Archive for the Photography Category

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 2

If you have just come across this post then I would suggest that you first have a look at the post called Hermanus 1 as it gives a bit of background to the town and covers most of the touristy places situated round the Old Harbour – sort of what you would see if you only had a few hours to explore Hermanus. This latest post carries on from there.

View of Hermanus looking toward the centre of town.
View of Hermanus looking toward the centre of town.

Looking east towards the lagoon.
Looking east towards the lagoon.

Both the above photographs are taken from the mountains overlooking Hermanus. When the right winds are blowing these mountains provide the launch pad for some of the best para and hang-gliding in the Cape. Rotary Drive provides easy access to the launching site which is more or less in line with the golf course and high school grounds.

The famous Grotto Beach.
The famous Grotto Beach.

Grotto Beach.
Grotto Beach.

Hermanus is recognised as having some of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa. A section Of Grotto now boasts Blue Flag status offering visitors facilities that include lifesavers, security guards and spotless cloakrooms. The beach stretches all the way to the little town of De Kelders  – a solid 5 hour walk.

There is also a great sea-food restaurant right at the beach.
There is also a great sea-food restaurant right at the beach.

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Just to give you an idea of the menu.

Voelklip Beach
Voelklip Beach

About a kilometre from Grotto towards town is the grassed and terraced Voelklip Beach which is the in place for the younger set with some good waves for surfing.

Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

There are many walks for those keen on hiking and you can choose from beach, coast or mountain routes. Fernkloof offers several different grades of walk and the area is covered in spectacular fynbos.

The unique Cliff Paths.
The unique Cliff Paths.

This path is about 10 kilometres long and basically runs the full length of Hermanus from the New Harbour to the lagoon. The section from Fick’s Pool to Tamatiebank has recently been upgraded to accommodate wheelchairs and during the season is a wonderful walk to take and spot the whales in Walker Bay.

Looking across from near the Old Harbour towards the New Harbour.
Looking across from near the Old Harbour towards the New Harbour.

Not difficult to tell what the main touist attraction is in Hermanus.
Not difficult to tell what the main tourist attraction is in Hermanus.

One of the two very popular restaurants situated in the New Harbour.
One of the two very popular restaurants situated in the New Harbour.

As a working harbour fishing trawlers are often moored along side the quay.
As a working harbour fishing trawlers are often moored along side the quay.

Divers training school in the New Harbour.
Divers training school in the New Harbour.

Bombs away. The water here is pretty deep.
Bombs away. The water here is pretty deep.

There are really a huge amount of things to do in Hermanus and I am sure I have just scratched the surface. Apart from everything I have mentioned there is an excellent golf course, bowls, fishing, surfing, birding – which is  becoming  the fastest growing eco-tourist commodity in the world – arts and crafts,  whale festival, kaliefees, wine tasting, sailing and boating, fly fishing and diving just to mention some.

Vermont, Onrus & Sandbaai.

As one gets to the end of the R44 you get to a T-junction with the Bot River to Hermanus road the R43. You pass the fishing  villages of Church Haven and Hawston , which has long been the home of abalone fishermen. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore these two places and went straight on to Vermont.

Basically Vermont, Onrus and Sandbaai are upmarket suburbs of the major town in the area, Hermanus. Each place has its own character and I found Vermont to be best of the three. They all have one thing in common and that is they are all situated in Walker Bay and are great places, at the right time of year, for whale spotting and viewing.

Great coastal hiking trail that links the three places.
Great coastal hiking trail that links the three places.

Davies pool with Onrus in the background. The pool is dirctly in front of the Onrus Caravan Park.
Davies pool with Onrus in the background. The pool is directly in front of the Onrus Caravan Park.

A view of Vermont from the highest point I could find.
A view of Vermont from the highest point I could find.

Vermont is not only a residential town but is becoming increasingly popular for retirees.
Vermont is not only a residential town but is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement village with many security type estates.

Even though Hermanus is just 10 minutes away they also have a modern shopping centre.
Even though Hermanus is just 10 minutes away they also have a modern shopping centre.

The next place you come to as you head down the R43 towards Hermanus is Onrus. Actually the tree villages are linked and it is difficult to tell where one ends and the next one starts.

