Day 3: Die Dam Holiday Resort to Pearly Beach
GPS Coordinates @ Die Dam Holiday Resort S34°76’25” E19°68”’85”
GPS Coordinates @ Pearly Beach S34°65’80” E19°48’84”
- Departure: On foot from Die Dam Holiday Resort at 7am Saturday 14th March 2020
- Finish point: Pearly Beach
The group of women start Day 3’s walk from the camp on foot along the rocky coastline early morning, during low tide. The route takes us south pass Ratel River and around Quoin Point, a historical area where many ships floundered along its rocky coast over the centuries. A automatic lighthouse was constructed at this point in 1956 to warn seafaring vessels of the danger reef lurking around Quoin Point. One such luckless ship, the British vessel “Jessie” gave the long stretch of beach west of the point its name, Jessie’s Bay.
The route crosses through the old fisherman community of Buffeljagsriver, where the walkers take a well deserved break and enjoy juicy slices of watermelon and can replenish their water supplies.
It’s another 15km of beach walking to Pearly Beach and the end of day three. The walkers hike through Bantamsklip, a biological diversity hot spot. As the walkers near Pearly Beach, there is a long stretch of pristine beach, described by landowner Charlie van Breda as the ‘pearl of all beaches’ and the name stuck. There’s a run on ice-cold coke and Magnum ice creams at the general store of Pearly Beach then it’s back to Die Dam for the final night’s party.
On Quoin Point a steel lattice tower with an AGA 500 mm acetylene gas lantern, open flame gas flasher and sunvalve has stood since November 1946. Around it are a series of little cottages, owned by families who live in nearby Elim – the Schippers and the Octobers (many of the former slaves, who originally came to live in Elim, took their names from the month in which they were freed).
The steel tower was replaced with an aliminium lattice tower in October 1990 that came from Cape Agulhas, where it served temporarily whilst that lighthouse was restored. Virtually marooned out here thirty two metres above the sea below, Quoin Point is perhaps best known for the ship wrecks on the rocks below.
Seven of these at least have been documented and include Johanna (1682), the first English East Indiaman to wreck on the coastline of South Africa the remains of which were re-discovered after 300 years, the Danish ship the Nicobar (1783), the Doncaster (1836) en route to England from Mauritius from which there were no survivors, the English steamer Teuton (1881), the Avala carrying coal destined for Rangoon, City of Lincoln (1946), the Esso Wheeling (1948), an oil tanker the oil from which drifted towards Dyer Island killing a third of the colony of African penguins.
Bantamsklip is situated on the Groot Hagelkraal farm. The farm is a registered private nature reserve and a South African Nature Foundation Natural Heritage Site, its immediate neighbours are the SANParks (South African National Parks) at Waterford, Pearly Beach Nature Reserve and the Soetfontein Nature Reserve. Red Data listings show 75% of threatened plant species in South Africa occur only in the Southwestern Cape. There are 1600 listed Red Data species within 100 kilometers of Bantamsklip. There are 22 Red Data listed species on the Bantamsklip property itself, of which six are entirely restricted to the farm. The property represents the foremost conservation priority in the Cape Floristic Region and is regarded as the world’s “hottest” of biological diversity hot spots.
- Schoeman, C. 2017. The Historical Overberg – traces of the past in South Africa’s southernmost region. Penguin House.