F  R  E  E       W  I  L  D       W  O  R  L  D 
 A   T  r  a  v  e  l   B  l  o  g   f  o  r   t  h  e   W  i  l  d   a  t   H  e  a  r  t

 Hi, welcome to my GONZO style travel blog. If you navigate down this page you will come across some interesting content in the shape of video clips, images and vlogs

Please navigate to the BLOGS page for full blogs.

                                                                   LATEST VLOG

                                             ADVENTURES IN LALA LAND - EPISODE 2 - ERF 81

VLOG

Market Day in Kande Town, Malawi

After spending some time in Malawi I am back in the Western Cape of South Africa. I have many blogs and vlogs to edit, so for now I'm settling down for a while. I am available for video production and photography jobs in the area.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO FOR MAKUZI BEACH LODGE


PROMOTIONAL VIDEO FOR KANDE BEACH RESORT

TULBAGH ARTS FESTIVAL 2017

                                               INTERVIEW WITH THE DAGGA COUPLE

TRIPPING AFRICA 2016

5 countries - 4 months - 1 epic adventure

Related Blog: ARIKABURN 2016 

VLOGS

Tripping Africa Day 29

Meat & Shit

 

Tripping Africa Day 27

Party Time

ARTICLE

Tripping Africa Day 29

Meat & Shit

IMAGES

Tripping Africa

Random Images

  • 46
  • 50
  • 55
  • 53

VLOGS

Random Vlogs

Black Lung versus Zuma

I go to Cape Town to participate in the Black Friday anti-Zuma protests and go check out one of my favourite bands, Black Lung...


REVIEW

I review the new GoPro Hero 5 in Cape Town, South Africa...

An action camera is an essential piece of equipment for blogging, so how does the GoPro 5 fare?



VLOG

Fly Fishing the Orange River with Kalahari Outventures

We spent a stunning Sunday fishing and cooking next to the river...


VLOG

21 DAYS IN MALAWI

Day 4

Field Survey

I join the students from The Maru Research Center at Kande Beach for a field survey.

 

published on 23 July 2016

RECIPE

Boetie's Fish Parcel

Hake in a tinfoil parcel together with tomato slices, diced onion and grated cheese,  cooked on the coals... 

VLOG

(Video Blog)

How many wild animals can you hope to encounter in one afternoon in South Africa? We go to Mokala National Park just outside Kimberley to find out...

published on 13 July 2016 

_______________________________


Latest Blog

Augrabies

Augrabies is best known for the Augrabies waterfall in the Augrabies Fall National Park, but Augrabies also refers to a tiny settlement about 20 km from the park borders where a community mostly consisting of farmers and seasonal workers produces oranges, pecan nuts, grapes and raisins.  

_____

VLOG

(Video Blog)

Kalahari Hot Air Ballooning

I went ballooning with Andrew Hockly form Balloonscape, what an amazing experience! One of those things you just have to do...

published on 15 June 2016 


Hot Air Ballooning Images

_____

VLOG

(Video Blog)

River Rafting with Kalahari Outventures

 

We spent a fun day on the Orange River with Kalahari Outventures...


River Rafting Images


_____

T SHIRT (DESIGN 1)

'Ai in The Sky'

I visited Augrabies in June 2016 after I spent a week on a Karoo farm in the Boesmanland. Patrick was one of the first people I met and we ended up having many conversations in the shed in the backyard of the Augrabies Backpackers where I became a resident. The shed was where the tools were kept and the laundry was done, but it was also an informal little gathering place when we took breaks between our various jobs; me blogging away with words, images and video clips and Patrick busying himself with building projects, gathering honey or looking after his goats. 

Ai in The Sky! The man speaks...


______________________________

VLOG

Shebeen Dancer

A shebeen is an informal tavern where locals hang out and invariably have a good time by shuffling to loud music pumping from old and tattered speakers while consuming cheap beer out of large bottles. You get these places all over and in every corner of every community in Southern Africa and I love the vibe. I visit them where-ever I go...


_______________________________

What's Cooking?

Rosemary & Thyme Chicken Spatchcock

 

Butterflied chicken on the coals... 

    published on 9 June 2016 

_______________________________

What's Happening?

Tractors, channels and empty streets...

