By some small miracle Elands Bay (220km from Cape Town) has managed to escape the rampant development common to most of the coastal towns and villages lying south of it. As such it’s still a relatively pristine part of the world, but with a certain lived-in edge – a mix of working past and picturesque nature. We also thinks it has the atmosphere of a seafaring port – the type of place where Blackbeard the Pirate might step ashore for his annual groceries. The village has its diehard followers, most of them surfers who regularly flock into the place for the perfect breaks rolling in from the deep Atlantic. For others, the Verlorenvlei is the lure, a huge marshy reserve that stretches for miles and is twitcher heaven, with some 230 recorded bird species to date.