Aloes in “Die Hel” – June 2002

Image source: Wikipedia

The Gamkaskloof is a narrow valley in the Swartberg Mountains, in the Southern Cape. It’s also known locally as “Die Hel” (“The Hell”).

According to the Wikipedia article

Nobody is sure where the ‘Die Hel’ name came from. One popular story is that a Piet Botha (an animal inspector) visited the valley in the 1940s and used a particlarly difficult route known as the ‘die leer’ into the valley. He described the experience as “hell”.

The residents have never liked the name and prefer to referer to themselves as ‘Kloovers’.

“Kloof” is the Afrikaans word for gorge or a deep narrow valley. So “Kloovers” are people who live in a kloof. “Die leer” means “the ladder”.

Two photographs of the same scene – the first one using natural light, then one using a flash. Which do you prefer?

Then a black and white close-up of the same aloe plant.

Credits: Photographs: Willie (WMB); Photo processing and text: Lisa @ Notes from Africa | Photoblog


About lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)
This entry was posted in Nature ● Environment, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Aloes in “Die Hel” – June 2002

  1. Slowvelder says:

    I like the picture without the flash 🙂 Gamkaskloof looks like an interesting place to visit. Did you take any more pictures in the area?

  2. The photos are incredible, Lisa! I think I prefer the one without flash. Do you have a preference?

    • Thanks! I like them both for different reasons. The one in natural light shows that you are in a building looking out i.e. more depth to the photograph. The one with a flash is like an optical illusion of a photo of aloes with a “border” around it.

  3. Thanks so much for bringing these photos back. They are well worth seeing! Hope you’re feeling well these days, my friend!

    • Am going through all our photo archives to see if there is anything good I can use. These photos were taken with a very small, simple camera. What they call a “happy snappy” here in South Africa. Willie says the reason the photos are good despite the camera, is the person behind the camera – him in this case!!! 🙂

  4. hemlock1981 says:

    The black and white is excellent. Great choice for content.

    Both color photos have their own traits which make them good. The natrual light is my favorite, because of the contrast the darkness provides.

    • Thanks! The black and white one is a personal favourite of mine.

      It seems that most people prefer the natural light one. What I don’t like about using a flash is that it flattens out the photo. There’s no depth of field. I think most things look better in natural light.

  5. Ahhh, such beautiful countryside, Lisa. Lovely. I love your photos, and although I prefer the one without the flash, the other one has a charm of its own as the wall provides a more striking frame for the photo.
    Sunshine xx

  6. When I saw the black&white aloe it took me back to your “…tale of the Delicious Monsters…” It looks like something that would fit right in a fairy tale 😉

    I also like the first photo, without the flash, better. It looks more real, I think.

    • Another vote for the “natural look”.

      What about the black and white photo reminds you of a fairytale?

      • You portrayed a castle “completely overgrown with plants”. I imagine this aloe can give it a little sinister twist (right up there with the monster plants), which fits with your comment “The princess stuck in her castle can be a scary thing too!”. It’s all about proportion though, so I’m thinking the princess would fit in the bottom third of that photo.

        Uhm, did you really want to know this? Too much?

      • Oh okay. Enough detail, I think! 😉

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