Date: 17-19 July 2020 | 14-16 August 2020
Level: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced
Workshop Cost: ZAR 5000.00 per person Includes Course Materials, Instruction and Workshop Fees, separate from accommodation booking.
Workshop Size: Maximum of 10
Accommodation Cost: Book directly with Rogge Cloof, 40% Back-to-Nature Exclusive Offer for July ONLY.
Meals: Self-catering, or all inclusive, enquire with Rogge Cloof management.
Venue: Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate, Northern Cape, Sutherland, South-Africa
Accommodation Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Us: https://www.craigfouche.co.za/lets-connect/
If you have seen these images and ever wondered how to capture them with your own camera, you will learn to master night photography camera settings, photo editing in Photoshop, and advanced planning techniques allowing you to easily find the Milky Way and clear dark skies. Should you be a seasoned and experienced photographer, Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate offers you the best of the Karoo night skies, with minimal light pollution to afford you the most rewarding imagery under crispy, cold and clear night skies imaginable. That is of course under favourable weather conditions. Even under partly cloudy or partially moonlit skies, one can still create spectacular images.
I am really excited to bring you another fantastic workshop and tour experience for 2020. It is an informal workshop with a practical instruction element to it. Group sizes are very small and limited to a first come first serve basis, allowing a more personal one-on-one experience.
As a photographer, some geographic regions beckon your return, they simply speak to you. Year after year, through changing seasons, conditions, weather patterns, and daily struggles there is that calling to return to capture something that you may have missed on your previous visit, or a new concept that you had in mind, that would be appropriate for that location.
These special places become part of you, and they are reflected in the work or images that you produce. They call you back, for more backpacking adventures, for more solo journeys through the wilderness, for more road trips through the roads sometimes less travelled with your friends.
For me, these quiet, still places is where I find my inspiration from Nature and are refreshed when I need to take a deep breath. They have become part of who I am and taught me more than any textbook or class ever will. I take tours here because these places call me back year after year.
I’m delighted to share this amazing workshop experience with other passionate photographers, who love the call of adventure, learning new things, and spending night after night, under a canopy of stars, far away from the noise of daily life and the city lights.
The easiest way to get to Sutherland is to fly to Cape Town, South Africa, if you have to travel from abroad, with car hire services available at the Cape Town International Airport. There is also a nearby airfield for light aircraft if you wish to charter a light aircraft or helicopter. By road, depending on the route you take, it is approximately 350km from Cape Town, or 380km via the historic Ouberg Pass through Tankwa National Park for more spectacular Karoo scenery travelling off the beaten track. The shorter route is entirely by tar, taking the N1 north from Cape Town, turning off at the infamous historical Victorian hamlet of Matjiesfontein, it is then a further 110km to Sutherland. The second route is on gravel roads and more adventurous. Details will be included in your preparation guidebook.
The origins of the farm and dark sky reserve Rogge Cloof (Afrikaans for “rye ravine”) date back to 1756 when Joachim Scholtz, the son of German and Nordic immigrants to Africa, acquired the property.
Since then over more than 250 years, various owners have loved, nurtured and developed these hostile lands enduring lions, droughts, snow and freezing winds. Located at an altitude of between 1400 to 1700 metres, with magnificent clear skies and expansive plains, Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate is truly home to the greatest heavens on earth!
Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate is located in the Roggeveld (Afrikaans for “rye field”), a plateau located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, South Africa. Rogge Cloof Private Nature Reserve is a registered Biosphere Reserve, with free-roaming game & cheetahs.
The name comes from wild rye which was once plentiful in the area. The Roggeveld Mountains, lying west of the plateau in the Northern Cape, are named after it.
The range forms the western escarpment of the eponymous Roggeveld plateau, and separates it from the lower lying Tankwa Karoo to the west. Its highest peak is Sneeukop (1739 m), situated northwest of Sutherland and to the southwest lies Salpeterkop (1727 m), a very distinctive conical mountain to the east of town which is visible for kilometres.
This is an extinct volcano – the southernmost volcano and presumably the last volcano in South Africa to have been active.
Rogge Cloof Private Estate Sutherland has a view of the brightest Star Plains of the Great Karoo skies in the heart of the Upper Karoo and is a registered Biosphere Reserve, with free-roaming game & cheetahs.
The reserve is currently expanding its accommodation facilities. Their accommodation facilities are located in The Village, which is 12km away from the main gate. Please note, should guests want their own room or wish to share, then this will need to be discussed with Rogge Cloof management who are handling the accommodation bookings. For families wishing to join their spouses, this is also best discussed with Rogge Cloof management, then one of the homesteads would be best suited for you, again discuss with Rogge Cloof Management. Rogge Cloof offers inclusive accommodation packages, as well as self-catering accommodation. Meals can be had at the Rittersaal Dining Hall, during your stay.
