In The Boudoir With Thembi

Can we do some boudoir photography? Thembi asked me.

At least we gave it a try…

Fine Art Nude In Pilanesberg

It was in a shopping mall outside Pilanesberg Nationalpark, where i met this young, beautiful lady the first time. The talk lead to photography, more specific to beauty and fashion photography, modeling and so on. Thembi admits she wants to have a photo shoot, but there wasn’t any nice location around but Pilanesberg, the beautiful national park with its stunning landscape. The idea of having esthetic photos from her body in beautiful nature raised.

From the start, Thembi was a natural talent. She felt comfortable with the environment, moved smooth and confident and gave that look of a strong woman to the camera. We had so much fun, visited different locations, where it was not only beautiful, but of course, also safe to leave the car. After hours of photo shoot, we brought home a bunch of really nice, interesting pictures, but see, and judge, for yourself.

However Thembi had so much fun, she asked me for more photo shoots, but that’s another story for the next blog. Stay tuned!

The Ancient Mine Of Ngwenya / Eswatini

After paying a small entrance fee, the guard at the gate jumped in my car and joined me up to the mine. We got to a halt in front of a huge dip. That’s all? That’s the mine? I asked myself a bit disappointed. From the oldest mine on earth I was expecting something more exciting. 

I was doubting about the age of this mine, till I looked up on Wikipedia about Ngwenya Mine. As my guide told me, the scientist dating back the first use of the hematite, or iron ore, for more than 40,000 years. It was used in the stone age for coloring the skin, probably as protecting from the sun.

But first we stepped into the remains of the former museum, which burned down by wildfire a couple years ago. Just in front of the ruins lies the deep hole from the old commercial mine. There are two more dips, the guide explains me. We drove further and parked at another mine dip, filled with water. 

From here we got on our feet and walked up to the highest point, the top of Mount Ngwenya. The last steps are on a steep latter. Stairways to heaven, slipped in my mind and followed me for awhile. From the top, a green wide valley opened up in front of my eyes. The sun rays plays with the clouds, draws pattern in the green landscape. The clouds sprays rain over it, as if it’s in a playful competition with the sun.

Eventually we got to the cave I mentioned earlier. Reddish rocks and ground all around here. Easy to imagine how the early homo sapiens was impressed of that colorful stone. My guide picked up some hematite and rubbed it on the back of my hand to demonstrate how the skin got colored. With the reddish stain on my hand we left the place, still imagining how 40000 years ago people was wandering these beautiful hills.

The Ngwenya Glass Factory In Eswatini

A pretty building with nice cafe and a small park, I thought when I parked my car. The entrance lead me into a showroom full of glassy souvenirs, but also nice vases and drinking glasses. 

Stairs goes up to a door. Behind that I found myself on a balcony overlooking the workshop. Red hot, molten glasses from an oven become nice wine glasses.mIt seems so easy, but certainly needs some skill to produce it all so perfectly.

However, I ended the short tour not with a glass, but a cup of espresso in my hand.

Hike in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Eswatini

The sun shines trough the green canopy of the trees in my camp. It’s better weather than predicted. With the morning coffee i decided to go for a hike in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This became almost a routine when in Eswatini. The view from Mount Nyonyane is just great and opens the land in direction of Manzini. The West is overlooking the green mountains of Eswatini.

I finished my coffee next to the yellow python from the ‚Legend backpackers hostel‘ and got even a feathered guest on the veranda. More wildlife is waiting for me in the Sanctuary. That’s something great in that park, one can hike trough free roaming wildlife. No dangerous predators around, except the crocodiles in water and snakes in the bush.

Already after i passed the entrance gate, impalas, kudus and other antelopes blocking my way and gazing at me. Different species of birds singing from the trees or hidden in the bush. Just the hippos and crocodiles dived under water and not wanted to be seen this time.

At the main camp i learned the way isn’t in good condition due the heavy rain in the past days. They recommended to me to drive up to the side of the mountain and hike along the ridge. This is also a shorter walk, since there’s a chance of more rain in the afternoon.

A steep, earthen road trough dense forest brings me up to the ridge. Not without to get stopped from some workers, who just freed the road from big fallen rocks. They warned me from deep ruts in the road up, but the Land Rover took it with ease.

