Tag Archives: sand

Things to See in Namibia: The Ghost Town of Kolmanskop Travel Attractions 29 OCT 2016

It is fitting that the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa derives its name from the Namib desert – considered the oldest desert in the world. Namibia is of course primarily a large desert and semi-desert plateau with a long and often terrible colonial history attached to it. However, history it does have, and thanks to its historic ties to South Africa and of course the shared border, many South Africans find themselves heading out there as tourists at least once in their lifetime.

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One of the more interesting attractions in Namibia lies just 10 km inlands from Luderitz, namely the ghost town of Kolmanskop – a sand engulfed, long abandoned, former German diamond-mining settlement.

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As the story goes, before the railway was built, a driver named Johnny Coleman transported goods from Keetmanshoop to Lüderitz by ox wagon. During a fierce sandstorm he was forced to abandon his ox wagon on the small incline on the main road from where Kolmanskop can be seen. It stood there for a while, giving rise to the name Colemanshuegel, which subsequently became Kolmanskop.

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Kolmanskop however only became a place of note when a diamond was discovered there in 1908 by a worker Zacharias Lewala, prompting the almost overnight emptying of Luderitz in favour of setting up a bustling little diamond mining settlement in the area!

Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, the residents (about 350 German colonialists and 800 Owambo contract workers) built the village in the architectural style of a German town, with amenities and institutions including a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, skittle-alley, theatre and sport-hall, casino, and an ice factory.  Notably, the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere, as well as the first tram in Africa are all a claim to fame for Kolmanskop.

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However, the town rapidly declined just after World War I, partly due to the exhaustion of the diamond-field, and partly due to the opening of more lucrative diamond mining operations further down south at Oranjemund.

And so, by 1956 the town became a completely abandoned ghost town, left to be slowly engulfed by the ever shifting sands of the Namib desert.

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Fortunately, in 1980 this sparkling piece of Namibia’s history was saved by the intervention of CDM (today’s Namdeb – A Namibia De Beers Partnership) who restored several of the buildings, installed a museum and opened the area as a tourist attraction.

In other words, prepare yourself from some strikingly eerie imagery if you should ever make you way down there!

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(Of course, if actually going to such a sandy place as Namibia to get some sort of a return doesn’t seem like such a pleasant idea in the first place, you could always just play around with a spot of foreign direct investment instead. Which coincidentally, Namibian attorney Henner Diekmann (on LinkedIn) knows more than just a little about…)

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Related Link: Kolmanskop | Wikipedia | Namibia

Running on the Sand of Strand Beach (2016-09-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 OCT 2016

Having just enjoyed a rather unexpected midweek getaway in Swellendam towards the end of September, we returned home just in time for first me to fall ill on the Friday, and then Chantelle follow suit on the Saturday. As you might imagine then, the weekend was a bit of an indoor affair, though I did venture out on Saturday afternoon in order for the girls to stretch their legs with some play time at the main Strand Beach, also known as Melkbaai Beach.

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If you didn’t know that already, Strand has about 5 kilometers’ worth of white sandy beaches, which is probably why it is such a popular weekend destination then for beach fishermen and rock anglers, and of course holidaymakers come season time!

Melkbaai beach is one of the safer beaches for swimming and fishing, and of course there is more than enough to do in the area, including an Olympic-sized indoor pool which is centrally heated and is open all year round.

Naturally, water sports like surfing, sailing, power boating, paddle skiing and board sailing are also a pretty big thing in the area.

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Anyway, the girls and I were just there to stretch our legs for a bit, and so with a Jelly Tots chocolate slab as lure/motivator, I soon had the two of them running up and down the beach and getting rid of some their pent up energy!

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As you can see from the pictures that I snapped when the girls gave me a chance, it was actually a pretty overcast day – which was nice in the sense we had plenty of space to ourselves then! :)

(Also, because that’s how these things work, by the next day both of them were struck down with the same illness that was plaguing Chantelle. Poor babies…)

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Anyway, here’s a handy map to the beach if you too want to go exploring:

Related Link: Strand

Ambling along Gordon’s Bay Beach (2016-05-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 MAY 2016

I’ll let you in on a little secret of Gordon’s Bay – Winter is one of the best times of the year in our village. The reason being that the wind pretty much goes away, leaving you with beautiful winter sun soaked days that are absolutely perfect for taking long lunch break walks along the beach.

Which is exactly what I’m trying to do on a daily basis now, working at strengthening my knee by trudging through soft sand and water. Could be worse ways to go about it!

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Wednesday I ended up taking my phone along, hence all these lovely sandy pictures…

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Aah, now I remember why I love living in Gordon’s Bay!

Playing at Bikini Beach in Gordon’s Bay (2016-05-01) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 MAY 2016

Last weekend was a long weekend, thanks to Worker’s Day being celebrated here in South Africa. The glorious weather we enjoyed on Sunday was literally begging me to take the kids out to the beach – and so that’s exactly what I did.

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Bikini Beach is of course our little Gordon’s Bay beach that continuously earns itself a Blue Flag Beach status.

IMG_20160501_114929 jessica and emily play in the sand at bikini beach in gordon's bay

If you are not familiar with it, this tiny beach (rumoured to have received its name from the bikinis worn by female students from the the University of Stellenbosch) lies at the foot of the Hottentot’s Holland mountain range, tucked up against the Gordon’s Bay harbour wall – making for a wind sheltered, safe bathing spot.

