The Northern Lights


I am in bed for the first time in 48 hours and it is not until the 49th that I start thinking I might never be able to fall asleep again. I feel only slightly worried that there is something amazing wrong with my eyes. Every time I close them, I have my own personal light show flashing against my eyelids. Bands of rapidly falling green light come in flashes and disappear into infinity in purple hues – only to start up again as soon as I think it is over. That’s what happens when you stare at a psychedelic sky for too long.

Eventually I drift into a spectacular dream and when I wake up in the morning, I check my pockets to see if what I grabbed in my dream was still there.

Indeed it was. Not quite in my pockets or flickering on the bookshelf like I subconsciously fantasized, but stored on my camera’s memory card are over four hundred luminescent photographs of the Northern Lights. Three nights in a row I watched it pirouette above snow covered mountains, leaving me with crazy eyes and a smile now stuck on my face forever.

I must confess. I am slightly obsessed with the Aurora Borealis. Even on cloudy nights I have been running outside ever so often to see if it came for a visit. That is what it does in my opinion. It comes for a visit like an air hostess does on trans Atlantic flights, late while everyone is sleeping. If you weren’t awake when she came round, you aren’t getting wine. Unlike with a flight attendant, you can’t run after this. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Or so I thought.

Like a fire needs fuel, the lights also need stoking. I don’t know what stokes it, but something of a chemical reaction on an astronomical scale happens when it flares up. There could be only a slight green glow when, bam – suddenly the blackness of space gives way to warping bright bands of dancing light that hurtles across hundreds of kilometers in a few seconds. If the word hallelujah had to look like something, it will look like the Northern Lights.

I love the night sky. I can, and do, stay up for hours watching stars. Standing under a dark starry sky questioning the astronomical relativity of it all is like spin bike training for your brain. But looking at this phenomenon is next level.

It is so big and mysterious and beautiful that it really is very hard to narrate. Scientifically it makes sense. Charged particles that travel from the Sun collide with atoms in our atmosphere and that bumps electrons in the atoms to higher energy states. When these electrons drop back down to a lower energy state it releases photons, which we interpret as the Aurora. It is truly a visual manifestation of the power of Earths magnetic field. North American Natives believe it is the spirits of their ancestors that watch over them. When I saw it scintillate at full volume across the empyrean, I felt so moved and had this sudden beautiful reassurance that a God most definitely exists.

Somewhere inside me the lights are still dancing, and I don’t think it will ever stop as long as I am part of this universal mass of energy. I don’t have a bucket list as I feel that a list eliminates all the other things you could have experienced in life. But if you have this one on yours and you haven’t ticked it off yet, I suggest you make it your top priority.

Of all the wonderful things I have seen in my life, I can honestly say that experiencing the Aurora Borealis is the most beautiful. It is so beautiful to me because it is a gift from the heavens above, free of charge, there for anyone to see. It made me cry. It made me dance. It made me realize my immense fortune I have. It filled me with a new lust to keep wandering and wondering. It made me appreciate my eyesight ten fold. It made my dreams come true. It made me believe.





Most of these images were exposed between 4 and 8 seconds with relatively high ISO values at f4.5. the-best

To have seen this with you Tam is the most magical experience of my life, so far. Thanks for being the best adventure partner I could ever have asked for


ZAR Gravel roads

some gravel roads web

South African roads are some of the best in the world. The potholes, livestock and crazy taxis that use it cannot take away from the pleasure of driving on ZAR roads. You can be driving next to the coast one moment and in the next wind up some mountain pass. Our national highways in some places are like smooth black conveyor belts, carrying mostly white Toyota bakkies. Silent on the tread, long sixth gear straights with plenty beautiful curves along routes like the N2 is what my car love. But what she digs most are the dirt roads that flood like red veins off these major routes. These gravel roads often end up making the trip there better than the actual destination.

