Travelling to Tanzania: Zanzibar day 2&3

On Day 2 I planned to do the Palace Museum, the old Dispensary, get some fabric for my mother and to explore the island on my way to Kuza Cave. I unfortunately had to spend an hour at Zanzibar airport as my flight to Arusha was somehow cancelled after I booked and paid online. This was rather frustrating but guy at the airport sorted it out and gave me a pen to apologise. I did manage to see a few places around Stone Town like the Palace Museum and the Old Dispensary which were quick tours that were not that interesting to be honest. I then headed out onto the road. SIDE NOTE: There are so many interesting doors in Zanzibar and you can actually do a door tour. I took so many door pictures but yet to do anything with them :-).

Driving in Zanzibar was interesting there are so many motorbikes that you have to watch out for and they do not paint their speed bumps so always be on the lookout for speed bumps or be ready for a thump every now and then. The traffic leaving Stone Town was rather hectic and going over 50km/hr was not possible. The road conditions were OK with a few potholes here and there. Better than what I experienced in Dar. I got to Kuza Cave at around 3pm and pretty much immediately went down to the Cave to have a swim. The Cave is pretty awesome and the pool is 6m deep at the deepest point. With a diving mask you can do a swim in a short tunnel which is pretty cool. There are little white insects in the one part of the pool that do bite which gives a little sting but nothing too dramatic. At the bottom of the pool there is a fossilised human femur which is evidence of early human life. The Kuza Cave is a great place to visit and Natalie who runs the Non Profit is awesome. I highly recommend a visit if you are going to Zanzibar.

For dinner I went down the coast to Blue Moon resort for dinner with Amy and Sigmund. The resort was amazing and the staff so friendly. The resort is built right on the beach and the dinner was very good. We ate and drank and spoke and spoke and then spoke some more. I ended up only leaving at around 1am.

The next morning Natalie arranged for me to go out on a traditional dow with an old fisherman and her young son. We went out to the reef to do some snorkelling and then some fishing. The experience was awesome. Natalie’s 11 year old son had a homemade spear gun that he used to catch fish while he was snorkelling. Unfortunately the tide was quite high and so the snorkelling was not as good as it could have been and you had to dive down quite deep in order to see things close up. Once we finished snorkelling we did some fishing with hand line. I caught one fish and we caught 13 in total. We were out at sea for about 6hrs and I added to the sunburn but it was worth it. #SunscreenInnovationRequired

I got back to the Cave and pretty much immediately left for my last night in Zanzibar which I spent at La Madrugada Beach Hotel & Resort. I found a 70% off special which I booked 2 days before visiting. The resort was a little dated but was very comfortable and the pool was very inviting. I put my bags in the room and headed straight to the pool for a sunset swim. I had an early dinner, a vegetarian pizza which was great. The staff at the resort were awesome and I had many interesting conversations. I jumped into bed early as I had to leave just before 5am in order to catch the ferry to Dar. Oh just a word of warning the resort accepted a credit card but they added 5% to the amount paid and so you should factor this in. This was quite common on the trip.

The next morning I got up really early and took the drive to Stone Town. About 20min into the drive while it was still dark I saw torch lights in the distance and it turned out to be a bunch of people singing and jogging down the road. Seemed like a protest. They asked me to turn off my lights and drive with my emergency lights only as they ran past. There must have been about 100 people. #Strange

I arrived in Stone Town and dropped off my rental car and waited at the gate for the ferry to open. The ferry left on time at 7am and we were off to Dar. Check out the next instalment to hear about my interesting drive to the airport and my safari…

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!!!

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. 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

Striated Skies No. 47 – True Colours

Striated Skies

Taken on the corner of Chiapinni St and Helliger Ln, this striated sky depicts the sun shining in on the colourful homes of the Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town between Buitengracht St, Strand St and Carisbrook Street. The area is home to the largest collection of pre-1850 architecture in South Africa as well as the oldest Mosques. Previously known as the Malay quarter, the area was where free slaves settled in the 18th Century. Most slaves were from South East Asia and the name Malay is not necessarily correct but is what history gives us.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 8.01.01 AMBo Kaap

I sat for many hours reading up on the internet and watching videos about the Bo Kaap to decide what I should write about and what to name this piece. All the information reminded me how in society we are so often polarised, black or white. Bo Kaap was once a microcosm of different cultures but Apartheid took that away with the group areas act making the Bo Kaap a “Cape Malay” area.

One topic that is hot right now is the gentrification of the Bo Kaap. Given its close proximity to the city, makes the Bo Kaap a great place for outsiders to buy up homes that are in disrepair and to restore them. Many people see this as a great opportunity as house prices increase and the area develops. The down side of this is that original dwellers can no longer afford to live in the area and are “forced” to sell their homes thus resulting in a loss of the cultural heritage of the area.

The question we have to ask is: are the Bo Kaap’s true colours not in the culture of the residents as opposed to the brightly coloured buildings. What attracts tourists to the area? I believe that we need to make sure that the areas cultural heritage is kept in tact and that while the upliftment and development of the area is required it should not come at the expense of local’s heritage and history.

The beauty of the Architecture in the Bo Kaap is one aspect of the area, I would suggest a visit to see the amazing beauty but look at learning a little about the people of the area, this is some advice that I need to take up myself.

 

Some of the Sources of my information:

In 2012 Helen Gibb released a series of documentaries on YouTube which give a personal account of history and the current state of Bo Kaap (unfortunately part 5 of the series is muted to apparent copyright infringement).

Siteseer.tv encourage tourists to visit the Bo Kaap as well as many other Cape Town destinations.

Anouk Zijlma writes a great article o the Bo Kaap here

Bo Kaap Mapping 

Cape Chameleon Cover Story

Bo Kaap Museum website 

Cape Town Hoods Bo Kaap Page