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Monthly Archives: August 2016

These are old old cigarette butts we 'excavated' from our garden. They've been lingering beneath metres of soil and building rubble for years and are not even close to decomposing.

Old old cigarette butts we ‘excavated’ from our garden. They’ve been lingering beneath layers of soil and building rubble for decades and are not even close to decomposing.


Tossing cigarette butts is a crime

Did you know that you get fined for dumping cigarette butts?

Save yourself some bucks (up to 1.500 Rand in South Africa) and dispose of your stompies properly.


In addition, cigarette butts pose health and environmental risks

Cigarette butts are a potential fire hazard.

A devastating fire in 2007, allegedly caused by a cigarette butt thrown out of a car window by a tourist, which burnt tracts of Table Mountain and killed a British tourist, was the reason the City of Cape Town launched the stompie hotlineCape Town is the only city in South Africa with such a hotline.

Most cigarette butts are not biodegradable.

The picture above shows old cigarette butts ‘excavated’ from our garden. This is as far as it goes for stompies: They never really disappear. The fibres in the cigarette butt are not cotton or paper, they are most likely plastic that can persist in the environment as long as other forms of plastic.

– Cigarette butts are the most common man-made litter in the world.

Approximately 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year worldwide. Of those it is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year. Cigarette butts discarded in parking lots, along sidewalks and in street gutters miles from the coast inevitably make their way through storm drains, creeks and rivers to the beach and the ocean and account for the single most commonly collected waste item found each year on beach clean-ups.


Please: #NoStompies!

Help combat the cigarette butt pollution problem and throw your stompies into the bin.

Report drivers who flick stompies out of their car window:
Call the stompie hotline control centre number on 021 424 7715.
Upload the incident on


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Google Street View of the De Waal Drive 'Pedestrian Crossing'

Google Street View of the De Waal Drive ‘Pedestrian Crossing’

Our puppy Lola is becoming so big, it’s clear she’ll need a lot of exercise. Already she won’t sleep the night through – needing to urgently play right in the middle of it – if we don’t go for a walk every day.

The act of driving somewhere every time you want to go for a walk with your dog is kind of contra productive.

So far I was lucky to live in cleverly designed cities that have a green stretch crossing or surrounding it. That meant living in close proximity to a park which lead into another park, which lead to the canal / river, which lead to another park…

Woodstock is not very green: Forgotten plots turned into parks here and there, but mostly roads with way too narrow pedestrian walkways.

I cycle and walk Woodstock all the time and the local community is so friendly that it’s a wonderful experience to walk the streets.

But should it really be that there’s no dog-friendly free-roaming green space in walking distance of Woodstock?

Besides a little Dog Park in Queens Park, there is, of course, one very obvious one: Table Mountain.

But how do you get there from Woodstock?

Well, it seems, nothing is worthwhile reaching if it doesn’t come with a little adventure: You’ll have to make it across the N2 and De Waal Drive first.

While there’s an underpass and a kind of curly footbridge making it slightly awkward but safe to cross the N2, there’s no such luck with De Waal Drive: Even by car, you’ll have to get on in Observatory to make it onto the side closer to the mountain.

However, if you’re brave enough you can make it across De Waal Drive African style: by simply running across the highway.

There’s even an official path to do just that: It’s at the very end of Kylemore Road.

It’s impossible to deny that this is dangerous: This ‘crossing’ sits right in a bend of De Wall Drive, so both ways your view of oncoming cars is very limited. In addition this is a nice spot to drive and few cars stick to the 80km/h speed limit.

However, if it wasn’t for this crossing, there’d be no access to the paradise beyond. And if it takes running across the highway, then that’s what we’ve got to do:

Waiting patiently for an opening in the never ending stream of cars – and you’ve always got one who’s lagging behind and consequently closes a potential gap – it felt somewhat like playing Russian roulette as we dodge across the two lane freeway.

Exhilarated that this indeed works we make it to the middle stretch: Here the pedestrian path continues, leading us to the next crazy ‘crossing’:

Again it’s scary with cars coming out of the curve as they are changing lanes. We could potentially run into their path, so it is clear we have to wait until there’s absolutely no car in sight.

Also this is manageable and definitely worthwhile:

On the other side of De Waal Drive lies the entrance to Table Mountain National Park, Devils Peak Nature Reserve, and it takes not even an hour to get up to a height that gives you a most stunning panoramic view over the more urban part of Cape Town: To the left tranquil Vredehoek and spiky CBD, straight on the constantly busy Cape Town Harbour, and to the right the long flat land reaching towards the stunning mountain silhouettes of the Hottentots and Hawequas.

This is mountain biking and trail running paradise with an evenly rising dirt road that loops in various circles around Devil’s Peak, making it possible to lengthen or shorten the route at will.

So yes, I’m just chuffed that I can say: We live in walking distance from Table Mountain hiking trails. It’s actually literally just up the road, you can reach it, you know, with a bit of an African flair along the way. 🙂

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Like a vulture he appears out of nowhere, as if he’d come by a scent while passing.

In broad daylight he descents, his sharp eyes scanning the area for prey.

Well equipped for this occasion he goes about scavenging on the cost of another’s life.


It happens quick: Only the most valuable pieces are picked.

At the blink of an eyelid he’s gone, and you wonder: Was he really here or am I wrong?


But the impact becomes clear, as soon as the owners appear.

What little they had, they have no more. Now they’re even poorer than before.


Dreams are smashed, hopes evaporate. Then they turn numb after the initial hate.

They pack the few things left all together tight, and the next day they leave the site.


And then happens what no-one expected: The vulture comes back!

Oblivious to the tragedy he’s causing, he cleans up nicely what is left.

With purpose he walks straight to where treasure lies.

Down he goes to scavenge:
With one swipe the nest that someone else calls home is undone. His claws run through that someone’s belongings. With judging eyes he discards what is of no use to him.

Nothing much left.
He rummages and forages but it seems he’s run out of luck.

He wanders off, scratching his bum with the hand that carries the toothbrush he just stole.



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