Kategorie: Reisen

Welgedacht – Meine besten Safari Fotos aus Südafrika

2014 war ich lange in Südafrika und habe in der Zeit viele Fotos gemacht. Leider kann ich in Artikeln nicht alle unterbringen und weil ich das so schade finde habe ich mich entschlossen einfach einen nicht-Artikel mit allen Fotos aus meiner Zeit in Welgedacht zu machen.

Weil ich oft gefragt wurde: Alle Fotos sind mit einer Canon EOS 700D aufgenommen worden.

Welgedacht

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Das private game reserve Welgedacht liegt etwas nördlich von Pretoria und Johannesburg und bietet auf einem großen Areal die Möglichkeit viele von Südfrikas aufregendsten Tiern zu bestaunen. Im Vergleich zu großen Nationalparks wie dem Krüger ist Welgedacht sehr klein, dafür aber familiär und mit eigenem Charme.

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Neben Kudus, Wasserbüffeln und Nashornvögeln kann man hier auch auf Warzenschweine, Giraffen, Strauße und Springböcke treffen. Auch Löwen sind hier unterwegs, allerdings in eigenen Gebieten.

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Das Highlight dieser Region ist das wildlife sanctuary von Kevin Richardson, dem Lion Whisperer. Kevin zog viele dieser Tiere von hand auf und nutzt seine sehr spezielle Verbindung zu den Tieren um auf die Misstände hinzuweisen, unter welchen Mensch und Tier gleichermaßen zu leiden haben: Der Verlust von Lebensraum für Wildtiere.

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Wer hier ist und das Glück hat Kevin persönlich kennen zu lernen wird etwas erleben, das man sonst wohl in keinem anderen Park in Südafrika erleben wird und einem leider gleichzeitig zu denken geben sollte. Kevin nimmt kein Blatt vor den Mund um zu erklären wie diese wundervollen Tiere eigentlich leben sollten und wie traurig es ihn macht, dies nicht ermöglichen zu können.

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Wenn man die großen Katzen so daliegen und sonnenbaden sieht möchte man sich am liebsten sofort dazulegen und den Bauch kraulen. Außer Kevin wird aber niemand in den Genuß kommen die auszuprobieren, nichtmal seine Kollegen im Camp trauen sich in die abgesperrten Areale denn nur er ist als Mitglied im Rudel akzeptiert.

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Mehr Eindrücke aus Südafrika

Wenn euch die Fotos gefallen haben könnt hier hier noch ein paar Infos zu Südafrika bekommen:

Tauchen in Kapstadt
Tauchen in Oudekraal bei Kapstadt

Lokale SIM Karte für Südafrika
Lokale SIM Karte für Südafrika

So funktioniert der MyCiti Bus in Kapstadt
Der MyCiti Bus in Kapstadt

Safari in Welgedacht
Safari in Welgedacht in Südafrika

Davidsgjá – Ice diving next to a volcano in Iceland

Tauchen in Davidsgjá

Update: If you are considering a trip to Iceland after reading this, you might want to check out my Iceland travel guide

Davidsgjá, the fissure of David is one of my favorite dive sites in Iceland. In Þingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake, the rift extends over several hundred meters and leads the divers to a depth of 15-20m. Whoever is looking for an alternative or an extension for diving in Silfra: This is the place to go.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Davidsgjá, Davids fissure in Iceland’s largest lake

The site is located just ten minutes from Silfra and lies within the lake, where the crystal clear water from the Silfra fissure flows into it. Unfortunately, the water does not remain as clear but is a bit cloudier, depending on wind and weather. Visibility varies between dozens of meters to less than arm’s length.