When you choose to take dirt roads you end up in places like Wupperthal. They lead to places where the petrol station only operates certain times in the day and never on Sundays. They take you to places where Coca Cola still sponsor white and red Café name signs such as Lekkerbek. You buy fruit rolls at places like tannie Gertruida se pad stalletjie and for some reason you wave at any other drivers passing you by. You basically do things you wouldn’t do on a normal road. If there is a puddle of mud and water on the other side of the road, you go for it. If there is a photo around a corner you stop and take it. Speed limits are generally adhered to, anders sien jy jou gat.

If you go slowly on those no-rush kind-of gravel roads you see stuff like sheep herding dogs working in unison, keeping flocks of tjops together. I see a herd’s man standing by a draad hek and he looks like his name could be Petrus. It could also be Johannes or Piet. Dit is mos ‘n Afrikaanse plek die. With his Blue overalls and a very old hat the oompie greets with a smile. Good folk. Wine loving folk. Hardworking folk. I see it on his hands, those hands that work with farm stuff everyday.

Our gravel roads take you to places like the Boegoe mountains, where 4×4 routes get you to the best skottelbraai destinations in the world. They get your adrenaline pumping and always have sneaky hills and curves that hide some sort of surprise. They take you to farm gates that lead to the ocean. Our dirt roads smell of fresh earth after rain.

Our dirt roads have character and our dirt roads have vibe.

Our dirt roads make me not want to wash my car after being on them. I keep the dirt on my car at least a week after getting back to civilization and every time I see that dirty cabbie parked in the Checkers parking lot I smile, and remember the adventures that were made with every layer of mud sitting on my mud flaps.

kokerboom1 copy web

kokerboom trails web

blue flowers web

horses web

flowers on a string web

koker cloud stars

lambertsbaai stars web

West Coast farm gate under South African skies

When I think of it now, the first thing I thought of when I saw the spider on the footpath down, I was not being a good guy. It’s not of good character to be jealous of other things, but damn this Orb spider has the best view in the whole of Cape Town I reckon. It waits on its golden web while the blue water below comes in high then leaves away slow – day in, starry night out.

The spiders’ vantage point from within the fynbos inspires me to go look for my own unique views. Within minutes of arriving at this hidden gem, I find myself stuck inside the crisp blue and green walls that the ocean throws onto the sand. Just like the spider, I start spinning a web around me, made up of words and euphoric interjections. I don’t, however, trap insects – I trap moments.

The rustic kitchen is warm at the heart of the house while the high ceiling keeps conversations from escaping. The paraffin lamps glow low, casting shadows that dance with the nostalgia that fills the room. Many moments have been made here in this kitchen. I can just feel it. It is the weathered red and white window frame above the kitchen sink and the cooking pot hanging over the fire. It is the red wine. It is the dogs milling about between our feet and the smell of thyme simmering with the lamb. It is sleeping outside and proper coffee in the morning. It is how it is supposed to be.

With the full moon comes high water and it takes away footsteps made in sand. The sea takes it and washes it up later where you pick them up and continue making memories. I get the feeling that this house does the same. You fetch the potjie from where you hung it when you were there last and then light a new fire with the old wood you cut down when you were there in the past.

On the way up I notice that the spider has neither moved nor trapped a meal. It has spun such a perfect web with a perfect view that I am starting to wonder if maybe it’s just chilling there to make memories.



smallest fly ever








in the morning

lapse 4







light3“We had seen God in His splendors. Heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man” – Ernest Shackleton

I want to hear new sounds that could only be heard if you were there
I have a desire to see sights that you’d miss if you blinked
I want to remember the wild life that is all around
I want to be there together
I want to be there alone.

Our trip was not nearly as hardcore as Mr. Shackleton’s was in the early 1900’s. We had all the modern comforts such as wind proof parkers and waterproof boots and pants. We didn’t get stuck in pack ice and never had to resort to eating sled dogs or penguins. My tweed jacket was kept only for dinner at night, not for keeping the arctic wind off my back. We also didn’t try and cross the whole bloody Antarctic via the South Pole. We stuck to a minuscule portion of The White Continent. But even so, it was the largest place I’ve ever seen, and like with so many of the places we have been to before, this was also the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Hands down.

