The weekend is here at last. I have been working towards this weekend for months and months… this is the weekend that I will be swimming across the Langebaan Lagoon, 12 km… further than I have ever tried before.
Two years ago I began open water swimming, on an invitation of a friend… and swam about 250m across a dam… since then I have swum further and further, including my first Robben Island Crossing last year. But this is bigger and much further. It is a challenge. Let’s hope that the weather stays absolutely perfect… I have been training for this throughout the winter, I have no idea if I can do it, but I have heard: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I do have the best team to support me through it, Cape Town Swim has been with me from my very first swiming adventure.
Protect the West Coast
I am dedicating my swim to Protect the West Coast, an environmental organisation that is dedicated to raising awareness about the devastation of our pristine West Coast. While I am concerned about pollution along our shoreline, I was horrified to discover the damage that mining is causing to the beautiful untouched beaches along our West Coast. If you have questions regarding the work that they do, the type of mining that occurs, and who is responsible for the damage… please take a look at their website, particularly their FAQ.
“Mining is becoming rampant on the beaches and offshore regions of the pristine West Coast of South Africa, which is causing devastating environmental damage, restricting public coastal access and adversely affecting local communities. While this has been going on for several decades, the area is currently under increasing siege by a strew of multinational mining companies that seem to have the unequivocal backing, or at least tacit approval, of the South African government despite widespread concerns about this mining’s effect on the environment.
There are numerous new mining applications in the pipeline and a proposal for a massive shipping port in Port Nolloth to support the industry. The Not-For-Profit Company (NPC), Protect The West Coast (PTWC) was formed in November 2020 to showcase to the world exactly what is happening along this fragile, remote stretch of coastline. Through information and activism, PTWC is on a mission to prevent these mining companies from further destroying this precious, biodiverse region and to preserve it for future generations. It is vitally important that the people that live and work on the west coast, see alternatives to mining like tourism, conservation, small scale commercial fishing and sport as a viable and sustainable long term solution to putting food on their tables.
By showcasing to the world what is happening on the west coast, it is the intention of Protect The West Coast to hold both the miners and the government more accountable for their actions. It is important that miners do not deviate from their prescribed legally binding environmental responsibilities and that the government is made to fully adhere to its responsibilities on oversight.”
To showcase our beautiful West Coast I thought I would show you a newly released book from Struik Nature…
The West Coast
If you are in Cape Town South Africa and you haven’t yet made a plan to take a drive up the West Coast to look at our annual extravaganza of West Coast Spring Flowers, then this is the book for you. West Coast driving in the springtime is a South African tradition… simply because of the flower phenomena… but it turns out the West Coast has a lot more to offer.
This book leaves no stone unturned, and features every little dorp from Melkbosstrand just outside of Cape Town, all the way to Doring Bay and the Orange River.
The book contains everything you could ever want from a guide book: local history, blocks of fascinating natural facts, where to visit and what not to miss out on. Where to find the best places to discover locals and their intriguing lives, where to stop for the better than the best local feasts.
These book really does have it all. Just last weekend The Father Person and I took a trip to Darling, the “flower show town” to visit at this time of year… and had lunch at the famous Groote Post… it was lovely. And we found all sorts of little spots to take a look at around Darling, while we were there.
And for the family that has hiked and explored the West Coast National Park several times… there are several little tips and pointers, in this book for next time we visit there.
I love that this book doesn’t just stop at the more popular places along the way, they have loads of hidden gems as well… names from my childhood road trips, where Vredendal was synonymous with Creme Soda Floats, and Koekenaap. Good places to stop for some West Coast hospitality, fishing villages to visit, caves to visit, wetlands… this book is a joy of hidden gems, and the not so hidden gem of a heavenly sunset, day after day after day.
If you haven’t fallen in love with this wild and free space yet, then take a visit, before it is too late. This entire region and all the unique and pristine ecosystems are under threat from international mining magnets. Let this book be your guide, it will help you to fall in love with the region and more than that, you will want to stand up for it and protect it… once you have been there and walked under the clear skies, trekked along the sandy beaches, stopped in awe of the desert flowers, and so much more. Now is definitely the time to visit this hardy land and embrace it. Grab the book, take a road trip and enjoy it.
Amazon Affiliate Links for the Book Mentioned in This Post.
This book was given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Nature. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.