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Groenvlei Lake

Groenvlei Lake

Just 5 km east of the holiday town of Sedgefield you will find a unique Lake, Groenvlei. The lake is not large, maybe 4 km long and 1 km wide, it is also not deep, the maximum depth being around 3 metres with very few deep sections which go up to 5 metres deep. It covers an area in excess of 3 square kilometres and of all the Garden Route lakes, Groenvlei is the most unique. The word Groen is the Afrikaans word for green and this is one of the lakes peculiarities. The water in the lake is clear but has an aquamarine appearance which is caused by the reflection of sunlight on green algae against the light coloured lake floor and the greenery in and around the lake. Another point which makes the lake unique is that it is a fresh water lake which has no recognisable inlet or outlet. It is said that the water seeps up from subterranean channels via springs and is slightly saline. Depending on rainfall and evaporation, the levels in the lake can fluctuate by nearly 2 metres.

The lake is known for its diverse bird life and is one of the best venues for large-mouth black bass angling. The banks of Groenvlei are heavily reeded with fen grass, which in centuries past was trampled by grazing hippos in particular and thirsty wild life like elephant, buffalo, eland and bushbuck which came to drink at the lake. Since these animals no longer roam freely in the area, these reeds appear to be encroaching on the lake. This makes the lake difficult to access in parts except at the few boat jetties and from the lawn near the caravan park, but despite this the lake is still a very popular and pleasant place to swim.

For the angler the lake also stocks Black Bass, Mozambique Tilapia and Carp which can be caught from small electric powered boats only. The decision to introduce these species was taken before the long term consequences of this action could be understood. Sunfish were introduced to feed the Bass and Mosquito fish to eat the mosquito larvae. These imported fish have the potential to destroy the lakes ecosystem. Groenvlei has no rocks, points or drop-offs to speak of, structure here is water grass or reeds, and lots of it. There are also random patches of grass in other parts of the lake including the centre.

The annual Garden Route Bass Classic is held at Groenvlei in late April each year.

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