Tag Archives: weekly photo challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside Kolmanskop


In the early 1900′s, Johnny Coleman traded his simple wares at the little harbour of Luditz, after travelling over the desert with his ox-wagon. Then, in 1905, a sandstorm forced him to hide in his wagon after turning his oxen loose. They, of course, thought this to be a bit short-sighted, and took off to seek shelter themselves. Well, to cut a long story short, poor Johnny almost died there, but was eventually rescued.

Little could he have guessed at the tremendous wealth he was sleeping on during those long nights he waited for salvation. Three years later the richest diamond field in the world was discovered at this very same spot, which bears the German equivalent of his name to this day. In 1956 the mine was abandoned, leaving only the memories of heady riches and back-breaking labour.

Today, when standing inside the abandoned buildings, one gets the feeling that the ghosts of the past aren’t far away.

Come on. Come inside…

The old generator has lost the battle against time

The old generator has lost the battle against time.k3Sweat-soaked miners would clean up before strolling over to the theatre or casino especially built for them.k2The silence of the dunes now rule where once gossip and laughter reigned....and they drank with gusto, of course.  One can only guess what fun these bottles brought to the isolated village. …and they drank with gusto, of course. One can only guess what fun these bottles brought to the isolated village.Sit down on the red chair. Let your left hand dangle down, touch the bottle at your feet. Close your eyes.  Imagine....Sit down on the red chair. Let your left hand dangle down, touch the bottle at your feet. Close your eyes.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand…Africa at her best.



How else can one describe Bogenfels – the vaulted rock – near Luderitz?


Or the huge, lonely dunes of Sossusvlei?

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Or the mansion Stewart Gore-Brown built in the 30′s – Northern Zambia – with local materials. The ‘modern contents’ (stoves, baths etc) were carried up by labourers from the coast. (Kapishya)

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Or the mysterious mistiness of Victoria Falls?


Or the surprising luxury of sundowners on the Serengeti plains?


Or the tenacity of a shrub that refuses to die, budding once more once the rains come?

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Or the lonely giraffe stalking away quietly into the gloom?


Africa can be described by many words – but one comes close: Grand

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be Light – A night in Africa…

You need light to survive here…



Oh, for more light than just the flickering campfire! . Was that a twig snapping? And…is it the wind or something breathing rather heavily?

IMG_0134aThe bleak moon behind the warped map of Africa doesn’t help at all. The sound of…feet? What is that?

bufIs it an angry buffalo, sneaking up with only parking lights to guide him?

badNo! Thank goodness! It’s just a badger – headlights turned to ‘Bright’, sniffing around for scraps.

elWhen at last Light dawns, Africa becomes Paradise again, with endless vistas and peaceful neighbours.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

We’re used to straight lines, neatly drawn on white paper, exactly the right length, absolutely correct. Our cars, our homes, our offices started out as such precise lines. Somehow, we expect our lives to follow straight lines as well.

136But Life somehow surprises each of us – all too often – by derailing our dreams, simply because in Life, there is no such thing as a straight line. Once-tempting dreams rust away quietly in the desert of reality.

239We shouldn’t be surprised: Nature does not believe in straight lines. Like Life, Nature’s lines tend to twist and turn unexpectedly.


Like the Zebra stripes on a mountain, or the pattern in a rock, we discover beauty is hidden in the unexpected. The wonder of Life is not the simplicity of a straight line from cradle to grave, but  only revealed when we submit to the awesome pattern mapped out for each of us.



Lines? Yes, Life and Love follow lines.

Only: don’t expect them to be straight – like the edges of your desk..

Photo Challenge: Inside – a Ghost Town

Deep inside the desert of Namibia, you find Pomona, the deserted and ghost-like diamond mining town… (yes, of 1912)



This used to be a ten-pin bowling alley. At Kolmans Kop, a few miles away, they preserved a similar one:


Still, the ghosts of yesterday remain…


The hospital only remembers the hushed voices still echoing there:

IMG_3274And once upon a time, the generator provided light..


Now, only a few graves (mostly nameless) remain to tell the story of incredible riches and desperate hope..


Weekly Photo Challenge: The Darted Leopard Dance

For this challenge, capture two images  ofIMG_1901 the same scene or subject.

Darting a leopard is a dangerous undertaking. The dosage of the tranquilizer must be exactly right, the timing perfect, and the men must have nerves of steel.

IMG_1906Today, Mr Leopard woke up, just enough to make the men do the Darted Leopard Dance, characterized by some rather fancy footwork.

IMG_1918Peeking at a dazed leopard isn’t always a good idea – even if the cage is almost closed.

