Bernard Jordaan



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GATEWAY TO THE CAPE WHALE ROUTE
75 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

The Cape Whale Route is found traveling on the Overberg coast - South Africa's most southern region and includes False Bay, Walker Bay and the Agulhas coast where the Southern Right whales mate and calve annually. Each year the Southern Right and Humpbacked whales arrive on the Agulhas coast fringes from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic in early June to calve and nurse their young. The whale population peaks in October with the arrival of the male members. The long haul back to the Antartic begins in mid December although a number can still be seen on this route early into the following year. The area has a typical Mediterranean climate: cool, wet winters with dry and hot summers.



KOEGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE BETTIES BAY
60 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

Arguably the most enchanting coastal drive in the country – to travel the coastal road (R44) from Gordon’s Bay along the coast to Hermanus and on to Gansbaai (Danger Point can be seen in the far distance of the picture on right)) watching the waves roll onto the mountainous cliffs and clouds scudding over the Kogelberg is an inspiring experience. Cross mountain streams, feeding estuaries and lagoons, profuse with countless exquisite fynbos plants growing where others wouldn’t dare. Pass through Rooiels, Betty’s Bay, and Kleinmond and look out for Black Oystercatcher and Jackass Penguin at Stony Point. Drive on past the Bot river estuary where you may see pelicans of flamingos wading or flying over the estuary. The Koegelberg is a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.



HERMANUS: WHALE ROUTE CAPITAL
45 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

Hermanus forms the centre of the Cape Whale Route Coast. This lovely village of a town is surrounded by nature reserves. Fernkloof Nature Reserve protects coastal and mountain fynbos and a small patch of evergreen forest. There is no other place on earth where so many different plant species can be seen growing in such close proximity. A cliff path (the Cliff Path Nature Reserve) stretching from one side of the town to the other, hugs the coastline for about 12 km, giving whale watchers unlimited opportunities to view the gentle giants in the coves below or lolling just beyond the breakers. The cliff path attracts thousands of whale-watchers each year for the best shore-based whale-watching experience anywhere on the globe.



KLEIN RIVER ESTUARY
40 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

A large diversity of Waterbirds can be spotted on the Kleinrivier estuary in winter and spring, Grebe species, Heron and Egrets, Rails, Ducks, Coot, Moorhen, Teals, Geese and occasionally Flamingos and Pelicans are some of the many species spotted at the lagoon mouth and upper wetland reaches. While on the coastline Cormorants, Terns, Plovers, Sandpiper, and the African Black Oystercatcher are often seen. The Walker Bay nature reserve, stretching along the coast from the Klein River lagoon to the Kelders has a hiking trail of 24 km following this coastline past Die Plaat. All in all a vast area dominated by drift-sand and coastal dunes which can be seen from the other side of Walker Bay.



De KELDERS - KLIPGAT TRAIL
35 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

The famous Klipgat Trail meanders through and over the cliffs between Gansbaai harbour and Klipgat Caves, just outside De Kelders. This trail offers majestic views over the Walker Bay and leads to the Caves. The cave has a dramatic view over the ocean and the Walker Bay Reserve. The remains found in the cave date back to between 65'000 and 85'000 years. At this time the ocean was at a distance of around 5 km from the cave. Excavations in Klipgat Cave between 1969 and 1995 produced stone artifacts, preserved bone tools and human remains left by Middle Stone Age people between 65'000 and 85'000 years ago. The excavations also produced remains of some of the earliest sheep bones in the Western Cape.



KLEINBAAI & HARBOUR
18 kilometers west of Bantamsklip

The shark-diving and whale watching boats leave from the boat launch, at the small, charming natural harbour of Kleinbaai. Each year the Southern Right and Humpbacked whales arrive on the Agulhas coast fringes from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic in early June to calve and nurse their young. The whale population peaks in October with the arrival of the male members. A visit to the Strandveld Museum, a small privately owned museum a couple of kilometers down the coast at Franskraal. The Strandveld Museum is a little gem. The museum has the largest collection of relics of the HMT Birkenhead, that wrecked off Danger Point and several other historical items. The owners are local historians and marvelous story tellers who gladly take you on a trip through time



DYER ISLAND NATURE RESERVE
10 kilometers from Bantamsklip

Dyer Island was first named Isla da Fera (Island of wild animals) by the Portuguese seafarers during the 15th century (Island of wild animals) The Island is home to ten’s of thousand of sea birds, including African Penguin. The neighboring island, Geyser Rock, is literally, filled, with over 50'000 Cape fur seas in their mating season in October. Boat-tours from Kleinbaai take you very close along the shoreline and Cape fur seals will escort the boat in Shark Alley, named after the Great White Shark that cruise in these waters. These feared yet magnificent predators inhabit all of the world’s oceans, but nowhere are there so many, and being in such close proximity to Kleinbaai, virtually guarantee’s a viewing of them.



