The Edenvale Photographic Club is holding a member’s weekend away photo excursion to the Lowveld. Based in the greater Nelspruit area it will take place from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th August (Friday 10 August is not a public holiday so if you MUST work join us when you can).
What photo opportunities are there?
- The Wild Horses of Kaapsehoop. These horses, a legacy of a former police force, make great subjects, particularly if it is misty.
- The old village of Kaapsehoop is picturesque in itself. Situated on top of wooded mountains there are photo opportunities galore. These include ‘the Commissioners House’, the ‘Court Rooms’ and ‘jailhouse’ all very old ruins oozing with charm and ideal subjects for ‘painting with light’ etc. Note: if you intend going to Kaapsehoop at night take really warm clothes as it can get icy cold. The cemetery can be a great photo subject again particularly if it’s misty.
NB: There are nice pubs and eateries in Kaapsehoop. The Koek ‘n Pan is famous for what’s obvious.
- The road from Nelspruit to Ngodwana via Kaapsehoop traverses treed mountains, valleys and rivers. Lots to shoot, particularly for the early birds.
- On your way to Nelspruit the N4 from Waterval-Boven passes through some beautiful scenery. It may be worth a look down some of the side roads to the north towards the river.
- Sudwala Caves are an ideal way to spend the “light’s no good” mid-day hours. If there is sufficient interest by photographers the staff at the caves have promised us an exclusive ‘photographers only’ guided walk (all walks must be guided). Remember your tripod, cable release, wider lenses and a small torch.
The ‘Crystal Tour’ is for the more adventurous. This 7 hour adventure is into the area of the caves not normally seen by the public. The tour must be booked and the R110.00 (50%) deposit paid at least 14 days prior to the date. Private tours require a minimum of 5 persons so please liaise with me should you wish to go.
- The Lowveld National Botanical Gardens are very close to central Nelspruit and offer interesting tropical plants and trees as well as the Cascades (rapids/ waterfall). The more energetic and surefooted amongst us can do the River Walk on the banks of the Crocodile River. Small entrance fee.
- Kruger Nation Park’s Numbi and Malelane gates are less than an hour away.
- Swaziland isn’t much further, particularly if you 4 X 4it (ground clearance) on the R40 via Barberton. I haven’t been on this route yet but I’m told it’s spectacular.
- Some spectacular waterfalls can be found near Sabie (approx. 66 kms) while all the touristy attractions (Bourke’s Luck, God’s Window and more falls etc) are not much farther.
- Chimp Eden. Made famous on TV, the Jane Goodall Institute is worth a visit. It is a bit of a challenge photographically due to the high fences (keep away from them – particularly if you American!). I did however manage some good shots (take a longish lens and R120 pp. Discounts for children and pensioners).
- Hazyview offers Coffee tours, cultural villages, elephant experience, aerial cable trail (good for bird photography?), Moholoholo Wildlife Rehab Centre, Pilgrim’s Rest Ghost Tour (photos?) & Blyde Dam boat trips. For more info on the above please contact me.
- I am in contact with the two local 4 X 4 clubs who will revert with details of any events that may be taking place in the vicinity.
- Camera workshop: If there is sufficient interest we plan camera workshops by senior club members to assist newer members to optimise their photographic skills.
- Bring n’ Braai: Provided that people numbers are not too large a ‘bring n’ braai’ will be held at our home (5 km from the city centre). We could buy the meat for you but this must be arranged and paid for in advance. Alternatively we’ll invade a restaurant for the evening.
- Travel tip: When you reach Ngodwana Paper Mill take the Kaapsehoop road (R69) to Nelspruit to avoid road works on the N4 closer to town. It’s also a little shorter and more scenic. Watch out for the horses of Kaapsehoop!
Watch your speed when near Machadodorp and Waterval-Boven.
Please let me know if you plan to join us for the weekend and also if you would like us to arrange a Sudwala Caves Photo Walk/Crystal Tour as well as tuition sessions.
Where can we stay?
The area in and around Nelspruit boasts accommodation ranging from budget to boutique hotels. Examples (untried by us) include:
Sun Lodge (back-packers lodge) (in Nelspruit) 079 593 3497
Natures Gate (8 km from central Nelspruit) camping, caravanning & chalets
013 755 6173 www.naturesgate.co.za
Bushveld Lodge (4 km from N4 on the Kaapsehoop road) caravanning, camping & chalets. 013 741 5058 www.bushveldlodge.co.za
Lakeview Lodge & Caravan Park (100m from the Bushveld Lodge) (Camping, caravanning & chalets.
Ituka Guest House & Apartments (in a Nelspruit suburb) (self-catering offered) 013 744 0115 www.itukaguestlodge.co.za
Hippo Water Front Guest Lodge (8 km from Nelspruit on Crocodile River) (offers self-catering) 082 825 1105 www.hippowaterfront.com
Safubi River Lodge**** (5 mins from town) (self-catering offered) 013 741 3253 or
072 693 7777 www.safubi.co.za
Aragoniet Lodge (budget self-catering near town on Kaapsehoop road) 083 631 2136 www.aragonietlodge.co.za
Venter @ 67 (self-catering not far from city) 013 741 4685 or Hennie 083 626 4701
Silver Mist Country Inn (in Kaapsehoop proper, self-catering available in charming vintage hotel and houses). 013 734 4429 www.silvermistgh.co.za
Alternative Kaapsehoop accommodation: www.kaapsehoop.co.za
Other Accommodation: Suggest you surf the net as this list is only a small selection of what’s available. If this is your first weekend photo shoot I recommend that you look for self-catering. I find that B & B’s are generally unsuitable as you will probably want to be up and out before breakfast is served and probably returning after it’s finished!
NB: Accommodation arrangements should be made by you for your own account.
Should you have any questions or concerns please let me know.
Looking forward to a great weekend
for the Edenvale Photographic Club
(c) 083 247 7646
(h) 011 609 5427 (not always there, often in Nelspruit)