Tietiesbaai & Columbine Reserve.
A few km’s south of Paternoster, in the Cape Columbine Nature reserve which covers an area of 263ha along the rocky coast and was declared a nature reserve in December 1973, is the famous Tietiesbaai. I have no idea where the name originates from and nobody I spoke to could enlighten me. One thing I do know is that it is a truly beautiful place to visit and spend time just relaxing and communicating with nature. It is also a camping and caravan location (I hesitate to use the word caravan park) with no electricity and a very limited supply of solar heated hot water for showering. The hot water supply is fairly new and for many years you could only have cold showers.
The bay is incredibly well sheltered and on the day I was there is was blowing quite hard and the sea outside the bay extremely rough and yet the water in the bay was clear and calm.
The are no demarcated official sites and it is first come first served. Find a spot you fancy and set up camp.
I noticed that at least one of the caravanners had brought along a generator which must have been pretty noisy for all their neighbours.
I believe that during the December and Easter holiday season the place is packed.
The ablution blocks were pretty rudimentary and it was only recently that solar heated water was installed. Judging from the size of the tanks on the roof not to many people would have hot showers.
I have to make an admission here and say that I did not go to the next place I am going to show as it was only after I had left the area that I heard about The Beach Camp also situated in the Cape Columbine reserve.
The Beach Camp’s tents and wooden A-frame huts have beds and pillows so all you have to bring is your own sleeping bag or duvet. There are hot showers and cooking facilities although they can supply meals including their fabulous seafood dinners. The area is also one of the best sea-kayaking venues (weather and sea permitting) in SA with plenty of seals, dolphins, whales and spectacular bird watching opportunities.
Cape Columbine is a prominent headland 5 km’s from Paternoster. The lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse to be commissioned in South Africa and built on Castle Rock, is the first to be seen by ships coming from Europe. It was established in 1936 and derives it’s name from a British wooden ship, the Columbine, that was wrecked there in 1829. The light stands at a height of 80 meters above the sea and casts a beam that can be seen from about 50km’s away.
I was amazed at the number of cars parked at the lighthouse and thought it must be extremely popular. It was only after wandering around for a while, and nearly helping myself to what I thought were free drinks, that I discovered that a wedding reception was about to take place and that they were waiting for the bride and groom to arrive.
Bumped into the happy couple on my way back to Paternoster and found out they were both from Vredenburg and the photographer ex Vredenburg and now living an working in Cape Town.
My next post is going to be from one of my favourite places , Paternoster, and I will be able to do some comparisons as I went there on quite a few occasions about 40 years ago.