PEARLY BEACH
7 kilometers from Bantamsklip

The Uilkraalsmond reserve is open for the public. Access to the park is past the entrance of the Uilkraalsmond caravan park to your right (just past the bridge over the Uilkraals estuary). The estuary is a perfect fishing place. Not very long ago the whole of Pearly Beach was made up by a few houses. Pearly Beach grew rapidly recently, but is still a sleepy and mellow coastal town. Many houses are holiday houses and only used over the holidays and during the weekends. The beach of Pearly Beach is famous. It starts with some rocky outcrops where one can -it seems- always spot a lonely fisherman. Soon after the rock-pools the beach becomes pure sand and continues forever. Pearly Beach is the best place in this area to enjoy long and lonely beach-walks.



GROOT HAGELKRAAL FARM
3 kilometers north of Bantamsklip

Groot Hagelkraal is found on the ancient landscape of the Chainoukwa Khoi-san people and are both a registered SA Nature Foundation Natural Heritage Site (No: 72) and a registered Historical Monument. The farm harbours over 800 plant species, including 22 Red Data species of Agulhas Plain endemics (six are entirely restricted to the farm) Most of the endemics are associated with limestone soils. Such a concentration of endemic plants is without parallel, not only elsewhere in the Cape Floristic Region, but in the world. This property ranks as the most extreme concentration of "point endemism" recorded anywhere in the world! The property represents the foremost conservation priority in the Cape Floristic Region and is regarded as the world’s "hottest" of biodiversity hot spots.



SOETFONTEIN NATURE RESERVE
2 kilometers east of Bantamskilp

Along the coast from Franskraal on the eastern edge of the Danger Point Peninsula, to Quoin Point, there are three smaller coastal reserves managed by Cape Nature. These reserves serve to protect the integrity of the coastal nature and to provide a refuge for several coastal bird species, such as the rare Black oyster catcher. The vegetation of these reserves is Lowland coastal fynbos, also known as strandveld an integral part of the highly threatened Lowland Fynbos. To spot the Cape clawless otter on the beach nearby one of these reserves is not uncommon, especially in the early mornings. On Quoin Point, a massive grave of shipwrecks and drowned sailors, there is a colony of Cape fur seals there as well.



BUFFELSJAGT COMMUNITY
3 kilometers east of Bantamsklip

Buffeljagsbaai (Buffalo-hunt bay) is a small settlement of literally one street. The residents live on the sea and from the sea, as they always have over the centuries. Buffeljagsbaai is a place of raw beauty and seclusion. Trucks loaded with kelp can be seen leaving the village on a regular basis. Continuing your journey out of Buffeljagsbaai to the east, you'll find Jessie se Baai (Jessie's Bay), named after the ship with the same name that was wrecked here. The impressive solidified sand dunes towering over the beach are the reason that the locals know this place by another name - die hohe walle (The high walls). At the end of Jessie se Baai is where the land-mass of Quoin Point begins.



QUOIN POINT
9 kilometers east of Bantamsklip

Quoin Point is the second most southern point of the African continent and one of the most densely packed shipwreck graves of the South African coast. Quoin Point is empty from man-made things, apart from a small light-tower and few fishing cottages here owned by the Schipper and October families of Elim. These families were granted the right of use of this small peninsula by Queen Victoria. After the wreckage of yet another English ship, the English government thought it was a good idea to have people living here permanently. The document granting this right to the respective Elim people was signed by Queen Victoria herself. Quoin Point and Pearly Beach Reserve solely serve as conservation purposes and are not open for the public.



