15 November 2012 – Sporting a Century in the Strandveld

097 Smulmondjie

Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°34.999 E19°21.077

Once a year all the different Western Cape regions belonging to Brunette’s directorate within the Department of Health, gather to celebrate annual sports week – this year held at Uilenkraalsmond near Gansbaai.  Unfortunately, this year’s celebrations coincided with widespread and violent labour protests throughout the Boland.  As result, several of the regions were delayed, giving us enough time for a quick detour to Gansbaai and the Strandveld before joining in the fun.

The first cache was located within a small store in Gansbaai, so a quick grab and on to the next…

Visit Smulmondjie at www.geocaching.com

098 Gansbaai Gateway

Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°35.334 E19°21.016

Number 2 was located within the Gansbaai tourism office.

Gansbaai was founded in 1881 after an 18-year-old fisherman walked there across the dunes from Stanford and discovered excellent fishing in the area.  He settled there, and soon after other families followed suit.

Today it is considered the Great White Shark capital of the world, with shark cage diving drawing some of the highest tourist numbers to South Africa for any singular activity.

Visit Gansbaai Gateway at www.geocaching.com

099 Shark Encounters

Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.334 E19°24.193

This cache is located near a boardwalk along a path through a coastal milkwood forest and over a dune unto the beach in Franskraal.

Visit Shark Encouters at www.geocaching.com

100 Strandveld Museum#100 STRANDVELD MUSEUM (GCVHXC)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.583 E19°23.558

100th cacheOur 100th cache!

The Strandveld Museum is situated in Franskraal.  The Strandveld refers to the coastal region extending all the way from Hermanus towards the mouth of the Breede River.

The quaint building dates back to the 1860’s  and houses a variety of local artefacts including the largest privately owned collection of artefacts from the HMS Birkenhead which sunk at Danger Point near Gansbaai in 1845.

Visit Strandveld Museum at www.geocaching.com

101 Blousloep#101 BLOU SLOEP (GC2KNJV)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.832 E19°23.107

This spot along the coast of Franskraal is named for the channel of sea water separating an small island of rocks from the main land.

Luckily there was no tourists around, so a quick grab and on to the next…

Visit Blou Sloep at www.geocaching.com

102 Step It Up#102 STEP IT UP (GC2N4PE)
Kleinbaai near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°37.276 E19°21.074

This was another quick park-and-grab along the coastal path in Kleinbaai.  While looking for the cache, we spotted two contractors working close by on one of the houses.  Trying to look blasé in our search, we were a bit dumbstruck when the elder of the two, wearing a neck brace, started up the ladder towards the roof…

Visit Step it Up at www.geocaching

103 Abalone Island#103 ABALONE ISLAND (GC3AM1C)
Kleinbaai near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°37.405 E19°21.000

Another tribute to  Vorsprung durch Technik

We took a drive along what looked like a dirt road, and ended up doing some serious off-tracking with the A4.  After finding the cache, we considered it the opportune time to share a Windhoek Light, before Brunette tackled the return trip!

Visit Abalone Island at www.geocaching.com

104 Milkwood Hiking Trail#104 MILKWOOD HIKING TRAIL (GC1653F)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.334 E19°23.494

The last one for the day was quite a disappointing trip.  What was expected to be a hike through a milkwood forest, ended up as a bundu-bashing along a poorly maintained trail, frequented by vagrants, to an uneventful cache containing the paper maché remains of a log book and some other rusted items.

Having found our eight for the day, including our 100th find, we decided to call it a day and join the colleagues at the sports day.

Visit Milkwood Hiking Trail 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

3 October 2012 – First to Stroll Past

082 Bamboo Stroll

Coastal path in Sandbaai, South Africa

S34°25.330 E19°11.198

This cache, located close to our home in Sandbaai, turned out to be our first FTF – or First To Find.  That meant that we were the first cachers to discover and log it after it had been published – quite an accomplishment, as FTF’s are scarce and very rarely as accessible as this one was!

This cache took as along the scenic VOS (Vermont-Onrus-Sandbaai) coastal path.

The container was a true flash of ingenuity and earned this cache a favourite point.

Visit Bamboo Stroll at www.geocaching.com