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Travel

Hantam and Roggeveld – Crazy Daisy and Bitterly Cold

Hantam and Roggeveld - Crazy Daisy and Bitterly Cold   Crazy Daisy - Willemsrivier Farm, Nieuwoudtville, South Africa Hantam and Roggeveld Crazy Daisy puts away her nakedness once a year and dons on her best ballgown of many colours for Spring. She fills the air with her perfume, if only for a while. She intoxicates, dazzles and bewilders us. As quickly as she prepares herself for the ball, so quickly does the evening disappear and she returns to be a Cinderella again, once the flower spectacle is over. She can be an icy cold woman, you also will feel her warmth and allure, and her angry heat too. She will certainly charm you in many ways and have you come back for more! The Karoo is a sun-seared, harsh and forbidding land. A hard, tough life are the words that spring to mind when confronted with the vast and forbidding landscape of the Hantam and Roggeveld Karoo. Africa is not for sissies they say, this area is a harsh region, one that shapes you and moulds you, and makes you its own. Change is a hard thing for some, the message it sends out is one of embracing me and I will embrace you, ignore me and I will overtake you! This is the way of the Karoo in an unforgiving landscape, the Karoo cannot be tamed. Northern Cape Tourism Flower Route Map The towns of this region are Calvinia, Nieuwoudtville and Loeriesfontein; Sutherland and Middlepos respectively, with Calvinia and Sutherland being the major towns of each region. We got to explore three out of the five in our recent trip to this part of the Karoo. This is a good thing, as it leaves us with an excuse to return to this beautiful region again. For this blog, I am only going to discuss Nieuwoudtville and Calvinia. Sutherland will be dealt with in a separate blog for good reason, as I held a photographic workshop there at Rogge Cloof Sutherland Private Estate. Rogge Cloof Panorama Nieuwoudtville Nieuwoudtville, locally pronounced ‘Nowtville’, is a tiny village in the Northern Cape province of South-Africa, a place internationally acknowledged as the bulb capital of the world. It really comes to life during the flower season. The Khoi San inhabited this area for many centuries before the first settlers arrived in about 1730, and local rock art in Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve and on farms around Nieuwoudtville bears witness to an ancient culture that flourished here. During this period vast herds of game periodically roamed the plains of the Bokkeveld Plateau (Antelope Plateau), after which it derived its name. To get the most out of the Bokkeveld, you must take your time, don’t rush along. It is not uncommon to find up to 50 different species within one square metre of Renosterveld! Believe me, it took us over 3 hours to travel 450m, and that was only to photograph flowers! Namaqualanders, Oorlogskloof Farm, Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa Approaching Nieuwoudtville one ascends the Vanrhyns Pass on the R27 between Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville which was rebuilt in 1962. It carries heavy traffic from Cape Town up to the Bokkeveld Mountains and Calvinia. There are a few lookout points where one can stop along the way to absorb the spectacular view before you reach the summit and is best photographed in the evening. This is one of the ten major mountain passes constructed by the South African road engineer Thomas Bain, linking Nieuwoudtville to Vanrhynsdorp. In the space of 8km, the pass conveys the traveller across the Bokkeveld escarpment into a startlingly different world – from a semi-desert landscape to an arid plateau with trees and grasslands. One will witness the lifeblood veins of green coursing the Knersvlakte valley below, hinting at the existence of subsurface water below. Knersvlakte - Cellphone Image - Dominique Fouché © 2018 Knersvlakte - Cellphone Image - Dominique Fouché © 2018 During springtime, the stretch of road between Vanrhynsdorp and the pass, known as the Knersvlakte, is transformed into a colourful carpet of flowers. The Knersvlakte is a region of hilly terrain covered with quartz gravel in Namaqualand in the north-west corner of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The name, literally meaning "gnashing or grinding plain" in Afrikaans, is thought to be derived from the crunching of wagon wheels as they moved over the hard quartz stones, or the gnashing of teeth for the hard arduous journey that was required over this terrain. The white quartz gravel reflects more heat than the surrounding regions and one will find endemic succulent leaf plants that are found nowhere else in the world. The Knersvlakte is Succulent Karoo and dominated by leaf succulents belonging to the Aizoaceae and Crassulaceae, with a variety of shrubs spread amongst them. The climate of the region is semi-arid with long dry summers, and rainfall occurring in the winter months. From the look-out point some 800m above sea level, you will have a sweeping view of the Knersvlakte, the Hardeveld and the Maskam region. The Bokkeveld Mountains contribute to the 180-degree panoramic view, the Bokkeveld Plateau is reached at the top of the pass. This Knersvlakte region is found north of the Olifants river and the towns are Klawer, Bitterfontein, Vanrhynsdorp and Kliprand. All Roads Lead To Home Evidence of the extensive sheet glacier that covered much of South Africa about 300 million years ago can be seen south of Nieuwoudtville where grooves formed by rocks and pebbles carried in the ice sheet were left behind on the glacial floor after the ice sheet melted. These glacial pavements tend to impede water infiltration and damp patches result, which are favourite habitats for some of the lovely local geophytic plants. With the arrival of European settlers in the early eighteenth century, the vast herds of wildlife were replaced by herds of sheep and cattle which belonged to the settlers. The settlers established themselves in the well-watered western edge of the Bokkeveld close to the escarpment and the village of Nieuwoudtville was established in 1897 on land that was purchased from H.C. Nieuwoudt - after whom the town was named. People now make their living from sheep, wheat, rooibos tea farming and eco-tourism. Nieuwoudtville Church Plain Nieuwoudtville’s public fame started, arguably, with a sheep farmer, the late Neil MacGregor, who on his farm, Glenlyon, took down all internal fences and opened the area to his livestock. The livestock practically ate all the plants and trampled the seeds. He left the diggers, foragers and plant predators, especially the porcupines, to open the earth to rain. He was later rewarded with the flowering of an extraordinary biodiversity on his 6000ha farm. The sheep also flourished, botanists and even Sir David Attenborough came to visit. Tourists have not stopped coming since to view this spectacular event. His farm was later declared the Hantam National Botanical Gardens. The Garden comprises a vast area of over 6000ha which includes representative patches of Nieuwoudtville Shale Renosterveld, Nieuwoudtville-Roggeveld Dolorite Renosterveld and Hantam Succulent Karoo. Nine different trails can be followed covering the variety of habitats and soil types which make this Garden so unique and different. Namaqualand is the home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1000 of its estimated 4000 plant species are found nowhere else on earth! It is so true when we read in the Scriptures and we see this flowering spectacle, how can we not say: Isaiah 55:12 "The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!" Psalm 65:12 "The pastures of the wilderness overflow; the hills are robed with joy." Glenlyon was sold to SANBI in 2007 and has now become the ninth National Botanical Garden managed by SANBI. 1885 Hulpkerk At Willemsrivier Lit by Moonlight, Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa   Geelkatsterte / Yellow Cat Tails Willemsrivier, Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa Quiver Tree Forest / Kokerboom Forest The kokerboom in Afrikaans, quiver tree in English or choje to the traditional San peoples of Southern Africa, belongs to the group of plants known collectively as aloes. Both the Afrikaans and the English names are derived from the San people’s practice of making quivers from the branches of the trees. It was a practice diarised by then Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel in 1685 while on an expedition searching for copper in the Northern Cape. Nieuwoudtville sports the largest Kokerboom Forest in the Southern Hemisphere. This tree is essentially an aloe plant reaching up to 9m tall and 1m in diameter at the base, it is thought that they can live between 80 and 300 years. It takes about 3 years for the kokerboom to reach 5cm,  another 15 to 20 years to reach flowering maturity at about a meter. It is rather obvious that these desert giants are slow growers. The existence of a naturally occurring forest with hundreds of adult trees at 3 metres plus, is therefore truly a sight to behold! The slow rate of growth has its downside and these plants are extremely vulnerable to various vegetation predators, birds and climatic changes. On The Road To Gannabos, Kokerboom Forest, Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa To find the forest, you travel north on the R357, past the 90m high Nieuwoudtville waterfall (which currently has an entry fee of R30 pp if you wish to visit before 17h00) on the Doorn River, you arrive at a turnoff to Gannabos farm. You will find the Nieuwoudtville waterfall, decidedly underrated despite it being one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. I was impressed by the sheer size of the waterfall, and the gorge that it tumbles into, even although it wasn't in full flow at the time of our visit. Nieuwoudtville Waterfall, Nieuwoudtville South-Africa On our previous visit to the Kokerboom Forest, the small bushes were in full purple glory, these being the Ruschia caroli of Rushia extensa, the local name in Afrikaans is the Beesvygie, and the Quiver Trees in yellow bloom. What a stark contrast this time, flowers everywhere else and in abundance in the district, but nothing here! Here, again the stark rawness and harshness of the Karoo reminded us that this is a tough region to survive in. In spite of that, I was not disappointed as I preplanned an evening shoot which went on little further into the night and included some star trails. Kokerboom Forest 2014 Kokerboom Forest 2014 Kokerboom Forest 2014 Milky Way and Star Trails During Moonlight over a Kokerboom Tree Quiver Tree Solitude and Barrenness Quiver Tree Forest / Kokerboom Forest at Sunset I also shot my new Shen Hao 4x5 large format camera here for the first time, this was a learning curve for me as it is slow, methodical and time-consuming to have all the ticks in the boxes completed before you fire the shot. It is so different from the normal 35mm format in many regards, I am however happy with the results and will be using it more often for various shoots that I have planned. If you don't know what this camera is about, think of the black-cape-over-the-camera and photographer in 1910 and wet plate glass images, except this is film and the results speak for themselves! I will let you decide and it would be great to have your feedback in the comments below. Kodak Portra 160 4x5 Kodak Portra 160 4x5 Crazy Daisy - Willemsrivier Farm, Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa Seas of Yellow - Nieuwoudtville, South-Africa So What Else Is There Besides Flowers? It is not all flower power in Nieuwoudtville, pedal power is the name of the game here too! Hosted on Brandkop Farm since 2015 by Nieuwoudtville Akademie, a small private school in town. The first and only one of its kind in the area, a professionally organised event with challenging tracks for the cyclists, high prize money for the winners, attract riders from both near and far alike. The 28th August 2018 saw the Hantam MTB Challenge offering a choice of  either 20, 40 or 80km in the saddle on a MTB, a tantalising ride that I have not done yet! Whether you looking for peace and quiet, this is the place to do just that! Other activities like photography, local sandstone ruins, the glacial pavement, the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve and a myriad of activities that include bird watching, hiking and a lot of star gazing (light pollution in Nieuwoudtville is minimal) are some of the attractions to this region. Also visit the small towns of Loeriesfontein, for the windmill museum, and Calvinia. Calvinia Is that just a dot on the map you may ask, or perhaps you have heard it mentioned on the weather forecast? Or is that a platteland dorpie somewhere in the Karoo? This was our first visit to Calvinia on a going-nowhere-slowly drive in search of more flowers from the region. Calvinia is the principal town of the Hantam Karoo and lies at the crossroads to a number of towns and villages scattered across the wide open spaces of Bushmanland and the Tankwa, Roggeveld and Hantam Karoo. It is pleasantly situated and is dominated by the high ramparts of the Hantam Mountains to the north and surrounded by hills and mountains such as the 1 657-metre high Rebunieberg and the Keiskeiberge to the south. The town lies on the banks of the erratically flowing Oorlogskloof River over which one will cross a few times on the R27. It was founded in 1845 on the farm Hoogekraal which was purchased by the Dutch Reformed Church in order to establish a parish for the far-flung community of the Hantam Karoo. The original name of the region and the village was Hantam. The name Hantam has its origins with the Khoi people and it is believed that the name refers to "the hill where the red nut sedge grows". On the R27 to Calvinia near the Oorlogskloof River The town features a number of fine Victorian and Edwardian era buildings. I was pleasantly surprised at how neat and tidy it is. One of the oddities of the town is the giant post box, which was converted from a water tower in 1995 and is probably the largest post box in the world, which measures 6.17m high and has a circumference of 9.42m.  Calvinia was the terminus of the branch railway line running from Hutchinson through Carnarvon and Williston, which was completed in 1917. For many years the railway was the primary conduit for the transportation of agricultural products from this remote corner of South Africa to the main railway network linking Johannesburg and Cape Town. Sadly, so many of these little towns in the Karoo have declined since their lifeblood of the South African Railways gave way to goods trucks. We were a week too early for the annual Hantam Meat Festival, this is sheep country, and the last weekend in August in and around Calvinia, everything is in an uproar when the annual Hantam Meat Festival takes place. This year, it was already the 29th time that the festival had been run and its main purpose is still, as when it started in 1990, to promote the delicious, fragrant mutton of the region. Definitely a highlight on the calendar. Lovers of mutton and lamb will enjoy a wide variety of different cuts of meat, prepared in different ways, and all in "tasting" portions to enable more tasting. Your taste buds will experience meat braaied, stewed, curried, in pita, on sosaties, in potjies - you can even pick up a done-to-perfection sheep's head! ! Besides eating your fill of your favourite meat there are numerous demonstrations, farm products for sale and somewhere to have a coffee and take a break. In true Karoo fashion, there is all sorts of entertainment and things to do. Five Simultaneous Rainstorms on R27 Near Calvinia In Closing... The best way to explore the region is to get in your car and find a base to work from. Head out to the next town, tune into an unfamiliar radio station, meet and speak to the locals either next to the roadside or interact with them at the local general dealer or ko-op. Get to feel and experience the soul of region and the Karoo. The Karoo to many, maybe a sparse and empty place, to me, its a place of discoveries and memories waiting to happen and no doubt, we will return again to enjoy this very special region. So many discoveries, so little time! Acknowledgements Resource information found at the following websites: Karoospace, Nieuwoudtville, Africa Geographic, SANBI, The Great Karoo, SA Venues. Click on the images to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. 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Travel – Sutherland – South Africa

