Striated Skies No. 28 – Steenbras Steal #1

Striated Skies

The Steenbras Dam, which is situated above Gordon’s Bay in the Hotentots-Holland mountains, is the subject of this weeks piece. Named after the Steenbras Fish, a critically engangered fish, the dam is not accessible to the public. So how did I get these pictures then?

This is an awesome story of if you are inquisitive and want something then it will happen. My Wife and I drove up to the water treatment plant that overlooks False bay in order to take some picture and hopefully get to see the dam (we had no idea that it is closed to the public). The drive up to the water treatment facility is amazing with a hairpin bend that is pretty much a complete circle. The Map below shows the route up the mountain and there is a Google street view if you want to take a virtual tour.

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We got to the top and walked around the treatment facility. I went up to the security guard and asked if we could go in to see the dam. Nothing ventured nothing gained, I thought. The guard told me that unfortunately it was closed to the public and we went on our way. As we were walking away a car came towards the gate to leave the facility. We were about to get into our car, and a man (who was in the car that left the facility) approached me saying he was the manager and given that we had driven so far (Our car still has Eastern Cape Plates) we could go in and have a look at the dam. We thanked him and drove into the reserve. The scenery is beautiful and it is really a shame that people cannot gain access on a permit.

When we got over the mountain and could see the dam it was rather shocking at how empty the dam is. With some Googling I found out it is currently at about 50% full. See the weekly report of dam levels, here. My wife, Lauren took the following pictures whilst we were at the dam.

IMG_3848  IMG_3845IMG_3843

IMG_3847 IMG_3846IMG_3841

IMG_3840  IMG_3842 IMG_3844

I also found a 2010 report on the Steenbras Nature Reserve, here.  There is an excerpt below.

An unused overnight facility consisting of a number of chalets and accompanying infrastructure exists near the Steenbras dam. The facility has been closed to the public for a number of years. There has been pressure placed on the City of Cape Town to re-open the facility and allow public access to this area. A variety of potential visitor use options do exist, however the impacts of these on the management of the water bodies as well as impact to the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of the area will need to be considered. Much of the infrastructure requires upgrading. The maintenance and management of such a facility and associated infrastructure as well as the management of visitors and activities to the area, would have to be well considered prior to any implementation thereof.

I will be giving some more information about Steenbras Dam when I post further Striated Skies of Steenbras in the future. I would recommend a drive up to the Water treatment facility from Gordan’s Bay.

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