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West Coast NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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francoisd
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Unread post by 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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francoisd
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Re: Best time for West Coast NP?

Unread post by 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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Jay
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Unread post by 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 post by 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 post by 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.

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francoisd
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Unread post by 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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Unread post by 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 post by Wild@Heart » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:48 am

Hi cor@prescient.co.za,

Info you require.

Gate Hours
1 April to 30 September: 07:00 - 19:30
1 October to 31 March: 06:00 - 20:00

Also have a look at this Link it should also give you some great info.

And welcome to the forums ... hope to hear your feedback on the Park.
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Jay
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Unread post by Jay » Thu Dec 29, 2005 8:19 pm

Was rifling through my pics and found these:

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the walk to the Geelbek birdhide

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the view from the birdhide at the Langebaan end of the park

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Postberg, yeah, with a skew horizon :roll:

Image
Tsaarsbank

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francoisd
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Unread post by francoisd » Thu May 25, 2006 11:06 am

In the latest issue of WEG Magazine on page 23 bottom right there is a short article talking about new accomodation units in West Coast National Park.

Apparantly it is 8 self catering units at Duinepos on the south side of the Langebaan lagoon. Each unit has space for 4-6 people, open plan kitchen, fire place and a braai outside. Seems that these units are owned / managed by the local community as part of a community project of the department of environmental affairs.

I can however not find these units on the West Coast National Park site.

Questions:
1) Are they open to the public yet?
2) Will it be possible to get photos that illustrate these units as the article only shows one of the houses from the outside.

Maybe Westcoaster can get some photos the next time they are doing HR duty there?

{Off topic and out of rules so read quickly before the other moderators see this!!
Look out for GO! which is WEG's English cousin that should be available soon.}
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West Coast National Park

Unread post by ratcorp » Mon Jun 05, 2006 12:25 am

Ahh do i know that park.. I was actualy there today. I always listen to how many people say they have gone through the whole park and hardly see any animals..

Ok , Here are some nice places to spot animals.

At the T junction on the way to GeelBek from the R27 side. Loads of Hares and other little critters. The Grass is shorter in this area alongside the road so you will ussaly spot Rooikat along the road. Esspecialy in the mornings when they sun themselves.

On the Way to Kraal bay The Sharpest Corner of the windy road, to the left hand side looking to the Atlantic side is were the MAD bontebok resides. He can sometimes be spotted near the preekstoel marshes (The Marsh area between Preek Stoel Car Park and Church haven)I have seen him drinking from the lagoon waters (has to be a bit retarded , its salt water)

At Kraal Bay look out for the Ringed(his leg) Kelp gull at the end of the Jetty with the broken leg. The Locals (Houseboat Owners ) Call him Hopalong. He is notorious for stealing out handbags .

On the way to Tsaars Bank , on the left hand side of the road is one of the Parks fresh water drinking troughs as the tar road hits dirt road status. Just behind this drinking area about 100 meters are some dunes. The ostrichs and many of the bigger game sand bath in this area. Best times are late afternoons and early mornings.

I have noticed that the Eland and Gemsbok prefer to keep to the Postbeg section. The Fence near the dirt road alows them free access between Post Berg and the park but as most animals prefer to keep away from the tourists they recide in the posberg section.

I have seen huge herds of Eland crossing over to the park side in the evenings and making there way back to the Posberg section in the mornings .

The Bat eared Fox's are very dificult to spot. I have seen them on numerous occasions near the Wreck on 16 Mile beach.On the Dunes behind the wreck.

I have spoted many Mole snakes and Puff Adders all the way along the Tsaars bank dirt road. Look on the side of the road and drive slowly.

March Harriers and Black Korans can be spotted along the Langebaan Park road , ussaly below Seaberg look out.

Flamingo's and Pelicans and best seen in Mid Winter. They can be viewed at Kraal Bay. Before going out looking for the Flamingo's check the tides as they prefer LOW tide near kraal bay before they move off to the top parts of the lagoon during high tide.

Look on the left hand side of the Kraal Bay Jetty during Summer and Autumn. There somtimes can be over 200 sand sharks slithering over each other. In January and Feburay look out for the Eagle Rays in the shallow waters. near the Jetty.

Late evenings one can also see the Smooth Hound Sharks chasing bait fish up against the shores near Preek Stoel. If you are ever luckly enough to stay on one of the houseboats just keep your ears peeled on windless nights. The sound of the sharks chasing the fish is awsome.

Just a small few things i have heard from some of the OLD locals. If you ever see Dolpines in the Lagoon , the higher UP the lgoon you see them the stronger a storm will blow . Ussaly 2 days or so. I have seen numerous Dolpines near costable kop and 2 days later a hectic storm kicks up.
By the By I have spotted and have pictures of a Humpback dolpine that was in the lagoon in 2004.

If you see loads of Tortoses on the roads be aware on wich way they are walking. If they Are all going up hill , expect rain . The little creatures know when its going to rain.

I have counted 52 on a drive to Kraal Bay from the R27.

