A trip to the West Coast National Park

I learnt to drive a few years before I actually had my own car. The longing for a car had mounted over 3 years, my mind constantly drifting toward an a 1986 Volvo 240 station wagon that could double up as bed wherever I went. For me this always felt like the epitome of independence, a vehicle that provided enough space for myself and my things, and that could fit into any boundless, dry, sub-Saharan backdrop, like the West Coast.
I cringe when I think back to my saccharine notion of my first vehicle, but I did get my car and it did take me places more times than I thought it would, and many times up that stretch along the West Coast.

When I think of my ultimate SA road trip, I think of the West Coast, the boundless road that links one of the country’s most beautiful coastlines. Plans for a weekend away always send my mind straight to that coast, mostly because of the sentimentality I’ve developed for places like Paternoster, Langebaan, Saldanha Bay, Grotto Bay, Brittania Bay and from my most recent trip, the West Coast National Park.

It’s the colours that strike me first, muted tones of dusty greens, oranges, and browns; and then with a bang in September the planes are gifted with bright pinks and yellows as the natural flower show commences, setting the tone for Spring.

I visited the West Coast National park recently with a borrowed Canon DSLR and an old film camera. My ever-growing archive of holidays and mini-trips around South Africa, continues to flourish as my keenness for photography has become a big aspect of my life. The multifaceted landscapes of the park allowed me to capture images that were distinct from one another, but the area that had me awestruck was a wooden walkway that led to a bird hide, with a distant view of a flamboyance of flamingos. The walkway layover a swamp, that was significantly dried out in areas, which created beautiful textures and colours between the different fauna and terrain, some wet, some dry.

The image of me with the film camera captured the essence of the day, as I tried to capture the surroundings. While I cheerfully took a photo, the Canon captured the perfect lens flair, and beside me the rays of sun glistening the windswept water. These serendipitous moments is what photo taking is all about, especially on a road trip such as this.


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