Yzerfontein….. A photographer’s dream destination
Published: West Coast Escape
Photography: Thea Kotze
Yzerfontein is an idyllic and unspoilt small fishing village on the West Coast and is situated 80km from Cape Town.
A five minute drive off the R27, West Coast road leads you to our spectacular little town, a photographer’s dream, with the well- known stretch of beach, 16 Mile Beach – which stretches all the way to Tsaar’s Bank in the West Coast National Park, the beautiful Meeurots as our pride and joy, beautiful rocks and more beaches at Pearl Bay, a lively fishing harbour, indigenous wild flowers and fynbos, the romantic sunsets and the protected Oyster Catchers breeding in the bay.
The small town of Yzerfontein has grown much in the past few years with more permanent residents and many people are commuting daily to Cape Town and surrounds to earn their daily bread. Even younger people want to live here full time and commute gladly.
Yzerfontein became a little famous when the WACS (West Africa Cable System) was laid during April 2011. WACS is a submarine communications cable linking South Africa with the United Kingdom along the west coast of Africa and is 14,530 km in length, linking from Yzerfontein to London. The WACS cable has been landed atYzerfontein in order to reduce risk of complete isolation from the rest of the world in the case of damages by earthquakes or a large ship dragging its anchor.
Yzerfontein offers a lot to its visitors. Apart from the fantastic views of the ocean and the whales playing in the bay during the summer season, there are a number of fishing events held annually by the local Boat and Angling Club, of which the Galjoen Derby and the Snoek Festival draw hundreds of participants and visitors . There is a fishmarket just outside Yzerfontein where you can buy fresh fish straight from the boats.
There are many other activities and festivities taking place during the year. Portuguese day is held in November with Portuguese music, dances and scrumptious Portuguese food. It is a very festive day and a must to attend, so are the two potjiekos competitions held in June and December. There are regular monthly quiz and bingo nights held at the Sport Club which is a lot of boisterous fun!
Yzerfontein is also well loved by surfers and even Kite surfers during the windy days. Yzerfontein will once again host the South African Kite Surfing Extreme Challenge (SAKA) the second weekend of December. This event is part of the Yzerfontein Festival and Events which picks up momentum for the December and January holiday, but also hosts many events during the year.
Yzerfontein boasts of a few organizations whose members are working tirelessly to promote the town to a “green” status and to conserve the nature and the ocean. The Yzerfontein Urban Conservancy with the aid of the Swartland Municipality work tirelessly to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Yzerfontein. A messy plot was transformed into a beautiful garden and planted with only native plants to demonstrate how beautiful and beneficial the native plants are. The dunes at the beaches must be preserved and are being rehabilitated and planted with fynbos and marigolds. Walkways to the beaches are built and maintained as well as all the walking trails.
Many and varied artists chose Yzerfontein to live and work in permanently. There are quite a few excellent painters, toy makers, photographers and various other crafts artists in town. There is even a small community of potters and would-be-still-learning potters who meet monthly socially to discuss various topics.
The NSRI has a permanent station in Yzerfontein (station 34) and work tirelessly to rescue people, boats and animals in trouble. The NSRI crew rescued a huge stranded sea turtle in June and transported her to SANCCOB for medical assistance. The endangered hawksbill turtle, Otto, is doing extremely well at the Two Oceans Aquarium and has gained 3kg and is eating well. It will still be a few months before her rehabilitation will be done and she can be released.
Yzerfontein also hosts some other very interesting and unusual animals, namely Camelus dromedarius (Arabic single hump camels). There was huge excitement in the town when the small Matryz was born in August. Matryz is the youngest calf of Meraai (the light brown cow) and Karel (the white bull). Matryz is a lively and healthy little calf who will still nurse for another 15 months. The camels are the “pets” of Kobus and Heilett Bergh from Yzerfontein. The camels were part of a big herd on his farm outside Upington but they love their new home on the grounds of the Delarey guest farm just outside of Yzerfontein. These camels originate from the camels which were used in Police Patrols in Askham in the Northern Cape.
“Wish you were here” .... contact Yzerfontein Tourism for accommodation to suit your needs, from self- catering to guest houses. The wind protected, shady and green Yzerfontein Caravan Park is situated just behind the dune on 16 Mile beach and frequented by many visitors during the year. Another must see, is the local Sport and Recreation club, with a tennis court and a beautiful bowling green.
Pack your bicycle, walking shoes, paperbacks and fishing rod, because this is what we do. In Yzerfontein, we Live and Love to the fullest!