Strandfontein on the Cape West Coast (South Africa) started off as a small fishing village situated at the mouth of the Olifants River. This hidden gem, with its long white sandy beach, has now been “discovered” by the flower route visitors and by weekenders, who love the laid back atmosphere. From late July to September you can hike along the beaches and enjoy spectacular wild flowers.
From August to November, the Southern Right whales, that can be seen up-close in the protective bay, come to Strandfontein to calve, and dolphins visit most of the year. During summer, holiday makers turn the town into a bit of a buzz. A safe tidal pool and playground will keep children entertained for hours.
As in the good old days, fishing at Standfontein is still a major attraction, especially for galjoen, while seafood like crayfish and mussels are plentiful – just remember to get a licence. Some of the best angling spots are in the town itself, at the impressive rocky outcrops separating the sea from the town. Along the cliffs to the north of town are several productive fishing spots, the best being Third Point, which is clearly visible from the town. There is also a slipway for boats.
Jo Hobbs compiled and edited the 55 page Special Edition, a supplement to the Promerops magazine in April 1998, as a tribute to the Club, its members and their achievements.
Strandfontein as we know it are the pans of the Strandfontein Waste Water Treatment Works and is the Southern Birding Area of the False Bay Nature Reserve. The False Bay Nature Reserve is made up of Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei, Pelican Park Nature Reserve and the Southern Birding Area.
Cape Bird Club members started monthly bird counts in 1983 after the counts stopped at Zandvlei. Alan Morris and “his team” came to this new site as little data was available for this important bird area. These monthly counts still continue under Dick Barnes.
A brief history of the Club.
- The South African Ornithological Society (SAOS) was formed in 1930 and had members all over South Africa.
- For many years there were no regional branches or bird clubs.
- In the late 1940’s members on the Witwatersrand and around Cape Town got together and decided to form local clubs.
- The first was the Witwatersrand Bird Club with the Cape Bird Club following a few months later in May 1948.
- The Cape Bird Club became the first branch of the SAOS on 17th March 1950.
- In 1996 SAOS changed its name to BirdLife South Africa (BLSA). It is the leading bird conservation non-profit organisation in South Africa.
- The Cape Bird Club has a membership in excess of 700 members of which most are also direct members of BLSA.
- The Cape Bird Club is currently the largest affiliated club of BirdLife South Africa.
- BirdLife South Africa is affiliated to BirdLife International which is the largest international conservation non-profit organisation.
- All Western Cape bird clubs affiliated to BirdLife South Africa are represented on the Western Cape Birding Forum (WCBF) which provides a communication channel between clubs and BirdLife South Africa. It also provides for joint conservation initiatives by these clubs.
- The Cape Bird Club has the longest and most active history of nature conservation of any bird club in South Africa.
South Africa is the most economically developed country in the Afrotropics and its biological resources have been severely impacted by humans. Indeed, it is estimated that at least 25% of the land has been transformed, largely by agriculture, urban development, afforestation, mining and dams. In response to this biological impoverishment, South Africa has established numerous protected areas. In total, it has some 741 publicly owned protected areas, covering 74,956 km² and accounting for ca.6% of the country’s land surface area.
There are currently 102 IBAs in South Africa covering over 100,000 km²; equivalent to ca. 8.3% of the land area. South Africa also has six Endemic Bird Areas, and a total of 36 Globally Threatened bird species including Rudd’s Lark Heteromirafra ruddi (Vulnerable), African Penguin Spheniscus demersus (Vulnerable), Blue Crane Grus paradisea (Vulnerable)and White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi (Endangered).
BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA