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Friday, July 13, 2018

The Stone Age Fishing Traps at Rasperpunt of Cape L'Algulhas

It is always a very special moment when you stumble upon something beyond unique which represents our very special South African heritage.  The historical Fish Traps at Rasperpunt - Cape L'Algulhas - is dated back to the stone age (as seen below) and a must-visit when exploring the most southern tip of Africa.

Looking at this photograph, the southern most tip is seen in the distance top left,
in relation to the fishing traps in the foreground.
Look further
Every person who visits the Southern Tip of Africa spends hours at the light house and the photographic podium, not realising that a couple of hundred meters away is something just as unique and special to explore.

Getting there
The weather did not play it's part during our visit.  Rain and howling westerly winds made it difficult to endure the 5.5km circular Rasperpunt hiking trail with a toddler and two teenagers.  We drove to the nearest fishermans' parking and with a quick and comfortable board walk we were delighted to witness this very special historical place on our earth.

Know Before You Go
The best time to visit and witness these fish traps is at low tide.

How does the Old Khoi Fish Trap work?
At the time when fish was more abundant, the Khoi fishermen would wait for the tide to rise and the fish would follow with the incoming tide.  As the tide drops, the fishermen would encourage the fish towards the shore, herding them into a trapped state as the tide drops.  Each 'fish trap wall' was built to help enclose a smaller area to make the catching process easier.

As seen in the image above, each Fishing Trap consisted of many layers of packed stone walls.  Each stone wall was carefully packed by the Khoi fishermen, just high enough to dam the fish up during the outgoing tide.

Fun for the whole family
Rasperpunt also makes for a fun and safe family stop for the youngsters to enjoy the water.

More Information to enjoy along the way
Should you chose to enjoy the coastal hike, there are 34 points of interest and signage to alerts hikers of their unique historical value.

Other Sources:
SANPARKS - Cape L'Algulhas National Park
Peter Chadwick - African Conservation Photographer
Arnold Ras - Wild Card Magazine : Top 5 Things to do in Algulhas National Park

Friday, July 6, 2018

De Mond Nature Reserve Cape L'Algulhas

No trip to the L'Algulhas National Park will be complete without making a day-trip out of visiting this wonderful location which is known as Cape Nature De Mond Nature Reserve.

A quick thirty minute drive to reach this location from Struisbaai will get you here.  There is an entry fee at the gate, where you can get your map and information regarding the reserve.

Cape Nature does offer accommodation here, but it only one house that accommodates 8 people with no electricity or services.

You can choose to take a short walk to the end of the board walk, or you can make a lovely beach hike out of it, and venture right to the river mouth and around to return on the opposite side of the river back to the entry gate.

Heuningnes River Mouth at De Mond Nature Reserve

We were limited by the crowd and would have loved to complete the full circular walk around the mouth to the beach and back.  We recommend that you pack a lovely picnic bag to enjoy the 7km sterna trail which passes through the riverine vegetation, dune forest and stabilised dunes before following the coast to the river mouth and salt marshes.

The reserve has a rich and varied bird life.  De Mond Nature reserve provides a unique destination for the breeding grounds of the threatened Damara and Caspian Terns. Photo credit to Sharon Brink , Heyne Brink , Christna Steyn

Damara Tern at De Mond Nature Reserve

Thank you to Peter Chadwick for motivating us to visit yet another superb destination after reading his article in the Spring 2017 Wild Magazine.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Algulhas National Park Renosterkop Accommodation SANPARKS

We wanted to stay at the main camp which was located closer to the Southern most tip of Africa, however this was fully booked.  Renosterkop is a satellite accommodation offered by SANPARKS which is about 30min drive away from the hustle and bustle of more familiar tourist side L'Agulhas.  This being the Southern most tip of Africa and the L'Alhulhas Lighthouse

It was a pleasant experience a step back in time and to live as the old farmers did in these wonderful refurbished farmsteads.  SANPARKS have done a wonderful job in making us comfortable and for the visitor to have a comfortable stay.   Juanita did not enjoy it as much as I did, because at the time there were many fire ants and thorns, making it difficult for her and the toddler to enjoy a fun walk outside.  Our mountain bikes and shoes got many thorns in them, having to clean our shoes every time we entered the chalet. 

