Cintsa Beach Walk

Wild Coast Cintsa beach and rocks

Wild Coast Cintsa beach and rocks

It was another lazy Saturday afternoon in Cintsa. Tina was indulging in a siesta so I decided to take the dogs for a leisurely beach walk. One of the most appealing things about Cintsa is the pristine sandy beach that follows the curve of the bay for miles. Tina and I had noticed an astonishing amount of litter that had been exposed and washed up to the high water mark by the spring high tide the week before. Now there was no sign of the mess as the locals take beach cleanliness and tourism very seriously. I had taken a brisk bike ride along the beach at low tide the day before and still hadn’t reached the end when I turned around at the 9 kay mark. In fact, you can walk long stretches of the Wild Coast beaches on the many multi-day destination-hopping hikes. I had met a German couple the week before who were walking the 60 kilometer, four day Strandloper Trail from Kei Mouth further north to Gonubie Beach in the South. Most of these hikes are slack packing affairs with your baggage being transported between overnight stops in the many accommodation establishments that dot the rugged coastline. It’s sometimes quicker to walk between these resorts than to schlep all the way back to the N2, drive to the next turning and then do the potholed schlep back to the coast.

Beach ride with Cintsa Horses

Beach ride with Cintsa Horses

As I descended the wooden staircase that leads from the Rendezvous campsite to the beach, the Cintsa Horses rounding the rocky corner on their way for a beach ride along East beach. Most of the riders were in their twenties, probably from Buccaneers Backpackers in the river valley next door. I could spot Penny, the guide and owner of Cintsa Horses, by her deep tan and casual bare back riding style, bringing up the rear. Penny Dickerson and her sisters started Cintsa Horses in 1998 as a rescue program for abused and neglected animals that had been removed from communities by the SPCA and placed in their care. With the help of Newhampshire Farm, who provided un-used land to keep these beautiful creatures while they recovered, she was able to start her Newhampshire Equine Rehab Center. Offering beach rides to the many tourists that visit the area was a means for the rehabilitated horses to give back to the new arrivals in a “horses working for horses” program. So if you’re ever in Cintsa, take a ride on the wild side.

Quince chasing crabs on the Cintsa beach

Quince chasing crabs on the Cintsa beach

I waited until the horses were well along the beach as Quince has a nasty habit of wanting to chase everything that moves. He’d look a bit odd with a hoof mark in the face. It was the weekend so the beach was busier than I’d seen it in the weeks that we had been in Cintsa. It’s easy to lose track of days here. With the tide fully out, the sand was firm under foot along the waters edge. Crabs scurried along the surf line in search of morsels of food, making a dash for the cover of their recently excavated hole on our approach. Quince was dead keen on getting hold of one of these odd looking creatures. He is such a boy. He really has no idea that those little pincers can bring a tear to the eye, even for a bully. Gypsey on the other hand, was only interested in one thing as usual. Food. I set a god pace to give the dogs a bit of exercise as we headed towards our usual turning point just past the Crawford Hotel stairs.

Out in the bay, the local surfers were making the most of the decent six foot reef break to the South of main beach. While closer to shore, several wanna bees were taking lessons with the Buccaneers Backpackers surf school, riding the foamies to shore on identical surfboards while practicing the snap and jerk action they had learned on the beach to get them standing. It sure looks easier that it is.

As we approached the Crawford steps, I noticed what looked like a newlywed couple with photographer and entourage in tow doing what newlyweds do. Pose for photographs. The groom was wearing a simple cream coloured cotton suit with the pants rolled up above his bare feet. The bride was clutching a small bouquet of white roses and was adorned in a simple Champaign coloured silk dress that was off the shoulders. The photographer called me over and asked if they could borrow the dogs for a few shots. As I handed the leads to the young couple, the groom said in a broad English accent “theye’re gong to be famous”. As the couple lead Gypsey and Quince along the beach, I had to walk along out of shot as the dogs kept looking back at me anxiously wondering if I’d sold them into slavery. With it’s close proximity to an awesome beach and world class facilities, Crawford is renowned as one of the top beach wedding venues in the country and hosts many happy events. We were soon on our way after the dog’s bit of fame was over. I could see Penny and the horse riders cantering along the waters edge in the distance. It was time to turn around and head back. As we passed the newlyweds, they were passing a rugby ball back and forth while the photographer clicked away. Maybe he was a famous English rugby player? Delalio? Jonny what’s his name? I would just have to scour the Internet for some mention of their nuptials.

