Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Cape West Coast
What is still an almost undiscovered treasure trove of unspoilt beaches, incredible mountain ranges, rich geographical diversity, and the most astounding carpet of wild flowers in spring, has evolved into a major holiday route out of Cape Town along Route 27.
The Cape West Coast stretches from Cape Town as far as the border with the Northern Cape at Touws River, including within its parameters the indescribably beautiful Cederberg Mountains, famous for centuries-old rock art. All along this stretch of coastline is a series of quaint historic towns and fishing villages with names like Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan that today roll with ease off the tongue, but until fairly recently were left to languor in relative obscurity.
Salt of the earth residents make the area from Ganzekraal to Strandfontein their home, where snoek, mussels and crayfish are a way of life and ‘bokkoms’ (salted mullet strung up in bunches and left to dry) is the local delicacy. Route 27 on the Cape West Coast is a seafood mecca and a number of open-air beach restaurants offer unsurpassed seafood fresh from the sea, cooked on open fires whilst you watch the sun sink slowly over the sea.
Just outside of Cape Town, the little town of Darling deserves a stop, especially in September for its Wild Flower and Orchid show and for its locally produced wines. A little further up the coast, the West Coast National Park is the closest spot outside of Cape Town where one can sample the spring flower season. The Fossil Park, which lies just next door to the park, has uncovered 200 different kinds of animals, many of them new to science.
Parallel to the R27, the N7 passes through the Swartland to the equally beautiful towns of Citrusdal and Clanwilliam. Take a detour to Ceres and travel from here to Citrusdal along the Gydo Pass. Just after you pass over the Koue Bokkeveld Mountains you reach the Koue Bokkeveld, a valley famous for its red apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and unpretentious hospitality.
The Cederberg Wilderness, 71 000 hectares of mountainous terrain that runs almost north to south from Clanwilliam to Citrusdal, is renowned for its stark, rugged beauty, whilst gentle walks in the Cederberg when spring transforms the landscape into a carpet of yellow, orange and purple, will not fail to bring you closer to the natural rhythms of a world where fynbos, succulents and wide open skies couldn’t be more remote from city living.
Popular Towns in the Cape West Coast
Overnight? Accommodation in Britannia Bay
Britannia Bay is located 35 km from Vredenburg (the main commercial centre of the region) and 45 km from Saldanha Bay. Britannia Bay offers acres of unspoilt, safe beaches. The bay is very protected and the water is slightly warmer than...
More info and photographs: Britannia Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Churchhaven
Churchhaven is a beautiful little fishing village. Small but with enviable examples of restored white-washed fishermen's houses, with more recent and modern renditions having adopted a similar style. The little fishing village of...
More info and photographs: Churchhaven Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Darling
Traditionally known for its spectacular wildflowers, Darling has much more to offer visitors ... Darling has become the home of well-known South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys's theatre, Evita se Perron, a cabaret venue and...
More info and photographs: Darling Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Doringbaai
Further up the West Coast even than Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay, Doringbaai lies just south of Strandfontein and Papendorp, deep in the heart of 'gone fishing' land where time slows virtually to a crawl, and the sea and the sky become...
More info and photographs: Doringbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Dwarskersbos
Dwarskersbos is perched on the magnificent West Coast of the Western Cape Province of South Africa, where the icy turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean lap mile after untouched mile of shells and sand. This entire region is known...
More info and photographs: Dwarskersbos Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Ebenhaezer
Ebenhaezer is rural village on the Cape West Coast of South Africa, where the fishing villages complement the farming communities within naturally spectacular surrounds. This little community gets to enjoy the annual bloom of the...
More info and photographs: Ebenhaezer Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Elands Bay
Eland’s Bay is one of those gems that have managed to elude the rush of development and city dwellers to stake their claim on a piece of the coast - this is sand and sea with little else to lure the average holiday maker. The modest...
More info and photographs: Elands Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Goedverwacht
Goedverwacht was originally a farm called Burgershoek, owned by Hendrik Schalk Burger, who was cared for in his later years by his slave, Christiana Maniesa, and her five children. In gratitude he left her the farm. The will, which...
More info and photographs: Goedverwacht Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Grotto Bay
If it is nature you want to experience, then Grotto Bay is easily one of the closest towns to Cape Town in which to do so. There are kilometres of coastline, and the Grotto Bay Coastal and Nature Reserve is part of the Cape West Coast...
More info and photographs: Grotto Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Hopefield
Despite the fact that Hopefield, when compared with nearby popular West Coast towns like Paternoster, Saldanha, Velddrif and St Helena Bay, tends to be something of a wallflower, it is fast earning its place on the calendars of those...
More info and photographs: Hopefield Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Jacobsbaai
Jacobsbaai, situated midway between Vredenburg and Saldanha Bay, is an isolated, traditional Cape West Coast Village. Strict building restrictions in the town have preserved the breathtaking 2 kilometers of coastline, boasting...
More info and photographs: Jacobsbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Kraalbaai
Lying just outside the Postberg Flower Reserve, which is part of the West Coast National Park, Kraalbaai is a beautiful, lagoon-side space in which to escape, made all the more memorable by the obvious house-boats moored in the shallows...
More info and photographs: Kraalbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Laaiplek
Almost indistinguishable from Velddrif, Laaiplek lies on the west side of of the town closest to the sea, its name derived from its function - a place where one can offload the catch of the day on the pier. The heart of Laaiplek...
