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South Africa: Arniston

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Arniston | South Africa | Africa

[Visited: June 2012]

Driving east from Cape Agulhas, shortcutting on a quite good road through the farmlands, we soon reached Arniston, and drove through the coastal town to find a parking; we wanted to walk the coast to the north to spot the wreck of the Arniston. A bunch of fishermen were sitting near their boats painted in bright yellow, red, blue, and white, and the old lime-washed houses looked particularly pretty. We were not sure our Chinese car would make the bumpy, narrow streets here, and drove around town to enter a little more to the north. Leaving the car at a small park at the seaside, we started off right away, since we were running out of time. Before our eyes, a coastline of sand dunes appeared, with rolling waves approaching the shore.

Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Waves breaking on the sand dune coast north of Arniston

While walking on the rocky shore on which sand had been blown, our eyes were searching the shore ahead of us, but we could not discover the smallest contours of a wreck. I had the coastal hike north of Cape Point in my mind, where wrecks lie right on the beach, and somehow assumed to find something similar here at Arniston. Once called Waenhuiskrans after the caves south of the town large enough to allow wagons to turn around in, it was renamed Arniston after a ship carrying passengers from Ceylon that ran aground here in 1815, killing 372 passengers, the most famous wreck in the neighbourhood. Knowing the wreck is not too far north of the village, we decided to turn around when we could not spot any sign of the wreck; we would find out only in the evening that the wreck is actually under water... It was time to turn around and walk back to Arniston, the village.

Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Traditional house of Arniston in the afternoon sun

We looked back regularly, the stark white of the sand dunes contrasting always more with the waves of the Indian Ocean breaking on the shore. On the way back, we wondered to which animal the impressive footprints belonged that we saw regularly, thinking of a big cat, until we saw dogs with similar prints the next morning.We were just in time to walk around in the fishing village of Arniston now, where the low winter sun was making the whitewashed, thatched cottages look even better than before. These typical, traditional houses have been declared a national heritage, and are well maintained; some have exterior chimneys, adobe walls, and all are still in use: in some, people had started to prepare dinner, reminding us that we, too, were getting hungry. That night, we left the window of our seaside room open, sleeping on the sound of the surf; the next morning there were too many clouds for a nice sunrise. We saw the small monument for those deceased at the Arniston ship disaster, and decided to go to the De Hoop nature reserve instead of waiting for low tide to be able to visit the Waenhuiskrans close to Arniston. As is so often the case, traveling is all about decisions.

Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Looking north at the coastline of Arniston
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Traditional house with exterior chimney at Arniston in the afternoon
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Chimney of a traditional house in Arniston
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): View towards Arniston from the north
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Typical colourful boat in Arniston
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Sand dunes and waves north of Arniston
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): One of the thatched houses typical for the fishing village of Arniston
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Monument for victims of the Arniston disaster of 1815
Picture of Arniston (South Africa): Waves crushing on the shore north of Arniston

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Arniston (South Africa). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Arniston.
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