_______________________________

Latest Blog

Karoo Farm

So what happens in the middle of nowhere in Boesmanland on  a Karoo Farm? The Northern Cape Province of South Africa is home to the Karoo, a semi-desert area with wide open spaces and  profoundly loud silences

VLOG

(Video Blog)

The silence, the goats & sheep, the walk and climb up that ancient hill with the singing rocks, the camping, the rock hyrax piss tea and the medicine bush...

published on 1 June 2016 

_____

                                            Karoo Farm Ruin

This travelling lifestyle takes it's toll, I tell you. Everywhere you go it's new surroundings to adapt to, new people to meet and have conversations with and the inevitable party and boisterous socializing. All things I enjoy tremendously. But from time to time I develop a desperate craving for some silence and solitude, and I was pretty much ready for that when Kobus Swart invited me for a visit on the farm him and his father; Johan, owns and manages in the Boesmanland (a particularly harsh section of the Karoo).

"They say if you want to still your mind you have to look at the surface of the water and imagine the reflection of a bird." Kobus expresses this thought in a pensive mood.

Johan Swart is an unassuming and quiet man, a man of solitude and books, a man of wide open spaces and the sun that clings like a fiery magnet to the pale, metallic sky. The Boesmanland is a harsh place and it takes conviction and determination to farm in this area. Not many folks can cope with the isolation this lifestyle requires. “Some people have had enough after a day or two and they need to get back to the city.” 

Johan came here in 2001, escaping a 25 year stint of getting up early every day to attend to the milking of his cows on his previous farm at Koster in the North West Province of South Africa. He tells me that life was allot different when he managed the dairy. The farming community in that area was allot more social and people gathered regularly at each other's homes or at farm shows. Life is more isolated here. He talks about a time when he would only leave the farm to go to town once a month and when he had to drive 18 kilometers to get a signal at a beacon in the farthest camp so that he can stay in touch with friend's and family. I ask him if the solitude bothers him and he replies in the negative. He seems to be at ease with this existence. As we drive back home after taking out feed to his livestock we muse on how many people just talk about things because they wan't to be heard without being able to listen, and we both agree on the excess of trivial conversation and the power of silence.

Farmer, father and a man of true grit

Kobus (his son) came to the farm in 2009 after his agricultural studies at the University of Stellenbosch where he specialized in cattle production and aquaculture. For a while he worked as a development technician for the department of Agriculture but he was not cut out for the busy lifestyle where most of the day was taken up by routine and administrative tasks, so he opted for a life that would give him more freedom on the farm. Taking into account his gentle nature and sensitivity, I can see why this move to the countryside would suit his temperament. Kobus has imagination and ideas and I listened to him talk about his views on what could be done in a space like this. I'm kind of hoping to go back there some day and see some of them fulfilled. They all sounded great to me.

                           A gentle soul and a man with new ideas

Omry is a relatively small farm compared to many others in the region. It's 5 675 hectares is home to a healthy heard of Nguni's, a number of sheep, a few goats and also some chickens, a cat family in the barn and a swarm of bee's that pestered me and my sweet sherry in the little room I happily occupied. The evenings are deathly quiet with the sound of the wind generator humming an airy tune in the background. On some nights the call of a lonely jackal can be heard in the distance. Peace and quiet reigns supreme.

                  A harsh but beautiful region where cowboys don't cry

Boesmanland is a region within the greater Karoo and it's name (land of the Khoisan) refers to the people who inhabited this area in the past. It is a particularly harsh region with warm summers and cold winters. The only trees you are likely to find are the prosopis tree (also know as the mosquito tree) which was introduced from the dry southwesterly parts of the USA, Mexico and Chili as a source of cattle fodder. Unsurprisingly it did not take long for it to become a pest and a menace. The fact that it makes rather good firewood is some sort of consolation at least, and then there is the shade this 'shady' tree provides. I'm sure the livestock are very much thankful for this in the heat of summer! These extremes in temperatures is one of the reasons why this part of the Karoo is relatively disease free which makes it good place to farm with livestock. 

Kobus farms with three types of goat which he milks in order to produce a limited amount of cheese. At the moment it's on an experimental and small scale only, but he talks about developing this venture further in the future. He also farms with what is colloquially known as cancer bush. Sutherlandia frutescens is a plant well respected for it's medicinal properties. It is purported to have powerful immune boosting properties. It's leaves are bitter and aromatic and is used to make a herbal tea. It even has a reputation as a cure for cancer!                 

