Travel Challenge: White

Ailsa’s most recent travel challenge was simply “White”. Her photos of a white peacock are simply stunning. Visit her post to have a look! In my travels, I encountered the most amazing white phenomenon at the same place as I found that incredible King Protea – that story is here.

This is a place where pure white clouds appear and then disappear in a matter of minutes. Nothing unusual about that perhaps – it is going on all the time above us as the weather changes.

But what if we could actually see this happening at ground level? A cloud forming and then vanishing into thin air. I have seen this happen a few times and it is just amazing!

Cape Point - clouds form as moisture is pushed up and over the hill by the wind

Cape Point – clouds form on the right and disappear at the left

Moisture laden air is forced upwards, creating a soft blanket of cloud

Moisture laden air is forced upwards, creating a soft blanket of cloud

The first time was at Cape Point. On one of the windiest days I have ever experienced, I watched as moisture laden winds blowing across the sea were forced up and over a steep mountain. As the air went higher, the cooler air caused very tiny droplets of water to form – thus creating a cloud.

As the air descends into the warmer valleys, the cloud disappears

As the air descends into the warmer valleys, the cloud disappears

The cloud was blown down the length of the mountain and when it was finally able to drop off into a valley at the other end, the droplets disappeared and so did the cloud.

The overall effect was a soft white blanket being perpetually blown over the small mountain. I could have watched it for hours.

However the wind was so strong that it was difficult to stand up, never mind take in the view! Capturing decent photos and videos was certainly a challenge!

This phenomenon is actually quite common in this part of the world.

I experienced it again when we were at another Nature Reserve – at a place called Jonkershoek. In this instance, we were able to get into the cloudy areas within the valleys (where the clouds were ‘disappearing’) and it was fascinating!

Clouds forming on the hills at Jonkershoek NP

Clouds forming on the hills at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Local clouds forming and falling as light rain (Jonkershoek)

Local clouds forming and falling as light rain (Jonkershoek Nature Reserve)

The sun was shining, yet it was raining at the same time! The rain droplets were only small and light,  so was not mist, and it was certainly very wet!

When one got out of the rain/cloud zone, it was a clear and sunny, until the next cloud mass blew over!

It was a most intriguing natural phenomenon. Table Mountain in Cape Town is in the same part of South Africa and it too, frequently sports a white ‘tablecloth’.

I am sure this must also happen elsewhere in the world, but this is the only place I have seen it.

Droplets of water on Protea leaved sparkle in the sunshine

Droplets of water on Protea leaves sparkle in the sunshine

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15 Responses to Travel Challenge: White

  1. scrapydo says:

    Love the white cloud and it is true that they can disappear in thin air and be back as suddenly


  2. fgassette says:

    Wonderful shots. I love watch the clouds.


  3. adinparadise says:

    That certainly is a very fascinating and strange phenomenon, Madoqua. Love your photos. 🙂


  4. Jo Bryant says:

    for something so ethereal those clouds are very impressive


  5. Such a wonderful phenomenon. Loved reading about it 🙂


  6. Ian Fraser says:

    Great idea for a posting, and beautifully executed. Love it.


  7. bluebrightly says:

    That sounds so cool – I recently moved to a place where the phenomenon of wind blowing towards a mountain, forming clouds & then dropping the moisture pretty much defines life – but I doubt there’s any place where you can watch it happen. I enjoyed your description and envy you for the protea and other fabulous S African botanical wonders.


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