13 November 2012 – Celebrating One Year of Caching

096 Than Damn Wall Again

Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp, South Africa

S34°04.731 E19°17.129

Always driving passed this one on our way somewhere and not having the time to stop and search…

As this dam wall marks the halfway point between where we used to live when we started caching, and where live now, one year later, we reckon it a good cache to celebrate one year of caching.

The Theewaterskloof Dam is built on the Logo 1 YearSonderend River near Villiersdorp.  It was completed in 1979, has a gross storage capacity of 482 million cubic metres of water and when full, covers an area of 5 100 ha.

Visit That Damn Wall Again at www.geocaching.com


11 November 2012 – Watching Whales

094 S7 Hartjie

#94 S7 HARTJIE (GC188HR)
De Kelders near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°33.102 E19°22.153

It was a lazy, Sunday afternoon, so we decided to go grab a couple of quick caches in De Kelders, near Gansbaai.

Arriving at the first cache located near a heart-shaped tidal pool, we were fortunate to spot at least eight southern right whales leisuring around in the waves.  True to their usual showmanship, they did not disappoint and we were treated to an exhibition of breaching, tailing and all their other usual antics.

Visit S7 Hartjie at www.geocaching.com

095 S8 De Kelders

#95 S8 DE KELDERS (GC188J1)
De Kelders near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°33.273 E19°21.870

This cache, also located along the coastal path, allowed for some more views of the many southern rights.

A popular explanation for the name right whale is that they were the right whales to hunt.  Being slow swimmers, often found close to shore and easily recognizable by way of their distinctive, wide V-shaped blow, caused by the widely spaced blow holes on the top of its head, these leviathans had enormous value for their plentiful oil and baleen.  Because of their thick blubber, right whales also float accommodatingly after they have been killed.

During the whaling heydays of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, populations of these whales were hunted almost to the point of extinction.  All species of right whales are endangered and, since 1949 have enjoyed complete international protection.  Populations however, tend to grow slowly as females only reach sexually maturity at age ten years and give birth to a single calf after a yearlong pregnancy

Several thousand southern right whales are believed to survive, and they have shown encouraging population growth since their protection.  South Africa’s population is believed to have grown from 100 to 1000 animals since 1940.

Northern right whales are the most endangered of all large whales.  They number only several hundred, and populations do not appear to have grown in the decades since their protection began.

A sad case of wrong to be right, don’t you think…?

Visit S8 De Kelders at www.geocaching.com



10 November 2012 – Finding our way through Fernkloof

090 Fernkloof Waterfall#90 FERNKLOOF WATERFALL (GC2MDZQ)
Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus, South Africa

S34°23.368 E19°16.130

Finally the rain has subsided and the summer is here – not that we are complaining about the wet winter, as the De Bos Dam is at 100% for the first time in what feels like ages!

We grabbed the pleasant weather as a hint to pack out the old hiking boots and walking sticks, and decided to set course along Fernkloof’s Klipspringer trail.

Fernkloof Nature Reserve located in the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus, was proclaimed in 1957 and its 1800 hectares are home to over 1470 different species of fynbos.  The name of this principal vegetation type of the region is derived from the Dutch word “fijn bosch” which literally translates to fine bush; it is the collective name for a large variety of evergreen shrub-like plants with small, firm leaves, often rolled – but also includes certain wooded species.

Our first cache for the day was located near the Fernkloof Waterfall – almost unrecognisable in its full, cascading splendour, following the winter rains.

Visit Fernkloof Waterfall at www.geocaching.com

091 Dangerbay View

Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus, South Africa

S34°23.461 E19°15.905

Our next cache was located along an extension to the Klipspringer trail, and true to its name, we were treated to a klipspringer ram and ewe grazing peacefully along the side of the path.

Visit Danger Point View at www.geocaching.com

092 Gansbaai View#92 GANSBAAI VIEW (GC39Y0P)
Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus, South Africa

S34°23.419 E19°16.002

This one had us tricked – after finding the previous cache, we continued on all the way up to the bench on top of Kanonkop, and only checked the next cache’s GPS position AFTER having gone down again.  Turned out this cache was located a mere hundred metres from the bench further up the path.  So, had to go all the way back up again.

Luckily the spectacular view of Walker Bay was well worth it!

Visit Gansbaai View at www.geocaching.com

093 Dassies End

Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus, South Africa

S34°23.942 E19°15.613

Our last Fernkloof cache for the day is located near a beautiful overhang at the turn-around of the Klipspringer trail.  Rain has turned this spot into something resembling the hanging gardens of Babylon – a completely different sight to the dry, barren rock face it was a season ago…

Visit The Dassies End at www.geocaching.com

30 October 2012 – Oprah, or Alfred?

089 O... I am famous

#89 “O”…. I’M FAMOUS (GC2G27Z)
V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.231 E18°25.296

This cache was, well, we suppose, literally a sit-and-grab located at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town – South Africa’s most visited tourist destination.

The cache itself had us quite confused for a while, as its origins and clue seemed to refer to Oprah Winfrey, but we were unable to find any reference to the talk show host in the area.

This minor confusion regarding the name seemed fitting as many tourists and locals alike, often and incorrectly refer to the V&A Waterfront as the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, in reference to Queen Victoria and her Prince consort, Albert.

In truth, it was Queen Victoria’s second son, Prince Alfred that began construction of the Cape Town harbour in 1860.  The first harbour basin was named after himself and the second after his mother, hence the name – Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Visit O… I’m Famous at www.geocaching.com

25 October 2012 – Tripping up Table Mountain

086 Table Mountain TB Hotel#86 TABLE MOUNTAIN TB HOTEL (GC31WXR)
Table Mountain Upper Cable Station near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.444 E18°24.185

The news that Table Mountain was voted as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World was met with great joy and celebration throughout South Africa.  Brunette Suikerbos herself had run a baby campaign off her Facebook page and swears to have contributed over a hundred votes from her mobile.