e-snails on Cintsa beach

e-snails on Cintsa beach

The spring tide had now receded as far as I had seen it do since our arrival in Cintsa, exposing an expanse of untouched sand studded with small shells, stones and bits of mother-of-pearl. Snails were weaving a seemingly random criss-cross of trails across the wet sand before burying themselves. They seemed random until I spotted one that looked like a perfectly formed e. Maybe they were trying to send us a message in this laconic fashion? All that is needed is the patience to follow them around for a few months to get it. The waves were breaking onto the beach sending sheets of gossamer thin water slipping up the beach, the leading edge all Champaign bubbly, leaving a foamy Chantilly lace pattern on the sand as the water slid back to sea. Sand Plovers raced across the beach, their little legs moving so fast their reflections are barely able to keep up as they searched each wave for newly deposited bounty from the deep. They were joined by a small flock of Common Banded Plovers who dropped in to share in the feast. A squadron of low flying, squawking Black Oystercatchers made their way noisily along the bay at wave top height, easily dipping and rising with the swells as they searched for easy pickings in the exposed tidal zone

Yorky on the Cintsa beach

Yorky on the Cintsa beach

At the end of main beach, one of the surfers was heading for the water, leaving his Miniature Yorkshire Terrier to keep watch over his belongings. This little chap was running into the surf after his master, barking like mad then charging back up the beach to sit on the towel left behind. As we approached, the Yorky came charging up to us, barking a severe warning at Gypsey and Quince to keep away from his masters belongings, not for a second believing that he was hardly bigger that the bully’s paws. I held onto the leads and fought to restrain the dogs as they tried to get at the little yapper. We made it past safely and I decided to take a perch on a driftwood log and watch the surfers. The six foot left handed break was offering a bit of a tube that some of the surfers managed to catch. All the while, the little Yorky was running into the water barking at his master. He would bark an appeal for of some sort to anyone who happened to be passing. Maybe he was worried about the safety of his surfer dad. Now, if you’ve ever thought of a Yorky as just a lap dog or fashion accessory, think again. This little terror had as much heart, tenacity and loyalty as our Bullies and maybe a bit more.

Shells on the Cintsa beach

Shells on the Cintsa beach

The sun was way past its zenith and I was ready for sundowners. As I headed past the many tidal pools that had been exposed, the rocky spines disappearing beneath the water appeared to resemble the backbone of some long forgotten monster that roamed the earth during the Dinosaur period. The majority of the rock along the Cintsa Bay coastline was made up of Table Mountain Sandstone. They have been etched and eroded by the wave action over eons, taking on fantastical, mystical shapes of Dragons and other lore creatures. I picked my way across several beds of partly crushed shells and washed up seaweed as I made my way back to the wooden steps. I paused at the top of the stairs to take a last look along the Cintsa Bay coastline and marveled at the inter-connected fault lines that were now apparent from a high vantage point. It is a image that is now indelibly imprinted in my minds eye and will be one of the many reasons to visit this remarkable piece of coast again.

Cintsa rock formations

Cintsa rock formations

2 Responses to Cintsa Beach Walk

  1. Jeepers Botton, don’t you people do any work dammit!!

    Trip sounds amazing…very envious

    Tosh

    Tosh April 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm Reply
    • The Bottons are doing work, they are planning each day of their trip and are having fun with it….we should all be doing the same thing>>>>

      Gisela Vetter May 15, 2013 at 10:04 am Reply

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Cintsa Beach Walk

It was another lazy Saturday afternoon in Cintsa. Tina was indulging in a siesta so I decided to take the dogs for a leisurely beach walk. One of the most appealing things about Cintsa is the pristine sandy beach that follows the curve of the bay for miles. Tina and I had noticed an astonishing […]

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