Travel - Sutherland - South Africa Introduction At the drop of a hat, my wife and I decided to travel and visit this quaint little Upper Karoo town of Sutherland - South Africa over the Christmas holidays. During my booking, I was very surprised to learn that most of the B&B's were fully booked! Most travellers come from the North (Gauteng) and head to the sunny beaches and grand vineyards of Cape Town and the surrounds for their annual holiday break, and usually stop over at Gariep Dam or Beaufort-West. Sutherland on the R354, lies 110km from charming Matjiesfontein on the N1 / R354 junction. This is really an off the beaten track detour, which is off of the main N1 highway from Johannesburg to Cape Town; it was these travellers that had filled the B&B establishments of Sutherland! Saying that, Sutherland is experiencing a lot of visitors, those seeking the peace and quiet tranquillity of the Karoo. Map of the Western and Northern Cape What is the Karoo? The Karoo from a Khoikhoi word, possibly garo "desert" is a semi-desert natural region of South Africa. It broadly translates as “hard, dry, thirstland”. What this blunt rendition fails to convey is the special place the Karoo holds in the hearts of those who perceive beauty in its endless, sun-drenched spaces and flat-topped koppies (hills). They sense it in the evocative clunk of windmills urging sweet, untainted water from underground boreholes, and in isolated farmsteads where hospitality to travellers is a deeply rooted way of life. Windmill and Salpeterkop, Rogge Cloof, Sutherland Vast, remote, open spaces, silence, serenity and dramatic landforms combine with an extreme climate and unique vegetation to make up the alchemy called Karoo magic. The dust and wind, Petrus and Johannes with Vlekkie and Ou Boet the dogs returning with the sheep and goats in the evening to the kraal, Oom Karel Witbooi and Tannie Saartjie Plaaitjies and a few farmworkers from the neighbouring farms on their usual trek to town on their donkey cart are constant reminders that this is the Karoo. That’s what visitors fall in love with. There is no exact definition of what constitutes the Karoo, and therefore also not its extent. The Karoo is partly defined by its topography, partly its geology but, above all, its low rainfall, arid air, cloudless skies, and extremes of heat and cold. It formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the interior from Cape Town, and the early adventurers, explorers, hunters and travellers on the way to the Highveld unanimously denounced it as a frightening place of great heat, great frosts, great floods and great droughts. Today it is still a place of great heat and frosts, and an annual rainfall of between 50–250mm, though on some of the mountains it can be 250–500mm higher than on the plains. However underground water is found throughout the Karoo, which can be tapped by boreholes, making permanent settlements and sheep farming possible. Map of the Great and Little Karoo It’s made up of five regions and the boundaries are marked by subtle changes in vegetation: The Little Karoo Tankwa Karoo Moordenaars Karoo Upper Karoo Great Karoo In the south, the Southern Cape Fold Mountain Belt divides the Karoo from the wetter Cape region. To the west, the frontier is the Cederberg mountain range. To the east and north-east, the lines are drawn by the rolling grasslands of the Free State. And in the north, which is where you find Sutherland, the Karoo eventually gives way to kokerboom (quiver tree) country. The xerophytic vegetation consists of aloes, mesembryanthemums, crassulas, euphorbias, stapelias, and desert ephemerals, spaced 50cm or more apart, and becoming very sparse going northwards into Bushmanland and, from there, into the Kalahari Desert. The driest region of the Karoo is however, its south western corner, between the Great Escarpment and the Cederberg-Skurweberg mountain ranges, called the Tankwa Karoo, which receives only 75 mm of rain annually. The eastern and north-eastern Karoo are often covered by large patches of grassland. The typical Karoo vegetation used to support large game sometimes in vast herds. Today sheep thrive on the xerophytes, though each sheep requires about 4 hectares of grazing to sustain itself. The Karoo is sharply divided into the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo by the Swartberg Mountain Range, which runs east-west, parallel to the southern coastline, but is separated from the sea by another east-west range called the Outeniqua –Langeberg Mountains. The Great Karoo lies to the north of the Swartberg range; the Little Karoo is to the south of it. Great Karoo The only sharp and definite boundary of the Great Karoo is formed by the most inland ranges of Cape Fold Mountains to the south and south-west. The extent of the Karoo to the north is vague, fading gradually and almost imperceptibly into the increasingly arid Bushmanland towards the north-west. To the north and north-east, it fades into the savannah and grasslands of Griqualand West and the Highveld. The boundary to the east grades into the grasslands of the Eastern Midlands. The Great Karoo is itself divided by the Great Escarpment into the "Upper Karoo" (generally above 1200–1500m) and the "Lower Karoo" on the plains below at 700–800m. A great many local names, each denoting different subregions of the Great Karoo, exist, some more widely, or more generally, known than others. In the Lower Karoo, going from west to east, they are the following sub-regions occur: Tankwa Karoo Moordenaarskaroo Koup Vlakte Camdeboo Plains The better-known sub-regions of the Upper Karoo are: Hantam Kareeberge Roggeveld Nuweveld Though most of it is simply known as the "Upper Karoo", especially in the north. Little Karoo The Little Karoo’s boundaries are sharply defined by mountain ranges to the west, north and south. The road between Uniondale and Willowmore is considered, by convention, to form the approximate arbitrary eastern extremity of the Little Karoo. Its extent is much smaller than that of the Great Karoo. Locally, it is usually called the Klein Karoo, which is Afrikaans for "Little Karoo". Our Accommodation Jannie of the Blue Moon Guesthouse was able to roll a stone out of our way to accommodate us during this busy time at The Artist's Cottage, with meals at The Blue Moon Guesthouse. His guesthouse is a charming almost 100-year old sandstone Karoo house with five bedrooms and restaurant. His staff are very friendly and helpful. They serve the most delicious Karoo cuisine all day long, their breakfasts are either served indoors or out on the stoep / verandah, and the most filling, delicious farmstyle breakfast you could wish for! The Artist’s Cottage is one of the oldest houses in town, it doesnt look like much from the outside, step inside and be impressed. The cottage is a charming, typical Karoo-style building which has been renovated with a modern flair yet remains true to its original style! If you expecting modern, upmarket lodging from the likes of a Sandton B&B, forget it, this the Platteland where real hospitality and genuine friendliness is far better than the hustle and bustle of the city-slicker's expectation. Here you go back in time and to the real thing! The Artist's Cottage - Karoo Comfort The Artist's Cottage - Karoo Comfort The Artist's Cottage - Karoo Kitchen Platteland simple living at its best. Nothing is complicated here, it seems the most stress that anyone should endure is when the rains don't arrive on time, or where the snow has become too much - the diesel in your bakkie and the water pipes in your home freezes and you are unable to keep warm! The Blue Moon Guesthouse The tranquility and stillness of the afternoon, the slow turning of the windmill in the cool breeze, the chattering and chirping of the Karoo birdlife, these were the only sounds to be heard whilst we enjoyed tea on the stoep / verandah. Whilst sitting on the stoep, I was instantly reminded of my childhood, of the locally produced Afrikaans comedy drama - Koöperasie stories (1982–1987) set in a small Afrikaans town. This comedy was filmed on location in the mining town of Cullinan, about a very close-knit community always gossiping about each other, "Ja, so is die mensdom, Mietie!", with "Oom Genis" usually bearing the brunt of the gossip which starred Alex Heyns as Oom Botes, Jacques Loots as Genis, Marie Pentz as Mietie, Emgee Pretoruis as Veldsman and André Verster as Dominee. Earlier in the day, I had passed the closed famers Co-op in town, and this setting just reinforced those memories. Koöperasie stories History Sutherland was founded in 1723 as a church and market town to serve the area's sheep farmers. By 1872 the town had a population of 138 registered citizens living in 19 houses. The large Dutch Reformed church in the centre of Sutherland was built in 1899. The first Europeans to settle in the area were sheep farmers who got there via the Forgotten Highway (the road between Ceres and the Karoo), so called because it was the main highway to the north before the N1.   NG Kerk Sutherland During the Anglo Boer War, the church was used as a fort by garrisoned British soldiers. During the war a number of engagements between British and Boer forces occurred in the town. In one such engagement, a force of 250 Boer commandos attacked the local British garrison for 10 hours. The ruins of a fort can be found on the outskirts of town on the hill called Rebelskop. This was named after this engagement. As one enters the town from the Matjiesfontein side, the Anglo Boer War cemetery can be found on the left-hand side and can be visited. Economy Major economic activities include tourism and sheep farming. The area includes at least twelve registered B&B's, guest houses and guest farms. The nearby South African Astronomical Observatory also plays a significant role in the town's economy and is a major driver of tourism to the area. The town also has a number of bars, restaurants and an amateur astronomy observatory that service the tourism sector. Sutherland has recently gained in popularity, with many Capetonians buying property in the town and many more visiting on weekends and vacations. Our Experience The tiny Upper Karoo town of Sutherland - South Africa is a town with about 2850 inhabitants in the Northern Cape province. The main road is tarred, whilst the side roads are gravel adding to the Platteland charm that it oozes. There are a few well-known stores in town - OK Foods and PEP, butcher shops, a bank, post-office, two fuel stations, police station, church and a farmers co-op. It lies in the western Roggeveld Mountains in the Karoo. It is famously known as the coldest place in South Africa with an average yearly temperature of 11.3 °C and an average annual minimum temperature of 2.8 °C; although the farm Buffelsfontein holds the official lowest temperature record in the country, of −20.1 °C. Snowfall is common in winter. The coldest temperature recorded in Sutherland was −16.4 °C on 12 July 2003. Sutherland has a semi-arid climate and is well suited to sheep farming. It normally receives about 169mm of rain per year and because it receives most of its rainfall during winter it has a Mediterranean climate. The lowest rainfall (4mm) in January and the highest (28mm) in June. It is also called the ‘Gateway to the Universe’ as it is the location of the most powerful telescope in the Southern Hemisphere – SALT and has the best night skies in Southern Africa. The SAAO - South African Astronomical Observatory takes advantage of the local climate and remoteness of the Upper Karoo – an area that is flat and arid, and therefore cloudless, for most of the year and also very undeveloped with clear unpolluted and very dark skies – except for an inverted ‘blanket’ made of zillions of stars which looks like someone had thrown a bucket of glitter into the sky. It is located approximately 15km from town. Sutherland has its own Dark Skies reserve - Spaceport Karoo, which is South Africa's first and largest Dark Sky Reserve. While Sutherland is most famous for its stargazing and SALT, there are many other things to see, do or simply enjoy around this small town during the day. At 1450-1500m above sea level, snow is guaranteed in the cold winter months, as is a myriad of flowers after the summer rains re-awaken the Karoo. There are walking and mountain bike trails around the town, newer mountain bike trails being developed at Rogge Cloof as I write this blog, horse-riding and just enjoying the wide open space around you. If you looking for peace and quiet, you have found it! Your ears ring in the stillness of Sutherlands' quietness. During 2017, I had wanted to shoot the night skies with a few ideas in mind. This was my perfect opportunity to do so. Getting up early in the morning to shoot sunrises, is not my strong point. With a bit of gentle coaxing, my wife Dominique got me out of bed to capture the sun painting up the NG Church in town. I am glad I got up for it, as it is best photographed as a sunrise shot. It was a rather normal chilly morning for us, being summer, but a normal morning in Sutherland. I was intrigued by the old traditional Karoo architecture of the dorp, and captured a few images there too. Traditional Karoo Home I had contacted Rogge Cloof at the suggestion of my friend Francios of Manic Cycles Worcester, and met with André and Corlia, two wonderful hosts that have a heart and passion for the Karoo and Sutherland. Francios has supplied Rogge Cloof with 6 fat bikes that are very comfortable to ride, actually designed for snow, which will be great to ride in the winter snow and during the other seasons. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon chat and a game drive while I scouted for locations to shoot my night sky images. There are a variety of game and antelope at Rogge Cloof, that being Springbok, Eland, Grysbok, Gemsbok, Zebra, Black Wildebees, Caracal and Jackal, with more game to be introduced that originated from the area. The luxury accommodation is unique and very comfortable, a perfect place to own your own peace and quiet during your stay. Rogge Cloof Panorama My wife, Dominique and I setup before sunset, as I wanted to capture the Blue Hour. Springbok congregated around the windmill slaking their thirst just before nightfall. During that time André and Corlia were preparing the most delicious meal for us. I shot from around sunset to approximately 22h30, in between enjoying the fine dinner and Rogge Cloof's own locally produced Sutherland wines that had been presented. People always associate the Western Cape with wine, I was very surprised to learn that Sutherland is our only highest-altitude, semi-arid, coldest wine growing region in South Africa. Rogge Cloof boasts 3 wines which are produced using organic practices and are grown on the farm Kanolfontein, the vineyards were planted in 2004. One of the wines is from the Ceres Valley. The South African winelands encompass 27 diverse districts and some 77 smaller wards in total. I walked away with a few good images which I am happy with, it wasn't an entirely dark moon at the time of my shoot, that is why the the foreground was lit up in the way it was. The moon was in the last quarter phase. As time was short for us, I want to return again to capture more of what the Upper Karoo has to offer in the other seasons of the year, I have a few ideas in mind, so look out for my next blog on Sutherland when that trip has been completed. Milky Way Panorama Arriving at The Artist’s Cottage around midnight, after our shoot at Rogge Cloof, I was seriously impressed at how clear the stars shone in town, in spite of the few mercury vapour street lights that lit the streets. Sadly, the next morning after breakfast, we had to return home, but going home refreshed and inspired and all the better for our experiences in Sutherland. Sutherland NG Kerk - A Light in the Darkness The Artist's Cottage - Wishing Upon a Star In Conclusion As time was short for us, I want to return again, to leave the boundries of my regular radio station behind and tune into something different. I need to spend some more time there to capture so much more of what the Upper Karoo has to offer in the other seasons of the year. I have a few ideas in mind, so look out for my next blog on Sutherland when that trip has been completed. My focus was purely on landscape photography, I did not come away with any wildlife images, even although the birdlife in the area and game at Rogge Cloof is in abundance, I only brought along landscape lenses for this trip, which is another reason for me to return. Special thanks to André and Corlia of Rogge Cloof for your wonderful hospitality, and to Jannie of The Blue Moon, we plan to be back when it snows! Do show some love and support for these two venues should you decide to visit the Upper Karoo, you won't be disappointed! Acknowledgements Information sourced from various sources on the internet: Wikipedia, Rogge Cloof, Discover Sutherland, Wines of South Africa and Badisa for the Koöperasie stories image, all watermarked images are copyrighted and belong to Craig Fouché Photography. There are two gallieries for this blog, a monochrome and colour below. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs. Newsletter Please subscribe me to your newsletter informing me of all new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe colour gallery monochrome gallery Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Rooftop Photography in Dubai 2017

Rooftop Photography in Dubai 2017 Background After about 3 years of planning, it finally came to fruition. I had seen many a great image being posted on Facebook's Landscapes / Seascapes / Cityscapes page, the shear grandeur of skyscrapers, the modernity of the buildings, and the ethereal beauty, more so when photographed at night, and especially so when shrouded in the  late winter mists. I decided that, I too, wanted to fill my lenses with such amazing imagery! The rooftop photography in Dubai bug had bitten me! I transit regularly through Dubai - UAE; Istanbul - Turkey; Amman - Jordan; and Doha - Qatar to my end destinations, but never really get to spend much time exploring these cities due to layover times. This year, I took my wife Dominique, along to experience this shoot in Dubai with me. The Right People I was delighted to see that Daniel Cheong was running the first ever legal rooftop workshop in Dubai in association with Nikon School on the 28th October 2016; subsequently, ALL his workshops were fully booked until the end of 2016, with photographers flying in from Singapore, China, Netherlands and the GGC / Gulf States! I was also excited to be the first fly-in South-African to attend a workshop with him, which was held in January 2017! I am also the first to shoot film from the Cayan Tower; I used my Nikon F6 with Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros Black and White Negative Film with a variety of older Nikon D-series lenses, including the rare Nikon 18mm f/2.8 AF-D Lens and the very new Nikon 19mm  f/4 PC-E Tilt-Shift Lens. The Tilt-Shift Lens is an awes0me lens, however does not have an aperture ring like the 24mm, I was forced to shoot all my film images at f/4. As per Pete DeMarco's Photography Blog - The Nomad Within, Daniel Cheong "is the original Dubai rooftopper. He usually shoots from high vantage points, especially during blue hour or in the fog." There are some photographers' work that one easily recognizes; Daniels' hallmark is definitely rooftop photography in Dubai. There are a few other well recognized photographers that shoot rooftop photography in Dubai, namely Dany Eid, Alisdair Miller, Beno Saradzic, Sajeesh Shanmughan, Mohamed Raouf and Zohaib Anjum. All their work can be found in publications, newspapers, personal websites and on Facebook. Dubai Photography Workshop Contacting and finally meeting Daniel online was great. My time constraints were limited during my stay in Dubai, as I was also committed to shooting the 24H Series - Dubai motorsport event. Daniel was unable to attend the workshop with me due to a family emergency, I was however very fortunate to have spent quality time with Dany Eid. The world is a much smaller place now with social media in play, and so much easier to meet the right people! Knowing the right people in any circle is beneficial, this made all the difference for my architectural, cityscape and rooftop photography in Dubai experience. When To Go The best time is in the winter from December to February. It’s much cooler. This is also when you’ll have your best chance of catching the elusive fog. I am not a humid climate loving person, I prefer either very hot and dry, or very cold! This is one occasion that I was prepared to make that sacrifice for the possibility of shooting the fog in Dubai. We had fog a few days prior to my shoot, on the day it was very windy, obviously no fog, which made for challenging long exposure photography. This is amplified on the skyscrapers. Where To Stay This is the peak season, flights are very expensive and usually fully booked. One should always be on the lookout for various specials, be that flights and or accommodation. Lodging in Dubai is not cheap. Most of the cheaper hotels and guesthouses are located around Deira. We chose to stay as centrally in the city as possible, that being close to the Mall of Emirates. This afforded us many opportunities to view the city and its delights either by foot, taxi, Red Bus, local bus and skytrain. There are apartments, budget hotels and mega expensive hotels to choose from, it all depends on your budget. I would suggest reviewing your stay on sites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Agoda.com to see how people have rated your choice of stay. What I Shot Make use of the interactive map to see where the various landmarks are in Dubai.     