More info and photographs: Laaiplek Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Lamberts Bay
The unpretentious, picturesque seaside village of Lambert’s Bay lies right up the West Coast, not far from Clanwilliam and only 2.5 hours’ drive from Cape Town. This part of the coast is quite simply beautiful, with wide expanses of...
More info and photographs: Lamberts Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Langebaan
The popular town of Langebaan is just over 100 km from Cape Town on the West Coast off the R27 next to Langebaan Lagoon. The white Caribbean like beaches surrounding the crystal clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon are one of the...
More info and photographs: Langebaan Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Lutzville
Lutzville is a small village along this coastline, close to the fresh waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This settlement is on the banks of the magnificent Olifants River, which makes for some beautiful views and excellent photographic...
More info and photographs: Lutzville Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Mamre
The 'great tree of Mamre' is where Abraham is said to have pitched his tent. Whilst he never owned the land on which his tent rested, he did later buy a piece of land very close to it where he buried his wife, Sarah. And indeed...
More info and photographs: Mamre Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Nuwerus
The hamlet of Nuwerus lies at the intersection of the N7 and Route 363 between Garies and Vanrhynsdorp, just south of the equally small Bitterfontein. It's described by those who live there as a little, country town within an area...
More info and photographs: Nuwerus Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Papendorp
Near to the banks of the exquisite Olifants River, in the heart of the Cape West Coast of South Africa, is the small fishing village of Papendorp. This settlement is situated along the Atlantic Coast, the chilly water of which is brimming...
More info and photographs: Papendorp Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Paternoster
Paternoster, meaning "Our Father" derives its name from the prayers of ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors. Paternoster is a small, quaint and picturesque fishing village about 145km (90 minutes drive) from Cape Town and 15km north west of...
More info and photographs: Paternoster Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Philadelphia
Rural Philadelphia is just off the N7 towards Malmesbury. Conversely you can take a more scenic drive along the Koeberg / Adderley Road from Durbanville through farmland until you reach the gorgeous village. Philadelphia began, as...
More info and photographs: Philadelphia Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Port Owen
The beautiful West Coast region is a necklace of loosely strung villages that hug the rough coastline north west of Cape Town. Port Owen lies just a little closer to the coast than Velddrif, where the R27 appears to peter out and the...
More info and photographs: Port Owen Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Redelinghuys
Lying but two hours' drive from Cape Town, Redelinghuys is known as the potato capital of the Sandveld. It lies on the R366 between Picketberg and Velorenvlei, north of Aurora and en route to Elands Bay, if you like detours. The village...
More info and photographs: Redelinghuys Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Saldanha
About 110 km up the Cape West Coast from Cape Town, the picturesque harbour town of Saldanha is essentially motivated by export and the fishing industry, and crayfish, fish, mussels, oysters and seaweed drive the economy. The sheltered...
More info and photographs: Saldanha Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Shelley Point
On the West Coast of the Western Cape lies Shelley Point, about 150 kilometres north of Cape Town, perfectly positioned between Saldanha and Port Owen. It is a beautiful part of the world, this previously undiscovered coastline...
More info and photographs: Shelley Point Information
St Helena Bay
Overnight? Accommodation in St Helena Bay
St Helena Bay was "discovered" by the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama on 7 Nov. 1497, during his pioneer voyage from Europe to India. He named the bay after Saint Helena, a devout, influential Christian and mother of Roman Emperor...
More info and photographs: St Helena Bay Information
Stay? Accommodation in Stompneusbaai
St Helena Bay lies on a stretch of coastline on which there are no fewer than 18 bays, three harbours and endless choices of beaches - it's heaven on the West Coast region, only two hours maximum from Cape Town. Stompneusbaai is a...
More info and photographs: Stompneusbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Strandfontein
Strandfontein is a small sea side village situated at the mouth of the Olifants River. Strandfontein ('beach fountain') has evolved from being an small rural beach resort to a bustling tourist hub, especially during the wild flower...
More info and photographs: Strandfontein Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Vanrhynsdorp
Vanrhynsdorp is in administrative terms part of the Western Cape Province, but geographically, Vanrhynsdorp is part of the Namaqualand Region and is the hub of the flower routes. Vanrhynsdorp is the start of the the vast, semi-desert...
More info and photographs: Vanrhynsdorp Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Velddrif
Velddrif is one of the small fishing villages that dot this part of the 'forgotten' West Coast villages; where a visitor is greeted with silence, the space to explore, and where time slows inexplicably. This part of South Africa is one...
More info and photographs: Velddrif Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Vredenburg
Just 130 kilometres north of Cape Town lies Vredenburg, regarded as something of a business hub for the West Coast, and a springboard to the coastal towns of St Helena Bay, Langebaan, Paternoster and Saldanha Bay, to which it is closest...
More info and photographs: Vredenburg Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Vredendal
Part of the original Vreedensdal farm, which dates back to 1748, the now modern town lies on the banks of the Olifants River and has become something of a hub for the Matzikama region, known for its contrasting sandy plains, rugged...
More info and photographs: Vredendal Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Yzerfontein
Yzerfontein offers unspoilt coastline with both rocky and sandy beaches including the famous sixteen mile beach which stretches all the way to Postberg Nature Reserve within the West Coast National Park. Yzerfontein is known for...
More info and photographs: Yzerfontein Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Aurora
Aurora is a small, unassuming town with a particularly pretty church at its heart, the pavement of which serves as a friday afternoon meeting place under a bountiful and shady tree for those who wish to watch the comings and goings of the local...
More info and photographs: Aurora Information