The West Coast of South Africa is so startlingly different to the rest of the country you may not believe you’re actually in Africa. And while it may be different there are enough National Parks, and game reserves to satisfy any wildlife enthusiast’s need for South Africa’s fabulous wild creatures.
Whether you’re a history buff, dedicated foodie, beachcomber, rock climber, or a wildlife enthusiast, you won’t be disappointed exploring South Africa’s West Coast.
The Khwa Ttu San Heritage Centre, the West Coast Fossil Park and the guided Lighthouse Tour at Cape Columbine Nature Reserve takes you into the past, so far back in time, and so full of wonder, that you never want to return.
Foodies are definitely spoilt for choice on the West Coast. The Geelbek Restaurant, a beautifully restored Cape Dutch building is now a national monument. It was once an outpost for people on their hard and difficult journey inland and is the perfect spot to begin your exploration of the tastes of the West Coast. The small town of Paternoster, one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast, is where famous South African chefs have come to stay, so it’s not surprising to discover the town has excellent restaurants, some of which are right on the beach. And they all serve sublimely fresh and tasty seafood including lobster, herring, mussels, snoek, oysters, and pilchards caught in the cold Atlantic or farmed in the nearby Langebaan Lagoon. The local lobster is so delicious, it’s exported to France. A well-known delicacy found here is bokkoms – whole, salted, and dried mullet. Sometimes the fish is smoked, and Paternoster is the best place to try this ‘fish biltong’.
If you’re a craft beer aficionado you’ll enjoy the famous ‘slow beer’ on tap from the carbon neutral, family friendly, Darling Brew. Not only is that the type of fermentation process but it’s also the name of their first beer.
One of the most beautiful areas of the West Coast is further inland. The otherworldly beauty of the Cedarberg comes from the rugged mountains and the famous rock formations such as the Wolfberg Arch. If you like rock climbing this is the place to do it.
The Black Land or Die Swartland is almost the exact opposite of its name. It’s a farming countryside with soft, undulating hills dominated by wide, sprawling, fields of wheat, encased by mountain ranges. With the ripe yellow wheat fields are intercut by thriving vineyards, fruit-heavy orchards, olive plantations, and rooibos and vegetable farms interspersed with wilderness and quaint farm villages, it is a wonderful counterpoint to the rugged, windswept, almost barren beauty of the coast.
The 3 distinct sections of the West Coast National Park each have its own unique delights. Lying inland from Saldanha Bay and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, this National Park has its own distinct flavour thanks to the azure blue Langebaan Lagoon, the white dunes, unspoilt golden beaches, sheltered islands, rare fynbos, green wetlands, and salt marshes.