Rogge Cloof operates on solar power and the solar electricity supply system does not accommodate appliances such as hair dryers, coffee makers, fans, microwave ovens, or electric kettles. Power sockets for recharging phones and laptops are available. The accommodation units are cosy and warm, with enough thick blankets, hot water bottles and fireplaces for the cold Sutherland winter. Bathroom amenities, coffee, tea & rusk tray are included. Uncapped, free Wi-Fi; no TV. Daily housekeeping service is supplied, except on Sundays. Accommodation rates exclude a Conservation Levy of R100.00 per guest per night.
I have stayed at the various accommodation units a few times in preparation and whilst hosting this workshop. I can tell you that it is very comfortable, unique in that one is truly off the grid, and you truly get to experience the charm of the Karoo, the quietness and majestical night skies unhindered and away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This is Karoo living!
Rogge Cloof Private Estate Sutherland has a view of the brightest Star Plains of the Great Karoo skies in the heart of the Upper Karoo, which is also located near to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and SALT Southern Africa Large Telescope) which is in prime stargazing territory and spans an area of over 20 000 hectares. Sutherland is South-Africa’s premier stargazing and night photography destination.
Experience a unique stargazing adventure in an area home to the greatest heavens on earth under zillions of stars.
Live weather for Sutherland, click on the links for both current, short and long – term forecasts.
For a more detailed weather report, Windy.com provides snow, rain, cloud levels and more!
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.
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 Plaatjies 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.
It’s made up of five regions and the boundaries are marked by subtle changes in vegetation:
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 southwestern 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.
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:
The better-known sub-regions of the Upper Karoo are:
Though most of it is simply known as the “Upper Karoo”, especially in the north.
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”. Towns of the Klein Karoo: Amalienstein, Barrydale, Calitzdorp, De Rust, Ladismith, Montagu, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert, Schoemanspoort and Zoar.
All guests will arrive and be met at the reception area where tea or coffee will be served. The accommodation units are situated within the Rogge Cloof Eco-Village, which is 11km away. This allows for a leisurely self-game-drive through the Reserve, on the way to the Eco-Village on the Karoo Star Plains. We will settle in, and I will show you the best spots where we can plan our compositions for the nights’ shoot. The road leading to the Eco-Village is a well-maintained gravel road, which is accessible to sedans. I will be on hand to help you set up your gear and aid with compositions. Sunset is at 17h51 and the Milky Way galactic core rises at 19h17 and visible until 06h04. The moon will rise at 04h29 and set at 14h57, it will be a 10% dark moon. During this weekend and we anticipate super-bright stars.
On day two, our day will start early, from around 06h00 we will need to be out in the field all ready to capture the sunrise. Astronomical twilight/night time ends at 06h09, the blue hour is from 07h09 to 07h19, with the golden hour starting at 07h19 and sunrise at 07h36. This is a magical time of the day in the Karoo. Those that are not early risers, can sleep in.
Breakfast will be served at 08h00.
Between 10h30 and 12h00, I will show you how I edit my images and the techniques, and workflow I use. I will be available for anyone needing assistance with this. Your images may be reviewed, and advice given, to help correct any issues you may have. You are welcome to partake in any Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate activity, should you not wish to edit.
Lunch will be served at 13h00-14h00.
Again towards evening, we will prepare to photograph sunset, blue hour and the night skies until late o’clock, so that you can capture the compositions you may have missed the previous evening. Golden hour is at 17h15-18h08 and the blue hour is from 18h08-18h18. Dinner will be served at 16h45 to allow enough time to be ready for the Golden hour and the Blue hour.
This is our final day, checking out after breakfast. Depending on departure times, (most clients prefer to depart directly after breakfast around 09h00, you are free to leave then), we may have a little time to photograph in the area before we go our separate ways.
On day three, our day will start very early again for those that may have missed the previous sunrise. We should be up from around 06h00 we will need to be out in the field all ready to capture the sunrise as for the previous morning. This is a magical time of the day in the Karoo. Those that are not early risers, can sleep in if they so desire.
Breakfast will be served at 08h30. Those that wish to leave after breakfast can do so as we head home with new insights of the road less travelled, ponder over experiences gained and possible new friendships that were forged.
Those of you that wish to stay longer in Sutherland, do let Rogge Cloof Management know in advance, so that your booking arrangements may be reflected accordingly. There may well be other private guests on location, that will not be part of our workshop.
CRAIG FOUCHÉ – Photographer
I am a Western Cape Winelands photographer based in South Africa, photographing locally and internationally. I am a registered NPS (Nikon Professional Services) member, a contributor to Nikon South Africa’s social media pages and website. I photograph a broad variety of genres, using film – 35mm, 120 and 4×5” format as well as digital medium and are very passionate about my work.
My work has been published several times in the Daily Dispatch and Worcester Standard Newspapers, SA4x4, HIGH LIFE (British Airways Inflight Magazine) Wildside Magazine and Getaway Magazine, and I have also been a contributor to Media24, which is the print media arm of the South African media company Naspers. I finished as a Top Ten finalist in the 2016 Getaway Magazine Gallery Competition, finishing with Highly Commended.
