Archive for the Fishing Category

Kleinbaai & Danger Point Lighthouse.

Kleinbaai is a picturesque little village situated on the Eastern side of Gansbaai and is the ideal launching site for the local fishermen to fish in the Dyer Island area. Stories about the Big White Sharks led to the establishment of the now very popular shark-diving expeditions which has resulted in Gansbaai being known as the Great White Shark capital of the world.

Old shark diving cage.

Old shark diving cage. Don't think you want to leave your arm hanging out quite like that.

You want to make darn sure you  no the rules before you try cage diving if you want to keep all your limbs.

You want to make darn sure you know the rules before you try cage diving if you want to keep all your limbs.

I was lucky enough to go out on one of the boats and  I am going to be doing a post about the cage diving at a later date so won’t go into much detail now.

One of the seven shark boats operating out of Kleinbaai most days of the week.

One of the seven shark boats operating out of Kleinbaai most days of the week.

It's not only about sharks and this boat, "The Whale Whisperer" tkes people out to view the whales which are also plentiful in the area.

It's not only about sharks and this boat, "The Whale Whisperer" takes people out to view the whales which are also plentiful in the area.

If you are not really into going out to see there is also a very nice restaurant which overlooks the harbor.

If you are not really into going out to sea there is also a very nice restaurant which overlooks the harbor.

Or you could pop in here and buy some goodies here and tell all your friends how you went diving with the Great Whites.

Or you could pop in and buy some souvenirs here and tell all your friends how you went diving with the Great Whites.

I was fortunate that I bumped into my fishing friends, who I had met while at .... and it was through one of them that I got to go out on on of the shark boats and take some photos.

I was fortunate that I bumped into my fishing friends, who I had met while at Yzerfontein, and it was through one of them that I got to go out on one of the shark boats and take some photos.

Kleinbaai is not only about the shark and whale watching but there is also a golf course,  squash courts, tidal pool for safe swimming and some great hiking trails one of which is along the peninsula of Danger Point which extends about 8 kilometers into the sea.

The rocky Danger Point shore line looking back towards Kleinbaai.

The rocky Danger Point shore line looking back towards Kleinbaai.

The many reefs and unchartered rocks along the shoreline make it one of the most dangerous places in the world for ships sailing too close inshore.  A hidden rock lurks just below the surface off the Point and it was on this rock that the legendary HMS Birkenhead met her doom in 1852. This rock can be seen at low tide just a few kilometers off  Danger Point. Seven shipwrecks surround Danger Point and 140 wrecks are dotted along the shores between Danger Point and Cape Infanta.

Danger Point Lighthouse which was erected in 1895 which was too late to for the troop ship Birkenhead which floundered in 1852 with only 193 out of 636 survivors.

Danger Point Lighthouse, erected in 1895, which was too late to for the troop ship Birkenhead which floundered on the 26th of February 1852 with only 193 survivors out of the 636 souls on board.

The Birkenhead floundering off Danger Point.

An etching of the Birkenhead floundering off Danger Point.

Birkenhead Memorial at Danger Point Lighthouse.

Birkenhead Memorial at Danger Point Lighthouse.

Display inside the lighthouse.

Display inside the lighthouse.

Artifacts from the Birkenhead.

Artifacts from the Birkenhead.

All in all I found this a very interesting area to explore and in my next post I am going to follow a group who decided to to go shark cage diving with one of the operators, Marine Dynamics, just off  nearby Dyer Island.

Gansbaai & Caravan Park

To get to Gansbaai from Hermanus one travels along the R43 which runs between the mountain and the Klein River Vlei via Stanford, which has a well preserved core of historical buildings, antique shops and art galleries, and onto De Kelders and Gansbaai.

Gansbaai (Goose Bay), named after the Egyptian geese that frequented a freshwater spring at the beach, started in the 1880’s as a few fishermen’s cottages on the dunes overlooking the harbour. A school was established in 1906 and in 1926 the land above the beach was divided into 205 plots. Commercial fisheries were started and by the 1950’s  Gansbaai was a bustling town which has now grown into a commercial centre.

Welcom to Gansbaai
Welcome to Gansbaai

Shark diving.
Shark diving information centre and booking office seen as one arrives in Gansbaai.

The main reason for the growth of  tourism round Gansbaai over the past 10 years or so has been the establishment of the whale and shark industries at nearby  Kleinbaai which attracts thrill seekers and nature lovers from all over the world who all want to see and interact with the big 2 – Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales.

Map of the area.
Map of the area.

The old harbour and fish factories.
The old harbour and fish factories.

Some of the commercial fishing boats ready to put to sea.
Some of the commercial fishing boats ready to put to sea.

I went on  a walk about and took a few photos of things that interested or intrigued me. The folks of Gansbaai are really friendly and I even managed to meet up with the crew of a fishing boat that I became friendly with  when I was staying in Yzerfontein last year. It was through them that I managed to get myself onto one of the shark boats at Kleinbaai and spend a morning taking pix of the operation. More of that in my next post.

You have got to love this!!!
You have got to love this!!!

