Today, after my last post’s visit to Iceland’s icy and well-known shores (check out: “Beached Jewel”) I’m going to take you to one of South Africa‘s secluded gems. Hidden away and well protected by a long and bumpy dirt road lies a unique coastal feature…

Dwesa Nature Reserve is the kind of place you go to when you want to escape the crowds. Situated in the central Wild Coast in South Africa, the small reserve lies between the Indian Ocean and rugged farmlands. It offers pristine nature: coastal forest, open grassland, winding rivers and loads of birds. The reason for me to go there: I had seen a few images of one of it’s beaches. A beach made of perfectly aligned tiles (some of which are missing) of black rock, parallel cracks and ninety degree angles – all close enough to the shore to be at least partly flooded during high tide. Far away from mainstream tourism, Dwesa Nature Reserve can only be reached via a rough dirt road winding up and down countless hill on it’s way to the coast. It took us three hours (way more than expected) to drive the last seventy kilometers of the badly maintained road. That way we missed a sunset which looked quite promising from inside the park ranger’s office (Dwesa Nature Reserve works at a slow pace). Of course, I was disappointed and even a bit frustrated as I knew we would have to leave the next morning to continue our trip along South Africa’s coast.

If there’s one thing I dislike about photographing landscapes while travelling it’s that way too often my travel schedule takes control. Sometimes I’m forced to move on from a location that I just feel I’m not finished with (or in that case haven’t even seen).

Colourful sunrise over geometric tidepool formations on the coast of South Africa

Perpendicular Dream

Fortunately, the next morning I was lucky enough to wake up to a blazing sunrise. I got what I had hoped for and went home with a few keepers. The funny thing is that although it couldn’t have asked for more that morning I know that I only scratched the surface of what’s possible at this incredible place – and so, you guessed right, Dwesa still is on top of the list of my must-return-to locations in South Africa.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM @ 17mm
ISO 100, f/11, 1.6 seconds
Singh-Ray Daryl Benson 0.6 Reverse GND
Gitzo GT1541T

30. November 2011