At first, I thought that photographer Chistopher Rimmer’s gorgeous series of cattle on the beach was staged—that he’d somehow lured a pack of bulls to these beautiful South African shores with big bales of tasty grass and hay. But, apparently, the cows in this part of the world are daily beachgoers!

According to the notes accompanying his show Amapondo, Rimmer first learned about the cows when he read a news story about fatal shark attacks occurring in Port St. Johns. But instead of a toothy shark in the photo accompanying the story about dangerous waters, there was a ridiculous cow standing in the background. As Rimmer puts it, this “large bull [was] seemingly oblivious to all the drama going on around him… It was unexpected, absurd even, but I also found the scene strangely moving.”

© Christopher Rimmer

After doing some research, he learned that the Nguni cattle take daily walks untended to the beach in the sweltering afternoons. The locals believe the cows like the salty water because it helps keep away the parasites; plus, they seem to like cooling their heels. But all that beef on the beach isn’t a new phenomenon: apparently, shipwrecked sailors first talked about these cow-dotted beaches back in the 16th century.

Of course, the stunning photos weren’t just taken in a day or two. Rimmer spent a full year tracking the cattle and capturing the most elegant photos, and there’s no digital manipulation in the pics. You can see more of Rimmer’s incredible Amapondo series at Lens Culture here. The show opens in the U.S. at the Art Expo New York on April 24th, and will hit San Diego and Miami by winter.

For more information on Christopher Rimmer, be sure to click here.

© Christopher Rimmer

© Christopher Rimmer