Posts Tagged ‘4×4 trails’

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.

Hondeklipbaai – Part 1

Woke up to a beautiful day on Saturday 15th – sun shinning and no wind – so decided that this was the day to take a drive down to the coast and visit Hondeklipbaai.

The road from Kamieskroon to Hondeklip, about 85km’s, is gravel and you travel over 2 small passes. All in all it was not too bad but there were a few really bad patches so one had to concentrate all the way or risk some major damage to the vehicle. No way would I tow a normal caravan on that road.

On arrival at Hondeklipbaai I  got the feeling that it was going to be a special place and that’s the way it turned out for me.

Entrance to Hondeklip Baai.

Entrance to Hondeklipbaai.

This little village was once the main harbour from which the copper ore of Namaqualand was exported in the 1800’s. It is now a settlement of about 750 people and for the 4×4 enthusiast it offers a vast, unspoilt, coastline to explore. One of the major attractions is the wreck of the Aristea that ran aground in 1945 and is situated about 5 km’s south of the village.

Info about the Aristea.

Info about the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Braai (barbacue) set-up.

Braai (barbecue) set-up.

Obviously a popular spot as they have braai facilities at the site.

Also met up here with 4 students from Cape Town who are studying at the African Film and Drama Academy. They were in the area for the weekend location scouting for a student film. Two of them were very lucky to have escaped virtually unscathed after rolling their car on the road to Hondeklipbaai.

Spotted tis guy sunning himself on the rocks.

Spotted this guy sunning himself on the rocks.

I was not really a flower photographing person, before this trip, but now love the challenge to show them off as best I can, so took these pix right at the beach.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.
Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Info on The Dog Stone.

Info on The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

Info on crayfish/rocklobster.

Info on crayfish/rock lobster.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

Hondeklipbaai is renowned for it’s crayfish but the income from crayfish can be very erratic as it is seasonal and sometimes the weather does not play ball. They have now started a pilot abalone mariculture project that is looking very positive. Unfortunately it being a Saturday I could not get in to have a look around.

Abalone piolet project.

Abalone pilot project.

I was originally going to cover Hondeklipbaai in 1 post but it would  really be too much as I have not even started on the people and the village itself so – to be continued.

Back to Basics – Backpackers

I met Bruce Wessels when he accompanied his father, Dudley, and I on the 4×4 Ship Wreck trail between Kleinzee and Koingnaas on my recent visit to Kleinzee. He has just recently, December 2008,  opened a Backpackers a few km’s from Koingnaas aimed at budget travellers who are looking for good surfing, crayfish diving – in season and with a permit – walking trails and back to nature experiences. They charge R100 per person per night and there is a rather cool surf spot on the doorstep called Workshop or The Workshop.

At the end of the 4×4 trail we dropped Bruce off and I had time for a quick look round and to take a few photographs.

Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers
Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers

Originally there were 2 groups of diamond divers huts in this area and both have now been renovated into very pleasant accommodation establishments. The first to be renovated was at Noup and is owned and managed by Bruce’s Mom and Dad. These are more upmarket self catering units with bathrooms en suite and epitomise the “on the beach” accommodation experience.

Back to Basic Backpackers was the second group of huts to be renovated, basic but comfortable,  self-catering huts just north of Noup. Communal bathrooms, kitchens and social areas make it ideal for small groups. Limited electricity supply in the evenings, 7pm – 10pm, warm water, gas stoves and braai facilities.

One of the larger huts which can sllep 4.
One of the larger huts which can sleep 4.
Communal lounge area
Communal lounge area

One of the bathrooms.

One of the bathrooms.

Some of the original decor.

Some of the original decor.

A reminder of the past?

A reminder of the past?

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop.

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop, ideal for sundowners.

All in all I think this would be a great place to stay for more than just a couple of nights. Because they are situated between Koingnaas and Kleinzee one needs to obtain clearance before being able to stay over night, therefore one must please contact Bruce at least 3 or 4 days before arriving so he can organize the relevant permits. (no charge)

Bruce Wessels –  Back to Basics Backpackers – 084-964-5856

Kleinzee – part 2

For the second part of my day in Kleinzee I was introduced to Dudley Wessels and his son Bruce. They were helping find suitable sites to erect camps for a new 4 day hiking trail that will hopefully be open to the public by the end of 2009. I was fortunate enough to be taken out by them on one of the great 4×4 routes along the coast for a couple of hours.

The area of land between Kleinzee and a place called Koingnaas 65 km to the south, is being utilised  for many projects to provide meaningful and sustainable input into the economy of the region. As mentioned the latest of these projects is a 4 day 80 km hiking trail which includes various habitats – strandveld, dunes and pristine coastal stretches.

Discussing the suitability of this area as a camp-site

Discussing the suitability of an area as a camp-site.

One of the beautiful bays.

One of the beautiful bays.

If I remember correctly this is the view one would have from one of the hiking camps.

Another beautiful beach.

Another stunning beach.

Reject ostrich eggs some of whichthat are possibly 15 years old.

Reject ostrich eggs some of which are possibly 15 years old.

Spot me if you can.

Spot me if you can.

How on earth one of the guys spotted this chameleon I have no idea.

One of the many flowering daisy bushes along the way.

One of the many flowering daisy bushes along the way.

Apart from the hiking trail there are 2 guided 4×4 trails. One is a 27 km dune drive, The Strandveld 4×4 Trail, which follows a sometimes almost invisible route through a 30,000ha private game reserve, two different dune systems and alternating veld. Ostriches, gemsbok, springbok and smaller antelope are common sights along the route. Unfortunately my time was limited so I did not go on this trail.

The other 4×4 trail, The Shipwreck 4×4 Trail, was the one I was taken on and it was spectacular. The trail is pretty rough  has a difficulty rating of 2-4, so it was a good thing I was not driving, and lasts about 5 hours.

Over many years the stormy Atlantic Ocean has sent a number of ships to a chilly grave along the coast between Kleinzee and Koingnaas.

The Border

The Border

On Tuesday 1 April 1947 the 285 ton British motor coaster, The Border, ran aground in dense fog at high tide, just south of Namanas Point, between Kleinzee and Koingnaas. All on board reached safety by means of a lifeline to the beach

The Piratiny

The Piratiny

In June 1943 the 5000 ton Brazilian steamer Piratiny was wrecked at Schulp Point, about 80km south of Port Nolloth, while on a voyage from Brazil to Cape Town.  Again no lives were lost and in fact they were able to salvage most of the cargo.

The trail is not just all about shipwrecks and you travel past pristine beaches, archaeological sites dating as far back as the late Stone Age and historical sites such as the Agenbags stone house.

Die Klip Huis

Die Kliphuisie

“Die Kliphuisie” was built by a farmer on the farm “Zwart Duinen” in 1928, but he disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1931. The next inhabitants were the Agenbag family.  This quaint little farmhouse from a bygone era has been vacant since the Agenbags retired in 1976.

There are numerous places that one can stay at in the area, self catering guest houses, a backpacker and 2 caravan and camping parksone at Kleinzee and the other at Koingnaas. If I was looking for a good place to just chill out, go surfing, walking, cycling etc. this would be it.

Please be aware that the area is under the control of the De Beers – Namaqualand Mines and if you wish to spend more than just a day you must apply for permission at least 5 days in advance as security clearance is necessary. Your full names and ID numbers will be required and a permit will be issued free of charge at the entrance gates. For more information contact Diamond Coast – Forever Namaqualand +27278770028