Posts Tagged ‘nature reserve’

Britannia Bay & Shelly Point.

Just south west of  Stompneus & St Helena Bay are two of the most upmarket developments I have seen anywhere along the west coast – Britannia Bay & Shelly Point.

Map of Britannia Bay & Shelly Point.
Map of Britannia Bay & Shelly Point.

There is  a fairly new development, the most western point of Britannia Bay, called Cape St Martin Nature Reserve and the sea front plots there are on the market at R1,295,000.

Entrance to Cape St Martin.
Entrance to Cape St Martin.

Beachfront
Cape St Martin beach front.
Beach front houses.
Beach front houses.

Britannia Bay was named after a British ship, “Britannia”, that struck a reef  on October 22nd 1826. It has 0ver 4 km’s of unspoilt beaches and offers relaxed tranquillity to it’s fortunate inhabitants along the golden mile.

The beach at Britannia Bay.
The beach at Britannia Bay.

I reckon that this has got to be one the calmest areas of beach I have ever seen.

Sea front house.

Seafront house.

Looking north towards Shelly Point.

Looking north from Britannia Bay towards Shelly Point.

Unlike Britannia Bay, Shelly Point is a gated security development and is a little peninsular that almost gives the illusion of being an island. It is also regarded as the site where Vasco Da Gama first set foot on South African soil in 1497.

Statue of Vasco da Gama.

Statue of Vasco Da Gama.

There is a museum, The Vasco Da Gama Nautical Museum, where one can view replica artefacts from a by gone era.

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Main road fountain. Looks very opulent.

There is a 9 hole golf course and a wellness centre but if  you are not into golf or pampering yourself then the stunning coast line, scenic walks, collecting shells, fishing, boating and other water sports should help you relax and wind down in no time at all.

Not all the houses are huge or on the beach front.

Not all the houses are huge or on the beach front.

Looking south from the point.

Looking south from the point.

Not sure what this is right on the point. Could be or was a light house?

Not sure what this is right on the point. Could be or was a light house?

Some houses on the north side of the point. Houses on the north side of the point.

Both Britannia Bay and Shelly point are truly beautiful and if I was I was told that I could have a property anywhere along the west coast, as a gift, it would be a choice between one of these two places.

Tietiesbaai & Columbine Reserve.

A few km’s south of Paternoster, in the Cape Columbine Nature reserve which covers an area of 263ha along the rocky coast and was declared a nature reserve in December 1973,  is the famous Tietiesbaai. I have no idea where the name originates from and nobody I spoke to could enlighten me. One thing I do know is that it is a truly beautiful place to visit and spend time just relaxing and communicating with nature. It is also a camping and caravan location (I hesitate  to use the word caravan park) with no electricity and a very  limited supply of  solar heated hot water for showering. The hot water supply is fairly new and for many years you could only have cold showers.

Tietiesbaai beach.

Tietiesbaai beach.

The bay is incredibly well sheltered and on the day I was there is was blowing quite hard and the sea outside the bay extremely rough and yet the water  in the bay was clear and calm.

Campers on the otherside of the bay.

Campers on the other side of the bay.

The are no demarcated official sites and it is first come first served. Find a spot you fancy and set up camp.

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In spite of the fairly bad dirt road to Tietiesbaai there were quite a few caravans.

I noticed that at least one of the caravanners had brought along a generator which must have been pretty noisy for all their neighbours.

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Most were staying in tents.

I believe that during the December and Easter holiday season the place is packed.

The ablution block.
The ablution block.

The ablution blocks were pretty rudimentary and it was only recently that solar heated water was installed. Judging from the size of the tanks on the roof not to many people would have hot showers.

One last shot looking back at the beach from the main camping area.
One last shot looking back at the beach from the main camping area.

I have to make an admission here and say that I did not go to the next place I am going to show as it was only after I had left the area that I heard about The Beach Camp also situated in the Cape Columbine reserve.

