Tag Archives: tidal pool

A Train and the Colourful Changing Rooms of St James Beach (2017-10-30) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 APR 2018

Ah, the brightly coloured Victorian bathing boxes of St. James Beach. What Cape Town travel blog could truly call themselves local without including at least one post detailing this internationally recognised view, right?

St. James itself is a suburb of Cape Town, situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of False Bay, tucked away between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. As with a lot of old Cape Town suburbs, St James is constrained to a piece of land that is sandwiched between a rocky shore and the steep slopes of a mountain.

Deriving its name from the early St James Catholic Church (built around 1880), the majority of the current suburb was built between 1910 and 1950, following the completion of the railway line that connected Cape Town to False Bay.

(Incidentally, this line remains the most scenic train ride that you can catch in Cape Town today).

The main attraction for the area is of course St James beach, a lovely sheltered spot that provides a welcome break from the westerly winds, centered around a large man-made tidal pool that provides a splash free seawater experience that is perfect for families with kids.

The small stretch of sand quickly makes way for some fantastic naturally formed rock pools, perfect for observing small pockets of ocean life, and for added excitement, every now and then sees a train pass by right above your head!

And then there is of course the iconic row of little Victorian bathing boxes to provide a brilliant burst of colour to the scene.

In order to reach the beach you need to either cross underneath the railroad line using one of the the railway tunnels near the old train station, or you could perhaps take the enjoyable stroll along the lovely St James walkway which stretches all the way from St James beach to Surfers’ Corner, Muizenberg.

So, pretty much all the ingredients needed for a nice, free to enter, family friendly weekend visit then.

(Seeing as I’m more of a Helderberg basin, Overstrand and Stellenbosch Winelands travel blog these days, this just so happens to be my very first post featuring the famous St. James beach – though to be fair I have had the brightly coloured bathing boxes synonymous with Muizenberg’s Surfers’ Corner appear on these pages before!)

Related Link: St James | Cape Town

From Whale Watching to Fick’s Pool in Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 APR 2018

There is a reason why Hermanus is so popular come whale season time in Walker Bay – its elevated seaside cliffs give the absolute best vantage point to watch the whales cavort in the waters down below.

Now while I’m not a massive whale watching fan, Chantelle is, and thus she absolutely loves our infrequent trips to the whale watching capital of the Western Cape – but only if there are whales to be spotted of course! ;)

Last year August saw us take an impromptu drive through to Hermanus for a spot of Southern Right Whale watching, which turned out to be a fortuitous day to pick thanks to the fact that there was in the end plenty of activity down in the water to be seen.

We started our exhibition up on top of the cliffs (across from the Cliff Tops Piazza), which gave us a particularly good view over the bay for a minimal amount of effort.

Amazingly, neither of the girls were scared or overly cautious about being up so high, leading to a rather nice and relaxed bit of time spent staring out over the ocean.

The spot where we had climbed up turned out to be right alongside Fick’s Pool, one of the older tidal pools in Hermanus and one that back in the day used to very much be the place to be seen if you were looking for some local fun as a teenager.

These days this quite well protected, small tidal pool is particularly popular for families with kids who want to splash about but who don’t feel like getting sea sand shoved up every nook and cranny.

Only one problem though – this wasn’t summer and we weren’t here to get wet!

From Fick’s Pool we then made our way over the nearby Cliff Tops biodiversity path before ending up, ice cream in hand, watching whales from the piazza.

Perfect way to spend a whale watching day in Hermanus then.

Related Link: Fick’s Pool | Hermanus

A December Holiday in Gouritsmond (2017-12-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 04 APR 2018

Last year December saw us enjoy a holiday break in three parts – first Christmas at home, then a splash at Pinnacle Point Estate in Mossel Bay with my folks and my sister’s family, followed by a (because we were already in the area) final stretch in Gouritsmond with both my folks and Chantelle’s folks. (So yes, basically a full on family time holiday then!)

This was my second time holidaying in Gouritz (or Gouritsmond depending on who you ask), and to be honest, despite not being into fishing (which technically you should be if you are going there) I was really looking very much forward to the quiet, chilled nature of a stay in this little coastal holiday town.

The house that we had rented wasn’t 100% perfect thanks to its strange living arrangement (it had only just hit the holiday rental market), but beggars can’t be choosers (we only made the decision to go right at the end of the year), and in the end the actual accommodation was more than comfortable enough for the eight of us, so all was good on that front.

With my parents in the mix, there was of course a LOT of card games over the next couple of days to be had (Monopoly Deal for the win!), plus of course the LOADs of leftover Christmas snacks to be devoured, not to mention all that relaxing walking about town to be done – which I most certainly did my fair share of! ;)

We braaied, we rung in the new year with a potjiekos get together in the caravan park, we hunted for small little fish in the rock pools, we went on exploratory drives around the area, and of course, we tucked into delicious milktart and peppermint crisp tart pancakes whenever the opportunity arose.

In other words, it is basically impossible to come away from a stay like this NOT feeling 100% chill, refreshed, and ready to tackle the new year head on!

(Or rather, that is how one would normally come away feeling after such a good seaside getaway, unless of course they experience a blown coil in their aging Hyundai Accent, which then triggers a chain of events that eventually leads to a quite unscheduled holiday extension in George…)

Related Link: Gouritz | Gouritsmond

Winding Down the Year in Gouritz (2016-12-30) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 AUG 2017

Last year the girls and I escaped with Chantelle’s folks to Gouritz (better known by its more common Afrikaans name, Gouritsmond) for a couple of days, ending off 2016 and ringing in 2017 with a proper little December Holidays getaway.

Gouritz is a small coastal holiday town situated at the Gourits River mouth, about 30 km away from Mossel Bay and on the same stretch of coastline as nearby Vleesbaai, Boggoms Bay, and a particular favourite of mine, Pinnacle Point.

Thanks to its access to both the Indian Ocean and Gourits River, Gouritz is a mecca for fishing, boating, and other water sports, and given its relatively remote setting, is a popular area for nature lovers to gather.

Also, come the December holidays, it gets packed to the rafters with people escaping to the coast!

After an enjoyable drive up with loads of short stops in between, the girls and I eventually reached the tiny town and joined up with Oupa and Ouma at our house for the next couple of days, the peculiarly named Drie Plekke Lekker.

(Sadly, Drie Plekke Lekker is rather… lacking on the maintenance front, meaning that despite the nice space, for now it is difficult to wholeheartedly recommend until someone steps in and fixes it up a little).

Over the next couple of days we enjoyed milktart pancakes, walks around the town, drives along the coast, swims in the river, lunch in the middle of nowhere, a trip on a train to Hartenbos, and a massive New Year’s Eve lamb spit braai in the caravan park with Bernard and the rest of Monty and Cheryl’s friends!

Jessica flew her kite, the girls played non-stop with their Oupa, and pretty much every morning kicked off with multiple games of Snakes and Ladders. (Oh, and as a bonus surprise, Chantelle managed to slip away from the guest house in order to drive up and join us for a day or two!)

So. Pretty impossible to say that we didn’t have a good time then.

A great little off the beaten path holiday spot.

Related Link: Gouritz | Gouritsmond

Ice Cream at Herolds Bay (2016-06-26) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 JUL 2016

The second day of our Garden Route weekend away at the Far Hills Country Hotel was off to a good start. Having enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery  and surfers of Victoria Bay, we hopped back into our car and followed Monty and Cheryl  out towards Herolds Bay, a small coastal village that is popular with George residents as a holiday camping destination.

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Originally known as Sandstrand, the village of Herolds Bay took its name from the first Dutch Reformed minister (and avid angler) who held office in George in 1823, Tobias Herold. (The first permanent known Herolds Bay resident was a Mr. Thompson, who survived a shipwreck in 1920, and took refuge and permanent residence in a cave for a period of eight years!)

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Situated in a sheltered rocky coastal cove, Herolds Bay is a popular holiday destination for the locals, and has managed to retain a quaint sense of still being a small coastal hamlet. It features a beautiful flat beach with some great waves for swimming, and of course some stunning scenery to go along with it!

Lush indigenous coastal Fynbos create a natural haven for birding enthusiasts and nature lovers, there are plenty of hikes and walks to be attempted, and oh yes, the tidal pool is a pretty popular spot too! (Plus, if you are into golf then it is worth noting that Herolds Bay is also home to the Ernie Els Signature Golf Course at the adjacent  Oubaai golf resort.)

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Despite the slightly overcast sky, we decided that some ice cream would be the perfect beach treat, and judging by the lines surrounding the multitude of ice cream vendors next to the beach, we certainly weren’t the only ones with this thought!

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Naturally, the girls raced through their ice creams in order to head down for some play time in the sand, which was perfectly okay with us as it gave us even more time to just sit and admire the view of this picturesque little Garden Route coastal stop!

Also, a map if you are also looking to get there someday:

Related Link: Herolds Bay