                  Sought after before it became a pest

The Boesmanland has it's own unique variety of shrubs that the mixture of Dorper and Meat Master sheep feed on. Names like the Boesmanland Driedoring, Jakkalspis, Krubos, Kapokbos, Kinderpieletjie and Boesmansgras attests to the imaginary use of the Afrikaans language to describe these hardy plants. The Katbos (Cat's Bush) produces a pleasantly fragrant flower, but because of it's many thorns it is useless as a feed to livestock. There you go, poetry even grows around these parts.

Mixing goat feed

I spent a week on the farm before departing for the Augrabies Backpackers where I am sitting now, writing this blog. I relished every moment of the peace and quiet and am tremendously thankful to Johan and Kobus Swart for their hospitality, sharing what they had with me and making me feel welcome and relaxed.  On the second last night we went camping on a hill. We sat next to the fire while exchanging silence and idle banter until the moon came up which blew me away completely. I remember remarking to Kobus that the moon has an aura, and that it was the first time I have become aware of this phenomena. It was an amazing experience for me and I watched the moon floating across the sky from my tent until I was overcome by sleep. I made a mental note of the colours of this aura so I could google if it was real or only my imagination, only to have it confirmed by someone at my next destination. Yes man, this is my reward for doing this crazy journey. I'm chasing magic, and it's everywhere!                    

                                            published on 2 June 2016 

                                                     _____

Karoo Farm Images


SUPPORT

_______________________________


So my crowdfunding project has just been launched. Would you like a music CD that chronicles this season's journey with original songs recorded with local artists from the places I visit?

Then go here...


_______________________________

Coming up: Full ‘Karoo Farm’ story with words, pics and video to be published on Monday 30 May 

Cleaning the water trough on a Karoo Farm

What's Next?

Time for some peace and quiet...

Do you wan't to know what happens on a farm in the Karoo in the middle of... well, some seriously trippy scenery actually? Stay tuned.  

published on 22 May 2016 

Current Blog

(published on 18 May 2016)

_______________________________

Calvinia

Calvinia is a sleepy little town just south of the Hantam Mountains on the banks of the Oorlogskloof (meaning “War Ravine” River), with broad streets which the inhabitants negotiate with an easy and relaxed gait and a refreshing approach towards the concept of the passage of time

VLOG

(Video Blog)

The town, the mystery of the lost children and the joy of eating mutton tripe...

 _____

I was looking and feeling like a fugitive that just escaped from a Spaghetti Western with Clint Eastwood and a bloodthirsty posse hot on his trail. The sun, dust, non-stop music and good times took a heavy toll on me at AfrikaBurn and I felt a desperate need to escape the noise and people. 

As I was driven to the gate with my two bags and guitar by a friend (so I can hitch a ride anywhere northwards), when we stopped next to a jovial man with an energetic spirit and a joyful glint in his eyes named Dirk. He was busy dismantling stretch tents. I inquired about the possibility of accommodation and without hesitation he offered me a few days respite at the guest rooms him and his wife; Sonja, owns in the small town of Calvinia. It is called the Republic of RusticA, and it’s one of my best finds so far in the more than eight months I have been experiencing this gypsy lifestyle.

This was a tremendous relief and I am still here, being cared for like an English Lord in colonial India, and so I decided to do a quick blog about this town in the heart of Namaqualand before I move on. 

The eclectic and wonderfully eccentric Republic of RusticA

Namaqualand refers to an arid region of South Africa (and Namibia) and forms part of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. This area is probably best known for its abundance of veldt flowers that decorate its wide plains in spring. This is known as the Namaqualand daisy season and it’s a time when a colourful abundance of many different types of flowers sprout and bloom from the normally barren soil. At this time of year this region becomes a popular tourist destination.

The name ‘Namaqua’’ refers to the indigenous population that is a subgroup of the Khoikhoi people that inhabit this area. 

 Calvinia flower season

Calvinia is a sleepy little town just south of the Hantam Mountains on the banks of the Oorlogskloof (meaning “War Ravine” River with broad streets which the inhabitants negotiate with an easy and relaxed gait and a refreshing approach to the concept of the passage of time. There is no need to rush things here. Walk into a computer shop to fix your laptop and you can expect to spend some time in languid conversation about all kinds of little things that makes life interesting, the kind of things city folk tend to ignore and miss out on in their mad dash to keep up with the Joneses. There is no need for that material attitude towards life over here. There is a type of simplicity and beauty to the flow of the verse that you simply don’t find anywhere else.

