D is for Dutch, Dung Beetle and Dias

Can I complete the whole of Round 9 of ABC Wednesday based on our four week stay in South Africa in February? Click on the photos to enlarge.

Swllendam Dutch Reformed ChurchIt will come as no surprise that there are a great many Dutch Reformed Churches in South Africa and they provide some of the most surprisingly stunning architecture.

Like the church on the left which is in Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa and at one time the gateway for the travellers and explorers making their way eastwards to the interior.

The congregation was founded in 1798, but the present church dates back to 1911 when it was rebuilt at a cost of £9,584. Its steeple is said to be a replica of a famous one in Belgium, but I’ve been unable to discover which one, other than that there was nearly a disaster when a helicopter was used to remove or replace it.

Addo DungbeetleNext on my list of South African Ds is one of our favourites — the Addo Dung Beetle Guest Farm. It was our last stop on our tour along the coast before heading back west and was a truly memorable place.

Set in the heart of a working citrus farm, Dung Beetle is off the beaten track (56km to the nearest supermarket) and we were staying in a bush cabin.

The “bush cabin” description applies to the building materials — logs, branches, a traditional thatched roof and other natural materials — but we were far from uncomfortable with all modern facilities.

Bush CabinThere was electric lighting and sockets, an outdoor kitchen, complete with a hob, fridge and running water. A spiral of paling led to an outdoor shower, the shower head nestling in a tree, while another spiral brought you to our “loo with a view”.

We stayed at Dung Beetle for two nights, but would have to loved to have made it more. It was a perfect chill-out destination and our hosts, Rod and Magna Van Heerden, could not have been more hospitable.

The last of my South African Ds is the Dias Museum in Mossel Bay, celebrating the explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 and where he died in 1500.

Caravel Bartolomeu DiasAt the heart of the museum is the Caravel Bartolomeu Dias pictured right. It is a replica of the boat that originally brought him to the Cape and was built in 1988 to celebrate to 500th anniversary of his voyage.

It is a remarkably small craft for a crew of 33 men. This replica was only deemed seaworthy for the crew of 17 who repeated the original voyage from Lisbon to Mossel Bay between November 1987 and February 1988.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

19 comments… Add yours
  • Leslie 10th August 2011

    So far you’re doing a divine job using your trip as fodder for ABCW! These were great Ds for this week. I just hope there weren’t any “real” dung beetles around. lol

    abcw team

  • Yorkshire Pudding 10th August 2011

    Delightfully delivered dear dastardly droog!
    Dr D. Dagehham-Dreadnought (Dave)

  • Paula Scott: Molokai Girl Studio 10th August 2011

    Awesome selection for D’s! What an incredible trip that must’ve been.

  • Mr Parrot 10th August 2011

    Thanks all. There were indeed real dung beetles which is how the place got its name. The owners are committed to help conserve a rare species of flightless beetle that are quite small.

  • Nonizamboni 10th August 2011

    Thank you for sharing history and architecture. The church was fascinating. You opened up a new world for me.

  • Carver 10th August 2011

    What a great post for D. So much interesting information about the church, farm and museum and great shots.

  • rhymeswithplague 10th August 2011

    See, this post confirms why I thought it was a bad idea from the get-go to go through the alphabet with your South African trip. I do not want to know anything about dung beetles, Dutch or otherwise. In this respect, I am totally the opposite of our mutual blogland friend Katherine DeChevalle in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Call me crazy, but I especially don’t want to think about dung beetles and a Bay of Plenty in the same paragraph.

  • Joy 10th August 2011

    I wouldn’t like to go round the Cape of Good Hope in the Dias, brave explorers.

  • jabblog uk 10th August 2011

    I was expecting to see dung beetle photos! Never mind, the ones you posted are delightful:-)

  • Jane 10th August 2011

    Not a pleasant name ‘Dung Beetle farm’ but it looks a fab place to stay!
    Jane x

  • Lisa 10th August 2011

    I sure hope you can. I look forward to the rest of the alphabet done…South Africa style!

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 10th August 2011

    Wow .. I can’t believe they misjudged the weight of that steeple so badly! And they wrecked it!! Poor building, but it’s good that nobody was hurt (I presume they weren’t).

    Did you see any dung beetles at the camp site? I would have felt cheated if I hadn’t!

  • Francisca 10th August 2011

    Delightful South African Ds… (I say “uncle” to Dave LOL). What a unique room, that Dung Beetle, and an outdoor shower is divine! And as my father used to say, if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much… that is some church they built!

  • Mr Parrot 10th August 2011

    We did see a few dung beetles while we stayed there, but there were lots of “caution — dung beetles” road signs in the Addo Elephant Reserve!

  • Helen Mac 10th August 2011

    your resolve is not diminishing, Mr. P. Great post for D!
    ABC Team

  • Jo Bryant 10th August 2011

    Wow – I love the sound of the hotel – great post. 🙂

  • Rajesh 11th August 2011

    Looks like a nice place with so much history associated with it.

  • liz 11th August 2011

    I could do with a trip to that dung beetle farm. It looks lovely. The scent from the citrus must have been great too.

  • rog 14th August 2011

    Yes, no surprise about the Dutch reformed church at all. Which is, to me, more interesting than dung!


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