#1341. The Kalahari Oasis

By Paul Perton | Travel Photography

Jan 25

Back in South Africa’s past, the focus of the nation was often on the Afrikaans community, making fun of their attitudes, speech and a whole lot more, especially in our TV and film advertising.

This ad was produced for Castrol motor oil – one of the few multinationals that retained a presence in the country at that time. And yes, the humour was all there.

The narrative on YouTube says this was shot at the “Horingboom Oasis”. Actually, it was the Kalahari Oasis, deep in the African bush, at a reserve called Mabalingwe, now very a famous stop off for visitors.

Last week, I had the chance to (re)visit the Kalahari Oasis with friends, who live in the reserve.

South Africans will remember the ad and recognise much of the junk memorabilia. For the uninitiated, life wasn’t quite like this. Or was it?


​Never miss a post

​Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.

  • philberphoto says:

    Wow! Very, very wow! Congrats, Paul for very punchy images with great colour and composition. To my eyes, they seem closer up than what you took with the M9 (logical), but also with your Fuji bodies. At any rate, you convey not only the look, but also the noises, the smells, the soul of this oasis. Kudos!

    • Paul Perton says:

      Thanks Philippe – I’m sure you noticed there’s a bike in there for you!

      It was a Fuji (X-H1 and 18-55 f2.8 zoom). I’d been to Cape Town to a wedding and was aksed to be the official ‘tog too. I really wanted to take the X2D, but am still not familiar enough with it, so the X-H1 it was. I also took my trusty X100 – look out for those pics in an upcoming post.


  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I’m so envious of your visit to the Kalahari Oasis! What a fascinating place with photographic possibilities at every turn. And rust everywhere – yum! You’ve done a great job of capturing lots of fascinating details in this amazing location, Paul. Kudos, my friend!

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Damn and every man’s dream poster girl Sonja Herholdt, didnt think I would spot that did you 🙂

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Well documented, Paul!

    And I recognise some of the car models from my childhood.

    Well, unless climate change stops us our rubbish dumps will continue to spread to even more remote places.
    And, strangely, we use our top technology to document our tech failures (still failing to reuse resources).

    ( My personal impressions of the Kalahari come only from books by Laurens van der Post. E.g. The Lost World of the Kalahari and A Far off Place. Great reads!)

  • Jon Maxim says:

    Loved all your shots Paul. Having grown up in the South American tropics I related to the strong colours. But the last one has some of the best composition I have see in a long time. The balance between the foreground patio furniture with the totally dissimilar objects in the background along with the contrast between their strong and muted colours is absolutely priceless. I feel privileged to have been shown these stunning shots.

  • Mike Kearney says:

    Beautiful shots Paul. And to think that I am fortunate enough to call it my “home”!

  • Lad Sessions says:

    Paul, You have an eye for an angle. You’ve turned a lot of wreckage into strange beauty. Thank you!

  • >