INFORMATION FOR “ROOIELSERS” AND THEIR VISITORS
Welcome to Rooiels
Rooiels is a small sea-side village situated on the eastern side of False Bay, about 20 km from Gordons Bay, along the scenic coastal road. The number of proclaimed erven is smaller, and their average size larger, than those in the other villages along the same coastline. (As a rough indication Rooiels +-300 erven, Pringle Bay +-1700, Betty’s Bay +-3000 and Kleinmond about 3300). This, together with the varied terrain and topography makes our village somewhat unique. It is also true that Rooielsers live particularly close to nature-‘enjoying’ more than their share of both the summer and winter winds, watching spectacular surf breaking over the rocks in winter, and relaxing under crystal clear night skies unpolluted by street and other lights. All this in a village bounded by spectacular mountain ranges and a coastline stretching out over False Bay to the distant mountains on the other side of the bay, often silhouetted against beautiful sunsets.
Rooiels falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is the floristic heart of the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms (the Cape Floral Kingdom). This reserve covers an area of about 100 000 hectares and has the highest density of different plant species in the world (The South American rainforest is second, well behind Kogelberg!). Over 1800 different plant species occur in our reserve of which 77 are endemic, ie occur nowhere else in the world.
Kogelberg was the first biosphere reserve to be recognized in Southern Africa (in 1998) and forms part of UNESCO’s world-wide network of such reserves.
Biosphere reserves have been described as “living experiments in sustainability, tasked with the role of showing the world how to survive!”-alternatively they are there to meet one of the most challenging issues facing our planet, viz to preserve the biodiversity that makes up our living biosphere while at the same time meeting the material needs of ever increasing populations.
Indigenous Plants growing in Rooiels
Because we live in the most diverse horticultural area in the world, we thought it would be a good idea to list our plants!
In Rooiels we have a number of particularly "special" birds. The Cape Rockjumper is one and the Black Oystercatcher another. A pair of the latter breed regularly on our beach and a pair of Verreaux’s Eagles (better know as Black Eagles) breed from time to time on our “mountain” (Klein Hangklippie).
On this web-site we have loaded up two "bird sections". The first section shows the +-50 most common birds seen in Rooiels with pictures for easy identification. The second section shows a list compiled by Alison Ayre and Helen Jones (our local bird experts!) showing their "all time sightings".
Animals and Snakes
The biggest and best of them all is the Cape Leopard, of which there have been occasional sightings in the vicinity of Rooiels. A project is underway to install infrared cameras in strategic places in the mountains to record leopard movements. The Boland Leopard Project is managing the process.
Other animals living in the Rooiels area include the Cape Clawless Otter, Rooikat, Klipspringer, mongoose, dassies, porcupines, tortoises and several frog species.
Snake species include puff adders, berg adders, cobras and boomslange. Some useful advice in the event of a snake bite is provided in Briesie No 18
Sea Creatures and Fish
Southern Right Whales can often be seen off our coast between July/August and November/December. Bryde’s whales, dolphins and seals can be seen throughout the year.
Rooiels is a popular crayfishing spot. Please note that there is a limited season and permits are required.
Angling from our rocks is also popular. Galjoen, Red Roman, Blacktail, White Steenbras, Musselcracker, Geelbek, Kob, Red Stumpnose and Hottentot occur in our waters. Please note that a permit is required and restrictions apply. Galjoen also has a closed season.
Baboons are frequently encountered in our village. Sometimes a single male may be seen scouting around for a “break- in opportunity” but more often than not a troop of 15 or more, including “all sizes”, will be seen moving around the village. They provide much pleasure to observers-watching particularly the youngsters frolicking around and the babies clinging to their mothers bellies or riding on their backs. However they also pose a threat and many homeowners have learned that given the slightest opportunity they will enter homes in search of food. Those who have experienced such invasions-probably almost all homeowners- know they can leave an awful mess!
Baboons are not naturally aggressive towards humans or their pets. They are essentially focused on acquiring food from humans and if you wish to keep them away from your property it is necessary to remove all food opportunities. This mainly involves ensuring they cannot enter your house but also includes never leaving rubbish anywhere other than in baboon-proof bins, not having compost heaps, not growing fruit or vegetables-but this even includes not using dried peach pips to mulch your garden plants-yes baboons break the pips open and enjoy the contents!
So what can one do to enjoy the pleasures of our troop but at the same time avoid the problems they create?
Aids to preventing baboons entering a house are fitting light electrification around the outside walls but particularly in the vicinity of drainage and sewerage pipes (they use these to scale the walls) and fitting baboon latches on vulnerable windows. It is also a good idea not to “advertise” food availability. Baboons have a good sense of sight and smell and food is best kept in closed cupboards and fridges, rather than being visible through windows. These are longer term aids to reduce the risks.
On a day to day basis, however, it is essential to be acutely aware of never-ever-leaving access doors open, even for just a few minutes. Unbeknown to you the “scout” may be in the vicinity and will grab any opportunity to enter- incredibly quickly as well!
