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.

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.

Jacobsbaai.

Situated on the coast between Saldanha Bay and Paternoster lies the picturesque retirement and holiday village of Jacobsbaai. The turn off to get to Jacobsbaai is on the Saldanha Bay – Vredenburg  road, just outside Saldanhna, and the road, until fairly recently was a not so good gravel road.

Jacobsbaai is out of sight of the bordering developed towns and the main traffic flow of the area and is also surrounded by agricultural land and natural vegetation. It is the kind of place you don’t just stumble upon but rather have to know about and make an effort to get there.

Welcome to Jacobsbaai.
Welcome to Jacobsbaai.

IMG_2323Part of Jacobsbaai’s 2km coastline.

The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village.
The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village called Hospital Bay.

As one arrives in Jacobsbaai there is an extraordinary sight that greets you. On the 24th June 2009 a barge, the Margaret that was being towed from Durban to the Netherlands, ran aground and is still stuck on the rocks. It is a huge multi decker barge and there is no way that you can miss seeing it.

The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.
The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.

ccccc

Salvage Operation.

There are plans to try and salvage either the barge or at least the cargo.

Weskusplek.
Weskusplek.

Weskusplek is an 80 seater restaurant, holiday and conferencing resort, uniquely situated on a narrow peninsula between  Jacobsbaai bay on the one side and the white-sand beach of Hospital Bay on the other side. Weskusplek is also sometimes referred to as “Steve’s place” after Steve Hofmeyer, a well known South African entertainer, who is a part owner.

The multifunctional conference fascility.
The multifunctional conference facility.

I say multifunctional as it is also used as a wedding chapel and on the day I was there was being prepared for a whole crowd to gather and watch the semi finals of the Currie Cup rugby competition.

Another view of Weskusplek.
Another view of Weskusplek.

Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
looking accross another small bay at the Crayfish
Looking across another small bay at a place called Live Fish Tanks.

At Live Fish Tanks they pack live West Coast Rock Lobster (crayfish) for export to to Europe and  the far east.

Another old look out building on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
An old look out tower on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.

Stopped and had a chat to the owners of this house who told me they were the first to build at Jacobsbaai only 17 years ago. An interesting fact is that of the over 300 houses here 80% are occupied all year round. They reckon that once you stay here you never want to leave.

As you can see there are some good looking houses.
As you can see there are some good looking houses.
They got the rugby result correct - Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.
They got the rugby result correct – Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.

Probably the most practicle finish you caould have for a house at the sea.
Probably the most practicable finish you could have for a house at the sea.

This was only the second time I had been to Jacobsbaai, the first was for a photographic assignment some months ago, and after having had some time to explore and have a good look round I really enjoyed the village and can understand why people don’t want to leave. It is only 140km’s from Cape Town and also close to a new modern shopping centre outside Vredenburg. It has a moderate climate, great seafood restaurant and there is good fishing, crayfish diving in season, small boat access, bird life and walking trails.

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.