Cayan Tower The Cayan Tower is an easily recognisable tower as it is spiral shaped, offering a safe 360º view of the Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Port Jumeirah, Emirates Hill Golf Course and Jumeirah Lake Towers. Cayan Tower at Blue Hour, Dubai, UAE Cayan Tower, known as Infinity Tower before it was inaugurated, is a 306-metre-tall, 73-story skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates by Cayan Real Estate Investment and Development. The tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill SOM architectural group, the same group who did the concept design for the Burj Khalifa, also in Dubai, and Trump Tower in Chicago. Upon its opening on 10 June 2013, the tower became world's tallest high-rise building with a twist of 90º, this has been surpassed by the Shanghai Tower. Daniel has exclusive permission to shoot from this location as access to rooftops in Dubai can be a nightmare! Dubai Marina Dubai Marina is an artificial canal city, built along a 3 km stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline. When the entire development is complete, it will accommodate more than 120 000 people in residential towers and villas. Dubai Marina from Cayan Tower at Night, Dubai, UAE It is located on Interchange 5 between Jebel Ali Port and the area which hosts Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and the American University in Dubai. There have been many instances of marine wildlife (especially whales and sharks) entering the lake, because of its proximity to the open sea. Dubai Marina from Cayan Tower, Dubai, UAE The Tallest Block The tallest block is located on the western side of Dubai Marina, the block is also known as the tallest block of supertall skyscrapers in the world because it contains some of the world's tallest residential towers, including Princess Tower, which is the tallest residential buildings in the world completed in 2012. Tallest Block, Dubai Marina, Dubai, UAE The high rise buildings, are mainly clustered into a block, with the majority of the skyscrapers ranges between 250m to 300m, which includes Emirates Crown, Infinity Tower, Ocean Heights, Marina Pinnacle, Sulafa Tower, Al Seef Tower, Le Rêve, Marina Crown and few are taller than 350m and 400m, which includes Elite Residence, 23 Marina, Princess Tower, Marina 101, Marina 106, Damac Heights, The Marina Torch, and a supertall Pentominium, which rises to 516m, if completed it will become worlds tallest residential building surpassing Princess Tower. Palm Jumeirah The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago in United Arab Emirates, created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government, and designed and developed by Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects, Inc. It is one of three planned islands called the Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira) which would have extended into the Persian Gulf, increasing Dubai's shoreline by a total of 520km. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE   Palm Jumeirah, East Side, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands originally under development by Nakheel. It is located on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Palm Jumeirah, Nakheel’s flagship project, is the world’s largest man-made island and is comprised of a two-kilometre-long trunk, a crown made up of 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent. Palm Jumeirah, West Side, JBR Towers - Dubai, UAE Atlantis, The Palm Atlantis, The Palm is a UAE luxury hotel resort located at the apex of the Palm Jumeirah in the United Arab Emirates. It was the first resort to be built on the island and is themed on the myth of Atlantis but includes distinct Arabian elements. The resort opened on September 15, 2008 as a joint venture between Kerzner International Holdings Limited and Istithmar. The 1,539 room nautically themed resort has two accommodation wings, consisting of the East and the West Tower, linked together by the Royal Bridge Suite. It is complemented by the Aquaventure water park and the Nasimi Beach, which frequently plays host to concerts and other events. Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE Burj Al Arab The Burj al-Arab or Tower of the Arabs is a hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the fourth tallest hotel in the world; however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. It stands on an artificial island 280m from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210m above ground. The hotel is described as the first seven star hotel by a journalist who was at a loss for words when he first saw the hotel. We were treated like royalty during our four hour brunch at the exclusive Al Muntaha Restaurant. The Al Muntaha ("The Ultimate"), is located 200m above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai. It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27m from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator. The views from the exclusive Al Muntaha Restaurant & Skyview Bar, and the architecture of the Burj Al Arab are nothing short of opulent and spectacular! This was such an amazing experience that I have created a separate gallery for the Burj Al Arab in this blog. Burj Al Arab, Interior View of the Atrium, Dubai, UAE Burj Khalifa Burj Khalifa or "Khalifa Tower", known as Burj Dubai before its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest artificial structure in the world, standing at 829.8m. Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed 5 years later in 2009. The primary structure is reinforced concrete. The building was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. Dubai Skyline with Burj Khalifa from Skyview Bar, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE The Y-shaped plan is designed for residential and hotel usage. A buttressed core structural system is used to support the height of the building, and the cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai's summer temperatures. It contains a total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators. Due to time constraints, I was only able to shoot the Burj Khalifa from the interior of the Burj Al Arab, and the private road leading to the island. That is the beauty of "incomplete" work, there is always a reason to return to such an amazing location such as Dubai, with fresh inspiration and ideas! Dubai Skyline - Burj Khalifa from Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE What Camera Gear I Used As I shoot both film and digital, I brought along the following gear: Film Nikon F6 Body Nikon AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8D Lens Nikon 18mm f/2.8 AF-D Lens Nikon AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED Lens Nikon 19mm f/4 PC-E Tilt-Shift Lens Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E Tilt-Shift Lens Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros Black and White Negative Film Digital Nikon D5 Nikon D800e Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art Lens Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 ZE Lens Nikon AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8D Lens Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens Nikon 19mm PC NIKKOR f/4E ED Tilt-Shift Lens Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E Tilt-Shift Lens Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens Tripod Conclusion Although I titled this blog - Rooftop Photography in Dubai 2017, I have included other imagery depicting the cityscape and architecture of Dubai. More of those images can be seen on the relative pages of my website. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience, one I will never forget! I am also very excited to be the first fly in South-African to shoot with Dany Eid, that is a humbling honour and privilege, as well as the first to shoot film from the Cayan Tower! I look forward to be able to do this again, and have had my eye on the high rises of New York, USA for the same amount of time as Dubai. I hope to fulfill that experience of shooting in the Big Apple soon! Thank-you A big shout out to Daniel Cheong and Dany Eid for such a fantastic product and for being pioneers in opening up the way for others to experience rooftop photography on Dubai. Thank you for affording me this opportunity, a lot of personal firsts for me and to have been able to capture the images I did. I look forward to returning to shoot with you again. A big shout out to my friends Dirk and Zena, for your friendship and assistance with our stay in Dubai, we appreciate you! Acknowledgement : Dubai  Workshop Photography advertising image - Daniel Cheong Photography, some content information sourced from various websites. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs.   Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe 2017 DUBAI CITYSCAPE AND CAYAN TOWER SHOOT - FILM - FUJIFILM NEOPAN ACROS 100     2017 DUBAI CITYSCAPE AND CAYAN TOWER SHOOT   If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments below. I would really like to hear from you, and the experiences you may have had, both good and bad in Dubai. 2017 DUBAI CITYSCAPE AND CAYAN TOWER SHOOT - BURJ AL ARAB   If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments below. I would really like to hear from you, and the experiences you may have had, both good and bad in Dubai. Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 Winners

Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 Winners Ientered the Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 on the 21st August 2016 and was informed that I was a finalist for the November Gallery, which can be read here on my previous blog. The final results of the competition have been announced in January 2017  issue of Getaway Magazine as per competition rules. Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016  is a prestigious showcase of the best photographs their readers have to offer. Enthusiasts brush shoulders with professionals at the highest levels, as both have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes. Congratulations to the Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 winners. This year Getaway Magazine present their biggest competition yet, with travel and equipment prizes to the value of over R160 000. Prizes include the opportunity to see desert elephant in Kaokoland, one of Namibia’s wildest areas, plus fantastic equipment prizes – including a drone! The Final Winning Shots Below are the winning images, well done and congratulations to everyone that entered, I am glad I did not have the difficult task of judging, as there were really top quality images submitted! I recognised quite a few names from the various Facebook photographic pages and groups I belong to. I have enjoyed this privilege and opportunity to have been an entrant as well. Winning isn't everything, I enjoy the recognition, accreditation and validification that my work receives, it is great to have your work published. I am really pleased that my image ended up finishing with a Top Ten Finish and a Highly Commended placing overall! Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg35 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg36 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg37 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg38 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg39 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg40 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg41 Getaway Magazine January 2017 pg42 Conclusion I will be back again to enter, and to continue to build capacity. I am sure the submissions will be of the same high standards one has come to expect from the Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2017. The pages from Getaway Magazine were acquired as a E-zine and used for content to write this blog. Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016

Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 Ientered the Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 on the 21st August 2016 and was informed that I was a finalist for the November Gallery. Needless to say, I was delighted, as this is quite a prestigious travel magazine and competition. Getaway Magazine is known as South Africa's favourite travel magazine. I was then requested to submit a high resolution image on the 26th August 2016 along with either an amended or approved caption which was already submitted along with my image the first time. On the 17th October 2016, I was then contacted again by Getaway Magazine staff, requesting the unedited original/RAW of the image attached. They were in the process of judging Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition and need originals for editing comparisons.  It is a wonderful feeling when one enters competitions, and you up against some of the best in the industry, some even internationally recognised photographers, like my friend Morkel Erasmus. It isn't and shouldn't always be about winning, and yes, it is awesome to win. You get the well deserved bragging rights that go along with it; this for me, is more about validation, accreditation and recognition of my work. The Story Behind The Shot I was covering the Lipton Challenge Cup 2016 which you can read about here, and as with anything else you can pretty much come prepared to do the task at hand, have all the ticks in the boxes completed, but can do absolutely nothing about the weather. This is exactly what happened! I hired a helicopter for the shoot, as I don't own a drone, and was looking to expand both my aerial photo portfolio and to shoot yacht racing from a different perspective. The days leading up to the final of the yacht race had a constant change of weather from calm days and sunny skies, to a total blanket of cloud that kept us grounded by Cape Town ATC (Air Traffic Control) and a race day cancellation, and on the last day a very cold, windy and wet day, which is great for yachting! Lipton Cup Challenge 2016, Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa The day in question that I shot my entry was the second last day of the Lipton Challenge Cup. We had been on standby for most of the morning and the cloud forecast didn't look good at all. There were patches of rain in the early morning, and way too much low-level cloud which prohibited us from flying. Alex, my friend and pilot, and I had been sitting around waiting for word from ATC and the race organisers to let us know if we could fly, it was yes and no, yes and no, and finally no. The yacht race was cancelled for the day, due to no wind and poor visibility. As I had paid for flying time, and had to use it, Alex suggested we fly anyway, as we had a break in the clouds over the airfield, and visibility was good for that time. I was rather reluctant and disappointed, almost ready to go home in fact! I had not met my end goals and time was running out of time to capture aerial images of the race that was ending the next day. Aerial Photography - Alex & I, Philadelphia Surrounds, South-Africa - Fuji Superior 400 We took off from Morningstar Airfield, headed up the coast towards Atlantis, where I shot both film and digital images. The view was spectacular to say the least! We then headed out towards the direction of Robben Island to capture a series of panoramic images, which were just as spectacular! I have long wanted to capture the images of skyscrapers in Dubai, where the buildings are shrouded in mist, that day I did, except it was Cape Town! Flying over Blaauwbergstrand afforded me just that very opportunity! That is when I captured my competition entry image, which incidentally, did not look as great in colour as it did in monochrome. During my edits, I asked my wife Dominique for her opinion; monochrome she said, and she was right! The Fairest Cape has so many different moods and so character, the best way for me to title this image was to name it after the band, Just Jinger who wrote the song Table Talk, which aptly, poetically and appropriately describes Table Mountain: Just Jinger - Table Talk If Table Mountain could talk What would she whisper in the Lions (Head) ear? What kind of Signal (Hill) would she give, to the hill? And if she spoke spoke loud enough Could she perhaps get through to Chapman (Peak)? Or did he lose his peak, years ago, years ago? Just imagine, La da da da da, la da da da da da da This is Table Talk La da da da da, la da da da da da da This is Table Talk If Table Mountain could sing Do you think she'd be into Elvis? I have a feeling she's always been into rock of some sorts And if our mountain could think Do you think she'd be into Plato? Or did she give up long ago, and let the Cape win her Point What's the point? Just imagine, La da da da da, la da da da da da da This is Table Talk La da da da da, la da da da da da da It's on the Table! If Table Mountain could say anything, What would she say? If she could only say What would she say? There are so many images captured by so many different people, photographers, tourists, travelers and the like, each with their interpretation of Table Mountain, this is mine from a different view! I am very grateful to Alex for the the prompting and nudging that I needed to fly that day, you can see exactly what I would have missed out on if I didn't. The November Gallery Here are the entrants that were published alongside me in the November 2016 Gallery.   Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016 Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016 Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016 My Entry: Table Talk - Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016 Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016 I am also very grateful to have a full page published in this issue of Getaway Magazine Gallery November 2016. You can click  on the image below to view the complete copy of Getaway Magazine November 2016 in a new tab.   My Gallery of the Day A few images of  what I shot on the day. Click on the images below to view an enlarged single image. All my images are available for purchase as prints. Digital images can be used under license agreement. Should you wish to purchase or license my images, please click here for more information, so I can assist you with your needs. Panoramic View of Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa Table Talk, Blaauwbergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa Misty, Blaauwbergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa Misty, Blaauwbergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa Misty, Blaauwbergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa Conclusion The final results of the competition will be announced in January 2017  issue of Getaway Magazine as per competition rules. Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition 2016 is a prestigious showcase of the best photographs their readers have to offer. Enthusiasts brush shoulders with professionals at the highest levels, as both have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes. This year Getaway Magazine present their biggest competition yet, with travel and equipment prizes to the value of over R160 000. Prizes include the opportunity to see desert elephant in Kaokoland, one of Namibia’s wildest areas, plus fantastic equipment prizes – including a drone! I eagerly await the results, and will update this blog with the winners, when published. All the best to the entrants, I have enjoyed this privilege and opportunity to have been an entrant as well. Images are that do not have my watermark are not my work. The pages from Getaway Magazine were acquired as a E-zine and used for content to write this blog. Newsletter Please subscribe to my newsletter which will inform you of any new workshops, activities, products and upcoming events. Subscribe


