Ocean House is situated within the 36 000-ha De Hoop Nature reserve which is recognised as one of Africa’s primary marine conservancies. Calvin du Plessis, General Manager at Morukuru Ocean House talks about the brilliant marine walk experience and how creating a greater understanding of this protected habitat is vital.
“Setting out on a marine walk is an exhilarating adventure for both young and old. The Southern Cape is situated in a transition zone where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans merge. The binding of warm and cold seawater creates an unique habitat where magic is made. For example kelp plants do grow here, but their development is stunted by the warmer water originating in the Indian Ocean. Kelp requires the freezing temperatures and dense nutrition of the Atlantic to reach full potential. Our coastline is also home to various endemic species of Limpets which are not found anywhere else and one of the wonders of this region is the growth of soft coral species. This is so important as hard coral species are now extinct”.
Calvin and his team at Ocean House can coordinate a marine walk for you and your family. We recommend a wide brimmed sunhat, high factor SPF and some rock shoes. Left yours behind? Don’t worry Ocean House is well stocked with all types of holiday equipment like wellington boots, rock shoes and umbrellas.
“We love organising marine walks – there is so much exciting stuff going on. From the fynbos, to the dunes, to the rock-pools to the actual beach and ocean. There is no firm route or plan as we like to take our cues from each guest party. Some groups really want to focus on the fynbos and the over 260 species of birds. Whilst other groups are just desperate to get onto the beach and explore the rockpools. The beach is an ideal environment for children with a myriad of creatures to discover. Most kids are totally fascinated by creatures – the more creepy and crawly the better – and easily absorb all the facts and figures. This is edutainment in its purest form and the outdoors is a perfect classroom for pupils of any age”.
I am sure you have often heard the word Strandloper and always associated it with a type of bird ( which is correct). But actually the origin of the word is found in history as the word refers to a San-derived people who lived by collecting food from coastal rock pools along the beaches of the Southern Cape originally from the Cape Colony to the Skeleton Coast.
“Most of us are used to a land based, urban life – so the opportunity to see and touch many different species of marine life is a different experience for many of our guests. This is exciting in itself but include additional information like how the cape sea urchin covers itself with small pebbles and shells as a survival strategy and you have a captive audience. We can learn so much just by observing and children in particular enjoy all the interesting details. We don’t have a set agenda in terms of what to look out for, as each day is different and presents special opportunities but it is likely that you will spot a variety of species including starfish, octopus,mussels, sea cucumber and sea & sand anemone. Oh and my favourite – hermit crabs”.
Having worked up an appetite from the marine walk guests can enjoy an indulgent beach picnic. Each event is specifically catered to individual needs. So a large family group with lots of small children will have a menu ideally suited to them and a sophisticated honeymoon couple might go for something different. What is always constant is the splendid setting, superior service and the freshest of seasonal produce.