Any requests for pictures I would be glad to post them

Paul
X Kraal bay local

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Arks' Trip Report: April 2006: West Coast National Park

Unread post by arks » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:40 am

Several members have suggested that I post this report here as well as in the Recent Sightings forum, so here it is!

This is one of my favourite places, indeed I love all of the West Coast that I've seen. Invariably when I first head north out of Cape Town, I can't resist taking every turning towards the sea, lingering at each of the viewpoint beaches. However, I was shocked at the extent of development along the coast since I was last there in 2000. Makes me even more thankful for the WCNP, so at least that expanse of coastal fynbos will be preserved.

Many people only visit WCNP when the Postberg section is open during wildflower season, since in addition to the flowers, most of the park's antelope are in that section. I was lucky to be able to include Postberg on my 2000 visit, but enjoy the park just as much without visiting that section. If you're interested in fynbos and birds, the park has plenty to offer. And there's always the chance that you'll see something special.

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Again thanks to the Wild Card, I was able to visit this park twice, as with all my detours en route, I didn't get there on my first visit on 3 April until mid-afternoon, which left me only a few hours in the park. After a brief stop at the fairly disappointing Geelbek visitor centre, which also houses a shop and a popular restaurant, I headed north towards Postberg and the rocky beach at Tsarsbank. By then a storm was clearly brewing, so after enjoying the surf breaking over the rocks, I started back.

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Just before the turnoff for Churchaven something sped across the road ahead of me -- unmistakably a golden cat with tufted ears! Literally only a split-second glimpse, but most definitely caracal! I certainly had no chance for a photo, but it was a magic moment. I was later told, by frequent visitors whom I met on my second visit, that I was indeed fortunate, as in all the years that they have been visiting this park, they had never had even a glimpse of a caracal.

By then (just before 18:00) it was beginning to rain, but I also spotted some bontebok in the dunes, and later, at the turnoff to Abrahamskraal, a pair of steenbok. And the showers were followed by a rainbow.

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I paid my second visit to the WCNP on 9 April, mistakenly thinking that it was enough off the beaten path that it would be quiet even on a Sunday. I first visited the very interesting West Coast Fossil Park, so this time approached WCNP from the north, via Langebaan. I was shocked at the amount of traffic that sped down the park's road from the Langebaan entrance, clearly heading to the popular Geelbek Restaurant for Sunday dinner, and with absolutely no consideration for either the park wildlife or anyone who was there in the hopes of seeing some. The speed limit in the park is 50km/hr, but I saw few cars travelling at anything even close to that, more like 70-90km/hr or more. I went to Geelbek specifically to speak to someone about this matter, because I was extremely upset about this excessive speeding, but there was no one from SANParks on duty on a Sunday, only the shop and restaurant management and they really weren't interested.

I calmed down while watching birds in the Geelbek garden and found a path leading over the flats down to the shore, a very pleasant walk.

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I then decided to drive out to Tsarsbank again, in the hope that that road would have less traffic. Tsarsbank was quite different on this bright and sunny afternoon, and I enjoyed watching and photographing African oystercatchers, cormorants, and smaller birds that I've not yet managed to identify.

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I saw a lot of very skittish ostriches along the Langebaan road and a few francolin elsewhere, but little else -- and no wonder, given the speeding traffic. But I enjoyed my visit despite (although I very much hope that SANParks institutes speed traps here) and lingered as late as possible (the park's exit time in April is 19:30), watching a dramatic sunset as I made my way to the exit

Image[
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arks
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Unread post by arks » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:41 am

gwendolen wrote:Lovely pictures Arks. Do you have anymore landscape pictures? I'd love to see some more of the dunes.

OK, Gwen, these are what I could find

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And a belated big thank you for introducing us all to tinypic; it's been far easier to use for these reports than flickr would be :D :thumbs_up:
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Unread post by WestCoaster » Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:04 am

Hi all;

Seems MARK has generated some vigourous discussion here! You go, dude!

I have sent MARK a PM and we will be taking the detailed arrangements offline in an attempt to get things done quicker.

Steenbok, duiker and ostriches are commonly seen, as are angulate tortoises, and would overfill the pinboard in 5 minutes. But reading what you wrote about roadkills, arks, made me think perhaps we should have a picture of a roadkilled tortoise on a pin for folk to report where they are being killed. This could then be followed up with a concerted campaign of speedtrapping, speedbumps and general education in those areas...? :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol:

Gemsbok, blue wildebeest, porcupine, honey badger and Black Harriers should probably be represented on the pinboard too.

There is even value in doing the same for waders at the birdhides, but lets get this one off the ground first and then we can use the learnings to develop something for the birders...
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Unread post by MarkWildDog » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:30 pm

Okay here is the final pin board:

- Caracal
- African Wild Cat
- Bat Eared Fox
- Cape Fox
- Bontebok
- Red Hatrebeest
- Mountain Zebra
- Eland
- Honey Badger
- Blue Wildebeest
- Gemsbok


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