Posts Tagged ‘Fishing’

Hermanus 1

Hermanus was originally named Hermanuspieterfontein after an itinerant teacher from the 1830’s who grazed sheep near a fresh water spring in what is now Westcliff. Fishermen from Hawston started to settle here more than 150 years ago but the town gradually became known as a holiday resort and grew into the main coastal centre of the Overberg.

IMG_3173

I am going to do 2 posts on Hermanus as there is a lot to see and do there and I have taken a lot of photos which I hope you find interesting.

I first started going to Hermanus about 45 years ago and boy has it changed over the years in comparison to a place such as Arniston which is further east along the coast . In those days Hermanus and Arniston had the same kind of feel – holiday, fishing village, sea side places, although Hermanus was even then quite a bit larger than Arniston. Now days Hermanus is a bustling, much larger and more modern town and for me has lost much of the charm that still exists at Arniston.

View of the old harbour from Gearing Point.
View of the old harbour from Gearing’s Point.

Monument housing the roll of honour for those from the area who perished in the 1st and 2nd World wars.

Monument housing the roll of honour for those from the area who perished in the 1st and 2nd World wars.

nnnn
Plaque for the Old Harbour which was for many years the centre of a thriving fishing industry.

Hermanus now has a vibrant tourism industry, boasts a large number of art galleries and restaurants and is, amongst others, home to an annual whale festival in September. From June to November, especially the area around the Old Harbour and Gearing’s Point offers excellent opportunities for watching whales which often come to within meters of the rocks.

Gearing's Point which is ideal for whale watching.
Gearing’s Point which is ideal spot for whale watching in season.

Unfortuneatly I was there at the wrong time of the year so this statue had to make do.
Unfortunately I was there at the wrong time of the year so this statue had to make do.

One of the stalls at the thriving open air market.
One of the stalls at the thriving open air market.

There are 3 museums in the Old Harbour area and 1 ticket gets you into all 3.
There are 3 museums in the Old Harbour area and 1 ticket gets you into all 3.

Another of the 3 museums.
Another of the 3 museums.

Part of a whale skeleton at the entrance to the Whale Museum.
Part of a whale skeleton at the entrance to the Whale Museum.

You can hire this guy to give you a guided tour. It was a really hot day and business was slow so he was having a break.
You can hire this guy to give you a guided tour. It was a really hot day and business was slow so he was having a break.

Most of the action takes place around the Old Harbour area and that is where you find all the great restaurants, art galleries and curio shops that Hermanus is well known for.

Some great restaurants.
Some great restaurants.

Part of the main tourist area.
Part of the main tourist area.

There are also many hotels and B&B's in the Old Harbour Area and many more in the older part of Hermanus.
There are also many hotels and B&B’s in the Old Harbour Area and many more in the older part of Hermanus.

As I said at the beginning of this post Hermanus is a really interesting place to visit and there is much to show and comment on. For this first part of my visit I have tried to cover what the average tourist would  get to see if they came for a 1 day visit and will show more in my next post.

Pringle Bay.

The first village from Rooi Els on the R44, in the Cape Hangklip area, is Pringle Bay. ( From what I was told Hangklip is not a place but an area and there is Groot Hangklip and Klein Hangklip.)

The villages of Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond share a common history from the ancient heritage of the early Bushmen and Hottentots, to a safe haven for smugglers in the 1800s, whalers in the early part of the 1900s before developing as holiday and retirement villages. There are now quite a lot of people that live and work there permanently (lucky people at that) as shop and restaurant owners, artists and of course estate agents. (I always marvel at the number of estate agents there are in all the small villages that I have been to.) The area is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is an internationally acclaimed conservancy because of the incredible variety of plants found here: an estimated 1650 species of mainly fynbos. In 1998 it became the first UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserve in Southern Africa.

Welcome to Pringle Bay.
Welcome to Pringle Bay.

A copy of an airial photograph of Pringle Bay.

A copy of an aerial photograph of Pringle Bay. Not sure how long ago it was taken.

You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experiance views like this one.
You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experience views like this.
House with a view.
House with a view. It almost looks suspended from this angle.

If you drive through Pringle Bay and take the dirt road that used to go directly to Betty’s Bay you come to a T junction where the road has now been blocked off. There is a short but bad road that leads down to a spectacular beach. ( I am not kidding about the road as I saw 2 cars get stuck and have to be towed out.)

End of the road - turn right to the beach.
End of the road – turn right to the beach.
Stunning beach.
Stunning beach. There had been massive seas so there was a lot of kelp on all the beaches.

A short distance away, as one drives back to Pringle Bay, is the Hangklip Lighthouse which is about a 15 minute walk,  and the small harbour /  launching area for all the various types of recreational boats. The fishing, crayfishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming at Pringle Bay is excellent and I saw many fish and crayfish being brought in on the boats.

Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.
Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.

An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.
An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.

Somebody was going to be dining well.
Somebody was going to be dining well.

After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.
After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.

The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore as well.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!
When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!

I think Pringle Bay is a great place and would love to have spent more time there and at Betty’s Bay exploring. Unfortunately they, together with Kleinmond, fall under the Overstrand Municipality who have increased prices at the 2 local caravan parks to such an extent that I could not afford to stop over for even one night. At Palmiet Rivier Park and Kleinmond the price of a stand last year was R75 and now this year they have pushed it up to R240 plus you pay an extra R30 for electricity. (R900 pm for a 10 amp plug.)  Not only that but they have extended their High Season to now be 1st November to end of April.  Most places have December, January and Easter weekend as High Season. Maybe they don’t want campers and caravaners at their parks. Sure looked like it when I went to have a look – a combined total of about 400 sites and 5 people staying there.

Gordons Bay to Rooi Els

I can remember, years ago, when friends and I would take a Sunday drive out to Gordon’s Bay and drive the 20km stretch of road to Rooi Els and then along past Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay and have a braai (BBQ) along the way. It was beautiful then and remains beautiful today.

The first place to go to, as you leave Gordon’s Bay, is up the road to the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant just for the incredible view one gets of False Bay. In the old days one could also drive to the dam itself but that is no longer permitted.

View of Gordon's Bay and surrounds from the Steenbras road.
View of Gordon’s Bay and surrounds from the Steenbras road.
Clarence Drive.
Clarence Drive.

I have travelled this road (R44) to Rooi Els many times but never new it was officially called Clarence Drive. I must  say that along with Chapmans Peak drive in Cape Town I rate this as one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in the Cape Province.

Stunning views.
Stunning views.

This coastline is very popular with rock anglers but is notorious  for the number of fishermen that have been washed off the rocks and drowned over the years.

One of the markers from 1901.
One of the markers from 1901.

“Die see het hom geneem”  (The sea took him)

One of the first places you come to on the drive is The Sundird Restaurant at the mouth of the Steendras River.
The Sunbird

One of the first places you come to on the drive is The Sunbird Restaurant and Pub at the mouth of the Steenbras River. There is also a guest lodge and self catering B&B.

Mouth of the Steenbras River.
Mouth of the Steenbras River.

I remember my folks telling me stories about  camping here when they were both students. There are also  challenging hiking trails in the area.

A view of Kogel Bay where there is a caravan park.
A view of Kogel Bay where there is a caravan park.

Kogel Bay Resort.

Kogel Bay Resort.

Is that not amazing?
Is that not amazing?

Just be aware that the Kogel Bay Park is pretty rough and ready. There is no electricity and the ablution blocks are not great. Also you can not just arrive on a Friday and book in. That all, including payment, has to be done in advance via fax or at the Strand Municipality. I am beginning to wonder if the Overberg and Overstrand Municipalities are trying to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible  to try and stop people camping? Very strange!

On of the ablution blocks.
One of the ablution blocks.

The hot water is heated by gas and as you can see there is a solar panel for some lighting.  I was told that unfortunately the light was not working.

Just a bit futher down the road is the Kogel Bay Day camp which has a great tidal pool.

Just a bit futher down the road is the Kogel Bay Day camp which has a great tidal pool.

There are 2 other day camps such as the one above, Sharks Bay and Klippis Baai, which are very popular for Sunday picnics and braai’s for the family.

The view from the R44 across the beach to Rooi Els.

The view from the R44 across the beach to Rooi Els.

Rooi Els.

Rooi Els.

I have friends who have a holiday house at Rooi Els where I stayed on a few occasions and it became one of my favourite places to go to for a break. It has not changed that much over the years – a few new shops – and there are only a certain number of houses that can be built there. If I remember correctly there are about 180 houses and only about 60 more that can be built there.

View of Rooi Els from the mountain side where some house have been built.

View of Rooi Els from the mountain side where some house have been built.

Clarence Drive (R44) is only about 20km’s long but it has some of the most beautiful views and scenery in the Cape Province and it is truly worth taking some time out and exploring all the stops along the way.

Gordon’s Bay.

Gordon’s Bay, a picturesque coastal village just a few km’s from the Strand, is set against the steep slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and is one of the 3 towns that form the Helderberg Basin. This Mediterranean style sea side village is home to the South African Naval College and only 50 minutes from Cape Town and just off the N2 high way.

I asked a few of the locals where the Strand stops and Gordon’s Bay begins and all said the start of Gordon’s Bay is at the new harbour or Harbour Island.

Harbour Island
Harbour Island

The new harbour
The new harbour
ccc
There are lots of shops and restaurants situated in the harbour.
You can also try your luck fishing off the horbour wall.
You can also try your luck at fishing off the harbour wall.

