Posts Tagged ‘surfing’

Yzerfontein walk about

In June, after I had refurbished my little Sprite caravan and before setting off on the first part of my west coast journey, I spent a week at Yzerfontein to make sure that I could cope on my own and that I would enjoy doing it.

Yzerfontein is about 80 km’s from Cape Town and  over the years I had probably driven past at least 10 times and not turned off the high way to have a look round. I had been there once before with my parents as a child and did not remember it at all.

On a clear day you can see forever.
On a clear day you can see forever.

This is a shot of Cape Town’s Table Mountain taken from Yzerfontein.

This  seaside village is renowned for its unspoilt beaches, including the pristine 16-Mile Beach which stretches north to Postberg Nature reserve near Langebaan and  the main beach has been awarded  blue flag status.

Yzerfontein main beach.
Yzerfontein main beach.

Laid out and developed in 1936 by a gentleman by the name of Abraham Katz, Yzerfontein is a popular week-end and holiday resort and has quite a few retired folk living there permanently. There is plenty to do apart from the swimming, surfing, boating and just lazing in the sun.

Father and son enjoying some rock fishing.
Father and son enjoying some rock fishing.

Whales
Whales

In spring the bay is the  destination for not only dolphins but also Southern Right and Humpbacked whales as they arrive to calve and one can watch from various elevated vantage points when they come close inshore. There are some spectacular displays of wild flowers, bird watching, hiking and Yzerfontein is renowned for its sea food. Snoek, crayfish and perlemoen are available, in season, at some of the restaurants in the village.

Snoek fishermen hitching up in the harbour after a long day on the water.
Snoek fishermen hitching up in the harbour after a long day on the water.

What  struck me as I wondered round the village was the amount of really posh looking houses that have been built as holiday homes and some that, in spite of the economy, were still being built.

Some of the houses accross the bay in the older part of Yzerfontein.
Some of the houses across the bay in the older part of Yzerfontein.

If this is the holiday home I would love to see the residential home.

If this is the holiday home I would love to see the residential home.

A house in the newer section to the south up for sale for R5,000.000
A house in the newer section to the south up for sale at R5,000.000

Walking trail along the coast.
Walking trail along the coast.
You can run into some interesting animals as you walk. I am pretty sure that is a Dassie.
You can run into some interesting animals as you walk. I am pretty sure that is a Dassie.
The beach at the newer part of Yzerfontein.
The beach at the newer part of Yzerfontein.

Cute hey!

Cute hey!

All in all I loved Yzerfontein and if I was asked to pick a place where I would like to stay on the west coast this would be it. I loved Kleinzee and Hondeklipbaai but for me they are just too far from Cape Town whereas from here you can be in central Cape Town within an hour.

I am going to do another post about Yzerfontein as I met some  interesting people involved in the snoek fishing industry and got some really good  photos.

Trip to Elands Bay.

I had heard such bad reports about the camp-site at Elands Bay, which proved to be true, that I decided it would be best to take a day trip, look around and come back to Lamberts Bay for the night.

Welcome to Elands Bay.
Welcome to Elands Bay.

To be honest I think that out of all the places I have visited on this trip, with the exception of Kleinzee, Elands Bay has the most potential to become a great place to live and a great place as a holiday destination. At the moment there are only 20 permanent residents in the town itself and close to a thousand non white residents who stray 1km from town at a place referred to as the camp.

My previous post included the caravan park and unfortunately the village does not fare much better. There is a hotel, which did not look too bad, and I saw one restaurant and two small general dealers and that’s about it.

The Elands Bay Hotel.
The Elands Bay Hotel.
The      Restaurant.
The Talm Langer Restaurant.

I stopped for a bite to eat at the restaurant and had a chat to the new owner, Frans, about what was going on in Elands Bay and why it is so run down. He told me that they have now established a committee to try and get things moving and to upgrade the town. They had a meeting and most of the role players in the area are pro doing something positive but there are one or two who are more than happy to keep things as they are. They just want their own little bit of paradise and to hell with everyone else. It is tailor made for them??

There were 7 working fish factories but now there are just 2 that still operate.
There were 7 working fish factories but there are now just 2 that still operate.
There are some pretty good looking holiday homes.
There are some pretty good looking holiday homes.

Elands Bay is renowned as a paradise for surfers – unfortunately there was not much happening on the surfing front that day – seafood, and birdwatching in the nearby Verlorenvlei which boasts over 180 bird species. Caves in the vicinity of the town have produced valuable archaeological finds from the different inhabitants over time.

Footprints in the sand.
Footprints in the sand.
One of the caves acessable to the public.
A cave that is accessible to the public.
Ancient hand prints visable on the cave wall.
Ancient hand prints visible on the cave wall.

Frans told me that there are other caves that are far better and they want to appoint an official tour guide to take people up to have a look.

Just below the cave is an old radar tower and barracks from World War 2.
An old radar tower and barracks just below the cave.

One of the pritine beaches just south of the town,

One of the pristine beaches just south of the town.

That was about all there was to see at Elands Bay so I headed back to Lamberts Bay on a different road and about 6 km’s from Lamberts came across this.

This is the original open air sea food resaurant and has been operating for over 23 years.

This is the original open air sea food restaurant and has been operating for over 23 years.

It was nearly 3pm by the time I got there but there were still plenty of people finishing off their lunch and it look delicious,

Eat as much as you want!!

It was nearly 3pm by the time I got there but there were still plenty of people finishing off their lunch and it look delicious,

It was nearly 3pm by the time I got there but there were still plenty of people finishing off their lunch and it looked delicious.

Back to Basics – Backpackers

I met Bruce Wessels when he accompanied his father, Dudley, and I on the 4×4 Ship Wreck trail between Kleinzee and Koingnaas on my recent visit to Kleinzee. He has just recently, December 2008,  opened a Backpackers a few km’s from Koingnaas aimed at budget travellers who are looking for good surfing, crayfish diving – in season and with a permit – walking trails and back to nature experiences. They charge R100 per person per night and there is a rather cool surf spot on the doorstep called Workshop or The Workshop.

At the end of the 4×4 trail we dropped Bruce off and I had time for a quick look round and to take a few photographs.

Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers
Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers

Originally there were 2 groups of diamond divers huts in this area and both have now been renovated into very pleasant accommodation establishments. The first to be renovated was at Noup and is owned and managed by Bruce’s Mom and Dad. These are more upmarket self catering units with bathrooms en suite and epitomise the “on the beach” accommodation experience.

Back to Basic Backpackers was the second group of huts to be renovated, basic but comfortable,  self-catering huts just north of Noup. Communal bathrooms, kitchens and social areas make it ideal for small groups. Limited electricity supply in the evenings, 7pm – 10pm, warm water, gas stoves and braai facilities.

One of the larger huts which can sllep 4.
One of the larger huts which can sleep 4.
Communal lounge area
Communal lounge area

One of the bathrooms.

One of the bathrooms.

Some of the original decor.

Some of the original decor.

A reminder of the past?

A reminder of the past?

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop.

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop, ideal for sundowners.

All in all I think this would be a great place to stay for more than just a couple of nights. Because they are situated between Koingnaas and Kleinzee one needs to obtain clearance before being able to stay over night, therefore one must please contact Bruce at least 3 or 4 days before arriving so he can organize the relevant permits. (no charge)

Bruce Wessels –  Back to Basics Backpackers – 084-964-5856