It is that time of year again, the students are taking over the beach at Kosi Bay – although, as it is winter the locals aren’t really swimming anyway… (but the water is still warmer than some of our UK students are used to!).
A beach day at Kosi bay!
Stephanie was more than a little happy at this prospect, although in truth we all were. It was hot, and the mere thought of swimming was making us all eager to get to the beach.
Even Tommy was eager to get to the water!
The visit to the fishtraps is first. this sustainable fishing method is as much a part of conserving the area as preserving the traditional Tsonga culture.
Elmon explained how the fish trap worked to us and gave us spear fishing lessons to show us how hard it is, then it was time to walk/splash out to the fishtraps to take a look for ourselves.
We were in luck, one of Elmons fishtraps had bream, grunter, mullet and even kingfish! So we got to test our wits against that of the fish and try our hand at spearing dinner.
Stephanie speared her fish on the first try… Sleep with one eye open Adrian…!
We all emerged from the handmade cage triumphant. We would have a feast tonight!
But no time for smugly posing with our catches…
…oh, ok then just a little…
Armed with our mask and snorkels (no flippers/fins needed at this reef!) We crossed the estuary feeling the alternating hot and cold currents swirling around us.
The beauty of the snorkelling at Kosi Bay is that you swim across a channel and walk up on to the sand bank that runs parralel to the reef, walk along the sand bank, and lower yourself once more into the balmy waters of Kosi Bay Mouth.
But now is where the hard work comes… Ok, only joking – all you
need to do now is float with the current, cameras at the ready.
Effort free snorkelling gave us plenty of energy for posing under the water and playing with our cameras.
Carry on reading about this trip as Stephanie and Adrian go from place to place on their African holdiay.
An early start for Jason and Adam today as they head up to Ndumo Game reserve for a full day of fantastic bird and animal sightings.
Only one thing can top a great day, and that is going on a Turtle tour.
Sea turtles who usually live in the deep deep depths come on land between November and February each year to lay their eggs. Female turtles must climb from the water up the beach (the pure physical exertion as they make their way across the soft sand causes the bodies of these cold blooded creatures to radiate an astounding level of heat) before they dig their nests and lay their clutches of over 100 eggs! After this the turtle must then close the nest and then make her way back to the sea.
Baby sea turtles when they hatch have to break through the egg, dig out of the sand and make their way down to the water. What a lot to do on your first day in the world!
Jason and Adam were lucky enough to see three little hatchlings on their way to the water. One of them looked very weak, and was struggling to make it across the soft sand – law states that you are not permitted to touch them or help them in any way – and this troubled Jason and Adam. Using his torch Adam led them on their perilous journey down to the water, safe guarding them from any beach predators who may want to take advantage of these juicy little morsels.
It was quite an emotional moment for the boys as the last little hatchling dipped into the water, I am sure there was even a tear present in Jasons eye! The boys kept watching the water, looking just in case the little ones washed back to shore again, but no – they were ok and off to start their little life adventures.
Then, around the corner, 10, 20, 30, 40 hatchlings fresh from the eggs and emerging from the nest. It was like a motorway during rush hour as they made their way to the water. 50, 60 and still more were coming even as they walked a little further down the beach.
A little further along they found a female loggerhead turtle in the process of laying her eggs. Sitting nearby they watched her as she finished, filled the nest and made her way back to the water.
(Turtle tours can also be booked at our Hluhluwe Accommodation Umkhumbi Lodge)
Snorkelling is the plan today!
Armed with our goggles, snorkels and flippers we clambered into the Land Cruiser ready for Tommy to drive us down to Kosi Bay mouth estuary. It is possible to walk down, but after a long day snorkelling driving back up the hill is much nicer! when we got down to the water the tide was extremely high, obviously we had over-estimated quite how much time we would need to stop so Jason could take pictures of Cisticolas (only joking Jason, I know they were cormorants really…! 😉 )
The best part about getting down to the estuary when it is still high tide is that as the water recedes across the estuary mouth, islands of sand appear littered with the small sea-life that water birds class as delicacies. This brings water-birds flocking (pardon the pun) for an easy snack. The sand dunes were teeming with birds such as tern as we walked around the edges of the estuary mouth in search of crabs, snakes, birds, lizards and anything thing else that moved!
As quickly as the tide rises, it drops, so we didnt have to wait for long before we could wade across the estuary mouth to the reef.
At first glance the area of water containing the reef raises a few sceptical looks and raised eyebrows from all who have yet to experience it.
The best way to view the reef is to walk to the top and float down across the reef with the current, it is lazy snorkelling, no effort needed, the best kind of snorkelling!
Jason and Adam saw (to name a few – there are so many!);
– Black Mangrove seed pod
– Shoals and shoals of un-identified baby fish
– Pink Clawed fiddler crabs
– Ring Cowrie
– Ramshorn shell
– Honeycomb moray eel
– Occelated snake eel
– Bandtail cardinal
– Ninestripe cardinal
– Striped grunter
– one spot snapper
– Mussel cracker (juvenile)
– Big eye stumpnose (juvenile)
– small scale purse mouth
– old woman (juvenile)
– emperor angelfish (juvenile)
– double sash butterfly fish (juvenile)
– Boomerang trigger fish
– Spotted toby
And most importantly the lesser-spotted reef dwelling snorkel fish (losticus Jasonus).
After hours and hours of floating around in the estuary (it is surprisingly tiring, but well worth it) it was time to retreat back to Amangwane Kosi Bay for a braai (BBQ to us pommies) and bush TV (fire).
Steak and boerewors (sausage), pap n’ sous (local maize meal and sauce – tasty), potato salad (Africa style), coleslaw, fresh bread and salad. Needless to say we all went to bed on exceptionally full stomachs as it was too good to leave any!
Amangwane at Kosi Bay is one of my favourite places, so imagine my joy when we were to go to Kosi Bay for three nights looking for more birds to tick off of Jason and Adams substantial birdlist!
The viewpoint is spectacular, with beautiful sunsets and even more magnificent sunrises. And we arrive there – after an interpretive walk with Tommy informing us about the different plants and trees and identifying the countless tracks in the sand that we point out to him – to the beginnings of an African sunset.
If you have not yet seen one, it is impossible to describe the colours as the sun rays play on the clouds, even long after the sun has hidden behind the mountains and hills.
We are delighted to announce that we will not be increasing our rates for 2012.
Times are still tough out there, we know – so we’ll do our bit to help!
Catered DB&B still R550 pp! Self catering R350 pp.
For all you city-bound saffers : Why not grab a cheap flight to Durban, hire a car and head to beautiful Kosi Bay for a few days? We know you deserve some relaxation time on the beach.