The Beach Camp. (photo from the web-site)
The Beach Camp. (photo from the web-site)

The Beach Camp’s tents and wooden A-frame huts have beds and pillows so all you have to bring is your own sleeping bag or duvet. There are hot showers and cooking facilities although they can supply meals including their fabulous seafood dinners. The area is also one of the best sea-kayaking venues (weather and sea permitting) in SA with plenty of seals, dolphins, whales and spectacular bird watching opportunities.

Cape Columbine Lighthouse
Cape Columbine Lighthouse

Cape Columbine is a prominent headland 5 km’s from Paternoster. The lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse to be commissioned in South Africa and built on Castle Rock, is the first to be seen by ships coming from Europe. It was established in 1936 and derives it’s name from a British wooden ship, the Columbine, that was wrecked there in 1829. The light stands at a height of  80 meters above the sea and casts a beam that can be seen from about 50km’s away.

Info for visiting light house
Info for visiting lighthouse

I was amazed at the number of cars parked at the lighthouse and thought it must be extremely popular. It was only after wandering around for a while, and nearly helping myself to what I thought were free drinks, that I discovered that a wedding reception was about to take place and that they were waiting for the bride and groom to arrive.

The missing bride and groom having their photographs taken o the beach.

The missing bride and groom having their photographs taken o the beach.

Bumped into the happy couple on my way back to Paternoster and found out they were both from Vredenburg and the photographer ex Vredenburg and now living an working in Cape Town.

My next post is going to be from one of my favourite places , Paternoster, and I will be able to do some comparisons as I went there on quite a few occasions about 40 years ago.


Visit to Namaqua National Park.

Yesterday after a freezing start to the morning it turned into a hot windless day and ideal to go and look at the Namaqualand flowers. Many of the locals say that because of the early start the best of the flowers for this year are just about over and people that have booked to come up in September are going to be disappointed. To be honest apart from a few displays that I have seen I don’t think this year was a particularly good flower year.

Namaqua National Park or should I say the section I was going to called Skilpad is 21km west of Kamieskroon and is accessible via a not too bad gravel road.

About 4km from Skilpad I happened upon 3 ladies who had set up a business at the side the road so stopped to have a chat.

Pannekoek Paleis - Pancake Palace.
Pannekoek Paleis – Pancake Palace.
Granny Ragel chief cook
Ouma Ragel – chief cook and what a gal.

Ragel, Olene and Anna.

Ragel, Olene and Anna.

What stunning ladies! They have been doing this for 15 years and started off in a tent, then to a caravan, and now this little stone room. While I was there quite a few people stopped for pancakes and when I passed by on my way back to Kamiekroon it was still busy. They also insisted I had to try one and it was delicious.

Welcome to Namaqua National Park.

Welcome to Namaqua National Park.

The Park is situated in the heart of the Succulent Karoo and the biome is divided into 134 vegetation types and about 40% of the plant species are endemic and occur nowhere else on earth. It is no wonder that the Succulent Karoo was declared one of only 25 biodiversity hotspots on the planet of which it is the only purely arid one.

I took quite a few photographs and because I am no expert on flowers will let the pictures do the talking.

Field of Namaqualand daisies

Field of Namaqualand daisies - the contrasts of colour are beautiful.

Love it!!

Love it!!

Did some close ups of various plants and have no idea of names so just enjoy.

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The Skilpad Padstal Restaurant

The Skilpad Padstal Restaurant.

It was while having a cup of tea and a sandwich that I met well known videographer Mike Downie who is working on a secret  project in the Namaqualand area. In fact it was so secret that if he told me what it was he would have had to kill me.

Mike Downie.

Mike Downie.

I can remember when I worked as a photographer at the Cape Times and Argus that they would send out some sucker and a model to go and take pictures of the Namaqualand flowers. I think my model below is much better.

My model was a bit shy and would not give me his/her name.

My model was a bit shy and would not give me his/her name.

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.

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