Another in the series on the unique nature reserves that surround St Francis by Matt Gennrich
Today we would like to focus on the second of the 4 Nature Reserves to be found in Cape St Francis namely the Seal Point Nature Reserve, last week the focus was on the Seal Bay Nature Reserve and next week we will explore the attractions of the Cape St Francis Nature reserve.
Most people who visit the historic 28 meter high lighthouse, which was first lit in July 1878 and has a range of 28 nautical miles, are unaware that it is situated in the middle of the Seal Point Nature reserve which stretches from the Seal Point Parking area to the popular sunset rocks.
There is a beautiful coastal trail which meanders its way through remarkable shell-grit and wind- and salt-exposed vegetation with many rare and unusual plants. The trail includes sensitive wetlands which are very vulnerable to tramping and why we ask people using the trails to stick to the well-defined and maintained paths. It is also for this reason and to safeguard the many walkers, that that the reserve boasts a separate challenging cycle route around the lighthouse which was built and funded by the St Francis cycle club in consultation with FOSTER. Cyclists are urged to use this track and stay off the walking trails as indicate by the well-marked signage.
Visitors to the reserve are sure to be treated to some interesting seabird sightings and extraordinary whale watching opportunities during the season. The Cape Clawless Otter is also endemic to the area and can be seen throughout the year, whilst large pods of dolphins making their way along the coastline are regularly sighted, The reserve has great snorkelling sites and a visit to Johnson’s Pools, when the easterly is blowing, for a quick dip on hot days, makes the somewhat difficult clamber over the rocks all worthwhile.
Whilst Sunset rocks are the favourite spot from which to watch the sunsets, the many rocky outcrops between the lighthouse and Sunset rocks, allow for similar views. These also make ideal spots to watch the huge waves crashing in, especially during or after one of our classic winter storms.
The Seal Point Nature reserve is the most popular reserve in Cape St Francis due to its location. The many varied and interesting attractions are what make this part of the coast so special and worth preserving for all who visit this area and for future generations.
All the reserves are managed by FOSTER (Friends of St Francis Nature Areas) in accordance with an MOU with the Kouga Municipality. Through membership fees and monies raised, FOSTER looks after and maintains the walking paths and trails and removes alien vegetation.
The website http://foster.org.za/gallery/wppaspec/oc1/cv0/ab2 offers those interested in the vegetation, birds and wildlife an extensive list with photographs of the fauna and flora to be found in the reserves. It also provides maps of the walks and membership details.