Posts tagged with “Shelly Point”

A Taste of West Coast

Wednesday, 5 August, 2015

Laaiplek & Stompneus Bay

We recently went for a short weekend to Stompneus Bay, my home town. Kaart

It’s a leisurely two hours drive to get there.

A river runs through it

We arrived at the twin towns of Laaiplek  / Velddrift on Saturday afternoon.  The Berg river runs through the town and reaches the sea there. Hawepunt

Velddrift is where the annual Berg River canoe marathon ends.Laaiplek arial

[Source:  Imagery @2015 CNES/ Astrium, Cnes /Spot Image, Digital Globe, Landsat,Map data @2015 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

Some 80 species of birds can be found in the estuary there.  I’m told there are 30 000 birds there, but they did not say who counted them.

Down by the river

I found myself just too late to catch the SA Fisheries Museum open.  They just closed three minutes prior to my arrival.  Will simply have to come back later for that.

We attended the Laaiplek hotel for lunch.  We sat outside.Laaiplek hotel

And this is the view we had over the river from where we sat.Rivieruitsig

Close by the the Laaiplek Slipway did business.Laaiplek Slipway

And some 100 meters away the Martinho has apparently been docked there since 2005, but sunk in 2010.  Maybe the owners should contact Laaiplek Slipway?Martinho

At the jetty there were very few boats.  Most were out to sea.  Stormkop was there.


Stormkop rear

Shelly Point

Later the evening we returned to Stompneus Bay and headed for Shelly Point where we stayed for the night.

Stomneus Bay is part of the bigger St Helena Bay, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama set foot on African soil in November 1497. Vasco da Gama

We studied this at primary school, probably because the school was at Stompneus Bay.  I was never good with dates.  Thank goodness for Wikipedia, nuh?

As we drove along the coast to our destination we could see the trawlers heading out to sea.  Some found fish close by the shore.  We spotted Silver Bounty going about his business very close to the shore at Shelly Point.Silver Bounty

We had a glorious sunset.  I only waited until too late before I took the picture.Sunset

The sound of memories

During the spitbraai dinner at the Bon Shelly Point hotel we were entertained by a gentleman making live music.  Rather nice.

About 04h30 the morning I woke up from what sounded like a helicopter hover overhead.  Later I thought it is probably a truck.  But there were no roads nearby for a truck that can make that kind of noise can drive.  And then it dawned upon me what I was hearing!

I got up and watched out of the window.  Between the lighthouses of Cape St Martin and Shelly Point I counted six trawlers heading to the factories with their loads of fish.  The typical wooden vessels’ engines produce up to 500 horsepower, and the bigger steel vessels up to 1500 horsepower.   Which probably explains the rather beefed up sound effects.  Picture the sound of a lorry’s exhaust brake – and amplify it a number of times.

I got back in bed and found myself still for long time listening to the vessels on their home run, with a smile on my face.  The sweet sound of memories.


Cape West Coast

Saturday, 3 May, 2014

by PG Jonker

West Coast drive

April, the fairest of all months.

I know, the poem by C. Louis Leipoldt was about October being the fairest of all months.  But Leipoldt did not live in post-1994 South Africa.  More in particular, he did not experience the marvel of South African April with all its public holidays, interspersed by a working day here and there.

So making use of some of these holidays we went for a drive up the West Coast.

Weskus Fossielpark trip

[Source:   Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

First stop the West Coast National Park at the Southern part of the Langebaan lagoon.

Weskus Nasionale Park

[Map from the SanParks brochure – see also].

As a National Park you need to pay the preservation fee if you don’t have the Wild Card.  The Langebaan lagoon has fynbos, internationally acclaimed wetlands, and a wide variety of birdlife  and antelopes.

At Kraalbaai, on the Western side of the lagoon, you find the Preekstoel (pulpit).  According to the Sanparks brochure the firs Khoi dictionary of 400 words was documented here by De Flacourt, the Director General of the French East India Company in 1648.


Also some house boats and yachts.

Bote by Kraalbaai

When we were there it was low tide.


From there we drove to the southern tip of the lagoon.  Geelbek is a restaurant inside the park.  This was also in 1785 where the VOC in the Cape of Good Hope placed a beacon to demarcate it northern most boundary.


A boardwalk takes you to bird hides.


Bird species Curlow Sandpiper, Sanderling and Knot travels the 15000km’s from Northern Russia every year to breed here.  Over 250 bird species are found here.  This is more than a quarter of the total of South Africa’s bird species.

The birds don’t hide in the bird hide, though.  We do.

Bird hide

The Langebaan lagoon was classified as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention criteria in 1975.


Unlike the beach at Kraalbaai, the bird hide did not exactly have the two twelve year olds with us thrilled.  Admittedly, we were not there at a good bird spotting time, so we have not seen too many of the more than 250 species.

Shades of green:


Lunch at Driftwoods in Langebaan proved rather popular with all, though.

Drift Woods

It was now becoming afternoon, and we first took a vote on whether we would still visit the West Coast Fossil Park.  I was quite surprised at the two twelve year olds’ enthusiasm.  Maybe they had grand visions of Jurassic Park.


We arrived at the Fossil park after the departure of the laste guided tour to the excavation site.  The lady at the laboratory was kind enough, though, to give us a tour through the laboratory – which is where the guided tour in any event ends.

In die lab

Some interesting facts we learnt were that this is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.  It was discovered in 1930 when phosphate mining started there.  Unfortunately a great many of the fossils had been destroyed in the mining operations.  Apparently as much as 80% thereof.  Nevertheless, more than a million specimens found its way to the Iziko museum in Cape town.  After the mine closed in 1993 it was developed as a fossil park.

By the end of our tour even our Jurassic Park enthusiast’s concentration was starting to wear thin.  After all, if the 5 million year old bone is actually solidified into stone, it cannot be cloned, and the DNA won’t exist to churn out a new African bear.

African bear

Last stop:  Stompneus Bay.

Shelly Point

It does not get better than this, huh?…