Exploring the sleepy towns of the Cape West Coast
In these times of restricted intra-provincial travel, Capetonians are particularly blessed with heaps of options for safe travel after months of being cooped up at home.
The Southern Peninsula, Cape Winelands and the Whale Coast are popular day trip destinations from Cape Town, but now is the time to focus on the West Coast. Here, we speak about some West Coast destinations that are a must-see! Keep your eye out for wonderful West Coast self-catering accommodation options!
This is a land of sweeping beach vistas, quaint fishing villages, West Coast holiday resorts and the famous fields of spring flowers. Visiting the Cape West Coast is like touring a small country so prepare yourself for panoramic views, friendly locals in sparsely populated towns and some of the best grilled seafood and local specialities imaginable.
Insider tip: Don’t leave your fur babies behind! The West Coast has plenty of pet-friendly dining options, like The Chicory Cheese Café in Darling and the Voorstrandt Restaurant in Paternoster.
Best West Coast holiday destinations
Head north from Cape Town to Jacobsbaai, a new town with an old-world charm. The protected ‘baai’, with its whitewashed cottages, is surrounded by fynbos and is popular with bathers and surfers.
Slightly inland, you will find Darling, which was put on the map by Pieter Dirk Uys. This is the hometown of Evita Bezuidenhout, our wittiest and possibly wisest pseudo politician. Try and time your visit with a performance in the local railway station filled with Boere Kitsch where Evita will have you in stitches. There is also a well-curated museum of early village life as well as plenty of wine and craft beer tasting opportunities.
For the best dining options in the West Coast, head straight to Paternoster. For a picnic lunch, Oep Ve Koep is the place to shop for tasty morsels, or you can opt for the equally popular Paternoster Padstal, brimming with food lovers’ choices. This is the ground zero for speciality dining and who could possibly resist Wolfgat (named the best restaurant in the world), Die Gaaitjie Restaurant, and the appropriately named Voorstrandt, which is of course right on the beach. But be warned – book in advance as these are small eateries with big reputations.
Abelone House is a great option to bookmark for a stayover when lockdown lifts! Another great West Coast holiday resort is The Oyster Catcher.
Not too far from Paternoster, there is Shelley Point in St Helena Bay, which is a little peninsula that almost looks like an island surrounded by sea. It provides fantastic sailing opportunities, safe water for children, fishing opportunities and world-class surfing.
The West Coast National Park, which is the best place to view the spring flowers, is a huge attraction for overseas visitors. This is also home to Langebaan and Churchhaven, with its seaside fisherman’s cottages – picture-postcard stuff so have your cameras ready!
For a boost of culture mixed with history, Elands Bay will do the trick for a rich collection of indigenous art by San hunter-gatherers, beautifully preserved in ancient caves overlooking the ocean. Walk on the beach and take in the wonders of this spiritual place preserved of future generations.
On your return journey, turn inland to the majestic Cederberg Mountains for a scenic drive and hiking in the wild. Here, another world of natural wonders awaits you with mountain reserves and exquisite rock art. The local towns move at a slower pace, so do not overlook Wuppertal, Clanwilliam and Piketberg. Each has a story to be told, so take your time and scratch just below the surface, and you will be enchanted by the local lore. And there is even more if time permits but maybe this is for your next excursion when you can explore Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel, Malmesbury with the Bill & Co. Street Market selling local Swartland produce.
A spectacular spot near the West Coast is the famous Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat in the Cederberg Mountains.
Ready to explore? Have fun and enjoy being a tourist in your own province!