Monday, September 10, 2007

Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

South Africa has great potential for plein air painting, with its variety of landscapes and climatic regions. My all-time favorite spot is the Storms River Mouth Restcamp in the Tsitsikamma National Park, which is a rocky stretch of coast known for its large waves battering the coast. There's also natural forest and a river with tea-coloured water should you somehow get bored with the sea.
For me painting in this national park solves the problem of being in an isolated spot on the coast in a country with a high crime rate. Access is controlled, and you've got spectacular scenery from the verandah of the accommodation (camping and chalets) should you not want to walk even a little way.
I've encountered baking sunny days with deep blue skies in January ending in slow sunsets over the sea. Mist in April where the waves were simply areas of more intense whites and greys, and it was impossible to tell where the sky ended and the sea started. There are cold sunny days and blustering storms in July, which also has the advantage that you don't have to get up so early to enjoy the sunrises. The only time of year I wouldn't go is the peak Christmas holiday season.
The park's website (see below) explains how to get there and you can check availability and book accommodation online.

Overall rating: *****
Aesthetics: *****
Accessibility: ****
Tranquility: *****
Variety: ****
Shade: * (except in forest)

Map: South African National Parks

This location contributed by:
Marion Boddy-Evans