Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Lamberts Bay Attractions.

Apart from the normal attractions of most seaside villages – great beaches, surf and wind surfing, hikes etc – Lamberts Bay offers a few special attractions that are well worth spending some time exploring. The first of these is called Bird Island and is situated in the harbour area.

Welcome to Bird Island.

Welcome to Bird Island.

There is an entrance fee of R20.00 but that does also allow one to walk to the end of the pier and get some great views of Lamberts Bay, the beaches and the boats in the harbour.

The wonderful beaches.

The wonderful beaches.

One of Lamberts Bays jewels is the sea-bird breeding colonies on the internationally famous Bird Island which has the most accessible Cape Gannet colony in the world.

Cape Gannets.

Cape Gannets.

Gannets packed together like sardines?

Gannets packed together like sardines?

There are thousands of these birds packed together on quite a small area of the island and I was told they do this as a form of protection from their main enemy, the seals on nearby Seal Island.

Whale bones on one of the walkways.

Whale bones on one of the walkways.

Not sure if this sign was for the tourists or the birds.

Not sure if this sign was for the tourists or the birds.

I am always amazed how these beautiful flowers manage to grow just about anywhere.

I am always amazed how these beautiful flowers manage to grow just about anywhere.

Another of Lamberts Bay’s main attractions is to take a boat trip to go have a look at Seal Island and hopefully to spot some dolphins on the way.

Seal Island boat trip.

Seal Island boat trip.

All aboard for Seal Island.

All aboard for Seal Island.

The round trip costs R150.00 per person and if you are lucky one normally sees quite a lot of dolphins as they have become  used to the boat and come up really close. I was not that lucky as they just streaked around the boat and did not do any jumping. As a result I only managed 1 or 2 photographs and they were not great.

This is a Heaviside Dolphin and are quite rare.

This is a Heaviside Dolphin and is quite rare.

Seal Island.

Seal Island.

I had heard about a shipwreck, about 5 km’s from Lamberts Bay, that happened in 1901. The ship was HMS Sybille, a twin screw 3,400 ton second class cruiser. The ship was sent to Lamberts Bay as a patrol boat during the Anglo Boer war (1899 – 1902). On the morning of 16 January 1901 she struck a reef near the farm Steenboksfontein. The crew were all saved and guns and torpedoes salvaged.

Unfortunately, because of the exposed reef that she ran aground on, there is nothing of the wreck left to see but there are some wonderful artefacts at the Sandveld Museum in Lamberts Bay.

Write up about the Sybille.

Write up about the Sybille.

A displsy of artifacts from the Sybille.

A display of artefacts from the Sybille.

One of the propellers from the Sybille.

One of the propellers from the Sybille.

There were  other really interesting displays in the museum, which was opened in 1980, and is at present run by the the Friends of the Museum. The day I went there it was officially closed but the friends were having a meeting and kindly let me browse around.

Number please!!

Number please!!

Ex rugby flank and Springbok Jan "Boland" Coetzee was born in Lamberts Bay

Ex rugby flank and Springbok Jan Boland Coetzee was born in Lamberts Bay

Mountain or Leopard Tortoises.

Mountain or Leopard Tortoises.

While outside the museum photographing the Sybille’s propeller I came across many  of these tortoises,  from tiny babies to pretty large adults. They can grow up to 50 cm in length and have a mass of over 13 kilograms. Come rain or shine one of the Friends of the Museum comes in everyday to feed them.

I still have one more post to do on Lamberts Bay and that is going to be a short one on the Caravan Park.

Visit to Nababeep and Okiep.

Two towns close to Springbok, that used to be part of my sales territory, are Nababeep and Okiep. Both are old copper mining towns that have now shut down all mining. I think the last mine to shut down was in 2003, and by the look of things they are both are battling to survive.

Saw this display of flowers just outside Nababeep.
Saw this display of flowers just outside Nababeep.

Namaqualand daisies.
Namaqualand daisies.

Nababeep is about 30km’s from Springbok and to get there one must travel on a road that has the most potholes I have ever come across on one  road. They must like them because there are notices  the whole way reminding you “Potholes”.  The name Nababeep combines two Nama words, naba meaning “hump of an animal” and  bib meaning “small spring”. Mining began here in the 1850’s and from 1876 ore was taken through to Port Nolloth by train for export.

Clara, a narrow-gauge steam locamotive used to rail copper ore to Port Nolloth.
Clara, a narrow-gauge steam locomotive, used to rail copper ore to Port Nolloth.

Outside display at the museum of old mining equipment.
Outside display at the museum of old mining equipment. (Also nice flower display)
For some reason this outfit reminded me of George the diamond diver.
For some reason this outfit reminded me of George the diamond diver.

"Fools" copper?

"Fools" copper?

While having a look at all the ore samples in the museum came across this one and thought this must be the mother load only to be told it was a very poor sample and of no value.

Ancient copper symbol.

Ancient copper symbol.

This symbol stems from the time when people believed that there were only 6 real metals – gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and iron.

