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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vermont, South Africa

Vermont is a small resort village located near Hermanus, on western coast of South Africa, adjacent to the town of Onrus; where a river of the same name, cascades through a lagoon and empties into the sea.  Its closest metropolis is  Cape Town, (where about two-thirds of it's Western Cape Province resides).  Vermont is in the district of Overberg, and in the municipality of Overstrand.  I believe the village of Vermont's original inhabitants were of Dutch descent.  

Photo source:  blog.dhec.co.za

The area boasts dunes, tidal pools, as well as sandy beaches and a rocky coastline.  Many seeking vacations, or need a break from busy Cape Town, come in groves, to bask in the sunshine on Onrus Beach.  Should you seek such a holiday, luxury accommodations await you, according to many of the real estate advertisements that you can easily find on the Web.

Cape Town, South Africa - source: nationalgeographic
Vermont's backdrop to the north is Onrust Mountain, and presumably named.  as you well know, as being roughly translated from the french words, verde monte meaning "Green Mountain".  

Photo source:  taliagoestoafrica.blogspot.com
Vermont appears to be quite pristine, known mostly as a sea-side resort, however it also is home to the "Vermont Salt Pan Nature Conservancy", which are protected wetlands.  Some of these areas are critically threatened, due to construction and development, during the latter half of the last century.  The salt pan (once scraped, most likely for human consumption) has been the home of a large population of birds. Rare plant life which includes beautiful and endangered orchids, rare flora and some of the smallest plant kingdoms in the world - as well as the largest carnivorous plant in the world!  

Drosera (sundew plant) - Source: wikipedia.com
Roridula, the largest carnivorous plant in the world!
- Source: floristtaxonomy.com
"South Africa has a great diversity of insect eating plants, mainly belonging to the genus Drosera (commonly called sundews). These plants capture their prey using sticky droplets on their leaves. The leaves of some species curl slowly around the prey enveloping them and exuding digestive enzymes...  The giant of the carnivorous plant world is called Roridula (or vlieëbos in Afrikaans). This plant can get up to two meters tall and like drosera, its leaves are bedecked in hairs with sticky droplets. The droplets are resinous and much more sticky than Drosera traps. In fact one species of Roridula (Roridula dentata) is even capable of capturing small birds."  Source:  fernkloof.com/

You will not find elephants, lions or rhinos here, as it is home to smaller animal species such as mongoose, bushbuck, clawless otters, duiker, grysbok and steenbok.

Bushbuck -  Source: wildliferanching.com
Clawless Otter - Source: en.wikipedia
Duiker - Source: awf.org
Grysbok - Source: krugerpark.co.za
Steenbok - Source: sa-venues.com
Other small size animal species make their home in this area. Both greater and lesser flamingos now spend their winters in this region - actually up to 6 months of the year!

Photo source;  tripadvisor.co.uk.
"Other wetland birds often seen around the pan include cormorants, herons, Egyptian geese, red-knobbed coots, African snipes, waterhens, blacksmith plowers, black-winged stilts, black crakes and many more."   Source:  geocaching.com

Flamingos near Vermont - Source: tripadvisor
The green belts now, are "priority conservation areas", and several extenuating circumstances that threatened this rare and beautiful land which included private land ownership, lack of funding specifically for protection and/or conservation, invasive vegetation infestation and illegal pollution from previous developers.  However, in recent years, this area has come under scrutiny and serious efforts are being made for its preservation, its natural tranquility, the *endemic fynbos as well as its bird-life. 

Photo source:  xplorio.com (Hermanus)
Vermont has also been a favorite location for many artists during the last century.  In the surrounding area of Hermanus, there are several art galleries and museums from which to choose.  It appears there is also some great shopping adventures to be had with fashion boutiques, jewelry shops, outlets and malls all in the surrounding region.

Zipline in South Africa - Source: sa-venues.com
But your adventure will not end here, as there are many other activities in which one may indulge.  Along it's coast line, you can watch the whales play in the ocean, or, if you are brave enough, you can submerge yourself in the ocean to white shark cage dive.  

Cage Shark Diving - Source:  gansbaaisharkdiving.co.za

Hiking, bird-watching, horse-back riding para-gliding, and mountain-biking are some of the popular activities for tourists and the local population.   There is also kayaking, a zipline tour, (pictured above), a variety of restaurants, river cruises, whale watches, and spas.

Photo source: percytours.com
Hey! Northern "Vermonters"!  You can go sand-boarding!  


"The wind swept ... dune ... is a prime location to experience down-hill adventure to the max. At 200 [meters] atop the dune one can reach great speeds and enjoy the ultimate adrenaline buzz." - Source: sa-venues.com

Photo source: winealign.wordpress.com


~Hermanus has dry periods in January, February, March, November and December.
~On average, the warmest month is January.
~On average, the coolest month is August.
~June is the wettest month.
~January is the driest month

Source:  weather-and-climate.com

PLACES TO EXPLORE in the Vermont-Hermanus area: 
(links are live)

The Old Fishing Harbor Museum

The Rossouw Modern Art Gallery 

The Walker Bay Art Gallery

Lembu Gallery and Studio

And check out "Hermanus First Fridays Artwalk" on Facebook:

*endemic fynbos (about):  "South Africa’s Western Cape is more botanically diverse than the richest tropical rainforest in South America, including the Amazon."  Of the 9,000 plant species found here, a majority are native fynbos vegetation, which covers the region's magnificent mountains, and lowland valleys and coastal plains.  A large number of fynbos species are very rare and in danger of becoming extinct. Constantly under threat from invading plant species, particularly wattle and acacia trees from Australia, as well as from urban expansion and land conversion for agriculture."

Source:  panda

Photo source: cheapvacationholiday.com
Soon, we'll explore Vermont, Australia!