Skip to content

Coastal scenery, reefs, rivers, lush forest and delicate Fynbos

June 27, 2021

Come away with me, come let’s take a trip to wonderland tucked in at the West-eastern side of the most beautiful Mzansi,

come with me, if your roaming eyes are smitten by lagoon blue and the sea-green of beach coves. Magnificence to behold, isn’t it and doesn’t her natural flawless beauty tickle all of your senses? Of course it does. If you are looking for it, if you are longing then surely you will spot your dream holiday destination somewhere along the coast in the apple of God’s eye, – mesmerizing Mzansi. Hold your breathe just there.

The insanely beautiful area of land that lies between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the sea, stretches west to the Bloukrans River and east to Eerste River, is named after the San word that means “place of abundant water“, where the booming breakers of the Indian Ocean relentlessly pound rocky shores, where temperate high forest and fynbos roll down to the sea in an unspoilt verdant carpet, where ancient rivers carve their paths to the ocean down rocky ravines.

The Bloukrans River is a short river located on the border between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. Adrenalin junkies flock from around the globe to come and graze and to let off steam here with bungee jumping.

Heaven-on-Sea, Eersterivier hugs the place of abundant water, the Tsitsikamma coastline. People are boastful in Mzansi, and rightfully, so are the valleys and ravines, filled with god-given vanity. Heaven at the sea, Eersterivier is a serene and unhurried experience. Are you packing already to make that move by road or fly away for a digital detox, perfect romantic getaway or family holiday?

Tsitsikamma National Park is a multi-dimensional destination with dramatic coastal scenery, reefs, rivers, lush forest and delicate Fynbos. Many residents in Tsitsikamma, historically relied on coastal forests for a range of amenities, such as medicinal plants, honey and woods for fuels and building materials, which they are denied access.

Delosperma saxicola, a pretty fynbos or vygie

Family: Aizoaceae – Common names: Tsitsikamma cliff vygie, Tsitsikamma cliff mesemb (Eng.); Tsitsikamma vygie (Afr.)

A rare endemic of the coastal cliffs of the Tsitsikamma National Park. Its mat-forming habit makes it a great ground cover, especially for seafront, water-wise, fynbos gardens, and it is covered in pink to white flowers in spring and summer, that attract honeybees.

Tsitsikamma: Bungee Jump with Zipline and Sky Walk | GetYourGuide

A hiking, bungee jumping and water sports paradise,

this region forms the top section of the magnificent Garden Route National Park.

Cape Cormorant landing to feed in the surf zone, Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, Garden Route National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa,

Established in 1964, Tsitsikamma is the oldest MPA in Africa and a treasure trove of marine life. MPA is managed by South African National Parks and the entire MPA is a no-take area, except for 20% of the shoreline where local community members are permitted to fish.

The MPA is the marine equivalent of the Kruger National Park and is a major tourist attraction. Thousands of local and international tourists visit the area each year, and the popular Otter Hiking Trail is booked years in advance. The entire MPA is a no-take area, except for 20% of the shoreline where local community members are permitted to fish.

Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, Garden Route National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa,

This handsome Otter looks like a merman, won’t you think? I love his ears, but the greying beard needs a trim. We should find a pretty skilled mermaid from the hidden castle in the coral reef along the sublime coast of The Garden Route – west or east shoreline -to give him a clean cut.

No-take marine protected areas (MPAs) are promoted as a long-term conservation strategy. However, in areas of low economic opportunity and limited alternative livelihoods or transitional support, no-take MPAs threaten the food security and cultural practices of fishers.

Historically, the South African government enforced racially exclusionary rules for accessing the coast and its resources, leading to the marginalization of rural coastal communities (especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal), which were dependent on coastal resources for their food security and livelihoods.

With the abolition of Apartheid and introduction of democracy, it was hoped that the right of small-scale and subsistence fishers would be restored in accordance with their culture and tradition. Only 52.6% of households met the financial requirements for food security in 2016. 

A former fisher, no longer allowed to access the coast, writes poetry about the sea now.

The community describe themselves as being “born on the rocks (coast)”, claiming original ancestry from the indigenous Khoi-san people, indicating a consideration of the coast as a part of their culture and traditions. The desire to fish in the Marine Protected Area remains high among the local communities in Tsitsikamma. Local communities consider conservation to include sustainable utilization while conservation officials from the practice pursue absolute protection of the marine fisheries resources. 

The future

In December 2016 the (now late) Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa gazetted the rezoning of the Tsitsikamma MPA to allow limited fishing by members of local communities.

