Posts Tagged ‘west coast’

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.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park

Langebaan has 3 caravan parks – one right in the centre of the town and two next to the lagoon. I had a look at the one in town on a couple of occasions and have never actually seen anyone staying there which is quite surprising as it is very sheltered, the sites are grassed and the ablutions did not look too bad. Of the two on the lagoon I would definitely choose Leentjiesklip.

Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.
Good security at the entrance.
Good security at the entrance.

There is no security from the beach at the front but I did not see anyone who was not supposed to be there. It would be a real shame if they did have to  put up a security fence.

Park office.
Park office.

The manager of the park was very friendly and helpful. After chatting to him and other mangers of municipal caravan parks it sounds as if they have an extremely frustrating job trying to get funding and approval for general maintenance and staff.

My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
My set-up which was as close to the lagoon as I could get.
Typical area of the park.
Typical area of the park.

As you can see some of the top stands have level concrete areas but all the stands below the road are grass. It does blow pretty hard and there is not much shelter on offer.

One of two ablution blocks.
One of two ablution blocks.

The ablution blocks are not bad and I know that they are busy improving them for the upcoming season.

There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.
There are also sites that have their own private ablutions but are quite expensive.

Childrens play ground.

Children's play ground.

Permanent residents?

Permanent residents?

There are a number of permanent residents who live in mobile homes within the park boundaries. I put the question mark there as there is talk  that in the not too distant future the municipality is going to sell out to developers. To be honest I think that this area is better than many of the areas that have already been developed and has the best beach frontage to the lagoon. It will be very sad but I think inevitable.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

The beach area i front of Leentjiesklip.

Tried fishing off those rocks a couple of times with no luck.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

Came across this diver on one of my evening walks who had just speared a 2kg Blacktail fish.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

This is the way to go camping - pure luxury.

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Also a great way to catch up on some work!!

Met up with Deon, closest to the camera, and Hannes catching up on some work. Deon is Managing director of a company called Omnilog in Krugersdorp and bought the motor home as he has to travel a lot to see clients and feels it more cost effective to flying and having to stay in hotels. Besides that he loves camping.

Sunset over the lagoon.

Sunset over the lagoon.

This is a photograph I took the last time I was at Leentjiesklip a few months ago.

All in all I have enjoyed my two stays at Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and it will be a sad day when they close the park. Maybe sense will prevail and it will survive but I seriously doubt it.

Langebaan 2.

As one drives out of Langebaan town centre, on the road towards Saldahna Bay, there are a number of (newer) developments along side the lagoon starting with one called “The Cove” which is next to Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.

Map of the area I am covering.

Map of the area.

The Cove.
The Cove.
As with all the developments there are houses right on the edge of the lagoon.
As with most of the developments there are houses right on the edge of the lagoon.

The next one along the road is.
The next one along the road is called Waterfront.

It is a security gated area and they were not keen to let me in to take photographs.

The next turn of takes you to the developments of Blue Lagoon and Calypso Beach.
The next turn of takes you to the developments of Blue Lagoon and Calypso Beach.

Strangely enough Blue Lagoon has no lagoon side housing but Calypso Beach does. Both are gated security estates but there is access to the lagoon on foot.

In spite of the financial situation in SA at the moment there are still some pretty big houses going up at Calypso Beach.
In spite of the financial situation in SA at the moment there are still some pretty big houses going up at Calypso Beach.
Houses at Calypso that are not right next to the lagoon but have stunning views.
Houses at Calypso that are not right next to the lagoon but have stunning views.
The next turn of takes one down to the well known Club Mykonos.
The next turn off takes one down to Club Mykonos.
If you are tired of all the water sports and lazing in the sun you can always pop in at Mykonos and try your hand at a bit of gambling!
If you are tired of all the water sports and lazing in the sun you can always pop in at Mykonos and try your hand at a bit of gambling!

The folks at the Club Mykonos information centre were friendly and informative and also gave me a pass to drive and park anywhere I wanted in the development. I am just going to show a few of the photographs I took so if you want more info please go to this link.

Came accross these two looking for some kids to take on a donkey ride.
Came across these two looking for some kids to take on a donkey ride.

There is a really good entertainment programme laid on every day of the week for the youngsters, teenagers  and adults. I don’t think one could ever be bored here.

