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The Lost Marsh of the Sandveld

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Between K'Taaibos and Lamberts Bay the traveller experiences the beauty of the estuarine channel of the lost marsh of the Sandveld.

In 1681 Governor Simon van der Stel on his expedition to the copper mountains in Namaqualand called the place 'Zeekoejen-valey', referring to the many hippopotami observed in the valley. Later Dutch explorers translated the San name for the river, 'Quaecoma' (a lost or forlorn marsh), and called it 'Verloren Vallei'.

Francis Masson, a collector for Kew Gardens, marvelled at the Cape's embarrassment of natural riches, "We came to Verloren Valley´┐Ż a narrow extent of marshy ground, enclosed by hills on each side, with a small river, frequented by a variety of water fowl, which afforded good sport´┐Ż.we saw hundreds of pelicans and wild geese".

The waterway is 'birders' paradise. One traveller described the place as a "Heathrow for birds: some were stacking on ordered flight paths, others were landing, refuelling or taxiing through reed channels. Islands in the stream were crowded with Egyptian geese, yellow-billed ducks and coots, while reed cormorants and grey herons flew nest-building sorties overhead. A lone fish eagle played air-traffic controller from his perch".

Imagine this wonderful part of the world in spring - carpeted with amazing kaleidoscopic fields of flowers.

Definitely worth a visit!

Lost Marsh

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Article received from Gabriel Athiros, Editor, "The Cape Odyssey"

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