After a few killer day at L’Agulhas i headed further up the coast to walk on three different beaches and river mouths, swam in the sea and met an interesting fellow in the parking lot.
I visited Die Mond nature reserve late in the afternoon, it was pretty grey and cold but the wandering river estuary which floods into an angry sea really has a stark beauty about it, patches of coastal milk wood forests, towering dunes, abundant bird life, succulent grasslands and a suspension bridge across the river that gives you a sense of being in a jumping castle.
Die Mond, which literally means the mouth, of the river Heuninges is surrounded by 954ha of reserve, it’s about 30 minutes drive from Bredasdorp. There are some great hiking trails – the longest, which i did, was round about 7kms. There is also a great viewpoint right at the start of the trail that you must visit – it’s a great panoramic view of the dunes, the river and the estuary. You can also mountain bike the trail. Despite it being a reserve you can also fish in the river and the sea – licenses are available at the gate or Cape Nature. Its well worth the visit – hopefully it’ll be warmer when you do.
I stopped in Bredasdorp for some supplies with the expectation of camping for a few nights along the way to my next destination – Swellendam and while i was packing the van an interesting fellow by the name of André came up and introduced himself and we got to chatting. Turns out André has quit the rat race to become an artist full-time, he also incidentally puts together a killer radio rock show … The Rock Jam, on Thursday evenings, probably one of the last, spinning some epic tunes. You can get an audio stream here
My kind of guy … follow your dreams people!
I was back on the road heading towards beach number two, another place i have been in driving distance most of my life and have never visited. De Hoop Nature reserve. The road in flatters to deceive, giving you glimpses of the coming view but only really delivers once you reach the gate, where you get a panoramic view all the way to the dunes that hides the rugged coastline.
Just a quick aside, if you are traveling in South Africa buy a Wild Card, it gets you all kinds of benefits – mine was free entry to the park, though the cost was only R30. I arrived late in the day so was short for time and another thing worth noting about the park is that it’s all about the hiking trails. There is only so much you can do in a car. Accommodation is pretty pricey so get there early ( Gates open at 7am and close at 6pm) and a good full day will get you round most of the shorter hikes in the park.
And now for a little rant at Cape Nature, my plan always was to camp at De Hoop for the night and spend the next day walking some of the longer hikes around the park but at the princely sum of R290 for a night i decided to move on. Seriously R290? It’s the middle of winter, no rates for South Africans? I saw only one other visitor to the park in five hours – seriously you need to put the crack pipe down and make the revenue when it presents itself. Anyways the bureaucrats couldn’t take away from what was an awesome day.
The coastline is rugged, rough and wild and it is incredibly beautiful and if you willing to scramble over rocks and get your feet wet there are some awesome caves to be found hidden off the beaten paths.
There are also plenty Bontebok and bird life everywhere, also go and check out the vlei, its like a mirage that’s actually there.
Disappointed that i wasn’t staying in the park I reluctantly headed out as the gates closed, and made my way to Malgas and the Breede River for the night, I have a history with this place as I have been coming to the area since i was a lightie, i learnt to water ski, drink beer and discovered the place that really resets my soul when the hurly burly times of modern life get too much. There is limited cellphone and web reception, so you really are forced to do as little as possible … definitely my kind of place
The next morning i headed down to Infanta – which is a little village at the mouth of the Breede River, it was a peach of a day so i had a goof in the sea and hung about lying in the sun before heading back to Malgas and a visit to the family holiday house wrecked in a flood a couple of years ago. I resuscitated the canoe and went for a paddle up the river before settling in for a night of fire and beer. A near perfect way to finish my cruise along the coast before heading inland for a bit.
If you just want the visuals you can also check out www.publicitygeneration.co.za … it also has a few images that don’t appear here.