If baboons do get into your house-or even approach you or your children eating/displaying food outside a house or car- the experts advise not to “fight with them over the food”. Logically this is the one time they may become more aggressive-after all a hungry baboon that has just acquired a loaf of bread may “fight back” to retain what he now regards as his!! Other tips: Don’t corner them. Do leave an exit path for them-preferably at the same place where they entered. Don’t panic-there have been very few cases of baboons actually harming humans or pets. Stay calm but assertive. Accept that you made the mistake of allowing them to get in-and learn from the experience for next time!!
Dogs and other Pets
Rooiels, like many other communities, advocates a policy of “good-neighbourliness”. As far as pets are concerned this includes respect for others’ rights and wishes. Well behaved animals provide pleasure to others in the village, but leaving dog mess on the beach or public roads does not. A recent municipal bylaw requires dogs to be kept in an enclosed area on the owner’s property and to be kept on leashes at all times when in public areas. This should certainly apply when walking any aggressive or untrained dog.
For serious violations/incidents the Dog Control unit in Kleinmond can be contacted on 028 271 8449.
Because Rooiels is so “close to nature” it is logical that light pollution is frowned upon. With no street lights and relatively few homes -of which many are not permanently occupied anyway-the village is peaceful at night and the stars shine brightly. There is a municipal bylaw dealing with light pollution and property owners are expected to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of this bylaw. Some property owners may unknowingly leave blinds open at night whilst their lights are on and this-particularly for double story homes-can cause as much pollution as having external lights, which would be disallowed in terms of the bylaw.
Fynbos and Alien Vegetation
Fynbos is the generic term used to describe the group of plant families growing naturally in our area. These include proteaceae ( proteas, leucaspernum, leucadendrum etc), ericas, restios, bulbs, daisies and certain other plants. These plants have adapted to the acidic and nutrient-poor soil of the area.
Invasive alien vegetation takes its toll on our indigenous fynbos and eventually “crowds it out”. It also requires more water and creates a serious fire hazard.
Both the Overstrand Municipality and the Rooiels Conservancy have become proactive in dealing with alien vegetation. Monthly hack groups comprise volunteers who spend the first Saturday morning of each month cutting down alien vegetation in the village.
The most common problem plants are Port Jackson and Rooikrans.
Rooiels is considered an extremely high fire risk area.
We fall under the Hangklip Firewise community, one of the first firewise communities to be established in South Africa.
Working on Fire (A government sponsored organization) and Cape Nature introduced the firewise concept to Rooi els and the surrounding communities. It involves the realization that reducing the risk of fire is everyone’s responsibility. Please note that it is illegal to make a fire anyway in Rooiels other than in fireplaces and braais on your own property. This includes burning garden refuse outside your home. Please also refrain from throwing any smouldering or burning material into the veld, especially coals and cigarette butts.
The Firewise Convenor for Rooiels is Pierre Kruger, tel 028 273 8480, cell 071 399 9112.
Guidelines for reducing fire risk and fighting fires are attached (See Firewise page here).
(These guidelines, drawn up by a neibouring village, were kindly made available to us for use on our website).
Sand dunes are natural defenses against the encroachment of wind and sea and should be kept in their natural state. The beach frontal dunes form a barrier protecting inland areas, retaining sand in the winter months and returning it to the beaches in summer. Dune vegetation is very sensitive and tramping on it can do serious damage. Rooiels residents and visitors are requested to please keep to pathways and other demarcated areas at all times.
This has been touched on in several of the above paragraphs, eg regarding light pollution, removing alien vegetation, not allowing your pets to be a nuisance to others etc etc. The Rooiels Ratepayers Committee would sincerely ask all Rooielsers and their visitors to please abide by all bylaws, and in particular to respect the rights of others in our lovely village.
Roads and Parking
The roads in Rooiels are generally narrow, unpaved and without sidewalks-although as municipal funds permit, more roads will be paved. Motorists are expected to drive slowly and carefully on these narrow roads which often have pedestrians, dogs, baboons, francolins and even tortoises!! walking along them.
During the holiday season parking is severely limited in Rooiels and some areas have no-parking signs which must please be respected at all times. For traffic violations in Rooiels phone 028 3138165.
Building Construction in Rooiels
In addition to the National Building Regulations there are certain local requirements in Rooiels. Some of these exist because the township is in a registered Biosphere Reserve. In addition, if the plot falls within a natural wetland or is within 100 meters of the sea high water mark, additional restrictions may apply.
All new homes will need conservancy tanks, which are pumped out by the municipality when full. (Septic tanks are no longer allowed).
Electricity and Water
Eskom supplies Rooiels's electicity. Payment is via a plastic card which can be re-charged at various shops in the area. We do experience outages from time to time and some homeowners have opted to provide gas as an alternative cooking medium and perhaps also to keep an alternative emergency lighting facility.
Water is supplied from a dam on the Buffels River and its quality is controlled and monitored by the municipality. Water restrictions are sometimes imposed in summer. Some homeowners have acquired tanks to store rainwater and all owners are urged to plant indigenous “water wise” gardens.
In Rooiels the erf number is also the designated street number.
Even though we live in a small village, lack of displayed numbers can and does cause problems. This would be particularly serious where valuable time is lost in a security or medical emergency but also makes it awkward for service providers, delivery personnel, etc. All homeowners are accordingly requested to please number their properties.