Sparsely populated with access to largely deserted Atlantic beaches, and spring flowers in July/August, here’s a West Coast itinerary to get the most of out of the seaside villages, windswept scenery, and time expanding experiences.
Because a weekend isn’t much time to spend on South Africa’s West Coast
This is the easiest and fastest way to get a taste of the West Coast without travelling far from Cape Town. Langebaan Lagoon is here, Seeberg Viewpoint, and the Postberg section, renowned for its flowers, is open during the flower season (phone ahead to avoid disappointment!).
Possibly the West Coast’s most popular weekend town, Paternoster is a whitewashed fishing village about 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. Spend the weekend taking long walks on the beach, fishing, diving, hiking, sea kayaking, driving the Cape Columbine nature reserve, and eating in some of the best seafood restaurants around. Stay in any one of these fishing village cottages in Paternoster.
Don’t miss the opportunity of a stop here en route up the West Coast. The San demonstrate their skills, share their ancient knowledge and identify edible and medicinal plants in the area whilst tracking animals. It’s a chance to learn, first-hand, about South Africa’s First People.
If you’re after a beach wilderness experience, then Eve’s Trail is just one of five slackpacker trails you can do in the Cape West Coast Biosphere. Starting on the beach south of the West Coast National park it follows the footsteps of Eve, the woman regarded as the mother of human life, across the sand dunes.
Take your pick, for there are more than a couple of these wonderful open air, casual restaurants, where, on the water’s edge, you sample the delights of the sea – anything from black mussels to snoek and waterblommetjie bredie on an open braai.
If you’re a camper then Tietiesbaai is the place to camp for its beauty, although some now consider it unsafe at night. But during the day the bay is still one of the best swimming, paddling beaches for families on the West Coast. Protected from the wind there are also hiking trails in the area.
Without doubt one of our favourite villages, Philadelphia lies just off the N7 en route to Malmesbury (so close to Cape Town it functions as a commuter town). It’s small and quaint, dotted with a high street lined with shops, a couple of restaurants and coffee shops, art gallery, pottery studio and low-key Cape cottages.
Over 10 000 people attend this annual October music fest on Cloof Wine Estate in Darling.
Interestingly, and for many unexpectedly, this coastline is alive with wine estates, producing lovely wine. Whilst on the coast stick to the cellars around Darling, the others are further afield in the Cederberg and Olifants River areas.
Evita se Perron is the home of the country’s most revered white woman. Not only is Darling’s station the home of her theatre, but her babotie, for which she is renowned, sells in the accompanying restaurant, Evita se Kombuis. Try and time it for an evening show.
Not as well known as towns like Paternoster, Elands Bay is a little further up the coast, but well worth the trip (provided you can find accommodation at a remove from the railway line).
We feature a range of accommodation options to suit all travel needs and budgets. The West Coast Accommodation search facility is easy to use and you make your accommodation bookings directly with the venues. Cape West Coast accommodation establishments include self-catering, B&Bs, guest houses and hotels.