splashes of colour from God’s garden

17 09 2012

We had the opportunity to see the spectacle of flowers in South Africa’s western parts.  Every year, between August and September large sections of the dry western parts come alive with flowers.  This year the rains in winter had been very good and the flowers are displaying especially well… lucky us! 

We had only the vaguest ideas of an itinerary, we bought a new little tent for ease of movement  from a supermarket along the way and so enjoyed the freedom of exploration.  

We would hear from people along the way what they enjoyed, we used the amazing assistance of the Kleenex Flower hotline and free map of the routes (available at almost any touristy place) and followed our eyes and noses.  Most common expression of the week: “look at the…!”.  It was a wow time.

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The ranges of colours and shades in various areas was astounding.  We recognized at least 70 different kinds of blooms – there are hundreds of different kinds of flowers.

The area is so sparsely populated and farming dominates as income provision.  Often the best flowers were seen in fields that had been used for grazing or other agricultural activities previously. Windmills are a feature of so many vast fields in the area… their own floral beauty makes for some photogenic scenes!

All the patches of colour there are God’s handiwork.  We literally saw zillions of blooms.

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The local “indigenous” people group have a large amount of San / bushman blood and we saw that they still carry out ancient San ways, some even choosing to live in the old style huts.  Fascinating.

 

A LEKKER (Afrikaans for totally good) thing to do is stop and eat local. Many  dorpies (Small towns) in the area are very Afrikaans and at this restaurant we had what may be a typical Boere (farmer)meal – here I ate homemade bread with cheese and biltong filling.  Moer Coffee, made in the old farm style washed it down well. Eaten in an ancient thick-walled homestead, with authentic décor… such a special feeling! 

The number of old ruins provide excellent fodder for possible artworks:

old ruins

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Most of our trip was spent in very close communion with the camera!  My dear little camera went through batteries like never before in its existence.  I could not get the kind it needed as civilisation is incredibly sparse in the area and had to simply revel in a great deal of enjoying the sights through my own eyes and saving them in my mind.  

We had superb weather for most of the trip: sunny days (which are great, as the flowers open in response to sunlight) although nights were generally very cold.  We spent one night in The Namaqua National Park: what an experience!  Look how close we are camping to the sea, and there are not many people around at all.  It is a place for the rough: only 4×4 vehicles can get in, and one must take water for own use. Unfortunately our water canister broke, and the miserable turn of the weather pushed us out a little earlier than we had hoped, but we long to go back some time! 

Fascinating images capture the imagination, like the Quiver tree, or Kokerboom.

Collage, quiver trees

I would encourage any atheist to spend an hour in a field and explain the absence of a loving Creator. 

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These are great memories to keep with us: we have just arrived back in Tanzania, after totally amazing time in SA.  We start all over: house-hunting and fitting, getting into language and cultural differences and we had a rough time here the last stint around June.  The great news is that we have friends here already, Deon’s work situation seems good and we have a far greater sense of what we are in for.  Bring it on! 

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