Archive for November, 2009

From the R27 to Yzerfontein

As one takes the turn off from the R27 down to Yzerfontein there are a few interesting places to stop and have a look around. I had travelled up and down the road a few times and been intrigued by the names and look of some of these places so determined to have a wander around and explore.

The first place as you turn off the R27 - The Weskus Padstaal.

The first place, as you turn off the R27, is The West Coast Farm Stall (Weskus Padstaal).

The West
Entrance to the farm stall.
Carvings from trees.

Carvings from trees.

The new owners  moved down from Mafikeng, in the North West Province where they had run a game farm, and took over the West Coast Farm Stall (Die Weskus Padstaal) in February 2009. They had a man working for them who does these amazing carvings from tree trunks and branches and have brought many of them down as décor for the farm stall.

Part of the outside tea garden area.

Part of the outside garden area.

One of the many colourful birds that can be viewed at the back.

One of the many colourful birds that can be viewed at the back of the stall.

The farm stall is a really interesting place to make a stop and buy fresh bread, jams, honey,  pies, milk, herbs etc. and also have a delicious farm style meal. Apart from having a look at the wonderful carvings there is also huge aviary at the back with a wonderful collection of birds and, for a small  fee, you can go on a guided tour.

nnnn

Old Lime Kiln

A bit further down the  road are 2 Lime Kilns. In the days of the Dutch Est India Trading Company there was no cement available for building so these kilns were built to burn mussel shells to form a binding material which was then used in place of cement. There is also a scale model of a kiln in Yzerfontein where one can read and see how they worked.

Blombos

Blombosch Hideaway Lodge.

I did take a drive down to the Lodge but there was no one there to chat to and get information. If you are interested just give the number on the board a call.

Start of the

Start of the Bokbaaivygie Hiking Trail

Die Strand Kombuis.

Entrance to Die Strandkombuis.

Not too long ago there was a road directly from Yzerfontein to the Strandkombuis but that has now been closed and you have to turn off the road about 3 km’s out of town and take a 6 km drive, round the salt pan, to get there. The restaurant is run by the  Sandpiper Guest House which is close by.

There was a beach wedding and reception taking place the next day.

There was a beach wedding and reception taking place the following day.

Die Strankombuis.

Die Strandkombuis.

On the beach.

On the beach.

Found this on the beach in front of the restaurant but have no idea what it could be. The photo does give you an idea as to how close the place is to Yzerfontein in the background.

The Fish Market.

The Fish Market.

Unloading snoek.

Unloading snoek.

No fish can be sold or off loaded in the harbour area so as soon as the boats are out the water they head straight for the market, which is about 2 km’s out of town, where the buyers are waiting. There prices are agreed and fish offloaded. There are also good facilities for washing and cleaning the boats.

Die Stal.

Die Stal Pub and Restaurant.

Situated between the market and town I would imagine that this place really jumps over week-ends and especially when the Springboks are playing

End of the road.

End of the road.

Hope you enjoyed the trip down from the R27 to the great seaside town of Yzerfontein.

Yzerfontein Caravan Park.

This was the second time that I have stayed at the Yzerfontein Caravan Park and to be honest it has become one of my favourites, not only the park but also Yzerfontein itself. The management and maintenance of the park is good and if I had to fault anything it would be that some of the less used sites have become a bit over-grown and shabby. During the week the park was fairly empty but over the two week-ends I spent there it was about 95% full and because I had no booking I ended up on one of the not so good sites.

Security entrance to Yzerfontein Caravan Park.
Security entrance to Yzerfontein Caravan Park.

Information Board.

Information Board.

Very efficient and friendly service at the office.

Very efficient and friendly service at the office.

My set-up on site 35.

My set-up on site 35.

As you can see the ground cover (compared to many of the other sites) is not great but the best thing about this park is the way each site has trees and bushes to protect you from the wind and also afford privacy. Even with a 95% occupancy rate over the week-ends it never felt crowded.

xx vv

One of the many well grassed and sheltered sites.

New electrical connections.

New electrical connections.

Management is in the process of upgrading the electrical connection units and compared to many of connections I have seen at other parks these are great.

There are 4 ablution blocks and you are given a key for the one closest to your site.

There are 4 ablution blocks and you are given a key for the one closest to your site.

I found the ablutions clean and well maintained.

I found the ablutions clean and well maintained.

There are also washing machines and tumble dryers available.

Washing machines and a tumble dryer available.

There are also some facilities for kids but these are not great.

