Little Camargue at the Cape – Rooisand Nature Reserve


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A few kilometres outside Kleinmond on the road to the villages of Botrivier or Hermanus, turn right to enter a wetland area preserved as “Rooisand Nature Reserve” – little Camargue at the Cape.

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Part of an old herd of feral horses at Rooisand.

“Kleinmond gets its name from the ‘small mouth’ of the Bot River that seeks to enter the sea at the main beach. Part of a large estuary system, the ‘small mouth’ often silts up, forming a beautiful reed-banked lagoon stretching back some 5 kilometres to the huge Bot River lagoon that forms the eastern edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The lagoon is also famous for being home to the only herd of wild horses in South Africa! Ledgend has it that at the end of the Anglo Boer War (over 100 years ago), evacuating British soldiers let their cavalry horses loose in the great vlei of the Kleinmond lagoon. By the 1940’s the herd had grown to over 400!  Totally wild, the horses roamed the river area, decimating precious grazing. Farmers began to round them up or shoot them.  Only three horses escaped the attempt to eradicate the herd. Today their descendents can be seen splashing through the lagoon or cantering between the Kleinmond dunes. This unique herd of over 20 wild horses are cherished by the town and have become quiet a tourist attraction!” ((http://www.kogelbergbiospherereserve.co.za)

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Cathedral of Sainte Maries de la Mer, capital of the Camargue, – a veritable fortress (against the Saracenes) and in front of it a bull ring. During a festival on 26 May bulls are driven through town and motorists and pedestrians are given adequate warning to get out of the way.

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Wild horses of the Camargue near Sainte Maries de la Mere.

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Entering Rooisand via the board walk.

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Depending on the seasons this grassland is swamped in winter and dry in summer when you can reach the ocean shoreline dry-shod.

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Entrance to the Bird Hide. Inside the hide the variety of bird life you can observe is well documented.

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Small groups of flamingoes feeding on the edge of the swamp.

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View towards Kleinmond. Mountain ranges of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in the background.

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Outside the reserve is a riding stable where you can keep your own horse or have outrides organized.

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View towards the village of Botrivier. The Botriver lagoon and swamps stretch as far as Kleinmond but shrink away when the Botriver breaks through to the sea after heavy and prolonged rains.

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A flock of Pelicans navigating in the lagoon. Once in the air they fly with such flair, ease and elegance – it is quite inspiring to watch them gracefully sailing on their wings.

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From an outing last year late September.

With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Wednesday 3 July, 2013

One comment on “Little Camargue at the Cape – Rooisand Nature Reserve

  1. Thekla Salmon says:

    Magical photo’s – must visit it – preferably on horse back!

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