ANDRÉ JORDAAN – Estate Manager
Andre has a deep passion for the outdoors, combined with a rich background in adventure tourism and the property and building industry.
In the 90’s he operated ‘Wild Coast Adventure Tours’, offering adventure packages to local and international tourists. The company put together and hosted multiple outdoor activities, such as rock-climbing, abseiling, canoeing, horse-riding, mountain biking, wave riding and team building activities. The team building activities involved both indoor and outdoor activities, with camping and physical experiential learning as a strong emphasis.
He is inquisitive, a keen reader and enthusiastic about theatre and music. He loves food and experimenting with cooking and entertaining guests. Exploring the outdoors, whether in or under the water, or up and down a mountainside, or just being in the quiet of a star-filled night, out in the veld, replenishes his soul. All this experience bodes him well in his function as Estate Manager of Rogge Cloof.
CORLIA JANSE VAN RENSBURG – Admin / Reservations Manager
Corlia holds an Honours BA Degree, Training Management Diploma, as well as a comprehensive basket of occupationally directed qualifications. Before joining the Rogge Cloof, Sutherland team, she managed the East London Office of the NMMU Business School and coordinated management, leadership and business programmes for public and corporate clients. She enjoys project managing and seeing things through to completion.
Together she shares Andre’s love for the outdoors, water, music and cooking, although she graciously admits that he is by far the better cook! She loves trail running, reading and finding peace and quiet around a fire.
André and Corlia have been developing and managing Rogge Cloof since January 2017, when they relocated from East London to Sutherland.
Roads on the reserve are good. Travel through the Karoo is best undertaken in an SUV, 2×4 or 4×4, particularly if you are travelling through the Tankwa Karoo National Park area, however saying that, the roads on the Estate are well maintained for normal sedans. Please stick to the roads, no driving off into the veld is permitted. There is ample, safe parking at reception to leave your normal car should the road conditions have deteriorated due to severe weather. The road leading up to the reception is a good road for normal vehicles. Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate has open guided game vehicles – Land Rovers which seat 9 pax. They are perfect for game viewing, fossil trails and photography. The use of the game viewing vehicle and any Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate activities will be at an additional cost to you, you do have the freedom to explore the reserve in your own vehicle.
All meals are self-catering if there are less than 6 participants. The Rogge Brood restaurant will be open if there are 6 or more and the meals will be for your own account.
My advice and knowledge to help you achieve the desired results you looking for.
After your confirmed booking has been received, you will be provided with a workshop guidebook to help you prepare for your exciting Karoo adventure, including your itinerary and a recommended packing list, both for clothing etc. and your camera gear, as well as a wealth of information about the region.
I pride myself on the quality and comprehensive nature of my guidebooks, as I believe a deeper understanding of the country or location you will visit, will help you to maximize your enjoyment of the experience and your productivity as a photographer.
The cost for this weekend workshop is ZAR5000.00 per person excluding accommodation and meals, there is currently a Back-To-Nature Exclusive offer at 40% off through Rogge Cloof Private Sutherland Estate for July ONLY. No split payments will be entertained. Payment in full is required to secure your reservation. Please complete the reservation form below and I will come back to you with a confirmation of your email received.
The payment for this workshop is due as follows:
There will be an additional cost as an additional farmhouse will need to be booked; a supplemental fee of ZAR1100.00 is payable. If you request to share with another participant if someone else wants a shared room, we can try to pair you with someone of the same gender, but if this is not possible, you will be required to pay a single supplement. Cancelling your reservation if we cannot match you with another participant will incur full cancellation fees as outlined below.
Only written cancellations will be accepted; please ensure you receive acknowledgement of cancellation from Craig Fouché Photography, once requested.
The Cancellation Fee is a percentage of the full accommodation account as follows:
Payments will be accepted by bank deposit and EFT only, subject to a confirmed clearing in the account with your proof of payment. Use your name as your reference.
Acc name: Craig Fouché Photography
Acc number: 111 051 2015
Branch code: 101 50 700
Swift code: nedszajj
If you are an international visitor, it would be required that you take out comprehensive travel, medical, cancellation, curtailment and default insurance for the duration of this workshop and your stay in South-Africa through your travel company. Some travel insurance companies require that you buy insurance no later than 7 to 14 days after paying your deposit. If you wait longer, some companies may enforce stricter conditions, so do not delay in contacting an insurance company. Personal insurance for your photographic equipment is your own responsibility. I strongly recommend that every guest is adequately covered by comprehensive travel and medical insurance. Click here for more information. For the international travellers, please familiarise yourself with South Africa’s requirements for travelling with children, click here.
These forms will be emailed to you on acceptance of your booking. You will be required to email both the Craig Fouché Photography and Rogge Cloof completed waiver of liability and indemnity forms.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us, click here .
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