Some facilities for kids but these could be improved.

Access to the beach.

Access to the beach.

Although the park is situated right next to the beach one has to go over some steps to get to it. While it would be great to have a view of the ocean the dunes provide fantastic shelter from the wind.

View from the top of the stairs.

View from the top of the stairs.

All in all I can understand why this is such a popular caravan park as the facilities are good, Yzerfontein is a great place with a blue flag beach and it is only an hours drive from Cape Town. If you are thinking of trying camping or caravanning for the first time this would be a great place to give it a go. This was the case for my neighbours on the first week-end I was there and they loved it.

The West Coast National Park.

On the other side of the lagoon at Langebaan is the West Coast National Park. The Park was established in 1985 with the aim of conserving the Langebaan Lagoon and surrounding landscapes, which also includes the islands in Saldanha Bay and the area from Yzerfontein to Langebaan.

The West Coast National Park.
The West Coast National Park.

The habitats in the park are unique and varied and its salt marshes and wetlands together with the granite islands in Saldanha Bay, cover an area of over 32,000ha and are ideal for the large breeding population of sea birds and also the growth of lowland fynbos.

One of two entrances to the park.
One of two entrances to the park.

This is the entrance from the Langebaan side and there is another entrance from the R27 to Velddrif. Entrance costs R26.00 per adult or you can get in for free if you have a SAN Parks Wild card.

Why did the tortoise cross the road?
Why did the tortoise cross the road?

I must have seen at least 30 tortoises on the road as I drove to and through the park. Some were not lucky and had been hit by motorcars.

Shame this Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)was not to lucky.
Shame! This Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) was also not so lucky.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.

I recommend that  the first place you stop in at is Geelbek Visitor Centre. There is a very good information centre, great restaurant and an interesting curio shop.

Cast of "Eves Footprint".
Cast of “Eve’s Footprint”.
Close-up of "Eve's Footprint".
Close-up of “Eve’s Footprint”.

The footprint, which is believed to be over 120,000 years old, was discovered at Kraalbaai in 1995 by  geologist Dr. Dave Roberts. To find out more please go to link

Good sign posting in the park.
Good sign posting in the park

There are many sign boards in the park as to all the different spots but just be aware that not all are open to the public. One of these is the Postberg section which is only open in the spring flower season of August and September. Another not open, all year round, is Churchhaven.

Houseboats at Kraalbaai
Houseboats at Kraalbaai

Some of these houseboats, one being the Nirvana, are available for accommodation and there are also quite a few self catering chalets at a place called Duinepos.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Both Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are very sheltered from the prevailing south-east wind which was howling across the lagoon at Langebaan

Seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.
Vondeling Island on the seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.

View of Vondeling Island (21ha) taken from Tsaarsbank. The island was last inhabited in 1962 and the old buildings are now used by penguins and other birds.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

Wreck of the Pantalis a Lemos

Wreck of the Pantalis A Lemos

In the distance the Pantalis A Lemos, an ore-carrier, which went aground in 1978. It is about a 4 km hike along the beach, in soft sea sand, to get to the wreck and my time was running out so just took a telephoto shot from the beach.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Electricity in the house is provided by solar power and the stove, geyser and fridge are gas operated.

The weather, on the day of my visit to the park, was not great so maybe that was why I did not see much wild life apart from the tortoises, a few snakes and a couple of wild ostriches although I was told that a lot of game can be seen in Postberg when it is open in Spring.

There are 4 different options for both hiking and cycling trails and Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are  great for just relaxing on the beach and having a family braai. There is also kayaking, windsurfing, kite-boarding and if you are lucky whale watching at Tsaarsbank from August to November.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park

Langebaan has 3 caravan parks – one right in the centre of the town and two next to the lagoon. I had a look at the one in town on a couple of occasions and have never actually seen anyone staying there which is quite surprising as it is very sheltered, the sites are grassed and the ablutions did not look too bad. Of the two on the lagoon I would definitely choose Leentjiesklip.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Good security at the entrance.
Good security at the entrance.

There is no security from the beach at the front but I did not see anyone who was not supposed to be there. It would be a real shame if they did have to  put up a security fence.

Park office.
Park office.

The manager of the park was very friendly and helpful. After chatting to him and other mangers of municipal caravan parks it sounds as if they have an extremely frustrating job trying to get funding and approval for general maintenance and staff.

My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
Typical area of the park.
Typical area of the park.

As you can see some of the top stands have level concrete areas but all the stands below the road are grass. It does blow pretty hard and there is not much shelter on offer.

