Cape Town Aerials

Magnificent Cape Town

I am fortunate to be taking the progress of the construction of the new Portside Towers Building on the foreshore.

The site of the Portside Towers in the CBD

RDP houses Kayalitsha

I have to take bimonthly progress photo and bimonthly aerial photographs taken by helicopter. The helicopter takes off from Cape Town international and that gives me a chance to photograph different parts of the City before getting down to work. Here is a small sample of the collection I am building up for a possible Future book? I would like to add that the building that Murray & Roberts are undertaking is progressing a spectacular pace and changes on a daily. To start off lets see where the new office block is being constructed. Taking off from the airport we fly over Kayalitsha with its RDP houses and shacks The shacks are built on any piece of vacant ground right up to the N2 motorway.

Crowded shacks next to the N2 motorway

A school drifts pass us below then a green mosque.

New school

Green Mosque

As we approach the harbour we fly past the yacht club with all the yachts safely moored. Then a container vessel waiting to be loaded.

Container cranes on the wharf

A series on container cranes on the wharf. Near the dock multi coloured contain make surprising patterns from the air .

Colourful cotainers

On our return trip we pass the Cape Town Observatory.

Cape Town Observatory

Then  old power station which makes a fascinating image.

The old power station

Factories and a car storage depot also come into view

New Cars

Our stead for these images THANKS TO THE STAFF AT CIVAIR

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Yesterday ,which was a public holiday in South Africa, I joined a group of enthusiastic people and councillors on a clean up operation in the part of Kayalitsha known as C3,the original township serving Cape Town

Start of operation Clean up

Start of Operation Clean Up

There must have been at least a hundred people involved, although it did seem that the majority were women. At 9am we set off up the main street and people armed with black refuse bags and protected with latex gloves started their work.

From the start the reaction from the local residents, including the the numerous taxis plying their trade in the area.

Spaza (shop) sign

After 2 hours many black bags were filled, these were taken away by Cape Town municipality. I was invoved in taking the photographs for the product, but I must admit that it was a marvelous opertunaty to photograph the many “shops” in the area.

I fully believe that it is a perfect area to take tourist to see, a view shared by the local councillor for the area.

Safety is not a concern here we were generally welcomed with open arms, and providing you ask permission, which is only polite, nobody minds you taking photographs

I you really want to find out about the life in Kayalitsha get out and walk, with a guide, and talk to the residents.

Relaxing on a public hoilday Kahalitsha style

Relaxing on a public hoilday Kahalitsha style

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Green Point Urban Park Cape Town

I have just completed my second walk around Green Point Park, which is situated right next to the new Cape Town Stadium.

One of the many types of simple exercise apparatus available for all to use

Natural grassland at the entrance to the park

This place is well worth a visit. Not only are there 3 well laid out paths to follow but there are also some well thought out themes.

As you enter the west gate near the light house, (entrance is free!) the area on the right is left as natural grass land with the grass at this time starting to go to seed. This area is home to small rodents and birds, who obviously enjoy feeding off the grass seed. On the left of this is an area with many simply exercise  machine suitable for the whole family.

Travel further along the path and you arrive at a building housing really spacious  public conveniences at one side, and a future restaurant or shop at the other.

Two children’s play areas are currently being completed, one for the younger folk and one for the older children, resplendent with very natural looking play equipment. The ground around the swings and climbing apparatus has been paved with a kind of cork silicone mixture in the interests of safety.

Older children's play ground

Soon to be completed children's play centre

In the centre of the park adjoining the golf course is wonderful stretch of water that brings back a bit of Cape Town history.  In the 1800s, there was a large lake covering a wide area which was eventually filled in for health and sanitary reasons. Around the rim of which are areas subdivided into: a biodiversity area, a natural food area, and a natural plant medicine area. Also on show is a area illustrating how nature is being destroyed by farming, housing and fires.

All the plants are very well marked and details of their uses are giving, very educational in a friendly and informative way.

I particularly liked the metal statues depicting various animals to be found naturally.

Metal tortoise

In the lake were Canada Geese and Coots both with very young chicks, they obviously feel safe in these surroundings as there are plenty of reeds for them to nest in.

Canada Goose and family in the very large pond

Walking further towards the City, one crosses the Stepping Stone Bridge. On the left hand side is a big metal water wheel which works when a pump is switched on by an electronic timer.

An auditorium with grass seating is situated at the top end of the park, complete with stage lighting. Presumably concerts will be arranged there, in a similar way to those held at Kirstenbosch.

The whole park has been very well planned and laid out and should become a valuable asset to the residents of Green Point and Cape Town.

An ideal place to come and relax in the sun or to jog around the many paths.

Security appears to be good, the park closes at 7pm and all the gates are locked so no vagrants will make their home there!

I hope the folk in Cape Town treasure their park and avoid any vandalism or littering.

Well done to Cape Town City Council making good use of some of the revenue they received from the Football World Cup.

