West Coast NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast

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WeskusKlong
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Re: West Coast National Park

Unread post by WeskusKlong »

I live very close to the West Coast National Park, cycle in the Park on a weekly basis since 2002 - weekdays and weekends. I cycle mostly early in the mornings or late afternoon and can say that in all those km's I can remember of 3 caracal sitings. The locations were widespread. One was close to Churchhaven, the other close to the Langebaan gate and the third and biggest OUTSIDE the park on the very steep hill just outside the Langebaan gate. So indeed koeksister you were very fortunate with your siting. In the same time I had many experiences with ostriches and have been chased many times :D . Snakes there are plenty - Pufadder, Cape Cobra galore. Some days I count the tortoises and will easily count 30 individuals between the Langebaan- and R27 gate - mostly busy crossing the road or in the greenish grass on the road shoulder.

My best siting to date was one Tuesday fairly late, when a big herd of Eland crossed the Seeberg viewpoint dirt road a few meters away from me, while sitting on the bike. Normally they are very skittish but that day they just ignored me, crossed the road at their own time :) . Then you get days that you just see absolutely nothing. It surely is an amazing pace.
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CarolWard
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Re: West Coast National Park

Unread post by CarolWard »

Can anybody tell me what time the gate opens at the WCNP. I want to go there to take pics, but would like an early start (I can't afford to stay overnight).
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Touareg
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Re: West Coast National Park

Unread post by Touareg »

Hi...the gate open at 07:00 and close at 19:00 at present. i know it changes closer to winter. If you are at the Langebaan gate before 07:00 they normally open for you.
If you are interested in bird pics, I have taken quite a number over the last weekend. See post "weekend through a lens" to get an idea of what is around at present.
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Micetta
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Re: West Coast National Park

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"Weekend through the lens" is here!
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Touareg
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Appeal to WCNP Management

Unread post by Touareg »

I would like to appeal to the West Coast National Park Management to review the gate opening times. At present it is 07:00 in summer and as photographer and nuture lover, I would like to be able to access the park soon after sunrise as I do in all other parks. By 07:00 in the morning, the sun is up and the golden hour lost. It may also help in seeing other species early in the morning. I am sure many people would support this. I thrust this will meet favourable consideration.
Last edited by Touareg on Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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WCNP in November

Unread post by Norfolk tiger »

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.

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Hugh
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread post by Hugh »

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 post by o-dog »

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 post by arks »

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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o-dog
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Re: WCNP in November

Unread post by o-dog »

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

Unread post by EOS_User »

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

Unread post by lion queen »

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: West Coast NP: INFO

Unread post by boomerang »

I see I have stumbled upon a very old thread...
We used to live in Saldanha up to 1999 and we have an oppurtunity to visit the WCNP on Sunday 3 Sept.
Our interest will be 20% flowers and 80% birds and 100% getting out there - away from the stresses of life in the rat-race...
So - are there currently any rare bird sightings to pursue?

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shfish
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Re: West Coast NP: INFO

Unread post by shfish »

I'm also heading that way soon.......any"twitchers" out there who can give us an update ? Are there many migrants or is it still a bit early? Thanks.
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Re: West Coast NP: INFO

Unread post by Andy M »

Hello boomerang and shfish. Jesscan and I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in WCNP. The flowers especially in the Postberg section were terrific.The birding on the other hand was a little quiet regarding the migrants. A few Greenshanks and some Common Sandpipers were the only visiting waders that we saw. As for raptors, two Yellow-billed Kites were spotted.
When the light was favourable for photography while visiting the Geelbek and Seeberg hides, the tides were not. The water birds, flamingos (very few), Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, plovers and terns were all a long way off, with very few birds on the wing passing by.
The common local birds were mostly obliging. Stacks of Pied Crows, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds, Karoo Prinias, Cape Bulbuls, Buntings, Grey Herons, Bishops, Ibis, Malachite Sunbirds, Common Fiscals, Black-winged Kites, Grey Tits, Cape Spurfowl, Weavers, Gulls, Ostriches and others were seen regularly. Of the 'specials', we saw a Rock Kestrel munching a lizard and the local Black Harrier (it hangs around near Seeberg). The Yellow-billed kites can be seen around the bluegum trees along the road to the Geelbek restaurant.
Seeberg is best when the tide is coming in as the foraging birds come closer to the hide as the water gets higher. Check the tide tables for Langebaan or Saldanha.
The weather looks really good for the next few days. Enjoy the time in the park.
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