Calvinia also enjoys an abundance of starlight and is renowned for its kaleidoscope of spring wildflowers, it’s succulent mutton and it’s friendly people.  

 Calvinia Street Life

I have history in this area. Deep family roots. My grandmother had a café 118 kilometres to the south-west in Van Ryhnsdorp where I use to visit as a child. You get there by traversing the Knersvlakte just below the Van Ryhns Pass where other family relations had a sheep farm in this region with its abundance of quartz crystals that apparently made a peculiar gnashing sound when the Voortrekker wagons of times passed traversed the area. Later on she lived in an old house with a creaky wooden floor adjacent to a funeral parlour with her second husband in Niewoudtville, a mere 60 km to the south of Calvinia.

I remember the skuinskoek (diagonal cakes), the rooibos tea fresh from the farm, the curried sweetmeats and the African Grey parrot babbling noisily next to the bookshelf with tremendous fondness. She instilled a love for cooking and reading in me that perseveres to this day. I feel strangely at home in this less populated area of our country. The silence of the wide open spaces stirs a type of introspective melancholy that is hard to describe. This is good place to simply let go and spend some quality time developing your inner dialogue. Relax, slow down and inhale some peace, quiet and healthy platteland (countryside) air. 

Skuinskoek (Diagonal Cakes)

I felt immediately at home at the Republic of RusticA. It is a truly unique space with Dirk being the collector of many old an interesting things. You can spend a fair amount of time simply taking it all in. Dirk, Sonja their family and their amazing staff are also some of the most hospitable people I have ever come across. We had tremendous times in the ‘No Cry Bar’ where we cooked and socialized with friends and new acquaintances. Their non-judgmental and open-minded approach to life invigorates the space with a happy atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed and at home in this eclectic and eccentric space. It is a place I will miss, and undoubtedly revisit in the future.

_____

Calvinia Images 

                           _____

I decided to write and record songs using a combination of software on my laptop and my video camera as a sort of a mobile studio, and this is one about Calvinia. The aim is to record original songs in collaboration with local artists and to produce an album at the end of the season. This will also be a crowdfunding project.

 

(prices valid at the time of publishing)

Places to Stay 

The Republic of RusticA

Tel: 027 341 1423 / Cell: 079 552 1040

R 600 per room - B.B.

Hantam Huis

 Tel: 027 341 1606 / Email: hantamhuis@calvinia.co.za

From R 400 to R 550 p.p. - B.B.

Die Blou Nartjie

Tel: 027 3411 263

Single Room - R 430  :  Double - R 640 (R320 p.p.s.) - B.B.

Calvinia Hotel

Tel: 027 341 1512 / Email: book@calviniahotel.co.za

Single Room - R 400  :  Double - R 375 p.p. (children 2 to 10 - R200) - B.B.

Places to Eat

Hantam Huis

Curried Tripe - R 120  :  Spring-buck Pie - R 40 etc.

Die Blou Nartjie

Deboned Karoo Lamb Rib - R 105  :  Bobotie - R 85 etc.

Calvinia Hotel

Rump Streak (300 g) - R 120  :  Hamburger - R 45 etc.

Mile 250

Prawns - R 150  :  Pizzas from R 40 to R 125 etc.

Things to Do

Go Watch the Seasonal Flowers

Mountain biking

With it's broad roads, little traffic and pollution free wide expanses, Calvinia is the ideal place for this activity.



Calvinia Tourism Information 
Tel 027 341 8100 
Fax 027 341 8128
Calvinia Museum 
Tel 027 341 8500

SUPPORT


WHERE TO NEXT?

_______________________________________________________

VLOG

(Video Blog)

West Coast Day Tripping

We take a day-trip to the West Coast of South Africa...

The West Coast of South Africa has a unique and enchanting presence and it is an excellent place to get perspective on life in silent meditation while observing the ocean and listening to the sounds of nature.  

published on 10 May 2016

_______________________________

Blog 

(published on 7 May 2016)

AfrikaBurn 2016

AFRIKABURN is a yearly event in the Tankwa Karoo where free thinking folks gather to celebrate art, radical self-expression and authenticity of being. 

