Archive for the Fishing Category

Langebaan

I have decided to do four posts on Langebaan as there is much to see and do and it would be difficult to squeeze it all in to just one post. I am going to divide it into  older Langebaan, newer Langebaan, Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and the West Coast National Park – starting with older Langebaan.

Founded in 1922 and known as “the jewel of the West Coast”  this historical town was once a whaling station but has now transformed into one of the busiest holiday destinations on the West Coast. Langebaan is just over 100km’s from Cape Town, off the R27 to Velddrif, and is situated alongside the Langebaan Lagoon. Just before you get to Langebaan town centre you will see, on the left side of the linking road, Langebaan Country Estate.

Langebaan Country Esate.
Entrance to Langebaan Country Estate.

The estate is 450 hectares and is a gated, secure golf type estate, and has an 18 hole Gary Player redesigned course. The club house, which overlooks a splendid water feature, is perfect for conferences and wedding receptions. Tennis courts, a bowling green and residents swimming pool are also available. To find out more please go to link.

Restaurants at the main beach area
Restaurants at the main beach area

As one drives through the town you take a right turn at the 5th stop street and come to the beach area of Langebaan where all the sports action takes place and there are also some great sea food restaurants.

There are also  some interesting looking shops.
There are also some interesting looking shops.

Look ma no hands.
Look ma no hands.

Langebaan is internationally known for it’s ideal conditions for kite surfing, wind surfing and sailing during the summer months and the white beaches, surrounding the crystal clear waters, are one of the main attractions.

Apartment development on the beach front.
Apartment development on the beach front.

Many years ago this section used to have lease hold timber beach house that were regularly flooded and damaged at  spring high tides. I must be honest and say that I would love to have one of these lock-up and go apartments as a holiday house.

Some of the original houses at Langebaan.
Some of the original houses on the southern side of Langebaan.

Reverse view of that same section of the lagoon.
Reverse view of that same section of the lagoon.

This was the part of Langebaan, the southern section, that was first developed and still has a special atmosphere.

Fishing in the lagoon.
Fishing in the lagoon.

If you know what you are doing, have the right bait etc, there is some great fishing in the lagoon. These guys were catching mostly Stompneus.

There is no more space for new houses along the edge of the lagoon in this section of Langebaan so all the  newer development has taken place on the hills that overlook the lagoon.

One of the newer houses overlooking the lagoon.
One of the newer houses overlooking the lagoon.
One of the older original cottages.

One of the older original cottages.

As one goes back out of the town centre you can take a left turn that takes you to Saldanha Bay via many of the new housing developments, which I am going to post about next time, and also past one of the most famous restaurants in the area – Die (The) Strandloper.

Signpost to The Strandlooper.

Signpost to Die (The) Strandloper.

If you enjoy seafood then this is a must go to but just be aware of two things – you have to book well in advance, and I am talking weeks maybe even months, and you must allow at least 4 hours for the experience.

The open air restaurant.

The open air restaurant right at the edge of the lagoon.

I could only get there when it was closed but have eaten there on quite a few occasions and it was an amazing experience. I was sad to see that much of the beach area in the front has been washed away as we used to go for a swim between courses.

Just loved this sign so had to put it in.

Just loved this sign so had to put it in.

To find out more info about Die Strandloper please follow this link.

The next place along the road toward Saldanha is call Leentjiesklip Caravan Park, where I am staying, and then starts all the new developments around Langebaan which is what I will show you in my next post.


Saldanha Bay.

Situated on the west coast, about 140 km’s from Cape Town, is the picturesque sea side town of Saldanha Bay. It is also positioned  on the northern corner of the largest natural bay in South Africa. The natural deep, sheltered harbour played an important part in the long and colourful history of the area and today still plays a central role in the export and import for the industries of the region.

Saldanha, due to its sheltered harbour, provides excellent conditions for water sport and fishing enthusiasts. During the Second World War it was also extremely important because of its strategic location and safe anchorage as a convoy assembly point. Even today Saldanha is host to a training naval base and the SA Military Academy.

View of Saldanha Bay.
View of Saldanha Bay.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.

The rock formation seen on the right side of the photograph is known as “Adam & Eve”.

Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.
Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.

The local economy is strongly dependent on fishing, mariculture , mussels, seafood and the harbour trade as well as the established steel industry. The popular SAS Saldanha Nature Reserve, which I unfortunately did not have time to visit, has displays of wild flowers in late winter & early spring and Southern Right whales also visit the safe waters in and around the reserve.

Still a strong military presense.

Still a strong military presence.

Fishing trawler in the harbour.
Fishing trawlers in the harbour.
More fishing boats.
More fishing boats.