IMG_1914Another growl – and the dance is repeated.

Warning: Don’t try this at home, folks..

PS: The leopard was transported to his new home, where he now roams free – like a happy big cat should.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

IMG_1483No, this isn’t one of those photos depicting a flashy blur in the background, while something speeds past the lens. This is the stare of a half-blind white tiger.

This is Angelo, five years old, suffering from progressive retinal atrophy. This means he’s seeing less and less as the moths roll by. His world, you might say, is disappearing right in front of his eyes.  And it is, in more ways than one.

White tigers are rare. That’s why hunters will pay a mountain of money to shoot them. Angelo was, in fact, earmarked for a canned hunt in another country, when his transfer to South Africa was arranged by an anonymous sponsor in 2008. Since then, he’s been the guest at an animal rescue centre in the Western Cape, where he celebrated his fifth birthday yesterday.

White tigers are the result of a recessive gene that manifests itself once in 10,000 births, The last one seen in the wild, was in 1959. They are mostly bred for the entertainment of humans, and are popular in zoos and circuses. It is estimated that there are between 1000 to 1500 of these tigers in the world. In general, the world’s population of all tigers seems to be in the region of 4000 in total.

So why term this photograph of Angelo as fleeting?

Because, like rhinos, we have the privilege of still having them around. A single generation further in the future may not have these animals around any more. We humans have seen to that.

That’s why it’s fleeting – the last opportunity to glimpse a species that numbered more than 100,000 a century ago.

Man, we are so good at destroying beauty, aren’t we?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

EscapeThe very word spells adventure and freedom..


I used to think escape meant packing my gear and driving out into the wilds to find new roads to travel. new places to find. new faces to meet.

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And I did. Had a wonderful time doing it and still hope for some more of that.

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I’ve pitched my tent on the soft sandy beach of Maziba Bay, upper Zambezi, far from the maddening crowd.

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Even stopped for a few snorts at the beautiful – and deserted – pub at Puku Pan

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Met many strangers with their own stories; men and women who continue to inspire me.

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And every time I took the road less travelled to come back home


Because I found that escaping doesn’t mean you have to go somewhere. It’s much more difficult than that. ‘Escape’ means finding yourself; and that can be quite a journey… Freedom is, after all not somewhere else. It’s inside every one us. And that, I believe, is the ultimate escape.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above (Lessons to be learnt in the Kalahari)

These two explorers live on an elevated shelf  in Boggel’s Place. They have learnt a valuable lesson – by viewing things from a greater height, you get a better perspective of life. In fact, you learn that even under the most arduous conditions, living life to the fullest allows you to survive  the worst of times.


From their perspective, the trials and tribulations we all face, are lessons in survival.

eTake, for instance, the miracle of a plover’s nest. Exposed and completely out in the open, these birds simply  line a hollow with a layer of grass and survive under the harshest conditions. Two birds. One egg. No protection. They should have been extinct centuries ago – but they aren’t. Don’t let the odds tell you something is impossible. Be brave enough to follow your heart.

e1A few yards away, the stunted and withered skeletal remains of a once-green shrub tells the world: “I’m dead. I’m dry. You won’t find nourishment here, animals. Go somewhere else.” Why? Because after a few drops of rain, it’ll produce green leaves once more. Lesson: never give up hope.

e2But look carefully around you. There is beauty hidden in the apparently dead landscape. Despite the conditions, Nature never loses her sense of joy. Whatever your circumstances, something good is hiding in there, somewhere. Not easy to spot with tear-filled eyes, at all – but still…never stop looking for beauty.


Sometimes it is necessary to protect what you have. Bigger thorns and smaller leaves tell the hungry ones to stay away. We can learn a lot from this. Put away the ego but don’t allow others the right to devour what you’ve built up.

e4From a higher position – above the ground level of daily toil – one may see danger lurking with greater ease. Don’t crawl ahead with downcast eyes; walk tall and proud…and cautiously.

skillie modAnd yes – our explorer’s last message: never give up on your dreams. Don’t rush. One step at a time is enough.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Culture may be defined as the co-existence of different entities in the same space. The entities may be human. The space may be a room or the world. The word says: we belong together, we share values and dreams.


Of course that means we sometimes argue. You get talkers and listeners, although some prefer to shout.

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Introverts avoid conflict and will take time out away from the maddening crowd – to think, to work things out…even to doze off.

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While extroverts love showing off and playing King of the Mountain.

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Even when we’re hurt or lonely, there’s no denying the fact that we’re all one big family.

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Culture isn’t a difficult word. It only says: we belong together…