Having left South Africa as a child, there have always been a list of places I have dreamed of exploring. Africa has been a place I have romanticised in my own mind for years, I have scattered memories of places I travelled to years ago with my family and faded photographs of landscapes that tell of unspeakable beauty and a history rich beyond measure. Now that I have returned I feel an overwhelming urge to see my country. I long to return to places that my heart holds close – to see with fresh eyes and to take away from it my own memories as an adult with Hunter by my side.
The Wild Coast is that place for me. Rugged cliffs and mountains which fall into a vast turquoise ocean. Perhaps what makes these places even more special is the locals which you pass along your way. Everyday people navigating their way through busy town streets or over rolling isolated green hills on a path made by cattle. It always amazes me to think that all of these people in the far corners of our country are also just trying to go about their daily lives. Their journey may never been known to another but in their own capacity are trying to survive another day in Africa.
Travelling in the festive season you see a different side of the hustle and bustle of townships and small country towns. The usual business of market day is replaced with suitcases and long taxi lines. After returning home to their families in rural areas for Christmas and reunions these people start the long journey back to their places of work. To see all the moms with bags balanced steadily on their heads, it brings a sense of sadness and gratitude all at once. These very women are leaving their families behind in order to support loved ones, and in turn are the same women who help raise nearly every South African child with love and devotion as if it were their own. I often am struck with realisation that these women, carry not only babies, maze meal and water but the entire nation. The true back bone and glue of our nation.
I love everything about driving through South Africa, seeing the farm stalls and the fruit sellers and even rouge cows which wonder through the streets. There is no time like Africa time and you have no choice but to enjoy the madness and chaos and watch camera ready. Always a necessity to document candid moments in Africa.
After hours in the car we passed through the Transkei to Port St Johns EC. Despite being notorious for shark infested water, the sea looked so inviting. Low tide brought out beautiful small rock pools of colour and small sea life – a little coolness without daring to brave the ocean
Speeding past friendly faces of waving children, Hunter and I made our way down a dusty and uneven dirt road to a place called Mngazana. We spent 5 glorious days with old friends in rustic comfort surrounded by generous and for ever happy locals. We were spoilt with fresh crayfish and oysters while we lazed around and soaked in the goodness of being far away. We welcomed the new year in with an African sunset and a bonfire on the beach. 2016 – I think this will be our year.
The local beach dwellers
For accommodation in the Transkei click here
All photos are my own. Instagram @ambirose