I watch as a snowflake in perfect crystal form nestles in the cracks of my icy cold hands. It wastes no time as it melts right away. I blithe at the sight because I realize I am actually not that cold a person, both physically and in character. Then my eyes flood as heaven opens, showering beautiful hexagonal crystals of snow, changing everything to white. Like a curser erasing a bunch of type written words to reveal a blank white page, the snow covers all, and with it the gentle wind whisper in my ears, “It is OK to cry sometimes. Lets start over, and try again”.

If only we could.

This happens to me when I am in beautiful places. The tears flow from somewhere deep. I can’t truly know why, but maybe it is because of the sudden realization that I am completely and utterly insignificant in relation to the majesty around me. I want to be here but I know I don’t belong here, and even though Antarctica belongs to everyone, no one actually belongs here.

This, truly, is the last frontier on our planet. There are visible secrets that are stacked in the glacial masses of ice, and like a book has a beginning and an end our origins and futures are written in the ice. There is no word invented yet to describe the incredible shades of blue that some of the Icebergs trap within their unique shapes and forms. The millennia of compression and exposure hold streaks of elements ensnared, offering glimpses of – what I think – electricity looks like. The ice holds the color captive until currents and tides take icebergs to far away places where it nourish and replenish what humans exploit and empty.

It is the serenity of Antarctica that make you think of the damage we do to this world. Where few humans tread, you gain insight into what the world once was.

The research and indisputable scientific proof is there my friends, and it hurts. Over the last 100 years the CO2 produced by man is behind an unprecedented rise in temperatures on Earth. Humans are altering the weather patterns through carelessness. When I hold a pure piece of ancient ice in my hands I feel guilty for the years worth of rubbish I have discarded over time. Fill black bag to the brim, use, take and waste. Fill car with petrol and drive when I could have walked. I have seen people in morning traffic alone in their cars going to the same place as the person in front of them. We don’t care. The planet is going to shake off this overpopulated human race like a dog rids itself of fleas. It needs to happen soon, so she can be alone again. Start over.

“Man is never so sublimely in his element than when faced with adversity.”- French Scientist Claude Lorius

It perplexes me how amiable a cold place can make you feel. Outside it is minus five degrees but inside my heart I feel warmer than the sun. The golden morning light shun upon the snow covered peaks enters my eyes and as it hits my optic nerves it stimulates me to the absolute core of my being. I feel highly sentient, here at the very edge of the world. I feel I don’t need anything else than my senses here.

The harsh realities of life are striking here too. Death lurks in as many different forms as the thousands of icebergs floating around. Through my camera lens I watch as a Skua attempts to drown a down covered Adelie Penguin chick. It struggles to keep it underwater, so it just starts pecking into it, eating it alive. This beautiful place will eat you alive. Whalebones are scattered along the pebble beaches, broken up and have long since given back. When will I give back? Penguin carcasses rot along the many penguin highways and old whaling boats resemble cracked ribs as their once strong wooden hulls gets bruised and broken by the extreme elements.

The only way for me to try and relay my view of the incredible beauty of Antarctica is through photography, and even then it won’t give it any justice. Like a wine sommelier would learn appropriate words to describe wines properly, I would first have to go and study a course in “How to explain Antarctic surroundings in words worthy of her mention.”

There were days when it was absolutely silent. Silence so intense I could hear my own heartbeat and my thoughts running wild.

There were days that hardly turned to night, The Sun keeping The Moon from reflecting its light.

There were days when the clouds changed from blue to pink in the early morning light, and there were days when the sky remained grey and ominous.

There were no people and I loved that most.

There was nothing really there.

But there was also so much.

