West Coast, South Africa
West Coast Wonders
A road trip up the starkly beautiful South African West Coast is a completely distinctive vacation experience.
This coastline of long beaches dotted with quaint seaside villages like Yserfontein, Saldanha, Langebaan, Paternoster, St Helena and Lambertsbay; is known for its abundance of South African crayfish, or rock lobsters, known locally as ‘red gold’.
Stretching from Cape Town up to the Northern Cape border at Touws River, the Cape West Coast encompasses the Cederberg Mountains with their centuries-old rock art, the pristine West Coast Nature Reserve and a wide array of water sport attractions. You can also explore the West Coast Biodiversity Corridor or the Culture and Foodie routes – there is something to suit everyone’s taste.
Kite surfers from around the globe travel to this region, drawn by the expansive turquoise lagoon waters, stable cross shore winds and secluded location of the Langebaan lagoon which presents the perfect conditions for entry level and professional kite surfers alike.
Further north, at picturesque Paternoster, the international-award-winning Wolfgat restaurant is a culinary “must”. Located in a 130-year old building near the archaeologically and geologically significant Wolfgat cave, this restaurant is known for creating sublime seafood- focused meals, delicately seasoned with local herbs, seaweeds and succulents.
Of course, the entire West Coast is famous for its magnificent flower season, when the rains magically transform the arid landscape into a magnificent blanket of wildflowers. This is a spectacular event, made all the more alluring by its brevity and intensity. Flowering season peaks between August and September, but can take place a month or two either side, depending on conditions.
Best Time to Visit the West Coast, South Africa
The West Coast area is less touristy and more temperate than many tourist destinations, with a low chance of precipitation. Visiting the West Coast during Spring, from September through November, offers pleasant temperatures as well as a chance of experiencing the wonder of the Flower Season.
The year-round outdoor destination for water activities like surfing, fishing, sailing and kayaking.
Walk the Cape West Biosphere Five Bay Trail along the rocky coastline between Paternoster and Jacobsbaai.
Stop by for a wine tasting at the Darling Winery, and perhaps take in a show at Evita se Perron.
Top Destinations in West Coast, South Africa
Drive just over an hour up the west coast from Cape Town to the “Jewel of the West Coast”.
The scenic seaside town of Langebaan is idyllically situated alongside a 15 km stretch of calm, protected lagoon. It is renowned for its variety of birdlife. Here tidal mudflats, sandflats, saltmarsh and islands support a busy community of Cape cormorant, greater flamingo, pied avocet, grey plover, gulls, terns, sandpipers and red knots, African penguin, African black oystercatcher, cormorants, and black harrier.
Apart from its ornithological significance, Langebaan’s long, sun-filled days, white beaches and mild climate, make this area ideal for water activities like kitesurfing, sailing, water skiing, fishing and kayaking.
Langebaan is also on the West Coast Way Foodie Route with plenty to offer on the culinary scale. An unmissable culinary attraction is the 10-course meal at the rustic, Die Strandloper Boma where you can bury your feet in the sand whilst savoring a mouthwatering array of authentic West Coast seafood in a spectacularly unique setting. Book ahead for this popular experience!
Langebaan borders onto the rugged wilderness of the West Coast National Park where diverse terrestrial and marine habitats offer activities such as game viewing, cycling, bird watching, game sighting, biking and whale spotting.
Alternatively, a visit to the informative fossil dig tour at the West Coast Fossil Park will leave you wondering at the fossilized remains of Africa’s only bear.
Langebaan’s holiday accommodation caters for all, with family resorts and self-catering holiday flats on the beachfront as well as romantic luxury accommodation options for discerning travelers.
Best Time to Visit Langebaan
While Langebaan’s sunny weather lasts virtually all year, pleasant average temperatures between 20 and 26 degrees during the months of January, March, April, May and October, November and December make these months most agreeable.View
Paternoster is one of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast of South Africa.
Situated 145 km from Cape Town at Cape Columbine, the coastal enclave of Paternoster is known for its rows of traditional white-washed fishermen’s cottages overlooking the Atlantic, its rugged natural beauty and a proliferation of crayfish. Picturesque, painted fishing boats pulled up on the white beaches complete the nostalgic picture.
But Paternoster is not just a step back in history; modern fun-seeking visitors can enjoy the natural splendor in a number of ways from buggy rides, cycling, beach hikes, kayaking, beach trails on horseback and sailing. For those less athletic, bird watching, whale spotting and breathtaking sunsets satisfy the senses, while mouthwatering cuisine served overlooking the sea at the internationally recognized Wolfgat restaurant, one of Paternoster’s many excellent eateries, will tantalize the taste buds.
A stay at Paternoster must include a look in at the Paternoster Art Route, a tour of the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and a visit to the famous Cape Columbine Lighthouse. Here is your opportunity to stroll along vast stretches of white beaches, taste the traditional “bokkoms” (dried fish) beloved of the locals or, between August and October, kick off a flower safari of the West Coast Flower hotspots including nearby Velddrif, Hopefield, Jacobsbaai, Langebaan and the West Coast National Park.
Accommodation in Paternoster includes an array of seaside campsites, self-catering beach villas, quaint bed and breakfast establishments and excellent hotels. Building regulations in the area ensure that most of the village buildings are low and whitewashed with blue accents, imbuing the area with a charming West Coast seaside flavor.
Best Time to Visit Paternoster
The months of January, March, April, May, October, November and December present lovely weather with temperatures averaging between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius. The flowering season runs from July to October, but the actual appearance of the flower carpets is dependent on the level of Winter rain, so keep an eye on what the locals are predicting if you want to catch the “West Coast Snow”.View