It’s popular with both the locals and overseas visitors, and I’ve even done a bit of karate there back in the day!

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As you might expect, despite the girls still being terrified of getting too close to the water, both of them thoroughly enjoyed their play time in the sand and sun.

(I on the other hand found the soft sand a little too challenging for my weak knee, meaning that I got to stretch out on a bench looking out over the beach for most of our stay!)

And yes. The phone camera once again got a decent workout on the day:

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Related Link: Bikini Beach Blue Flag Status

Playing Gordon’s Bay Beach Sand (2015-10-11) Photo Gallery 13 OCT 2015

The nice thing about Summer now really being just right around the corner is of course the fact that we can end off pretty much any day with a quick stop to play in the sand at our local beach.

Emily enjoys this thoroughly (though just like Jess was, she’s absolutely terrified of the sea), whilst Jessica on the other hand has discovered that she can fly!

IMG_20151011_181148 jessica in the air at gordon's bay main beach

See? Summer, we’re ready for you now! :)

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(That said, it’s still winter pajamas for the little ones…)

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Jessica’s First Swim in the Sea Jessica | My Life 23 JAN 2012

The great thing of living here in Gordon’s Bay is of course being so close to the sea. Which of course means that it is no real surprise that Jessica finally got to enjoy her first proper swim in the sea at last – even if Mommy was stuck at work and thus wasn’t around to witness it! (Sorry love)

Last Thursday, after another boiling hot day following this unforgiving heatwave Cape Town has been suffering under as of late, I finished up the last of my SVN commits from home for the day, and jumped in the car to go and pick Jessica up from the day care.

Escaping the fight that was breaking out between Baby Steps owner and the neighbour across the road, and always looking to kill some time before the whole evening routine anyway, I decided to take Jessie out to Main Beach for a bit of a stroll along the sand and sea, something she has come to really enjoy the few times I’ve taken her before. Anyway, when we arrived, we arrived to the most gorgeous of scenes, perfect weather, low-tide, not a breath of wind, not too many people to content with, and most important of all, calm, lukewarm water.

Right there and then I made the decision to run back to the car and make a quick return trip to the house for our swimsuits, and ten minutes later, Jessica in her luminous pink swimsuit and me in my swimming trunks, were throwing down our towels and making a beeline straight for the water.

And as I would have expected from my water-loving child who will never say no to a swim in the pool, Jessica absolutely loved every minute of it, clinging to her dad, kicking about, splashing the ripples and even going underwater (with some help from dad of course!).

We spent a good 30 to 40 minutes playing together in the water, and after we were well and truly cooled down, we finally made our exit just as a light wind started to rear its head, heading back home for a quick jump into the shower, followed by supper, milk session, and then of course falling asleep on Daddy’s chest before relocation to the cot time!

Oh, but I did forget to mention that in amongst all of that, the swim had tired young Jess Jess out so much that she fell asleep for a 30 minute nap in her feeding chair – while I was still in the process of feeding her!

Going for a swim in the sea is tiring work I tell you!

Hmm, I’d better remember that one for next time then… :)

Jessica eating Ice-cream on the Beach Jessica | My Life 12 DEC 2011

One way in which this awesome allowance to work two days a week from home has changed my life in a positive way is the fact that I now get to spend a little bit more time with my daughter in the evenings, seeing as there isn’t an hour and a bit long commute between work and home!

Of course, this means all kinds of outings, like treating Mommy to the Spur (infrequently)…

…or going out to the beach (frequently, but wind dependent!).

Quite a while ago now, we took Jessica down for some ice-cream on the beach, and more importantly, her first official introduction to beach sand and the sea. Dressed up as cute as a button in her bright red sun hat, it took a while for our little one to get interested in the sand invading her space – as for the ice-cream softserve from Uncle Barry’s?

That she took to straight away! :)

And of course, as any could Daddy knows, one must have the video camera on hand to capture all of these moments:

And playing in the sand for the first time:

And just in case you thought I was done, here are a couple more photos of the day:

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And that, was Jessica’s first introduction to the beach! :)

Photo Gallery: Jessica’s First Trip to the Beach (2011-10-06) My Life | Photo Gallery 06 OCT 2011

We live five minutes away from the sea, so it is no surprise that taking Jessica to the beach was on our list of things to do – and pleasingly for us, she LOVED her first encounter with the sand!

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Funakoshi Year-end Beach Training Session Martial Arts 17 DEC 2010

Man, I’m really sad to have missed this, thanks to me not being able to be back in GB in time for the event after work.

Last Friday saw the official final training session of 2010 for the junior karateka at the Gordon’s Bay Funakoshi dojo, as they break up for the holiday period.

(Though the adult classes continue on a Monday and Wednesday evening of course!)

Kiba dachi stances in the sand

To change things up and end off on a bang, Sensei Birgitt decided to do something different for a change – an outdoors training session!

And where better to train outdoors in Gordon’s Bay than on our beautiful, pristine main beach?

Needless to say, it looks like it was loads of fun and a great way to close off the official 2010 Funakoshi calendar year for all the junior karateka! Once again, good work Gordon’s Bay Dojo! :)

If you've got to kick something, you may as well kick the sea!

To get more of a feel for how this final training session went down, check out the gallery!