Schaap Eiland Hiking Trail skirts the edge of the village of Yzerfontein. Approximately two kilometres long, it starts from the main beach and runs in a southerly direction towards the harbour. On the trail many indigenous coastal bird species may be encountered. One of the most important is the once endangered Black Oystercatcher with its bright red legs, long pointed red bill and shrill whistle-like screech.
During the whaling season, from July to October, and even later in the year, Southern Right and Humped Back whales come inshore and, near the safety of the harbour, mate and calve, making it possible to watch these graceful giants up closely. A short distance from the start of the Trail one passes a rocky outpost in the sea with the quaint local name of Koeskatgat. Here you will encounter the first colony of dassies (also called hyrax, rock rabbits or coneys).
After passing Koeskatgat, the trail soon passes the whitewashed and thatched “Vishuis”, the oldest building in Yzerfontein, now home to the Yzerfontein Tourism Office. From the “Vishuis” follow the street a short way and turn right towards the harbour. The original harbour wall was built during World War II. Meeurots, our beacon of Yzerfontein, is seen throughout your walk.
The trail continues past a number of fishing coves with descriptive local names: Blaasgat, Hoëbank, Starck’s Bank, Duiwenes, Deurspring, Spuitgat, Gladdebank, Skuimgat, College, Draaibank, Grasbank, and Kreefgat. During the spring flower season from August to the beginning of October, this part of the trail is spectacular and walking through the vygies (succulents), aloes and other small flowers is an unforgettable experience.
The trail ends at Schaap Eiland. It is not a real island but a little peninsula which is cut off from the mainland during high tide. In earlier days Yzerfontein was the holiday spot for the farmers of nearby Darling who brought along cattle and sheep to provide meat for their families. After and during your hike, have a rest on one of the many benches erected for this purpose and enjoy the sea, the peace, the whales and the view of Dassen Island nine kilometres away in the distance. On a clear day you may even see Table Mountain to the south.
We hope you enjoy your hike, the spectacular view, the ocean and most of all the beauty of our special environment in Yzerfontein. A warm thank you to Yzerfontein Conservancy for keeping our Schaap Eiland Trail in constant upgrade, beautiful signage, sea shelled footpath and benches to rest upon. A piece of heaven along our beautiful coastline.