Garden Route Game and Nature ReservesThe Fransmanshoek conservancy
The Fransmanshoek conservancy stretches along the coastline incorporating the seaside villages of Boggomsbaai, Vleesbaai, Kanon, Cape Vacca private nature reserve, and the Fransmanshoek peninsula.
Fransmanshoek (French man's corner, named after the French ship 'La Fortune' stranded on the rocks below in 1763) is a peninsula that juts out into the sea in the latter third of the bay protected by the conservancy. You reach it along a rather long sandy road. Fransmanshoek features strongly on the fourth day of the Oyster Catcher trail, the unusual keen-edged, orange rock formations a memorable part of the hike.
The rocks are popular amongst local fishermen (although you have to have a licence to fish here), who head out to a rock shaped something like a chair right on the edge of Fransmanshoek from where they cast their lines. This is a beautiful, unspoilt part of the coast. To get there you pass through a private nature reserve where there is little development before arriving at the unusual orange rocks; the blue of the sea a distinct contrast.
Over the festive season the road to Fransmanshoek peninsula can get busy with visitors and the conservancy hires a gate guard to regulate traffic. Parking is limited and there is a very real threat to the vegetation if cars are allowed to park anywhere.
Registered with Cape Nature in 1994, the private conservancy began a Conservation student programme employing student rangers who use the time as a means to fulfil the practical element of their course. This resourceful use of young conservationists full of enthusiasm for the environment has been a win-win situation for both the students and the conservancy, which has evolved slowly but surely under their guidance. They clear alien vegetation, monitor oystercatchers, build fire protection, report illegal beach activity, and have set up a digital herbarium at the Fransmanhoek information centre (amongst other tasks).
The conservancy hires a full-time ranger, usually selected from amongst the student rangers.
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