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 Post subject: West Coast NP: INFO
Unread postPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 8:28 am 
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This is a short description of the West Coast National Park just south of Langebaan, about 80 kms north of Cape Town off to the left from the N7 which goes all the way up to the Orange River and Namibia.

The Park is shaped like the letter U with the left hand upright forming a peninsula bounded by the Atlantic on the left and a lagoon on the right that surely boasts the most wonderful collection of blue and green hues ever assembled in one place on sunny days. The lagoon is open to the sea at the northern end of the peninsula just south of Saldanha, bringing tidal swells of Benguela nutrients in to the lagoon twice a day. These nutrient injections are the result of a phenomenon known as “upwelling".

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 9:10 am 
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We have family who live in Vredenburg, Stompneusbaai and St Helenabaai - as you know not the place to go swimming except if your senses left your body! We always go to the Langebaan Lagoon for a swim - the public part - and I can vouch for wonderful warm water. We usually visit in December. What I love about the place is the fact that we have walked into the lagoon for close to 1km without swimming! One downside - it's such a beautiful place you forget for how long you've been in the water and get burnt badly!


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Unread postPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 10:01 am 
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I was so intent on pics taken in KNP, that I clean forgot I've been to other places too! :lol: These 2 pics were taken from the swimming beach at the lagoon:




photos missing


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 5:31 pm 
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Hi,

About 2 years ago I saw a martial eagle :o just north east of Langabaan on our way to the park to drive home to CT. It was about 18h00 whn we entered the park. I was a bit disgusted with the way that others sped in an effort to get home, but about 2km from the southern gate 2 juvenile caracals crossed the road in front of our car :D - the only ones I have ever seen in the wild. It was a special sighting and a good day's viewing, to say the least.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:49 am 
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it appears that the park is mainly the residence of migrant birds, or am I wrong ?
I mean, if I go there in August, will I see some all year resident bird, or no bird at all ?

also how do you get to see birds ? in your car, on a boat , in hides , or just walking around ?
and how long should one spend there ? a whole day, several, a couple of hours ???

thx :D


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 Post subject: WCNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:05 pm 
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Hi elpaco

Yes, the Park hosts mainly migrant birds, which start arriving from early September. You will still see all the permanent residents in August though.

A slow drive through the Park with your eyes wide open will reveal many birds. There are bird hides at Geelbek (one on the lagoon and one on the salt pan) and Zeeberg on the lagoon, and a marvelous freshwater waterhole at Abrahamskraal, all with excellent birding potential.

Motorised boats are only allowed in the A Zone which stretches from the sea down to a line drawn across the lagoon from Preekstoel to Oostewal (buoys demarcate the line). Sailboats are permitted in the B Zone, where another line of buoys separate it from the C Zone, where no boating is allowed at all. The C Zone is the southern end of the lagoon, starting at Churchaven, and is heavily protected for obvious reasons. There are various 1- and 2-day hikes for which you need to book, if you want to "walk around".

I would recommend a full day’s visit if you really want to see everything (although I challenge you to see everything in one day!).

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:19 pm 
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Hi El Paco:

I visited the West Coast park in August 2000, which is the only time I've ever been able to see the fabled wild flowers. It is the only time of year when the Postberg extension of the park is open and there I saw the only Eland I've seen in the wild.

@West Coaster: You don't mention Eland amonst the species to be seen, are they no longer there? Your detailed information about this park whets my appetite for a return visit! It's a special - and subtle - place.

There are some beautiful beach getout points too, with surf crashing on the rocks, and lots else to see if you drive slowly and look carefully. I found it a beautiful park and well worth a visit. I spent a very full and memorable day there. The improved facilities at Geelbek should only add to the pleasure.

