Year in the Wild Blog

Posts with tag Agulhas

YITW 2013-14 – Agulhas NP – The grunt of hippos at the bottom of Africa

I've spent a few days recently at Agulhas National Park, and while I was in the area, I spent some time with the local farmers. There's a fascinating and optimistic story unfolding down here at the southern end of the African continent.

Dirk Human's family has been farming in the area for several generations. As Dirk explained, no one is sure of the exact date, but it was around 1850 that his great-grandfather Pieter Albertyn shot the last hippo of the southern Cape.

In 2009 Dirk released
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Sjoe! Maar die wind waai daar by Agulhas!

- by Thandi Davies.

We feel pretty windswept at the moment, and a bit perplexed as to how there can be so much air to blow!

This week I have found a new favourite author - Dalene Matthee. I have just read her last book, Driftwood, translated from Afrikaans, which was very evocative of the land and sea scapes of the Strandveld. It was exciting for me to read a book about the very place I was staying, especially in South Africa.
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There were wild animals here

There were once rhinos at the southern-most tip of Africa. And elephants. And hippos. And buffalos. And lions. In fact, the area around Cape Agulhas – known as the strandveld (literally ‘sandy land’ in Afrikaans, due to its sandy soils) – was rich in wildlife. So much so that it was apparently known to early hunters as the Serengeti of the south.

For our last two days in Agulhas National Park, we moved inland from the Main Rest Camp on the coast to Renosterkop – a collection of three quaint
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Southern Right Whales! Making a comeback…

Yesterday I bumped into Meredith Thornton, the manager of Cetacean Research at the Mammal Research Institute at Pretoria University. Basically, she's one of South Africa's experts on whales, and she's currently in the Agulhas area flying low over the ocean, taking photos of all the whales which come into the sheltered bays along the southern Cape coast.

Southern right whales arrive from the southern oceans to give birth to their young, and their numbers peak in September and October. They
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Timeless beauty, ancient life at Agulhas

So here we are, at the Southern tip of Africa. What a wonderful place to be!  Check out the satellite photo on Google Maps.

The name Agulhas means “needles” in Portuguese, and refers perhaps either to the sharp rocky reefs that have ensnared more than 120 ships along this stretch of shoreline, or
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Lekker article on Year in the Wild

Thanks very much to Nadia Krige from for writing this lekker article on Year in the Wild...

Today Thandi and I are going to walk along part of the coastline of Agulhas National an ancient shell midden, where strandlopers used to congregate to eat the shellfish they had collected in the intertidal zone. There is
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