In the column itself visibility is usually excellent because the cold water here is clear on the ground and the suspended particles accumulate in the warm water over it. So when you arrive at the fissure within the lake, visibility is usally excellent from then on. Those who already dive in Silfra will recognize similarities and important differences: The rocks here are narrower and shorter but they are colored in the same blue which can be found in Silfra.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Here in Davidsgjá, the very same strcit rules to diving apply. This means: One should not dive deeper than 18m. In some places, this is not helpful because the fissure goes to a depth of more than 20m down. There are also some nice swim throughs which one can do here (Warning: Please always stay within your personal limits and dive within your comfort zone!). A cave system like in the National Park is not to be found here.

Another difference is that of a higher probability to see something alive here. While in Silfra  only a few, tiny fish appear, many types of fish are at home  in Davidsgjá. One can find among others, trout and char to the length of 50cm and more. When approached quietly and calm, the fish will be happy to swim a few meters in front of or beside you.

The first time I dove here was on a snowy winterday in April 2014. While the lake itself was nearly completely frozen, we were lucky that the edge of the ice was a few dozen meters away from the shore where we entered. That gave us the opportunity to safely visit the sections under the ice for some quick shenanigans.

At the entrance to the dive site, perfect conditions welcome us: The water is crystal clear, many bright green algae float around and block a the view at some points. Just like in Silfra, fresh glacial water comes from the rocks into the lake all the time here.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

We dive in a width of approximately 20-30m and down to a depth of about 15m. Because the dive site is not visited as frequently as others, you can still sometimes find artifacts here. We find old Icelandic coins (Krona, no silver, sorry …) and an old tube of paint which must come from one of the painters who sat here years ago, painting landscape portraits from the lake with the volcano behind it.

As we reach the end of the rift, we see the light blue ice and take a few pictures of us in front of this magnificent backdrop. The water temperature drops below the ice to now 1°C. Everyone is aware that we have to be careful diving only a few feet below the ice edge. Just enough to let some air in your shoes and walk on the ceiling.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

 

In the distance I can see the shadows of big trouts. A small group patrols at a safe distance from us under the ice. The animals are about half a meter long and seem huge through the diving mask. However, they remain at a distance and enjoy the tranquility. Davidsgjá is inhabited by a large number of fish, which makes it especially attractive to fishermen and so fishing lines and hooks can be found on the ground regularly.

 

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

I wonder for a second if one could stand well on the ice and whether the ice edge is stable enough to heave yourself up. I’m doing the math without thinking of the 20kg equipment I carry on my back and so I give up for the time being. A little later I try it with the support of my fully inflated BCD and strong fin strokes from a depth of 2-3m and – voilà – On my stomach I slide gracefully out onto the ice. When I stand up I suddenly remember all the led in my pockets and the heavy cylinder dragging me down. But I’m standing on the edge of the ice sheet and can enjoy the view across the lake and down to my buddies. The ice is stron enough, even around the edge so that we decide to do a giant stride into the lake.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

The others are of course also very interested and minutes later all slide on their bellies toward the volcano, just like sea lions in Antarctica. Three are better than one and so the layout of a triple giant stride is formulated as I dive away from the gang to quickly position myself underwater. While descending I quickly count to ten: One, two, thr… and swooosh with a loud crash, the colleagues, accompanied by large chunks of ice crash into the water and I can press the shutter button just in time. A great photo of a great dive!

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

We slowly swim back towards the exit and still find a single trout on the road. We obviously make her feel uneasy and so she shoots back into the lake, right under us. On the way we find yet more artifacts and also a great place with a simple swim through whom we do not want to miss.

Scuba diving in Davidsgjá

Those who want to dive at Davidsgjá should ideally contact one of the local dive centers. Everyone knows this spot and can take you there, into the lake and around in it. The entry is on a flat area with lots of flat stones and is therefore very comfortable. From there you follow a rope to the fissure, and then you can dive it north or south, the shore is always east of you.

In summer, there is not much to think of. Please be cautious in terms of fishing lines and hooks. Those wishing to take the swim throughs should take a lamp and coordinate with their buddy.

