Recently I was invited to a wedding firstly as a family member, secondly as photographer and musician. Yes I am not only a photographer, I also play the trumpet. I am occasionally asked to play the Wedding March and perhaps something else later on, say after the happy couple have taken their vows.
This wedding was quite a distance away from Cape Town. It was held at the Aloe Grove Guest Farm near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
This place is a veritable oasis in an otherwise unforgiving and very dry Eastern Cape. It is a working Maize (Mielie) farm that also caters very well for occasions like this. They have a chapel, and a special cottage that could be used as the honeymoon “suite”. There are many bungalow type cottages for the other guests. I am unsure of the exact numbers, but I believe that there were 90+ guests and all of them stayed over after the wedding.
The guest farm is very picturesque and is perfect for weddings and conferences, or simply for a get-away weekend. Unfortunately, nearly 900 km’s from Cape town, it would be out of the question for me to return there for a weekend. But for those closer it is to be recommended.
Amongst the pictures below you will see some of the views from around the Guest farm, including the chapel and the mini lake which is home to a pair of swans. The male swan was very jealous of his partner and provided much amusement to onlookers as he patrolled the fence separating them from guests. He would rush across the water, wings thrashing, putting on a display of power. I noticed that the staff responsible for putting out food for the birds were extremely cautious while doing so.
The Aloe Grove Guest farm website: http://www.aloegrove.co.za/
After the wedding we returned to Middelburg (EC) to continue the weekend with the parents of the bridegroom.
On the way there we passed through a little town called Sterkstroom. There is nothing about the town that is particularly eye catching, except for one thing. A magnificent steam locomotive spends it’s retirement in a fenced off area alongside the main road. This is the once mighty Class 1 AR15 Kei Explorer. We paused for a few moments to appreciate it and to take a photograph.. This image will be going up, framed, on my wall.
On Monday we left Middleburg to return home. The previous week, on the way to the wedding, we had lost so much time on the road due to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) doing repair work to the road and numerous stop-and-go areas were in place for one way traffic. We decided not to use the N1 route on our return trip. Instead we took the road past Willowmore to Oudtshoorn and then the Route 62 past Calitzdorp and Barrydale. We stopped off at Willowmore for a refuel pitstop (vehicle and ourselves). Leaving Willowmore we saw the car. An old Prefect, or Anglia, sedan that had been converted into a pickup (I think – if I am wrong please let me know what it is) nicely displayed amongst some old implements. Another addition to my HDR collection of old vehicles.
We thoroughly enjoyed this trip, having seen some awesome country side in the Eastern & Western Cape provinces. The highlight, as always, was to see some dear family and friends.