I’d like to introduce you to the small town of Ericeira. When I first went there it was a fishing village. With its close proximity to Lisbon and beautiful beaches, it’s become popular with both locals and visitors alike and grown a lot. I’ve written about it before (click the link above) and posted a gallery of pics so I won’t repeat that. I’ll just post my favourite pic 🙂
When we were kids every holiday was spent in Durban. As landlocked Joburgers the annual beach holiday was something I looked forward to all the time. Once a year we packed our family of 5’s belongings into a VW Bettle and headed down to the coast. As we neared Durban, we played the game of ‘who can see the sea first’, which was accompanied by the briny smells of the ocean.
One of my favourite things to do was walk along the Marine Parade from the South to the North Beach, browsing all the vendor’s stalls. I was a child with no cash and convincing my folks to buy this and that was never successful 🙂
These days I seldom go into the city, preferring instead the quietude and serenity of the small village of Umdloti Beach.
The village has changed little over the years but the beach has changed significantly. The beautiful tidal pool most parents felt safe allowing their kids to frolick in is not so safe after all. The promenade has subsided in places because of soil erosion caused by severe storms over the years. When Che and I were last there, in August last year, the tidal beach was closed off for rehabilitation, with a huge bulldozer in the middle of the sand.
Away from the tidal pool, avid residents walk the beaches at sunset, wielding metal detectors – I wonder what they find…?
Things to remember when holidaying in Durban:
- It’s on the Indian Ocean coast so the waters are warm.
- There are amazing dive sites further north, close to Sodwana Bay.
- There are game reserves with the Big 5 just 2 hours to the north.
- uShaka Marine World is a haven for kids – the waterpark is a lot of fun.
- It has, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful aquarium in South Africa.
- The Durban Botanical Gardens is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
- It boasts a large international airport, the King Shaka International Airport with daily domestic flights, and international flights from Istanbul, Doha, Dubai, Mauritius and other African destinations.
It’s a different experience to Cape Town. I don’t venture into Cape Town’s frigid waters but Durban is my happy beach swimming place. And it has great surfing too.
The most beautiful city in the world. Home of Table Mountain, one of the 7 wonders of the natural world. In the midst of the worst drought ever recorded in the region, it is at risk of running out of water. Rainfall hasn’t been bountiful in the last few years and dams have fallen to alarming levels. Water restrictions are in place, and people have a daily limit of 50 litres of water. With greater awareness and people getting serious about saving water, the so-called ‘day zero’ has been pushed back – the day when the taps will run dry and water trucks will be sent.
I travel a lot to Cape Town and in previous years it has been an absolutely beautiful experience flying over the Winelands and fertile valleys. Flying over the area, it now looks like the Karoo has moved all the way to the sea. People talk about desertification, and I can see that happening in that region.
Both degradation and desertification are among South Africa’s most critical environmental issues, intricately linked to food security, poverty, urbanization, climate change, and biodiversity. Globally, desertification affects 70% of all drylands, and 73% of Africa’s agricultural drylands are degraded. As much as 91% of South Africa comprises drylands, making it susceptible to desertification. Source: Department of Environmental Affairs, State of the Environment report.
I live in Johannesburg, and in the last week, we’ve had enough rainfall to fill the Cape dams 2 times over. Cape Town is a winter rainfall area and I can only hope that this winter will be a wet one for them.
My Cape Town uber driver of a couple trips back said to me as he drove me to the airport:
“Regina, I just want to fill a bath with water and just lie in it.!
People are stockpiling bottled water and there have been reports of fights breaking out in supermarkets to get the last bottles on the shelves.
People have come up with inventive and creative solutions – like a colleague who’s got a hand washing system in the bathroom and kitchen made with just a coke bottle and a thin rubber pipe. I’ve used it and can report that it works very well, uses a negligible amount of water, and is most satisfactory to clean hands:
Of course, it’s not just climate change that causes desertification. A lot of it has been driven by human activity. Degradation of previously fertile land, depletion of groundwater supplies, overgrazing and deforestation, to mention just a few.
Integrated land and water management are one of the ways to control the progression of the sands time, protecting soils from erosion and other degradation. Prevention is better than cure because such cures are expensive and yield limited results.
In seemingly intractable issues, there is no one solution, only a series of next wise moves to shift the system, to make it better than it was, each and every day.
One of my childhood friends was from Belgium, and her family moved to South Africa early on. My curiosity about this country was satisfied in January this year when I went to Ghent for a training course. I took a few days to explore Ghent before the course. It was cold and everywhere I went the smell of chocolate pervaded the streets. It was bliss…
Christmas lights were still up and the markets still active. I left on the day that they started to take all this down.
I’m going back in July, for another training course in Geetbets. I’m slowly exploring Belgium, town by town, and I’m loving what I’ve seen. I’ll be spending a few days in Brussels before travelling to Geetbets. I have no clue of how to get there and I’m hoping that it will involve train travel.
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