The Onrus River and lagoon are accesable next to the beach.
The Onrus River and lagoon are accessible next to the beach.

The beach at Onrus.
The beach at Onrus.

The safe lagoon area which is nex to the beach.
The safe lagoon area which is next to the beach. To be honest the swimming here was the best of the three areas.

The nnn at the beach.
The Beach Kiosk Bistro at the beach. Good place to stop for breakfast.

One of the good looking "sea side cottages".
One of the good looking “sea side cottages”.

I saw quite a few art galleries in Onrus.
The “Mission’s House Gallery. I saw quite a few art galleries in Onrus.

Te next place you get to just before you reach Hermanus is Sandbaai.
The last place you get to just before you reach Hermanus is Sandbaai.

Unfortuneatly there had been a massive sea so the beach was not looking it's best.
Unfortunately there had been a massive sea so the beach was not looking it’s best.

As with most sea side places I have visited there are some pretty big houses.
As with most sea side places I have visited there are some pretty big houses.

The bottom section of one of the older houses has been turned into a restaurant.
The bottom section of one of the older houses has been turned into a restaurant called Bamboo Beach.

Also discovered that Sandbaai has it's own private college calle Northcliff House.
Also discovered that Sandbaai has it’s own private college called Northcliff House.

At the junction of the R43 where one turns right to go down to Sandbaai there is an intriguing shopping village on the left which is well worth exploring. There are art galleries, restaurants, an interior design studio and a wine village shop where all of the local wines can be purchased .

Hemel en Aarde

Hemel en Aarde Shopping Village.

Intersting use of old wine barrels.
Interesting use of old wine barrels.

There are a few wine shops here and you can also go for tastings at the

There are a quite few wine shops here and you can also go for tastings at the Whalehaven Winery.

There really is a lot to see and experience in the three villages  so try and make a day of it – have breakfast, go swimming, look through the art galleries, have lunch,  taste and buy a few bottles of the local wines (some of them are excellent) and just have a wonderfully relaxing day.

Kleinmond.

The last of the 4 sea-side villages along the R44 , after Betty’s Bay, is Kleinmod which lies on a lagoon at the small mouth – hence the name – of the Botriver on a narrow strip of land hugged on the one side by the Palmiet Mountain range and on the other by the Atlantic Ocean.  Despite its beauty and relative peacefulness, Kleinmond is the largest of the four coastal towns  and as such, serves as a commercial centre for the Hangklip-Kleinmond area. Traditionally a retirement village, the town comes alive during holiday season and is renowned for large numbers of crayfish (lobster) in summer and whale watching in winter.

As with the others it is also part of the UNESCO declared Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Kleinmond lies at the mouth of the Bot River Vlei, an important wetland, which has become home to a herd of feral horses that have adapted to life in the marshy conditions. They are occasionally spotted by visitors on walks or canoe trips in the estuary. All four villages are  famous for the annual visits of the Southern Right Whales and have a wide variety of bird life.

Just before you get to Kleinmond you cross over the Palmiet River. You can experience the river during both the low summer months and in winter when this friendly stream becomes a torrent of class 3+ white water. There are tour operators in the area and people with their own kayaks can explore the Palmiet and Bot Rivers lagoons,estuaries and vleis.

Harbour Road is the place to be.  There are wonderful small shops to explore, awesome galleries and craft stores and the seafood restaurants serve the freshest fish in town.

The
The Fishing Cat

The
Sunshine Trading.

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“Deliciously Different” looked like one of the more popular eating spots.

If you are into Sushi this is the place tp be.
If you are into Sushi this is the place tp be.

The shops and restaurants are situated just above the small harbour. There was quite a big sea running and I was fascinated by the foam caused by the sea action against the rocks.
The shops and restaurants are situated just above the small harbour. There was quite a big sea running and I was fascinated by the foam caused by the sea action against the rocks.

The house come in all shapes and sizes but I rather fancied this one which over looks the main beach and lagoon.
The houses come in all shapes and sizes but I rather fancied this one  overlooking the beach and lagoon.

Main Beach in Kleinmond.
Main Beach in Kleinmond.

The beach here, although not great for swimming, is perfect for fishing.
The beach here, although not great for swimming, is perfect for fishing.

The safe, cool waters of the lagoon.
The safe, cool waters of the lagoon which is next to the main beach.

