Posts Tagged ‘Lamberts Bay’

Pick of the Pix.

As some of you know I am a professional photographer working out of Cape Town, South Africa and hope that the photographs in my posts have been fairly interesting. The professional  work  has been connected to theatre  and dance so this type of photography was pretty new to me. After having a look through all the photos from the trip I decided to do this post of a few that I think stand out from the rest.

Interesting to note that only 2 of the photos were taken with a high-end camera – actually a not so high-end Canon 20D with an 80-200 2.8f lens – and all the rest with a point and shoot type Canon G7 camera. I was truly amazed at the quality of the G7 and it was only for the photos of  birds that I switched to the 20D.

Sunrise at Brandkaros near Alexander Bay.
Sunrise at Brandkaros near Alexander Bay.

This is one of my favourites and I am using it as the desk top of my computer.

Beach at Alexander Bay.
Beach at Alexander Bay.

The feeling of desolation in this photo sums up the story of Alexander Bay itself.

Hazy sunset at McDougalls Bay.
Hazy sunset at McDougalls Bay.

Golden Sunset at McDougalls Bay.
Golden Sunset at McDougalls Bay.

Every sunset at McDougalls Bay seemed to produce  different tonal qualities.

Ship wreck at Port Nolloth.
Shipwreck at Port Nolloth.

This happened fairly recently and they were  hoping to re-float her.

Shipwreck just south of Kleinzee.
Shipwreck just south of Kleinzee.

Not much chance of re-floating this wreck!

Spot me if you can.
Spot me if you can.

Photo of very well camouflaged chameleon taken near Kleinzee.

Dragline taken at Kleinzee.
Dragline taken at Kleinzee.

Namaqualand flowers just outside Nababeep.

Namaqualand flowers just outside Nababeep.

Flowers near Springbok.

Flowers near Springbok.

According to most of the locals I spoke to 2009 has not been a great year for flowers.

Seal on the edge.

Seal on the edge at Hondeklipbaai.

About 10 seconds after I took this shot the seal took a headlong dive into that churning white water.

Still standing!

Still standing! (Dooringbaai)

Talk about the power of the sea – the noise when that wave hit that wall was like thunder.

Bird Island at Lamberts Bay.

Bird Island at Lamberts Bay.

The noise, and to be honest the smell, when you went down wind of these thousands of Gannets was quite something.

Bird on the wing.

Bird on the wing.

Toutch down at Verlorenvlei

Touch down at Verlorenvlei

Both bird shots above were taken at Vensterklip using a Canon 20D camera.

Well I hope you have enjoyed looking at the photographs as much as I did taking them. Hopefully there will be plenty more, at new locations, in the coming months.

Alexander Bay to Elands Bay – The Lows

I have been back in Cape Town for a week and had some time to think about my trip through the Richtersveld, Namaqualand and the West Coast. There are still so many more places that I want to visit on my voyage of discovery as my original aim was to travel the whole of the SA coast over a 3 year period. So after 2 months of my journey is this still what I want to do?

I am going to start with the lows as most of these occurred  at the beginning of my trip and, apart from one or two problems later on, the majority of my journey was great.

The biggest low for me was the problem of my new deep freeze which just did not do the job. I had bought a lot of frozen food before I left Cape Town as I was not sure what would be available, and at what cost, in some of the small towns I was going to. Having to throw away over R500.00 worth of food was a real downer. This  happened at Brandkaros which is 27 km’s from Alexander Bay. The drive to Brandkaros was also a low as the road was terrible for towing a standard caravan and caused some pretty heavy damage.

My site at Brandkaros

My site at Brandkaros

One of the worst problems I had at Brandkaros was the troop of about 30 monkeys that came into the park everyday and caused chaos by over turning the rubbish  bins  and jumping on the caravan and tent. The first time it happened I just wanted to pack up and leave.

Not one of my favourite animals.

Not one of my favourite animals.

