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The world through Renel's lens.


June 2014





June 2014



South Africa Part 2: Cape Town to Cape Point #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Canon 7D, Cape Point, Cape Town, Penguin, South Africa, Travel, Zebra

I spent nine days in South Africa!  If you missed part 1 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014.  Today’s itinerary took me from Cape Town to Cape Point including several parts of the Table Mountain National Park.

Table Mountain

We started our morning in Cape Town by heading up to Table Mountain. Table Mountain received its’ name because it’s a level plateau, which is approximately 2 miles side to side.

The sky was overcast for most of the morning, but we decided to take a chance. We were hopeful because on the road up to the mountain everything looked clear. However once we parked and got in line the ticket office said there was little to no visibility from the top. As you can see from the photos the clouds were heavy and swooped in within the short time it took us to park.

Table Mountain - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7328 Table Mountain - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7340

After a quick stop at a local camera shop we continued on our way towards Cape Point.

Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town also known as the birthplace of South African surfing. The shark spotting program is an early warning initiative in place where spotters on the mountain relay info for the surfers.

The black flag means the spotting conditions are poor. It was really cloudy, but that didn’t stop surfers from entering the water.

Shark spotting flag at Muizenberg Beach - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7351 surfer on Muizenberg Beach, South Africa - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7372 edit 1My favorite part was these cute and colorful beach houses on the beach. Muizenberg Beach huts - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7364 edit 2 Continue reading →



May 2014



Part 1: I Went to South Africa!!! #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Canon 7D, iPhone 5s, South Africa, Travel

My Promise

Last year I promised myself that I would make at least one big international trip a year. South Africa had been on my wish list since the 2010 World Cup and again when Nelson Mandela died in December 2013. Days later, travel photographer Gary Arndt of announced his third annual travel photography tour would take place in South Africa in May. Gary is a G Adventures Wanderer in Residence, and I had been following his blog for a few years. I felt the universe was speaking to me!

Flying into Johannesburg, South Africa - photo by Renel Holton /

Flying into Johannesburg, South Africa

I immediately begin to making plans to attend starting with my budget and the gear I would need. (I posted my gear and packing list on my tumblr page). From what I heard from friends and my own research I knew South Africa was a great place to make good on my promise for several reasons.

  • Budget wise, once you get there prices are affordable as the USD to rand was at least 1:9 when I went. I even found the airfare reasonable (under $1300 USD).
  • South Africa is a multiethnic society with 11 recognized languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. Most South Africans are multilingual often with English being the third or fourth language. I figured with English being prominent in the areas I was visiting the language gap would be minimal.
  • Traveling in May meant that the climate would be their winter (May-July). A common misnomer is that Africa is hot all the time. South Africa’s average May temperature has 66°F highs and 48°F lows. That’s similar to the early spring weather in Maryland. And of course the temperatures vary depending on where you are in the country.
  • And most importantly I WANTED TO VISIT THE MOTHERLAND! If I go nowhere else in my lifetime I was going to Africa.
Cape Town, South Africa - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7331edit

View of Cape Town from entrance to Table Top Mountain, South Africa

Continue reading →



May 2014



African Penguin at Boulders Beach, South Africa #RenelinSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Canon 7D, Cape Town, Penguin, South Africa, Travel

I’m still editing photos from my recent trip to South Africa.  In the meantime please enjoy this little guy from the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

This sheltered penguin colony, located between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, was started in 1982 with just two breeding pairs.  The African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.  They were previously called Jackass Penguin because of their donkey-like braying call.  Some South American penguins also produce the same sound so they were renamed African penguins.  According to the park’s brochure,

“Of the 1.5 million African penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century.  The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping, nearly drove the species to extinction.”

Boulders African penguin - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7427

African penguin at Boulders Beach colony, South Africa

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