Shell Collecting on the Wild Coast
The Wild Coast is famous for its shell-strewn beaches. The coastline comprises rocky outcrops, sandy beaches, sheltered bays, rock pools and exposed beaches worked over by strong wave action. These varied habitats are fed by the warm Agulhas current, creating ideal conditions for a varied shell population, with a large majority of South Africa's 5000+ shell species being found here.
Shells are frequently washed ashore after storms, though these are usually damaged from the wave action. As a rule of thumb, intact shells are found more frequently on beaches during neap tides, as the waves are generally calmer. Collecting of shells in rock pools is best done at low spring tide, due to shells being deposited there during the previous high tide.
Collecting washed up shells does no harm to the environment and there can be no better souvenir, than a beautiful shell collected on holiday, from a Wild Coast beach or rock pool. Please take care when walking on wet rocks or rocks covered with algae as this can be hazardous. Always wear non-slip shoes when collecting from rocks or rock pools.
Please don't collect live shells, be responsible and remember, don't take the 'Wild' out of the Wild Coast.