Reputed to be the shortest river from source to mouth as the crow flies, the Klein River meanders in a great loop around the mountains between Hermanus and Caledon, gathering water from the many valleys in the range as it flows. Its seasonal ebb and flow is a source of great fascination to many of the residents of Stanford and as it floods over the road between Quick and King Streets the breaching of the Hermanus Lagoon into the sea is keenly anticipated. The river flows into the lagoon, officially known as the Klein Rivier Vlei, about a 10 km paddle from Stanford. Today I witnessed the breaching for the first time – mesmerised for several hours by the powerful force of Nature.
10:05 am:When we arrived at Grotto beach in Hermanus the lagoon was several metres from the sea.
By 10:11 it had started trickling towards the ocean at a point 14cm below the next most vulnerable point on the beach.
Nine minutes later the shallow flow was kissing the ocean.
10:21 am: In the photo below the mountains around which the Klein River runs can be seen stretching into the distance.
10:27 am. The next spot where the river may have breached. See the photo towards the end of this article taken from almost the same spot a few hours later!
12:35 am. A whale provided entertainment lobtailing behind the watchers of the lagoon.
By 14:15 the lagoon was beginning to scour a bank into the beach.
By 15:02 things were beginning to get hectic.
15:02. The lagoon is rapidly receding as its waters race into the ocean.
15:02 pm. What was a small trickle five hours earlier has become a raging torrent.
15:02 pm. It was not long before the bodyboarders were out seeking a standing wave to surf. Mal mense!
15:38. How swiftly the level of water in the Hermanus lagoon (Klein Rivier Vlei) dropped once its flow quickened into the sea.
16:23 pm. Back home in Stanford the flooded Klein River looks as if it is very slowly beginning to subside back to its normal course, a tranquil scene in comparison to the wild waters at its mouth.
Text and photos: Viv von der Heyden
Stanford Nestle-In Self-catering Accommodation for two
Ph 084 685 2641
The Klein River dropped swiftly overnight and this is the scene that met early morning walkers this morning – a placid river back in its original bed: