6 Things to love about the West Coast Way

2016-05-08 21:17 - Lauren Manuel-McShane
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South Africa’s West Coast is one of those regions that we return to time and time again.  From surfing holidays in Elands Bay and lazy guesthouse weekends in Paternoster to outdoor excursions in the West Coast National Park, its many spaces and raw beauty keep us coming back.

This past long weekend we returned with our baby boy in tow and discovered even more we loved about this untamed coastal strip.

1.    It’s a short drive away from Cape Town

Depending on where you go, your road trip can take anywhere from one and half hours to three. With these short travel times it makes a weekend getaway more than possible from the Mother City even if you only leave on a Friday evening. And with a baby that barely endures his car seat, this is great news for us as we don’t quite want to test anything longer until he is a bit more settled with our traveller lifestyle.

2. Sunset at the Blue Bay Lodge, Saldanha Bay

While Saldanha Bay is a lot quieter than the nearby towns of Langebaan and Paternoster, there are a few things to enjoy here. We stayed at the Blue Bay Lodge over the long weekend and found that morning walks in their gardens were lovely and peaceful while the lounge couches and bar area are definitely the place to be when the sun sets. As the lazy sun streaked the sky with ice-cream pink and purple and the indoor fire was lit, we sipped our cappuccinos and collapsed further into the realxed West Coast chill quite easily.

ALSO SEE: Hidden West Coast: 20 undiscovered things to do

3. Fish and Chips in Paternoster

When the sun is shining and the fishing boats are bringing in their catch for the day, the Paternoster beach front is really the best place to be. Children brave the icy ocean as if summer never left, holidaymakers walk their dogs and locals sell books and nautical decor. Drive down towards the whitewashed houses and park at the beach. You’ll hear the ladies selling fish and chips before you see them. They’ll be calling out the order numbers from their counter. On busy days, the wait is definitely worth it.

ALSO SEE: 6 Tips for making the most of West Coast flower season

4. Camping and crayfish in Elands Bay.

The only time I’ve ever stayed in Elands Bay was in a tent. As a lover of camping, this suited me perfectly. For those not keen on sandy campsites and roughing it, this may not be for you. Now that we have a baby, this campsite right on the beach may be a bit too rustic for our current lifestyle but as singles we enjoyed every minute of having to hold our tents down in the wind, spend our nights braaing crayfish and trying to catch some waves by day.

5. Kraalbaai - hidden West Coast

There is so much beauty to behold within the West Coast National Park that each time you visit, there’ll be more that keeps you busy. In Spring, wild flowers burst forth in glorious bright hues and cover parts of the reserve. Other times you can enjoy self-drives around the reserve and enjoy game viewing. Our favourite part of the park is Kraalbaai- a sheltered lagoon with aquamarine shades which rival some of the world’s tropical gems. Summer is the best time to enjoy as you can laze on the beach, swim or hit the water in a kayak or SUP.

ALSO SEE: Paternoster: A West Coast winter indulgence

6. Raw and rustic seaside appeal

Unlike the Garden Route or Cape Town’s glamourous Atlantic Seaboard, there are no massive hotels, poser beaches or any visible pretense-just raw beauty, the wild Atlantic ocean and a relaxed  ‘come as you are’ attitude. It’s the perfect place for lazy weekends, boardgames in the winter, swimming in the summer, trailing and  game viewing in the Autumn and flower gazing in the Spring.

Disclaimer: Thetravelmanuel was hosted by West Coast Way SA and the Blue Bay Lodge, Saldanha Bay, including accommodation, activities and meals.