Took a stroll to the end of this wharf,  where you can just see that white car,  to see what was going on and found this.

Yes there are fish in the water and some are even catching them!
Yes there are fish in the water and some fishermen are even catching them! The fish is a Stompneus and of legal size.
Came accross 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Came across 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Looks like quite a large and active yaucht club.
Looks like quite a large and active yacht club.
Flowers and boats - not your normal mix.
Flowers and boats – not your normal mix.

Saldanha Bay has the normal mix of shops, restaurants and 2 hotels. I would imagine that some of the local shops are really going to battle as there are now 2 big shopping centres that have opened nearby.

The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.
The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.

I had been quite keen to stay at the local caravan park but to be honest had heard some not very nice things said about the park so gave it a miss. I decided to go and have a look and see for myself.

Entrance to caravan park.
Entrance to caravan park. Good securit, friendly manager and the price was good.
Some of the well grassed stands.
Some of the well grassed stands.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.

I don’t know if things have maybe changed dramatically recently but I thought the park looked pretty good and I would not hesitate to stay there if I was in the area again. They also have cottages ranging in price from R160.00 (small 4  bed)out of season to the largest (6 bed) at R574.00 in season.

On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.
On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.

The Sishen-Saldanha Project, constructed during the early 1970’s, is the only dedicated iron ore export facility in South Africa. The dedicated railway line runs from the Sishen mine in the Northern Cape directly to the off loading facility in Saldanha Bay harbour. These trains are kilometres in length and if you get stack at a level crossing can take more that 10 minutes to pass.

St Helena Bay.

This 31 km stretch of coastline has 18 bays, 3 harbours, beautiful beaches and wonderful sea, bird and wildlife. It is also one of only three natural bays on the world’s mainland coastlines where one can view both sunrise and sunset over the sea.

St Helena Bay has the highest concentration of fish processing factories in South Africa and the crayfish industry was set up in 1915. It is difficult to know exactly where one town ends and the next one starts but  it is a great area to enjoy whale, dolphin and birdwatching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, surfing and sailing.

Driving back along the coastal road form Shelly Point towards Velddrif the first palace you come to is a  fishing village with the quaint name of  Stompneusbaai. (Stompneus refers to a type of fish that is abundant in the west coast waters) In fact you can see Stompneusbaai from the northern side of Shelly Point.

Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.
Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.

The gravel road is the direct route to Vredenburg and there is also a turn off that goes to Paternoster.

A shot of Stompneusbaai taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.
A shot of Stompneusbaai, with Shelly Point in the background  taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.

Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed in St Helena Bay in 1497. The bay, know locally as ” Die Agterbaai”, is one of the worlds prime fishing centres which provides a livelihood for the local inhabitants.

A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.

I had heard that there were some caravan parks in the bay area and did eventually find 2 of them. The one is near Stompneusbaai and I went and had a quick look. I think a picture in this case is worth a thousand words.

The entrance to
The entrance to the Midwest Caravan Park.

This park has got to be the worst I have seen on my journey thus far. The ceiling of the showers in the ablution block were so low that I would have had to shower on my knees.

Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.
Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.

Most of the new developments along this stretch of coastline are being built on the hill slopes as much of the sea front land is still owned by the local inhabitants and fisheries

Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

There is also a lot been done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.
There is a lot being done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.

St Helena Bay Hotel.

St Helena Hotel.

I got a bit confused as many years ago I spent a night at this hotel but then it was called Steenberg’s Cove Hotel.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast from a bygone era.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast in 1980 and it was in season

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

The other caravan park in the area is part of the hotel and is quite difficult to spot from the road. If I had found it earlier I would have spent a few days here while I explored the region as it looked pretty good. Nice grass stands and a reasonable ablution block.

Paternoster

Paternoster, meaning Our Father, is thought to have been given it’s name by a group of shipwrecked sailors in thanks for the sparing of their lives. Although Paternoster is still closely associated with fishing and the sea it has now also become a must visit destination for overseas travellers to South Africa.

The easiest way to reach Paternoster is via Vredenburg.
The easiest way to reach Paternoster is via Vredenburg.

I was honestly shocked at what I saw as I drove into what used to be a little fishing village. The first time I went to Paternoster was nearly 40 years ago and all there was then the hotel, the fishermen’s cottages and 2 houses. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who had access to one of those houses and a group of us spent a few long week-ends fishing, braaing and consuming many crayfish which we could buy from the locals for next to nothing..

I had been back again about 20 years later and  a row of about 10 or 12 houses had been built along the beach front. Today there must be well over a hundreds  houses  both north and south with new developments everywhere. I found it all quite sad as the Paternoster I knew had basically vanished, still beautiful but completely different.