Those who want to dive here in winter should choose days on which the ice is no longer over the fissure. Ice diving can quickly become dangerous and you should not do it if you don’t have the appropriate training! Please always dive within your limits. Have fun in Davidsgjá 🙂

Garden Route – Die schönsten Fotos meines Road Trip

Von Pretoria über Addo, Port Elizabeth und Jeffrey’s Bay, Knysna und Nature’s Valley führte mein Road Trip mich 2014 direkt nach Kapstadt. Auf dem Weg konnte ich mehrere Safaris mitmachen, mir die Weltmeisterschaft im Surfen anschauen und entdeckten einen weitern schönsten Ort auf der ganzen weiten Welt. Hier sind meine Lieblingsfotos von dieser fantastischen Reise.

Alle Fotos sind mit einer Canon EOS 700D aufgenommen worden.

Die Garden Route in Südafrika

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Mein erster Stop nach der Safari in Welgedacht und dem Elefantenpark in Addo war das kleine Surferörtchen Jeffrey’s Bay. Ich hatte keine Ahnung was hier vor sich geht und als ich einem Freund per Whatsapp:“Ja, hier ist irgendein Event anscheinend…“ schrieb kam als Antwort die Erleuchtung:“Junge, das ist grade Worldcup im Surfen. Banause!“.

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Am Surfspot ‚Supertubes‘ finden sich regelmäßig die besten Surfer der Welt ein um sich zu messen und neue Rekorde aufzustellen. Der kleine Strand ist weltberühmt weil hier oft extrem gute Wellen entstehen und die besagten Tunnel. Als ich dort bin sind die Bedingungen nicht perfekt aber die Athleten zeigen trotz allem wahnsinnige Leistungen. Neben den ganzen Tele-Objektiven auf deren Preisschild wahrscheinlich ein ähnliche Nummer steht wie auf dem eines Kleinwagens, sehe ich mit meiner kleinen Kamera wie ein Amateur aus. Einen Tag später auf dem Surfbrett… ach, lassen wir das!

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Mein nächster Stop, kurz nach dem schönen Ort Knysna, ist ein weiterer schönster Ort auf der ganzen weiten Welt für mich: Nature’s Valley. Das kleine Örtchen liegt in die Felsen des Tsitsikamma Nationalpark eingebettet und beherbergt nur eine Hand voll Einwohner. Ein kleiner Supermarkt ist vorhanden, sonst gibt es hier weit und breit nur das was auch namentlich beworben wird: Natur!

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Hier lasse ich mich eine Nacht in einem kleinen Guesthouse nieder und genieße den letzten Abend meiner Tour am Strand.

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Barfuß ist das Leben einfach besser!

 

Mehr Eindrücke aus Südafrika

Wenn euch die Fotos gefallen haben könnt hier hier noch ein paar Infos zu Südafrika bekommen:

Tauchen in Kapstadt
Tauchen in Oudekraal bei Kapstadt

Lokale SIM Karte für Südafrika
Lokale SIM Karte für Südafrika

So funktioniert der MyCiti Bus in Kapstadt
Der MyCiti Bus in Kapstadt

Safari in Welgedacht
Safari in Welgedacht in Südafrika

Scuba diving between the continents: Silfra in Iceland

Taucher in Silfra, Island

Update: If you are considering a trip to Iceland after reading this, you might want to check out my Iceland travel guide

One part of my multi-day dive tour in Iceland fortunately led me to do two dives to Þingvellir. This historic place is surrounded by four active volcanoes, notably Hrómundartindur, Hengill, Prestahnjúkur and Hrafnabjörg. The valley is part of the Golden Circle of Iceland and is  part of the Unesco World Heritage site as of 2004. Here you can find the place where one of the oldest parliaments in the world took place, since the year 930  Vikings met once y year to discuss and enforce legislation.

The fissure itself is located on the fracture zone between the North American and the Eurasian lithospheric plates (tectonic plates).

This is where earth is literally torn apart.

