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Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Unread postby Turnip » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:03 pm

Hi - can anyone tell us about the rows of angled posts in a wetland not far to the west of Agulhas? It looks as thought it could be a wonderful birding site when it's flooded in winter, but what on earth are those posts all about?


We'll be most interested to learn more -

Lastly, how do I include a pic directly in the text of a post? Can it only be a pic that has already been posted elsewhere on the web?

Many thanks

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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:02 pm

Re: Salt pan in Agulhas N P

Unread postby Turnip » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:15 am

OK, Our curiosity has been satisfied. Have just had a most helpful reply from Tertius Carinus, ABI Project coordinator - it read in part

"As you would see from the name, (Soutpan) it used to be a salt works where they scraped some salt and those poles were part of the process." Fascinating.

Thanks Tertius.

EDe Kock
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Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Unread postby EDe Kock » Mon Aug 20, 2012 3:20 pm

The Saltpans

Another of Agulhas National Park’s iconic spots of interest is the Saltpans, also called the Springfield Saltpans. Salt was the first mineral to be exploited in South Africa during colonial times. Salt was used for flavouring food, curing skins and hides and preserving fish and meat. The traveller and explorer, Peter Kolbe, reported during his stay at the Cape between 1705 and 1713, the discovery of saline pans near Elim and Bredasdorp. In 1791 the VOC administration at the Cape took over ownership of these pans and leased them to prospective operators. In the early 19th century the system of granting leases by public auction was adopted. Salt prices were fixed. This system remained unchanged after the Cape became a British colony in 1806. The growing fishing industry was one of the main markets of salt production in the Bredasdorp region. The road from the Saltpans to Gansbaai was called the Soutpad, the Salt road. The salt was transported with oxwagons on this route.

The Saltpan at Springfield was the largest pan and the largest producer of salt. Here, diluted brine was pumped from boreholes, wells and trenches sunk into the floor of the pan into large concentration ponds, where the liquid was allowed to concentrate into saturated brine. This saturated brine was then led into shallow crystallisation ponds to evaporate. The product was harvested after the removal of the remaining liquid.

The Springfield pan was exploited by the Springfield Salt and Farming Company (Pty) Ltd (1914-1950). The pan and the mineral rights were sold to Lord de Saumarez in 1950, who continued its exploitation until production ceased in the 1960s. The remains of the concentration and crystallisation ponds, production plant (factory) and manager’s (or caretaker’s homestead) are now part of the cultural heritage in the Agulhas NP. The Saltpans today is a very good seasonal birding spot.

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Re: Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:40 pm

:clap: Thanks!
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Re: Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Unread postby MATTHYS » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:51 pm

Looking forward to more interesting facts and posts from you, EDe Kock.
Welcome and thanks for registering :D
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Re: Saltpans in Agulhas National Park

Unread postby jacquiandphil » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:32 pm

Stayed in Agulhas NP for 3 nights last week, we'd taken Dalene Matthee's Driftwood to read as it's set around Springfield and saltpans. As overseas visitors it was fantastic to sit and read this while there. (it was horrifically windy). Someone somewhere on this forum recommended the book... If you are going to Agulhas read it.
Jacqui and Phil
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