April 18, 2012
My Wild West Coast Adventure
Fazielah Williams has lived in and loved her Mother City since birth. Having lived all over the Peninsula during her childhood, she now calls the picturesque City Bowl home and likes nothing more than watching the sun set over Table Bay from the window of her apartment.
A lover of the arts and proud Cape Town fanatic, Fazielah began her writing career by spending many hours as a child conjuring fantastical stories that featured independent heroines from faraway lands who saved the Prince instead. This Capetonian princess has enjoyed stints as a magical arts PRO and TV publicist before finding her calling as a travel writer.
When not waxing lyrical about the Fairest Cape’s most loved attractions and activities and embarking on unexpected adventures, Fazielah can usually be found taking in a show at one of the City’s fabulous theatres.
I am a city girl at heart, a slave to the pulsating rhythm of my Cape Town, so the idea of exploring the Cape West Coast wasn’t initially all that appealing.
However, having just spent a weekend immersing myself in the historic, natural, gourmet and adventurous culture of the West Coast National Park and its quaint surrounding towns, including Langebaan and Lambert’s Bay, I’m inclined to believe that I can be a country loving girl too.
The West Coast, which stretches from Blaauwberg to Namaqualand, consists of 44 small towns and everything from lagoons to bird sanctuaries, and kayaking to whale watching. There's so much more to this part of the Cape than meets the eye.
These are a few of my top West Coast experiences and activities:
Floral enthusiasts may know the park for its incredibly beautiful spring flowers, but this heritage site is stunning all year round and it's just an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Home to fynbos and various wildlife species, the park also serves as a sanctuary for hundreds of seabirds. Experience it on foot or by bike via its many hiking trails and cycle routes, or relax and take in the scenic vistas of the salt water Langebaan Lagoon.
Keep your eyes peeled for: rare sightings of the Cape grysbok, and the multi-tentacled octopus in the lagoon.
Location: West Coast National Park, Langebaan
Contact: +27 (0)22 772 2144
Luxury park accommodation
This is the ideal place for some R&R in the middle of a national park. Where else could you awake to the sounds of indigenous birds or enjoy a morning stroll with a herd of eland and ostriches?
A community-based tourism initative sees local workers as chalet owners who reap the benefits of chalet-letting. This renovated three-star accommodation spot offers comfy lodging with all the modern necessities for up to six people per chalet, and there's a pool and children’s activity centre for the kids.
Top tip: For the ultimate social, gather your mates for a braai and chat around the boma, an outdoor recreational area.
Location: Duinepos Chalets, West Coast National Park
Contact: +27 (0)22 707 9900
Get your hearts racing with quad biking and sand boarding on the snow-white dunes of Lambert’s Bay. These are high-energy activities in hot conditions so be sure to stay hydrated.
Fun fact: The dunes of Lambert’s Bay form the world’s smallest desert.
Location: Lambert’s Bay
Contact:+27 (0)83 306 6684
The lip-smacking gourmet
Historical significance meets culinary excellence at the Geelbek Restaurant on the outskirts of the West Coast National Park.
Tuck into the aromatic chicken curry, the delectable green bean and lamb potjiekos, traditional bobotie and more for a taste sensation like no other.
Then pop over to the Information Centre for an overview of the mammal population in the park and a sneak peek at the cast of Eve’s Footprint, the oldest known footprint of modern man.
A must-taste: The pumpkin pie – simply to die for!
Location: Geelbek Restaurant, West Coast National Park
Contact: +27 (0)22 2134
In preparation for the tantalising 10-course seafood meal at the impressive Strandloper on the shores of Langebaan, it’s best to go hungry.
Then gorge yourself on mussels, baked bread and jam, smoked angel fish, snoek, stompneus and, best of all, garlic-infused crayfish.
Have a cuppa: don’t miss the authentically brewed moerkoffie with super-sweet traditional koeksusters.
Location: Die Strandloper, Langebaan
Contact: +27 (0) 22 772 2490
The Organic Pit-stop
The Farmyard Farmstall
The perfect place to get a few provisions (or locally produced souvenirs), the Farmyard Farmstall has something for the entire family.
The little ones will love the free-roaming animals while the adults can while away their time indulging in delicious home-made goods.
The ultimate wholesome takeaway: Farm bread and fig jam.
Location: R27 West Coast Road, Melkbosstrand, Blaauwberg
Contact: +27 (0)22 553 2563.