We were there together,

I was there Alone.

an iceberg

chinstrap penguin

Chinstrap Penguin

arched iceberg 1


Pretty close


Crab eater Seal Bitten by an Orca

Chinstrap colony

Chinstrap Colony, Halfmoon Island

penguin carcass 1

Penguin carcass

yea its cold

whale tail ice hole

whaling boat

Old whaling boat

whale bones2

Whale bones

sky on a tue morn

Sunrise at Paradise bay


Icebergs have so many interesting forms and shapes



fur seal

lone ranger

This was the last penguin I saw as we left for the open ocean. He was alone on this massive iceberg.

whale bones 3

Whale vertebrae

fire & ice 2

Sunrise at the Chilean Antarctic Base

penguin bones

holy moly

macro ice


inside an inceberg

maybe ill go swimming

gentoo and iceberg

Gentoo penguin

penguin highway

Penguin highway


holding ancient ice


Gentoo & chick

adelle penguin

Adelie Penguin

fur seal in snow

Fur Seal in snow

fire and ice

Sunset in Lemaire Channel


mumbai train station

“From Cape Town, South-Africa” I say to probably the thousandth guy that asks me. With his head doing the Indian wobble he proclaims: “ AB De Villiers! Yes it is undeniable, from the top of your good head to the bottom of your brilliant toes; you absolutely look like AB my good sir. Totally true without a doubt in my mind.” I burst out laughing but feel honored nonetheless.

The skinny-legged Indian mans lenses, on his thick reading glasses, magnifies his eyes rationally way out of proportion to the rest of his face. You wont find those glasses in any shop – it has definitely been handed down by many a generation. “What is your good name my kind sir?” When I tell him he doesn’t seem to hear because he refers to me as AB for the duration of our conversation. I learn many things in India, first being that cricket, truly, is a religion here.

If you are open minded enough you have a whole country waiting to befriend you. Literally, every one of the odd billion or so folk is ready to step into a friendship, even if it lasts only for a minute or two. I have never made so many friends so quick in my life as on the streets of India. And it is not the fake kind of friendship where they befriend you to sell you something. I’ve had deeper conversations, with total strangers, about topics ranging from the caste system to the cautiously optimistic possibility of world peace than anywhere else in our travels.

Everything happens on the non-existing side pavements of the broken streets in India. The bustling activities situated around makeshift shops and stalls transports the mind farther than the Beatles’ Magical Mystery bus can on the way to Lucy in the Sky. I see a man on a stationary bicycle pedaling to make a grinder spin as he sharpens knives while a man with a red turban cleans wax out of a passer byes ear. A cow stops all traffic in the center of Mumbai and takes a steamy dump while a man scoops it up to add to a growing pile of manure fermenting on a sidewalk. The weird and eccentric is made so very normal here. I love it.

However, there is no way to sugar coat the fact that India – in some places – is pretty filthy. Delhi has one of the worlds highest air pollution rates and the Ganges has seen more corpses floating on it than fish swimming in it. With each step I take on her dirty, smelly, sticky wacky roads, I become immune to the millions of germs India has on offer. That said though, you see bright-eyed children in crisp school uniforms clutching books under arms, smiling and proud. You see woman in beautiful colorful saris selling vegetables and men riding tuk-tuks, waving, weaving traffic and nodding.

I see sad things too. Life passes by a beggar who’s given up on begging, today possibly his last, gauging by the amount of skin left on his thin rickety bones. Disabled men and woman with decades worth of dirt on their hard creased faces hold out empty hands. Most upsetting are the children begging in rags, smiling little by-products of a world that seemingly don’t care. The holy cows I see mowing on grass sprigs growing through cracked walls that rise out of littered roads, lead more fortunate lives than most people here. If ever there is a place where you want to count your blessings, then India is your go to place.

It is a mystical land where people walk around in loose fitting cloth and have third eyes painted on their foreheads. Pictures of Shiva and Ganesh adorn anything that has wheels and monkeys are considered Gods. It is loud and it is busy. It is by no means for everyone, but anyone is welcome.

