A South African has a winning photograph

    Organizers of the UK initiated Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest have just announced their winning photos for 2016. Prizes and commendations were also handed out in a number of categories, including Wide Angle, Macro, Wrecks, Behavior, Up & Coming, and in British waters, Wide Angle, Compact, and Macro shots.

Pier Mane, winner of the Up & Coming Category 2016 is a local South African. His photograph "Three Pillars - Practice, Patience & Luck!" showcases a collection of sponges in the foreground and a shark lurking beneath the shadows of a boats' hull in the back ground.

Historically the UK has been home to some of the world's most prestigious underwater photography competitions. Bernard Eaton kicked it off when he organised the first Brighton Underwater Film Festival in 1965 (and it was a competition that led to the foundation of the British Society of Underwater Photographers in 1967). Furthermore, Britain continues to be the home of world class wildlife photography competitions, like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and British Wildlife Photography Awards. But since these only cater for underwater images of wildlife, fifty years after the original Brighton Festival it was decided to bring a dedicated and international underwater photography contest back to Britain.

The inaugural competition judged by Alex Mustard, Peter Rowlands and Martin Edge was a huge success. With over 2500 images entered from over 40 different countries, the judges (over a two day meeting in the heart of England) had to make a selection from a staggering array of high-class underwater images.

The 2015 prize winners were announced on stage at the London International Dive Show (LIDS), which also provided a fantastic social gathering for photographers from the UK and beyond. This year, LIDS was a fully integrated part of the exciting Telegraph Outdoor Show, and BSoUP organised an underwater photographers' evening social meal after the awards.

The winning images have been published in over 12 countries in broadsheet, tabloid, hi-end magazine, online, and social platforms. The free eBook of winning images has been downloaded 10,000s of times. After the London International Dive Show the winning images have been on constant display to 100,000s of visitors at the UK's National Marine Aquarium.

For more information visit Underwater Photographer of the year's Website.

Underwater Photographer of the Year

Natures Selfies

Most of the animals in the Amazon forest are very elusive and are seldom seen by anyone. There is the possibility that there are animals or insects or birds that have never been seen and therefore are unknown and unidentified.

Motion activated cameras placed in a previously unexplored region of a Peruvian portion of the Amazon rainforest has captured some of these elusive characters in natures selfies.

  • Jaguarundis (Puma yagouaroundi) are stealthy hunters and not frequently seen in the wild. But their tracks inform scientists that they are relatively common in well-preserved forests. Although smaller than the ocelot, this species is larger than a house cat. Historically, the jaguarundi was found in the southern Texas, but can now only be found north as far as Mexico.

  • The Salvin's Curassow (Mitu salvini) is rare and can often be heard and not seen. These birds are found in the lowland forest of eastern Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia. The Salvin's Curassow is slightly bigger than the Nocturnal Curassow and has a bright red bill. They are the bird under the most hunting pressure and are only found in very remote areas of the Amazon.

  • Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) live under the green canopies of South American rain forests, but can be found as far north as Texas. These cats are twice the size of an average house cat, and are largely nocturnal. The Field Museum's Rapid Inventory team shared that they often see ocelot tracks, but only see the cat rarely. It should also be noted that their beautiful fur has made them a target for hunters, despite protection in most countries where they live.

  • Despite its name, the Nocturnal Curassow (Nothocrax urumutum) isn't a strictly nocturnal bird. Nocturnal Curassows live in northern Amazonia and are often found in pairs or small groups. The Field Museum's Rapid Inventory team shared that these birds are frequently heard in the middle of the night, but are seldom seen. During the day, they are most likely to be found roosting.

Source: Life Science.

Natures selfies

Storing seeds for winter

With cold weather just around the corner, your selection of seeds that have been harvested in preparation for spring, need to be dried and stored properly to ensure effectivity come sowing time.

To dry your seeds out, line an open plate with a piece of waxed paper or a large coffee filter. Place the rinsed seeds onto the wax paper or coffee filter and spread them about so they are in a single layer. Place the plate in a safe location where the seeds can dry for a few days. Stir the seeds a few times during the drying process to assure that all their surfaces are evenly dry.

Spread them out again into a single layer after each time you've stirred them. Some seeds are thick and can take up to a week to dry thoroughly. If you're having a rainy week drying time may lengthen by a few days. To tell if your seeds have dried properly, move them around - they should move quickly and easily across a plate and should not stick to each other.

You can then put them into their storage packet. Paper packets or envelopes are better than plastic packets, as they assist in absorbing any moisture in the seeds. If you choose to store your seeds in plastic the seeds must be bone dry, otherwise any moisture in the seeds will be transferred to all seeds inside the plastic packet, it will foster mildew and the seeds will be ruined.

If you save and/or trade a selection of seeds you might wish to make a note of exactly which seed is in the packet for future reference. Write the variety name (if you know it) or a very good description if you don't and also add the current year to the packet description. Store them in a cool dry place until spring has sprung. A desk organiser with drawers can make a useful and easily catalogued storage system.

Seed storage

Amazing view

It is unusual to find such an upmarket restaurant on the edge rural winelands, however Nuy on the Hill is perfectly situated. On the hill (as the name aptly suggests) en route from Worcester to Robertson on the R60, is this delightful upmarket restaurant positioned to take advantage of one of the best views of the mountains and vineyards of the valley.

With an interior dining area that opens up with folding doors onto a wide patio, every seat has a view overlooking the beautiful valley below. In summer time, this is the perfect spot to while away the hours on a lazy sunday afternoon, and in winter the fireplace and leather couches inside beckon to where it is warm and cozy.

Complimenting the astounding view is the delicious menu for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Their menu includes yummy burgers, pizza, sandwiches, steaks and tapas. They have a Deli for local produce and a wine tasting bar for all their Nuy wines & sparkling wines.

When en route between Cape Town and Robertson, be sure to stop in at Nuy On the Hill for an experience to remember.

View Nuy on the Hill Facebook page for more information.

Nuy on the hill Restaurant

Hot News

Month of sports

May is definitely the month for cramming in the last outdoor sports activities before the cold weather sets in.

  • Gravel & Grape MTB
       (6-8 May 2016)
  • Redstone MTB & Trail
       (6-8 May 2016)
  • FNB Cape Town Onerun
       (15 May 2016)
  • Darling Brew Extreme
       (28 May 2016)
  • Change of Season trail
       (29 May 2016)
  • Senecio Fun run
       (29 May 2016)

    Featured Plant

    Plectranthus Ciliatus

    Plectranthus Ciliatus
    (Speckled spur-flower)

    Family :


    Description :

    Ground cover to 0.6m with showy light pink-purple flowers and purple underleaf.

    Flowering time :

    Summer - Winter

    Conditions :

    • Dappled shade
    • Average water
    • Evergreen
    • Frost tender
    • Some wind resistance
    • Moist soil

    View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

    Design idea feature

    Store your firewood close to your braai or fire pit.

    Design idea feature

    Placing it neatly underneath the seating of the firepit area or around the actual firepit makes for an aesthetically pleasing integration of function and design.

    Pinterest Visit our Pinterest profile for more ideas.

    Planting Guide

    Herb or Veggie
    Romanesco broccoli

    Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Broad Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Coriander
  • Chamomile
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    February's Teaser Answer :
    "No one to blame"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82