Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Beautiful Landscapes

We have so many aesthetically pleasing landscapes in our country! Today I'd like to share some of these with you. On various occasions I've been overseas (of which I might one day also share photos on this blog!?) but nowhere have I experienced such deep admiration for natural splendour as my country, South Africa, presents manifold.

I took the 2 photos (above) on two different occasions and from two different angles as representative of vineyards and country-style living just outside Stellenbosch (Western Cape) during visits with tourists to the Neethlingshof Wine estate. Either flanked by hills or the Hottentot-Hollands mountains forming a magnificent backdrop, the area is a natural paradise - apart from being world-famous for the great wines produced here.

I think of this as my "signature" photo because I use it on the cover of a CD I filled with photos taken all over South Africa (available to whoever is interested). It's a collection similar (and "uncut"!) to what I "publish" on this blog. The photo (left) was taken during a visit to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and represents what I find typical of what South Africa has to offer - wide, open spaces, wild animals in their natural habitat, a sky so clear and blue that a few clouds only enhance the image, etc. etc.

This rural scene (right) in KwaZulu-Natal was taken in the Cathedral Peak vicinity of the Drakensberg region. I think of it as a typical example of how and where a great proportion of our ethnically diverse population lives - in this case, the amaZulu.

This photo (left) represents a scene from an "untouched" area, which unfortunately doesn't feature on most tourist itineraries covering our vast country, because it's right on the northern border of South Africa. Most travelers - foreigners as well as locals - seldom make the effort to visit this natural as well as cultural significant "treasure house", i.e. Mapungubwe. It's another one of our (so far 8) World Heritage Sites, which attained UNESCO status (I will cover this in more detail in the near future). Here, 3 countries meet - South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. This photo was taken of the Limpopo River just "below" its confluence with the Shashe River.

Something "different" (although similar to the first 2 photos) in the sense that this landscape is "man-made". It's a photo taken at Kirstenbosch, our National Botanic Garden (in Cape Town), where on more than 500ha, over 5000 species of mainly indigenous flora are on "open" display. Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch was founded in 1913 on land, which Cecil John Rhodes had purchased in 1895. In his testament (he died in 1902), Rhodes bequeathed the land (part of his Groote Schuur estate) to the people of Cape Town.

This is one of the photos I store under the heading "Mood" in my collection, because of its aesthetic ambience. It's a scene along the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula - on the way to Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope. I just can't stop marveling at the "smorgasbord" of colours in this photo.

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