(Here are some snippets taken from the Agulhas National Park e-Bulletin from December 2014. - Ed.)
Agulhas Rest Camp offers more beds
Seven new chalets have been completed at the Agulhas Rest Camp and will become available for visitors from December 12, 2014. The chalets took a year to construct and the Rest Camp has almost doubled in size in the past four years, meaning that more people can now enjoy the secluded pristine coastal environment and breath-taking views the Agulhas National Park offers. Seven new chalets, consisting of one family cottage and six single chalets, were built. The expansion brings the total number of chalets to 15, providing accommodation for about 40 people.
Agulhas National Park grows even bigger
The Agulhas National Park recently incorporated two more properties which saw the park’s size grow to over 21,971 hectares, a significant increase from the humble four hectares when the park was established 15 years ago. The two additional properties to the west of Agulhas and measuring over 830 hectares consist of dune Strandveld vegetation dominated by tall grass and reed-like grasses. White bristle-bush (Metalasia muricata), kapokbos or Wild Rosemary (Eriocephalus) and Crassula are just some of the species that occur here. The new section strengthens the park’s role in conserving the Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK) and culturally significant areas along the coastline. The historical significance of the area was already determined in the 1980s. (The Late Stone Age in the Cape Agulhas area: a distributional study, Martin Hall, 1984) In addition it was found that the vegetation also needed conservation. The recent acquisition now connects the rest camp area with the rest of the park, making the park less fragmented. Only Waterford at the extreme western side of the park and Strikdas just north of Sandberg, still remain separate. (SANParks Times)
Peter Chadwick, Wildlife & Conservation Photographer
My best birding moments in Agulhas NP are when the Whiskered Terns return during the summer months and can be seen moving in small flocks between the various water bodies found within the area and on the Agulhas Plain. I spend hours watching them using the wind to carry them backwards and forwards across the water, hovering into the wind and then occasionally stooping and plunging into the water to snatch up a small aquatic insect, small fish or tadpole which is then swallowed on the wing.
Agulhas Birding spots
Birders can secure a permit at the Agulhas Reception and enjoy birding at Saltpans and Melkbospan. Drive along the Struisbaai-Elim road for good birding in the wetlands and along the Nuwejaars River. Diarise December 20 for an early morning bird outing with Dr Wim De Klerk. Phone 028-4356078 for more information and a permit.