Fishing from the rocks while the family enjoy themselves at the beach about 50 meters away.

Fishing from the rocks while the family enjoy themselves at the beach about 50 meters away.

There are also 2 caravan parks in the area, one at Palmiet River and the other just as one leaves the town on the left hand side. To be honest I would love to have spent more time (and money) in the area but I found their prices and new high season dates to be totally ridiculous. I know for a fact that sites at both parks were charged out at R75 per day last year are now charged at R240 plus R30 for electricity. That is crazy and I really hope that the municipality come to it’s senses soon as they, and the surrounding towns, are loosing a lot of tourist money.

The Arabella

The Arabella Country Estate

A few km’s outside of Kleinmond is the Arabella Country Estate which overlooks the largest natural lagoon in South Africa. Situated just 20 minutes away from Hermanus it has a variety of dining and entertainment options and the award winning 18 hole championship golf course which is rated as one of the best courses in the Western Cape.

Betty’s Bay.

Just a few km’s down the R44 from Pringle Bay is the village of Betty’s Bay which also lies in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Betty’s Bay is a picturesque seaside village situated along the scenic Clarence Drive Route (R44).  The pretty town is positioned in a narrow strip of land between the Kogelberg Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, and bordered by fresh water lakes and the Palmiet River.

This part of the world is considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom due to the exceptional examples of fynbos and has largely remained unspoilt and isolated. Although the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the world’s six plant kingdoms, it nevertheless has the 2nd largest diversity. The reserve stretches along the coast from Gordon’s Bay through to the town of Kleinmond and inland from the farms of the Elgin Basin through to Grabouw – a total of some 100,000 ha.

Harold
Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens.

Harold Porter Gardens.
Harold Porter Gardens.

The botanical garden of Harold Porter, which stretches from the mountain-top down to the sea, is known as ‘little Kirstenbosch’ and contains some of the best examples of local fynbos, including proteas, restios and over 50 species of ericas.

Because I was trying to cover so much in 1 day I did not have a chance to go in to the gardens and have a walk around. I have been there on 3 or 4 other occasions and it is really worth the time and effort to spend a few hours there and if fit enough take a hike up to the waterfall and pool. Truly beautiful.

My next visit was to take a drive down to Stony Point and have a look at the African Penguin  colony which I had not seen before.

Info on Stony Point Penguins.
Info on Stony Point Penguins.

The penguin colony at Stony Point is one of four mainland colonies in South Africa and declared a municipal nature reserve in July 2002.The best time of day to view them is in the late afternoon, when the penguins return from fishing.

Stony Point.
Stony Point.

They have built a viewing walk way to make it easier to view the penguins.
They have built a viewing walk way to make it easier to view the penguins.
A few of the over 4,000 African Pnguins at Stony Point.
A few of the over 4,000 African Penguins at Stony Point.

It was a hot day so some were taking advantage of the the water showers provided for them to keep cool.
It was a hot day so some were taking advantage of the the water showers provided for them to keep cool.

The old concrete tower that housed the light to guide the boats into Stony Pint Harbour.
The old concrete tower that housed the light to guide the boats into Stony Point Harbour.

All that is left of the "Una" which was built in 1890 and was scuttled here to form part of the jetty.
All that is left of the “Una” which was built in 1890 and was scuttled here to form part of the jetty.

There is also a Cafe come restaurant come meuseum come art gallery at Stoney Point and well worth a visit.
There is also a café come restaurant come museum come art gallery at Stony Point and well worth a visit.

Fritz Von Wustenhoff who owns the Southern Cross Cafe is a mine of information about the area.

Fritz Von Wustenhoff who owns the Southern Cross Café is a mine of information about the area.

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There are some pretty sizeable houses along the road at Betty's Bay

One of quite a few galleries that I spotted.

One of quite a few gallery's that I spotted.

As I said of Pringle Bay I just wish I had had more time to explore  as I know that there are some beautiful beaches and many guest houses in the area.

Silver Sands and Hangklip dunes lie to the west of Stony Point offering a beach of over four kilometres and great kite surfing opportunities. The beach is also good for picnics, swimming and surfing. Jock’s Bay and Shelly Beach, close to the Harold Porter garden, offer the younger generation better paddling and shell collecting opportunities

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