I headed out to the Garden Route for some R & R time and to rekindle my photography passion by finding some unique creative shots…..
The Garden Route is one of my favorite places for many reasons, and not only provides great opportunities for photography, from stunning landscapes to macro, birding and so much more… but is a place of peace and tranquility.
The dense forests, with the smell of the damp rising, water trickling down the little streams, the wind swishing through the trees, and the cicada’s serenading.
You hear the different birds calling, and you stand there in complete silence, on a bed of fallen leaves, taking in the beauty, for a minute the whole world stands still and is perfect! I’m sure those woods could tell some stories… Have you ever wondered how many pairs of eyes are looking back at you at any given time, and you have no idea?
Having read Daleen Matthee’s books, and actually going her Memorial and reliving the textbooks, we were prescribed at school in person was a really great experience.
Yellowwood trees are South Africa’s National tree and there are 4 species of Yellowwood in Southern Africa. It was nice to see them in there natural environment and to find out more about the history of the forests and the conservation of them!
We spent a week Sedgefield, followed by a magical few days in Rheenendal, the perfect place of peace! During our stay, we headed out to Storms River and Tsitsikamma.
Nothing like the open road in unfamiliar territory to unleash the mind.
On the way we stopped off at a Farm stall, that had a massive labyrinth, and while enjoying a drink the Vervet monkeys were swinging from tree to tree.
I decided to go to the car and fetch my camera. I followed them around and watch them playing with whatever they could find, chasing each other and screeching as they played! They were watching my every move and I sat for ages just watching them.
While I was taking this image, one of the Kitchen staff, came over and called me begging me to come and look, there is a snake and they are terrified!
Having no idea what to expect I placed my camera on the ground next to me and proceeded with caution. One of the staff members had a mop in hand and looked like she wanted to smack it. I told them to back off… I walked towards the snake and found a stunning Puffadder! It was only about 20cm long, with the most amazing markings!! It was terrified!
By this time I had a whole crowd of staff and an even larger audience of Monkeys who decided to reverse the roll and watch me this time. They were hanging from the tree on the other side of the fence and sitting on the fence, as inquisitive as one can get!
I asked them to hand me the mop and stand back. I managed after a few attempts to get the puffy to wrap itself around the end of the mop, and I slowly chucked it over the fence into the bed of pine needles under the tree.
The staff was screaming and set off and the monkeys screeched and scattered at speed when they realized what headed their way!
I felt really great that I had rescued it and took it out of harm’s way. I have a great love for nature and conservation. I wish I had more opportunities to experience nature at its best. It just shows that nature happens right around us every day! Each little attempt to preserve nature in our own way helps in the larger echo system!
Was actually quite funny in hindsight…. but very rewarding!
Life is an adventure, you never know what will happen next and in nature anything is possible! It’s not always about taking the perfect picture but experiencing and preserving that perfect moment in time!

Vervet Monkey
Love and Light

Melanie C

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