One of two ablution blocks.
One of two ablution blocks.

The ablution blocks are not bad and I know that they are busy improving them for the upcoming season.

There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.
There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.

Childrens play ground.

Children's play ground.

Permanent residents?

Permanent residents?

There are a number of permanent residents who live in mobile homes within the park boundaries. I put the question mark there as there is talk  that in the not too distant future the municipality is going to sell out to developers. To be honest I think that this area is better than many of the areas that have already been developed and has the best beach frontage to the lagoon. It will be very sad but I think inevitable.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

Tried fishing off those rocks a couple of times with no luck.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Met up with Deon, closest to the camera, and Hannes catching up on some work. Deon is Managing director of a company called Omnilog in Krugersdorp and bought the motor home as he has to travel a lot to see clients and feels it more cost effective to flying and having to stay in hotels. Besides that he loves camping.

Sunset over the lagoon.

Sunset over the lagoon.

This is a photograph I took the last time I was at Leentjiesklip a few months ago.

All in all I have enjoyed my two stays at Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and it will be a sad day when they close the park. Maybe sense will prevail and it will survive but I seriously doubt it.

Langebaan 2.

As one drives out of Langebaan town centre, on the road towards Saldahna Bay, there are a number of (newer) developments along side the lagoon starting with one called “The Cove” which is next to Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.

Map of the area I am covering.

Map of the area.

The Cove.
The Cove.
As with all the developments there are houses right on the edge of the lagoon.
As with most of the developments there are houses right on the edge of the lagoon.

The next one along the road is.
The next one along the road is called Waterfront.

It is a security gated area and they were not keen to let me in to take photographs.

The next turn of takes you to the developments of Blue Lagoon and Calypso Beach.
The next turn of takes you to the developments of Blue Lagoon and Calypso Beach.

Strangely enough Blue Lagoon has no lagoon side housing but Calypso Beach does. Both are gated security estates but there is access to the lagoon on foot.

In spite of the financial situation in SA at the moment there are still some pretty big houses going up at Calypso Beach.
In spite of the financial situation in SA at the moment there are still some pretty big houses going up at Calypso Beach.
Houses at Calypso that are not right next to the lagoon but have stunning views.
Houses at Calypso that are not right next to the lagoon but have stunning views.
The next turn of takes one down to the well known Club Mykonos.
The next turn off takes one down to Club Mykonos.
If you are tired of all the water sports and lazing in the sun you can always pop in at Mykonos and try your hand at a bit of gambling!
If you are tired of all the water sports and lazing in the sun you can always pop in at Mykonos and try your hand at a bit of gambling!

The folks at the Club Mykonos information centre were friendly and informative and also gave me a pass to drive and park anywhere I wanted in the development. I am just going to show a few of the photographs I took so if you want more info please go to this link.

Came accross these two looking for some kids to take on a donkey ride.
Came across these two looking for some kids to take on a donkey ride.

There is a really good entertainment programme laid on every day of the week for the youngsters, teenagers  and adults. I don’t think one could ever be bored here.

View from harbour wall.
View from harbour wall.

Looking toward the main waterfront area where there are plenty of restaurants, shops, conference centre, boat trip offices and more.
Looking toward the main waterfront area where there are plenty of restaurants, shops, conference centre, boat trip offices and more.

Club Mykonos yachting harbour.

Club Mykonos harbour.

This shot was taking from the north side where new developments taking place at Mykonos called Apollo Ridge and Aegean Heights.

Some of the house in the new development at Mykonos.

Some of the house in the new development at Mykonos.

Saw this structure high up on Apollo Ridge only to find out it is a cell phone base station.

Saw this structure high up on Apollo Ridge only to find out it is just a cell phone base station.

Also up this way is another new development call Paradise Beach which I could not look at as security were not keen for me to go in and take photographs

Looking back, with Mykonos in the foreground, at all the developments we have just had a look at.

Looking back, with Mykonos in the foreground, at all the developments we have just had a look at.

Right at the turn off down to Club Mykonos they have now built a pretty big shopping centre so don’t worry too much if you forget something at home.

Lagoona Shopping Centre.

Shopping Centre.

As with all places along the west coast there are some grat sea-food restaurants.

As with all places along the west coast there are some great sea-food restaurants.

As you can see there is a huge amount happening in and around Langebaan and, from some of the things I have heard, I believe that once the financial situation improves in SA there is going to be massive new development. More about that when I do my next post on Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.