31 December 2011

Happy New Year

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and wish you everything of the best for 2012.

Country Garden

This looks more like an English country garden, than a scene from Africa.

Hydrangeas in the garden of the Walkersons Hotel, near Dullstroom, Mpumalanga.

30 December 2011

Misty morning

Guinea fowl waiting for the sun to appear.

29 December 2011

Skywatch Friday - Wildebees skies

Nothing like a few wildebees to add some interest to a cloudy African sky.

Skywatch provides links to many great pictures from around the world. Pop in you won't be disappointed.

28 December 2011

Early morning dew

The digital era has added a wonderful new dimension to photography, with the flexibility it gives you and the the ability to manipulate your images. This flower, which may or may not be of the gladiolus family was photographed at the side of the lake at the Walkerson Hotel, at Dullstroom.

27 December 2011


This is one of the species of hare found in the country, but don't ask me which one it is. If I have to take an guess, it is probably a Scrub Hare.

I captured this one in the last light of the day, just as the sun was going down at the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve.

24 December 2011

Happy Christmas

I wish you all a really wonderful and relaxing Christmas and all the best for the coming year.

These are not Santa's reindeer taking a break, but kudu cows from the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve

23 December 2011

Skywatch Friday - Big skies of the highveld

The big skies and wide open spaces of the highveld, at the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve in Gauteng.

Skywatch provides links to many great pictures from around the world. Pop in you will not be disappointed.

16 December 2011

Free State roads are the worst

Having just travelled 4,193 kilometres through seven of the nine provinces, the award for the worst roads in the country must, without any doubt be given to the Free State. Their tar roads make travelling on the dirt roads in the Northern Cape a breeze.

The term "pot holes" is something of a misnomer though. The Afrikaans term, "slag gate" is more appropriate - it literally translates into "slaughter holes." These potholes have the potential to destroy tyres and suspensions, so you have to exercise special care when driving along their roads, or be prepared to fork out a fortune in repair bills.

I do not have any pictures of the potholes, but this series from one of the deviations between Wepener and Lady Brand paints a pretty good, or should I rather say bad picture of what to expect.

While it is encouraging that the roads are being repaired, do not expect their contractors to spare you when you reach a deviation. I am sure that there must be a bunch of bureaucrats sitting in an office somewhere, taking bets on how many suspensions and tyres are likely to be destroyed on their roads.

To compound the problem I find that many of the Free State drivers show very little patience on the road and I get the distinct impression that they are generally in a BIG hurry to reach their destinations.

Even the light weights head for the verge and all its "boulders" to overtake.

I had the camera ready just in case the truck went over, but it managed to get past unscathed.

And the trucks just kept on coming...........

So, if you are planning to travel through the South Eastern part of the Free State, be warned you are in for a rough ride.

The final word is, how do our authorities get away with letting the roads fall into such a poor state of repair?

15 December 2011

Skywatch Friday - Vaal River Sunset

This is the sunset that bid the day farewell, when we spent a night alongside the Vaal River at Bloemhof, on our recent road trip around the country.

Visit Skywatch for many more great pictures from around the world.

13 December 2011

Road trip

The Max Files has been in the doldrums for the past few weeks, but that was because Sue and I went on a tour around the country.

The idea of the trip started with an invite to my nephew's wedding at Dullstroom in Mpumalanga, which made us decide that if we are going to travel that far, why not make a holiday of it and come home on a circuitous route via the Great Karoo. This has been something we have wanted to do for a long time - so we grabbed the opportunity.

Big skies and wide open spaces in the Free State

We ended up travelling 4,193 kilometres over 11 days and visited seven of the nine provinces. For much of the time we were in the Northern Cape, enjoying the wide open spaces and rugged beauty of the Karoo.  The area is so sparsely populated that there is little or no Internet connection, so there was no real opportunity to do any blogging.

The road from Fraserburg to Sutherland is typical of the wide expanses and openness of the Northern Cape

Not being people who like being tied down to schedules, we only booked our first three nights accommodation and from there onwards, it was a matter of going where our whims and the road took us. Luckily Sue and I are both very flexible and made a few impromptu changes along the way and had a fantastic trip.

01 December 2011

Skywatch Friday - Grey Skies

Amazing how the angle from which a picture is taken can create an illusion. These sisal plants are growing along the crest of a hill in the heart of the city.

Visit Skywatch for many more great pictures from around the world.