Striated Skies No. 52 – Nothing to be scared of

52. Nothing to be scared of

The Banghoek (meaning “scary corner”) valley is located over the Hellshoogte pass and an area in which I will own an estate one day. The picture for this striated sky was taken on the Oldenburg wine estate (in the Banghoek Valley) looking up at the Drakenstein Mountain Range. Banghoek Valley, got its name due to the dense forest, leopards, steep ravines and other dangers encountered by settlers.

Hellshoogte is the oldest pass in South Africa. The original Pass was built in 1692, in order to make ones way to Franschoek (where the Huguenots settled after arriving in 1688).  It was the main road to Franschhoek and for many years was regarded as a dangerous route, especially in the dark. The origins of the name is likely from the steep gullies (“hells”) on the ridge. In 1854 the road was greatly improved and used until being replaced by the new/current road in 1972.

A left turn off the R310 onto Zevenrivieren road will put the Mountains in front of you, the road winds and becomes gravel. The road is well sign posted and finding Oldenburg estate is a cinch. On arrival you are greeted by the spectacular new Cellar Door. The building was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher, and the interior design is by Kelly Hoppen.

Oldenburg is owned and run by Adrian and Vanessa Vanderspuy. Adrian was born on the neighbouring farm but his family left South Africa in the 1960’s. He would return to visit Oldenburg yearly for Christmas. Dorothy Vanrenen, Adrians grandmother, lived at Oldenburg with Helmet Holmann. In fact it is Helmet who named the farm Oldenburg in memory of his German roots in the city of Oldenburg. Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website for more history.

It was in 2002 that Adrian decided to pursue the possibility of bringing Oldenburg Vineyards back to life given that the farm had fallen into a parlous state. The vineyards were replanted from 2004-2006 and the maiden vintages of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were produced in 2007. In 2010 the first whites were produced, the reds were launched (all were included in the SA Top 100 wines)  and in 2011 the cellar door opened.   In 2014 Philip Costandius joined as General Manager and Winemaker, later that year The Homestead was opened.

Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website to find out more about this amazing place and the people who make it happen or go one step better and visit them in person, you will not regret it. The views are amazing, the wine terrific and the atmosphere spectacular.  As I said at the beginning, one day I will own a property in this valley.

oldenburg logoI have to end off this blog by saying Thanks to all the peole who have followed me and my 52 Striated Skies Project. My next big step is going to be figuring out how I can exhibit this in 2016. Here is to an awesome 2016!!!

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Striated Skies No. 51 – Namesake

51. Namesake

The St James Catholic Church building in this weeks Striated sky was opened in 1901. The church building was designed by George Ransom and built by Father John Duignam and his Filipino parishioners. The Parish of St James started in 1859 to serve the Filipino community of Kalk Bay. Given the spanish legacy of the community the name St James was chosen in honour of the apostle and fisherman, Patron saint of Spain.

The original building stood where the current station stands. When the train made its was to Kalk Bay in 1883 the church became a stopping point for the train known as St James Church Halt. By 1893 a platform was built known as St James’s. The suburb (which was part of Kalk Bay) took on the name St James. The builsing at the station building grew too small and thus was sold to Cape Government Railways for £2000 in 1900. It was with these proceeds that Fr Duignam was able to build the current building.

In 1924, the Golden Jubilee of Fr. Duignam, the stained-glass window behind the high altar was unveiled to celebrate his service to the parish.  In 1947, under the direction of Father Harold Doran, substantial alterations, including moving the entrance to the current configuration the main road, were completed. Below is a picture of the building before alterations were made.

St James has been a popular beach for many years and still retains its numerous colourful victorian bathing boxes. The suburb is a very trendy place to live and is well worth a visit together with its neighbours on the false bay coast. For more history check out KALK BAY, ST. JAMES – A brief history illustrated with postcards of a bygone era by Michael Walker.

Random Piece of information 

George Ransom also designed the Markham Building, which when completed in 1897 was the tallest building in Johannesburg (Cnr of Eloff and Pritchard). The large clock imported from Scotland has four faces North, South, East and West.  The building was known as Markham’s Folly as it stood out in the centre of Johannesburg with the clock visible for miles. The building housed the second store of Henry William Markham who arrived in Cape Town from England in 1873, setting up a successful outfitter’s business. Markhams was bought by the Foshini Group in 1968. In 1979 the building was saved from demolition

More Information on St James

Cape Town Tourism

Cape Point Route

TripAdvisor 

Striated Skies No. 50 – This is South Africa!

50. This is South Africa!

The photo that inspired this Striated Sky was taken from inside one of the boulders on the Logies Bay promontory, north of Llandudno Beach, looking towards the Mountain. Llandudno is a small residential suburb off Victoria Road just before Hout Bay. It is named after Llandudno on the Welsh coast. The area was known as Kleinkommetjie Bay until 1903 when Mrs Wege, wife of one of the directors of the Camps Bay Extension Estates, returned from a holiday to the UK and was struck by the similarity between Llandudno in Wales and Kleinkommetjie Bay.