Pity I am off red meat!
Pity I am off red meat!

Saturday morning market.
Saturday morning market.

There are lots of restaurants and pubs in Gansbaai and of course the fish is really good.
There are lots of restaurants and pubs in Gansbaai and of course the fish is really good.

GANSBAAI  CARAVAN  PARK

There are 3 caravan parks in the area but to be honest  from what I saw and heard I would only stay at the park in Gansbaai above the harbour area. It was also a bit cheaper than the others and I enjoyed my stay there. The only complaint I had was that the lights  at night were really bright and it was like sleeping in broad daylight. ( I was parked directly under one of the lights so it was pretty bright.) They have done that for security and also have a watchman patrolling 24 hours a day.

A shot of the park taken from the harbour.

A shot of the park taken from the harbour.

My set-up at Gaansbaai. Nicely grassed and even stands.
My set-up at Gansbaai. Nicely grassed and even stands.

The view from my caravan!!
The view from my caravan!!

The ablutions were okay and kept clean and tidy.

The ablutions were okay and kept clean and tidy.

All in all I enjoyed my stay at Gansbaai Caravan Park. There is much to see explore in the area and Gansbaai is perfect as a base to the interesting places that are close by.

Hermanus 1

Hermanus was originally named Hermanuspieterfontein after an itinerant teacher from the 1830’s who grazed sheep near a fresh water spring in what is now Westcliff. Fishermen from Hawston started to settle here more than 150 years ago but the town gradually became known as a holiday resort and grew into the main coastal centre of the Overberg.

IMG_3173

I am going to do 2 posts on Hermanus as there is a lot to see and do there and I have taken a lot of photos which I hope you find interesting.

I first started going to Hermanus about 45 years ago and boy has it changed over the years in comparison to a place such as Arniston which is further east along the coast . In those days Hermanus and Arniston had the same kind of feel – holiday, fishing village, sea side places, although Hermanus was even then quite a bit larger than Arniston. Now days Hermanus is a bustling, much larger and more modern town and for me has lost much of the charm that still exists at Arniston.

View of the old harbour from Gearing Point.
View of the old harbour from Gearing’s Point.

Monument housing the roll of honour for those from the area who perished in the 1st and 2nd World wars.

Monument housing the roll of honour for those from the area who perished in the 1st and 2nd World wars.

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Plaque for the Old Harbour which was for many years the centre of a thriving fishing industry.

Hermanus now has a vibrant tourism industry, boasts a large number of art galleries and restaurants and is, amongst others, home to an annual whale festival in September. From June to November, especially the area around the Old Harbour and Gearing’s Point offers excellent opportunities for watching whales which often come to within meters of the rocks.

Gearing's Point which is ideal for whale watching.
Gearing’s Point which is ideal spot for whale watching in season.

Unfortuneatly I was there at the wrong time of the year so this statue had to make do.
Unfortunately I was there at the wrong time of the year so this statue had to make do.

One of the stalls at the thriving open air market.
One of the stalls at the thriving open air market.

There are 3 museums in the Old Harbour area and 1 ticket gets you into all 3.
There are 3 museums in the Old Harbour area and 1 ticket gets you into all 3.

Another of the 3 museums.
Another of the 3 museums.

Part of a whale skeleton at the entrance to the Whale Museum.
Part of a whale skeleton at the entrance to the Whale Museum.

You can hire this guy to give you a guided tour. It was a really hot day and business was slow so he was having a break.
You can hire this guy to give you a guided tour. It was a really hot day and business was slow so he was having a break.

Most of the action takes place around the Old Harbour area and that is where you find all the great restaurants, art galleries and curio shops that Hermanus is well known for.

Some great restaurants.
Some great restaurants.

Part of the main tourist area.
Part of the main tourist area.

There are also many hotels and B&B's in the Old Harbour Area and many more in the older part of Hermanus.
There are also many hotels and B&B’s in the Old Harbour Area and many more in the older part of Hermanus.

As I said at the beginning of this post Hermanus is a really interesting place to visit and there is much to show and comment on. For this first part of my visit I have tried to cover what the average tourist would  get to see if they came for a 1 day visit and will show more in my next post.

Pringle Bay.

The first village from Rooi Els on the R44, in the Cape Hangklip area, is Pringle Bay. ( From what I was told Hangklip is not a place but an area and there is Groot Hangklip and Klein Hangklip.)

The villages of Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond share a common history from the ancient heritage of the early Bushmen and Hottentots, to a safe haven for smugglers in the 1800s, whalers in the early part of the 1900s before developing as holiday and retirement villages. There are now quite a lot of people that live and work there permanently (lucky people at that) as shop and restaurant owners, artists and of course estate agents. (I always marvel at the number of estate agents there are in all the small villages that I have been to.) The area is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is an internationally acclaimed conservancy because of the incredible variety of plants found here: an estimated 1650 species of mainly fynbos. In 1998 it became the first UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserve in Southern Africa.

Welcome to Pringle Bay.
Welcome to Pringle Bay.

A copy of an airial photograph of Pringle Bay.