View from harbour wall.
View from harbour wall.

Looking toward the main waterfront area where there are plenty of restaurants, shops, conference centre, boat trip offices and more.
Looking toward the main waterfront area where there are plenty of restaurants, shops, conference centre, boat trip offices and more.

Club Mykonos yachting harbour.

Club Mykonos harbour.

This shot was taking from the north side where new developments taking place at Mykonos called Apollo Ridge and Aegean Heights.

Some of the house in the new development at Mykonos.

Some of the house in the new development at Mykonos.

Saw this structure high up on Apollo Ridge only to find out it is a cell phone base station.

Saw this structure high up on Apollo Ridge only to find out it is just a cell phone base station.

Also up this way is another new development call Paradise Beach which I could not look at as security were not keen for me to go in and take photographs

Looking back, with Mykonos in the foreground, at all the developments we have just had a look at.

Looking back, with Mykonos in the foreground, at all the developments we have just had a look at.

Right at the turn off down to Club Mykonos they have now built a pretty big shopping centre so don’t worry too much if you forget something at home.

Lagoona Shopping Centre.

Shopping Centre.

As with all places along the west coast there are some grat sea-food restaurants.

As with all places along the west coast there are some great sea-food restaurants.

As you can see there is a huge amount happening in and around Langebaan and, from some of the things I have heard, I believe that once the financial situation improves in SA there is going to be massive new development. More about that when I do my next post on Leentjiesklip Caravan Park.

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.

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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.

St Helena Bay.

This 31 km stretch of coastline has 18 bays, 3 harbours, beautiful beaches and wonderful sea, bird and wildlife. It is also one of only three natural bays on the world’s mainland coastlines where one can view both sunrise and sunset over the sea.

St Helena Bay has the highest concentration of fish processing factories in South Africa and the crayfish industry was set up in 1915. It is difficult to know exactly where one town ends and the next one starts but  it is a great area to enjoy whale, dolphin and birdwatching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, surfing and sailing.

Driving back along the coastal road form Shelly Point towards Velddrif the first palace you come to is a  fishing village with the quaint name of  Stompneusbaai. (Stompneus refers to a type of fish that is abundant in the west coast waters) In fact you can see Stompneusbaai from the northern side of Shelly Point.

Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.
Stompneusbaai as seen from Shelly Point.

The gravel road is the direct route to Vredenburg and there is also a turn off that goes to Paternoster.

A shot of Stompneusbaai taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.
A shot of Stompneusbaai, with Shelly Point in the background  taken from that gravel road to Vredenburg.

Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama landed in St Helena Bay in 1497. The bay, know locally as ” Die Agterbaai”, is one of the worlds prime fishing centres which provides a livelihood for the local inhabitants.

A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
A granite monument to Vasco Da Gama.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
It would be fascinating to find out the meaning of the etchings in the granite.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.
Another view of Stompneusbaai from the beach.

I had heard that there were some caravan parks in the bay area and did eventually find 2 of them. The one is near Stompneusbaai and I went and had a quick look. I think a picture in this case is worth a thousand words.

The entrance to
The entrance to the Midwest Caravan Park.

This park has got to be the worst I have seen on my journey thus far. The ceiling of the showers in the ablution block were so low that I would have had to shower on my knees.

Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.
Houses on the mountain side over looking the bay.

Most of the new developments along this stretch of coastline are being built on the hill slopes as much of the sea front land is still owned by the local inhabitants and fisheries

Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Plots for sale overlooking the bay at St Helena Bay.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.
Fishing boats in the St Helena Bay harbour.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

View of the harbour from one of the hill side developments.

There is also a lot been done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.
There is a lot being done in the Maricultural Industry. I believe these are Abalone tanks.

St Helena Bay Hotel.

St Helena Hotel.

I got a bit confused as many years ago I spent a night at this hotel but then it was called Steenberg’s Cove Hotel.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast from a bygone era.

An invoice for a room, bar and breakfast in 1980 and it was in season

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

St Helena Hotel Caravan Park.

The other caravan park in the area is part of the hotel and is quite difficult to spot from the road. If I had found it earlier I would have spent a few days here while I explored the region as it looked pretty good. Nice grass stands and a reasonable ablution block.

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