This South African icon is the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it – Mensa, meaning “the table.”   It has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species.  Table Mountain, with its unique flat-topped peaks reaching 1,086 metres above sea level, is regarded the most recognized site in Cape Town, and as part of the Mother City, was declared #23 on the Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Best Destinations for 2012.

With the Souties (Boer&Brit) visiting, what better caching trip than taking them up the mountain?  We started our summit adventure by visiting the TB Hotel located next to the upper cable way station.

What an awesome TB Hotel!  It is divided into six compartments – each representative of a continent, and you can leave your trackable according to the continent you would like it to visit.  (For those of you new to our blog, a trackable is a registered, trackable item – often a Geocoin or Travel Bug (TB).  It belongs to a specific cacher and it is moved from cache to cache by fellow cachers, its goal to log travel mileage, and often in support of a cause or in commemoration of a person, event or achievement.)

So, needless to say, our Travel Bug, Petrus, the Endangered Rhino was promptly placed in the Asian box.  Hopefully it will help to create awareness.  See our previous blogs The Elephant and the Rhino for more detail on Petrus and West Coast Route for the inner workings of a TB Hotel.

Visit Table Mountain TB Hotel at www.geocaching.com

087 Table Top Trove

Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.633 E18°24.392

This cache is located a short hike from the cable station and is credited on its profile, as the HIGHEST visited cache in Africa.

Its location allows beautiful panoramic views of the Cape peninsula.

Visit Table Top Trove at www.geocaching.com

088 Platteklip Trail Throne

Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.716 E18°24.461

As both Suikerbossies and Boer&Brit had completed the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail on previous occasions, it was decided to grab this cache following the much easier route via the upper cable way station.

Platteklip Gorge splits the central and main plateau of Table Mountain, providing an easy and direct ascent to the summit.  This route was first taken by António de Saldanha in 1503 during the first recorded ascent of the mountain.

Visit Platteklip Trail Throne at www.geocaching.com

24 October 2012 – Saving Private Jackass

085 Jackass

Stony Point in Betty’s Bay, South Africa

S34°22.191 E18°53.706

We took the “Souties” (Boer&Brit) to see the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay just in time to witness the collar-and-tied 5’o’clock parade from fishing grounds to breeding area.

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), widely known as the “Jackass” Penguin for its donkey-like bray, is a species of penguin confined to southern African waters and is currently listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.

The general decrease in their numbers has been attributed to many factors.  Until very recently, penguin eggs were considered a delicacy and were collected for sale.  This practice also included smashing older eggs to ensure only fresh ones were collected.  Their population decline was further hastened by the removal of guano from islands for use as fertilizer.  This eliminated the burrowing material used by penguins.

Other factors include commercial fishing that has resulted in a decrease in their preferred prey, and has forced these penguins to search farther off shore.  Global climate change is also affecting prey abundance.

An estimated 4 million penguins existed at the beginning of the 1900’s.  The total population fell to 200,000 in the year 2000, and ten years later, in 2010, the number was estimated to be only at 55,000.  If this decline is not halted, the African Penguin is expected to be extinct within the next 15 years.

Penguins remain susceptible to pollution of their habitat by petrochemicals from spills, shipwrecks and cleaning of tankers while at sea.

This was reiterated in 2000 following the sinking of the iron ore tanker MV Treasure between Robben Island and Dassen Island along the Cape coast of South Africa.  Over 1,300 tons of fuel oil were released into the coastal waters, oiling 19,000 adult penguins and thousands of other coastal birds.  Over 19,500 un-oiled penguins were removed from this area and temporarily relocated 800 kilometres east of Cape Town, allowing workers a couple of weeks to complete the clean-up of oil before they return to their nesting grounds.

Tens of thousands of volunteers descended upon Cape Town to help with the rescue and rehabilitation process.  It was the largest animal rescue event in history, took three months to complete and resulted in the successful rehabilitation and release of more than 91% of the penguins.

Suikerbossies support the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

Visit Jackass at www.geocaching.com

Post-blog note:  Suikerbossies have since activated Petronella Pikkewyn (Penguin) TB in support of the cause.

23 October 2012 – Caching along Clarence Drive

083 NZ Cache in SA

Near Dappat se Gat along Clarence Drive between Gordons Bay and Rooi Els, South Africa

S34°13.375 E18°50.277

Still recovering from Brunette Suikerbos’s baby sister’s wedding, the Suikerbossies took some of the family on a scenic drive along Clarence Drive for a visit to Hermanus.  This also served as an introduction to geocaching to Brunette’s aunt, as well as newly converted geocaching team – Boer&Brit, or better known as Brunette’s expecting middle sister and her British hubby.

Having had a MISSING TRACKABLE scare involving Bacchus, the Thirsty Bactrian Camel last left in the This Is My Valley cache in the Du Toitskloof Pass, Suikerbossies had retrieved it for safety reasons, and decided to leave it in this International Cache to the great delight of newly acquainted German cachers, Shamrock47, who promptly agreed to take the little TB to back to Germany.

Visit NZ in SA at www.geocaching.com

084 SS Colebrooke

Near Dappat se Gat along Clarence Drive between Gordons Bay and Rooi Els, South Africa

S34°13.682 E18°50.562

The Colebrook, a British East Indiaman was on her way from England to Bombay with a cargo of lead, copper and military supplies, when on Tuesday August 25th 1778, she struck Anvil Rock, off Cape Point.  She began leaking badly and the captain decided to beach her at Kogel Bay.

Visit SS: Colebrooke at www.geocaching.com