Starting our return journey back to Cape Town we stayed at a place just north of Mossel Bay which was at the foot of a mountain range with fantastic views everywhere. This was the view from one of the room’s windows.
There was riding as well as flat green bowls and squash available at this place. I sat in the morning light and sketched some of the horses in the paddock.
Then into Mossel bay which didnt look very promising at first with its oil refinery and business quarter but the old town was very pleasant. Sitting at a beach side cafe under the old lighthouse watching the dolphins surf the incoming waves in the bright December sunshine was better than Liverpool in the snow.
Down to Plettenberg bay. We had a 10k walk along the Robben Peninsular which, I was told later, a few dont return from. At the end it was hard going but we made for a pristine beach where the breakers pounded in and I rested my weary bones and did this sketch after cooling my feet in the crystal sea.
Another sketch from the same area on a different day. The cliffs tower above you though I think rockfalls are rare, they do occur from time to time.
So on to Stellenbosch to taste a few wines. I must admit I thought that the vineyards would be on the northern slopes in the southern hemisphere, but apparently not as I sat here facing north with the vines behind me, but I felt the mountain backdrop, with the grassland in front, was a better subject to paint .
Then on to Oudshoorn, further east. Here I sat at the gates of our hotel facing up to some of the shacks many of the black community live in. Some people’s housing in South Africa is appalling, although the whites seem to live in opulence, surrounding themselves with razor wire and electric fences. We have some pretty bad places in the UK, but nothing to what I have seen in South Africa. Someone said to me that they stable their horses in better conditions
The animal head sellers who stationed themselves just below our hotel balcony in Simonstown, south of Capetown seemed a good subject until they decided to up and leave mid session. There were two of them on the seafront pitch. The brains of the operation, I presume he was, as he didnt do much work, standing up and the head maker sitting under the shade making the strange animal heads out of wire. It might have been better if I had moved them up the page, but you dont notice these things in the haste of getting it down.
We then went to the end of the peninsular and sat on the Cape of Good Hope and I painted some of Cape Point. The cliffs are breathtaking and not for those who suffer from vertigo. I dont think I captured the plummeting cliffs very well, but it was great sitting in the sun painting. Fortunately a troop of baboons made their way past and headed for the beach, so leaving me in peace. It was a great place to visit.
I have missed a couple of days painting and blogging. In Namibia two men took care of the arrangements and cooking. Here we have to do it ourselves and what with the travel, it is only now I have got back to the painting.
I found the views south of Cape Town stunning and I’ve only been a few miles down the road so far. This is one of the views of the mountains plunging into the sea, done quickly in the middle of the day. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll get some time to do a few more. Anyway I do have plenty of photos.
So on to the Etosha pan and the Okaukuejo waterhole. Our room was yards from the actual waterhole which to my dismay was artificial, but boy did it attract some wildlife. The others went off on a game drive but I just sat in the shade and watched the animals come and go throughout the afternoon. I sat and sketched them in pencil, somewhat difficult as they kept getting spooked by flocks of birds flying off the trees. A couple of the pages are below.
I then did the watercolour at the top.
After this we went to another waterhole at Namutoni, this time real, but it only seemed to attract birdlife, so I decided to paint the old German fort, incongruously next to the waterhole.
It was very sad that they were doing very little with the fort, as opposed to the old German Police station at the Waterberg Plateau park which was used as a restaurant and had a very elegant veranda running around it and where you could breakfast. Why they needed a police station in the middle of nowhere was beyond me.
I quickly did a view of the sandstone cliffs you had to climb to get onto the plateau. It needed to be fast as a patrolling baboon was
likely to return after inspecting the rubbish bins for food and make off with my painting. Unfortunately for you readers he wasnt successful.
Anyway next stop Cape Town and, hopefully, a little less rushed itinerary, which may improve the sketching.
The tour continues moving inland to the Brandberg Mountains which contains the highest peak in Namibia. This basalt plug, the remains of an extinct volcano glows red in the morning sunshine giving the impression of it being alight. This was painted in the afternoon in the manicured grounds of the lodge.
Still further inland towards the Etosha salt flats in the evening light as the distant hills constantly changed colour in the decaying light.