In the minutes of the 2019/20 Annual Performance plan presented to parliamentarians by Minister Barbara Creecy in July 2019, she was asked who was monitoring the fishing areas and fishing rights of the Tsitsikamma region? This because local communities were not allowed access to a beach area called Eerste Rivier.

The Tsitsikamma marine protected area.

Responding she said that although some areas had been declared protected in the 1960s, this legislation did not allow for the provision of artisanal fishing. There had been subsequent studies and some places had been opened up for artisanal fishing. However, she said, her Department was currently not dealing with the matter.

Safekeeping Tsitsikamma’s history was immortalised in January 2020 when the Tsitsikamma Angling Forum unveiled a plaque in honour of two anglers who fought for years for access to fishing rights – John William Pedro, (1951- 2009), and Christiaan Jacobus Langisa, 1945 – 2018.

At the unveiling ceremony the Tsitsikamma Angling Forum chair, Henrico Bruiners, pronounced that the unveiling of the plaque “serves as a memoir for the Tsitsikamma angling community and signifies the struggle encountered leading to the opening of the sea.

Their argument was that there had been no public participation process when the marine protected area was proclaimed some 50 years ago.
The plaque was erected in the Park’s prime spot en route to the famous suspension bridge.
“No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry. All admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.”
― John Ruskin

Writing is a lonely job and requires many hours of just sitting and writing by yourself, so if you wish to take a break, catch a vacation breather, once the world is in order – come away with me, let us follow the garden route trail, or we could hook up at the place of much water somewhere in a secluded cove or cafe beneath the Tsitsikama Mountains for a cup of coffee or chai tea and a freshly baked scone plastered with honey or cream and strawberry jam. Meet her people and bask in her pristine beauty.

From → Mzansi

  1. Such abudance in nature. Beats me how we manage to mess it up, with pollution and insatiable desires. I love the photos, such a beautiful country. I hope the government and the locals come into an agreement on the coastline. Seems a bit harsh to entirely block them from access but then again, its good to preserve our flora and fauna however a co-existence that’s mindful is very much possible. True, writing can be lonely at times. Cheer up and keep warm. It’s still winter cold there? I’d love to visit your country one day.

    • Thank-you Kinge, truly a beautiful side of my country, and yes it must be preserved. Unfortunately we have a draconian approach to all matters pertaining to human life. Nature remains serene, tranquil and calm it is really time that we find it within ourselves to dance in tangent with each to compliment nature. We can’t keep rubbing salt into old wounds. We must allow ourselves from both side of the divide to heal.
      Winter is here in full measure. We are mostly enjoying her bright blue soft sunny days. It gets colder late afternoon.
      Very lonely, but for me WP is like a creative writing corner. I learn new stuff everyday, and it takes the sting of loneliness away,
      Do visit, every corner of my country is beautiful, diverse and interesting.

      • With the advanced access to information and evolved policies, we must likely are more closer to getting to such a stage. We however have a long way to go In regards to conservation due to the ever increasing consumption that wastes resources, pollute especially through dumping. We need to embrace recycling and green ecosystems.

        Keep warm, atleast you are focusing on the best parts of it, blue skies and sun😏. I agree, wp community is awesome. I commit a few hours of my day to read, write, journal and blog and enjoy the growth.

      • Pictures invites the senses to look at our habitats and natural habitats with love concern and care. Word and picture combined are powerful tools. When we speak about country life and human beings I hope we can grow a political system to such a maturity that like nature balances everything. Education and how we educate is key. This then invites us to expose the dumping sites with image and word.
        I’ve been blessed to visit most provinces in my country, even if I just passed through some and lingered for a long time with others and these sights are etched in my memory. The mountains, the oceans, blue skies and the floral kingdoms do indeed under a bright blue sky capture my mind.
        I love that portion of your day
        Have a good one

      • Yes they do. They help in visualization and the words put it in action. That balance is what is lacking. In my country, corruption is at an all time high. As much as the constitution is evolved and people are aware somehow this train keeps rocking. Our economy is in deficits and natural resources being exploited by a few wealthy individuals. Yes, may we reach to such growth sooner than later🙏🏻.

        I like how you focus on the good around you. Perspective really matters. There’s beauty and magic all around us despite all the wrong that may be happening but only visible to those who are looking for the good

  2. Absolutely they do Sir. And it’s important to have a space to look at things from another perspective. Unleasing is the order of the day but mainly with the objective of repressing other opinions which maybe very well and important to listen to.
    We have the same problem in our country and right now it feels like the centre is not holding, at the same time so much is coming to the light, and one can just hope an pray that men and women with integrity will be encouraged to take position and move the country forward. Could this be asking too much?….as always time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: