Tag Archives: zandvlei estuary

Ambling about the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve in Lakeside, Cape Town (2017-08-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 JAN 2018

The Zandvlei Estuary is the largest of the eight estuaries on the False Bay coastline, and more importantly, is the only remaining functional estuary/wetland on the False Bay Coast.

Bordered by the Cape Town suburbs of Lakeside, Marina da Gama, Muizenberg and Steenberg, the estuary is fed by the rivers coming down the slopes of the southern extension of the Table Mountain chain.

Given the fact that the estuary occurs amidst an area dense in residential suburbs, the Zandvlei estuary has historically suffered from pollution, encroaching urbanisation and poaching, with the area left neglected for long periods of time.

Although a 22ha area in the north was proclaimed as the Zandvlei Bird Sanctuary back in 1978, it was really only in 2006 when a 204ha area was formally proclaimed as the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve that the conservation efforts really kicked in. Headed up by the Zandvlei Trust, this got a further boost in 2015 when an additional bit of land was added and the 200ha Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve was proclaimed in terms of the Protected Areas Act.

The reserve functions as a fish hatchery, with it being one of the most important estuaries for recruitment of fish such as garrick, steenbras and two species of stumpnose. The surrounding wetland is an important habitat for birds (with around 166 species on its official list). It is also a vital habitat for amphibians and about 20 species of reptile such as the angulate tortoise, marsh terrapin, mole snake and brown water snake.

Interestingly enough Porcupines, grysbok, otters and mongoose can also occasionally be spotted in the reserve.

There is an environmental education center up in the northern section of the reserve, as well as a 1.5 km circular walk, complete with bird hides and picnic tables. Past the wetland area are large grass lawns along the banks of the estuary, open to the public (free of charge) and as such, creates a much needed green belt/recreational space for the local residents.

Given that I work in the area (yes, yes, I know that I’m technically only in office there one day a week), I often get the urge to stretch my legs and get some fresh air come lunch time – meaning more often than not I grab something to eat from the shop, pop down to Zandvlei via Boyes Drive, and tuck in while hopefully watching some sailboats on the water courtesy of the nearby Imperial Yacht Club.

Failing that, the birds are pretty entertaining too.

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So, as you might have noted by now, this then is exactly what I did on this particular day back in August last year. A tough life, I know… ;)

Related Link: Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature ReserveZandvlei Trust

Seals and Fishing Boats at Kalk Bay Harbour (2016-10-16) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 MAR 2017

It is no surprise really that the working fishing harbour of Kalk Bay, itself a small fishing village,  is as big a tourist attraction as what it is. Situated on a beautiful stretch of the False Bay coastline, the small harbour is home to a handful of eateries, sidewalk artists selling their crafts and wares, seals, and of course, most important of all, a host of colourfully painted fishing vessels.

The fishing community is very active, meaning that the harbour itself is always a hive of fishing-related activity, which then acts as a great tourist attraction (because it is interesting to all us non-fishing and probably hard labour averse people), meaning that one gets the feeling that Kalk Bay Harbour is almost always overrun with people!

The informal fish and chips eatery Kalky’s is somewhat of an institution, but in reality, all the little eateries dotted around the harbour are worth checking out, precisely because of the fact that you are guaranteed in getting some very good, very fresh fish served on a plate.

The girls and I were in the Southern Suburbs for a visit last year October, and seizing the opportunity, I decided to take them for their very first visit to Kalk Bay harbour. As I thought they might, the two of them rather enjoyed the experience, marvelling at the boats, the seals, the actual fishing, and the spectacle of watching seagulls and seals fight for fish. (Very entertaining).

(We also stopped in for a bit at the Imperial Yacht Club  on the west shore of Zandvlei to watch some of the sailboats on the water, but that didn’t last too long thanks to some hastening inclement weather!)

In summary then – If you don’t live near the sea, then a visit to Kalk Bay harbour is well worth the drive. The drive itself to get there is great (that whole stretch past Muizenberg and St James is fantastic (the views, not the roadworks-caused traffic), and the harbour itself is a bustling, tourist friendly (but not overly so), visual spectacle – with the promise of good fish and chips thrown in for good measure!

Bonus tip: don’t do it tomorrow though. Sunday is the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and unless you are really big into bikes and the associated traffic thanks to all the closed roads, I would highly recommend skipping the entire Cape Town region just to be safe! ;)

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Also, a handy map if you too want to go and watch the colourful fishing boats go about their business one day:

Related Link: Kalk Bay