Ganzekraal Caravan Park.

I suppose I should call it by the name on the info sheet I was given which is – Ganzekraal Holiday Resort and Conference Centre but I was mostly interested in the caravan park. I have heard and read so many conflicting reports on the place that I was keen to have a look round and see if I should spend a few days there.

Ganzekraal is situated just off the R27 from Cape Town, about 20km’s from where I was staying at Yzerfontein, so I decided to take a drive and go and have a look round and see if it was really as bad as some people had said it was.

Sign board to Ganzekraal.

Sign board to Ganzekraal.

Security entrance.

Security entrance.

The security lady was pretty friendly and gave me all the info sheets with prices and terms but did tell me that I had only 20 minutes to have a look around. I presume the reason for that was that she saw the fishing rods in the Pajero and they charge an entrance fee if you just want to go in and fish.

A site virtually on the rocks.

A site virtually on the rocks. From the looks of the ground a popular site.

The camping area is divided into 2 sections – a lower section very close to the rocks and an upper section which is a bit further back and higher but gives you a really nice sea view.

Lower section with nicely grassed stands.

Lower section with nicely grassed stands.

Lower section ablution block.

Lower section ablution block.

To be honest the facilities were not great here but looked much neater and cleaner in the upper section block.

Stands on the upper section.

Stands on the upper section.

One of the big problems is that there are no trees or bushes to offer any kind of shelter from the sun and wind and boy was it blowing the day I was there.

One of the showers in the upper ablution block.

One of the showers in the upper ablution block.

As you can see not bad at all and they have obviously done some maintenance work.

Overall I thought the park did not look that bad but I sure would not like to be staying there when the wind is blowing. The one thing which I was told, and this  was confirmed by all I spoke to, was to avoid staying there over weekends as the place gets packed out,  is very noisy,  has a rowdy element and is not very pleasant. I also thought the  pricing  pretty steep at R120.00 in and R115.00 out of season and no pensioners discount. That and the wind factor put me off wanting to spend a few week days there.

Conference Centre building.

Conference Centre building.

Couldn’t have a look round as it was all locked up.

One of the chalets that are available.

One of the chalets that are available.

There are three different prices for the various chalets that all sleep six ranging from, in season, R490.00 to R610.00 per night. Some looked really nice while others, like the one above, appear to be a bit run down.

One of the nicer looking chalets with a stunning view

One of the nicer looking chalets with a stunning view

Walk way down to the beach.

Walk way down to the beach.

One of a few fishermen I saw.

One of a few fishermen I saw trying his luck off the beach.

To be honest I was quite tempted to spend a few days here as it has a rugged charm about it but unfortunately the day I moved down from Yzerfontein was really hot and windy so gave it a miss and drove on down to Melkbosstrand.

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.

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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.

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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.