintances, ensuring I would never have a dull moment. In today's blog, I take you on yet another photographic journey of Namaqualand, but this time we concentrate on the little known town of Koiingnaas.

The severe drought that Namaqualand is suffering, has caused a number of fatalities under the tortoise populations.

Incessant windy conditions have led to interesting tree silhouettes lining the landscape.

The stables have fallen into disuse, but make for beautiful pictures.

Evidence of mining and roadworks still abound.

The old mine offices have been taken over by the municipality, but are in dire need of upkeep.

It became immediately apparent that the people of Koiingnaas took an interest in their gardens and that there were a number of residents with a quirky sense of humour.

While in Koiingnaas, I came across a number of wrecks which held wonderful photographic appeal.

I was sad to come across this abandoned preschool which must have been a gem in the 'good old days' and still bore testimony to marvelous investment in infrastructure.

Classrooms are still fully curtained and carpeted, yet sadly standing empty on the vast plot of land.

Puzzles and other LTSM equipment were simply left behind when the school was abandoned.

A lovely sunset over the ocean as viewed from koiingnaas.

A stone outside an abandoned coffee shop still bears testimony to an era of better times when strangers and locals alike were welcomed back.

The flower season was coming to an end, but pretty blooms could still be found where care was being taken by the locals.

Something that never ceases to amaze this Gautenger, are the whale bones that can be found in most gardens along the West Coast.

I was at a braai with some friends when this pretty sunset could be seen over the roof tops.

I took a walk with one of the local artists, Corna van Wyk, who was rummaging through the dump sites around town in search of interesting objects to incorporate in her art, when we came across this statement piece discard half buried in the sand. 

I found the root system of this chopped-down tree to be fascinating. 

The colour combinations, along with the play of light and shade, made this discarded mug an interesting find. 

The neighbour's cat caught a Fisk's House Snake, which is an extremely rare snake with only 21 recorded sightings ever. Fortunately I was with people who recognized the snake and I was able to snap a couple of quick photos before the snake succumbed to its wounds, as delivered by the cat. The snake was then delivered to the University of the Western Cape for dissection and research. 

Some of the best memories I have of Koiingnaas, are the early morning hikes along the coast of Somnaas, an uninterrupted stretch of coastline. 

Old car wrecks always make for interesting photos. 

And then I awoke one morning to the news that one of the houses standing empty in town, had been broken into with food stolen from the cupboards. This was big news in a town where crime is almost unheard of. 

I travelled with the organizers of the intended Namaqua hiking trail and came across the most interesting owner of Soutfontein. This lady had interesting tales to tell of forgotten years and life styles. This was an old reaper and baler.

Typical Namaqua building style. 

Lovely accommodation available from a most interesting landlady. 

Brilliant photo ops against the setting sun. 

An intended stop-over along the hike. 

Namaqualand in all its splendour.

On one morning I had a fabulously fun time helping a friend to prepare eats for a meeting. What a fun lady to work with! 

Locals believe that when the turtles walk, there will be rain forthcoming. On this particular day, I came upon no less than three traveling turtles. 

Yet another example of one of the interesting gardens in town. 

 I have lost count of the pretty sunsets I had been witness to in Namaqualand.

Somnaas - a beach where lonely hikes seem to be in the order of the day. 

A meerkat feasting on discards in town. 

 Finally it came time for me to say goodbye to the peaceful countryside of Namaqualand. I took to the road with some friends to encounter one pretty valley after another as we traveled to Strand in the Western Cape.

Sunset over the ocean in Strand. 

A visit to Avontuur Wine Estate outside Stellenbosch, had me tasting some of the best duck I'd ever had! The company also proved to be brilliant as I met an eighty year old lady whose nature matched the name of the estate.

Having an extra day in Strand before traveling back to Johannesburg, I was able to quickly meet up with two long lost cousins at this surf cafe on the Strand beach front. This was the perfect finish to a spectacular three months.

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