Silfra

Silfra

Right here, I should experience the most spectacular dive of my young diving career. The idea of coming here came up right after I did my OW in South Africa and googled for the best diving spots in the world. Eight weeks later, I jumped into these crystal clear waters.

Silfra

Silfra

The Silfra fissure runs through the entire National Park and ends in Þingvallavatn lake. In large parts it is filled with soil, but at one point fresh glacial water comes out of the ground after traveling for decades through the lava stone. During this time the water was forced through huge amounts of lava and freed of any suspended solids and impurities. Even though the water is traveling that long and so far from the icy glaciers, it remains at the same temperature as at the beginning of the journey, about 2°C.

Silfra

Silfra

When talking about good visibility in tropical waters, you’re talking about 30, maybe 40 meters. That already feels like a huge range. In Silfra the visibility is more than 130m. The water is so crystal clear that in the moment in which it is deep enough to look up, it is no longer apparent where the water surface actually begins: The space lying below it is reflected perfectly and seamlessly back, so you get the illusion of infinite space in front of you. This place has something infinite, which is so breathtaking that you start wondering where all the bubbles went that were around you before. Until you breathe again.

Silfra

Silfra

But back to the beginning: We drive over the back of the North American plate into the Valley of the parliament and stop briefly at a tourist information to put on the undergarments. From here, we continue to the entry point that is called „toilet“ by the locals – I will refrain from asking why. We put on our diving suits very quickly and continue towards the entry point where a steel ladder guides the divers into the fissure. We pull the gloves on, spit in the mask and start the cameras.

Silfra

Silfra

When entering, the air hisses from the diving suits and one after the other feet, legs, stomach and chest get cold. Only the air in the vest is holding us afloat now. I eagerly await for the others to come into the water and do not risk looking down because I want to save this moment for our actual descent. While one after the other enters the water, I take a look at the astonishing rock walls around me. This is where the foundation of earth is, the plates that carry our every square meter of land. Here they come together or move apart.

Silfra

Silfra

When we are all together, we raise our BCD hoses and with every powerful hiss we sink a little deeper, slowly until the cold temperatures cool just our lips and cheeks. The view is cold, blue and breathtaking. Even here, in the small entry pool one will quickly realize how special this dive will be. Even if you still have no idea what is still expected.

The dive starts in a larger pool of about 15m depth. From here it is a few meters along the rift to the south. Over a less deep – max. 1m – section the way leads  into the hall of Silfra. This is also the area with the entrances to the 45m deep caves of Silfra. Large boulders block the way on a regular basis and threaten to collapse at every earthquake. Another reason why it is forbidden to dive into the caves or below 18m.

Silfra

Silfra

After 150-200m you get into the heart of this exceptional dive spot, the Silfra cathedral. Here unfolds the beauty of this place for a length of about 100m and to a depth of more than 20m. Taking one look into the cathedral – where you already clearly see the sand at the end – many divers will actually freeze for a moment because of the sheer wastness of this area. Most pictures of Silfra that  you will find on the internet probably have been taken here.

Silfra

Silfra

At the end of the cathedral, the trail leads one to an underwater beach, where you can turn left into the lagoon of Silfra or to the right were a current will suck you out into the lake. Although there is a bit of a temptation to go right, I decide to follow the group into the lagoon. In here you can also see directly from the entry to the exit point, where a steel ladder helps you get out of the water. The distance is about 120m.

Silfra

Silfra

Overall, I was allowed to experience this amazing place four times, twice during my drysuit speciality course dives and two more times with the tour. I would probably happily cancel every other dive in the tour though, just to be able to dive into the blue infinity again!

Facts about Silfra

  • The Silfra fissure is the real reason why islands such as Iceland and the Azores exist, because they are right on top of it
  • Basically the fissure is  over 65.000km long, it just only surfaces in a few places
  • Not only does it divide the North American and Eurasian but also the South American and African tectonic plates
  • The fissure expands by about 2-3cm every year

In cooperation with Dive.IS.