Stuff to do in the area
Platbos indigenous forest
Platbos has been described as a “forest jewel” by botanist Prof Eugene Moll. The forest lies at the foot of the Baviaanspoort hills, about 5 km north of Strandskloof Park. The world around here is known for its fynbos and canola fields, so this natural forest is therefore an unexpected anomaly. Leave your car in the parking lot (S33.63861 E19.19646) and a donation at the visitor’s hut, pick up a route map, and go for it. There is a network of hiking trails in the forest, and if you have the time, you can spend hours in the shade of ancient white milkwood, wild peach and stinkwood trees.
Meet a shark
Kleinbaai, 12 km south of Strandskloof Park, is home to dozens of great white shark tour operators who will take you to Dyer Island by boat and drop a steel cage in the water so you can go and visit the sharks. There are roughly 50 000 seals on Dyer Island, which is why the waters teem with these apex predators. A shark prefers to catch its prey near the water’s surface, so there’s no need to get into the cage if you’re not up to it. But if you’re known as Brave Brad, you can watch the grisly details of a shark devouring a seal, up close and personal.
This quaint – and somewhat strange – museum is located next to the sea in Franskraal, about 7 km from Strandskloof Park. It is a private museum owned by Jan and SD Fourie. It boasts an extensive collection of remnants of the HMS Birkenhead, which ran aground at nearby Danger Point in 1852. Jan and SD have some fascinating stories to share – from Dalene Matthee’s last days while writing Driftwood, to the tale of the “phantom claw”, which Jan recounts with relish until the kids block their ears and hide behind mom.