The view was splendid on my hike along the ridge to the top of Mount Nyonyane, also known as the „Execution Rock“. In the past, so i’m told, the condemned were sent up to trow themselves from that rock to death. Today there’s no dark thought about it, but enjoying once more the beautiful view.

On the top i took a rest and watched a bird flying over the hilly landscape. Sailing along like a bird, how wonderful would it be, i thought. Then i remember the can of Red Bull i carried in my backpack. I grabbed it and took a good sip of it. Gives you wings, says the slogan, and as i finished it, i stood at the edge and flew towards the lake underneath me…

Eventually i stopped dreaming, opened my eyes and noticed clouds coming up. Time to get back to my car and leave the sanctuary. A look back to the mountain shows dark clouds, but i was already on my way to a nice espresso, and later a good pizza, at Pizza Vesuvio next to my camp.

Piri-Piri Market In Mozambique

Best place to buy fresh product and local specialities are the local markets. It’s also the place to meet people and chat with locals. Fresh made Piri-Piri, a spicy sauce made from chilli peppers, are displayed all over the market. It was my goal to get some before i leave the country. The women been calling me to get her best products, even i was just roaming around first. A cute toddler sat in front of the vegetables and observed me curiously when got picked up by his mother. Too cute to just pass by.

Next to the colorful market is a simply restaurant with refreshment. Just right to sit down, watching the life on market and get to know more people. Junior tells me from his work as a psychiatrist in the hospital nearby. He’s also a photo enthusiast, tells me from his uncle, who got even famous as a photographer. Pity i don’t have more time to meet that guy in person.

On my way out of the market i stumbled in „Fernandos Bar“, covered with cards and stickers. Why isn’t there are business card of mine, i asked amused. Hand me some over, i’ll stick it somewhere, the bar keeper replied. In no time was my business card tacked above the bar desk and several sticker of my website put on the fridge and the beer tap. This must be celebrate with a tasty beer, i decided…

Dusty Streets Of Punta Do Ouro/Mozambique

The heat struck me when i arrived at that small villlage at the beach. After a few rainy and chilly days I was looking for it, but didn’t expected that big change just a few hours after border crossing to Mozambique. 

First thing; to get on the street and get some local currency and buy some water, And a local SIM card. Along the street are colorful fabrics, towels and clothes displayed. Local dealer show their handicrafts, carved wooden figures and small funny cars made of wood. 

Young guys passing me with their roaring quads, raising lots of dust and certainly having fun. For little money, they rent out their vehicles on tourists. But it’s not allowed anymore to drive them on the beach, they warn me. I didn’t suppose to rent anyway, although it comes handy to go for and back with those conveniently. Many tourists from South Africa, just bring their own quad or strand buggy, going for shopping with, or to a near beaches outside town,

In front of the ATM is a queue, waiting patiently to get cashed out their money. Not fancy to wait in the heat, I asked the street seller for changing some cash US Dollars in Meticai, the local currency. Really old fashion, I know, but indeed I found somebody who was happy to get dollars in cash.

Now I was able to buy myself a nice coffee. No better place for that than the ‚Love Café‘ at the end of the street. Friendly staff, strong coffee and street view to entertain myself. As I noticed on the street already, the people are open and friendly, and not too shy to get photographed. In the opposite, some staff from the café was asking me to take pictures of them. 

Back on my camp, next to the beach, I was leaning back with a cold local beer, overlooking the beautiful bay of Punta Do Ouro and feeling I’m arrived here.

A Very Special Christmas In South Africa

Talking about hospitality and friendship, I always think first on my dear friends in South Africa, who not only taking care of my Land Rover when I’m back in Switzerland, but also introduced me to the entire family and thought me a lot about the country and their business, farming.

Every time after I arrived the country, I was invited to stay at least a few days on their farm. I was taken around, got to see what’s changed since my last visit and spend also time with their sons and their families or friends. There’s no warmer welcome possible, since they make me feel as part of the community, almost family, but not as stranger anymore. It went so far, I got invited to the big family reunion for Christmas two years ago. 

When I came back this year, I was missing my old friend H., who sadly passed away last January. That terrible covid-pandemic got another victim. A big man with big heart let behind not only a beloved wife, but also five sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

I spent some time with my lady friend A., the widow and sharing good memories about Sir H. And listen to interesting stories from the past. Although I had other plans, A. Invited me again for Christmas to join the family gathering. When my plans got changed, she almost insist to come and I couldn’t deny the honor which was given to me again.

