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West Coast NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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arks
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Unread postby arks » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:00 pm

I (no we, so minimal damage :wink: ) took a path that leads from the opening between the end of the wall and the shrubbery and I truly don't recall any sign. Why is it placed so low?

Also, will that path eventually be re-opened? It's a lovely walk — and easy, too, because it is so short and flat — one I'd definitely want to do again, tho not if it's off limits!!

Because I'm a woman travelling alone, I'm not very comfortable with the idea of trying most other trails, but this, being so close to Geelbek, was perfect!!
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Unread postby WestCoaster » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:06 am

Arks, the problem is that the southern saltmarsh has been proclaimed a no-go area for many reasons. See this PDF.
Note the C Zone on map on page 9. The protection priorities are listed on page 19. These include ground nesting birds protection, land reclamation, preservation of invertebrates in mudflats, wader protection, Black Harrier protection (see top of page 21). The whole C Zone saltmarsh is a "wilderness area" and may only be accessed via a boardwalk as you can see at the Geelbek birdhide a few hundred meters to the east. There is (as yet) no boardwalk at the site you mention.

Signs are placed low so as to not appear in people's photographs ("sign pollution"), as the van Breda house is a favourite photo taking place towards the lagoon.

It could be that the sign has recently "disappeared". I shall check it out this weekend!
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arks
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Unread postby arks » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:24 pm

Thanks, WestCoaster, I understand entirely. Here (New England coast in the USA) we also have fragile saltmarsh areas, some of which are in reserves and now have boardwalks. But most are off limits, for all the obvious reasons. We also have problems with 4x4 off roaders, mainly surf fisherman, who are furious that they are no longer allowed on their favourite beaches because an endangered plover — the piping plover — nests there. So yes, I do understand why.

As for missing the sign, I certainly might not have noticed a sign at ankle height, but it also might not be there. However, if it was missing, it wasn't recent, as I was there in early April.
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Tidal charts WCNP

Unread postby Jirki » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:41 am

Hi all!

We are going to visit the WCNP next weekend (24 Sep) and I am wondering if there is any information available when tides come in? Maybe somebody knows local newspapers or so which provide such information?
By the way - how are the flowers doing - is there still chance to see them bloom in 10 days?

Thanks, and greetings from Austria (departing 21 Sep :) )!!

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Unread postby Krokodile » Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:30 am

I was going to ask the same thing: we're passing by that way from Cape Town to Doringbaai in the first week of October and I'd like to know if any of the flowers are likely to be in bloom still?

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:13 pm

Doringbaai, why would anybody want to go to Doringbaai. My sister lived there for a few years. It is unlikelly the flowers will hold until then, but you might see some late bloomers.
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Unread postby Jay » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:58 pm

because your sister lived there? :?

and Krok, most of the flowers will be gone, but do yourself a favour and get out the car and walk through the veld a little 'cos alot of the bulbs may stil be in flower( many are tiny) and these are the truly special flowers :wink:

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WCNP in November

Unread postby Sallee101 » Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:34 am

Hi all,
I know the flowers will be gone by November but is it worth a side day trip to visit then? Or should I save it for another visit in blooming season?
Sallee

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Unread postby MarkWildDog » Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi Salee, Yes definetly worthwhile - Just remember the best time to view all the Predators (Caracal, African Wild Cat, Bat Eared Fox, Cape Fox & Honey Badger) is early morning & late afternoon. Remember slow driving and careful scanning is the only way you will get rewarded with great sightings. There are lots of tortoises - They are adorable. The Geelbek restraunt is not bad, but I reccomend you book. There is also some bird hides - I think you will enjoy WCNP a lot :wink:

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Unread postby arks » Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:51 pm

I second Mark's recommendation of WCNP, especially if you are interested in birds and enjoy wild, windswept landscapes. The rocky coast at Tsaarbank is wonderful and dramatic, too! Have a look at my WCNP trip report from my visits in April 2006.
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WCNP

Unread postby Sallee101 » Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:56 pm

Thanks for the info. The day trip is on. It sounds great. I love the birds, predators and landscapes.
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Some Did You Knows about WCNP

Unread postby MarkWildDog » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:18 pm

- Every year between 50,000 and 70,000 birds fly over 15,000kms from Northern Russia to spend the Summer feeding in the Lagoon.