For me, AfrikaBurn is the best event and party of my year. This was only my second one, and it re-affirmed itself as one badass amazing gathering of beautiful folks. I don't care about the criticisms, politics and hype around it. I go there to let go, meet people, have amazing conversations with kindred spirits and re-affirm my faith in the potential of the human soul.

VLOG

(Video Blog)

 AfrikaBurn

Getting there, the art, music, party, burning and the dust...

published on 7 May 2016

It is impossible to give a truly accurate account of this event with images, video and words. There is simply too much to take in. To get an authentic experience you have to go there and live in that moment yourself, but be warned; this can be a life changing experience.

Go and get lost in the music, the conversation, the mind-blowing scenes, the moving bodies; and of course, that sacred dust. 


There is nothing like a shot of craft Absinthe with a 70% alcohol content to start dismantling unnecessary mind constructs early(ish) on a sunny day in the Tankwa Karoo at one of the most amazing festival spaces in our planetary system. It also clears out the sinuses of the dust that permeates the dry atmosphere in this semi-desert landscape approximately 300 km north of Cape Town

Take a walk around the tents and mingle with the good folk you meet, and this is the sort of thing that is bound to happen. Random conversations about snow in Michigan, the futility of permanent bonds in a world of fleeting moments and the quality of the gratis booze at the wine tent mixes freely with rhythmic shuffles in front of large speakers, big smiles and open arms.

There is art, good music, food, intoxicating beverages and great company much further than you can shoot a champagne cork, and this goes on for 24 hours a day.

I love it here. The freedom of expression, the non-judgemental and forgiving attitudes and the open heartedness makes for a very positive experience. Walk around and sing a tune out of tune, play a guitar or a drum or simply lounge around and observe the spectacle.

It’s all good in Tankwa Town. 


The only negative experience for me personally was being surrounded by a group of people cleaning around my toilet while taking (what was supposed to be a relaxing) shit. I appreciate the philosophy that all is open and that nobody cares, but you cannot enforce that religion on everybody. Some people are simply more private than others and would like to be left in peace when wiping their arse. Another approach should be considered, like maybe placing red flags beforehand to mark toilets that are about to be cleaned.

Then there is the one and only unfortunate casualty of this event so far in its history. This is a sad thing indeed and I extend my condolences to the friends and family. Unfortunately no system in this life is perfect and accidents do happen. I hope that the necessary measures would be taken to prevent something similar from happening again. 

VLOG

(Video Blog)

 AfterBurn

What happened after...







published on 7 May 2016

To conclude: if you are a free spirit with an open mind and understand the concepts of love and respect, AfrikaBurn is an event that you should experience at least once. It is an extraordinary achievement in a world that has become far too deprived of heart intelligence in general. Go there and be prepared to be amazed! 


Thank You

Republic of RusticA (Calvinia)

For the accommodation and amazing hospitality.

Tel: 027 341 1423 / Cell: 079 552 1040

Calvinia Computer Services

For sorting out my laptop and finally making it work as it should!

Tel: 027 - 341 2209 / Fax: 086 564 5958 / Cell: 072 8133 531

_______________________________


Pre Travel Season Warm-Up

VLOG

(Video Blog)

Pre Travel Season Warm-Up

Stellenbosch, Tulbagh, Cape Town...

Stellenbosch

 

STELLENBOSCH

Stellenbosch is a student town in the wine region of the Western Cape Province and it is situated about 50 kilometers from Cape Town.

What am I doing here? Well I'm finishing off a a few creative projects before I head out to AfrikaBurn.

1: I'm finishing my manuscript, it's for a fictional punkish novel which I will send off to a publisher before leaving and traveling up the coast to escape the cold Cape winters.

2: I'm also doing the final changes and edits for my music show called Taming The Sea which I will perform at the Alexander Bar in Cape Town on 17 April, my last creative act before leaving for The Burn.

3: I'm finishing the production of a short documentary about the Afrikaans version of a Bertolt Brecht play called 'Mother Courage and her Children', (Moeder Moed) that was performed in a burnt out theater (Klein Libertas Theater) in Stellenbosch as part of the Woordfees (Word Festival)

 

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is definitely one of the most picturesque towns you will come across. It has a vibrant population and is host to good wine, many great restaurants, shops, gallery's, pubs and coffee shops.


 Latest Images

 


 Say hi and leave me a message or request!