Llandudno in Wales has rocky promontories on either side of their bay, known as Orms. These are reminiscent of the promontories at Logies Bay on the northern end and Sunset Rocks to the south, and so it was decided to christen the new township Llandudno.  The Logies Bay promontory, is made up of Cape Granite that was forced up between the surrounding sedimentary Shale by volcanic action. The rocks are weathered, some into caves, like the one from which the photo was taken.  Logies Bay also has an approx. 40-metre wide dolerite dyke alongside the granite (dark brown rock in the picture), Dykes are formed by molten lava that was squeezed between fissures in the granite before cooling. This dyke is the widest in the peninsula.* For all the Geologists out there check out this Thesis by Nils Bakeberg, it is a little over my head 🙂

Llandudno beach is absolutely stunning and in 2012 was used “by mistake” to represent the French North coast in London billboard adverts. The French tourism ads were trying to get people to go on holiday to France during the Olympics.  A London based fashion photographer, Bradford Bird, picked up that the photo was Llandudno given that he had grown up there.  According to a Telegraph article the ad agency had made a sorting error, apologised and changed the picture to one of France. I am sure that they just adored the beauty of the South African coast and had to use the picture ;-).

If you would like to own a piece of this beautiful seaside suburb you will need between R8.5 – R50 Million. If you earn a currency other than Rand now if the time to buy as you could scoop up a stunning 4 bedroom on the rocks for US$2.8M (£1.86M) or if you are on a budget and don’t mind a walk to the beach you can buy a stunning 5 bedroom family Villa for US$812k (£533k). You will not regret having your own spot on a piece of the most beautiful coastline in the world, what are you waiting for….

 

More information

* History of Llandudno

Cape Town Tourism

Llandudno Map

Striated Skies No. 49 – Where is Jan Dissels?

49. Where is Jan Dissels?Clanwilliam is a town, nestled at the foot of the Cederberg mountains, 230km north of Cape Town. The first residents arrived in approximately 1662 although the permanent settlement, Jan Disselsvalleij, was only established in 1725. Sir John Cradock renamed the town after his father-in-law, the Earl of Clanwilliam in 1814.

Clanwilliam is a picturesque town of white Cape Dutch homesteads. It is centrally situated with a variety of attractions around it to satisfy nature-lovers, adventurers, flower-viewers and watersports enthusiasts alike.  The town is the centre of the Rooibos tea industry, in the Cederberg, with factory visits and rooibos products on offer. The Clanwilliam Dam is renowned as the best in the Western Cape for water skiing and is also popular with anglers. 

At present a R2bn project is underway to increase the Full Supply Level (FSL) of the dam by raising the dam wall by 13 m, providing an additional 70 million cubic metres of water a year to downstream farmers. The dam was originally built in 1935 with the wall being raised in 1964. The project is aimed for completion in 2020. As part of the project the realigning of a portion of the N7 road is taking place as the current road will be flooded once the dams capacity is increased. Find out more information here and here.

The Dutch Reformed Church is one of the beautiful buildings that grace the streets of Clanwilliam. Others include the Jan Dissels original home, the St John’s Church, the old gaol, the magistrates court and many more. The Dutch Reformed Church depicted above was designed by Carl Otto Hager and was built in 1864, in the same gothic style as used in his Piketberg Church. The St John’s Anglican Church, shown below, was designed by Sophie Gray and was built in 1866. Sophie Gray was the wife of Bishop Robert Gray. When they arrived in the Cape in 1847 there were 10 Anglican churches and upon the Bishops death, 25 years later, there were 63. Sophie Gray designed 40 of the churches [this could be a future striated skies project 😉 ]

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I need to go back to the Cederberg to stay and explore more. I would suggest that you do the same. Check out the links below for more information.

 

 

 

Striated Skies No. 48 – Is it the Spirit of Cape Town?

48. Is it the Spirit of Cape Town?

Taken on a beautiful day in Cape Town, the picture that inspired this striated sky shows a CMACGM container ship leaving the harbour as smaller vessels sail about. The picture is taken on Haul Rd looking North East towards Bloubergstrand.  This blog is divided into three parts: Cape Town Harbour, CMACGM and the Dolosse

Cape Town Harbour

The Cape Town Harbour sees a large majority of Fruit and Fish exports out of South Africa. It is by no means the largest harbour and other harbours are planned to overtake it in terms of yearly tonnage. For a detailed breakdown of the South African harbours and Transnet’s future planning check out this document. Cape Town Harbour has grown over the years, starting with the Victoria and Alfred basin (now home to the V&A waterfront) and expansion to its current location, there are plans to continue its expansion.

CMACGM

The Story of CMACGM is quite an inspiring one. The company is the result of a merger when state owned CGM was privatised. Jacques Saadé started CMA in 1978 with one ship operating between Beirut, Lattakia, Marseille, and Livorno. There were 4 employees. The company continued to grow and in 1996 the CMA industrial plan was selected by the French government and Saadé turned CGM around in under a year. In 1999 the companies merged to form the 12th largest shipping company in the world. In 2000 they were voted best shipping company in the world and are currently the 3rd largest with a capacity of 13 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit i.e. no. of containers) a year. One of their 470 vessels (with a combined capacity of 1,880,000 TEUs) is named “Spirit of Cape Town”.

Dolosse

On the right hand side of the picture you can see some dolosse protecting the coast from erosion. The reason I have decided to write a little bit about the dolosse is that they are a South African invention. The Dolos was invented in 1963 by East London harbour engineer Eric Merrifield (possibly together with Aubrey Kruger) after a storm ripped off 60% of East London harbour’s armour. The design is an H shape with one leg turned 90 degrees. The dolosse fit together forming a porous wall that allows the dissipation of energy when waves hit it. Dolosse are used on coastlines around the world. The Dolos Breakwater Block Memorial, can be seen at the East London Harbour.