Posts Tagged ‘ship wrecks’

Gansbaai & Caravan Park

To get to Gansbaai from Hermanus one travels along the R43 which runs between the mountain and the Klein River Vlei via Stanford, which has a well preserved core of historical buildings, antique shops and art galleries, and onto De Kelders and Gansbaai.

Gansbaai (Goose Bay), named after the Egyptian geese that frequented a freshwater spring at the beach, started in the 1880’s as a few fishermen’s cottages on the dunes overlooking the harbour. A school was established in 1906 and in 1926 the land above the beach was divided into 205 plots. Commercial fisheries were started and by the 1950’s  Gansbaai was a bustling town which has now grown into a commercial centre.

Welcom to Gansbaai
Welcome to Gansbaai

Shark diving.
Shark diving information centre and booking office seen as one arrives in Gansbaai.

The main reason for the growth of  tourism round Gansbaai over the past 10 years or so has been the establishment of the whale and shark industries at nearby  Kleinbaai which attracts thrill seekers and nature lovers from all over the world who all want to see and interact with the big 2 – Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales.

Map of the area.
Map of the area.

The old harbour and fish factories.
The old harbour and fish factories.

Some of the commercial fishing boats ready to put to sea.
Some of the commercial fishing boats ready to put to sea.

I went on  a walk about and took a few photos of things that interested or intrigued me. The folks of Gansbaai are really friendly and I even managed to meet up with the crew of a fishing boat that I became friendly with  when I was staying in Yzerfontein last year. It was through them that I managed to get myself onto one of the shark boats at Kleinbaai and spend a morning taking pix of the operation. More of that in my next post.

You have got to love this!!!
You have got to love this!!!

Pity I am off red meat!
Pity I am off red meat!

Saturday morning market.
Saturday morning market.

There are lots of restaurants and pubs in Gansbaai and of course the fish is really good.
There are lots of restaurants and pubs in Gansbaai and of course the fish is really good.

GANSBAAI  CARAVAN  PARK

There are 3 caravan parks in the area but to be honest  from what I saw and heard I would only stay at the park in Gansbaai above the harbour area. It was also a bit cheaper than the others and I enjoyed my stay there. The only complaint I had was that the lights  at night were really bright and it was like sleeping in broad daylight. ( I was parked directly under one of the lights so it was pretty bright.) They have done that for security and also have a watchman patrolling 24 hours a day.

A shot of the park taken from the harbour.

A shot of the park taken from the harbour.

My set-up at Gaansbaai. Nicely grassed and even stands.
My set-up at Gansbaai. Nicely grassed and even stands.

The view from my caravan!!
The view from my caravan!!

The ablutions were okay and kept clean and tidy.

The ablutions were okay and kept clean and tidy.

All in all I enjoyed my stay at Gansbaai Caravan Park. There is much to see explore in the area and Gansbaai is perfect as a base to the interesting places that are close by.

Melkbos to Table View.

Well here I am back out on the road again to continue my voyage of discovery round the coast of South Africa and have just discovered that there was still 1 post I needed to do to complete my trip down the West coast so here it is.

Melkbosstrand still has an old established feel to it. There are modern shops and some pretty upmarket looking houses but overall it has not really been developed to the extent of such as places as Big Bay just 10 km’s down the road towards Cape Town. As usual I am going to let my photographs do most of the talking.

Old style house on the beach front
Old style house on the beach front
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
One of the more modern houses next to the beach.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apperently good fishing.
The beach front which offers safe bathing and apparently good fishing.

As one leaves Melkbosstrand and travels towards Cape Town you drive along next to undeveloped beaches, where I saw quite a few fishermen with lines in the water, you have to ask yours self how long will it last and especially as you arrive at Big Bay.

I first went to big bay about 40 years ago and there was pretty much nothing there apart from a parking area, a small shop and not much else. It was a very popular spot for surfing in those days and also a great place to go to for a braai (BBQ) above the road in the picnic area or at the beach.

Wow has it all changed over the years. It is now a massive sprawling mass of houses, developments and shops and apart from the actual beach area is not recognisable.

