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West Coast NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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Touareg
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Re: Appeal to WCNP Management

Unread postby Touareg » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:27 pm

You are 100% correct about the guard on the Langebaan side. The guard coupled with a Wild card swipe would do the trick.
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WCNP in November

Unread postby Norfolk tiger » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:10 am

Hi returning to SA in November and hoping to visit WCNP for a day trip from Cape Town. I've visited before but not had much luck in terms of any wildlife spotting (including good birds).

Any suggestions on a good route / hot spots would be welcome. I'm bringing a couple of first time visitors to SA and whilst our big animal sessions are set up for Kruger, it would be nice if we could get a couple of nice sightings early in the trip. Any good spots for bigger game or are they spread?

I'm a birder and would love to see Black Harrier and any other specialities but in fairness I'll be squeezing my birding in as part of the drive / walk as my companions have not yet seen the light on the benefits of birding.

In addition, i know its past the 'flower season', but are we likely to see any 'slow bloomers'? I land on 29th october so any advice prior to then would be most welcome.

:clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby Hugh » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:56 am

There are some great hides in Westcoast . so I am sure you will not be disappointed .. and just to see the lagoon from a height with its amazing colours is worth a visit . We were there last month and saw eland and other bokkies some tortoises and they are overrun by ostriches .But a drive to the beach and watching the waves on the rocks can be very rewarding. You will see the big stuff in KNP so enjoy the little things in Westcoast .
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby o-dog » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:22 am

Hi!

Firstly its been a very good year at WCNP with rain and thus for flowers and there will be no doubt some of the dune species still flowering at that time especially if the rains continue.
In november if you are there during the week and not a weekend, its one of my best months for caracal in the park. You have a great chance of seeing them in the dune area both sides of the Churchhaven turnoff. Drive slowly and scan the large bushes next to open patches of sand.
Snakes are peaking at this time as the warmer weather and high numbers of rodents makes for a frenzy of activity.
BLack Harriers are a good bet and driving from the Langebaan gate to Tsarbank, you will have a very good chance of seeing a few of them hunting next to the road.
Large mammals are not what the park is renowned for as Hugh mentions - however Eland have been seen by myself almost everytime I have been in the park this year.
Kuduand Bontebok are encountered closer to Kraalbaai and Tsarbank. Cape Grysbok, Steenbok can be seen anywhere and as you come along the dust road towards Tsarbank, park on the RHS of the road at the top of the hill which overlooks Postberg. Get the Binos out and you can easily see 5 large mammal species on the average day - Mountain Zebra, Eland, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Springbok, Kudu, Bontebok etc and if you are lucky then even Bat Eared Foxes in the cooler part pf the day or anytime of day in November if its not too hot.
Spend time scanning for whales at the whale lookout and anytime you get a view of the ocean.
When you get to Tsarbank, drive right around the to the corner which looks out towards Kreeftebaai. At this point if you look west you will see an island with some concrete sturcutres on it. There is a large seal and bird colony there. If youre up for a walk, walk to the end of the beach and onto a little island which is accessible at low tide. Its a lovely walk and this island offers great views of the seal colony on the neighbouring island. Make sure you have Binos though!

Spend time at Abrahamskraal hide (and Geelbek hide at mid to low tide and Seeberg at hightide) and at Abrahamskraal if youre lucky you might see African Rail but there are many species of waterbird here especially on the far side of the pond/vlei. Crakes, teals, coots, dabchicks, herons, spoonbills ibis, egrets, marsh harrier and many more. Geelbek hides often a plethora of the tricky waterbird species as well as many better known ones. THere is also a great walk from Geelbek along the marsh areas.

Have fun and focus on the birds, insects and reptiles etc and you will have a great time with something special revealing itself.

:thumbs_up:
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arks
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby arks » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:09 pm

Hi Norfolk tiger and Welcome!

O-dog has given you excellent and detailed advice — which has been a help for me, too, thanks o-dog! :thumbs_up: — about one of my favourite parks. I will be back in Darling in November and will undoubtedly make several day trips to WCNP (and be holding thumbs that I may finally see a caracal for longer than 10 seconds :pray: )

One of my favourite spots in the park is Tsaarsbank, where you'll see a variety of shorebirds, including the endangered black oystercatchers. And that beach walk sounds great! (I'm usually there alone, so as a solo female, I'd think such a walk is not adviseable for me :( ?) I've also had good sightings at Abrahamskraal birdhide, but I haven't visited others because they require rather long lonely walks to reach — fine if you're a couple or a group, but not so for a solo lady.

I think your chances to see black harrier are excellent, I've seen them almost every visit. But remember that they often fly low, often dipping behind shrubs and dunes, so you're less likely to have a clear, soaring view of this gorgeous raptor. I also almost always see bontebok and usually also steenbok and those ubiquitous ostriches. And my last two visits (in May and June), I had fabulous eland sightings, the first close to the southern gate, and the second about a kilometre past the Geelbek turnoff (heading towards Langebaan).

For your first-time visitors, remember that this park is more about the smaller things and the glorious vistas. The fynbos — with or without flowers — is always filled with detail if you take the time to go slowly and enjoy, even better if you can get out and walk a bit! And the birding is also excellent — if you go slowly!

