Cape West Coast
Stretching from Blaauwberg in the south to Namaqualand in the north, the Cape West Coast region comprises 44 small towns along the southwestern coast of South Africa within the Western Cape Province.
The region is bordered by the Winelands District in the south, the Breede River District in the east and the Northern Cape Province in the north and east. On the west, the region borders on the Atlantic Ocean, with its cold Benguela Current, which plays an important role in the ecology of the region.
Sightseeing tours offered along the Cape West Coast focus on flora and fauna, birding, vineyards, fossils and whale watching.
The Cape West Coast lays claim to a variety of interesting attractions, but its annual wild flower display in and around Namaqualand takes top honours. Between mid-August and mid-September the entire region transforms into a kaleidoscope of colour as the flowers carpeting the landscape bloom – a sight definitely not to be missed!
The Cape West Coast is renowned among South Africans for its al fresco eateries and traditional restaurants, which serve local fish and other seafood.
All eyes are on the coast from August to October, when the gentle giants of the ocean, the southern right whales, can be seen frolicking in Lambert’s Bay. The coastal region is also renowned for its expansive 16-mile (25.7km) beach at Yzerfontein, home to the Snoek Derby and Crayfish Derby. The West Coast National Park and Langebaan Lagoon are two other coastal gems.
Take a trip inland to the wine farms of the Swartland and Sandveld, or spend some outdoor time hiking along trails in the spectacular Cederberg and Groot Winterhoek mountains. Look out for unique West Coast vegetation known as renosterveld, which is in danger of extinction.
Visit quaint seaside towns like Velddrif, where life is lived in the slow lane, or Paternoster, home to multi-coloured fishing boats and the Cape Columbine lighthouse.
There’s simply so much to see and do on the West Coast or "Weskus" as the locals call it. Here are a few standouts to make the choice easier.
Six of the best
A cuppa in the Cederberg
The craggy peaks and clean air that bathes the Cederberg mountains creates the perfect growing environment – and the only place on Earth – where the unique health-enhancing Rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis) grows. Take a drive and sample a cuppa!
Eland’s Bay waves
At the mouth of the Verlorenvlei River you’ll find the popular surfing and bodyboarding spot known as Eland’s Bay. Its pristine setting and excellent, consistent winter surf make it a preferred cold-water wave paradise.
Riebeek Valley culture
Tucked into the foothills of the Kasteelberg lies the Tuscany-style Riebeek Valley, renowned its superb wines, olive growing and haven for artists, sculptors and fine cuisine.
Bokkoms, barracuda and bukketraube
Enjoy an al fresco feast of bokkoms (dried fish), crayfish and snoek (barracuda), or enjoy a glass of local wine from one of the friendly cellars along the Cape West Coast wine route; the Olifant’s River Vodacom Wine Route, the Darling Wine Experience and the Swartland Wine Route.
Evita se Perron
A must-see on any West Coast itinerary is the “Evita se Perron” theatre restaurant, situated at the old railway station in Darling, created by Pieter-Dirk Uys, a famous South African satirist, comedian and playwright. In January, the Darling Music Experience – Concerts in the Country, is a popular drawcard.
Gems and gannets
Lambert’s Bay has been proclaimed the “diamond of the West Coast”, not only for the preservation of its fishing-village culture, but also for its crayfish and famous “diamond boats” which leave the harbour daily to scour the seabed for precious gems. In the bay lies Bird Island, where thousands of gannets breed every year.
Image credits for Six of the Best. From top to bottom: 1. Rooibos. Photo courtesy dfid 2. Elands Bay. Photo courtesy rycat 3. Kasteelberg. Photo courtesy Sericea 4. Cederberg. Photo courtesy Cederberg 5. Evita. Photo courtesy warrenski 6. Gannets. Photo courtesy Cameron_hf
The N7 national route from Cape Town leads to the northern regions, while the R27 runs as far as Velddrif and other southern coastal areas. The coastal route from Cape Town to Lambert’s Bay is about 270km.
Fly into Cape Town International airport and follow the road link as mentioned above.
The most rewarding time to visit the West Coast is between April and August, when the weather is not too hot, although some days and evenings can be nippy.
- Lambert’s Bay
- Cape Columbine
- Eland’s Bay (Eland’s Baai)
- Riebeek Valley
Cape West Coast Tourism
Tel: + 27 22 433 8505
Fax: +27 22 433 8484
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.capewestcoast.org