Earthchild Cape Point Outing - June 2010 - World Environment Day

Photos by Ken Eaton

On 5 June I arranged for a group of 20 learners with 4 supervisors to do a hike at Cape Point followed by a Kelp painting exercise. The idea was to do an outing which includes a marine wilderness type experience as a start to arranging further outings along similar lines. This takes the lessons at the Shark centre to another level where people can learn about the life along the seashore in a remote wilderness setting where the beauty of nature can speak for itself. 


Xoli from the Earthchild project brought the group and she arranged transport and refreshments. Ken Eaton from the Wilderness group helped with managing the outing and with photos.

We met at the Cape point Reserve entrance at 09:00 and travelled to Gifkommetjie view points. Here the bus turned back and we began the walk (about 2 and a half hours) down the mountainside and along the beach to Platboom.


Weather was quite unbelievable. A bit cloudy at first, clearing with no wind. At this stage it was not to hot but later we had berg winds and it became quite warm.


As we walked along the coast I pointed out birdlife and natural issues of interest. We stopped for a while to check out kelp washed up. I spoke a bit about kelp and the life cycles involved with kelp forests in the sea and on the shore once it is washed up. This group had visited the Shark Centre so had already done the rock pool outings and learned about life on the shores. This was an opportunity to go over some of this in a more natural setting and point out certain things of interest eg where the oyster catchers nest, where the sand hoppers live etc


The walk then continues along the shore where the scenery is quite beautiful. As I said to the group what a perfect place to be on world environment day.


I chose this walk as it has the qualities one finds in the wilderness. Starting at the viewpoint one looks out over the Atlantic horizon and down to the shore where the path runs through wide open spaces including mountains, fynbos, beach, sea and dunes. There is wildlife to be seen along the way and we came across ostriches as well as plenty of marine birdlife. There was evidence of other wildlife closeby, Bontebok and Eland most likely. 


Once we had completed the walk at Platboom some of the group were quite tired so we had a break and made use of the toilets etc while we were transporting the group over to Bordjiesrif to do the Kelp painting exercise.


The kelp painting is the conclusion of the kelp lesson. I had spoken a bit about kelp on the hike and we had looked at some kelp issues along the way. At the education centre we showed a brief video which shows the life in the kelp forests and allows people to see what it is like beneath  the water in a kelp forest. After this the group began painting their kelp horns.


After about an hour of painting the horns were put out to dry and the highlight of the day for many began. It was quite warm by this stage so a swim in the tidal pool was what many had been waiting for.


Although the plan had been to end about 13:30 to 14:00 the unusually good weather had made it possible to enjoy the tidal pool so it was about 15:30 by the time all were ready to leave.


Altogether this was a great day and feedback from Xoli and Earthchild has been good. I hope to develop these outings further and can arrange outings for interested parties.