August 2015 – Zanzibar Photoshoot

August 2015 - Zanzibar Shoot My wife Dominique and I had the privilege of spending 8 days in Zanzibar. We stayed on the Unguja Island, based ourselves on the northern tip in Nungwi. Our stay was at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Zanzibar - Nungwi, where we were very well looked after by our host Shaun. Everyone dreams of an "island-in-the-sun" holiday or destination, and most people walk away with palm trees, cocktails on the beach images, I had this in mind too; however, from the outset, wanted to shoot the Milky Way over Zanzibar, capture the raw grittiness of the streets, life, historic buildings, convey the essence and pulse of life as it is in Zanzibar and Stone Town; to be able to tell this story in captivating colour and monochrome as well. On doing some research, I found only three other photographers that had actually done photographed the Milky Way! I wanted this travel shoot to be a special Zanzibar photo shoot, something different and unique...my objectives were achieved! The GOOGLE mapS below ARE interactive If you select satellite map, you'll soon see a wide turquoise-blue strip which lines Zanzibar's East Coast: this is the shallow-water between the land and the coastal barrier reef. Given that the tide retreats almost to the reef in many parts of the East Coast – this map shows how far the tide goes, and so why it's not always possible to swim on these beaches. A General Overview of Zanzibar The general impression of Zanzibar when approached from the mainland is of a long, low island with small ridges along its central north–south axis. Coconut palms and other vegetation cover the land surface. It is 85km at its greatest length and 39km broad. The highest point of the central ridge system is Masingini, 119m above sea level. Higher ground is gently undulating and gives rise to a few small rivers, which flow west to the sea or disappear in the coral country. The climate is typically insular, tropical, and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 to 2000 mm. Rainfall is reliable and well-distributed in comparison with most of eastern Africa. Northeast trade winds blow from December to March and southeast trade winds from May to October. The “long rains” occur between March and May and the “short rains” between October and December. At the present moment, Mango offers flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar City. The History of Zanzibar A Portuguese Interlude: 16th - 17th Century The small tropical island of Zanzibar, a mere twenty miles off the east coast of Africa, has played a major part in local history, out of all proportion to its size. The reason is, its easy access to traders and adventurers exploring down the east coast of Africa from Arabia. Islam was well established in this region by the 11th century. During the 16th century there was a new category of visitor arriving from the south - the Portuguese. They establish friendly relations with the ruler. By the end of the century there was a Portuguese trading station and a mission run by Augustinian friars. But in the late 17th century the Christian presence comes to an end, after a forceful campaign down the coast by the Muslims of Oman. Oman and Zanzibar: 1698-1856 In the 1690s Saif bin Sultan, the imam of Oman, is pressing down the East African coast. A major obstacle is Fort Jesus, housing the garrison of a Portuguese settlement at Mombasa. After a two-year siege, it falls to Saif in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily eject the Portuguese from Zanzibar and from all other coastal regions north of Mozambique. Zanzibar, a valuable property as the main slave market of the East African coast, becomes an increasingly important part of the Omani empire - a fact reflected by the decision of the greatest 19th-century sultan of Oman, Sa'id ibn Sultan, to make it from 1837 his main place of residence. Sa'id builds impressive palaces and gardens in Zanzibar. He improves the island's economy by introducing cloves, sugar and indigo (though at the same time he accepts a financial loss in co-operating with British attempts to end Zanzibar's slave trade). The link with Oman is broken after his death in 1856. Rivalry between his two sons is resolved, with the help of forceful British diplomacy, when one of them (Majid) succeeds to Zanzibar and to the many regions claimed by the family on the east African coast. The other (Thuwaini) inherits Muscat and Oman. British Involvement: 1856-1885 By the time Majid inherits the throne in Zanzibar, the British are increasingly involved in this prosperous offshore island. In this same year, 1856, Burton and Speke make this the base for their exploration into the interior. Their route towards Lake Tanganyika is along the tracks frequented by Arab traders, through territory which the Omani sultans of Zanzibar claim as their own. By the time Majid dies, to be succeeded in 1870 by his brother Barghash, the British have appointed a consul to Zanzibar. His primary task is to end Zanzibar's notorious slave trade. This purpose is achieved by a treaty with Barghash in 1873. The consul who achieves this treaty is John Kirk. It is poignant for him that this is the year in which he does so. For it is also the year in which David Livingstone, the great anti-slavery explorer, dies in the African interior. His embalmed corpse is carried by his assistants all the way back to Zanzibar. Kirk, who receives Livingstone's body in his role as consul, has been an intimate friend. For five years, from 1858 to 1863, he accompanied all Livingstone's expeditions in the role of doctor and naturalist. He too has witnessed at first hand the brutal activities of the Arab slave traders in the interior. Livingstone would be pleased to know that their main market is now closed to them. Well aware that Zanzibar needs to replace slave revenue with legitimate economic activity, Kirk is assiduous in encouraging Barghash to build up the export of rubber and ivory - brought from the interior of the continent, where the sultan wields a somewhat loose and ramshackle authority through Tabora and on to Ujiji. By the mid-1880s the sultan is earning a fortune from these sources, but Kirk proves powerless to protect him from a new threat. In 1884-5 there are reports of a German, Karl Peters, snooping around the caravan routes to the Great Lakes. In March 1885 there comes the astonishing news that Germany is claiming a protectorate in this inland region. And in August there is an alarming sight from the verandah of the palace. A German-British Carve Up: 1885-1886 On 7 August 1885 five German warships steam into the lagoon of Zanzibar and train their guns on the sultan's palace. They have arrived with a demand from Bismarck that Sultan Barghash cede to the German emperor his mainland territories or face the consequences. But in the age of the telegram, gunboat diplomacy is no longer a local matter. This crisis is immediately on desks in London. Britain, eager not to offend Germany, suggests a compromise. The two nations should mutually agree spheres of interest over the territory stretching inland to the Great Lakes. This plan is accepted before August is out. The embarrassed British consul finds himself under orders from London to persuade the sultan to sign an agreement ceding the lion's share of his mainland territory, with the details still to be decided. In September the German gunships begin their journey home. A joint Anglo-German boundary commission starts work in the interior. By November 1886 the task is done and the result is agreed with the other main colonial power, France. The sultan is left a strip ten miles wide along the coast. Behind that a line is drawn to Mount Kilimanjaro and on to Lake Victoria at latitude 1° S. The British sphere of influence is to be to the north, the German to the south. The line remains to this day the border between Kenya and Tanzania. British Protectorate: 1890-1963 After the abrupt redistribution of the sultan's inland territories, Britain remains the only colonial power with a well-established presence in Zanzibar itself. With the approval of the sultan the island and its narrow coastal regions are declared a British protectorate in 1890. Although only wielding a fraction of their former power, the Arab sultans of Zanzibar are still during this colonial period the most influential Muslim leaders in east Africa. But their rule comes to an end soon after the island's independence in the 1960s. A new constitution, introduced in 1960, provides for a legislative assembly. The emerging political parties are split largely on ethnic lines, representing Arab and African interests respectively, and disagreement about the franchise delays the introduction of internal self-government until June 1963. It is followed in December by full independence and membership of the British Commonwealth. A coalition of Arab parties forms the first government, with the sultan as head of state. But in January 1964, a month after independence, a communist-led revolution topples the regime. The sultan is deposed and a republic proclaimed. The revolution, carried out by not more than 600 insurgents, involves considerable acts of violence against the Arab and Indian populations of the island - most of whom make a hasty departure. Abeid Amane Karume emerges as president of the resulting one-party state. His first step is to negotiate for union with neighbouring Tanganyika, also left-wing in its policies though not Marxist. The two nations are merged in April 1964, becoming the United Republic of Tanzania, with Nyerere as president and Karume as vice-president. But Zanzibar retains its revolutionary council and often continues to go its own way, to the discomfiture of the government in Dar es Salaam. Nungwi Nungwi is traditionally the centre of Zanzibar's dhow-building industry, and, over the last decade, the coastline here has rocketed in popularity to become one of the island's busiest beach destinations. The ramshackle fishing village has been side-lined by an ever-increasing number of guesthouses, bars, shops, restaurants and bikini-clad backpackers. Ageing hippies, cool dudes, gap-year students and bright young things escaping European city jobs are all drawn to its white sand, stage-set palm trees, turquoise sea and sparkling sunshine. The setting is beautiful, but the number of people, constant buzz and locals persistent haggling for an income off of tourists, can take the edge off its charm. By day, the beach sees sunbathing tourists slumber, swim and indulge in lemongrass massages, whilst wandering local guys tout their 'tours' and sell a range of mediocre paintings, sunglasses and replica football shirts; then, as the sun sets, the visitors arise and the whole place buzzes with party spirit. Beach bonfires blaze, cocktails flow and the music rocks till late, all provided by locals at the various hotels. Despite the influx of tourists, Nungwi is a traditional, conservative place. It was one of the last coastal settlements on Zanzibar to have a hotel, or any tourist facilities. As recently as the mid-1990s, proposals for large developments in the area were fiercely opposed by local people. Today, the proudly independent villagers give the impression that tourists are here on sufferance. However, they are not unfriendly and most visitors find that a little bit of cultural respect, politeness and a few words of Swahili go a long way. Some visitors, particularly backpackers, find themselves torn between either coming to Nungwi and the north coast, or going to Paje, Bwejuu and Jambiani on the east coast. For some thoughts on the differences between these two areas see. The sweeping cape on which Nungwi is situated is surrounded by sparkling, warm, turquoise seas, making it a perfect spot to engage in countless water activities. As well as being a tourist destination, Nungwi is also the centre of Zanzibar's traditional dhow-building industry. A number of hardwood trees, particularly good for boats, grow in this area (or at least did grow here, until they were chopped down to make into boats). Generations of skilled craftsmen have worked on the beach outside the village, turning planks of wood into strong ocean-going vessels, using only the simplest of tools. It is a fascinating place to see dhows in various stages of construction, but do show respect for the builders, who are generally indifferent towards visitors, and keep out of the way. Most do not like having their photos taken (ask before you use your camera), although a few have realised that being photogenic has a value, and will reasonably ask for payment. Fishing continues to employ many local men, and it's magical to watch the local fishing boats bobbing in the sparkling waves of the morning, and then set out to sea in the late afternoon. There can be as many as 40 going out at once, their distinctive lateen sails silhouetted against the blush evening sky – it's probably been unchanged for centuries. Early in the morning, around 06h00, they return with their catch to the beach fish market. The spectacle is worth the early start, but if you don't make it, there's a smaller re-run at around 15h00 each day. Like the east coast, Nungwi's other key marine industry centres on its seaweed. Local women tend this newly introduced crop on the flat area between the beach and the low-tide mark. The seaweed is harvested, dried in the sun and sent to Zanzibar Town for export. Nungwi afforded us some wonderful photographic opportunities to capture the Milky Way, boat builders in action and the endless beaches. The varying weather patterns allow for some seriously dramatic skies, the clouds sometimes have a greenish tinge to them, at first I thought this was error in my editing, but discovered this to be the norm. A guided walk through the village afforded some wonderful candid shots of children and adults, it did however cost a few US Dollars or local Tanzanian Shillings per shot or group shot, but was the only secure way of producing the goods. Being a Muslim culture, photography is an issue. Permission is a MUST! The only other way around this is to shoot from the hip and hope you get your shot, this must be done prudently or discreetly. A visit to the local spice plantations near Kizimani was extremely informative! The Zanzibari idea of farming is nothing like the Western Mind has in mind. What appears like a jungle opens up before your eyes under your guides direction, from vanilla which has to be individually hand-pollinated as there are no bees to do the job, ylang-ylang, cardamon, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, lemongrass, nutmeg, cloves, fresh young coconut to quench your thirst, unusual citrus fruits, starfruit, jackfruit and even the iodine tree if you get injured all come to life when you begin to see with the Zanzibari eye. There is even the "lipstick" tree! The villager who climbs the coconut tree has to sing on his climb and decent, to warn others below (sometimes 20m or more high) that he is picking coconuts. A falling coconut will surely kill you if it falls on your head! We experienced a Zanzibari meal in the village using fresh spices and fruits we had just seen. Spices were also for sale after the tour, were we also had the chance to individually taste fresh fruits. Their hospitality was really special. Another memorable event was a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow, using a small engine to get us to our furthest destination, the return was by wind and sail. There are many tour operators, either at the hotels or locals all looking to make a Dollar off the average 1 000 000 tourists that visit annually. Locals are quite happy to try sell you their wares; from bracelets, keyrings, henna tattoos to a village walk. Some guides are quite dodgy, others more reliable; in this case we used The Three Brothers on this sailing excursion. It was amazing to watch the boatman build the boats, they use cotton wedged