BAARDSKEERDERSBOS & FLOWER VALLEY
13 kilometers north of Bantamsklip

The fertile Baardskeerdersbos Valley in the heart of the Overberg is one of the most undisturbed and tranquil areas of this region. Meandering past streams and through hilly countryside and constantly changing landscape, the drive to B'bos is a treat in itself. Apart from the traditional cattle farms, bright-green vineyards and multicolored flower-farms mark the landscape of the Baardskeerdersbos Valley. Flower Valley is a nature reserve and fynbos estate, and a pilot project of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI. Indigenous flowers are harvested in the wild for the cut-flower trade, providing a source of income for the local community. Open Art Route days are held by a group of artists and crafters, meander around Baardskeerdersbos, and visit artists during these events.



ELIM NATIONAL MONUMENT
22 kilometers north of Bantamsklip

Elim is a unique historical village founded as a Moravian mission station in 1824. It was dedicated to establishing a self-supporting church of indigenous people. The whole of the municipal property is still, uniquely, owned and managed by the Moravian Church of South Africa. Though the Elim population had a diverse ancestry, including the Chainoukwa Khoi-san people, it had a high standard of education, typical of the Moravian social ethos, some early settler farmers from the surrounding countryside sent their children to school there. Elim was one of the rare exceptions in the whole of South Africa where education was not divided along racial lines. Its community stands out for being rooted in the Overberg in a way few other communities can boast



THE FYNBOS ROAD
12 kilometers north of Bantamsklip

The Fynbos Road is an initiative of the Agulhas Biodiversity Project (ABI) and runs for about 100 km from the birding hotspot of Stanford to the Agulhas National Park. The Fynbos Road meanders through a unique botanical area: more than 9 fynbos- vegetation types. Of the thousands of plant species, many are endemic to the area with some plant species localised to a single mountain as the only place in the world where they can be found (Groot Hagelkraal) Directly from the Fynbos Road one has access to more than 10 reserves and conservancies (each larger than 100 hectares) that are open to the public, either for day-visits (hikes, horse trails, 4x4 routes) or for residential guests (lodges, cottages and farmhouses).



AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK
3 kilometers north of Bantamsklip

The Agulhas National Park was established to consolidate a core area of lowland fynbos and specifically lowland fynbos on limestone soils. Limestone soil fynbos vegetation is mainly restricted to the Southern Overberg and is considered endangered. The area around the southern-most tip of Africa, often referred to as the Agulhas Plain, has rich natural and cultural features, which make it worthy of national park status. The Agulhas Plain is of international significance due to its rich plant biodiversity. It has approximately 2000 species of plants including 100 which are endemic to the area and over 110 Red Data Book species. The Agulhas Plain is unique in that a wide variety of wetlands occur in the area, contributing to a high diversity of wetland plants and aquatic invertebrates.



AGULHAS LIGHTHOUSE THE SOUTHERN MOST END OF AFRICA
41 kilometers east of Bantamsklip

The Agulhas National Park was established to consolidate a core area of lowland fynbos and specifically lowland fynbos on limestone soils. Limestone soil fynbos vegetation is mainly restricted to the Southern Overberg and is considered endangered. The area around the southern-most tip of Africa, often referred to as the Agulhas Plain, has rich natural and cultural features, which make it worthy of national park status. The Agulhas Plain is of international significance due to its rich plant biodiversity. It has approximately 2000 species of plants including 100 which are endemic to the area and over 110 Red Data Book species. The Agulhas Plain is unique in that a wide variety of wetlands occur in the area, contributing to a high diversity of wetland plants and aquatic invertebrates.



STRUISBAAI FISHING HARBOUR
45 kilometers east of Bantamsklip

Struisbaai is believed to have gotten its name from 'Straw bay' - because of the thatched roofs of the fisherman's cottages. "Struisvogel", after the old Dutch word for Ostrich - meaning ‘huge’ - in reference to the size of the beach. Boasting the longest continuous beach in the Southern hemisphere, 14 km of white sand extends from Struisbaai to Arniston. The historical white washed fisherman's cottages at Hotagterklip and the tiny thatch roof Anglican church are all national monuments. The sea at times is crystal clear and it’s brilliant color is exaggerated by the colorful fishing boats. The charming little harbour, originally built in 1959 serves the local fishing boats known as 'chukkies' . After tourism, commercial fishing is the most popular economic activity at Struisbaai.