In a recent post called Lessons learned in taking care of a post-op patient, I wrote about going to take care of my mother in the little town she lives in. Of course I took a camera with me, and actually managed to get some nice shots of the town. “The town” is Kleinmond, a small coastal town in the Overberg region of the Western Cape province. It is situated inside the UNESCO-declared Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve about 90 km east of Cape Town.
A short description follows . . .
[Kleinmond] has been a summer resort for farmers from the Caledon and Elgin areas since 1861. In 1948, a town council was elected, a highway constructed and the town developed.
[Today] Kleinmond is a popular holiday resort within Sandown Bay and situated 3 km from the Palmiet River. The name comes from the `small mouth’ of the lagoon of the Bot River . . .
. . . The Botriver Marsh is home to thousands of water fowl. . . . The famous Harold Porter Boatanical Gardens, renowned for its wild flowers and particularly the rare Disa stretch up the mountainside, to the waterfall at Disa Kloof.
The Kleinmond Coastal and Mountain resort has more than 1500 species of coastal and mountain fynbos, a milkwood scrub forest and 40 other tree species. There are several trails through the reserve as well as a 18 km hike, leading to tidal pools and inlets with a variety of marine life. It is also an ideal place from which to do some whale watching.
And for the nature-lovers there is also the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, and the Penguin Reserve at Stoney Point. This was the first Penguin Reserve on the South African mainland, a breeding sanctuary for Jackass Penguins.
Excerpt from SA Places site.
I must have just missed the visit of the Southern Right Whales which come to this piece of coastline, from June to November, to mate and calf.
My journey to Kleinmond started in the Southern Cape and I followed the road (the N2 National Road which follows the coast) up and down endless hills. Reggie from the blog Grains of Sand did the journey in reverse in her post Weekend in Riversdale – Part 1: Cape Town to Riversdale. If you want to see some beautiful photographs of what the Overberg area looks like, take a look at the slideshow at the end of her post. I drove that route about three months later, and farmers had already started harvesting the wheat and canola – and quite literally “making hay while sun shone”!
I saw the machine that makes the rounded bales of hay in the photograph below. It was rolling up the hay almost like a dung beetle, and then releasing the bale when it got to the right size. There is actually a good description of the process with photographs in this section on Wikipedia. Driving through the countryside I saw field after field with hundreds of hay bales in them. It has obviously been a good year, and there will be plenty of hay for the livestock over the months to come.
After turning off the National Road (N2) towards the coast, one gets a better view of the mountains. They look quite rocky and bare because of the severe wild-fires that have swept through the mountains in recent years.
Wild horses roam free in the marshlands at the Bot River lagoon area. According to Wikipedia “they are believed to be South Africa’s only herd of wild horses in a wetland habitat.“
Reaching the edge of Kleinmond, the view which one sees looking in an easterly direction (i.e. back in the direction one comes from) is over the lagoon and the marshland in the background, with the mountains to the left (north) and the sea to the right (south). The next three photographs looked at in sequence form a kind of panoramic view from left to right.
One of the old landmarks of the town was the Kleinmond Beach House Hotel which had a beautiful view over the lagoon, the beach and Sandown Bay. It unfortunately burned down in a fire during December 2006.
The empty site where the hotel used to be. To see the original hotel go here, and a photograph of the fire-fighting efforts to save the hotel can be found here. The second photo must have been early on in the fire, and it doesn’t look like the fire department had enough resources to cope with the blaze. An investigation followed to determine the cause of the fire. I never found out what happened, but the hotel has yet to be re-built.
From the old hotel area, running in a westerly direction is Beach Road, the old coastal road where the first houses in Kleinmond were built.
The rock on the right hand side (in the photo above) reminded me of this photo from a recent Caption This competition.
As you might imagine, the properties along Beach Road are very valuable. They are also very difficult to come by, as they are passed down the generations of the original families and don’t often come on the market. Although I love modern architecture, it seems a pity that some of the original cottages were torn down to make way for modern mansions. The old section of Kleinmond is losing some of its charm.
I made most of my time in Kleinmond by taking Ben (my mother’s dog) for some lovely early morning walks along the coast road.
These photographs are limited to the part of Kleinmond I spent most of my time in. I did not have a whole lot of time to go photo-walking all over town. The town has grown quite a lot since my parents first moved there in the 1990s.