between the beams of wood as glue, the wood gets wet, swells and compressors against the cotton, making a watertight seal. Actually sailing these boats was exciting! Their navigation skills have been passed down from generation to generation; they don’t use a compass or GPS! Our sunset cruise took us towards the islands of Popo and Tumbatu near Kendwa beach. Stone Town Zanzibar Town, on the western side of the island, is the heart of the archipelago, and the first stop for most travellers. It is divided into two halves by Creek Road, once a creek that separated Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe) from ‘The Other Side’ or Ng’ambo, where a small community of slaves once lived and which now accommodates the growing new city with its offices, apartment blocks and slums. During the colonial period, before the development of towns such as Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Mombasa, Zanzibar Town was the largest settlement in the whole of east Africa. The streets are, as they should be under such a sky, deep and winding alleys, hardly twenty feet broad, and travellers compare them to the threads of a tangled skein. Richard Burton, British explorer (1857) If Zanzibar Town is the archipelago’s heart, Stone Town is its soul. Stone Town, was constructed during the 19th century and remains largely unchanged, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Labyrinths of narrow alleys lead to palaces, mosques and old Arab houses; tiny shops sell dotted tinga-tinga paintings, Zanzibari clocks and heavily adorned chests. The early-morning market on Creek Road is fabulous, as determined Zanzibaris haggle over fragrant spices, exotic fruit and enormous fish. Walk through its alleyways overhung with wooden balconies and faces from every shore of the Indian Ocean and you’ll easily lose yourself in centuries of history, where different cultures collide. Each twist and turn brings something new, be it a school full of children chanting verses from the Quran, an abandoned Persian bathhouse or a coffee vendor with his long-spouted pot fastened over coals. Then there are the ghosts. Stone Town was host to one of the world’s last open slave markets and stories of barbaric cruelty still strike at the conscience. While the best part of Stone Town is simply letting it unfold before you, it’s worth taking one of the recommended tours to really connect with local residents and appreciate its richly textured history. It is the largest town in the archipelago as the being capital, Stone Town, located in the middle of the west coast of Unguja, the main island. The town was named for the coral stone buildings that were built there largely during the 19th century, on the site of a very old fishing village. There are over 16,000 people in the town today, and over 1,700 recorded buildings. Tall houses line narrow alleyways set in a confusing maze radiating out from the centre towards the sea. The streets are too narrow for cars but not, unfortunately, for bicycles and even motorbikes, so be careful! Life is lived very much as it was in the past and the many mosques’ muezzin calls can be heard echoing above the narrow streets five times daily. The architecture is Arabic, which means the walls are very thick, the houses tall and with square and simple facades. Many of the buildings have a central courtyard going up through all the floors, giving ventilation, much like Old Dubai. Zanzibar is well known for its infamous door carvings. Decoration has been added, usually by Indian craftsmen, in the form of wooden balconies and carved doors and stairways. Some of the doors have brass studs which originate in India, where they were used to protect buildings against elephants. The oldest, simplest and most traditional doors have horizontal lintels, as seen in Oman and Arabia generally; later doors have rounded tops and this style shows Indian design influence – many of the builders and craftsmen used in building Zanzibar were from the sub-continent. There are varying motifs in the carving: dates, fish, chains, flowers, lotus, Arabic texts and many more. There are 51 mosques, whose muezzin cries vie with each other at prayer time, as well as 6 Hindu Temples and a Catholic as well as an Anglican Cathedral in this multi-ethnic town. There are many burial places around the outskirts, with interesting headstones and graves, and some important graves in the town itself, usually of religious leaders of the past. On the waterfront, near the Old Dispensary, is an old Fig tree known locally as the Big Tree. It is quite visible from the harbour and is seen in many old photographs. The shaded area underneath it is currently used as a workshop for men building boats. It's a good place to find boat pilots to charter a cruise to Prison Island or Bawe Island. Just opposite is a good beachfront restaurant, known as “Mercury’s”. The second train in East Africa was completed in Zanzibar in 1905 and operated under the name of the Bububu line. It travelled from Bububu village to Stone Town, only 8 km away. It was used mostly for transporting people. Zanzibar was the first country in East Africa to introduce the steam locomotive. Sultan Bargash bin Said had a seven mile railway constructed from his palace at Stone Town to Chukwani in 1879. Initially the two Pullman cars were hauled by mules but in 1881 the Sultan ordered a 0-4-0 tank locomotive from the English locomotive builders Bagnall. The railway saw service until the Sultan died in 1888 when the track and locomotive were scrapped. Fifteen years later (In 1905) the American Company Arnold Cheyney built a seven mile line from Zanzibar Town to the village of Bububu. It was notorious for its ability to set fire to property and the surrounding country side but it ran for twenty-five years until closed in 1930. The Bububu Railway plied six or seven times a day to Zanzibar Town. The service was extremely popular and largely used by the native population. A special first-class coach was run for the benefit of those passengers from steamers who wish to obtain a glimpse of the island. The railway traversed some of the narrowest streets of the city, and it was a constant source of wonderment how passers-by escaped being run over. European residents in Zanzibar regard the railway with an amused tolerance. During the railway construction the Americans undertook the task of installing electrical power lines along the track. Wherever the rails were placed, metal poles were installed and power lines strung overhead. By 1906, long before even London obtained them, Stone Town had electric street lights. In 1911, the railway was sold to the Government, and by 1922 the passenger service ceased. As roads improved and motor vehicles on the island increased, its popularity diminished. With the improvement of the port the railway was used for the haulage of stone which was used to reclaim the seafront. Today much of the old track bed has been built on however train enthusiasts can still see the remains of the railway’s bridges and embankments close to the main road to Bububu. Kiswahili is a language that developed along the East African Coast and incorporates words from all the nations around the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. It was originally written in Arabic script to spell the words phonetically, until Edward Steere, the Bishop who oversaw the building of the Anglican Cathedral on the site of the old slave market, wrote an English-Swahili dictionary in the Roman alphabet. The slave trade created wealth which in turn led to the construction of palaces, mosques and many fine houses. Discovering the architectural gems hidden along the tortuous maze of narrow streets and alleyways that wind though Stone Town is part of the town's magic and mystery for many visitors. Aside from the souvenir tinga-tinga painting and beaded jewellery, it's a scene virtually unchanged since the mid-19th century, when it was described by Burton. The best way to explore Stone Town is on foot, but the maze of lanes and alleys can be very disorientating. To help you get your bearings, it is useful to think of Stone Town as a triangle, bounded on two sides by sea, and along the third by Creek Road. If you get lost, it is always possible to aim in one direction until you reach the outer edge of the town where you should find a recognisable landmark. Although most of the thoroughfares in Stone Town are too narrow for cars, when walking you should watch out for old bicycles and scooters being ridden around at breakneck speed! It's also useful to realise that thoroughfares wide enough for cars are usually called roads while narrower ones are generally referred to as streets. Hence, you can drive along New Mkunazini Road or Kenyatta Road, but to visit a place on Kiponda Street or Mkunazini Street you have to walk. When looking for hotels or places of interest, you should also note that most areas of Stone Town are named after the main street in that area: the area being referred to as Kiponda Street or Malindi Street, instead of simply Kiponda or Malindi. This can be confusing, as you may not be on the street of that name. But don't worry: at least you're near! Stone Town afforded us some wonderful photographic opportunities to capture the soul of the city, the lifeblood of the people and the pulse of life, in its eclectic East African way. There are two types of doors, those ordained with roses or flowers which are arched, are of Indian decent, the others are Arabic which are square shaped. This is a hallmark of the old city, the Zanzibari Doors. Another interesting observation was the water pipes of most buildings run outside the buildings along with the power supply all at the same height in a spider web maze; usually at first floor level. Very few buildings are painted smartly, I had to ponder upon this; one of the most feasible answers were the regular rain showers that are to be had, when would the paint dry? There are many things to see either in the town or a trip on a dhow will find you on a small island - Prison Island (Changu) where the slaves were quarantined prior to being shipped off. The Cathedral was under renovation and repair, there were limited photographic opportunities there due to that. Constructed in the 1870s by the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), this was the first Anglican cathedral in East Africa. It was built on the site of the old slave market, the altar reputedly marking the spot of the whipping tree where slaves were lashed with a stinging branch. It’s a moving sight, remembered by a white marble circle surrounded by red to symbolise the blood of the slaves. The driving force behind the construction of the cathedral was Bishop Edward Steere (1874–82), but the inspiration was David Livingstone, whose call to compassion the missionaries answered in 1864 when they settled on the island. One of the stained-glass windows is dedicated to his memory, while the crucifix is made from the tree that grew where his heart was buried in the village of Chitambo in Zambia. Services are still held at the cathedral on Sunday mornings, although at the time of our visit, the cathedral was being restored. The slave holding cells or chambers are a reality, and a macabre reminder of the hardships and horrible atrocities they had to endure under their masters. Although nothing of the old slave market remains, some 15 holding cells are located beneath the Anglican Cathedral and St Monica’s Hostel. Two of them, beneath St Monica’s, are open to the public and offer a sobering glimpse of the appalling realities of the trade. Dank, dark and cramped, each chamber housed up to 65 slaves awaiting sale. Tiny windows cast weak shafts of sunlight into the gloom and it’s hard to breathe even when they’re empty. There is barely sufficient head room to be seated in a foetal position in these chambers. The Slave Memorial in the garden was sculptured by Swedish artist Clara Sornas in 1997-1998, which depicts five slaves standing in a pit below ground level. The poignant figures emerge from the rough-hewn rock and thus appear hopelessly trapped, shoulders slumped in despair. Around their necks they wear metal collars from which a chain binds them. It’s a disturbing and haunting sight. The mood and brokenness, vacant and empty, sunken stares of the five slaves is well captured and cast in stone, this can be easily seen at the monument besides the Cathedral. A few places of interest to visit are the House of Wonders, Freddie Mercury House, Slave Market and the Darajani Market where spices, foods, meat and fish can be bought. No matter where you travel, one of the best ways to experience local life is to explore the local fresh market. Located just on the edge of the ancient lanes of Stone Town is Darajani Market, one of the central markets in Zanzibar. Markets are not only where things are sold and traded, but they are also where people congregate to socialize, meet friends, and eat. Though the market sprawls outside of the main building and throughout the surrounding lanes and side streets, the original building (pictured) that houses the small indoor section was built in 1904. The meat section, which mostly includes beef and goat, is not the best smelling place in the market, but you should definitely take a quick stroll through it; there are plenty of flies around, I would also say a strong stomach is needed for the queasy visitor. A plethora of fish is also to be found, many types, I did not recognise. If you fortunate enough, when the fish lands, you can witness a fish sale or auction. Fish are auctioned in loud voices in their respective areas. It’s hot, heaving and entertaining. Photographing under the market canopy can be quite challenging, as the light conditions are difficult, often a filtered light or colour cast is thrown, as the locals use various canvases to provide shade and relief from the tropical climate. It is also quite challenging to capture images of the locals in the tight busy market, best done discreetly, and or with permission, I recommend a zoom lens for this task. The House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders is a landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It is the largest and tallest building of Stone Town and occupies a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town's seafront, in Mizingani Road. This large, white building dominates the waterfront area of Zanzibar Town, and is one of its best-known landmarks. A perfect rectangle, it is one of the largest buildings on the island even today, rising over several storeys, surrounded by tiers of pillars and balconies, and topped by a large clock tower. After more than a century of use as a palace and government offices, it opened in 2002 as the Museum of History and Culture and contains some fascinating exhibits and displays. It's a pity to rush your visit: allow yourself enough time to browse. One needs a few days to explore Stone Town, and the to head out to the resorts, away from the buzz and busyness for a more "relaxed" experience of the rest of the island. Built in 1883 as a ceremonial palace for Sultan Barghash, Beit al Ajaib was designed by a marine engineer, hence the great use of steel pillars and girders in the construction, and located on the site of an older palace used by Queen Fatuma, the Mwinyi Mkuu (ruler of Zanzibar) in the 17th century. In its heyday, the interior of the new palace had fine marble floors and panelled walls. It was the first building on Zanzibar to be installed with electric lighting, and one of the first in east Africa to have an electric lift – which is why, not surprisingly, the local people called it 'Beit el Ajaib', meaning 'House of Wonders'. Next to the Fort, the road runs through a tunnel under a large building that is the island's orphanage. Built in the late 19th century, the building was used as a club for English residents until 1896, and then as an Indian school until 1950. Forodhani Orphanage in Stone Town, was established in 1964 and funded by the government, children, ranging from babies to teenagers live in the echoing halls of this institution located over the Forodhani Gardens. There is a small craft shop on the ground floor opposite the gardens selling pictures and curios made by the orphans and other local artisans. Here, blind craft-workers weave a good range of baskets, rugs and other items. This looks like a very run down building, but what really stands out is the three Afro-Arabic window arches above the tunnel entrance between four green Venetian shutter windows on either side. Looking passed the Fort, one can see the House of Wonders from this building. This was all in all a most rewarding travel photography experience, considering that I have been to both Kenya and Somalia for other work; a very different East African experience. Though pristine beaches are what most people think about when they think about Zanzibar, spending some time walking around the local villages and markets is a fantastic way to learn about the culture of Zanzibar and to observe local life as it really is. They are a poor people, yet seem to be happy, they are also a very colourful people that have endured a horrible past; it is quite possible that some grandparents may be the last of the slaves, but will surely have memories of their relatives being slaves. Nothing happens quickly in Zanzibar, the Swahili way is pole pole (porleeh porleeh) translated is slowly-slowly, to which they may add, like the tortoise. Always a friendly greeting jambo, asanthe sana and hakuna matata is what you can expect from the locals. There, life is like the ebb and flow of the tides, the skies will cry in the day and dry its tears over the azure shores and lush vegetation, blush the most amazing colours at nightfall, soon after, twinkle with the brightest of stars in the expanse of the mesmerising Milky Way, only to do it all over again the very next day. Zanzibar is definitely a destination to revisit. Historical information resourced from various sources on the internet. ZANZIBAR Allow the slide show to proceed on its own, or mouse on or off the image to pause or proceed on with the show. One can also make use of the navigation buttons. Please be advised this is a large slideshow, image transitions are fairly short. Images can also be viewed individually and in full size elsewhere on my website under the respective themed  pages. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments below. I would really like to hear from you, and the experiences you may have had, both good and bad in Zanzibar.


