History of Vleesbaai

Vleesbaai is a private beach village situated on the Garden Route, approximately 35 km west of Mossel Bay. The modern history of Vleesbaai can be traced back as far as 1601 when stormy weather forced the Dutch mariner and explorer Paulus van Caerden to seek refuge in the protected bay now known as Vleesbaai.  He was so pleased with the well-fed livestock which he was able to trade from the local inhabitants that he named it “Vleys Baeye”, the Old Dutch word for Vleesbaai, directly translated into English as “Bay of meat”(1). By the late ninteenth century holiday-makers from as far as Calitzdorp began to visit Vleesbaai for their holidays. They camped near the freshwater fountain at the Tarka ravine and came with donkey-carts and ox-wagons, often accompanied by chickens, sheep and even milch-cows to supplement their food supply. These visitors can be considered as the first proverbial “Vleesbaaiers”.

Vleesbaai had its formal beginning as a beach village during the late forties and early fifties of the twentieth century when three owners of land surrounding the bay where the village is today, began to plot and allocate stands for renting to family and friends. One of them was the legendary Gallie Meyer who also donated land for a church-hall. The avenue along the beachfront has been named after him. Legend has it that if he liked you, he would plot your stand with long steps, and if not with short steps.

At the end of the sixties the three groups of tenants began to negotiate with the landowners to buy the properties. During the course of time three share block companies, that still exist today, came into being, namely Keerom in 1969, VAB (Vleesbaai Aandeleblok) in 1970 and Visbaai in 1971. The stands were mostly small and not formally plotted. Most of the dwellings were originally asbestos structures, but today many of them have been beautifully restored and upgraded. The remaining smaller homes and narrow streets still give Vleesbaai its quaint and old-fashioned character.

Further development with proper planning and under management of homeowner associations followed later – Hoekbaai in 1990, Driehoek in 1996, Karmosyn in 2005 and  Kloofsig in 2013. All stands in these developments are freehold and are generally bigger, allowing the building of more modern houses. Today Vleesbaai has 550 stands of which approximately 350 have houses built on them. Most of these houses are vacation homes, although there are about 180 permanent residents, mostly retirees.

Vleesbaai has several unique qualities. The village is intimately situated in an amphitheater format in the south-westerly corner of the bay with the result that almost all stands have a beautiful view of the sea and mountain ranges to the north. From your own home you will be able to see whales in the bay during the winter months, schools of dolphins surfing waves, fishing boats seeking refuge against storms, and surfers surfing the awesome waves that Vleesbaai is known for under ideal circumstances. Vleesbaai has no streetlights to spoil the shimmer of moonlight on the ocean or the lights of fishing boats sheltering in the bay. Winter mornings display the most beautiful orange-red sunrises over the sea and mountains in the distance.

The scenery of Vleesbaai and surrounds is special. Apart from the bay with the Outeniqua mountains in the background, there are many other scenic elements that make our environment so unique. A rock trail along the sea ends in a beautiful tidal pool, a ravine with walkways next to lush indigenous gardens which lead to a “waterfall”, and the nearby Fransmanshoek peninsula with enormous waves breaking on breathtaking rock formations during rough seas.

And then there is the wildlife that you will find in and around the village – species like the Cape grysbok, guinea fowl, pheasant, hare, turtle, Cape eagle-owl, oystercatcher and seagull to name a few. Add to this the intertidal zone rich with black mussel, oyster, periwinkle, starfish, octopus and sea urchin. It is a wonderland waiting to be discovered.

Vleesbaai residents not only take pride in their unique village, but are also known for their hospitality to welcome visitors and holiday-makers. A festive atmosphere prevails during holidays when families and friends renew old ties while enjoying late-evening barbeques. Vleesbaai is known for a great variety of activities in its vicinity that make holidays here so exciting. It includes swimming in the sea, canoeing, surfing, hiking and biking trails, fishing, visits to the Fransmanshoek peninsula, the famous Vleesbaai Dune 4x4 route, and much more.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vleesbaai – 2018-06-12

Geskiedenis van Vleesbaai

Vleesbaai is ‘n private stranddorpie langs die Tuinroete, ongeveer 35 km wes van Mosselbaai. Die moderne geskiedenis van Vleesbaai strek sover terug as 1601 toe die Nederlandse seevaarder, Paulus van Caerden, die baai wat vandag as Vleesbaai bekend staan, binne gevaar het om teen stormwinde te skuil. Hy was so beïndruk met die vleis wat hy met ruilhandel van die inheemse bevolking bekom het dat hy die baai “Vleys Baeye”, die ou Hollandse naam vir Vleesbaai, genoem het.(1) Teen die laat negentiende eeu het vakansiegangers van so ver as Calitzdorp begin om hier in Vleesbaai uit te span. Hulle het met donkiekarre en ossewaens, dikwels met hoenders, skape en selfs melkkoeie om die kosvoorrade aan te vul, gekom en langs die varswaterfonteintjie in Tarka kloof in tente gekamp. Hierdie besoekers kan as die eerste “spreekwoordelike” Vleesbaaiers beskou word.

