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West Coast NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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lam
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Best time for West Coast NP?

Unread postby lam » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:58 am

When is the best time to visit the West Coast National Park?

I have been in January and I think that was the wrong time.

Is it best to try and combine this with the Namaqua flower season?

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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:33 am

My first trip to West Coast National park was in January of this year to try and find a reported Red (Grey) Phalarope that was supposedly seen at Abrahamskraal. We dipped out on the Phalarope but did manage to list 58 other birds on the trip.

As this was our first trip to the park, and also our first outing planned specifically to see a rare one.
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Re: Best time for West Coast NP?

Unread postby francoisd » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:40 am

lam wrote:When is the best time to visit the West Coast National Park?

I have been in January and I think that was the wrong time.

Is it best to try and combine this with the Namaqua flower season?

Personally I would say August / September during the flower season as then Postberg is open and you can see the animals and flowers. Birding wise not the best time because the migrant waders are not there yet, to see them I think November to March will be better.
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Unread postby Jay » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:47 pm

If you want flowers, then end August, begin September, if you want devine weather, May, but summer is not fun, lotsa wind!
if you visit again, gimme a shout!

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Unread postby jdown » Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:03 pm

Thanks, West Coaster, for the excellent info on West Coast NP. Three questions:
1. I'm planning a trip to S.A. in 2006 (postponed from '05), and am looking to do the Namaqua/West Coast/Cape area wildflowers during the last week in August & 1st 2 weeks in Sept. From your comments & those of others, I'm wondering if this is a bit late (although peak flowering time must vary from year to year depending on rainfall). Your spectacular photos posted at Image Shack are just the sort of thing I hope to see & photograph: will the Postberg area look this great in early September?
2. Where in the park is best to see & photograph flamingos, especially groups of 50 or more if possible?
3. Are male Red Bishops in breeding plumage in August-September? If so, where is the best place to photograph them?

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Unread postby lam » Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:15 pm

jdown wrote:2. Where in the park is best to see & photograph flamingos, especially groups of 50 or more if possible?
3. Are male Red Bishops in breeding plumage in August-September? If so, where is the best place to photograph them?


2. One of the best places in the country for photographing flamingoes is a dam just outside Kimberley, but that will be a bit of a detour.

3. Red Bishops are starting to get their colour then. They are at their best around October, I think.
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Unread postby Salva » Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:14 am

I went in september 2003 (according to most locals a poor flower year) and I really enjoyed seeing Bontebok, Zebra and Kudu in a pink carpet in the Postberg section. We also had a very good Bat-eared fox sighting.

So after good rains I'm sure august and september are the most exciting months landscape- and gamewise. Besides, I think most game is in the Postberg section since outside that section I only spotted one small herd of hartebeest.

Greetz

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Unread postby lam » Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:59 am

Thanks, Jay, will do.

We probably won't go again until they make a campsite in the National Park. I got quite irritated with staying in the municipal campsites in the area. Receptions were hardly ever open - they shut at 4 and for ages at lunch time. Most of them wouldn't allow tents, and we had to really beg to get into one that wasn't worth staying at. When going to the ablution block you always have to remember to take loo paper and keys, one of which I always forget and then when you finally get into the ablution block, it is painted bright green, bright pink or loud turquoise.

Besides, they just don't feel right. I really do enjoy the feel of SANP campsites and quite a few of the other provincial reserve campsites too.

Enough grumping :!:
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Unread postby WestCoaster » Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:07 am

Hi Jay and lam .

This is a facility that has been considered in one way or another for many years now. There is (although many people will not know about this) already a campsite in the Park, but it fell into disrepair many years ago and restorative funding is now a problem. Privatisation is one option and is being thoroughly looked at.

The Park is still fairly young and at the moment the spend prioritisation focuses more toward restoring old homesteads and getting more and bigger game into the Park (has anyone seen the new eland herd yet - I believe it's currently in the southern section). Rest assured, your comments have been heard and the campsite will get its turn!

What do you all think of the newly-privatised Restaurant at Geelbek?
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lam
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Unread postby lam » Thu Oct 13, 2005 7:55 am

Privatisation needs to be considered carefully. The campsite needs to feel like a NP campsite, even if it isn't one. It must not feel like one of the municipal campsites in the area. See my long whinge about them in http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4216. I could whinge a lot longer.

I understand the funding problem and realise that my and a few other peoples R100.00 a night camping fee isn't really going to create an enormous amount of money. It would take quite a while to pay of the building.

One thing to bear in mind is that the campsite should be kept simple. Just an ablution block. No washlines and kiddies playgrounds. I would preferably have the campsite away from the sea, so that it attracts bird and nature lovers and not people who are just looking for a seaside caravan park. Am I demanding, or what?

I appreciate all the work that is being done by all the parks. So many parks seem to be expanding or restocking and so many new parks are being declared. I am really proud of the government for backing this and for the National Parks people for getting all the work done with limited funds.

WestCoaster wrote:What do you all think of the newly-privatised Restaurant at Geelbek?


Sorry, can't comment. I didn't go to the Geelbek restaurant. When we are away camping, we only go to restaurants when the weather is bad.
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Unread postby francoisd » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:05 am

jdown wrote:2. Where in the park is best to see & photograph flamingos, especially groups of 50 or more if possible?
3. Are male Red Bishops in breeding plumage in August-September? If so, where is the best place to photograph them?

Geelbek hide has the most flamingos but you will gave to get the tides correct (at least 4.5 hours after high tide in Table Bay, but try and be there even 5-6 hours before the High in Table bay). There are normally many flamingos, but might not be that close together to get the shot you want. Another place on the West Coast you might try is the little town of Velddrift about 80km north of Langebaan.

4. There will be Red Bishops around and the better place might be Abrahamskraal waterhole.
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:05 pm

WestCoaster wrote:Hi Jay and lam .

..... Privatisation is one option and is being thoroughly looked at.


Partially out of curiosity sake: are private camps something in the near future and may anyone from the public sector tender for the contracts?

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Unread postby Jay » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:17 pm

jdown wrote:in August & 1st 2 weeks in Sept. From your comments & those of others, I'm wondering if this is a bit late (although peak flowering time must vary from year to year depending on rainfall). ......of thing I hope to see & photograph: will the Postberg area look this great in early September?
2. Where in the park is best to see & photograph flamingos, especially groups of 50 or more if possible?
3. Are male Red Bishops in breeding plumage in August-September? If so, where is the best place to photograph them?


The flower season is much longer than most poeple realise, but different species flower at different, consecutive times, so any time after the first few weeks of good rainfall is fine (early August to mid September)!

The Berg River at Velddrif is superb for photographing flamingo's and quite a few other bird species. You can drive through the park to Langebaan(from the "Cape Town" end) and then on to Velddrif. I often do this trip (it's a loop for me!) and it is always rewarding and relaxing :D

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Unread postby Stoffel » Sun Oct 16, 2005 9:40 pm

Hi lam. I share all your views. I know privatisation is probably a reality of the future, but it will be a pity if camps in our National Parks will go the same way as some cafeterias (after privatisation) in Kruger.

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Unread postby WestCoaster » Mon Oct 17, 2005 6:58 am

Hi Jay.

As far as I know, yes. All tender processes are managed through Head Office in Pretoria via the respective Park manager.
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