• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Tuesday, 23 March 2010

An Elands Bay Road trip – stories from the road by Ruan Smit

Send to Kindle
Elands Bay

Elands Bay

On a misty morning in late March I put myself to the road and hope that what it has to offer is what my soul is in need of. Only the road and the spirit of adventure can truly know what I need to experience on a day like this and I’ve long since given up on forcing the outcome of this road

The mist hangs like a cotton cloud over the veld of the robust west coast. The shrubbery only enough to feed the few sheep that have become friends the last few days. A road I cannot the end of stretches underneath the gray cloud as work the tar, my legs burning in the cold morning air and the feeling of being alive pumps through my heart into the rest of my body. A smile appears on my face before I realize it and when I do I try and frame it for use at another occasion …

I’ve heard about Elands Bay. I know there’s a dirt road that asks a fee to use it and that the waves here have given many surfers the experience of a lifetime. I know that fishing is core to this town’s heart and that its people respect the water as a mythical power that gives and takes life. But I wasn’t aware of the presence of Diederik.

Elandsbaai

Elandsbaai

There is a gravel road that leads up to his house and I am greeted by the unsure bark of five dogs as I enter his humble home. His presence fascinates me on first meeting as it speaks of care and gentleness that I had not expected from the unforgiving terrain that I entered a few days ago. He starts talking; his Afrikaans accent reminds of an era that I’ve only read of in books. When I ask about it he tells me that he is from Flemish Belgium … I understand.

Three years ago he left everything as Photo Journalist in his mother country, He picked up the little one could need and came to South Africa in search of a different life. He found it in Elands Bay where he has become an inseparable part of this town’s personality. We take a short drive into town to pick up what is needed for the evening and I realize this man’s influence on this space. He has time for everyone, he stops, smiles, greets and jokes with every child, mother and man that we pass. A five minute drive becomes a ritual of greeting and a theatrical presentation of the community that I have now entered.

In the little shop I cannot help but laugh at the ways of communication here. It is as robust and tactless as the earth and sea that is this area. But the conversation is fun and light after a hard week of work, the weekend has dawned and it shows in the faces of the tired fisherman.

Elands bay

Elands bay

Our short trip into town becomes a road trip when Diederik drives me through the rest of Elands Bay. I find out that he is part of many organizations and drives to help uplift the community. He has opened up a new way of thinking in this town through trust and patience.

He gets excited about his newest venture. A surf school for the locals and tourists. He sees a future where locals can find their happiness by not only expecting the sea to provide food but also an element of fun. Changing the way that we think about the ocean, he believes, will help further the respect of the ocean and what it shares with earth and man.

He shares his passion with those around him, when he talks they light up and share in the idea. They become a part of this future that he dreams of and it has become a communal dream.

I leave this town hoping to re-enter and experience those dreams as realization in this beautiful part of South Africa. I want to experience how a community can be nourished with the ideas of one man and how the landscape can flower when the dreams of many are planted as seeds …

Useful West Coast Links:
Elands Bay Popular Attractions
Cape West Coast Attractions
West Coast Holiday Accommodation
Western Cape Holiday Accommodation

The SA-Venues.com Team

About 

Photographs, posts and articles filed under "The SA-Venues.com Team" are either very old articles (this blog has been going since 2005!), are a combined effort or have been submitted to us by a third party, the name of which is/should be displayed in or below the actual article. Special offers and general event posts are also found here as they are generally a team effort.