Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Surviving" Koeberg

Today was one of those days where I didn't know what to do to get some "excitement". On Wednesday I am traveling to Chad and will be away for 10 days, so I wanted to at least do something nice over the weekend. The weather unfortunately wasn't playing along. It was very misty and a bit chilly. In a last attempt to do something we decided to go to Koeberg Nature Reserve and do another "Ultimate Survival" with the little survivor man.

Koeberg Nature Reserve is just outside Melkbos and adjacent to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, the only nuclear power station in South Africa. Having a nature reserve around a nuclear power station is like the lollipop the dentist used to give us as children after he relentlessly tortured us with his drill. Some sort of atonement gift for for the pain he caused. I wonder sometimes if the animals are not only kept there to see if the radiation affects them or not, some sort of early warning that we all have to get the hell out of there. I wasn't keen on going there in the first place, but my wife as many other mountain bikers frequently make use of the reserve. She mentioned that there were hiking trails as well, and of course some wild animals roaming around freely. The entrance is free and that was probably the only attraction and the fact that it is very close from where we live. So no need to spend the best part of the day behind the wheel again.

We weren't even five minutes on the trail when I realized that the feeling of being out in nature far away from civilization was not going to happen today. I tried to take a few pictures but 90% of them had some sort of power cable in the background. When we walked underneath the high power transmission lines that was providing electric energy to basically the whole Western Cape, I could feel my sperm count diminishes as the static discharge was buzzing in our ears like a swarm of bees stuck inside a jar of honey. Definitely not what anyone would like to hear when searching for peace and tranquility. The wet air obviously increases the noise that these transmission lines are making and it was really not a pleasant feeling walking underneath it. That was unfortunately the only way to get to the trail which we were about to take. The trails are clearly indicated, but there is no worry that one would get lost. The whole reserve is basically just a flat sand dune with Fynbos. At times I walked bare feet, easier that losing your flip flops in the sand the whole time.

The animals were few and far between. I saw more mice than anything else, and when we got closer to some Springbok and Zebra, it felt more like I was in a zoo than in a wild enclosure. The only other living things we saw was a Bontebok and some mountain bikers. My son lost interest in "survival" soon after we've started, so he was talking non-stop and disturbing the peace instead...and the few animals that was kind enough to stick around so that I could snap them. But each time I wanted to take a nice "wild life" picture, there was either a power cable or building in the way. At one point when I had the best angle on the Bontebok, I couldn't help but notice that there was a white bus in the background that was more prominent than the antelope in the foreground. As a matter of fact, my camera kept focusing on the bus instead of the animal. Halfway on the trail we decided to take a shortcut and head back to the car. Definitely NOT one of our best discoveries up to date and NOT a place I will ever go back to have a hike again. In the meantime I cannot wait for for the sun to go down, I am pretty sure we are all going to fluoresce in the dark tonight....


  1. Koeberg is still a brilliant reserve, given the proximity. The facility stretches for at least another 15km to the north and becomes proper nature once you have passed the built facilities. It has a truly untouched shoreline and big inland ponds with bird hides. The many boreholes in the reserve provides water to the surrounding towns. It might benefit you to walk just a bit further next time Manie - a steady flow of mountain bikers and hikers cannot be wrong ☺

  2. Roodt, I agree with you. Remember we were there on foot with a 4-year old. No way we can walk up 10 odd kilometers to see the "better side" of the reserve. For mountain bikes, for sure, would like to do that route myself!