South Africa's islands, Shetland Islands

I can't help but always make references back to my home. My trip to the Shetland Islands, in the picture, was no different. The first thing I didn't know was that the Shetland archipelago consists of over 100 islands of which only 15 are inhabited. And that doesn't take into account the other Scottish islands such as the Hebrides to the west or islands in other parts of Scotland. That's a lot of islands. The ferry services are geared up to move people, cars, cargo and even livestock back and forth.

One doesn't associate South Africa with islands because we don't have many. Madagascar, our neighbour, is the largest island in the area. Mozambique has a few islands and further out in the Indian Ocean are the islands of Mauritius and Seychelles.

The most famous South African island is Robben Island. So named by the Dutch after the seals or robbe found there. It has been home to prisoners and lepers since the Dutch discovered it. We also have the Prince Edward Islands of which Marion Island is one. They are close to the antarctic and are used as a weather station and for research. They are uninhabited except for the staff who manage the research done there. Maybe the fact that it rains 28 days in a month there might also have something to do with it. And then there is Seal Island off False Bay. It's pretty much a big rock full of seals and birds. Nice to see at a distance, a bit smelly close up.

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