The Noordhoek Valley
The view across the bay towards Kommetjie from the Noordhoek Valley
Ten thousand years ago when the Cape Peninsula was two islands surrounded by water a valley was formed across the peninsula linking False Bay to the Atlantic ocean.
With the freezing of the north and south poles the waters around the Peninsula eventually receded leaving in its wake the Noordhoek valley.
The valley stretching from east to west across the Peninsula must have looked like one major big beach and when the south east winds howled through it the drift sand was blown against
the mountains to the north and formed large sand dunes which are still there today.
Its on these dunes and the mountainous areas surrounding them that evidence of prehistoric man was found.
Peers Cave in Fish Hoek is one such site.
As the valley dried out and the water receded two beautiful white beaches were formed.
The one called Long Beach on the western side of the valley has a pristine white sand beach which is about 10 kilometres long and holds back the turquoise waters of the Atlantic ocean while on the Fish Hoek side is the Fish Hoek beach which holds back the waters of the Indian Ocean and False bay.
The valley from west to east is about 15 kilometres long.
The eastern side of the valley has over the years been populated and the town of Fish Hoek was established.
Its a lovely sleepy hollow town and is home to many older people who love its beaches and quiet streets.
The western side of the valley is bounded by Noordhoek in the north and Kommetjie in the south and in between the old Slangkop farm which was given to Christina Dieman by Baron von Imhoff, a dutch official who was sent to the Cape by the Dutch government to establish a harbour at Simonstown.
The farm's named was changed to Imhoff's Gift in honour of von Imhoff.
As most of the land along the west of the Noordhoek valley was part of the farm it could not be populated and hence we have the valley with the east side densely populated and the western part only now starting to become populated as the owners have sold off portions of the farm.
The western part of the valley is a wetland and has a number of lakes along it.
Some of them are being developed as marinas while others remain havens to wild birds that live and breed on their banks.
Certain areas of the valley have been inundated by squatters and you now have a large squatter camp right on the doorstep of a modern marina area.
Noordhoek in the north is a beautiful farming area and has many oak trees growing within it is boundaries.
The grassy fields between the oak trees are use by farmers to graze their horses and cows.
A field in the Noordhoek valley with horses
On the slopes of Chapman's Peak is a time share complex which has some stunning views out over the Kommetjie Bay.
The complex is built in a forest of milkwood trees which over the years have become so rare that they are protected.
Special permission has to be obtained from the authorities to trim branches off them if they happen to be on a plot where you are wanting to build.
From the time share complex there are some stunning views through the branches of the milkwoods over the bay in which there were a number of whales frolicking on the day that I visited the area.
The Noordhoek valley has a large variety of plant types growing in it.
The mountainous regions including Chapman's Peak are covered in fynbos and in Spring are covered with flowering plants such as proteas, and ericas of which there are hundreds of varieties.
In the wetland areas there are grasses and reeds growing and in between a number of alien bushes such as Rooikrantz and Port Jackson which were introduced to the Cape to stop the blowing sands.
Unfortunately with the encroachment of housing into the western part of the valley most of the wetland areas are being threatened.
In time some bright spark will get the idea into his head to drain the lakes and build more houses and then the beauty of this valley will be lost for all time.
We hope and trust that this will never happen.
In the meantime however make it one of your priorities to visit the valley next time you come to Cape Town.
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