False Bay has one of the Cape Peninsula’s most tranquil and picturesque stretches of coastline. Known for its scenic beauty, it encompasses small seaside villages from Hangklip, near Pringle Bay, to Cape Point.

Popular with surfers, swimmers, bodyboarders and anyone who enjoys peace and quiet and the fresh sea air, towns along the False Bay coastline also offer a multitude of arts and craft shops, fantastic restaurants and bars, cute and quirky coffee shops, and quiet look-out points.

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Whales abound on the False Bay coastline – every year between June and November, southern right whales migrate to the Western Cape waters to calve and nurse their newborns, while humpback whales journey through the region between May and December.

Thousands of local and international visitors flock to False Bay to experience these amazing whale-watching opportunities, where the creatures are often seen metres from the shore.

In addition to sun and sea worshipping, there are numerous activities and attractions in the area for visitors to enjoy.

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Nature reserves, including Cape of Good Hope,Rondevlei and Silvermine, offer the opportunity of walking among the rich biodiversity of the Cape Peninsula, which includes indigenous fynbos.

Other ways to relax along the False Bay coastline, while enjoying the stunning scenery, are playing a round or two of golf at either the Westlake, Clovelly orSimon’s Town golf courses, sampling a few wines along the Cape Point Wine Route, or sharing Boulders Beach with its local inhabitants, the African penguins.

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Some of the most popular small towns along the False Bay coastline include the historical naval village of Simon’s Town, Muizenberg (known for its epic waves),St James (with its colourful huts), Kalk Bay (with great seafood restaurants) and Fish Hoek (with one of the best beaches).

 

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This bronze statue of a SA Navy Standby Diver stands tall at the end of the pier in Simon’s Town harbour looking out over False Bay.

The plaque reads ….. “This statue stands as a symbol to all past, present and future South African Navy divers. We protect and serve confident in the knowledge that there will always be a fellow diver looking out for us. Ours is a ‘brotherhood’ that transcends race, gender and creed. ‘Semper in excreta’ “
These are among the many unsung heroes who take part in many search and rescue operations along our coastline.

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The short-tail stingray or smooth stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata) is a common species of stingray in the family Dasyatidae. It occurs off southern Africa, typically offshore at a depth of 180–480 m (590–1,570 ft), and off southern Australia and New Zealand, from theintertidal zone to a depth of 156 m (512 ft). It is mostly bottom-dwelling in nature and can be found across a range of habitats fromestuaries to reefs, but also frequently swims into open water. The largest stingray in the world, this heavy-bodied species grows upwards of 2.1 m (6.9 ft) across and 350 kg (770 lb) in weight. Its plain-colored, diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc is characterized by a lack ofdermal denticles even in adults, and white pores beside the head on either side. Its tail is usually shorter than the disc and thick at the base. It is armed with large tubercles and a midline row of large thorns in front of the stinging spine which has the dorsal and ventral fin folds behind.[3]

The diet of the short-tail stingray consists of invertebrates and bony fishes, including burrowing and mid water species. It tends to remain within a relatively limited area throughout the year, preferring deeper waters during the winter, and is not known to perform longmigrations. Large aggregations of rays form seasonally at certain locations, such as in the summer at the Poor Knight Islands off New Zealand. Both birthing and mating have been documented within the aggregations at Poor Knights. This species is aplacental viviparous, with the developing embryos sustained by histotroph (“uterine milk”) produced by the mother; the litter size is 6–10. The short-tail stingray is not aggressive but is capable of inflicting a potentially lethal wound with its long, venomous sting. It is caught incidentally by commercialand recreational fisheries throughout its range, usually surviving to be released. Because its population does not appear threatened by human activity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed it under Least Concern.

Take a look at this video:

Short-tail Stingrays – False Bay, South Africa

 https://vimeo.com/120135980

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The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 metres (39–52 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb). The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. An acrobatic animal known for breaching and slapping the water with its tail and pectorals, it is popular with whale watchers off the coasts of Australasia and the Americas. Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, which they repeat for hours at a time. Its purpose is not clear, though it may have a role in mating.

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Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales typically migrate up to 25,000 kilometres (16,000 mi) each year. Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter. During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves. Their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the bubble net feeding technique.

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Like other large whales, the humpback was and is a target for the whaling industry. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a moratorium was introduced in 1966. While stocks have since partially recovered, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and noise pollution continue to impact the 80,000 humpbacks worldwide.

If you are looking for something different to do with family, friends or even on your own, why not take a steam train ride on one of the day trips run by Atlantic Rail?

Our train consists of wooden bodied vintage coaches dating from 1922 to 1938. One of the coaches is a lounge car with a full cash bar service. The steam locomotive we use is a Class 24 steam loco built in 1949.

We run regular day trips around the peninsula. This scenic route winds along the rugged coast of False Bay with the waves crashing on the rocks below, through villages scrambling up the steep slopes and along the beautiful coves and beaches.

The train leaves Cape Town and travels between the famous Newlands rugby and cricket grounds to Muizenburg. Traveling on to False Bay where the view of the ocean is spectacular. The railway line skirts the rocks as it travels through the quaint village of Kalk Bay, then snakes through Fish Hoek and Glencairn, finally coming to an end in Simonstown with a view of the naval dockyard.

Passengers are free to go to the beach, grab a bite to eat or stroll through the town.

The train returns along the same route back to Cape Town.

Follow this link for upcoming trips:

http://www.atlanticrail.co.za/

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