The Coastal Fynbos Trail in Schoenmakerskop is probably one of the slightly lesser known trails around Port Elizabeth. Thanks to the PE Geocaching series which created the letters PE as geoart on the Geocache map, a few more people have set off to explore the trail lately.
The trail is a circular trail and covers about 7 km on the eastern side of the village, starting at Sappershoek. The first section of the trail is an inland route through the coastal fynbos (hence the name) and returning along the top of the ridge with beautiful views of the ocean.
The inland section of the trail skirts the shifting by-pass sand dune system that used to cover the area. This dune system was stabilised in the beginning of the 1900's when Australian wattles were planted. The underlying rock in this area is Table Mountain Sandstone which supports fynbos (part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world’s six floral kingdoms, supporting approximately 9000 plant species of which 70% are endemic). Along the trail calcrete outcrops, derived from calcium rich marine deposits and deep dune sands together with variations in topography and the influence of salt laden winds and fire have led to a mosaic of vegetation communities. Without fire the coastal dune thicket, comprising many forest species, would become more dominant. In areas that the last big fire missed, the fynbos / coastal dune thicket mosaic is much taller and the fynbos is dominated by Metalasia and Agathosma (buchu). Info courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism website.