Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Colchester dune field

The Colchester Dunefield is situated at the mouth of the Sundays River which is the eastern boundary of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan area. The Colchester Dunefield is part of the Alexandria Dunefields which are the biggest coastal dunefield in the Southern Hemisphere. The Alexandria Dunefields was put on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites' tentative list as a possible future UNESCO site. I got the following information off that list:

Alexandria Coastal Dunefield is the largest, most impressive and least degraded dunefield in South Africa and arguably one of the most spectacular in the world. It comprises an area of approximately 14 000 ha of unvegetated and 1 800 dunes. It stretched for 50 km from Sundays River Mouth to beyond Woody Cape and is 22 km wide on average. It ranges from 140 meter high dunes right down to the beach and is comprised of bare and vegetated dunes, bush pockets and dune slacks.
The dunefield is Holocene (0-10 000 years) in age and thus was initiated during the latter stages of the Postglacial Transgression when sea-level rise from 150m, 18 000 years Before Present. The main transgressive dune field is dominated by a complex array of aklé type reversing transverse dunes. These dunes rise up to a maximum height of 150m above m.s.l. with individual dunes being up to 50 - 60m (crest to base) high. The dunes display both barchanoidal and transverse slipfaces with linking, dominant wind-parallel, across-swale ridges.
Portions of the dunefield are well vegetated and indicate periods of relative stability and widespread vegetation within the dunes during the last 10 000 or so years.


  1. So beautiful in its way. Almost doesn't look real. Surrealistic. Did I ever tell you that hubby went hunting in Namibia (sp?) last year? He plans to go again next year. D

  2. Wow - that's beautiful! I think we really need to visit your part of SA.

  3. Very cool looking dunes. Another place to add to my endless list of SA sites to see.

  4. Te best way to see it is from the air as you fly from Joburg to PE - then you realise just how HUGE it is!