Western Cape DestinationsWitsand, Cape Overberg
The peaceful, coastal town of Witsand (white sands) lies on St Sebastian’s Bay just off the N2 on the Cape South Coast, three hours from Cape Town and not to be confused with the Witsand Nature Reserve, which lies just west of the Langberg Mountains in the Northern Cape.
St Sebastian Bay and Witsand are virtually synonymous with the Southern Right Whale. This bay is the most important nursery for the large mammal on the African Coast and one of the greatest concentrations of Southern Right Whales comes come here to calve every year.
An aerial survey taken in late 1999 revealed a total of 107 calves in St Sebastian Bay and off De Hoop - 61% of all the calves seen between Nature’s Valley and Muizenberg. On a good day, between June and late November, whale watchers can count up to 50 of these gentle giants. (See Whale Watching in St Sebastian Bay for additional info).
Southern Right Whales migrate between Antarctic summer feeding grounds and mating and calving grounds off the coasts of Africa, Australia and South America and are slowly making a recovery from commercial whaling. The least understood of the world’s whales, the Southern Right Whale, weighs up to 58 tons and has the most highly-evolved mammalian brains on earth. They have inhabited the southern oceans for about 60 million years.
The sand is this white because the town lies above a body of underground water responsible for leaching the red iron oxide coating from the sand on Witsands beach. All in all, Witsands makes a wonderful stop on the Garden Route. One is within easy reach of Malgas’s Pont, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Swellendam, Heidelberg, the Bontebok Park, Robertson Wine Route and Montagu.