In Knysna, sunset brings an invitation to prepare for some nightlife. While most people consider the smorgasbord of Knysna’s culinary delights to round off the day, beneath the ocean’s waves, a whole community of marine creatures are also preparing for a night of feasting.
On the Moonlight Meander, you’ll see things you never thought existed. This nocturnal tour at spring low tide showcases the intriguing antics of reclusive marine species as they venture out under the protection of darkness.
The guided tour is perfect for curious adults and children alike. Your adventure of discovery takes you from Swartvlei Beach to the tidal pools of Gericke’s point, about 1km away. Along the way, local marine biologist Judy Dixon shows and shares the wonders of a once in a nighttime safari.
Then the fun begins. Everyone switches on their torches and heads down to the beach. The format of the tour is opportunistic, as is any African game viewing outing, with guests stopping whenever a marine creature is found.
Gather around as Judy tells one entertaining and informative story after the next. Plough shells, so often bypassed on a beach walk, are exposed as the vital squadron of scavengers that assist in maintaining clean and healthy beaches. Will you see the incredible Periwinkles that can endure two weeks out of water? And what about the sought after oysters, with their marginal tolerance to exposure at spring low tide?
Judy unveils four distinctive intertidal zones and all the creatures that colonize them.
The tour transitions from the beach across a rocky tidal shelf. You’ll investigate what lives in the pools, each with their unique composition of fauna and flora, influenced by the strength of the waves and shifting sands. Flowering False Plum Anemones, Feather Stars, Feather duster Worms, sponges and sea fans fill the pools with vivid colour.
See Something Special
Feeding in the intertidal zone is fascinating. Watch a patch of encrusting Barnacles reaching out with their hand-like hairy cirri to feed on plankton. The sight of a Spiny Starfish hunting down a brace of Pink-lipped Topshells is captivating.
As with any wildlife safari in South Africa, seeing apex predators is a highlight. Spotting a Common Octopus or a Tuberculate Cuttlefish is a special sighting on the Moonlight Meander. Especially when they are hunting.
Then, before you realize it, the tide has turned and it is time to return to your home. But guaranteed, this brief encounter with the mysteries of the ocean will inspire you to search for more on your next outing to the coastline.
The Moonlight Meander is a great experience for old and young and a not to be missed activity while on holiday in the Garden Route.
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