How To Fly With Photography Gear

How To Fly With Photography Gear So, you're off to photograph your dream destination and you have to travel there by plane. My condolences. Things used to be easier and simpler. Today traveling with cameras on planes results in silly, idiotic, restricting, and inconveniencing encounters with various people vested with too much authority and too little common sense, who simply cant think out of the box when it comes to photographic gear. This is definitely something that needs to be addressed by all airlines. It is my hope that this blog, on how to fly with photography gear will help, as I am experiencing these issues first hand. I have researched various websites to obtain this information. What is one of your worst nightmares as a national or international professional photographer? Losing your luggage.  It happens all the time, unfortunately. Not just one airline in particular; almost all airline companies utterly fail in customer support when it comes to understanding professional photographers and the importance or value of their equipment or job. I'm not going to tackle airline atrocities, Johannesburg Airport is well known for luggage theft, and more recently two people stowed away on a BA flight to London. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on just one thing: carry-on weight. Under no circumstances am I ever ever ever going to check my camera or computer gear. It’s like waving good-bye to it as I feel like I’d never see it again. If I have to check my camera gear, then I’m not going! Most airlines allow you one piece of carry-on luggage such as a roller-board suitcase and a personal item such as a backpack, briefcase or ladies handbag. For me that means a backpack. I have taken some time to review most of the airlines that depart from South Africa to international destinations, to see where we stand on how to fly with photography gear; in general, it is not very clear when it comes to photography gear. It has everything to do with weight or size! On the odd occasion, it actually mentions what size camera can be taken, and nowhere do they say we can be exempt from having our gear with us. There are options on some airlines to book an extra seat, where you gear can travel as a passenger next to you! What International Airlines Say About Carry-On Air France International Flights Flights within metropolitan France Regardless of the selected fare, you can transport one baggage item and one accessory, up to a total combined weight of 12 kg / 26 lb. Are you connecting to an international flight? The baggage allowance for your international flight applies to your entire trip. Hand baggage allowance To be accepted in the cabin, your hand baggage must not exceed the following dimensions: 55 x 35 x 25 cm / 21 x 13 x 9 in (including pockets, wheels and handles). Please note: a suit bag is considered as one standard baggage item. Accessories In addition to your hand baggage, you may also transport 1 accessory.This includes your choice of one of the following: Handbag Notebook computer Camera, etc. Air New Zealand Cabin baggage allowance Customers may take one piece of cabin baggage onboard with a maximum weight of 7kg (15lbs) Business Class, Premium Economy* & connecting Business Class customers, Air New Zealand Elite**, Gold and Star Alliance Gold customers are permitted to carry two pieces weighing a maximum combined total of 14kgs (30lbs), with one of those items weighing up to 10kgs To help our staff recognise your higher cabin baggage allowance, please use your Status name bag tag on your heavier cabin baggage item In addition to your allowance, you may also carry onboard one small personal item such as a handbag, duty free bag or slim line laptop bag, which must be able to fit under the seat in front of you As a safety precaution, all cabin baggage must be able to fit in the overhead lockers or under the seat in front of you. Each item should therefore not exceed total linear dimensions (length + width + height) of 118cm (46.5") Cathay Pacific You are allowed to carry at least one piece of carry-on baggage for free (depending on the class you travel). Duty-free items are included in cabin baggage allowance. You may also carry other necessary items such as a small camera or a walking stick on board. Hand-carry items of value, such as keys, artwork, cameras, money, jewellery, precious metals, silverware, medicines, drug, dangerous goods, commercial goods or samples, personal electronic devices and odd-sized articles, etc. Carry-on baggage For all classes, each passenger (except an infant) can bring a free baggage allowance of one cabin bag not exceeding 56x36x23cm (22x14x9 in) in size. These dimensions include wheels, handles and side pockets. The total weight entitlements of your cabin baggage are as follows: Class Weight First Class 15kg (33 lbs) Business Class 10kg (22 lbs) Premium Economy Class 7kg (15lbs) Economy Class 7kg (15lbs) + For all travel classes, duty-free items are included in your cabin baggage allowance. ++ If you are travelling in two classes on one journey (split class or mixed class travel), you can enjoy the greater allowance for the whole journey. Croatia Airlines Hand baggage allowance Economy Class passengers: 1 piece max. weight 8 kg total sum of dimensions up to 115 cm (55x40x20) Business Class passengers: 2 pieces max. weight per piece 8 kg total sum of dimensions up to 115 cm (55x40x20) or 57x54x15cm if it is a foldable garment bag In exceptional cases, depending on the type of aircraft, hand baggage allowance for Business Class passengers can be restricted to 1 piece. Heavy hand luggage must be stowed under the seat in front, except on seat rows on which there is an emergency exit. What to pack? Each passenger may additionally take: 1 personal item with a maximum size of 40x30x10 cm (16x12x4 in) into the passenger cabin (e.g. 1 ladies hand bag or 1 laptop or 1 shoulder-strapped bag) Emirates Generally, the amount of cabin baggage you may bring depends on which service class you are flying. First Class and Business Class customers are permitted two pieces of carry-on baggage: one briefcase plus either one handbag or one garment bag. The briefcase may not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20cm); the handbag may not exceed 22 x 15 x 8 inches (55 x 38 x 20cm); the garment bag can be no more than 8 inches (20cm) thick when folded. The weight of each piece must not exceed 7kg (15lb). Economy Class customers are permitted one piece of carry-on baggage, either a handbag or laptop bag, that may not exceed 22 x 15 x 8 inches (55 x 38 x 20cm) and must weigh no more than 15lb (7kg). Note: For customers boarding in India, the size of carry-on baggage may not exceed 45.3 total inches or 115cm (length + width + height). Duty free purchases such as liquor, cigarettes and perfume are also permitted in reasonable quantities for all service classes. Sports equipment and musical instruments are subject to the same size and weight restrictions as other forms of cabin baggage. However, it is possible to transport these items on a separate, paid-for seat in the cabin. Please note that certain conditions and limitations may apply when transporting musical instruments. All cabin baggage must fit either under the seat in front of you or in one of the overhead lockers. Baggage may not be placed behind your legs, in the aisles or in front of emergency exits. Etihad Carry-on items In addition to your hand baggage allowance, the following are carry-on items and can be taken on the flight for free: Handbag, pocket book or purse Overcoat, wrap or blanket Umbrella or walking stick Small camera and / or binoculars A reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight Infant food for the journey Infant carry basket / carry cot Braces or prosthetic devices (provided the guest is dependent on them) Briefcase or portable PC which is not being used as a container for transportation of articles, regarded as baggage (laptops should not be activated without flight crew knowledge) Mobile phone Cameras, film, lighting and sound equipment may be accepted as checked baggage. If in excess of checked baggage allowance, you will be charged the applicable excess baggage rate. Due to their bulky nature, we advise you to make prior arrangements with the station of departure. Hand baggage (carry-on) allowance Each item must not exceed dimensions of 111 cm (40 x 50 x 21). When an infant is carried in either a carrycot or car seat, the following items may be carried free of charge provided the total weight (excluding the infant) does not exceed 5kg: bedding, napkins, feeding bottles and sufficient food for the journey.   Flights First Class Business Class Economy Class Infant All destinations 2 bags total of 12kg 2 bags total of 12kg 1 bag up to 7kg 1 bag up to 5kg Icelandair Saga Class Two carry-on bags per person, in addition to one small personal item, such as small hand bag or laptop. The maximum weight allowed for each carry-on bag is 10kg (22lbs). Economy Comfort Two carry-on bags per person, in addition to one small personal item, such as small hand bag or laptop. The maximum weight allowed for each carry-on bag is 10kg (22lbs). Economy Class One carry-on bag per person, in addition to one small personal item, such as small hand bag or laptop. The maximum weight allowed for your carry-on is 10kg (22lbs). Carry-on bag dimensions The size of your hand luggage should not exceed 55x40x20 cm. Please note that any bag or item must fit easily into the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Kenya Airways Hand Baggage   Passengers  Free Allowance  Accessories  Premier World 2 pieces (max L55xW25xH35cm each) + 1 Accessory Total weight max 12kg -Handbag-Briefcase-Laptop-Camera bagOr any other item smaller or of identical size  Economy 1 piece (max L55xW25xH35cm each)+1 AccessoryTotal weight max 12kg -Handbag-Briefcase-Laptop-Camera bagOr any other item smaller or of identical size Extra Seat for Cabin Baggage, Cargo, Mail (CBBG) or Passenger Comfort (EXST) Extra seat(s) can be booked for passenger’s comfort (e.g. leg rest, etc.) or for stowage of cabin baggage (e.g. valuables, diplomatic pouch, fragile items, musical instruments, paintings etc.) Baggage Allowance for an Extra Seat Purchased Acceptance Conditions i. Extra seat(s) shall be requested and paid for in advance. Approval is needed from Revenue Management. ii. The normal applicable free checked baggage allowance applies for every extra seat booked (EXST). For example, 1 passenger books 2 extra M-Class seats for comfort. The total checked baggage allowance for this passenger will be 3 x applicable free baggage allowance. iii. If a seat is used to place items on (CBBG), these items may not weigh more than 46 kg per seat. iv. (The kilos placed on a seat, shall not be deducted from the total free checked baggage allowance.) Items placed on a seat should be adequately packed to prevent damage. v. Trunks and crates are not allowed as CBBG. vi. Items must be stored on a seat and be properly secured by a safety belt or restraint device having enough strength to eliminate the possibility of shifting under all normal anticipated flight and ground conditions. vii. The item shall be adequately packaged or covered in a manner to avoid possible injury to passengers and cabin crew members. viii. Extra seats for stowage of items shall not be issued on the emergency exit row. ix. The items carried on the extra seat shall not restrict access to or use of any required emergency or regular exit, or aisle(s) in the cabin. x. The items stowed shall not obscure any passenger’s view of the seat belt sign, no smoking sign or required exit sign. xi. Items may not cause disturbance to other passengers. xii. Both passenger and CBBG shall be booked in the same class of travel. The items shall be limited to the sizes stipulated below; Aircraft Type Maximum Allowable size of items stowed on Extra Seat B777,B787 48X73X40 (width x height x side length) CMS B737 Series 48X60X40 (width x height x side length) CMS E190/E170 43X60X40 (width x height x side length) CMS KLM Hand Baggage Dimensions, number of bags and weight You make the following as hand baggage: Travel class Number & dimensions Weight restriction Permitted accessories Economy Class 1 bag measuring 55x35x25 cm (21.5x13.50x10 inch) (lxwxh)* Your hand baggage inc. accessories, may not exceed 12 kg (26 lbs) 1 of the following: handbag, briefcase, camera, small laptop or 1 other item of similar or smaller size Business Class 1 bag measuring 55x35x25 cm (21.5x13.5x10 inch) (lxwxh)* and 1 bag smaller than 45x35x20 cm (18x13.5x8 inch) (lxwxh)** Your hand baggage incl. accessories may not exceed 18 kg (40 lbs) 1 of the following: handbag, briefcase, camera, small laptop or 1 other item of similar or smaller size * The sum of the dimensions may not be greater than 115 cm (45 inches), including wheels and handles. ** Exception for World Business Class passengers: on flights from India you may only carry one item of hand baggage. You may check in a second hand bag free of charge. Lufthansa Carry-on Baggage on Lufthansa The number of permitted items of carry-on baggage* is determined by the service class booked. Dimensions for carry-on baggage: 55 x 40 x 23 cm; for foldable garment bags: 57 x 54 x 15 cm. Lufthansa will transport larger items of carry-on baggage in the hold as part of your free baggage allowance. If the permitted free baggage allowance is exceed in terms of number, dimensions and/or weight, the flat fee for excess baggage will be charged. Personal documents, medicines, valuables, mobile phones and laptops should be carried in cabin carry-on baggage. The following items may only be carried in the cabin and not in the cargo hold: fuel cell systems and spare fuel cell cartridges, portable oxygen concentrators, safety matches and lighters as well as spare batteries (lithium metal, lithium ion) and electronic cigarettes. Qantas Restrictions on Cabin Baggage Some items cannot be carried in the cabin of the aircraft. These include weapons, restraining devices, knives and sharp tools or cutting implements such as scissors and screwdrivers and some sporting goods such as bats and clubs. The list of prohibited items may vary depending where you board an aircraft. Please check with us or your Authorised Agent prior to travel. You may be able bring some of these items as Checked Baggage (but see 7.6). If you try to include a prohibited item in your Cabin Baggage, we may take it from you. We do not accept any responsibility for items which we refuse to carry as Cabin Baggage and which are not carried as Checked Baggage. You are responsible for your personal items that are in your care and control. X-ray equipment used at Australia airports does not damage:+ Computer CPU's or memory; computer storage media such as magnetic disks (hard drives, floppy disks etc)and other devices (CDs); cameras (including digital cameras with electronic storage media) or photographic film below asa 1000 (developed or undeveloped). Enhanced security measures for passengers flying to the UK & US The UK Government has introduced a range of additional security measures at the boarding gate for flights into the UK. Customers travelling on flights from Dubai to the UK who are randomly selected to undergo additional screening may be required to remove footwear and from hand luggage all electrical equipment including portable electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, smart phones, and cameras larger than a standard mobile phone and power up the device to demonstrate functionality. Passengers are advised to ensure that their electronic devices are charged before travel. Devices that do not power on may not be permitted onboard the aircraft. Your Carry-on Baggage must: fit under the seat in front of you or in an overhead locker (musical instruments must be placed in an overhead locker. See the Musical Instruments information below); not exceed the Carry-on Baggage allowances; and not include any Dangerous Goods unless permitted for carriage. If your baggage meets the above requirements, but we reasonably believe that it is not safe for your baggage to be carried as Carry-on Baggage, we may require you to check it in. Qatar Airways Hand baggage allowances First Class Business Class Economy Class Two pieces, not to exceed a total weight of 15kg (33lb) Two pieces, not to exceed a total weight of 15kg (33lb) One piece, not to exceed 7 kg (15lb) Maximum hand baggage dimensions are 50x37x25cm (20x15x10in) each In addition to your hand baggage allowance, you can also carry personal items such as one ladies handbag or one small briefcase, one coat, cape or blanket, one umbrella, one pair of crutches or walking stick, one small camera or binoculars, limited reading material, an infant’s carrying basket, and duty-free items purchased on the day of your flight. Laptops and laptop bags have to fit within your hand baggage allowance. Swiss Hand Baggage Regulations There is limited space on board for hand baggage. There are clear regulations to ensure that you travel safely and in comfort. Your hand luggage must be stored in the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you. Please observe the maximum permitted dimensions and weight for hand baggage. SWISS Economy 1 x max. 8 kg Circumference max. 55 x 40 x 23 cm SWISS Business 2 x max. 8 kg Circumference max. 55 x 40 x 23 cm SWISS First 2 x max. 8 kg Circumference max. 55 x 40 x 23 cm A foldable garment bag with the maximum dimensions of 57 x 54 x 15 cm can also be accepted as hand baggage. Any baggage items that exceed the maximum dimensions in the table must be checked in. Other permitted items Adults and children with their own seats may also take the following on board: Handbag, laptop bag or shoulder bag (max. 40 x 30 x 10 cm) Child's seat One pair of crutches, arm or leg splints, other kinds of prostheses Medical equipment Exceptions If smaller aircraft are fully booked, we may have to check hand baggage in at the gate. If we do, it will be for your safety and comfort. Countries such as Italy and the USA have stricter rules regarding hand luggage. Passengers in First and Business Class with a second item of hand luggage must check it in if travelling to those countries. Special rules apply to hand baggage for flights from and within South Africa. Economy Class passengers may take one item of baggage (maximum circumference 56 x 36 x 23 cm, maximum weight 7 kg) and one thin laptop bag with them. Business and First Class passengers may take two items of baggage (maximum circumference 56 x 36 x 23 cm, maximum weight 7 kg) and one thin laptop bag with them. TAM Linhas Aereas Passengers may also check carry-on, as well as regular checked baggage. In either cases, the baggage must comply with LAN regulations. Carry-on Baggage This refers to those personal effects brought onto the airplane by the passenger, free of charge and considered under their custody and their responsibility. Each passenger may carry one piece of hand luggage plus a personal item, subject to space availability on board the aircraft. For safety reasons, if we do not have space available in the cabin, we will carry your baggage in the hold.   