It’s just after 8am on a fresh winter’s morning and the group gathered in the parking lot at Sardinia Bay beach are ready to take on the world.
It’s not an ordinary scene, to be frank, given that most mortals in the nearby city are clocking into work right about now.
But no one here is much interested in ordinary; for them, it’s all about living life to the full along one of Africa’s most magnificent stretches of coastline.
Every Monday, weather permitting, these and other members of the Sardinia Bay Golf & Wildlife Estate’s walking group set off on a 10km or 5km – you take your pick – stroll along the beach.
These golden sands lie a mere 2.4km from the property, just one of the many perks of living there.
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The weekly walks are an initiative by Gillian Tustin, a seven-year resident of the estate, who has since been joined by Kathy van Onselen, who moved in two years ago with husband Noel.
“It’s fantastic exercise but it’s also a great way to get to know people on the estate and get their opinions on what’s happening. We discuss things like whether there are any new animals on the property,” Gillian says.
Every new resident is invited to join the group, which currently comprises about 20 members.
The beach meander has also attracted people living off the estate as well as “swallows” – those who divide their time between Europe and South Africa.
The breeze off the Indian Ocean is sharp but not overbearing as the walkers set off on the 10 (plus one!) kilometres to reach and return from what they call “Dolphin Point”, with no small sense of irony.
“Someone told us you will see dolphins one out of every three times there, but I think we’ve only seen them once,” Kathy says with a grin.
However, as Gillian points out, the ocean mammals playing hide-and-seek in the waves hardly detracts from the overall experience of the unspoilt beach.
While the route might remain the same, the constant flux of the elements means the ocean, dunes and general environment offer something different every time.
On this day the waves are restless, rising and falling to mask and unmask a passing ship on the horizon. Whips of wind also cause the sand to skip and dance for hundreds of metres ahead.
There is jovial talk among the beachcombers, but everyone notices nature’s emotions.
The pace is steady and true, testimony to the group’s collective fitness level, though residents do have the 5km option, Kathy explains.
Not long ago, they used to walk from the estate to the beach, but the vegetated verges on Sardinia Bay Road forced them onto the narrow road and they eventually decided not to tempt fate.
The beach meander is now everyone’s preferred route. Occasionally, they will venture to Schoenies along the Sacramento Trail, where the Everlastings in bloom later in the year makes it like “our heaven”, Kathy beams.
While 8am is generally the start time in winter, they tend to leave earlier in summer.
“Most of us just do the walk but we have had people swimming when it’s warmer. They just go in for a quick dip and catch up with us,” Kathy says.
Many residents of the estate are very active already, so to have the beach so close really speaks to their lifestyles.
Whereas lots of people in the suburbs don’t even know their neighbours, the estate is quite the opposite.
“Living in a place like this was my dream, but it wasn’t my husband’s. But it’s his dream now,” Gill quips as the group build up a head of steam.
“Now he’s one of the most vocal about how wonderful it is to live here.”