Doringbaai Q&A

How long have you lived in Doringbaai?

  • I lived here for the most part of the last 43 years.  I moved away twice but within a few years returned again.

 

 

Why do you live there?

  • Thanks to the vision of my grandparents and parents I manage the Accommodation establishment owned by my parents.  We also have a fully licensed restaurant and pub on the same premises.
  • My grandfather bought the land and buildt a café and house in 1957.  Almost two decades later my father continued with the business and as times changed and crayfish quotas declined my mom opened the first restaurant in Doringbaai in what used to be the café previously.  During those years my mom ran the restaurant and made good name for her business.  She was named in a German tourist book and still today we get German visitors looking for Elize and the legendary skaap nek or whole grilled fish.
  • Still later after my sisters and I left the house to work or study she expanded the business by adding a guesthouse and self catering units followed as demand increased.  Our establishment faces the sea and the sunsets are most beautiful.
  • The Bay we are overlooking is called Thys se Baai, named after my grandfather.
  • I was fortunate to have a very close relationship with my parents and was always involved in their hospitality business in one way or the other.  This is where they spent their lives and lived their dreams and it is an honour to continue in their footsteps as the third generation. Generations 4 and 5 are now split up between South Africa and New Zealand.
    • Our guesthouse and self catering units sleep 30 guests.
    • We serve have lovely seafood and traditional winter warmers such as offal and oxtail in our 40 seater restaurant with its marine style decor
    • We serve cold beers and local wines on warm days in the pub where you can play a game of pool or darts and spend time with friends and loved ones.
    • There is a cozy fireplace in the pub for the colder days.
    • We are open daily from 8 till the last customer goes home.  Call us for birthday parties, special occasions, yearend functions, weddings or Christmas lunches.
    • We have uninterrupted views of the ocean from the Restaurant, Pub and Guessthouse.
    • Doringbaai have the most beautiful soundtrack of waves crashing against the rocky coastline and you can hear this from anywhere on our premises, especially when you sit outside your unit with a glass of wine, looking at the setting sun.
    • We, the hosts, will do our utmost to make you feel at home and exceed your expectations.  We want you to experience what we experience on  daily basis.
    • And lastly – if you feel lonely, don’t drive past, pop in and say hello.  You will go away wishing you could stay forever.

 

 

Give us a brief history of the town Doringbaai

  • Doringbaai originated as a small regional goods harbor (landingsplek) and fishing town.
  • The Oceana factory was built in 1925 and opened its doors in 1928.  Their main focus was the selling and exporting of crayfish and they started the operations by the canning of cooked crayfish.
  • During the 1970’s there was a canning facility added and fish was canned as well as tomato puree, pickled onions and beetroot.
  • Oceana closed down its operations in 2006 and offered “severage packages” to some of its workers.  According to Mrs Aletta Bantam they received a bath towel and R5000 for years of hard labour.  For some these bath towel was a priced possession and others were not so happy about the “severage package”.
  • The workers first worked with cooked crayfish and later raw crayfish was processed as well.  As you can imagine it was hard work with many scars on their hands at the end of a day in wet and cold conditions, but from tales told the women working in the factory, they joked and sang happily while working.
  • They had their unfortunate fair share of disasters of which the biggest was when Girl Devon sank during 1970 with many lives lost.
  • A diamond sorting facility was later operated in part of the then empty building.
  • While the fishing sector has been on a steady decline for more than two decades, Doringbaai’s identity and sense of place has remained that of a West Coast fishing village.
  • The harbor and crayfish –processing plant are the dominant focal points in the settlement.
  • The community is relatively close-knit and lively people presence on the streets are evident throughout the year.
  • Tourism flows used to be seasonal (mainly the wildflower season and some recreational crayfishing but times changed and the private sector and community came together with projects which successfully get a steady stream of visitors to Doringbaai.

 

 

What makes the community so special?

  • Despite the fact that progress in Doringbaai was hampered by the lack of construction of tar roads – which held back the community – that the community could still drive so many successful projects is proof of a community with character.

 

 

What can visitors expect to do in Doringbaai?

  • Doringbaai is the last piece of undeveloped coastline of the West Coast.  It is as it was 100 years ago with no large developments but the local’s minimal footprint.
  • The very fact that there is no mall and no big industries makes Doringbaai the ideal place to rest and break away from your routine.
  • Your holiday starts the moment you get into your car.  A high clearance vehicle will take you to Klawer or Clanwilliam where you take the scenic Coastal road to Doringbaai if you are willing to get your wheels dirty and if a few rattles unnerve you there is an alternative route via Vredendal, Lutzville and Strandfontein to Doringbaai.
  • We have the most amazing sunsets, beaches, cliffs and caves, hiking trails and a mountain bike route.
  • One of the 4 most important river estuaries in South Africa is only 15 km from here, called the Olifants river mouth, breeding place of unique types of fish and birds and plants unique to this coast.
  • It is a photographers heaven

 

 

Why should South Africans visit in Doringbaai?