And so long as you have the option, visit mid-week rather than over a weekend as the park is FAR quieter during the week, when there are fewer rushing off to beach or braai with NO interest in all that this lovely park has to offer :evil:

Have a great trip!
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby Crested Val » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:31 pm

Wow o-dog, you certainly know your stuff!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Note to self.............another trip to WCNP, next time we're in The Cape!! :dance:

Norfolk Tiger hope you have an amazing time, and we may see you in Kruger............make sure you have your Yellow Ribbon!! :thumbs_up:
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby o-dog » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:38 pm

THanx Crested Val and Arks :thumbs_up:

Arks I really hope you get to see a caracal for longer than 10secs next time ;)

And as far as the Solo Ladywalking alone thing goes, I think you would be absolutely fine anywhere around Geelbek and their hides as well as the walk I mentioned to that island. THe Tsarbank area is so vast and ive done that walk on stormy days with noone around. Its scary in some ways - not because of people but just because its one of those places where one feels so insignificant especially compared to those huge smashing west coast waves. In 15 years of visiting the park regularly (my parents have a house in Churchhaven) I have never seen anyone dodgey and Ive walked a lot! Perhaps go on a busy calm day with lots of people around for those walks. ENjoy!
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby Rookie » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Norfolk Tiger, Arks, Crested Val and O-dog

We spent the day there today and if I can take the liberty, I have posted a couple of photos of what we saw.

Blue Crane at Abramskraal
Image

Flamingos at Geelbek
Image

Image

One of about 10 yellow billed Kites
Image

A Southern Korhaan
Image

Flowers near Seebrug hide
Image

Sadly a Puff Adder which we think had been hit by a car
Image

Malachite Sunbird. Countless Lesser Double Collared Sunbirds as well
Image

Duelling Black Shouldered Kites
Image

and last but not least, the Cape Francolin (Spurfowl)
Image

We saw Eland very far off near Geelbek, a couple of Cape Grysbok, lots of other birds and we did see a Black harrier, but as already said, it was flying very low and ducking behind the bushes, so no photos. The tide was out so photos of waders and other seabirds were exceedingly difficult.

There are plenty of places to wander around and to picnic, so my suggestion would be to take a cooler bag with some lunch and drinks and sit at Tsaarsbank or Preekstoel and just enjoy the views and nature itself.
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arks
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby arks » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:02 pm

Thanks Rookie, you are making me very homesick :mrgreen: ! Sounds like a stellar day at WCNP. I've never seen blue cranes there, I usually see those along Darling Hills Road — a recommended route (it's the road along which you'll find Groote Post :D ) as part of a WC visit.

O-dog, I'm so jealous that you stay in Churchhaven (I once snuck a drive down to have a quick look and it looks a charming place!), means you get to see the park when all the day visitors have left :mrgreen: Thanks for encouraging me to take a few walks on my own, I've always been a bit wary, so your local knowledge counts for a lot :gflower:

And Tsaarbank on a stormy day is magic! I've visited this park now in all kinds of weather and it never disappoints :thumbs_up:
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread postby Norfolk tiger » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:40 am

Guys,

thank you for your very helpful comments and observations. :gflower:

I met up with my companions yesterday and they were very excited about the whole trip (Cape Town x 5, KZN x 5, Panoramic x 2, Kruger x 4) and I think WCNP will play a significant part in their enjoyment.

I understand this is not the place for the 'bigger' game but at least gives us a chance to pick off some of the species we will not see on the rest of our trip (Mountain Zebra, Grysbok etc). Bat Eared Fox would be stunning (seen them once in Kenya) but know they'll be tough to crack but Cape Gyrsbok would be a lifer for me. :dance:

Fortunately we are only here during the week so don't need to worry about the 'maddening crowds' but we will definately spend a day doing as many of the trails as possible. Hopefully we will catch a good tide to bring some of the waders closer but as said previously, I'll be snatching my birding moments and so my chances of spending time searching for a Semi Palmated Sandpiper amongst a flock might be difficult :whistle:

Reptiles will be great and so I will spend time looking for those as we walk.

I'm really grateful to you all and if I could only work out how to post pictures (I've followed the advice) :wall: then I'd post a few on my return.

See you in November (yellow ribbon proudly on display)

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Gate Registration & Indemnity Document @ WCNP ?????

Unread postby EOS_User » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:43 pm

As a matter of interest, why is a 'Gate Registration & Indemnity Document' required for entry into WCNP (apparently) but not for other SANParks sites?

I was just surfing the various parks we plan to visit on our up-coming trip, and this is posted right on the home page of the WCNP section here; http://www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast/

And this is the form; http://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/parks_west_coast/gate-registration.pdf

Grateful for any input...

Cheers;

Lee

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Re: Gate Registration & Indemnity Document @ WCNP ?????

Unread postby lion queen » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:46 pm

We fill in the same form when entering Kgalagadi.

As far as I can remember they also state there, that by filling in this form before hand you speed up the entry process.
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Re: Gate Registration & Indemnity Document @ WCNP ?????

Unread postby Crested Val » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:51 pm

We live in Phalaborwa for a few months every year and go most days into KNP.

We have to fill that exact form in each time we enter. I know it off by heart now!!!! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Gate Registration & Indemnity Document @ WCNP ?????

Unread postby EOS_User » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:02 pm

Thanks Guys; I guess I'll download a couple of copies then and be prepared!

Cheers;

Lee

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Re: Gate Registration & Indemnity Document @ WCNP ?????

Unread postby Crested Val » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:18 pm

I always ask for a handful on our first visit, and fill it in before we go, then just top up as and when.

Hope that you have a wonderful trip. :thumbs_up:
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