More images from the park

Colour in the park

Colour In the park


Destruction of natural lands by farming


Well laid out signage

Beaded fish

Information by way of signage  

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Your Antarctica Photos — National Geographic

Your Antarctica Photos — National Geographic.

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Top 10 Sacred Caves – Travel – National Geographic

Top 10 Sacred Caves – Travel – National Geographic.

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Cape Town Observatory

Last week my neighbour, who happens to be the chairman of the Western Province Astronomical  Society invited me to accompany him on a visit to the Cape Town Observatory where he was helping to supervise the repairs to the dome of one of the observatories in preparation of a visit by several astronomers from around the world.

The Mclear Telescope with the shutters removed

I can only remember going there many years ago and the visit came as a pleasant surprise.

The complex now serves as the headquarters for the astronomers working at SALT (Southern Africa Large Telescope) at Sutherland.

However the main aim of the Society was to repair the observatory with a view to bringing school children to visit the observatory hopefully encouraging them to take more of an interest in science and technology.

The first impression you get on entering the complex is the well laid out gardens and the many buildings dotted around the site.

The Maclear Observatory so named after the benefactor Frank Mclear of Rusthall Kent in England (the astronomer at the time being a Mr David Gill) is the main attention of our visit this time. Unfortunately the dome and the shutter to the telescope has been leaking for some time and the building has started to fall  into disrepair.

Plaque on the side of the observatory

The main operation we wanted to watch was the dismantling of the huge steel shutters to take them to the steelworkers for repair and repainting. The two of them are so big that they had to be cut into smaller sections for transportation. The rust will be repaired and the steelwork repainted in cold galvanising.

A the building housing the telescope, which was originally called the Victory telescope and later changed to the the Mclear telescope was built in 1896. It is hardly surprising that the dome is in need of maintenance.

What was astonishing  was the material for the main dome is a type of hardboard covered in a rubberised waterproof membrane presumably added at a later date.

Once inside the dome the telescope is indeed an impressive site as is the building itself unlike other observatories where  astronomer has to climb a ladder to look through the telescope in this building the floor surrounding the telescope actually rises to enable the astronomer to comfortable work at the telescope, all this in the 1890s!

The inner workings of the observatory

The history of the site goes further, not only was it the first observatory in South Africa, but in a small building next to the Mclear Observatory.After observing a new meteor the first attempts at astronomical photography in the world were undertaken and proved that photography could indeed become an integral part of astronomy.

In the numerous buildings lots of different discoveries were to take place. In the grounds there is even a flowering plant found nowhere else. Also in the grounds set in one of the lawns there is a monument with a a brass plaque set in the side, this is the exact line of GMT ( Greenwich mean time meridian)

If you are in the area it would be a good idea to pay the observatory a visit.

Lifting one half of the telescope shutter

Set in the lawn the GMT plaque

The inner workings of the observatory

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Southern California

I have just returned from a very nice trip from San Diego to Central Valley .

The Central Valley (also known as The Valley) is a large, flat valley that dominates the central portion of the U.S. state of California. It is home to California’s most productive agricultural efforts. The valley stretches approximately 450 miles (720 km) from northwest to southeast inland and parallel to the Pacific Ocean coast. Its northern half is referred to as the Sacramento Valley, and its southern half as the San Joaquin Valley. The Sacramento valley receives about 20 inches of rain annually, but the San Joaquin is very dry, often semi-arid desert in many places.

The two halves meet at the huge Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, which along with their tributaries drain the majority of the valley. The Delta is a large expanse of interconnected canalsstreambeds, sloughs, marshes and peat islands. The Central Valley covers an area of approximately 22,500 square miles (58,000 km2), making it slightly smaller than the state ofWest Virginia.

Rows upon rows of lavender

Specfically  Lavender Farm is situated near the small town called Centre Valley. This farm is situated some 45 miles from San Diego along some very senic drives.

The farm is owned and run by Alicia Wolff . Alicia ,who originally hales from Cape Town which she left in 1989.

When she saw The Lavender Fields in 2008 she instantly felt a connection to the land. There is an energy on this property, located in the foothills of Palomar Mountain, that brings a deep feeling of serenity, coupled with the sweet fragrance of lavender.

“Come and walk our living labyrinth or sit in our meditation garden.  We also have a peace garden where you can plant a lavender plant in memory of a loved one. The color “lavender” is for general cancer awareness.  A portion of our profits will be donated to cancer research.” Alicia

I have never seen so many species of lavender including a rather rare white lavender.

The tea and general shop

Available on the farm is a small shop sell antiques and all sorts of lavender produce. There is also a small tea room serving delightful lavender scones accompanied  with lavender jam. Also available is, of course lavender honey.

What a delightful farm in a wonderful setting and certainly betters the lavender farms in Franschhoek!

The farm is also a lovely setting for a wedding or that special event.

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