The people – like with most other places we go to, is what makes this place special to me. The majority has so little, but they seem so content. Here, more than anywhere else in the world, I feel that people honestly don’t care what your skin color is or what your clothes look like. Humble is too noble a word to describe some of the folk here. Shanti Shanti is the pace. Namaste is the vibe. At one of the busiest train stations in the world I stand and watch how people come and go. To some of the passers by I am just a foreigner doing strange things with his camera, but to most I am a different face in the crowd to say a quick hello – where – are – you – from to.

We haven’t been all over the country, but we have seen more than some can say they have seen of India. Therefor I think it is fair to say that:

You don’t need to go to the Taj Mahal to experience the marvel that India both is and is not. You just need to get into a tuk-tuk and count how many near death experiences you encounter every kilometer to be reminded of the beauty of life.

You don’t need to go to some expensive yoga retreat in Jaipur to improve your flexibility, just catch an overcrowded train and see if you have enough space to stand on both legs.

India has many faces and facets and if you go with a candid heart and an unlatched mind
You will find it to be truly


lady in pink 2

cookies and tea 2


watermarked woman 2

worker colors



treasury panoThe Treasury

In the distance an Imam breaks the morning silence with his first prayer for the day while the sun starts to color the mountains in shades of red and orange. Days begin early here in Jordan, and better so as I have a long drive ahead of me. The Lost city of Petra is awaiting me.

At first, the mountains seem void of any life. When you leave the port town of Al Aqaba, soon impressive ridges of the mountains protrude from the desert valley like ancient fossils. I wonder if there are any people living in the many caves that dot the sierras when I see a few lonesome goats grazing. Clouds hang low over the striped mountains, like the smoke billowing from the Arab mans mouth as he enjoys his hookah pipe with his morning tea on the side of the road.

The dual highway that runs through the Al Wadi Rum desert stretches on like a busy black conveyer belt, carrying trucks and old Toyota pickups to and fro. In the distance there are spectacular sand stone formations, weathered by time and wind. I imagine Lawrence of Arabia straddling a horse in Bedouin attire. After all, this is where it was filmed in the 1960’s.

It is totally acceptable, and most often expected, to barter the price of most souvenirs you buy throughout the Arab world. I can’t help but smile to myself when I see a tourist being ripped off at one of the pre viewpoints souvenir shops. Never take out all of your money when you are in the process of bargaining, you are sure to set yourself a trap.

The Nabataeans did an exceptional job at hiding the city of Petra. Not even at the mountain pass’s highest point are there any glimpses of this man made wonder. You have to descend into the belly of the remarkable Wadi Musa Mountains to reach this marvel.

Of all the roads in the world, the narrow Siq that leads to the Treasury could be rated among the top five most beautiful. Easily. It tapers along sheer curved sandstone walls, smeared with purples and reds and patterns carved by a river long since vanished. I found myself spiraling down the Siq, dodging donkeys, camels, horse and carts adorned with colorful Arabic apparel.

The first glimpse you have of the iconic Treasury, through the last of the many curves along the most beautiful road, leaves one breathless and at a total loss for words. I hear people trying to encapsulate its splendor in remarks, but all that comes out is “Wow!”

Never mind days, I could spend months here in Petra. It is absolutely a photographer’s paradise. With all the Bedouin people selling trinkets and frankincense and the many different ways that light falls on the wonder, I would not mind becoming a cave dweller here.

A magical wonder of the world, albeit man made, Petra certainly takes up many gigabytes of memory in the mind.

man on donkey

horse cart


color camel

stripy rock


boy walking

look up

older arab man

on the move



red donkey



older beduoin woman





candles in the wind

If you believe in a God, where do you feel closest to that divinity?

Is it when you are at home with your family where you give and receive love? Is it when you are out in nature, at one with your surroundings? Perhaps it is when a base note of a cello hits that nerve in your heart and involuntary make you weep. I feel calmness when I am in the ocean. The man I saw today feels closest when he rubs his callused face against The Wall.

Like with so many stories you hear when you are a child, there was one place I was absolutely petrified of when I was a boy, without having ever been there. It was not a house on Elm Street. The way the Bible described the place made me think it was the most spine-chilling place on Earth. I never thought I would actually set foot at the Calvary.

