Things To Do in SaldanhaSelf Drive Saldanha to Paternoster
Where? Self Drive Route from Saldanha to Paternoster in the Cape West Coast.
When? Best during daylight hours
How much? Free
Route: Saldanha, Langebaan, Churchhaven, Postberg Nature Reserve, Velddrif and Laaiplek, Dwarskersbos, Cape Columbine, Paternoster
Description: The waters of Saldanha bay and Langebaan Lagoon, the spring flowers of Postberg NR, and the fishing harbours between Laaiplek and Paternoster
Length: roughly 180 km
Time: a day, at least
The seaside village of Saldanha and its picturesque harbour is dominated by the fishing industry.
From the harbour drive inland along Dias Road, turning right into Sea Bride Street, and left at the t-junction into Windhoek, and then right into Panorama Drive, uphill to a wonderful view point, where you can see the lagoon stretch away from you.
Saldanha to Postberg
Leave Saldanha on Camp Street along the north shore of the bay, past a caravan park on the shore of the lagoon to your right. Camp Street veers right and reaches a major railway crossing.
Roughly 8 km later, take a right into Languna Sands Street, and then a left to pass the Laguna Mall, following this road alongside the lagoon. On the lagoon front you will pass Leentjiesklip caravan park and the well-known Strandloper Restaurant (famous for its sundowner seafood-on-the-shore dinners and lunches).
At the t-junction with Oostewal Road take a right and drive through Langebaan, turning left into Sunbird Drive and then right into Park Street. Enter the West Coast National Park from the Langebaan entrance.
It's a 44 minute drive from Langebaan to the little seaside hamlet of Churchhaven, around the bottom end of the Langebaan lagoon - a focal point of the reserve. Thousands of migrant seabirds and waders use these beaches and salt marshes, and sunset in particular, is an unforgettable sight as thousands upon thousands of birds stream home for the night.
Churchhaven is a small fishing village, with a smattering of restored, white-washed fisherman's houses, and a few more recently built homes.
Pass through the village and roughly 15 km later, you reach Postberg Nature Reserve, open only in September for the flowers.
Postberg to Dwarskersbos
Retrace your route back to Langebaan via Churchhaven, using Ostewal Road until it intersects with the R27. Take a left to Velddrif (roughly 90 km) and Laaiplek (the two are virtually indistinguishable); both lie at the mouth of the Berg River as it meets the Atlantic, an area that has always been about fishing. Head down Bokkom Laan along the Berg River edge for picturesque cottages, fisheries and bunches of bokkems or Cape herrings hanging up to dry.
Now drive to the opposite end of town, to Laaiplek at the harbour where fishing teams come in off the ocean to offload their fish straight into fridge vans for factories or market.
From Laaiplek, head up Jameson Street, which becomes Main Road, to Dwarskersbos (10 km). Take a left down Iris Street to the beach – a lovely spot to walk, swim or eat a picnic lunch.
Dwarskersbos to Cape Columbine
Head back to Laaiplek, turning left out of Jameson Street into Voortrekker and right to cross the Berg River bridge (note the salt pans alongside you).
Take a right into the R399 towards Vredenburg and Saldanha. Roughly 10 km later, take a right for St Helena Bay.
This coastal drive is interesting. St Helena Bay , Shelley Point and Britannia Bay have, over the years, become holiday resort satellites, filled with modern homes with sea views, many available for hire. But initially this would have been solely fishermen's cottages, the harbour, and the succession of fish-processing factories that still remain.
Continue around the headland and you will eventually reach the highly popular weekend destination of Paternoster. Explore, eat at one of several restaurants (we highly recommend the Noisy Oyster for its wonderful back garden), and comb the beach.