All anyone could tell me about this old building was that it used to be a video shop.

All anyone could tell me about this old building was that it used to be a video shop.

From Nababeep I drove back along the potholed road to get to Okiep which is only about 8 km’s from Springbok. Okiep derived it’s name from the Nama word ‘U-gieb’ meaning ‘the great, brackish spring’. It was , until production stopped in 1918 the world’s richest copper mine. It was also the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered and mined in 1855.

Two of the main attractions to see are the Smokestack and the Cornish Pump House.

Smokestack built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880

Smokestack

Smokestack built by the Cape Copper Company as a ventilation shaft in 1880 and which is now a national monument.

The Cornish Pump House.

The Cornish Pump House.

A fully intact steam engine and the only remaining pump house of it’s sort in the Southern Hemisphere was used from 1882 to pump water from the mine.

All in all not sure what is going to happen to these 2 small towns. I remember Nababeep as being quite a modern progressive – for those days – town with a nice little hotel, golf course and other sporting facilities. Not much there now I’m afraid.

Springbok

As a young man I used to travel up to Springbok from Cape Town every 6 weeks. I was working as a sales rep and this area was part of my territory. The roads then, from Bitterfontein up, were all gravel and not very good. Also everything that was brought into the area was transported on massive Jowells Transport trucks which made driving  fairly hazardous. That was over 40 years ago and to be honest whilst  the roads are now tar much of the town has not changed all that much.

Springbok is the capital of Namakwa and also the administrative, commercial, farming and industrial centre. It is 550 km from Cape Town, 1274km from Johannesburg and 113km from the Namibian border. Its history is closely link to that of the copper industry and was the site of the first commercial mining operation in the country. The first mine was brought into operation in 1852 and in 1862 the town of Sringbokfontein was laid out.

Springbok town centre.
Springbok town centre.

I have now been in Springbok for a few days, since travelling through from Port Nolloth, and am staying at the Springbok Caravan Park. (I will do a post on the park soon) I really only wanted to cover the coastal areas of SA but now that I am here might just as well show you a bit of the town.

Monument Koppie.
Monument Koppie.

A small hillock in the centre of town that was wrested away from the British by Boer forces and commemorates the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)

The Masonic Hotel.
The Masonic Hotel.

This is the hotel I always used to stay at on my travels.

The NG Kerk.
The NG Kerk.
The Springbok Museum.
The Springbok Museum.

The Synagogue was completed in 1929 and is now used as the museum.

The involvement of the Jowell family in forming modern day Springbok.
The involvement of the Jowell family is synonymous with the formation of modern day Springbok.

Copper tray from

Copper tray of about 160 years old.

Namaqualand flowers.

Namaqualand flowers.

The flowers, so far, have not been too great but I did find this one patch close to Springbok. I am still hoping that as I travel towards Cape Town they will improve and I can do a whole post of flowers.

Namaquland flowers.

Namaqualand flowers.

Namaqualand flowers.

Namaqualand flowers.

About 15km’s south-east of  Springbok  is the Goegap Nature Reserve which includes the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden. I got there too late to go and have a look but believe it is well worth a visit so might try and go back later today.

The entrance to the Goegap Nature Reserve.

The entrance to the Goegap Nature Reserve.

I have also been through to Okiep and Nababeep and will do a combined post about the 2 old copper mining towns in the area next.

I am hoping to move down to Kamieskroon next and then head back to the coast, without the caravan as I believe the roads are pretty bad, and visit places like Hondeklip Baai and Groenriviermond.

Kleinzee – part 1

On Monday the 3rd, at the invitation of Gert Klopper – Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, De Beers, Namaqualand, I  spent the the day at the diamond mining town of Kleinzee on  the West Coast.

I am doing 2 posts, this one about the town itself and part 2 about some of the exciting new tourism ventures that are being developed.

Situated about 50 kilometres south of Port Nolloth, Kleinzee was established as a town in 1942. Diamonds had been discovered on the farm Kleyne Zee in about 1927 and in 1930 the first recovery plant was built. Diamond mining went through many ups and downs because of diamond market crashes and also due to the start of World War 2. It was only toward the end of the war that mining started again.

The well maintained Kleinzee Museum

The well maintained Kleinzee Museum

Boulder Heritage Route

Boulder Heritage Route

This is where the mining at Kleinzee began in the late 1920s. The neatly stacked mounds of rocks are kept intact to remind us of days gone by when mining diamonds was hard manual labour. In the foreground  is one of the boulders with the pick and shovel that marks this site as part of the “Boulder Heritage Route” – an easy 5 km walk down the rich history of diamond mining at Kleinzee

Early pick and shovel mining.

Early pick and shovel mining

The Golf Course.

The Golf Course.

The first thing that one notices while driving through the town is how clean and neat everything is. The population of the town has dropped from a high of about 7000 inhabitants to less than 1000 today because of the closing down of much of the mining operation. As Gert explained  diamonds are a finite resource and once an area is mined then that’s it. But the difference that I saw and heard here is that there are plans in operation to keep the town not only going but to increase the population with the establishment of new types of sustainable businesses to take over from the diamonds in the near future.