The other downside of this spot was that we had to spend at least 30 minutes to get to the closest localisation, like Struisbaai and or Cape L'Algulhas.  But on the upside, you can be sure to know you are away from the crowds and enjoy a peaceful time away and absorb the sounds of silence.

The old Salt Pans provided a wonderful photographic environment, but are no longer in use.  It is a must-stop location if you feel like being creative and have your camera on hand.

The history of RENOSTERKOP states that they were the pioneers of stock farming and that their accommodation was built from probably the eighteenth century using mainly materials from the wrecked ships.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Maps of the Anysberg

It is important to understand your environment to absorb and make the most benefit of the park.  These maps of the Anysberg might seem arbitrary for the uninformed viewer, but if you spare yourself a few minutes to enjoy its contents, you will find yourself filled with a wonderful experience and understanding of the value of each location.

We would like to commend Cape Nature for all the work that has gone into making the Anysberg such a wonderful Karoo Family Getaway.  It is encouraging and exciting to learn that they have recently acquired the neighbouring farm 'The Grand Canyon' : Schutte-Vlok explained that the purchase of Grand Canyon links Anysberg Nature Reserve with the Swartberg Nature Reserve.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Anysberg Activities

Anysberg has a variety of fun activities and things to do for the whole family.  This is a lovely destination for both summer and winter fun. 

There is a large cement dam converted into a lovely swimming pool with a wooden deck to enjoy some time out and soak up the sun.  The only thing is that it has no shallow end, so you must be able to swim if you want to go for a splash to cool down.

Stargazing:  This must be a highlight of the stay here.  Most of us come from a town or city and seeing the stars is just so incredibly beautiful.  This location is known as one of the darkest places in South Africa, and comes highly recommended if you wish to come and view the stars.

Kayaking in the Rooidamme : the water levels were too low when we visited, but once the dams are more filled, one can get kayaks from the main camp to enjoy some fun on the dam.  I would also recommend that you bring your SUP board if you have, the dams are big enough for a fun SUP around the dam.

Horseback riding:  Apart from enjoying the stars at your camp, you can also book a trip on horseback to a venue located deep in the mountains, called Tapfontein.  It is a two day trip, offering you a comfortable bed and cooking facilities.  The toilet comes with a view, and rather fresh to enjoy in the outdoors.

Mountain Biking: The Anysberg is fairly flat and easy to ride, but there are a few challenging routes for the less experienced mountain biker.  Every road here is accessible to enjoy a mountain bike. 

Landsekloof was rather challenging (thick sand and very rocky) and far, but once we reached the top of the road, an easy but super bumpy 15 min cycle back to camp was welcomed.

We also chose to visit the Tapfontein on our mountain bikes and loved every minute of it.  There are many river crossings as you ride up into the hills. It comes recommended to try and avoid the hot mid day sun.

4x4 Routes:  There is a 4x4 route up to the top of the Anysberg, but was recently closed due to water damage to the road.  Do contact the office prior to your visit, should you wish to follow this route.

Rock Art:  This archaeological and historic site is one not to miss.  The Khoisan paintings are estimated to be over 2000 years old.   You can find this specific one on route to Tapfontein.  There are many more documented sites, but requires a guide to explore them.

Prinspoort:  This is a lovely river route that can be hiked all the way to the Prinsrivierdam, but be warned it is a long way, about 10km one way.

The Jungle Gym was welcomed by our 4 year old son.

Apart from all the busy things one can do, do not forget to stop and enjoy the silence of the Karoo.

Other activities to enjoy:
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Game viewing: Animals that we saw were Jackals, Oryx, Mountain Zeebra, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Steenbok and Kudu.