- The Lagoon hosts over 250 bird species, more than a quater of South Africa's total and is classified as a wetland of International importance.

- The biggest colony of Kelp gulls in South Africa can be found on Schaapen Island.

- The Lagoon is one of the world's most important wetland areas and represents almost 30% of South Africa's salt marshes.

- The Lagoon is one of the biggest oyster graveyards in the world.

- Schaapen Island was named after seafarers found a flock of sheep on the island. Khoi pastoralists put their livestock on the island to prevent them being caught by predators.

- The guano that was harvested on the islands was called 'white gold'.

- "Eve's footprints" were excavated near Kraalbay and have been dated at 117 000 years old.

- Elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, lions, leopards and hyenas occured around the lagoon 300 years ago.

- In prehoristic times, the sea level was 140m above today's levels.

- It is the only National Park from which you can see another National Park. Do you know which one?

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Re: Some Did You Knows about WCNP

Unread postby arks » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:21 pm

MARK CHOWLES wrote:- It is the only National Park from which you can see another National Park. Do you know which one?

I would guess TMNP — but only on a VERY clear day 8)

Great stuff Mark 8)
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More Did-you-knows from the Park

Unread postby WestCoaster » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:23 am

- The WCNP is proud to host the largest breeding colony of threatened Black Harriers anywhere in the world.

- The WCNP is proud to acknowledge that we are the only RAMSAR site on the West Coast of any continent.

- It is postulated that in ancient times, the Berg River used to flow out to the sea through the Lagoon.

- The WCNP has the largest breeding colony of Cape Gannets (at 70,000 birds) in the world. These can be visited (with permission) on Malgas Island in the mouth of the Lagoon.

- The rare Dwarf Chameleon can be found in the West Coast National Park, as can the Spiny Agama and the Southern Adder - all endangered.

- The two underground lakes, the Elandsfontein and Langebaanweg Aquifers, which are connected, overflow and seep into the Lagoon near the shore east of Geelbek, causing a proliferation of bullrushes in a marine environment.

- Man's greed nearly spelled the end for the African Penguin (used to be known as the Jackass Penguin), after the white gold that Mark refers to was stripped off the islands and sent back to Holland in the 1700-1900's. These penguins now have no place to dig and hide their nests in.

- The colony of Kelp gulls Mark talks about is being threatened by rogue White Pelicans who have taken to strolling through the colony and eating every living chick they can get their considerable beaks around. The cormorants and gannets are also threatened in this way.

- The lagoon, with the upwelling phenomenon that most west coasters are familiar with, as well as the fresh water seep previously mentioned, produces the most nutrient-rich feeding grounds for waders and fish anywhere in Africa.

- Five years ago the Lagoon was seriously threatened by the invasion of the Mediterranean Mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) which arrived in or under the iron ore carriers that visit the huge ore jetty on the end of the Saldanha / Sishen track. Local harvesting for the pot has seen an impressive decline in the numbers of these organisms, which can fasten themselves to the sandy bottom, unlike our local Black Mussels which need a rocky substrate to adhere to.

- Schaapen Eiland is today home to a colony of white rabbits, placed there by decendants of Jan van Riebeeck's days who kept them captive there in order to provide easy fresh meat during their visits from the Cape Colony. The rabbits have developed huge swollen livers, a function of their eating seaweed during lean summer times when there is no grass left to eat on the island.
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Re: More Did-you-knows from the Park

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:50 am

WestCoaster wrote:- The WCNP is proud to acknowledge that we are the only RAMSAR site on the West Coast of any continent.

For those not in the know:
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 153 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1629 wetland sites, totaling 145.6 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
.

http://www.ramsar.org/
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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