An area between the beach and town that is being restored.

An area between the beach and town that is being restored.

Abundant birdlife at the Buffels River estuary at Kleinzee.

Abundant bird life at the Buffels River estuary at Kleinzee.

The seal colony.

The seal colony.

The Kleinzee Cape Fur Seal colony just north of Kleinzee is, with its 300 000 to 400 000 animals, the largest on-land colony in South Africa.

The local Angling Club

The local Angling Club

There are many sporting facilities, fishing , golf, rugby, cricket, netball, bowls, squash etc. and from what I saw all the fields and courts are in tip top condition.

The oyster farm of Kleinzee Mariculture

The oyster farm of Kleinzee Mariculture

The current dam is used to grow out oysters to specific sizes before they are passed on to other farmers for growing to market size. This will change in the future when the dam is extended,  see below, and full size oysters will be grown and exported from Kleinzee.

A basketful of the “big ones that got away”.

A basketful of the “big ones that got away”

Looking down from the recently constructed platform of the abalone farm

Looking down from the recently constructed platform of the abalone farm

These dams came about as a more productive way of using mined-out areas to create an industry that has the potential of sustaining itself – and the economy of the region – for a very long time to come. Apart from the Mariculture there are plans to establish wind farms for the generation of electricity.

Bucyrus Erie dragline machine which is powered by electicity.

Bucyrus Erie dragline machine which is powered by electicity.

In previous years, De Beers Namaqualand Mines used this Bucyrus Erie dragline as a cost-effective means of removing millions of tons of overburden to expose diamond bearing gravels. Today, this 3500 ton monster is being used to rehabilitate the disturbed land and move the soil back into the pits it created – ready for reprofiling and restoration.

The Final Recovery plant.

The Final Recovery plant..

The checkpoint building and security offices at the entrance to the Buffels Marine Mining Complex north of Kleinzee.

The checkpoint building and security offices at the entrance to the Buffels Marine Mining Complex north of Kleinzee.

All in all I found Kleinzee to be a great little town and I believe that with all the planning and hard work that is going on that it has a really bright future. If I am still around in 5 years from now I would love to go back and see all the progress that would have been made.

If you want to have a look around Kleinzee make sure you have your ID Book with you. If you plan to spend a night or two there then you must get security clearance at least 5 days prior to arrival. There are caravan parks, guest houses and a backpackers in the town and surrounding area.

Port Nolloth Museum

Popped into the Port Nolloth Museum yesterday morning and spent a few hours looking at some  interesting displays. Janine Olivier, who has been working at the museum for just over a year, was very helpful and passed on some  enlightening  information. I am not going to try and give a history lesson so hopefully the pictures will do the talking.

Port Nolloth Museum.

Port Nolloth Museum.

The building that houses the museum is a bit of history itself in that it was built in 1880.

The Port Nolloth Museum was opened over ten years ago and  presents the history of Port Nolloth for approximately 2000 years. It also displays the history of diamond diving in the area, as well as geology and natural history.

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Display about early inhabitants of the area.

History of Port Nolloth

History of Port Nolloth

Information about the old copper train and building of the jety.

Information about the old copper train and building of the jety.

Great display about diamond diving.

Great display about diamond diving.

The west coast is known for all the ships that have been wrecked over the years.

The west coast is notorious for all the ships that have been wrecked over the years.

A display of products in their original packaging.

A display of products in their original packaging.

While I had been wondering round and taking photographs I was drawn to the portrait below.  The photograph was clearly not that old so I was wondering what it was doing hanging in the museum and asked Janine what the story was. (To be honest she also reminded me of an ex girl friend from way back when.)

Grazia de Beer.

Grazia de Beer.

Well it turns out that I am standing in the Port Nolloth museum  as a result of all the work that this woman did in Port Nolloth over a period of  20 years.

Grazia de Beer was born in Italy and later came to Cape Town where she went to school at Springfield Convent and Ellersley in Sea Point. She graduated from UCT with a BA, was a singer in a leading jazz band, played guitar, composed songs and worked at the Italian Consulate as an interpretor. She married Coen de Beer, a diamond diver, and moved to Port Nolloth in the late 1980’s.

She ran a restaurant, established the Bedrock Lodge and opened the Port Nolloth Museum. She held a black belt in karate and started the Port Nolloth Dojo.

The Bedrock Lodge.

The Bedrock Lodge.

She was fearless in her convictions and brought up many cultural and environmental issues of the area. She put a stop to the slaughter of seals, and began marketing Port Nolloth as a special place to visit.

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Grazia de Beer Beach Front.

Unfortunately Grazia de Beer passed away on the 25th of December 2007.

Grazia was so well liked and respected by the community, that they decided to name the new beach front development after her in honour of all that she had done  for Port Nolloth and it’s inhabitants.

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