Although dangerous and mysterious, the ocean sustains life. Humans are drawn to the margin where water meets land. Much has been written of the idyllic white beach but there are a few unique margins on this earth that you may not have heard of.
Let’s discover a few gems to be found off the beaten track.
The Rock Arches of Legzira, Morocco
Situated about 6 miles east of a charming and lazy seaside city called Sidi Ifni, the impressive Rock Arch of Legzira stretches out into the sea. Sculpted over thousands of years, one of the two arches collapsed in 2016. What many don’t know is that another arch exists about 2 miles west of Legzira on a beach called Igzira.
Three spurs of land jut out into the ocean, yet only one of them has eroded to form an arch. Although the beaches are wide and walker-friendly, the tides periodically block access to the secret arch. However, with a local guide and a sturdy set of wheels, you can get squeeze another adventure into your holiday.
Boulders Beach, Cape Town – South Africa
About an hour’s drive from Cape Town centre is the historic Simon’s Town. Steeped in naval history, this picturesque coastal town is home to the Table Mountain National Park’s endangered African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony.
Three boardwalks have been created to allow tourists to experience these delightful birds in their natural habitat. Also, catching a tan surrounded by the donkey-like bray of a penguin is a definite must when visiting the beautiful Cape. Boulder’s Beach is open to the public (subject to a conservation fee).
The Black Sand Beaches Of Auckland – New Zealand
In the South Pacific Ocean, colliding continents and volcanoes make up the land mass that is New Zealand. Over millions of years, the black lava has eroded into the fine black sand that covers most of Auckland’s beaches.
Known as ironsand, it has been used since the 1960s in New Zealand’s steelmaking industry. So not just a beautiful landscape but useful too! Just remember the black sand is scorching hot in the sun so don’t forget your footwear.
Skeleton Coast – Namibia
Some say the name came from the skeletons of whales and seals that littered the beaches; others say it’s from the many shipwrecks caused by the brutal sea. The San people call it “The Land God made in anger” and the Portuguese named it “The Gates of Hell”. About 200 miles north of Swakopmund on Namibia’s desert coastline is the Skeleton Coast National Park. Imagine witnessing desert lions, elusive brown hyenas and a pack of jackals hunting and scavenging around seal and bird colonies.
The abundant wildlife and breath-taking scenery more than make up for the fact that a leisurely dip is both dangerous and freezing. The cold Benguela current wells violently up from the Atlantic, creating life-giving mist for desert-bound plants and animals. But it has also obscured the sights for seafarers and caused many a ship to wreck on the unforgiving edge.
If fine white sand, gently bowed palm trees under which you can wager at Australian betting sites on your phone, and azure blue waters are your idea of heaven, remember that nature’s beauty has many faces. The path less travelled is often where she reveals her secrets. It takes bravery to follow your own path, but therein lies great reward.