Posts Tagged ‘Port Nolloth’

Alexander Bay to Elands Bay – The Highs

Overall I enjoyed my 2 month journey from the Richtersveld through Namaqualand and down the West Coast and although there were some lows there were  many more highs. The highs include places, sights and people that I met along the way. Overall it was the people that I met and chatted to that really made the trip worth while for me.

Koos and Letia
Koos and Lieta Prince

Met up with Koos and Lieta at Brandkaros and I am sure that it was the 2 days that we shared that spurred me on to continue my journey in spite of all the set backs  I had suffered. They have been caravanning around SA for years and taught me a lot. Wonderful couple.

Pieter van Wyk
Pieter van Wyk.

Meeting up with and spending a morning with this young man was definitely one of the highlights of my journey. I am not going to try and recap all about this remarkable 21 year old so if you want to read more about him go to this link. I hope that one day, soon, he will have his book published, be awarded a bursary and given the opportunity to further his education at University.

Annemarie and Saome Reck.
Annemarie and Saome Reck.

I spent a wonderful morning with this mother and daughter team who manage a B&B right on the banks of the Orange River. Talk about making the most of very little.

Alta
Alta Kotze.

I enjoyed Port Nolloth and also received one of my biggest surprises in a long time when the lady above broke into song so that I could hear her voice and one of her own compositions. Truly amazing. I hope she gets the opportunity to further her ambitions and become a full time singer/composer.

George Moyses.
George Moyses.

Although I was not too happy with the caravan park at McDougalls Bay I did love the setting and also got to meet a real character who lives there in diamond diver George.

Dragline at Kleinzee.
Dragline at Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.

The 2 photographs above represent one of the the most pleasant days of my journey and I have to thank Gert Klopper of De Beers for showing me round Kleinzee and Dudley Wessels for taking me on the 4×4 trail along the coast. I thought Kleinzee was great and was amazed at what is being done there to make sure that the town does not go the way of places such as Alexander Bay. I see a big future for Kleinzee and if I had some spare cash I would buy property in the area as an investment or as a retirement option.

I enjoyed Springbok,  the Springbok Caravan Park and exploring places like Nababeep and Okiep as I had travelled there 40 years ago and it was interesting to see how much things had changed –  for the good and  the bad.

Fields of flowers at Skilpad.
Fields of flowers at Skilpad.

Kamieskroon, because of the good caravan park was great and I also enjoyed my visit to Skilpad in the Namaqua Park where I spent a day looking at the beautiful Spring flowers.

Hondeklip Baai

Hondeklip Baai

Friendly people.

Friendly people.

Loved Hondeklip Baai and the people. If you love the sea I think it would be a great place to have a holiday house or even to retire.

Strandfontein

My set-up at Strandfontein

Although I found Strandfontein a bit of a strange place I did enjoy my caravan site with its private ablution block.

Doring Baai and the power of the sea.

Doringbaai and the power of the sea.

The last part of my journey included Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. Lamberts Bay was interesting and I enjoyed exploring and meeting some of the locals. To be honest the best thing about Elands Bay was that it was only 5 km’s from my final caravan park call Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip with Verlorenvlei in the background.

Vensterklip was great as, again, I had a private ablution block and it was really quiet and peaceful. It also provided me with an opportunity to try my hand at photographing birds.

On the wing?

On the wing?

If you read my previous post you will see that the highs far out way the lows of my journey.  As to the question will I carry on with my voyage of discovery the answer is YES. There are still so many more interesting places to see and people to meet that, God willing, I would like to carry on until I have covered the whole of the South African coast line.

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.

eeee

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.

ccccc

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.

Port Nolloth Biodiversity Centre

On my first day of walking round Port Nolloth I found the Information Centre which is also part of the Biodiversity Centre in that one woman runs both from the same building. Her name is Alta Kotze and her official title(s) are Tourism Information Officer/Manager Biodiversity Centre. I also found out that she is a singer, composer and song writer trying to make a break into the world of music.

Port Nolloth Biodivrsity Centre

Port Nolloth Biodiversity Centre

I had been in a bit of a rush so made an appointment to have a look round the centre at a later date to take a few photographs of some of the exhibits. I nearly fell over backwards when I arrived back there yesterday and was told that she wanted to sing one of her songs for me using a backing track on her computer.

Alta Kotze the singer.

Alta Kotze the singer.

I think it took an awful lot of guts to do what she did (no ways could I have done that) and to be honest I was really impressed with both her voice and her own composition. I hope that somewhere along the line she gets a break and has a chance to make it doing something she is passionate about.

Alta the Tourism Information Officer.

Alta the Tourism Information Officer.

Skeleton of a Piolet whale

Skeleton of a Pilot whale

Exhibit

Exhibit

997s01822

Exhibit

Exhibit

Exhibit

Quite a few of the normal exhibits that use live animals – snakes, chameleons and lizards – are no longer functioning as they have  died. Pity really as the setting for the centre is great but one should really have more displays.

Although not part of the museum I did find this exhibit round the back  in the harbour area.

eeeeeeee

The Port Nolloth Locomotive.

eeeeeee

The Port Nolloth Locomotive

Final word – If there is anyone in, or knows someone in, the music industry who might be interested in hearing a demo- tape of Alta  you can contact her on 072-1941947.