Vleesbaai het sy formele begin as ‘n vakansiedorp in die twintigste eeu gehad toe drie destydse grondeienaars rondom die baai waar die stranddorp vandag geleë is, gedurende die laat veertiger en vroeë vyftigerjare begin het om huurerwe vir familie en vriende uit te sit. Een van hulle was die legendariese Gallie Meyer wat ook grond vir ‘n kerksaal geskenk het. Die laan langs die strandfront is na hom vernoem. Die legende loop dat as hy van jou gehou het, het hy jou huurerf met lang treë afgetree en indien nie met kort treë.

Teen die einde van die sestiger jare het die onderskeie groepe huurders met die eienaars begin onderhandel om die eiendomme te koop. Mettertyd het hieruit drie aandele-blokmaatskappye ontstaan wat vandag nog bestaan – Keerom in 1969, VAB (Vleesbaai Aandeleblok) in 1970 en Visbaai in 1971. Die erwe was merendeels klein en nie formeel gekarteer nie. Die meeste wonings was oorspronklik asbesstrukture, maar vandag is heelwat van hulle pragtig gerestoreer en opgegradeer. Die oorblywende kleiner huise en smaller strate verleen steeds ‘n sonderlinge outydse karakter aan Vleesbaai.

Verdere ontwikkeling, met behoorlike beplanning en onder die bestuur van huiseienaarsverenigings, het later tot stand gekom – Hoekbaai in 1990, Driehoek in 1996, Karmosyn in 2005 en Kloofsig in 2013. Al die erwe in hierdie ontwikkelings het eiendomsreg en is oor die algemeen groter waarop meer moderne wonings gebou word. In totaal bestaan Vleesbaai vandag uit 550 erwe waarvan sowat 350 tans bebou is. Die meeste huise is vakansiehuise, alhoewel daar wel sowat 180 permanente inwoners is, hoofsaaklik afgetredenes.

Verskeie eienskappe maak Vleesbaai uniek. Die dorpie is intiem in ‘n amfiteaterformaat in die suid-westelike hoek van die baai geleë en gevolglik het feitlik alle erwe ‘n pragtige uitsig oor die see en die bergreekse na die noorde. So kan jy uit jou huis sien hoe die walvisse in die wintermaande in die baai rondswem, hoe skole dolfyne die branders ry, hoe vissersbote dikwels in die baai teen stormwinde kom skuil of hoe branderplankryers die reuse branders waarvoor Vleesbaai in sekere weersomstandighede bekend is, ry. Vleesbaai het geen straatligte wat die maanlig op die see of die nagligte van vissersbote in die baai kan verdof nie. Soggens weer, kan die mooiste oranje-rooi sonopkomste oor die see en berge in die wintermaande gesien word.

Die natuurskoon van Vleesbaai en omgewing is iets besonders. Natuurlik is daar die baai met die Outeniqua berge in die agtergrond, maar daar is talle ander natuurelemente wat ons omgewing uniek maak. ‘n Rotsvoetpad al langs die see eindig in ‘n pragtige getypoel, ‘n kloof met plankpaadjies langs lowergroen inheemse tuine lei na ‘n “waterval” en die Fransmanshoek skiereiland wys hoe reuse branders teen asemrowende rotsformasies breek tydens rowwe see.

Dan is daar ook ons wildlewe wat in en om die dorp te siene is, byvoorbeeld grysbokkies, hase, skilpaaie, Kaapse ooruile, tarentale, tobies en seemeeue om maar enkeles te noem. Voeg hierby die rotslewe wat ryk is aan swart mossels, oesters, arikreukels, seesterre, seepampoentjies, rotsvissies en selfs seekatte. Dit is ‘n wonderwêreld wat wag om ontdek te word.

Vleesbaai inwoners is nie net trots op hul unieke dorpie nie, maar is ook bekend vir hulle gasvryheid om besoekers en vakansiegangers te verwelkom. ‘n Feestelike atmosfeer heers hier tydens vakansies wanneer families en vriende hegte bande hernu en om braaivleisvure saamkuier. En dan is Vleesbaai ook bekend vir al die aktiwiteite in die omgewing wat vakansies hier so opwindend maak. Dit sluit in die see vir swem, branderplankry en kanoroei, talle stap- en fietsryroetes, hengel op verskeie plekke, besoeke aan die Fransmanshoek Skiereiland en Bewarea, die bekende Vleesbaai Duine 4x4-roete en vele meer.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vleesbaai – 2018-06-12