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Tag Archives: South Africa
On the drive to Kraalbaai, part of the Langebaan Lagoon, you pass a signpost for Joanne’s Beach Cottage. This is the entrance to the sanctuary that is Churchhaven; a hidden, beautiful little fishing village with white washed fisherman’s and restored holiday cottages.
The Flamingoes at Churchhaven are protected birds. Joanne’s Beach Cottage is a fully equipped self-catering cottage near Churchhaven within walking distance of the lagoon.
The village is just outside Postberg Flower Reserve, a part of the park that is only open between August and September. Only 120km outside of Cape Town on the R27 it provides a beautiful glimpse of the magnificent Namaqualand spring flowers. Daily guided walks depart from Abrahamskraal Waterhole at 10am and 1pm.
The area forms part of the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR) designated by UNESCO in 2000.
Only descendants of the original inhabitants of Churchhaven are allowed to own property here. It does not appear on the official map of the West Coast National Park. This adds to its desolation, mystery and beauty.
More information on the West Coast National Park is available at http://www.sanparks.org.
It was a last minute decision to take part. It would be the 36th Winelands Marathon and the 16th Half Marathon. It would be a difficult and hilly route, undulating through the vineyards and strawberry farms of Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape of South Africa. One international phone call later my plane ticket and place were booked for the race. I am a keen walker but had not done any running in my London lifestyle in the past few years. It sounded like fun.
The race serves as official qualifier for the 2014 Comrades and Two Oceans marathons. The cut off time for the marathon is 5h30 and 3h30 for the half marathon. There would be medals for all finishers.
The route started in rain near my old Alma Mater, Bloemhof Girls’ High and crossed the Eerste river taking us down towards the Strand and Somerset West. So far so good. Then we hit the gravel stretch. The road turned up towards the mountain, with the next 7 km a corrugated, muddy gravel road.
From here it was almost all down hill. I finished in a respectable well under 3 hour time, just ahead of my team mates, which enabled me to grab a West Coast Team photo finish.