I will definitely be visiting this park again on my visit to Cape Town next year, as well as making another return visit to Cape Point, which is another of my favourites.

cheers, arks


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:31 pm 
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thanks for your detailed answers :

arks : did you see a lot of birds in August ?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:33 pm 
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Saw one Eland last year October when on a birding trip in the WC Park

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:38 pm 
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I don't recall seeing an extraordinary amount of birds, but I did see an interesting mix and the carpets of flowers are truly breathtaking. The delights of this park are quite subtle: you really do have to take your time, go slowly, and look out for the small things - it's more in the atmosphere of the place than in dramatic sightings. I enjoyed my day there a lot and am really looking forward to a return visit.

@Francois: Thanks for letting me know about the eland. Those I saw were mainly in the Postberg portion of the park and that would have been closed in October, I believe.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:57 pm 
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The one we saw was just 1km from the gate on the Cape Town side of the Park. I birded in the Park on 4 occasions already and apart from this 1 Eland the only other mamals I saw 5 Hartebees

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 Post subject: WCNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:57 am 
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Hi; back again.

I am delighted at your interest, everybody.

Bert, A stay on the boathouse is a unique experience. I say "the boathouse" because only one of the three that you now see is available for hire. Our other one was mashed into firewood after being blown onto the beach in a violent storm two years ago. The gentle lapping of the water against the hull at night with the braai going on the afterdeck, the thousands of seabirds flying and swimming by during the day, the idyllic blues and greens of that part of the lagoon, one's obeisance to the twice-daily tides are all part of this experience.

arks, yes we have well over 36 eland now. They are breeding beyond our wildest expectations. We have removed a section of the Postberg fences now, and slowly but surely, the game that was previously always only ever found at the Postberg tip of the peninsula is now starting to wander into the Park. This is taking some time, as clearly the animals are comfortable in the Postberg area as there is almost no traffic except during August and September. We have Red Hartebeest in the main section of the Park, along with a few Oryx (gemsbok) and Springbok, many Bontebok and Ostriches, along with all the predatory cats and foxes. In Postberg, still to venture out are Wildebeest and Zebra. We are working to bring back the Cape variety of Grey Rhebok, which has not been seen on the West Coast for over 100 years.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:41 pm 
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Hi WC:

thanks for the update on game in the park!! I really enjoyed it in 2000 and will definitely be visiting again next year (March 2006).

I'm a bit curious about why the Postberg area is only open during the flower season? Do I recall that it abuts a military installation or some such?

cheers, arks


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 Post subject: WCNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:46 am 
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Hi there, arks.

Yes, there is a military installation at the tip of the peninsula called Donkergat. When in Postberg you will come to a T-junction where right takes you up to Uitkyk with a high view of the lagoon and Langebaan on the other side, and left takes you down towards Plankiesbaai. If you try and go straight at this T-junction you will arrive at the guardpost barring your way into Donkergat.

However, the presence of Donkergat has nothing to do with the fact that Postberg is only open to the public for two months of the year. The West Coast National Park was the first "Contractual National Park" (CNP) in our history. A CNP is one where members of the public already own parts of a proposed Park and will not sell or leave. So, before the Park is eventually proclaimed, a contract is drawn up with the residents, defining the rules for the future, and the proclamation then goes ahead. Part of the rules agreed to here, was the opening or otherwise of Postberg to the public. The rules define who is responsible for providing amenities (water, sewage, electricity, etc), for maintaining the roads and phone lines, speed limits in the Park and that sort of thing.

I hope it's a little clearer now...?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:26 pm 
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Interesting, WC. So it's because Postberg is privately owned that it's only open for 2 months? Apart from the wild flowers, I thought it had lots else to offer, more game than the rest of the park (perhaps because they are less disturbed overall?) and that terrific viewpoint (uitkyk - does that mean viewpoint?) and a couple of gorgeous beaches to walk on.

But perhaps it's because of the limited access that it stays so nice? Actually, when I was there, a weekday in mid-August, the whole park was deserted. I was there a whole day, yet saw perhaps a dozen other cars at most. I assumed it would be lots busier on the weekend, but was a bit surprised that there wasn't a bit more traffic because of it being wildflower season.


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