Of the Black Oystercatcher, a watermill and an old clock
There is something about fresh sea air and the sound of waves breaking that guarantees a good nights sleep and that is exactly what we all got that night. As a photographer though I resisted the urge to sleep in and went out early to get some shots in that lovely early morning light and Agulhas didn’t disappoint.
Once everyone else had woken up we went into Struisbaai for breakfast at Pelican’s Harbour Cafe. It’s not gourmet but what was impressive was that every part of our cooked breakfast was hot which everyone commented on. Then we lost half of our group who went off to instagram the resident feline ‘Pelicat’
Despite the sunny skies there was a strong wind blowing and a large swell running so the boat trip that had been planned was cancelled (a relief to some members of our group who were worried about seasickness) so instead we went back to the Agulhas Rest Camp and did one of the circular hike routes, which vary in length depending how long you want to walk for. We just did the one hour route which provided some great views over the park and coastline.
While Agulhas doesn’t have the Big Five, if you take some time and look carefully there are still interesting things to see like this rather mean looking beetle we discovered next to the path.
The path lead us back onto the pebbly beach behind Lagoon House where we found this huge log that had been washed up and decided to have some fun with our group photo.
Feeling lighter having walked off our breakfast we got back on the road and travelled towards Elim stopping along the way at the Black Oystercatcher boutique winery. Dirk Human, the owner and winemaker, was one of the pioneers to establish vineyards in the maritime ward of Elim. Dirk took us through a tasting of some of the wines of which my favourite was the White Pearl, which had what I can only describe as a curious taste – ever so slightly wooded with a smooth finish.
Not only about wine but Dirk and his wife Sandra have opened a restaurant which follows Dirk’s own motto: ‘Live by the season.’ I had the linefish of the day skewered on lemon grass which was simply delicious.
To end the day we visited the Elim, an old mission station inhabited almost entirely by members of the Moravian Church and it has changed little since yesteryear.
It boasts the oldest working clock in South Africa (built in 1764 in Germany) and it is unusual in that it has faces on both ends of the church connected by a long axis.
Another fascinating attraction of the town is a working water mill that has been restored and with the help of some funding will soon be providing ground flower to the local bakery again. We were lucky enough to be shown how this old piece of machinery still works as our guide opened the sleuth gate and sent water down the channel.
We stood and watched with amazement as this massive wheel began to turn, before moving inside to see how with the flick of a lever the energy is transferred to the grinding stones that did and hopefully will again produce flour.