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  • Metal Detecting Cape Town, South Africa

    I was asked to write an article for a Canadian Treasure Hunting Magazine on metal detecting in Cape Town.

    Because there were some questions on this forum regarding this fascinating hobby, I hope the BoB team will allow me to post my attempt here. As I have not send the final draft to Canada yet, I would welcome any feedback on my spelling or whatever as I am not English speaking – here goes...



    Detecting Cape Town, South Africa



    By Pierre Nortje


    Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa with an estimated population of 3.5 million.

    The city is famous for its harbour, as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. It is hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world as officially recognized by Forbes. National Geographic has also listed Cape Town as one of the most iconic cities on the planet and "Places of a Lifetime".

    http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/Pierrex/CTpic1.jpg



    Picture of Table Mountain taken from Blue Berg Beach across Table Bay.


    Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to India and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the old Cape Colony. Today it is one of the most multiracial cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.

    Good news from a metal detecting viewpoint is that Cape Town is Africa's most popular tourist destination. One of the reasons for this is its beautiful beaches and Mediterranean weather (cool winters and long hot summers). For this reason, it is by no chance that metal detecting in Cape Town is almost exclusively related to beach and scuba detecting – very few parks are detected and virtually zero inland sites (e.g. ploughed fields and old military sites near to Cape Town.)

    It would therefore come as a surprise to Canadian readers to learn that we are not that many detectorists in Cape Town as the hobby is not yet well established with only about 20 or so dedicated hobbyists out of a total population of 3.5 million.

    When I started detecting in 1997, there were only about ten Capetonian detectorists, but over the past decade we steadily grew in numbers – thanks maybe to the many internet MD-forums that sprang up on the Internet that was eagerly followed by some local treasure hunters that saw what was possible on especially North American beaches.

    http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/Pierrex/CTpic2.jpg

    Clifton Beach – a very popular Cape Town Beach – but extremely expensive in real estate terms.

    A local friend of mine, Wolfgang Roux, was at that stage the local agent for a well known metal detecting company that had quite capable beach detecting machines available. Most of us that dabbled with detecting before but had poor machines, now suddenly had quite professional machines available, and as they say, the rest is history.

    As Cape Town is situated on the southern tip of Africa, it is one of the few places on earth where two major sea currents meet - the cold Benguela current sweeps up from the Antarctic along the Atlantic coast. The east coast has the north-to-south Mozambique/ Agulhas current to thank for its warm waters. So the western beaches of Cape Town has very cold water (lots of sun tanners but very few bathers) while the eastern beaches have warmer water (both tanners and swimmers).

    On the Western side, the well known beaches are Blue Berg Strand (see pictures), Milnerton, Sea Point and Clifton (to name but a few); while on the eastern side there are Muizenberg, Macassar, Somerset-Strand and Gordon’s Bay. All of these beaches have produced plenty of coins and jewellery over the years. I used to keep track of all my finds when I started detecting in 1997. After finding 25 000 coins in a few short years I lost interest in the bookkeeping exercise. However, I remember that I averaged about 40 gold rings and about 100 silver rings a year. I mostly detect on the wet sand and seldom ventures into the water.

    A friend of mine, Andy Naude however, almost exclusively SCUBA detects in the many tidal beach pools situated on some of the rocky beaches around Cape Town. Andy showed me that if it was jewellery one were after, and especially gold jewellery, then one must venture into – and down under – the water. For every gold ring I found on the beach, Andy found about 4 or 5 under the water. I did a SCUBA course in 2000 and started detecting with Andy under water, but never really took to it – to be honest, I enjoy walking on the beaches more.

    We have had many welcome overseas detectorists visiting here in Cape Town who detected with us over the years – there were Gerry Freeman–Smith from England, Jim Cianelli from Brooklyn, New York, Francois Constanty from France and Tom Burnes from Iowa, USA and many others. And they all commented on our wonderful beaches and sunny weather.

    However, when it comes to beach detecting it is no secret that the best time to detect is NOT the sunny time of the year when the beaches are frequented by thousands of beachgoers. Actually, the most productive period to detect is the winter – the stormy season when the beaches are pounded by the winds and waves and the goodies exposed by the top layers of sand being swept off and taken away by the retracting tides. I can remember so many cold Saturday mornings braving the wind and rain on the local beaches but with great returns - 2 to 3 gold rings per person per morning on a stormy winters day is certainly not unheard of.

    http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/Pierrex/CTpic3.jpg


    Picture taken during winter with Table Mountain in the background – see the difference compared to the first picture taken at the same beach – Blue Berg Strand.


    http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/Pierrex/CTpic5.jpg


    Some gold jewellery detected on local Cape Town beaches


    Yes, Cape Town has two names – the one positive – The Cape of Good Hope: the other one not that welcoming as Portuguese navigators in the 16th century called it the Cape of Storms. But for us local beach detectorists both names bode well – the Cape of Good Hope is wonderful to detect in summer as one can at least eye the golden beaches and bronze bodies – and the Cape of Storms gives us the chance to expose plenty of gold rings and other welcome finds that the winter weather produces.

