The school holidays are just around the corner and if you haven’t had the time or budget to plan something elaborate, a superb West Coast staycation may be what you need.
This slice of the Western Cape is an interesting tract of SA’s natural diversity. As summer rolls into autumn, the unspoilt beaches and quaint coastal spots of Yzerfontein, Langebaan or Paternoster are ideal for languid walks, some high-flying kitesurfing or chilled-out kayaking - all sumptuously rounded off with evening seafood braais and West Coast ales and wines.
Nestled alongside the rugged-beauty of the coastline are the equally invigorating offerings of the West Coast National Park or inland towards the north you’ll be spellbound by the Cederberg. Bearvelac and the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Mountains will also not disappoint, while Boland towns such as Malmesbury, Riebeek Kasteel and Wellington are bursting with the recent bounty of harvest time.
Admittedly the ultimate West Coast escapes are between August and September, when the landscape is awash with wildflowers - but all of this natural charm mixed with the laid-back West Coast lifestyle can only mean a worthwhile break then ensures you and your loved ones find the quality-time recharge you deserve.
Easy start with one of these five routes
The beginning point of West Coast Way’s Cape West Coast Routes is the unique Cape West Coast Biosphere, which starts from SANCCOB in Table View to Paternoster and back around the Darling Hills between the R27 and N7 highways.
The West Coast Way's routes run through a type of mega nature park, easily offering over 101+ things to do and see. Beginning at the unique Cape West Coast Biosphere in Table View to Paternoster, through the Darling Hills between the R27 and N7 highways - making it easy to tap into this unpretentious, culturally rich and fascinating adventure spots of South Africa.
1. The West Coast Way Culture Route - Click here for more info
Highlights include the SANCCOB penguin sanctuary, Melkbos blue Flag Beach, Atlantis Dunes and Evita’s se Perron.
2. The West Coast Way Scenic Route - Click here for more info
Must-visit Thali Thali lodge, Hopefield, Moorreesburg and Riebeek Kasteel
3. The West Coast Way Foodie Route - Click here for more info
Highlights include Saldanha Bay’s Culture and Oyster Walk, Paternoster’s Oep vir Koep and Rubens and Shelley Point in St Helena Bay.
4. The West Coast Way Berg Route - Click here for more info
Check out Piketberg, Camien Rooibos tea farm, Rocherpan Nature Reserve and Russells on the Port in Port Owen.
5. The West Coast Ways Wild Route
Elands Bay, Lamberts bay and Bird Island Nature Reserve places sustainable tourism firmly on the West Coast map as the likes of Citrusdal, Clanwilliam, Wupperthal and Garries will ensure thrills for nature-lovers.
Best of the West Coast Stay:
Spending time along this beautiful areas means you’ll get to know the locals. Some have grown up with a special knowledge of the sea, and their deep appreciation for it shows. While the farming folk take real pleasure in sharing their life’s work of animal husbandry, olive pressing, ancient rock drawings and living sustainably with you.
If you’re looking to gain real insight into the West Coast, you need to book a stay in a quintessential Weskus establishment and spend time in the area.
The Farmhouse Hotel, Langebaan - click here to search dates
Overlooking the peaceful Langebaan lagoon, this Hotel provides free wireless internet and private parking along with an authentic farmhouse experience on South Africa's beautiful West Coast.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Saldanha Bay - click here to search dates
Offering contemporary décor, The Protea Hotel occupies a waterfront position overlooking Saldanha Bay, and is just 5 minutes’ walk from the beach.
Abalone House & Spa, Paternoster - click here to search dates
Located in the coastal region of Paternoster Western Cape just 200 m from the sea.
Best of the West: Must-do, see and taste
Sandboard the dunes of Atlantis
There are stretches of white sand dunes as far as the eye can see just outside of Atlantis, an adrenalin rush of note. But if you’re not into sandboarding, you can also hire 4-wheelers and ramp over the dunes.
Rejuvenate in the Olifants River
The Olifants River rises in the Winterhoek Mountains north of Ceres and flows to its estuary near Papendorp in the north-west through a deep, narrow valley that widens and flattens into a broad floodplain below Clanwilliam - Swimming along its banks is a remedy to the soul.
SEE: West Coast Seafood Indulgence: 5 foodie spots to enjoy
Savour real West Coast goodness
If you’re after craft beer, Darling Breweries will pour you a cold one on the double. For wine, Riebeek Valley, Groote Post and even Trawal offer a taste of the season. And if hunger strikes, you can indulge in some handmade fare including charcuterie from The Flying Pig and olives from Riebeek Kasteel.
Heritage Hiking Trails in the Cape West Coast
From Blaauwberg Nature to the tranquil lagoon of the West Coast National Park - spending a day or an extended slackpacking weekend in nature comes highly recommended.
What to read next on Traveller24:
- 6 Things to love about the West Coast Way
- Living West Coast Heritage: 5 Adventurous things to do