One thing that has not changed much is the small Paternoster Hotel. The original building was built in 1863 and in 1940 was bought by the Tollman family and turned into an hotel. There used to be only 6 rooms but that was increased by an additional 4 with sea view and balcony. There is also now a fabulous restaurant area in the front and recently The  Shell Shop was added to the hotel. It is also famous (infamous?) for The Panty Bar which at one stage served as the local jail before the conversion to an hotel.

Open air restaurant at front of hotel.
Open air restaurant at front of hotel.
A bit of history of the hotel.
A bit of history and info of the hotel.
One of the stranger items for sale from the Shell Shop.
One of the stranger items for sale from the Shell Shop. I think it is called a Blaasoppie fish?
The main beach just in front of the hotel.
The main beach near the hotel.

One of the fishing boats ready to take to the sea.
One of the fishing boats ready to take to the sea.

Development on the north side.
Development on the north side.

Development to the south.

Development to the south.

An original fishermans cottage which has been done up and apperently still belongs to one of the local fishermen.
An original fisherman’s cottage which has been done up and I believe still belongs to one of the local fishermen.

Anew development also on the northern side of the village.
A new development on the northern side of the village.
There are quite a number of guest hoses one them being the Paternoster Lodge.
There are quite a number of guest houses one them being the Paternoster Lodge which also has a restaurant and pub.
A fairly new addition, just in front of the hotel are trading stalls for the locals
A fairly new addition, just in front of the hotel, are trading stalls for the locals.
Just loved this item that was on sale at one of the stalls.
I just loved this item that was on sale at one of the stalls.
As with many of the villages there are always some creative people living and working there.
As with many of the towns and villages there are always some creative people living and working there.
Paternoster Clothing and Patchworks.
Paternoster Clothing and Patchworks.

All in all I still love Paternoster, even with all the changes, and would recommend that if you can’t go for a weekend then go for a day. It is close enough to Cape Town and, if you include Tietiesbaai and Cape Columbine, is well worth the trip. Make sure you include a seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Port Owen and Laaiplek

The Port Owen Marina, an upmarket retirement and holiday development, lies on the Berg River between Velddrif and Laaiplek. The marina was established on a vlei and a network of canals were built to give boats access to both river and sea. The marina also includes Admiral Island which can only be accessed over a linking bridge via a security entrance.

Many owners of the upmarket villas have their own yachts and this has ensured modern and safe moorings, a harbour and a slipway with a hoist capable of lifting boats of up to 10 tons out of the water.

One of the many large houses at Port Owen.
One of the many large houses at Port Owen.
You can step out of your house and straight on to your yacht.
You can step out of your house and straight on to your yacht or motor boat.
Spotted this friendly duck who didn't need a boat to navigate the canals.
Spotted this friendly duck who didn’t need a boat to navigate the canals.

One of the complexes at Port Owen.
One of the housing complexes at Port Owen.
This man was helping with dredging of the canals.
Working on the dredging of the canals.
The security entrance to Admiral Island.
The security entrance to Admiral Island.
Admiral Island in the midle surrounded by the Port Owen Marina.
Admiral Island in the middle surrounded by the Port Owen Marina.

Charter boat for birding trips on the river.

Charter boat for birding trips on the river.

Late afternoon there are boat trips along the river and many water birds can be seen in the reeds. The area is especially famous for its Pelicans.

Heading west out of Port Owen you soon arrive in Laaiplek. The town was bought by a Carl Stephan from Theunis Smit and was originally known as Rooibaai (Red Bay) apparently for the beautiful red hues reflected in the bay by the setting sun.

Laai is Afrikaans for load  and the town takes its name from the point on the river where boats were loaded and offloaded of their goods. It is situated where the Berg River  enters the Atlantic Ocean and it is from here that the larger fishing boats leave to trawl the ocean  and return with tonnes of fish for processing in the local fish factories.

Fishing boat at Laaiplek.
Fishing boats at Laaiplek.
If this was a house for sale they would call it a "fixer upper".
If this was a house for sale they would call it a “fixer upper”.

Restaurant right on the beach.
Restaurant right on the beach.
Gave myself a treat and bought some grilled fish here. It was delicious.
Gave myself a treat and bought some grilled fish here. It was delicious.
Fascinating shop on one of the side streets.
Fascinating shop on one of the side streets.
Entrance to Stywelyne Caravan Park in Laaiplek.
Entrance to Stywelyne Caravan Park in Laaiplek.

Went and had a look at the caravan park and it was not too bad. Still I am glad I stayed at Dwarskersbos.

This stretch of coast offers spectacular boat and land based whale watching and each spring Southern Right Whales put on a great show of breaching, lob-tailing and blowing and sometimes come in as close as 10 meters from the shore.

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