Explore these 3 forgotten West Coast dorpies

2018-02-24 18:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Beyond the more popular southern parts of the West Coast, past popular fishing village Paternoster, even beyond Lambert's Bay, lies the last coastal towns of Western Cape before you enter the Northern Cape.

Doringbaai, Strandfontein and Papendorp are three little dots on the map, but each offers an isolated escape for those who feel bogged down by the crowds of Langebaan.

Beautiful seaside sunsets, locally sourced seafood and outdoor adventures paint a quiet break from our bustling lives.

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You can also take a short drive inland to explore a little-known wine and beer route, and maybe take a few detours along the way.

If you think you've seen all there is too see on the West Coast, be sure that these three 'dorpies' are ticked off on your list.


You may not think that a small fishing town would have its own winery, but Doring Bay loves to surprise its guests. Fryer's Cove Vineyards can be found at the old harbour, perfect for those rustic Instagram posts. Its wines are flavoured by salt flakes blown onto the vineyard from the cold sea, and the sauvignon blanc has received a few prestigious awards.

If you're looking for a 'dop' with locals, there's an easy-to-spot pub in the middle of town, and for some lekker 'vis en chips' the Seespens is a quaint family-run restaurant.

For accommodation, Thornbay looks right across the old harbour and is a great homebase for exploring the other towns. Be sure though to make time to watch the sunset falling over the horizon, a sight that shows off the beauty of the Atlantic Sea.

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If you're keen on catching your own meal, Strandfontein's beach is an angler heaven, and especially great to hang out with a picnic and build sandcastles.

The best sight in this rustic town though is just outside of it. In the direction of Doringbaai, you can hike next to beautiful coastal cliffs with sheer drops into a rough sea.

If you're more keen on some extreme fun, the same route has a somewhat daunting mountain bike trail - called the Viswater Mountain Bike Route - that goes right to the edge of the cliffs. It's important to note that beginners need to go with more experienced riders, although you at least have the option of rather riding on the wide dirt road if the cliffs are too scary. 

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The last Western Cape coastal town before you hit Northern Cape, Papendorp, is well worth a stop to explore the windy paths on the banks of the Olifants River. A birdwatcher's paradise, the rust-coloured vegetation and bobbing fishing boats take on a more mysterious air when the mist descends on the river mouth - almost like a ghost story coming to life.

The estuary is an important conservation site for birds, which includes flamingoes, sandpipers and other migratory species - 183 species recorded so far!

And, if you're lucky, you could maybe convince a local fisherman to take you out on the river in their boat to flex your rowing muscles.

SEE: #VisitWestCoast: Exploring from Saldanha to Langebaan

Wine and beer detour

Less than a half hour drive away from the trio you'll hit Lutzville Vineyards where you have to try their crisp sauvignon blanc perfect for hot days. Their cheeseboard is also a sight to behold and may bring tears to cheese lovers' eyes.

If you're more of a beer drinker, the area also has its own craft brewery - Maskam Brewing Company. They have a blonde ale (the best one!), amber ale, weiss and their own apple lemon cider. For families, they have a troupe of farm animals to entertain the kids and a food menu that ranges from pizza to burgers and chicken.

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 (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

If you have time to wander a bit further afield, you can also check out Klawer Cellars in the Namaqualand. They have a big range of wines, but well-known for their exquisite African Ruby Vermouth, infused with rooibos and buchu, and truly tastes like South Africa.

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