A copy of an aerial photograph of Pringle Bay. Not sure how long ago it was taken.

You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experiance views like this one.
You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experience views like this.
House with a view.
House with a view. It almost looks suspended from this angle.

If you drive through Pringle Bay and take the dirt road that used to go directly to Betty’s Bay you come to a T junction where the road has now been blocked off. There is a short but bad road that leads down to a spectacular beach. ( I am not kidding about the road as I saw 2 cars get stuck and have to be towed out.)

End of the road - turn right to the beach.
End of the road – turn right to the beach.
Stunning beach.
Stunning beach. There had been massive seas so there was a lot of kelp on all the beaches.

A short distance away, as one drives back to Pringle Bay, is the Hangklip Lighthouse which is about a 15 minute walk,  and the small harbour /  launching area for all the various types of recreational boats. The fishing, crayfishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming at Pringle Bay is excellent and I saw many fish and crayfish being brought in on the boats.

Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.
Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.

An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.
An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.

Somebody was going to be dining well.
Somebody was going to be dining well.

After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.
After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.

The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore as well.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!
When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!

I think Pringle Bay is a great place and would love to have spent more time there and at Betty’s Bay exploring. Unfortunately they, together with Kleinmond, fall under the Overstrand Municipality who have increased prices at the 2 local caravan parks to such an extent that I could not afford to stop over for even one night. At Palmiet Rivier Park and Kleinmond the price of a stand last year was R75 and now this year they have pushed it up to R240 plus you pay an extra R30 for electricity. (R900 pm for a 10 amp plug.)  Not only that but they have extended their High Season to now be 1st November to end of April.  Most places have December, January and Easter weekend as High Season. Maybe they don’t want campers and caravaners at their parks. Sure looked like it when I went to have a look – a combined total of about 400 sites and 5 people staying there.

Gordons Bay to Rooi Els

I can remember, years ago, when friends and I would take a Sunday drive out to Gordon’s Bay and drive the 20km stretch of road to Rooi Els and then along past Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay and have a braai (BBQ) along the way. It was beautiful then and remains beautiful today.

The first place to go to, as you leave Gordon’s Bay, is up the road to the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant just for the incredible view one gets of False Bay. In the old days one could also drive to the dam itself but that is no longer permitted.

View of Gordon's Bay and surrounds from the Steenbras road.
View of Gordon’s Bay and surrounds from the Steenbras road.
Clarence Drive.
Clarence Drive.

I have travelled this road (R44) to Rooi Els many times but never new it was officially called Clarence Drive. I must  say that along with Chapmans Peak drive in Cape Town I rate this as one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in the Cape Province.

Stunning views.
Stunning views.

This coastline is very popular with rock anglers but is notorious  for the number of fishermen that have been washed off the rocks and drowned over the years.

One of the markers from 1901.
One of the markers from 1901.

“Die see het hom geneem”  (The sea took him)

One of the first places you come to on the drive is The Sundird Restaurant at the mouth of the Steendras River.
The Sunbird

One of the first places you come to on the drive is The Sunbird Restaurant and Pub at the mouth of the Steenbras River. There is also a guest lodge and self catering B&B.

Mouth of the Steenbras River.
Mouth of the Steenbras River.

I remember my folks telling me stories about  camping here when they were both students. There are also  challenging hiking trails in the area.

A view of Kogel Bay where there is a caravan park.
A view of Kogel Bay where there is a caravan park.

Kogel Bay Resort.

Kogel Bay Resort.

Is that not amazing?
Is that not amazing?

Just be aware that the Kogel Bay Park is pretty rough and ready. There is no electricity and the ablution blocks are not great. Also you can not just arrive on a Friday and book in. That all, including payment, has to be done in advance via fax or at the Strand Municipality. I am beginning to wonder if the Overberg and Overstrand Municipalities are trying to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible  to try and stop people camping? Very strange!

On of the ablution blocks.
One of the ablution blocks.

The hot water is heated by gas and as you can see there is a solar panel for some lighting.  I was told that unfortunately the light was not working.

Just a bit futher down the road is the Kogel Bay Day camp which has a great tidal pool.

Just a bit futher down the road is the Kogel Bay Day camp which has a great tidal pool.

There are 2 other day camps such as the one above, Sharks Bay and Klippis Baai, which are very popular for Sunday picnics and braai’s for the family.

The view from the R44 across the beach to Rooi Els.

The view from the R44 across the beach to Rooi Els.

Rooi Els.

Rooi Els.

I have friends who have a holiday house at Rooi Els where I stayed on a few occasions and it became one of my favourite places to go to for a break. It has not changed that much over the years – a few new shops – and there are only a certain number of houses that can be built there. If I remember correctly there are about 180 houses and only about 60 more that can be built there.

View of Rooi Els from the mountain side where some house have been built.

View of Rooi Els from the mountain side where some house have been built.

Clarence Drive (R44) is only about 20km’s long but it has some of the most beautiful views and scenery in the Cape Province and it is truly worth taking some time out and exploring all the stops along the way.

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