Back to the Lighthouse (again)

Slangkop Lighthouse is like a colossal magnet the way it keeps pulling me back to try and capture the perfect shot.  I should have waited until there were dramatic clouds and a blazing autumn sky to photograph, but this iconic landscape still gives me something different every time I drive there at sunset.

Water Bottle Wars

My back garden is like a war zone at the moment. The horrible drought that has taken a grip on Cape Town has forced more and more wild birds to leave their mountainside habitat and look for water in domestic gardens. Lately I’ve had species of sunbird I don’t normally get to see in my garden coming to feed and the squabbles and antics are fascinating to witness.

Dry and hot weather results in quite a few scraps among the different species.  Most of the time it’s like watching kids in a playground as they fight for a spot at the spout.

Although sometimes different species do  get along and it’s quite a civil affair.

There are more take offs and landings in my garden than at Heathrow at the moment 🙂

And then there are the domestic disputes. Or maybe it was a mating ritual. Either way I photographed their interaction for 10 minutes. In heat of 32 degrees C !!

As for the ubiquitous and gutsy Cape White Eyes, there’s often a tag team to take on the competition – although squabbles amongst themselves are equally common 🙂

Then there are the playground bullies who scare everyone else away.  Male weaver birds are notorious thugs.

And the shy guys.  Cape Bulbuls are regular visitors but are always on high alert while the other species are uber bold by comparison.

Autumn Sunrise

This is the reward for waking up early at this time of the year to photograph the sunrise across False Bay on a Sunday morning 🙂

Not a breath of wind near the yacht basin in Simonstown either, where the pastel hues of pink and blue and lilac reflected on the wet shoreline.  #blissfulSundays

The face of Defiance …..

who ignored me four times when I tried to stop him going in the ocean because I didn’t want a wet car.

I swear I could almost hear his cognitive parts clicking in his head as he bolted across the rocks, leash and all, and him thinking “bugger you”.  It’s a Labrador thing I know, but I was not amused 🙂

You are in the dogbox Toby – well figuratively at least.

Apes in the Snow

Most of my subject matter in Morocco was people and places, so it was a real treat to do a little wildlife photography while driving through the cedar and pine forests and barren, rocky landscapes of the Middle Atlas Mountains on the way to Midelt.

This area is populated by nomadic shepherds tending their flocks, while the cedar forests are home to Barbary apes, North Africa’s only monkey, who were totally unfazed by the thick layer of snow on the ground.  They are fairly habituated as far as tourists go, but seemed to be a lot more relaxed than the Chacma baboon troops on the Cape Peninsula where I live, where the interaction between man and baboon has become problematic*.

See some of my earlier posts about the Chacma baboons that share the place I call home by following the links below:

https://theearthbeneathmyfeet.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/the-da-gama-park-baboons/

https://theearthbeneathmyfeet.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/close-encounters-of-the-hairy-kind/

Fragments of Marrakech

I really didn’t enjoy Marrakech at all.

It had nothing to do with being tired from being on the road (and my feet) for two whole weeks, or having spent double my budgeted spending money by then, or the garish pink hotel room (yep, bright pink from floor to ceiling), or the chaos that is the Place Djemaa el-Fna – the marketplace and square renowned for its’ snake charmers, acrobats and story-tellers.  Nor the exorbitant entrance fee for Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle, within easy walking distance of my hotel. Perhaps it had a bit to do with the Medina where you are harassed more than anywhere else in Morocco, as by then I really was fed up of being harassed.

But more than all of that, I really felt that Marrakech had no soul compared to the rest of Morocco.  Days later, in a taxi ride to the airport in Casablanca, my taxi driver surprised me by agreeing with me.

And so my photos of Marrakech are not an all-encompassing view, but rather a tiny glimpse of a city whose name alone has fascinated travelers for centuries and I do wonder about that train ride from Casablanca that inspired Graham Nash to pen a psychodelic pop song about the hippie trail in Morocco that would become a massive hit for Crosby Stills Nash.  I love the song* by the way, if not the city 🙂

The photos were all taken inside the hurly burly crazy souk.

Chicken doesn’t get fresher than this.  Note the egg laid in the crate despite the confined space.

The local dentist advertising his wares …..

A trip to the local laundromat.

The local taxi rank.

And finally a shot taken from a rooftop restaurant where I sadly discovered a man living on a neighbouring rooftop in a makeshift tent.

* Marrakech Express

Essaouira in Black and White

Charming blue doors and quaint harbour aside, Essaouira is a photographer’s dream.  On my first day there I had enough material to fill a book, perhaps even two.

And so I took a chance the next day and photographed everything in black and white.  I was delighted with the results 🙂

img_0065conv

img_0107conv

img_0133conv

img_0117conv

img_0051conv

img_0136conv

img_0173conv

img_0169conv

img_0164conv

img_0142conv

img_0129conv

img_0128conv

img_0083conv

img_0080conv

img_0061conv

img_0041conv

img_0125conv img_0168conv img_0062conv

 

 

Essaouira

I fell head over heels in love with Essaouira, the gorgeous seaside town that was the repite from the chill of my sojourn in the High Atlas Mountains and where lunch came straight out of the ocean.

img_9931conv-2 img_9929conv  img_9764conv

I could happily live in Essaouira with its orderly Medina and lovely eateries tucked away in the side streets. And the gelato sold on the Square, where I had the closest thing ever to Bangkok’s famed coconut ice-cream.

img_9720convimg_9901conv img_9890conv img_9867conv

The quaint harbour reminded me of Kalk Bay back home, but with a North African backdrop 🙂  It’s little wonder that Essaouira was chosen as a location to film Game of Thrones.

img_9779convimg_9759convimg_9758convimg_9824conv  img_9820conv img_9807conv img_9803conv

img_9795conv

I could do without the seagulls though.  Their loud shrieks throughout the night kept me awake. So did the accoustics in the Riad where the one towel they gave me was so thin it was fraying.

img_9771conv

Four years ago I made a rule that I will never visit the same place on my Bucket List twice because there are so many other places I still want to see.  I made one exception after visiting Chobe in 2015.  And I will make another for Essaouira 🙂