Pieces allowed Economy Premium Economy - Premium Business 1 Piece of baggage 8 kg (17 lbs) 16 kg (35 lbs) 1 Personal item Purse, laptop or diaper bag. In addition to the above, articles such as jackets, walking sticks, umbrellas, small cameras, binoculars, reading material or a small bag of duty free goods may be carried on provided the passenger keeps them in his or her possession or stows them under the seat in front of the passenger* * Except for emergency exit seats and seats in the first row. TAP Air Portugal Hand Luggage Adults and Children Hand baggage suitable for placing in the closed overhead rack or under the passenger seat which maximum dimensions cannot exceed 115cm - 55x40x20cm. Economy Class: 1 piece up to 8 Kg Executive Class: 2 pieces with a combined total weight of 16 Kg Thai Airways Carry-on Baggage In addition to the checked baggage allowance, each passenger is allowed to hand carry one baggage at maximum length 56 cm (22 inches), width 45 cm (18 inches), thickness 25 cm (10 inches). These dimensions include wheels, handles, and side pockets. Total weight of the carry-on baggage must not exceed seven kg (15 lb). Passengers are required to place the baggage in the overhead compartment or under their own seat. Passengers can bring the following items free of charge : • Handbag/wallet/purse with the maximum length 37.5 cm (15 inches), width 25 cm (10 inches), depth 12.5 cm (5 inches), or the total of three dimensions do not exceed 75 cm (30 inches) with the total weight not exceeding 1.5kgs(3.3lb). Notebooks, or portable personal computers are also applied with this condition. • Walking sticks (crutches) used by elderly passengers, sick passengers, and handicapped passengers • Camera or small binoculars • Infant food Turkish Airlines Cabin Baggage Click to enlarge Cabin Baggage (Hand Baggage) is defined as any baggage of 8 kg and 55x40x23 cm, Each passenger is responsible for his/her own cabin baggage, which is carried at passenger cabin for free of charge. Personal Items are defined as any items, which are carried at passenger cabin for free of charge. Each passenger is responsible for his/her own personal item. Cabin baggage is excluded from free baggage allowance and assessed separately. Free Cabin Baggage Allowance Class of Travel Quantity Maximum Weight Dimensions Business 2 pieces 8 kg (each piece) 55x40x23 cm Comfort Class 1 piece 8 kg 55x40x23 cm Economy Class 1 piece 8 kg 55x40x23 cm Infant Passengers (Aged between 0-2) 1 pieces 8 kg 55x40x23 cm Suit covers (114x60x11 cm) shall be considered as cabin baggage. Duty-free products shall be excluded from the implementation of cabin baggage carriage regulations. Regardless of flight classes and card statuses, the items specified below are considered as "personal items", and will be carried free of charge, provided to be only one (1) piece. Personal Items Symbol  Male/Female purses, Small video camera or camera, Bag-type strollers, Tablet, laptop, Umbrella (except for those with sharp tip). In the event that the dimensions and/or weights of personal items reach to the cabin baggage limits, they will be considered as cabin baggage. If the bag-type strollers cannot be placed under the seats or inside the overhead bins and/or they cannot be tied to the seats safely; they will be taken to the cargo deck without claiming any charge Cabin baggage control is carried out at check-in and/or boarding. In the event that the weight of the cabin baggage exceeds the limits during the weight check, performed as accompanied by the passenger; the passenger is required to pay excess baggage fee for the extra weight (weight of cabin baggage - 8 kg). In the event that the weight of the cabin baggage is appropriate to be considered as cabin baggage, however, the dimension of the same exceeds the limits; then the passenger is required to pay excess baggage fee for the whole weight. Passengers, who have completed online/mobile/kiosk check-in (who have not applied to the check-in counter), will be checked for cabin baggage during the boarding process. Therefore we kindly ask our passengers to present her/his online/mobile/kiosk check-in documents. Refusal of Cabin Baggage Carriers reserve the right to refuse cabin baggage in the event that, It is liable to cause damage to property or persons, It is liable to be damaged in the course of the flight, It is inappropriately packaged, Its carriage will constitute a crime under the laws of states of departure, arrival or overflight. It is not fit to be transported by air for reasons of weight, dimensions or composition, It cannot be stowed in overhead lockers or under the seat in front and/or it cannot be strapped securely into a seat. United Airlines Carry-on Baggage As your departure date approaches, you may be thinking about what to pack and whether or not to check a bag. Take a minute to review our carry-on guidelines so you know before you go, and your trip gets off to a smooth start. Please note that there are additional carry-on guidelines for United Express® flights. Each traveler can bring on board one carry-on bag plus one personal item free of charge. To ensure a smooth boarding experience, it's important to make sure that these items will fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Carry-on Bag The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. Personal Item The maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm). High-value, Fragile and Perishable Items United recommends that you do not pack high-value, fragile or perishable items in your checked baggage. United will accept such items as carry-on baggage (subject to carry-on baggage allowances) or as checked baggage (subject to checked baggage allowances). If you choose to pack high-value, fragile or perishable items in or as checked baggage in connection with travel within the United States, United is not liable for the loss of, damage to or delay in delivery of such items. For most international travel, United’s liability for destruction, loss, delay or damage to checked and unchecked baggage is limited. Examples of high-value, fragile or perishable items for which United is not liable (in the case of travel within the United States) or for which United’s liability may be limited (in the case of most international travel) include, but are not limited to et al: Backpacks not designed for travel, sleeping bags and knapsacks made of plastic, vinyl or other easily torn material with aluminum frames, outside pockets or with protruding straps and buckles Photographic/cinematographic/audio/video equipment, cameras and related items Virgin Atlantic   Little Red (UK domestic) Number of items One Maximum size 23 x 36 x 56 cm (that’s approx. 9 x 14 x 22 inches) Maximum weight 10kg (22 lb) Please note that a garment bag cannot be used as your hand baggage unless it fits the dimensions of the hand baggage allowance. If you’d like to bring one but it exceeds 23 x 36 x 56 cm, it will need to be as additional checked in baggage. If you want to take your laptop onboard, you'll need to place it in your original hand baggage or check your hand baggage in. Please note, you must be able to place your hand baggage in the overhead bins unaided. If you are connecting onto Virgin Atlantic and travelling in Upper Class, you will be entitled to the Upper Class baggage allowance. Virgin Atlantic Little Red flights are operated by Aer Lingus. Economy Number of items One Maximum size 23 x 36 x 56 cm (that’s approx. 9 x 14 x 22 inches) Maximum weight 10kg (22 lb) Please note that a garment bag cannot be used as your hand baggage unless it fits the dimensions of the hand baggage allowance. If you’d like to bring one but it exceeds 23 x 36 x 56 cm, it will need to be as additional checked in baggage. If you want to take your laptop onboard, you'll need to place it in your original hand baggage or check your hand baggage in. Please note, you must be able to place your hand baggage in the overhead bins unaided. Premium Economy Number of items One Maximum size 23 x 36 x 56 cm (that’s approx. 9 x 14 x 22 inches) Maximum weight 10kg (22 lb) Please note that a garment bag cannot be used as your hand baggage unless it fits the dimensions of the hand baggage allowance. If you’d like to bring one but it exceeds 23 x 36 x 56 cm, it will need to be as additional checked in baggage. If you want to take your laptop onboard, you'll need to place it in your original hand baggage or check your hand baggage in. Please note, you must be able to place your hand baggage in the overhead bins unaided. Upper Class Number of items Two Maximum size (each item) 23 x 36 x 56 cm (that’s approx 9 x 14 x 22 inches) Maximum weight (combined) 16kg (35 lb) Maximum weight (individual item) 12 kg (26 lb) In Upper Class, your hand baggage can also include one garment bag, 20cm (8 inches) thick – again, this shouldn’t exceed 12kg in weight. This will count towards your two bag limit. Please note, you must be able to place your hand baggage in the overhead bins unaided. The Upper Class hand baggage allowance also applies to children age 2+. What Southern African Airlines Say About Carry-On Air Botswana Air Botswana operates an all economy cabin and allows per passenger, 23kg checked luggage. Infants not occupying a seat are entitled to a free luggage allowance of 10kg. Air Botswana also accepts only one piece of hand luggage of not more than 7 kg. There are strict weight restrictions in place on any itinerary which includes light aircraft transfers. This is due to the following: • The aircraft are designed with a maximum bodyweight and luggage weight allowance. • Most of the airfields are over 1000 metres above sea level and are located in the tropics, and therefore the permissible aircraft carrying capacity is reduced. • The aircraft have physical space restrictions. Some Important Issues For Air Transfers • Luggage, including camera equipment and hand luggage, is restricted per person travelling on seat rates to 20kg (44lbs). • Only soft bags will be accepted - no wheels, frames or rigid structures can be transported as they physically cannot fit into the aircraft. • The maximum dimensions of the soft bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long. • Please keep in mind that the baggage compartments on the light aircraft are only 25cm high (10 inches), so the pilots must have the ability to manipulate the bag into the compartment. • A collapsible wheeled luggage frame/trolley (separate to the bag) is allowed, as long as basic dimensions are similar to that of the bag. • Please inform us in advance if you weigh more than 100kg (220lbs) as additional weight allowance on the aircraft must be purchased for safety and comfort. The costs for this are calculated on request according to specific region and routing, and provides for a maximum of 70kg (154lbs) excess weight. As no formal clothes are needed throughout most of southern Africa, we recommend that luggage is limited to the basics. More formal attire is usually required only when staying in the more prestigious city hotel establishments or on any of the luxury trains. On a wildlife safari, casual clothing is the order of the day. Please refer to the suggested packing list as a guideline. Most safari camps / lodges and hotels provide basic toilet amenities and laundry can usually be done on a daily basis. Excess Luggage If you need to bring luggage in excess of your allowance, you may have the option of buying an extra seat. This "seat in plane" allows for a maximum of 70kg (154 lbs) excess weight, on the proviso that the bag(s) conforms to the dimensions 40 x 40 x 80 cms (16 x 16 x 31 inches); soft bag i.e. no wheels/frame/rigid structures; able to physically fit onto a light aircraft seat; able to be physically secured with one seatbelt; will not impact on the comfort of other guests on the flight. The additional cost of this varies depending on your flight schedule so please contact your agent for further details. On arrival in either Maun or Kasane, you also have the option of sending your excess luggage ahead at an additional cost. If the safari begins in Maun, the excess luggage will be forwarded to Kasane and stored. If starting in Kasane, the excess luggage will be forwarded to Maun for storage. You can then collect this excess baggage at the end of your Botswana trip. We need to know in advance if this service is needed so that arrangements can be made and the transfer can be handled smoothly. Please note that the same dimensions as above apply to this unaccompanied baggage. Should you be starting and ending your safari in Maun, and do not require the excess luggage to accompany you on your trip, arrangements can be made to store this for you in Maun at no extra charge. But guests must ensure that they are in possession of full travel insurance including luggage cover. Air Namibia Carry-on Baggage We are pleased to offer our passengers a generous free hand baggage allowance, which they take onto the aircraft with them. There are size and weight limits that apply – see below: Carry-On Baggage Allowance Passengers Business Class Economy Class All Passengers 2 pieces of hand baggage, max weight 10kg each, max size 55X38X20cm plus 1 Overcoat 1 Umbrella or walking stick 1 Ladies hand bag A reasonable amount of reading material 1 Small camera 1 Small laptop A fully collapsible invalid’s wheelchair and/or a pair of crutches provided that the passenger is dependent on them 1 piece of hand baggage, max weight 10kg, max size 55X38X20cm 1 Overcoat 1 Umbrella or walking stick 1 Ladies hand bag A reasonable amount of reading material 1 Small camera 1 Small laptop A fully collapsible invalid’s wheelchair and/or a pair of crutches provided that the passenger is dependent on them Infants not occupying a seat Free checked baggage allowance will remain 10kg checked baggage 1 piece of hand baggage 1 fully collapsible stroller Free checked baggage allowance will remain 10kg checked baggage 1 piece of hand baggage 1 fully collapsible stroller Fragile & Perishable Items Air Namibia recommends that you do not pack high value, fragile & perishable items in your checked baggage. Air Namibia will accept such items as carry-on baggage (if it adheres to carry-on baggage allowances) and as checked baggage if it adheres to checked baggage allowances. If you choose to pack high value, fragile or perishable items in or as checked baggage Air Namibia is not liable for the loss of, damage to or delay in delivery of such items. Air Namibia’s liability for destruction, loss, delay or damage to checked and unchecked baggage is limited. Examples of high value, fragile or perishable items for which Air Namibia is not liable or for which Air Namibia’s liability may be limited include, but are not limited to:  Backpacks not designed for travel, sleeping bags and knapsacks made of plastic, vinyl or other easily torn material with aluminium frames, outside pockets or with protruding straps and buckles   Computer hardware/software and electronic components/equipment  Items checked in sacks or paper/plastic bags that do not have sufficient durability, do not have secure closures or do not provide sufficient protection to the contents  Items checked in corrugated/cardboard boxes, including cardboard boxes provided by Air Namibia, except for items that otherwise would be suitable for transportation without the cardboard box (e.g., bicycle, garment bag)  Electronic and mechanical items, including cell phones, electronic games; and other related items  Eyeglasses, binoculars, prescription sunglasses and non-prescription sunglasses and all other eyewear and eye/vision devices   Photographic/cinematographic/audio/video equipment, cameras and related items  Any other similar valuable property or irreplaceable property included in the passenger’s checked or carry-on baggage with or without the knowledge of Air Namibia Perishable items must not violate agricultural rules for the destination country. Perishable items may be packed in hard-sided ventilated containers with a maximum of 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg.) of dry ice. Air Namibia will not accept perishable items packed in Styrofoam coolers or in containers that include wet ice. FlySafair We keep our fares low by excluding the price of a bag so you can travel light and keep your wallet full!  