Serendipity – A happy discovery

Serendipity (n) – a happy discovery made when searching for something else.

In this case I was looking for space on a portable disk to save a large chunk of data, so I selected a directory to delete, but being cautious, I checked what was in the sub-directories. Lo and behold, I found a bunch of photos taken 18 months ago while traveling, stored on the portable disk and somehow never transferred onto my photo store. If I had thought about it, I would have written the pictures off as being lost. Equally the kloof shown in this email came as a complete and happy surprise as well – so join on a trip up serendipity kloof in the newly opened mega-reserve of Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape.

A bit of background first. Amanda and I had been to the Grahamstown Festival and Amanda had to attend a workshop in the mega‑reserve which was on the way back from Grahamstown. While Amanda was busy the farmer on whose farm we were staying suggested I go up one of the blind kloofs on the farm. He told me how to find one and I set out. I was not very enthusiastic as the surrounding country was hard, thorny and, despite it being July, very hot.

The approach did not seem particularly encouraging.

Well at least there is a bit of water.

A bit more interesting! The kloof is getting narrower and narrower. Believe it or not, that is the kloof up ahead. It narrowed down to less than a metre in places.

Looking back.

There are arums all over the place.

Indigenous Mint. I was amazed to find that South Africa has its own variety of mint.

Water thunders down this kloof. You can see debris from the last heavy flood in this picture. This not a place to be during a heavy rainstorm. There is nowhere to go.

Many pools have to be waded through or climbed around. This one was climbable.

This is in the heart of the Eastern Cape Biome. The local vegetation makes the water a greenish colour. It looks strangely beautiful and tastes wonderful.

And an arty arum picture.

Trees grow out of any cranny that has some soil in it.

An otters breakfast.

The last picture requires a little explanation. The water in the kloof is extremely cold. Many of the pools are impassable except by wading and to prove that I had actually waded, I set the camera on 10 seconds delay and waded out into the middle of a small but impassable pool. The strange look on my face is because I was losing all feeling in my legs, was convinced that the brother of the crab above was munching my toes and equally convinced that time had ground to a complete, but painful halt – 10 seconds was beginning to feel like 10 hours. For reference, the water was just touching the soles of my boots. When I got back and looked at the picture I realized that, to get a correctly exposed picture I would have to set the speed and aperture of the camera and then go back and stand hip deep in the icy water again while the camera counted the seconds. As you can tell, I opted for comfort and against perfection!