Title: Beachcombing in South Africa
Author: Rudy van der Elst
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Struik Nature
Cape Town, South Africa 2019
ISBN 9781775845713 / ISBN 978-1-77584-571-3
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 144 pages, throughout colour photographs and images
Beachcombing in South Africa is a guide to the sights and treasures to be found on the 3,000km seashores. These range from the cool, kelp-dominated west coast shores to the subtropical coasts of KwaZulu-Natal where coral reefs occur. The diversity of marine and coastal organisms in the seas around South Africa is immense and this is amply reflected in the organisms that wash up on its beaches. These beached items make up the 'strandline': a swathe of floating materials left behind on the beach as the tide retreats.
The composition of this strandline includes seaweeds, seashells, driftwood, egg cases, bones of marine animals, floating seeds and animals that live on the ocean surface waters. Added to this is a growing amount of human-generated litter, including plastics and discarded fishing gear, and occasionally relics of shipwrecks and misplaced scientific equipment. The strandline litter may be quite local in its origin, reflecting the biodiversity of the area; or items may be long-haul and have originated far away driven by a regime of currents and winds.
Beachcombing in South Africa is not a field guide to southern African marine life; nor does it cater for treasure seekers armed with metal detectors, scouring the beaches for valuable treasures or lost personal belongings. Rather, it is designed to provide readers with insight into the origins and interesting stories of some of the many strandline organisms and items they may encounter on beachcombing adventures. The focus is on beachcombing as a culturally and environmentally enriching form of outdoor recreation and family fun.
Southern Africa: reserves and sea currents
Floaters and drifters
Jellyfish, sea anemones, corals
and other stingers
Eggs and egg cases
Resting, nesting and stranded animals
Other special 'treasures'
Beachcombing over the ages
References and further reading