To celebrate the changing nature of the sky, we will begin with a beautiful sunrise:

Then move on to the early morning mist filling the hollows of the countryside:

As the sun rises higher, we can enjoy a beautifully clear blue sky set off by the scarlet flowers of Erythrina caffra:

In this dry land, the sight of clouds gathering is always a hopeful one:

So are beams of sunlight shining through the cloud cover after a storm:

Whenever a Berg Wind whips up dust, or there have been veld fires in the area, we get to enjoy particularly spectacular sunsets:


As you can imagine, having experienced months of clear skies whilst longing for rain, many of us find the formation of any clouds fascinating. None of the ones you will see below have brought us rain, yet they have provided and interesting contrast to the usual spotless blue.

A variety of different shapes and hues is very exciting to see.

This one is taken from our back garden.

These clouds amused me while I was waiting in High Street. The clock tower is part of our Town Hall.

These lovely clouds were photographed from our front garden.


We haven’t had rain for such a long time during which the sky has remained a beautiful clear blue that any change in it is worth looking at, all the more so because our ‘wetter’ season should be from September through to about April. Not that the rain knows about such ‘rules’ for it has a mind of its own. Still, this is the sort of sky that would bring us joy right now: low, dark and wet – as it was in Port Elizabeth in 2016:

The type of sky to strike terror in anyone’s heart – especially during the drought – forms the backdrop to large plumes of smoke from a veld fire. This one was not far from our town in 2019:

It is during the fire season – as dreadful as it is – that we can be treated to beautiful sunrises such as this one:

While we were walking along a path parallel to Cradock Road last year, we were treated to this hopeful looking sky – which yielded not a drop:

It has happened so often during this drought that we look up in wonder as puffy clouds begin to populate the sky, as they did a few days ago:

Unfortunately, they mostly dissipate quickly leaving us to wait for another day:


After months of beautifully clear blue skies, we finally had some cloud cover this week.

The temperature dropped and a cool breeze began to circulate around the valley. There was a delightful smell of dampness in the air.

These ones held a definite promise of rain. By now the wind was whipping the trees into a frenzy as I turned for home.

The first drops splattered onto the windscreen as more clouds came barrelling over the hills. From the shelter of home I looked down on my garden buckling under the wind as thunder rumbled and lightning flashed.

It was all over in minutes … the clouds drifted away and the sun shone brightly once more … we had received 4mm of rain.



The temperature soars to 41°C. A slight breeze fans the oven-like air around, rustling through the leaves and even transporting a few in a soporific dance towards the heated ground, where they settle limply. Not a bird stirs or even makes a sound. Only a few butterflies flap lazily from one dried out flower to the next. The heat has sapped even the slightest comfort from the shady spots in the garden. The bricks bake. Light clouds form teasing clumps in the enamelled blue sky, only to disperse and regroup in thinner, more distant layers than before.

A Laughing Dove settles on the edge of a bird bath set in the shade of some trees. It bends to drink then looks around; bends and drinks then flies up to settle among the top branches. The heat is like an invisible wall for the air feels thick with it. Clouds cluster a little more closely, the taller sections catch the late afternoon light, while the ragged bottoms laughingly suggest a heaviness of moisture within.

A Laughing Dove burbles softly, experimentally, from within the foliage of the White Stinkwood, then halts abruptly. There has been no reply. It tries again; still no response. The heat prickles as a female Southern Masked Weaver perches on the rim of the feeder to peck at the seeds spilling out. Mercy: clouds dense enough to filter the sun’s rays have an immediate cooling effect.

A Laughing Dove, is it the same determined one, burbles intermittently, while another flies across the garden to the bird bath. The cloud moves aside and the sun blazes again. A hot wind begins to whoosh around the garden, the sky darkens, and the tree tops sway in a mad dance as the sun disappears towards the horizon. The fading light sets off an eerie reflected glow as the earth turns towards night here.

We sit in the darkness of Eskom load shedding and listen to the unfamiliar sound of thunder rumbling across the dark night, and blink at the unfamiliar flashes of sheet lightning. The air smells damp and sweet as we are entertained to the thrilling sound of raindrops splashing on the hot bricks, touching window panes in a light staccato, and make bubbles on the surface of the pool.

The clouds came, this time they stayed – and have given us 20mm rain!