Big contingent of life gaurds there - not to mention the "car" gaurds.
Big contingent of life guards there – not to mention the “car” guards.
Some of the shops where there just used to be one small cafe.
One of the shopping centres  where there just used to be one small shop.

Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
Big Bay with Table Mountain in the background.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
You can still buy on the beach at Big Bay but it is going to cost you big time.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments next to the beach.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.
One of the developments in the area we used to picnic in years ago.

Moving on a bit closer to Cape Town is Blaauwberg.  It was a place I used to visit frequently as I had friends that lived there. Looking at Blaauwberg today, while there has been growth and quite a lot of change,  it has still somehow kept its character of the past.

"Ons Huisie" resaurant is on eof the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg.
“Ons Huisie” restaurant is one of the most famous attractions of Blaauwberg. Great sea food.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great "dinner dances" here.
Another well known attraction in the area. I remember, years ago, going to some great “dinner dances” here. The old place is looking really good these days and also has great sea food.
A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

A reminder that the sea can be a dangerous place.

The last stop on my west coast journey before reaching Cape Town was Table View which is one of the fastest growing areas in the greater Cape Town area. Most of the housing developments are a few km’s from the beach area and are growing at an incredible rate

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

An hotel going up right on the beach front.

Some of the old and new developmets along the beach front.

Some of the older and new developments along the beach front.

A final shot from Table Tiew of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli  which went aground just off Table  View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

A final shot from Table View of Table Mountain and the wreck of the bulk carrier Seli 1 which went aground just off Table View beach in a gale on the 8th September 2009.

Well, sadly, (for me anyway) that is the last of my posts on the West Coast of South Africa and I have now just started on my journey up the Western Cape south coast. I am at the moment staying in the Strand / Gordons Bay area and am going to slowly make my way up the coast to such places as Rooi Els, Hangklip and other small towns as I move toward Hermanus.

I hope that many of you who have been following my travels up to now will continue you to do so in the future. I love getting feedback and comments and watching the number of visitors to the site grow by the month. In fact I have been staggered by the numbers as I thought, when I started out, that it might be looked at occasionally by family and friends, but I have been getting visitors from all over the world  in ever increasing numbers.

See you on the other side of Cape Town.

The West Coast National Park.

On the other side of the lagoon at Langebaan is the West Coast National Park. The Park was established in 1985 with the aim of conserving the Langebaan Lagoon and surrounding landscapes, which also includes the islands in Saldanha Bay and the area from Yzerfontein to Langebaan.

The West Coast National Park.
The West Coast National Park.

The habitats in the park are unique and varied and its salt marshes and wetlands together with the granite islands in Saldanha Bay, cover an area of over 32,000ha and are ideal for the large breeding population of sea birds and also the growth of lowland fynbos.

One of two entrances to the park.
One of two entrances to the park.

This is the entrance from the Langebaan side and there is another entrance from the R27 to Velddrif. Entrance costs R26.00 per adult or you can get in for free if you have a SAN Parks Wild card.

Why did the tortoise cross the road?
Why did the tortoise cross the road?

I must have seen at least 30 tortoises on the road as I drove to and through the park. Some were not lucky and had been hit by motorcars.

Shame this Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)was not to lucky.
Shame! This Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) was also not so lucky.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.

I recommend that  the first place you stop in at is Geelbek Visitor Centre. There is a very good information centre, great restaurant and an interesting curio shop.

Cast of "Eves Footprint".
Cast of “Eve’s Footprint”.
Close-up of "Eve's Footprint".
Close-up of “Eve’s Footprint”.

The footprint, which is believed to be over 120,000 years old, was discovered at Kraalbaai in 1995 by  geologist Dr. Dave Roberts. To find out more please go to link

Good sign posting in the park.
Good sign posting in the park

There are many sign boards in the park as to all the different spots but just be aware that not all are open to the public. One of these is the Postberg section which is only open in the spring flower season of August and September. Another not open, all year round, is Churchhaven.