McDougalls Bay Caravan Park

The past 3 days, the weekend and Monday, have been pretty awful. It has been really hot, over 30ºC, and the wind has not stopped blowing at gale force all that time. There has been sand and dust everywhere and it has made me feel pretty depressed and lethargic. Being camped on sea sand does not help. Think Camps Bay Beach on a really hot, windy day when the sand is blowing all over the place.

Today, Tuesday, sees a complete change in the weather. It is overcast, a lot cooler, light breeze and feels like it could even rain sometime. It has also made me feel a lot better and keen to have a look around for more interesting places and people. I am still trying to track down George, the diamond diver, but he has proved elusive, and I hope to catch up with him later today or tomorrow.

Because I have been pretty well trapped at the camp-site I thought I might as well take some pix and show you what it is like. If you read some of my previous posts you will know that I was really given the run around as far as the pricing is concerned. It is a municipal site and I think their prices are too high compared to all the other municipal sites I have stayed at. They call themselves a Holiday Resort so have a look at he pix an see what you think.

McDougalls Bay Hoiday Resort?

McDougalls Bay Holiday Resort?

The security gate?

The security gate?

Unfortunately a lot of the time there is no one at the gate during the day and at night.

Brocken security fence from beach.

Broken security fence from beach.

Even if there was full time security at the front it would not make much difference.

Seasand site

Sea sand site

One of the 93 sites and they are all the same.

Electical connection

Electrical connection

Each site has an electrical connection but some of them are very unsafe.

Ablution block.

Ablution block.

What can I say? Why do all the camp-sites all have the same problem and yet the ablution block is the most important feature that one looks for. At least there is plenty of hot water.

Chalet

Chalet

There are 2 0f these right on the beach front. They charge R440.00 per night out of season and over R500.00 per night in season. There are also 15 smaller chalets at the back for which the charge is R210.00 per night.

Overall I think the “holiday resort” is pretty run down and to be honest over priced but the one factor that overrides most of that is the position right on the beach front. The sights, sounds and smells of the ocean, in the protected bay, are fabulous and go a long way in making one overlook all the shortcomings.

My camp-site.

My camp-site.

Right on the waters edge.

Golden sun set.

Golden sun set.

Not many places I know that one could take a picture like this right from your caravan.


Port Nolloth beach front.

Yesterday (23rd) was not so great on the weather front. The sun was shinning but it was cold and a gale force wind blew the whole day. At one stage I was considering taking down my rally tent as I thought it was going to be ripped off the front of my caravan. That kind of wind makes me slightly depressed so I determined to take a drive into Port Nolloth and have a look around.

Port Nolloth was only given that name in 1855 when it was renamed from Robbe Baai (Seals Bay) by Sir Harry Smith. Prior to that it had also been known Aukwatwas (1779) and also as Gawaap. Copper was found in the Namaqualand area and the first shipment of 1 ton was was made from the harbour in 1850 and so the big rush to the area began. It was only in 1957 that Port Nolloth received municipal status.

I started my walk from the northern end of Port Nolloth and the first thing I saw was a really beautiful beach. There are a few houses overlooking the beach but not as many as I would have thought.

The bay to the north of Port Nolloth.

The bay to the north of Port Nolloth.

The coastline round the area is very rugged, as it is all along the West Coast and there have been quite a few big storms in the last year or so. It is known for its foggy weather, has an average rainfall of 20-25mm per annum and the average daytime temperature is a moderate 22ºC and 14ºC at night. As you will see a bit further on those storms caused quite a bit of havoc.

The unique lighthouse.

The unique lighthouse which was established in 1909.

The Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church.

Walk ways above the beach

Walkway above the beach You can see 2 boats that were washed ashore recently.

One of the entrances to the walk way.

One of the entrances to the walkway.

Official opening plaque.

Official opening plaque.

The walkway and beach front development were opened officially on the 8th August 2008.

The old building housing the Museum

The old building housing the History Museum

Old rail carriage in font of thr museum.

An old rail carriage in font of the museum.

Good place for a bite to eat? Love the Vespa on the roof!!

Good place for a bite to eat? Love the Vespa on the roof!!

I have not been out for a slap up meal since I left Cape Town 24 days ago. I think this is where I will go next week some time. One thing this restaurant illustrates is how much bigger in all aspects Port  Nolloth is compared to Alexander Bay. There are far more  bigger and better shops and the population is also about  four times that of Alexander Bay. Most people from the area either come come here or drive all the way to Springbok for their monthly shopping. As I said previously I am amazed by the local Spar Supermarket.

Another popular eating establishment.

Another popular eating establishment.

The Biodiversity Living Museum

The Bio diversity living Museum

You can even take up Karate at the local Do Jo

You can even take up Karate at the local Do Jo

Lastly, just to show you how violent the storms can be, the boat below was washed up to where it now rests on the 16th of June this year. It has not been stripped down so it looks like they may try and re float her on a really high tide. Looking at how deep she has sunk into the sand it might be just wishful thinking.

The Pafuri.

The Pafuri out of Cape Town..

So as you can see  an interesting walk, especially if one goes into the museums and spends a bit of time there. I hope to do a post on combined visits as there are some fascinating artefacts and things to see. I also popped into the De Beers controlled harbour and had a chat to the manager, Deon Lotter, and will do a short post on marine diamond mining.

Older Posts »