Posts Tagged ‘Fishing’

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.

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.

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.

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.

Paternoster

Paternoster, meaning Our Father, is thought to have been given it’s name by a group of shipwrecked sailors in thanks for the sparing of their lives. Although Paternoster is still closely associated with fishing and the sea it has now also become a must visit destination for overseas travellers to South Africa.

The easiest way to reach Paternoster is via Vredenburg.
The easiest way to reach Paternoster is via Vredenburg.

I was honestly shocked at what I saw as I drove into what used to be a little fishing village. The first time I went to Paternoster was nearly 40 years ago and all there was then the hotel, the fishermen’s cottages and 2 houses. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who had access to one of those houses and a group of us spent a few long week-ends fishing, braaing and consuming many crayfish which we could buy from the locals for next to nothing..

I had been back again about 20 years later and  a row of about 10 or 12 houses had been built along the beach front. Today there must be well over a hundreds  houses  both north and south with new developments everywhere. I found it all quite sad as the Paternoster I knew had basically vanished, still beautiful but completely different.

One thing that has not changed much is the small Paternoster Hotel. The original building was built in 1863 and in 1940 was bought by the Tollman family and turned into an hotel. There used to be only 6 rooms but that was increased by an additional 4 with sea view and balcony. There is also now a fabulous restaurant area in the front and recently The  Shell Shop was added to the hotel. It is also famous (infamous?) for The Panty Bar which at one stage served as the local jail before the conversion to an hotel.

Open air restaurant at front of hotel.
Open air restaurant at front of hotel.
A bit of history of the hotel.
A bit of history and info of the hotel.
One of the stranger items for sale from the Shell Shop.
One of the stranger items for sale from the Shell Shop. I think it is called a Blaasoppie fish?
The main beach just in front of the hotel.
The main beach near the hotel.

One of the fishing boats ready to take to the sea.
One of the fishing boats ready to take to the sea.

Development on the north side.
Development on the north side.

Development to the south.

Development to the south.

An original fishermans cottage which has been done up and apperently still belongs to one of the local fishermen.
An original fisherman’s cottage which has been done up and I believe still belongs to one of the local fishermen.

Anew development also on the northern side of the village.
A new development on the northern side of the village.
There are quite a number of guest hoses one them being the Paternoster Lodge.
There are quite a number of guest houses one them being the Paternoster Lodge which also has a restaurant and pub.
A fairly new addition, just in front of the hotel are trading stalls for the locals
A fairly new addition, just in front of the hotel, are trading stalls for the locals.
Just loved this item that was on sale at one of the stalls.
I just loved this item that was on sale at one of the stalls.
As with many of the villages there are always some creative people living and working there.
As with many of the towns and villages there are always some creative people living and working there.
Paternoster Clothing and Patchworks.
Paternoster Clothing and Patchworks.

All in all I still love Paternoster, even with all the changes, and would recommend that if you can’t go for a weekend then go for a day. It is close enough to Cape Town and, if you include Tietiesbaai and Cape Columbine, is well worth the trip. Make sure you include a seafood lunch at one of the local restaurants.

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