One of the things we had wanted to do when in Cape Town – on the bucket list, if you like – was try out the new ‘boomslang’ walkway in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. A boomslang, as you may know, is a green tree-snake, shy but venomous: this ‘boomslang’ however is a sinuous marvel of wood and metal, suspended (and moving beneath your feet) between tree-tops, with views in all directions – down, into the gardens, of course, up, to the wooded crags of Table Mountain, out, over the Cape Flats to the Hottentots Holland mountains in the distance.
The day we went, right at the end of our trip, was a scorcher: up there in the thirties. No point in lugging a heavy Nikon and bulky zoom lenses. So I took the little Leica C, a lovely machine which takes very nice pictures, thank you, and slips into a pocket, and off we went. I played around, as you can see, with the panorama feature, but didn’t really find a view of the boomslang that pleased me, and the other views, though picturesque, were too touristy, so the camera stayed tucked safely away, while we sweated in the blazing sunlight, and thought about shade, and maybe a cold beer somewhere, afterward.
But before we left, I took Rob into the ravine – Skeleton Gorge, is it? it’s been a long time since I lived in Cape Town, I can’t remember – and across the stream, and up the steep path for a while, and back again to a little wooden bridge: and there, shushing us and pointing, was a woman with an almighty long lens on her camera. What she was looking at was four owls, in the branches about fifty feet from us. The furthest ones seemed to be dozing, but the nearest was alert and curious, stretching its wings, cleaning its claws with its beak, bobbing its head like a cork in a whirlpool – and all I had was the Leica.
Here is one of the pictures, cropped close: not too bad, considering. And a panorama of the ‘boomslang’.