The Armaic name of the place is carved into a marble arch and the moment I see the name, the light that fills the room starts to gloom, and I see it go from light to dark. Like stepping out of the blue and into the black. Childhood fear fill me, but not for long. The burning candles and gold plated lights offer some visual comfort, hinting toward salvation.

We don’t stay long. There was too much suffering that happened here at Golgotha.

The wooden door that leads into the Holy Sepulcher has seen many enter and leave. I see pilgrims from far and wide lay hands and offers on the Stone of Unction. Some people cry. It’s not that hard to cry here. People queue for days to say prayers at Jesus’ tomb. People, all just normal people wanting to be closer to their God.

In Jerusalem I hear footsteps on old cobble stone paths and wonder if maybe I walked in the footsteps of the Messiah. I see orthodox Jews, devout Christians and pious Muslims all sharing a small space. It can be done. We are all people, just normal people, wanting to be close to what we believe is divine.


door to holy sepulchre

Door to The Holy Sepulcher


harp player

temple ceiling

ordinary men bw

western wall and gold dome mosque


prayers in crevices

Written Prayers at the Western Wall

man and wall

rabbi and soldier

soldier praying

close to God

What I see at The Wall


Man with green uniform and gun praying for peace,

His hands touching The Wall

But who knows, maybe he is asking to bring upon his enemy a disease

Next to him man with black hat and black robe stands tall,

His whispered words silently falling onto The Wall

Man with torn clothes writes his prayers on stained paper

Carefully placing it, he found a small crater

His face kissing The Wall

The weight of the prayers couldn’t bring The Wall down, not now not ever

It is a short barricade between Man and Creator

I too touch The Wall

And wonder

How many pencils have shortened without invocations ever made known

Or, at least for some, a form of rejoinder


parthenon 1Greek really is not an easy language to try and understand. How can you possibly want to pronounce a triangle? I can recognize some of the Greek characters and it’s only because of scenes out of frat house movies. Alpha, Beta, Zeta, Ohm. I ask a guy how to say thank you in Greek and I thought he was swearing at poor Gary Stow, who ever he may be. It is literally pronounced F-Gary-Stow. I think to myself that Gary must have either pleased or annoyed one of the mythical Gods to earn this eternal attachment to his name. So instead I just say tzatziki or zorba all the time, it sounds more familiar.

Greece may presently be in some sort of financial crisis, but the Greeks don’t seem too worried about it. It must have something to do with the rising and falling that the empire has seen over the millennia. History repeats itself, and why be rushed when you can laze in the sun like a cat or dog catching late afternoon rays. Athens stretch as far as the eye can see from atop the hill at The Acropolis and it is hard to imagine how such a vast city is at the center of a massive bailout.

When I walk among ancient ruins, such as the Parthenon, I always envision a time lapsed movie of great proportions. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there had to be a camera in the sky that has been filming everything on Earth? One day it could all be played back to us, using the sky as a backdrop, showing how the walls and pillars of all the ancient ruins were created. Because a place like this makes me wonder: How did they do it and what made it crumble? Was it warfare or was it morals that brought down ancient civilizations? I say morals because it is a bit worrisome when you look at some of the art from those days. Most guys seemed to have been into other guys and by judging the marble statues, most of them also walked around naked. Were they really that muscular and not-so-well-endowed in the nether region?

Some scholars spend lifetimes studying Greek Mythology, trying to understand it all. It is a vast field of study but with the Mythos beers being relatively cheap here, you can easily ponder pretty deep into Plato’s cave with crafty sayings such as: “I think, therefor I am.”

My favorite play on words by Plato have to be the following, because I can just imagine what a four-legged TamJuan animal like thing must look like.