Even adding a bag will not break the bank - should you wish to add a bag to your flight this can be selected on our Extra’s page during the flight booking process for only R150 per bag. If you are calling in to make your reservation, please advise our Consultants if you wish to take luggage. Remember that hand luggage is included in our fares. A second and/or subsequent bag/s is subject to a R250 charge per extra bag. A maximum limit of 32kg per bag is allowed for checked in luggage; anything over this will need to be transported as cargo at the passenger’s expense and may not be transported on the same flight as the passenger. All arrangements to transport the bag as cargo will have to be made by the passenger. Extra bags can be accommodated up to four hours prior to flight departure online, costs are as below:- At the airport : R250 per bag payable in cash or by card Call Centre/Website : R250 per bag payable by card Hand luggage weighing in excess of 7 kg per bag or which is too large to fit into the overhead stowage compartments will need to be checked in the hold. Hand luggage maximum size dimensions (56 x 36 x 23cm). Checked-in baggage maximum size dimensions (90 x 75 x 43cm). Kulula Baggage Your kulula flight entitles you to one free checked bag weighing up to 20kg and one piece of hand baggage weighing up to 7kg plus a slimline laptop bag or small handbag. For anything more, you can simply purchase extra bags online at a discounted rate or at the airport. Any bag weighing between 20kg and 32kg will incur a heavy bag fee at the airport.While not all luggage is created equal - all luggage must abide by the baggage rules.Both your checked and hand baggage should not exceed the standard limitations which apply to all passengers, infants, children, and adults alike. Luggage such as sports, musical or medical equipment may require special handling due to their size, shape or fragility. Their policy says the following: Fragile or perishable items must not be packed in baggage, checked into the hold. cameras and other photographic equipment, telescopes and binoculars Mango Their website does not discuss the transportation of photographic gear as hand luggage. However do discuss recreational equipment: Mango transports tennis racquets, surfboards, fishing equipment and golf equipment. Guests can take their tennis racquet on board the aircraft provided there is adequate space in the cabin. The number of surfboards that Mango is able to carry in the cargo hold is subject to the aircraft space availability. Please ensure that fishing equipment is boxed or encased, and that golf equipment is adequately sealed. NEW CARRY-ON BAGGAGE REGULATIONS When you’re packing for your next trip, here’s what you need to know about the newly implemented Carry-on Baggage Regulations which came into effect 2 February 2015. These new regulations are as follows: Economy class carry-ons are restricted to a single piece with a maximum weight of 7 kg and within specified dimensions (36 cm x 23 cm x 56 cm), together with either a handbag and/or a slimline laptop bag. All carry-on baggage exceeding the specifications must be checked in. Multiple carry-on baggage items may no longer be taken on board the aircraft. Outside of carry-on baggage, all other baggage must be checked in. Despite these regulations, Mango Guests can rest assured that we are the only low cost airline in South Africa that allows 20 kg of check-in luggage per Guest without penalties on the number of bags that make up the total weight. In my case, my wife and I flew to Zanzibar just this month; we had our travel agent email their person or manager at Johannesburg International Airport. This is what was agreed upon: The client will need to weigh the camera bag along with the checked-in luggage, any kg’s over the allocated 20kgs, the client will need to pay in the R 45.00 per kg. The camera bag will be marked with a fragile sticker and the bag will be taken on board the plane with the client. The client will then hand over the bag at the door of the aircraft and the bag will be placed in separate hold for fragile items. Upon arrival the client will collect the camera bags before departing the aircraft. The weight of each of our bags was 15kgs for mine, and 10kgs for my wife's, as well as an additional Manfrotto tripod case. Their was no issues at check in. We weren't required upon boarding the plane to hand our gear over to anyone as per email. Upon arrival in Zanzibar, and our exit we had no weight issues during check in; however on both occasions during the scans, they did want to see what was in our camera bags. All in all, we had a pleasant flying experience. SA Airlink The following is classified as hand or cabin baggage: (particularly camera gear) Small camera and/or binoculars Passengers traveling with photographic equipment pertaining to lenses and cameras will be allowed to carry the equipment on board as long as the allowance is within the current hand baggage regulations - total dimensions 115cm and max 8kg. Any other photographic equipment i.e. lighting equipment, tripods, props etc. must be packed in cases or boxes as Checked Baggage. Should the weight and dimensions exceed the allocated 8kg hand luggage allowance, an excess charge will be raised and the passenger will be allowed to carry the equipment pertaining to lenses and cameras to the aircraft. The bag will be tagged with a Sky Check tag and will be placed on the Sky Check Facility for loading into the hold of the aircraft. All passengers travelling with Airlink must advise the airline at least 3 business days prior to departure that they will be carrying photographic equipment. South African Airways Hand Luggage Information For your own safety and comfort, it is important to be aware of what you can and cannot bring on board before you check in. Hand luggage allowance Sports equipment & musical instruments Restricted items Hand luggage allowance The amount of hand luggage you may carry depends on which service class you are flying.   Travel Class Max Weight Per Piece Max Dimensions Per Piece Business Two pieces: 8kg (18lb) each 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H) Economy One piece not exceeding 8kg (18lb) 56cm (L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H) Please note: If your hand luggage does not conform to the size specified, you may be denied entry into the departure area or sent back to check-in.   All hand luggage must be of a size that fits under the seat in front of you or in one of the overhead lockers. Hand luggage must not obstruct emergency exits or aisles. One (1) Small personal (E.G. Small purse, small laptop case) is also allowed. Larger laptop bags and standard/bulkier briefcases will NOT be considered a personal item and will count as a normal piece of cabin baggage, which may not exceed one piece in economy and two in premium (subject to dimension & weight restrictions). What Other Options Do We Have? Consider a Basic African Safari Kit: Backpack Two camera bodies (I’ll use D300’s in this illustration; D3 users be prepared for more misery) 200-400mm lens 70-200mm lens 16-35mm lens 50mm lens TC-14E What do you think that weighs (not including filters, cards, or batteries)? Well, we clock in at 8.9kg with a completely stripped ThinkTank Airport Ultralight. In other words, even a very basic kit of gear is going to be over the weight limit at the most restrictive airlines. Sometimes they check, sometimes they don’t. It isn’t that they’re actually concerned about the weight. Because the usual way around the problem is to take items out of your pack and hang them around your neck (camera and lens) or stuff them into your vest pockets (you are wearing a vest with lots of pockets when traveling by plane, aren’t you? If not you should be!). In the above example, just taking one D300 out and putting the 16-35mm lens on it and hanging that around my neck gets me just under the weight limit. And they’ll let you walk on board like that, at which time you put the camera back in the bag and put the bag in the overhead. This tends to slow down the plane loading process for no good reason, but I told you the airlines have tunnel vision. So what do you do when you need to travel by plane these days and carry a fair amount of photo gear? Well, here’s some advice in a nutshell: Get the lightest backpack that’ll carry your gear comfortably and that has some padding. The ThinkTank Airport Ultralight is one such bag,which weighs 1.8kg or less but have enough padding to be minimally protective of your gear. The bag has to have padding, otherwise the infamous forced gate check will ruin your day. Don’t overpack the bag. Find another place for your filters, cards, cleaning equipment, and other miscellaneous gear while on the plane. A small hardshell bag that goes in your checked luggage is one possibility. But basically strip out all but the things that have to go in the carry-on. You’d be surprised at how fast all those little extras add weight. Wear a vest. As a starter, put all your batteries into vest pockets until you’re safely on board. Since you pretty much have to carry batteries in your carry-on now under current TSA regulations, a handful of batteries adds weight really fast, and you don’t want that burden in your bag when it’s weighed. Lowepro make a really decent package which is cheaper to purchase at B&H in New York than locally. Have one camera and lens ready to go. If it looks like they’re weighing all carry-ons, pull the camera out and hang it around your neck. The computer goes in your “personal bag.” Almost everywhere you’re allowed a small laptop bag in addition to your carry-on, so make use of that (it’s a good place for those extra cards, too). Rethink your kit. There’s usually a lower-weight alternative that doesn’t sacrifice too much. The 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 instead of any of the AF-S wide angle zooms, for instance. The 70-300mm VR is half the weight of the 70-200mm VR, so if you absolutely don’t need f/2.8 there’s a big savings right there. Look and act light. Don’t take off your pack in front of airline personnel and then moan and gasp as you try to lift it back onto your back. Stand tall, walk with a spring in your step. Leave the pack on your back as if it weighs nothing. Except at dedicated weigh stations (which unfortunately are appearing with more regularity), no one wants to weigh everything. But they do want to weigh things that look heavy. So don’t look heavy! Candor sometimes works. Once in Kenya, I was trying to head home and both my checked bag and my carry-one were overweight. The ticketing agent weighed my checked bag and sent me out of line to the notorious “we’re going to charge you more per extra kilogram than high-grade caviar” line. When I had paid my toll and came back to the ticket agent, she eyed my backpack and asked “how much does that weigh?” I rolled my eyes and said “you don’t want to know.” She hesitated a moment, but having already having extracted at least one weight penalty on me, she eventually chuckled and said “asanthe” (thank-you) and added “next time you lose some weight.” Be prepared for the infamous Gate Check. There will come a time when the airline gestapo absolutely insist on separating you from your bag. They’ll happily “gate check” it for you. I’ve had more equipment broken when gate checked than in any other situation, plus it is more vulnerable to theft. So make sure you have a padlock for the bag. Bring a big and very visible Fragile sign that can be hung from the carrying handle. Have everything in the bag already wrapped with an additional protective sleeve, if possible. As a last resort remember to remind the airline personnel insisting on the gate check that you’ve got thousands of Rands of fragile equipment in there and would they please acknowledge that they’ll insure it if it gets damaged (they won’t, but sometimes this is enough to convince the agent maybe they shouldn’t force a gate check: see “Candor,” above). Be a frequent flyer or fly a higher class. If you concentrate your flying mileage and work you way up into the higher levels of most airline reward programs, the agents you encounter along the way that can most cause you trouble tend to go easy on you. They know that their livelihood depends upon regular travelers, so they don’t often take their anger out on them (conversely, if they think you’re flying with them for the first and only time, watch out! Indeed, outbound from Africa tends to provoke more weight checks than in-bound). Note how small the plane is. Travel within some countries can often be by very small plane. Flights from Nairobi to the Masai Mara, for instance, are typically on as small as 12 passenger planes (it can be smaller, but most people are flying on SafariLink or one of the larger carriers, and they tend to use 12-36 passenger props). Bush flights in Alaska, internal flights in Botswana and a host of other countries are often on something as small as a Cessna 172. I once flew a Dash 8 to Somalia, there was no space to swing a dead rat in there! Once you get down into the single or dual engine turbo prop realm, things change. Very small planes generally have very critical weight limits for takeoff, and those are even more critical if takeoff or landing at altitude or in heat is involved. If every passenger averaged 300 pounds of total weight, for instance, most Cessna 172’s would be over their safety limit. You actually want these small “airlines” to weigh you and everything you carry: they simply shouldn’t be taking off without an accurate and complete weight check. You just need to be prepared for what will happen when you are weighed and told that you exceed what they can carry. Usually that means that you have to have some of your gear come on a subsequent flight, which means you need to be already packed for that possibility (e.g. know what you absolutely need and have it packed separately from what you can do without for a few hours or even a day). You also need to be prepared to pay for that extra flight and perhaps ready to grease some palms to make sure that your unattended bag gets met by someone and catches up to you. Travel with someone. Share the load between the two of you (or more), that way you know your gear is secure. Hire your gear. As a last resort, if this is financially possible and practical, it may be your only choice! Where To Stow Your Gear Place your bag under your seat. Overhead compartment availability and regulations are just too wildly different to be trusted, in my experience. Your absolute best move, your most powerful ally, is your under-seat bag. Even if you do all your homework and you have an overhead bag that totally fits, you still might find yourself on an over-booked flight with zero room left in the overhead bins. Unfortunately this problem cannot be solved by just arriving super early and being the first person on the plane, because layovers are common and you never know what situation a delay can put you in. Also the boarding procedures may be in rows or groups. So, take advantage of the under-seat “personal item” option.  It is by far the most liberal and unregulated option.  Yet with the right packing method and the perfect size camera bag, you can easily fit two camera bodies, 2-3 medium or large lenses, a flash, and a laptop.  Your absolute minimum set of equipment for getting the job done right, and it fits under your seat which is a space that no flight attendant will ever hassle you about. Extra seat(s) shall be requested and paid for in advance. The normal applicable free checked baggage allowance applies for every extra seat booked (EXST). For example, 1 passenger books 2 extra M-Class seats for comfort. The total checked baggage allowance for this passenger will be 3 x applicable free baggage allowance. If a seat is used to place items on (CBBG), these items may not weigh more than 46 kg per seat. Items placed on a seat should be adequately packed to prevent damage. A Few Other Tips Memory Cards They belong in your pocket. Even as you go through security, they should not leave your sight. I put my card wallet in the same little bowl that you put keys. Luggage can get lost, bags can get stolen or damaged, but your memory cards should never, ever leave your possession. Losing them is losing your hard work, more so if you weren't able to back up your images. Back your images up to the cloud if it is at all possible. Register Your Gear Before Departure The last thing you need is to pay taxes on gear you already own, make the time to call passed customs and complete the relevant paperwork. Know The Airline Legalities and Policies The biggest tip here is that because airlines are not able nor willing to offer insurance for expensive gear, they cannot force you to check equipment of extremely high value. Notice, however, that I didn’t say “force you to check a bag of equipment.” They can still force you to check the bag.  Unfortunately, this may mean, worst case scenario, that you literally empty your overhead bag and wear your equipment around your neck onto the plane. It is a known fact that airlines will not cover the losses of photographic equipment if placed in the hold: cameras, lenses and electronics are NOT covered by the airline’s lost or damaged luggage policy, so if at all possible photographic equipment (and computers) should be placed in your carry-on baggage and NOT in your checked baggage. In fact most airlines won’t compensate you for anything that they lose or damage in your checked baggage except for clothing. Be Polite and Professional Contrary to popular belief, “making a scene” isn’t never the best option. Depending on the mood an employee is in, complaining loudly might only dig your grave deeper. As long as you can, be professional and polite even in extremely frustrating situations. I totally understand the “hold your ground / let them know how upset you are” mentality, but sometimes friendly compromise and a personal connection can make a world of difference! If you can speak their language, do so, it has helped me many a time to fly under the radar when I have been overweight with my hand luggage. Contact The Airline Email the airline and see if you can get it in writing that you will be carrying photography gear, the size meets their requirement, however the weight doesn't, can they assist you? If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments below. I would really like to hear how my fellow photographers manage their air travel affairs, and the experiences they have had, both good and bad.


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