Terrible news reached me a day before the family gathering: my dear friend A. passed away. I was in shock of that completely unexpected event. She was in deep grief of the big loss of her husband, but seemed physically strong and healthy. 

To be frankly, I was not only in shock, but also got uncertain, how to deal with the grieving family. Was it inappropriate to stay on the farm? Should I arrange anything special and how can I show my deep condolences to them? But once again I felt the big hospitality of this family, which decided to gather in memory of Lady A. and welcomed me to stay. 

The festive days began early morning with a memorial ceremony of Lady A. 

All family members gathered on a viewpoint of the farm, where the bush opens to beautiful African landscape with the Blouwe Berge on the horizon. All helped making this spot special with putting flowers, oranges and candles there. I was asked to help with filming and photographing for keeping it in memory, and I was grateful to be able to contribute something

The family said goodbye with singing, reading from the Bible, sharing some memories about this lady with a big heart. It was a wonderful, heartwarming event, made me feel cry over the loss of such a good friend.

Despite this awful loss, the family knows life goes on. And in good memories, the joy of Christmas wasn’t forgotten. Children playing cricket or rugby on the grass, on the braai (SouthAfrican BBQ) is food roasting and from time to time we drove around the farm to watch the wildlife. This also included a thorn in a kid foot, which I tried to remove, or some minor sun burn after floating on the pools bit too long. 

There’s a lot of talk, laughter, play and of course food and drink. Special occasions like icing of cookies (#lebkuchenhaus), swimming in a water reservoir in the bush or delivering gifts, are not missed either. 

All in all a very jolly time, but never forgotten the two people who founded this family

You will understand, that I avoid to show clear faces, since this was a private occasion. Nevertheless, I want share some impression from these special and emotional days. Also as an expression for my gratefulness for all this hospitality and big friendship.

Wildlife Watching With Friends In South Africa

Most people coming to South Africa can’t wait to chase the „Big 5“ and capture them on their camera. The „Big 5“ means Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and Leopard. On the downside of tracking them down is the danger to get attacked from them. That’s why one should stay always in the car, not daring to approach them or wandering around unprotected in their habitat.

There are also parks and wildlife farms with none of these dangerous, big animals. But it doesn’t mean it’s less thrilling to visit them. In the opposite, to walk trough the bush, jogging or riding a bicycle, and meet wild antelopes, giraffes or zebras on eye to eye is amazing. Well, bit difficult to look the giraffes on the eyes, but still.

My dear friends was planning to spend a weekend in such a private wildlife farm and invited me to join them. What a feeling to move free around, chasing the giraffes, going for a so called „game drive“ to find more antelopes, such as elands, wildebeest, oryx, blessbock, impalas, steenbok, waterbuck and so on. Off course also zebras, snakes and many kind of birds. 

I felt so blessed to be there, enjoying nature, wildlife and good talks with old and new friends. Stopping midst in the bush and having a sundowner, before return to the base for a nice evening at the braai, the Southafrican barbecue. 

Back In South Africa

Many times I hear or read people saying, it feels like coming home, when they turn back to a favorite holiday destination of them. In my ears, it sounded often pathetic and unreal. But arriving at farm of my beloved friends, meeting all family members and seeing my Land Rover again comes this feeling very close. It’s not exaggerating to call my Land Rover my home, since it’s not only my travel car, but also my house on wheels for many months every year. 

This time was a long waiting to get back, due the pandemic situation. Finally I landed in Johannesburg, had to spend a night in the city, but caught the first bus in the morning to the province of Limpopo. There was a warmly welcome by my friends and family, and much to talk about. Only one person was really missed, the head of family passed away, caught by that spreading disease and leaves a big void. The good memories remains and despite the difficulties, there shouldn’t be untried to collect more. In such a warmhearted family I have no doubt of it.

There it stands. My Land Rover is parked under a roof just next to the farmhouse. One of my friends was so friendly to replace the broken starter battery, and so it starts with the first try. A new journey can begin, actually. But first I want give my travel car a proper service and maintenance. 

And despite my refuse over all these years, i consider again to give my Land Rover finally a name. I carry already a name for it with me since many years actually. 

What are you guys thinking? Does it deserve a name?

Any recommendations?

Please give me your opinions in the comments below 🙂 

Should my Land Rover get a name? Yes or No? Recommendations in the comments please 😉