Pleasure trips on luxury yachts and cruisers are available for charter from both harbours.

Looking accross the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.
Looking across the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.

As one drives into the centre of Gordon’s Bay through the narrow streets you will find many street cafes, bars and restaurants and if you are a seafood lover this is the place to be.

Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant int he centre of the village.
Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant in the centre of the village.

The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.

There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called
There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called the Happy Oyster.

Gordon’s Bay is  known for it’s safe bathing with both the Main and Bikini Beaches attracting thousands of happy sun worshippers on weekends during  hot summer days. Bikini Beach is a Blue Flag Beach and is situated next to the old harbour.

Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach.
Bikini Beach. This was taken on a weekday so only a few lucky locals were there.

I am sure that early on Gordon’s Bay was more of a holiday town with not many people actually living there. Now days, what with the high way and fast cars many people live here and commute to work in Cape Town. There are some some really amazing houses that have been built on the beach front and on the side of the mountain  offering some spectacular views over False Bay looking toward Cape Town. On a clear day Table Mountain and the mountain ranges round Cape Point are clearly visible.

Some of the houses right next to Bikini Beach.Houses right next to Bikini Beach.

House built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don't allow building any higher.
Houses built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don’t allow them to build  any higher.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have from this point.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

Gordon’s Bay, as is the Strand, is only ten minutes away from the Helderberg Wine Route and brewery and a 15 minute drive over the Spectacular Sir Lowry’s pass takes you to the fruit route at Elgin and Grabouw. The village is on the scenic coastal route to Hermanus and the whale route. During September and October whales can be seen in False Bay. For the more active there is a walk above the village on the Danie Miller trail and you can explore the historic cannon and Foogon wheel walk at Sir Lowry’s Pass or have  a dip in the Crystal Pools in the Steenbras Valley.

Melkbos to Table View.

Well here I am back out on the road again to continue my voyage of discovery round the coast of South Africa and have just discovered that there was still 1 post I needed to do to complete my trip down the West coast so here it is.

Melkbosstrand still has an old established feel to it. There are modern shops and some pretty upmarket looking houses but overall it has not really been developed to the extent of such as places as Big Bay just 10 km’s down the road towards Cape Town. As usual I am going to let my photographs do most of the talking.

Old style house on the beach front
Old style house on the beach front
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apperently good fishing.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apparently good fishing.

As one leaves Melkbosstrand and travels towards Cape Town you drive along next to undeveloped beaches, where I saw quite a few fishermen with lines in the water, you have to ask yours self how long will it last and especially as you arrive at Big Bay.

I first went to big bay about 40 years ago and there was pretty much nothing there apart from a parking area, a small shop and not much else. It was a very popular spot for surfing in those days and also a great place to go to for a braai (BBQ) above the road in the picnic area or at the beach.

Wow has it all changed over the years. It is now a massive sprawling mass of houses, developments and shops and apart from the actual beach area is not recognisable.

Big contingent of life gaurds there - not to mention the "car" gaurds.
Big contingent of life guards there – not to mention the “car” guards.
Some of the shops where there just used to be one small cafe.
One of the shopping centres  where there just used to be one small shop.

Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.

Moving on a bit closer to Cape Town is Blaauwberg.  It was a place I used to visit frequently as I had friends that lived there. Looking at Blaauwberg today, while there has been growth and quite a lot of change,  it has still somehow kept its character of the past.

"Ons Huisie" resaurant is on eof the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg.
“Ons Huisie” restaurant is one of the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg. Great sea food.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great "dinner dances" here.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great “dinner dances” here. The old place is looking really good these days and also has great sea food.
A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

The last stop on my west coast journey before reaching Cape Town was Table View which is one of the fastest growing areas in the greater Cape Town area. Most of the housing developments are a few km’s from the beach area and are growing at an incredible rate

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

Some of the old and new developmets along the beach front.

Some of the older and new developments along the beach front.

A final shot from Table Tiew of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli  which went aground just off Table  View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

A final shot from Table View of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli 1 which went aground just off Table View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

Well, sadly, (for me anyway) that is the last of my posts on the West Coast of South Africa and I have now just started on my journey up the Western Cape south coast. I am at the moment staying in the Strand / Gordons Bay area and am going to slowly make my way up the coast to such places as Rooi Els, Hangklip and other small towns as I move toward Hermanus.

I hope that many of you who have been following my travels up to now will continue you to do so in the future. I love getting feedback and comments and watching the number of visitors to the site grow by the month. In fact I have been staggered by the numbers as I thought, when I started out, that it might be looked at occasionally by family and friends, but I have been getting visitors from all over the world  in ever increasing numbers.

See you on the other side of Cape Town.

Older Posts »