  • The West Coast of South Africa is beautiful.  It should be seen and experienced not only by South Africans but international tourists as well.
  • The character of Doringbaai is retained.
  • There is so much of nature to explore by foot, on a bicycle, bike or vehicle, from the air, under water or in the water.
  • Diamond boats are actively being operated in the area and its history to be heard.
  • There are Snoek runs and boats to be watched as they bring in the catch of the day.
  • The harbor is very picturesque and are now housing
    • Fryers Cove Wine Cellar
    • The Jetty restaurant
    • The abalone farm
    • The Klippies factory
    • Fryers Cove’s Perlemoen Festival and Madeliefie Makietie is held in the area and is very much worth visiting.
    • Obviously this is too much to be absorbed in a day and that is where we come in to provide accommodation and fill your tummy with the good stuff while after a day of being wowed.
    • There is currently about 4 accommodation establishments in Doringbaai
      • Die Anker Guesthouse and Cabin Restaurant
      • Thornbay Accommodation
      • Misty View
      • Shaun
    • Restaurants:
      • The Cabin Restaurant
      • Jetty Restaurant
      • Seespens
      • Die Kommetjie restaurant in neighboring Strandfontein

 

 

Is there a big disadvantaged community:

  • Yes, I it was estimated that 85% of the community is disadvantaged and the unemployment rate was at 39% about 10 years ago.  I am not sure of the current rate.
  • The overwhelming importance of the fisheries sector has resulted in a lack of diversified skills.  The sea provided when the season opened but it was a hard life when it closed so to make ends meet and everyone did what they know to survive.

 

 

What community projects are being run there?

  • The Doringbaai Development Trust is there to generate income that will be used to the advantage of the wider community.  They focus on
    • Economic Development
    • Social development
    • Environmental development

 

  • There is the Abalone farm project.
    • It was created in 2011 and the first farming operations started in 2013.
    • It is an initiative between the DDT and entrepreneurs of the area.
    • The trust owns 35% of the farm and management 65%.
    • Production was between 35 and 40 tons but the farm is upgraded to 60 tons in 2019.
    • 54 Households currently is benefitting from the Abalone farm project.
    • The abalone is exported to the East mostly alive but also canned in brine.  This happen in Hermanus.
    • The farm was first housed in parts of the buildings which housed crayfish tanks previously but later on open tanks were also placed on the premises outside the buildings.
    • The abalone farm also provide electricity to all the community projects in the harbor in times of load shedding so work isn’t interrupted.

 

  • Fryers Cove and the Jetty Restaurant, a must on every wine lovers bucket list
    • When the cellar were founded they saw an opportunity for community development.
      • Fryers Cove funded the kitchen of The Jetty Restaurant
      • They help with admin
      • They purchase the stock
      • They have 30% shares in the project and the community 70%
      • For every bottle of Jetty Sauvignon Blanc sold R10 goes to the community.
    • The biggest attraction of Fryers Cove is the cellar setting which is unlike any other you will find.
    • Fryers Cove is situated in the old crayfish factory.  Guests can enjoy their delicious traditional West Coast meals on the Jetty with waves breaking below them and enjoy an award winning Sauvignon Blanc while baking in the sun.  Abelone is also on the menu.
    • What makes the wines so unique are that the vineyards are only 500m from the cliffs of Bamboes Bay which means that the spray created by the waves crashing against the seaside cliffs gets carried by the cool atlantic wind over the vineyards where the soil and grapes absorb the salt crystals in the air which gives the wines their unique taste.
    • Their wines are available Nationally and Internationally.
    • At the FNB Sauvignon Blanc competition the “Doringbaai Sauvinon Blanc” won 5 Gold medals and got 94 out of 100 by Tim Atkin.
    • One interesting fact that pipes take seawater to the tanks to cool the wine.

 

  • Klippies Factory
    • 10 August 2009
    • Department of Minerals, Transhex and Municipality together with the DDT started the project
    • Transhex provided the stones from diamond mining.
    • CTM was interested in a range of tiles made from marine stones.  Due to distances and the remote location of Doringbaai and transport issues it wasn’t financially viable and the market changed to landscaping.
    • The workers at the factory sort through the gravel and stones after Transhex did their bit to remove diamonds from the gravel.
    • 22 people of whom their parents were fishermen and worked in the factory to package crayfish are now employed fulltime.
    • 10 part time workers are employed during summer when demand for landscaping increases.
    • They sort the stones into 4 different colours which is Black Marlin, Off white, Plum, Ochre and a mixture called the Marine Mix.
    • The sorting is very labour intensive and for it to be sorted correctly it needs to be wet and water is used.
    • They sort in 3 sizes
      • 18 – 20 mm
      • 30 – 40 mm
      • 60 – 80 mm
    • Koeglenberg Vervoer and Joetsie are involved in transporting the stones to and from the factory and the outlets.
    • The stones of the West Coast are unique in colour and texture and differ from those of The south and East coasts of SA.
    • They have challenges but wish to increase their market and get their own transport.
    •  They are open from 8 – 5 and visitors can request a site tour.