According to Greek Mythology

“Humans were originally created with 4 arms and 4 legs and a head with 2 faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into 2 separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.” – Plato

Δ Ω λ β α Λ Δ Ξ Σ Φ – I have no clue what this means, but it’s something


used to liveLike good wine, the walls, pillars and doors become more attractive over time


Pythagoras-tic vibes with some color


parthenon panorama

parthenon 2The Parthenon

Olive tree at parthenonOlive tree at the Acropolis


man walking

dog and cat

man sittingCatching rays

emptySymi Nisos

fishermanCrete fisherman tending the nets

boyLocal Mykonos fella

split in half

Like Plato’s 4 legged mythical creature we seek and find each other in the most amazing places


I see him coming from a mile away. The accordion player sits down with serious meaning next to me on the bench in the open square. In a deep voice he yells something about the pigeons around us. I only know it is about the birds because he points at them as he rambles on in French. His mustache just about covers his whole mouth and he has a half jack of brandy in his trouser pocket. I pretend that I understand what he is saying, and I wish I did, but it all just sound so angry and un-French-like. I gather that he really hates the birds and he proves this by showing me the pigeon droppings on his accordion. “Merde” I tell him. He nods and approves that the word sums it up.

It is the street art around every corner and the smell of hand made soap that make me fall in love with Marseille, within the first five minutes of walking down its narrow artsy streets. It is still early on a Sunday morning but the town is slowly waking up.

I see a nun in crisp white cloth praying in the shadows of a towering cathedral while a vagabond searches for a make shift pillow. A street cat scavenge the remains of some cordon bleu while a petit mademoiselle hangs up her freshly washed laundry overhead.

Even though I don’t understand the language, I understand the gestures and along with it the song of the streets. It has a rhythm to it that speaks of small portions of exquisite cuisine and beautiful wine being drunk at small street cafes. The people look so happy in their white and blue striped shirts.

I walk into a bar and a man having luncheon outside greets me as if he has known me for years. I go with it until I have to recite a line form a Jack Johnson song.

Je ne compra pas Francaise
You have to speak to me some other way

When you tell someone in their own language that you cant speak their language it leads to all kinds of interesting mixtures of charades and Frenglish.

“Je voudrais une biere s’il vous plait, le preferably le ice cold my le good monsieur,” I say as I point to the fridge.
He asks me what kind of beer I want and I say I want a ‘blonde’ one. As I do so I point to a brunette lady sitting at the bar and I say ‘non’ while shaking my head. He gets what I mean and he smiles. Without saying anything I can see that he is rather impressed with my attempt to express myself. As French people do though, he corrects me by teaching me the correct way. I like it. I want to be taught right.

The beer goes down well; both because of our short dialogue and the ambiance the traditional music creates to fill the room. “Merci beaucoup monsieur, au revoir.” I feel so – how can you say it – French as I step out and straight away a couple from Australia ask me in broken Frenglish: “Excuse moi, Where to find Le Cathedral De Major?”

Aromas of preserved French lavender
And also
All over they walk, plenty petit mademoiselle, sexy and slender
Alo Alo! Mwha Mwah
People saying hello, different to my usual ‘ What’s up Brah’
Puppeteer with a music box entertain
All the while
Another boat comes in by means of a sail
I smile
And wish to become French in the city of Marseille

bakie on wall1


bobar clown

bobar steps



intense petit

mtash peace




picture of picture

pepe le pew


The dust is a part of us now. We have literally become the dust the guy sings about in that ‘Dust in the wind’ song. It layers on to you and your belongings throughout the day so I have given up on showering. No point. I know I am just going to get dusty again. I love it though. It feels as if with each dust off of clothes, or anything else for that matter, I breathe Africa in. Our food is seasoned with dust and I don’t mind it one bit because with each bite I find nourishment, the dry dust stilling a hunger – a hunger to be a part of my continent. African grime and dust from changing flat tires and setting up camp every night give character to my hands while the dry desert winds make my hair go disheveled, just the way I like it.

Africa does that to you, it makes you go wild.