Houseboats at Kraalbaai
Houseboats at Kraalbaai

Some of these houseboats, one being the Nirvana, are available for accommodation and there are also quite a few self catering chalets at a place called Duinepos.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Both Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are very sheltered from the prevailing south-east wind which was howling across the lagoon at Langebaan

Seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.
Vondeling Island on the seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.

View of Vondeling Island (21ha) taken from Tsaarsbank. The island was last inhabited in 1962 and the old buildings are now used by penguins and other birds.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

Wreck of the Pantalis a Lemos

Wreck of the Pantalis A Lemos

In the distance the Pantalis A Lemos, an ore-carrier, which went aground in 1978. It is about a 4 km hike along the beach, in soft sea sand, to get to the wreck and my time was running out so just took a telephoto shot from the beach.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Electricity in the house is provided by solar power and the stove, geyser and fridge are gas operated.

The weather, on the day of my visit to the park, was not great so maybe that was why I did not see much wild life apart from the tortoises, a few snakes and a couple of wild ostriches although I was told that a lot of game can be seen in Postberg when it is open in Spring.

There are 4 different options for both hiking and cycling trails and Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are  great for just relaxing on the beach and having a family braai. There is also kayaking, windsurfing, kite-boarding and if you are lucky whale watching at Tsaarsbank from August to November.

Jacobsbaai.

Situated on the coast between Saldanha Bay and Paternoster lies the picturesque retirement and holiday village of Jacobsbaai. The turn off to get to Jacobsbaai is on the Saldanha Bay – Vredenburg  road, just outside Saldanhna, and the road, until fairly recently was a not so good gravel road.

Jacobsbaai is out of sight of the bordering developed towns and the main traffic flow of the area and is also surrounded by agricultural land and natural vegetation. It is the kind of place you don’t just stumble upon but rather have to know about and make an effort to get there.

Welcome to Jacobsbaai.
Welcome to Jacobsbaai.

IMG_2323Part of Jacobsbaai’s 2km coastline.

The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village.
The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village called Hospital Bay.

As one arrives in Jacobsbaai there is an extraordinary sight that greets you. On the 24th June 2009 a barge, the Margaret that was being towed from Durban to the Netherlands, ran aground and is still stuck on the rocks. It is a huge multi decker barge and there is no way that you can miss seeing it.

The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.
The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.

ccccc

Salvage Operation.

There are plans to try and salvage either the barge or at least the cargo.

Weskusplek.
Weskusplek.

Weskusplek is an 80 seater restaurant, holiday and conferencing resort, uniquely situated on a narrow peninsula between  Jacobsbaai bay on the one side and the white-sand beach of Hospital Bay on the other side. Weskusplek is also sometimes referred to as “Steve’s place” after Steve Hofmeyer, a well known South African entertainer, who is a part owner.

The multifunctional conference fascility.
The multifunctional conference facility.

I say multifunctional as it is also used as a wedding chapel and on the day I was there was being prepared for a whole crowd to gather and watch the semi finals of the Currie Cup rugby competition.

Another view of Weskusplek.
Another view of Weskusplek.

Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
looking accross another small bay at the Crayfish
Looking across another small bay at a place called Live Fish Tanks.

At Live Fish Tanks they pack live West Coast Rock Lobster (crayfish) for export to to Europe and  the far east.

Another old look out building on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
An old look out tower on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.

Stopped and had a chat to the owners of this house who told me they were the first to build at Jacobsbaai only 17 years ago. An interesting fact is that of the over 300 houses here 80% are occupied all year round. They reckon that once you stay here you never want to leave.

As you can see there are some good looking houses.
As you can see there are some good looking houses.
They got the rugby result correct - Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.
They got the rugby result correct – Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.

Probably the most practicle finish you caould have for a house at the sea.
Probably the most practicable finish you could have for a house at the sea.

This was only the second time I had been to Jacobsbaai, the first was for a photographic assignment some months ago, and after having had some time to explore and have a good look round I really enjoyed the village and can understand why people don’t want to leave. It is only 140km’s from Cape Town and also close to a new modern shopping centre outside Vredenburg. It has a moderate climate, great seafood restaurant and there is good fishing, crayfish diving in season, small boat access, bird life and walking trails.

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.

Older Posts »