This reserve on the shore of the Western Cape, South Africa, features a colony of wild African penguins. These penguins are found in the waters off southern Africa and nest in colonies scattered along the coast. They are an endangered species, having been severely impacted by factors such as oil spills, the sale of their eggs as a delicacy, the use of their guano (which they need to make burrows) as fertilizer, and commercial trade in sardines and anchovies on which they feed.
What do you think they are talking about?
Penguins perch on the rocks lining the shore…..maybe thinking of a dive between crashing waves.
Penguins shelter from the winds that blow spindrift off cresting waves.
Rocks, constantly battered by the sea, are defining features on this Atlantic shore.
An abandoned seaside tower, a remnant of an old whaling station, serves as a sentinel for a colony of cormorants.
A solo cormorant flies across a rock face silhouetted by the churning surf below….
and three cormorants fly in a row farther offshore.
Not far outside the coastal city of Cape Town, the countryside changes to mountains, valleys, pastures and farmland.
Plentiful rain keeps the meadows and mountainsides green.
Deep valleys trail off toward the horizon.
Vineyards at the base of a mountain range produce a good crop for wine-making.
Fall is time for harvesting canola.
Rolling hills are adaptable to pasture and farming.
Cape Town is surrounded by ocean views and mountain peaks of all shapes and sizes.
In this panorama taken from the summit of flat-topped Table Mountain, you can see a lot: from left to right are Lion’s Head rising above the Atlantic Ocean, Signal Hill, Cape Town Harbor, and Devil’s Peak. In the distance is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner for 18 years.
A nearby seaside suburb, Camps Bay, is nestled against the Twelve Apostles, part of the Table Mountain complex.
From the beach at Bloubergstrand, north of the city on Table Bay, a distant view of the Table Mountain complex dominates the horizon .
We flew over the Namib desert (Namibia) in a small craft, just the two of us and the pilot, a young woman who knew the area well.
Here we are flying over the area of dead trees in a clay pan featured in yesterday’s post.
We continued to fly west over patterns of desert ridges towards the Atlantic.
These dead trees in the Namib Desert area of Namibia are not petrified, but are believed to be 600-700 years old. Scorched by the sun, they stand in a clay pan and remain undecayed because of the hot, dry climate.
Nearby is a broad vista of the clay and sand terrain.
This oryx (also called a gemsbok) has found a good resting spot near the dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. He is keeping an eye on me, but is reluctant to leave his comfortable place in the shade.
The dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia are national treasures reaching over 1,000 feet tall. But even though they have all been named (or numbered), they are not static landmarks. Desert winds are always working to alter the dunes’ dramatic shapes and form ripples of sand on the desert floor.
Trees that have found water deep underground cast their shadows on the hot sands of the Namib Desert.
As we are suspended above the earth in a hot air balloon at sunrise, the desert floats by in continuously changing frames.
Natural processes leave behind their abstract patterns in the earth.
Not many cars pass along these intersecting roads, which stand out strikingly against the desert sands.
Rocks and dunes rise from the desert floor. Small rivulets in the sand are traces of past rains and ridges on the dunes are reminders of the desert winds.