I have exchanged my Chanel Allure au de toilet for the smell of Namibian hardwood fire scent on my clothes, and I much prefer the smell of the latter. As I watch the flames of the evening fire lick the dark African sky, I hear a hyena laugh in the distance. No fence here, just acacia trees providing lots of hiding places for predators. I feel like a predator when I chew on a piece of Springbok biltong. The full moon that is slowly rising up behind me makes my shadow grow taller. I am human and I am strong. But then I look up and the billions of stars make feel small, really small – almost invisible. I am just a fragment of a fragment of a tiny speck of dust making my way around the sun. I realize this is why the hyena is laughing. He is laughing at me for being such a fool. Fooled by my own shadow. In its sinister laugh I can hear the message. “ All is not always what it seems”.

Africa does that to you. It brings you back to Earth.

Here in Namibia I see things in eyes of all kinds that I cannot explain. I see my own reflection in a small Himba child’s dark eyes, holding my camera, capturing a moment. What does he see when he looks at me? I see the golden morning light in the eyes of a black main Kalahari lion and even though it is so incredibly beautiful, I cannot look for long. It is too powerful. I see my fear in its eyes, and it scares me. I get lost in a matriarch elephant’s cautious stare, her big and wise sand colored eye observing my every move. It is a beautiful moment shared between the eyes of two very different sizes of specks of dust. The elephant and me locked in a gaze, her giant presence absolutely still, my tiny human heart beating like an African drum in my chest.

Africa can do that to you, it makes you respect.

I find myself in a dilemma every time I go on long African road trips like this. With each kilometer that I travel on her dirt roads I shed the worldly things off of me. I want less and less of what makes the world go round, and more and more of what gives the dark African nights its mystery. I want to live like a nomadic Himba man. Like the Wildebeest migrating towards water, I want to continually criss – cross the continent. I want to hear the nothingness in the night, every night, and I want to smell the fresh rain like it can only smell in Africa. Forever. Although I have not been everywhere, I have been to many ‘wheres’ and when I am in Africa I want to be nowhere else. The freedom, the beauty and the solitude. The people, the wildlife and the sun. These are the things that I love the most. My dilemma is that at some point we have to go back to ‘reality’. At some point the empty spaces become overcrowded places, and city light and other noise replace the starlight. For this reason I am continuously savoring moments. I live in them like each is the last, and try to remember them like each was the best.

Africa does that to you, it makes you appreciate.

We are just dust. We are little specks on something bigger that in turn is smaller than whatever you would like to classify space as. Most people are just holding on, trying not to be blown away by the winds of change, happy to be in one place alone. I like being a dusty speck that is unlike the ones sitting on top of a cupboard, forgotten and never disturbed. I want to be blown from here to there in no specific pattern, taken from one extreme to another. On our last day of our eight thousand kilometer trip, on top of the tallest sand dune in the Namib Desert, I get completely naked and I spread my arms and pretend I am bird. The wind lifts me up and gives wings to my thoughts and dreams. Don’t think of me as crazy.

Africa can do that to you; it makes you feel free.



moringa elephants

african wildcat

African Wildcat




Lilac Breasted Roller

honey badger

Honey Badger







A pretty close call. Even though this Gemsbok got away we did find a pride of Cheeta further down the same road with a Gemsbok kill.


ele in the dust





wildebeest at dawn

elephant tracks in mud

Elephant tracks in the dry Etosha Pan


spitzkoppe startrail



sossusvlei 1

Sousousvlei Dunes

reflection of rhino

This lone Rhino and his reflection had me in tears. In as little as ten years all we will see are the reflections of these magnificent creatures.

palwag wreck

Palmwag scene


The Matriarch

moon tree

Moonrise through the African bush

caked mud etosha pan

Etosha Pan


Deadvlei at Sousousvlei

africa tree fairytale forrest copy


The Himba culture

standing in the dust

himba walking away

himba mother and child

himba hair

himba girl5

himba girl3

himba girl2

himba brothers 2

himba girl

himba boy1

himba baba 2 copy

my lion

Male lion, Etosha National Park