I did find out, after a day or two, that they did not like the crackling sound of the shock-stick that I had with me.

I found that some of the caravan parks were badly run down and poorly maintained with the worst part being the ablution blocks. Some of them are appalling and here I think of Brandkaros, McDougalls Bay, Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. If only the managers or owners of these parks knew how much caravanner’s talk amongst themselves about the parks and basically judge them on the ablution facilities. A prime example of this was Kamieskroon that everyone raved about, which had very average sites but fantastic ablutions.

Brandkaros ablutions. Really bad but I was told just before I left that they were budgeting on spending quite a bit of money to upgrade them.

Brandkaros ablutions. Really bad but I was told, just before I left, that they were budgeting quite a bit of money to upgrade them.

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort.

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort?

McDougalls Bay ablution block.

McDougalls Bay ablution block.

What a place of contrasts. The site was the most run-down and yet was the most expensive  on the first night that I stayed there as it was “in season” and cost me R123.00. You can not leave anything outside as people just walk up off the beach and steal. They also have a big problem with beggars. Even when I went back there after Brandkaros they wanted to over charge me. McDougalls Bay itself is stunning and it is such a pity that they do not do more with the caravan park.

Lamberts Bay Caravan Park.

Lamberts Bay Caravan Park.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

I stayed at Lamberts Bay but not at Elands Bay and have put them together as they both fall under the same name and telephone number for information and management. Lamberts Bay is bad but from what I saw Elands Bay is shocking. Sadly both have been badly neglected. I say sadly because with good management and an injection of funds by the municipality both have the potential to attract a lot of people into the area all year round.

Lamberts Bay Harbour

Lamberts Bay Harbour

I enjoyed the town of Lamberts Bay but found the street sellers and beggars to be very aggressive and make life very unpleasant.

Something that I can not understand is the inconsistency of  pricing at the  parks. I paid from a low of R45.00 per night at Kamieskroon to R123.00 per night at McDougalls Bay. As I said Kamieskroon was great McDougalls Bay not!! One thing I did pick up on was that where there was competition  the better and less expensive the sites were.

Overall not too many lows and I know that when I post the highs they will be strongly in the majority.

Lamberts Bay Caravan Park

Although I did not stay at Elands Bay Caravan Park I did take a drive through to go and have a look and am  going to include it in this post as I have found out that both parks have the same contact person and telephone numbers and are therefore connected.

Lets start with the Lamberts Bay park. I had been warned by quite a few fellow caravanner’s to avoid this park as it is not good and judged on value for money has to rank up there with the worst I have stayed at thus far. They charged me R100.00 per night and to be honest if it had not been that I wanted to spend a few days exploring Lamberts Bay itself I would have moved on after 1 night.

The entrance to the park.
The entrance to the park. Not exactly inspiring.
The office area. All bars and no information brochures. Very unfriendly.
The office area. All bars and no information brochures. Very unfriendly.

Some of the more than 268 sites.
Some of the more than 268 sites. It is a huge park and I would hate to stay there in season.
Some more sites and that is my set-up. Did not bother putting up the tent. More sites and that is my set-up. I did not even bother putting up the tent.
They have 40 sites with private ablutions which cost even more.
They have 40 sites with private ablutions which cost even more.
Shower in the general ablution block. I would love to know when those shower curtains were last changed. I felt unclean even after a shower.
Shower in the general ablution block. I would love to know when those shower curtains were last changed. I felt unclean even after a shower.

Old unkempt crazy golf course.

Old unkempt crazy golf course. It just looks so messy.

So close yet so far.

So close yet so far.

One of the major selling points is that the park is right next to the sea but as you can see there is no way you can get to it!! Surely there must be keys, that they could take a deposit for, so that patrons could go for a walk on the beach?

Overall I thought the park was pretty poor considering what they were charging. If I had been paying R60.00 a night I would not have felt so ripped off.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

Elands Bay Caravan Park.

