Two Oceans Of South Africa
South Africa is one of a handful of countries with beaches thrashed by the waves of two oceans. The warm Agulhas current of the Indian Ocean flows along the East Coast, bringing with it the heat of the equator, while the cold Benguela current loads the waters west of our country with rich nutrients which are the building blocks of a rich ecosystem. This is why our coastline has an astounding diversity in sea life, but it also creates a literal mosaic of onshore natural features. Here are some of the ordinary and extraordinary moments you can experience along the coastline of South Africa.
1 The First 3km Of The Otter – Indian Ocean
The Otter is arguable the most well-known hiking trail in South Africa, stretching over 43km between Storms River and Nature’s Valley. For a few kilometres at the beginning and the end, it’s accessible to everyone. The special reward for those who brave the first part of the trail is the picturesque waterfall plunging from a high cliff to an oceanside pool. This might just be a foretaste of the Otter Trail itself, but for those who can’t do the full hike, it’s more than worth the effort to get there.
2 F Is For “Funny” – Atlantic Ocean
Penguins are peculiar animals. They walk funny. Their bodies seem not suited to swimming, yet they are both agile and graceful in the water. They even sound funny. And if you wait patiently enough (first for the tourists to give you a turn, and then for the animals themselves), you might just be able to turn their photos into letters. Seeing them in their natural habitat at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town has enforced my affection for this corner of Cape Town, as i'm sure you’ll find when you visit these extraordinary creatures.
3 Cape To Simon’s Town By Train – Atlantic Ocean
Travelling on the train between Cape Town and Simon’s Town is a childhood memory which has stuck with me, and one misty day we had the opportunity to retrace those steps. For an hour or so, we relaxed while urban cityscapes turned into Oceanside villages outside our window. It’s easy on the budget, easy on the mind and especially easy on the soul. Another favourite moment in Cape Town.
4 Knysna Elephant Park – Indian Ocean
Yes, in South Africa there used to be elephants that lived in a dense forest right next to the ocean. Dalene Matthee brought that era to life in her books so that countless people could marvel at the magnificence and terror of these jungle giants. These days, an elephant sanctuary continues to give us all access to the largest of the Big Five, all the while caring for elephants in a dignified manner.
5 Two Oceans Aquarium – Atlantic & Indian Ocean
Aquariums are the libraries of the oceans, and the Two Oceans Aquarium is a 2-for-1 deal, as it explores the life found in the two oceans surrounding South Africa. Everyone has their favourite spot or their favourite species, and so do we. We love visiting the aquarium, because it brings strange and mysterious creatures close enough for us not only to see them, but also to learn about their place in Creation and the role of humans as stewards of the oceans and all it contains.
Of course this list only begins to describe the two oceans that enfolds our country and all that there is to see and experience along our coastline. There are many more treasures to find and we know that South Africa’s two oceans are just the place to find them.
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