    If you ever wonder over to the Dark Continent, and especially down to its southernmost city Cape Town, come say hi and I will show you the golden beaches laden with its golden treasures.

    Pierre Nortje
    Cape Town
    South Africa

    PS: The last picture is of the front page of our local metal detecting newsletter, Treasure Talk (of which I was the editor at that stage) showing a group of us with a welcome visitor from Iowa in the USA – Tom Burnes. Many gold rings were found that day and our American friend could not stop smiling!

    http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e71/Pierrex/CTpic4.jpg

  • #2
    Very interesting read. At bob we are always looking for great content and would feature articles like this on our blog if you are interested.
    Review www.bidorbuy.co.za on alexa.com
    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

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    • #3
      I have no problem with that - not sure how a blog works, but if you can post it there, it is fine with me.

      Regards

      Pierre

      Comment


      • #4
        HI Pierre,

        I must say, I enjoyed it too. Where would one acquire one of these detectors?
        "Where Delivery Meets Expectation"

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        • #5
          I will ask Wolfgang to list his detectors on Bid-or-Buy - however, I am not sure under which category - maybe coins or jewellery? He is also not very computor literate, so maybe BoB has someone who he can contact how to sell these machines on BoB?

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          • #6
            Very Interesting Pierre, i am also trying to promote the Hobby amongst some locals here on the forum and it could turn out to be a nice family hobby and social event.

            Guys, Pierre and Mac, is it possible I can somehow link this to the other forum (Mac you should be able to answer this one), but with your permission Pierre unless you come over and talk about this instead?


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            • #7
              Hi Wayjen

              Please do NOT link this article to any other international or local forums at this stage.

              This is a draft I wrote for a Canadian magazine, and it this is leaked to other forums, the proverbial cat will be let out of the bag and second hand news to whomever.

              At this stage - let’s keep it a Bid-or-Buy forum posting only.

              Kind regards and I really admire your enthusiasm.

              Pierre

              Comment


              • #8
                no problem at all. Maybe one day you can talk a walk over to my side and tell us some stories to wet the other peoples appetite but in the meantime I will do my best to try and get more people interested.

                With regards selling metal detectors online I think that is an excellent idea as there are a few BoBbers interested so see what you can organise maybe.


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                • #9
                  Pierre, when you say 20 or so dedicated hobbyist I assume there are allot more that are weekend hunters?

                  In the states the guys go out during lunch hour and go hunting in parks and sports fields etc and sometimes come back after 45 min with a couple of items.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wayjen View Post
                    Very Interesting Pierre, i am also trying to promote the Hobby amongst some locals here on the forum and it could turn out to be a nice family hobby and social event.

                    Guys, Pierre and Mac, is it possible I can somehow link this to the other forum (Mac you should be able to answer this one), but with your permission Pierre unless you come over and talk about this instead?

                    I'd be interested in this as a weekend hobby perhaps. What's the link to the other thread please. You're right, seems like a great social/weekend thing. I've been trying to get used to the shore-fishing since I moved here, but I guess us ex-jozi, dam fisherman are not as talented.... probably just me though
                    "Where Delivery Meets Expectation"

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                    • #11
                      Hello Brands Online

                      Here is the thread ...

                      http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-no...s-england.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by brands online View Post
                        I'd be interested in this as a weekend hobby perhaps. What's the link to the other thread please. You're right, seems like a great social/weekend thing. I've been trying to get used to the shore-fishing since I moved here, but I guess us ex-jozi, dam fisherman are not as talented.... probably just me though
                        are you in Cape Town?


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                        • #13
                          Yeah, moved down about a year back.
                          "Where Delivery Meets Expectation"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pierre_Henri View Post
                            Hello Brands Online

                            Here is the thread ...

                            http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-no...s-england.html

                            Thanks Pierre,
                            "Where Delivery Meets Expectation"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by brands online View Post
                              Yeah, moved down about a year back.
                              we need to organise a beach walk then here on the Milnerton side.


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