Discover the waters of the Berg River region
The Berg River offers safe fishing, skiing, canoeing, sailing, or just puttering around in boats. Tailor made boat trips starting from Bokkom-Laan promise to be a great river experience for beautiful views and birdlife.
Perfect sailing spot as the prevailing South-Easter blows off-shore, flattening the seas. Stompneus Pint blocks the South Atlantic swells, so you get a flat sea with a fresh wind.
A wonderful experience is to launch a canoe up-river and gently paddle down with the tide, maybe enjoy a picnic on an island midstream. The birds tend to ignore you when you silently paddle past, so its’ a great opportunity to take some astounding photos.
Port Owen, South Africa’s first and still best deep-sea residential marina, is one of the best there is. Because it is up-river and thus protected from ocean swells, the boats can lie safely in their berths. A restaurant and pub as well as a yacht club add to the facilities. A workshop and crane are also available. Here you can have a home for your boat.
Miles of white beaches
All the way from Laaiplek to Elandsbaai you can walk along clean, white, uncrowded beaches. The water is comparatively warm too, since St Helena Bay is fairly shallow and has a sandy bottom which warms up the seawater. You can see fishermen standing in waist-deep water for hours.
When the South-Easter blows the surface water around Stompneus Point out to sea, the nutrient-rich bottom water rises and feeds the plankton which feeds surface-feeding fish which feed the game fish. This is called an upwelling. The Stompneus Point upwelling is one of the biggest in the world, hence the wonderful fishing. Fishing in the river is fine too: from cob as big as a canoe, to haarder, maasbanker, gurnard, white stumpnose, elf and others. Upriver you can catch carp.
Velddrif is one of the few places in South Africa where you can see sea birds, river birds and land birds in one spot. This makes it a bird watcher’s paradise as the nesting spots for duikers and the fresh water for birds attract millions of birds to the area.
The Berg River Estuary is one of two locations in South Africa that qualify as a wader hotspot.
Vagrants that get blown off course on the way to South America occasionally appear and cause great excitement among birdwatchers. Unexpected visitors like Hudson Bay Kestrels and the Little Blue Heron can be seen from time to time.
The area is famous for the Spring wildflower display which is quite spectacular and even takes over many driveways, but there is always something flowering in the Fynbos throughout the year.
Scotland is famed for its heather, of which they have eight varieties. Velddrif has twenty-four different varieties of heather in the Cape. Plus the local geraniums, now called pelargoniums, grow wild on the sand dunes near the beach. The Mediterranean climate is great for gardeners too.
The town hosts a wide range of artists: even local fishermen submit their arts. Try the studios at Pelican Harbour as well as at Bokkom-Laan.
Salt pans and the harvesting of salt is also part of life in Velddrif. Thousands of tons of salt are produced every year along the Berg River by means of evaporation. The high temperatures during summer plus the prevailing winds are very favourable for this process.
Go for a site visit in one of the salt factories and taste some salt!
West Coast Delicacies
Velddrif is home to continental style artisan cheese. In a hundred year old fisherman’s cottage, a range of handcrafted cheeses and other delis are produced. Visit local cheese maker Leon Terblanche or book tailor-made package deal cheese-making course and accommodation at Quay West.
And then there are Bokkoms, Bokkoms and Bokkoms. Taste them at Bokkom-Laan.