Your Guide To The Open Road
Your Ultimate Guide to a West Coast Weekend Getaway
Culture, food, wilderness and flowers!
The West Coat has so much to offer that it makes for a great weekend away, whether it's culture, food or wilderness that you're after. Starting a mere 30-minutes from Cape Town, it's within easy reach no matter how much time you've got.
The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve (25km from Cape Town) has some spectacular fynbos views across the sandy coastline to the ocean and Table Mountain. Here's a fun fact, you can see two World Heritage sites from Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, namely Table Mountain and Robben Island.
Melkbosstrand was once a fishing village but now acts as a good base for popular water sports and has plenty on offer to keep all members of the family entertained.
The Koeberg Private Nature Reserve offers educational information on the power station as well as two walking trails where visitors can see a range of fauna and flora, including grysbok, steenbok and springbok. A great way to see the reserve is on a bicycle and there are several spectacular routes to follow. In recent years the nature reserve has become a popular spot for local mountain bikers. And the best part is that it's free to enter, just bring along a copy of your ID.
The Atlantis Sand Dunes have world-class views of Table Mountain and are perfect for 4X4 adventures as well as sand-boarding. There are several companies who offer day-trips for sand-boarding if you want to try your hand.
Darling is well known as being home to Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout and the quirky theatre complex, Evita se Perron. In spring, the wildflower show is not to miss. Darling is situated between vineyards and golden wheat fields with a tangible sense of history.
More on the Darling Wildflower show: It takes place annually over the third weekend in September and celebrates an integral part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom comprising of Renosterveld, Rietveld, Sandveld, and Strandveld where more than 1200 different species of flowers can be found. The event includes entry to the Landscaped Hall (depicting the flowers of the area in their natural habitat). A Free ride on a tractor drawn wagon to see the Oude Post Pristine wetland (that is not accessible to the public and can only be seen during the show), a Craft/Farmers Market, Veteran Tractor/Car Display, an Entertainment Tent featuring live music, a large Childrens area, safe and secure parking and many other attractions. There are also food and drink stalls where you can purchase a variety of tasty treats to take away or use the facilities to relax and enjoy the natural environment.
West Coast National Park
The West Coast National Park, which stretches from Yzerfontein to Langebaan, is a pristine nature reserve which offers an array of activities such as bird watching, game sighting, biking and whale spotting. Avid birdwatchers can spot over 200 species of land and sea birds, and game includes springbok, kudu, gemsbok and the rare mountain zebra. The popular restaurant, Geelbek, is situated near the Langebaan lagoon.
Yzerfontein is a picturesque seaside village is not only a haven for birdlife, wildlife, sea life and indigenous flora, it also boasts South Africa’s longest stretch of beach which runs for 16 miles, all the way up to the start of the West Coast National Park in the north. Popular with water sport enthusiasts, other activities include whale spotting, fishing and hiking.
Langebaan, known as the Jewel of the West Coast, enjoys almost year-round sunshine and boasts azure waters and unsurpassed natural beauty. Bordering the West Coast national Park, Langebaan is an internationally acclaimed Ramsar Site for its importance as a wetland and is host myriad bird species. The mild climate and protected waters of the lagoon also make it the perfect location for many water sports.
Paternoster is one of the oldest villages on the West Coast, and Paternoster epitomizes the authentic and traditional West Coast lifestyle, and life here is closely connected to the sea. Fishermen still head out daily in colourful traditional wooden boats to catch fish, which can be bought at the local market or enjoyed in the quaint restaurants. Paternoster is also popular with snorkelers, kite surfers and flyers, hikers, cyclists and kayakers.
Shelley Point is a tiny, unspoiled peninsula which lies in the calm waters of Shelley Bay. Protected from the swell, it is ideal for sailing and fishing, and also provides shallow, safe water for children to splash about in. Other than a 9-hole golf course and a Wellness Centre, there are few amenities and it truly is the place to get away from it all.
St Helena Bay
An unspoilt coastline, stunning sea views and sparkling surf make St Helena Bay a great year-round destination. Traversing a total of 18 bays and fed by the nutrient-rich Benguela Current, St Helena Bay is one of the world’s prime fishing areas and dolphins and Southern Right Whales also enjoy the calm waters. The Cape St Martin Private Nature Reserve is the only place on the West Coast where you can watch the sun rise over the sea.
West Coast Fossil Park
Millions of years ago the West Coast landscape was dominated by riverine forests and wooded savanna, and inhabited by animals that are now long extinct. Mining in the 1950’s exposed one of the richest fossil deposits ever discovered and the property is now a National Heritage Site. There is an ongoing excavation of early Pliocene fossils and guided tours offer a background to the fossils and the climatic changes that have happened. There are also several mountain biking and hiking trails.