Welcome to our new home in South Africa!!
We are now ‘officially’ based in Bettys Bay in the Western Cape, living 40 meters from the ocean, within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the ocean in front of the house designated a Marine Protected Area!
Life is good!
We have a host of wildlife in the ‘garden’ which is an area of protected Fynbos vegetation, part of the smallest Floral Kingdom on earth, between us and the sea. With no fences to define our property wildlife moves freely to and fro. Angulate tortoises wander through, mongooses, striped mice, dassies and rare, endemic grysbok antelope. Even a leopard has been spotted close to the house!
Ten minutes walk away is the largest mainland colony of African penguins, while fur seals sit on the rocks at low tide just offshore. We have even seen Cape clawless otters on the coastal path not 100 meters as the crow flies!
The coastline is stunning, dominated by a series of white sandy beaches, coastal dunes and gorgeous rocks all fringed by a swath of thick kelp forest – a naturalist/marine biologist’s dream!
Just the other day we went out in our neighbor’s boat for a look around directly in front of the house. We saw 2 Bryde’s whales, fur seals, many rafts of 80+ penguins, gannets, shearwaters, skuas and gulls and were surrounded by a large pod of more than 100 common dolphins. Getting into the water in the kelp forest we saw several of the small, bottom-living puff adder sharks, tons of rock lobsters and were swimming with a beautiful 7-gill cow-nosed shark!
There was a storm that came through 3 days ago and, never having found a nautilus shell, decided that it might be a good time to look for one. We found 4!! One broken, but three of these extremely delicate cephalopod shells in perfect condition. Like I said, life is good!
All images ©PeteOxford.