Onto Elands Bay Caravan Park. As I said both parks fall under the same management and it shows. I did not stay here and personally never would but I did read some comments on the internet by someone who did. “Terrible camp-site – neglected – poor maintenance” and from what I saw he was spot on. The writer did also say that the site had great potential and I felt the same about the whole of Elands Bay.

A not exactly inspiring site!

A not exactly inspiring sight?!(pun intended}

Everything just looked so neglected.

Everything just looked so neglected.

The ablution block. To be honest I could not force myself to go inside.

The ablution block. To be honest I could not force myself to go inside.

View of the beach from near the park.

View of the beach from near the park.

I agree that there is huge potential both for the caravan park and for Elands Bay in general and from some of the things I was told there will hopefully be some major changes in the near future.  Just by the way I found another small caravan park about 4 km’s from Elands Bay that is great and charges the same price per night, R100.00, with a private ablution block. I will write a post on that soon.

Papendorp plus.

I left Strandfontein on Friday morning as I had decided that R125.00 per night over weekends was a bit steep for me and to rather head for Lamberts Bay further south along the west coast. I had heard from numerous other campers that Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay caravan parks were not too great and quite expensive but thought there must be some interesting photographs to be had in the area so would take the chance.

About 7 km’s from Strandfontein I came across the  small settlement of Papendorp situated overlooking the Olifants River Estuary. With future recognition as a RAMSAR site the wetlands of the estuary are an important habitat for migratory birds.

Entrance to Papendorp.

Entrance to Papendorp.

The Olifants River Estuary earmaked to become a RAMSAR site.

The Olifants River Estuary earmarked to become a RAMSAR site.

This old building used to serve as church, school and community hall.

This old building used to serve as church, school and community hall.

Grave yard overlooking the estuary.

Graveyard overlooking the estuary.

Fishing boat.

Fishing boat.

Residents of Papendorp derive their livelihood from fishing.

With its own unique character Papendorp makes you wonder if time has stood still since the first people who came to live here. Fishing nets are still made by hand and visitors can experience the salty taste of home made “bokkoms” – salted and dried by the locals. Things might change quite a lot in the future when Papendorp officially is declared a RAMSAR site and already a guest house has been built and they are now busy building 6 or 7 chalets.

More vineyards. Vineyards.
Wine Route.

Wine Route.

I was amazed as I drove towards Lutzville  and Vredendal to see  mile after mile of vineyards. I had had no idea that quality wine was produced in such vast quantities in the area. In fact Vredendal is home to the largest wine cellar in South Africa and has a number of boutique wineries and a dried fruit depot.

Sishen Saldanha railway bridge between Lutzville and Vredendal

Sishen Saldanha railway bridge between Lutzville and Vredendal

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Giekwa Ratelgat Conference Centre.

This shot is a bit of a sneaky one as I took it on my way down from Kamieskroon to Strandfontein and just love the shape of the building. It is situated a couple of km’s north of Vanrhyansdorp.

Developement just north of Clanwilliam.

Development just north of Clanwilliam.

My turn off to get to Lamberts Bay was at Clanwilliam so I thought to have a quick look round and that was a huge mistake. The town was  busy and I have never seen a worse main road in  my life. It was incredibly narrow and had a really bad surface with many, many potholes. It was a nightmare!!. I also took a wrong turn trying to get to one of the caravan parks and had to try and execute a 3 point type turn with the caravan behind me. I am not the most expert at reversing and turning so it took me a while to extricate myself from that mess. When I did find the park I was given a price of R150.00 with no concessions.

The drive from Clanwilliam down to Lamberts Bay via Graafwater went off with out any problems and I arrived at Lamberts Bay just before lunch.

Lamberts Bay Harbour.

Lamberts Bay Harbour.

Lamberts Bay looks really interesting and I want to write a few posts in the next couple of days and also show you around the caravan park. The stories I had heard about it were spot on.