South African Hotels

West Coast Tourism Information

Quick Facts: West Coast

  • The magnificent West Coast is located in the Western Cape of South Africa
  • Kilometers of empty, often windswept beaches
  • Hardy coastal scrub
  • Lonely tree-lined dirt roads
  • Beautiful spring flower displays occur in the West Coast National Park from the end of July to early September
  • Friendly, peaceful atmosphere
  • Route 27 West Coast, Western Cape Province (South Africa)
  • Aurora
  • Darling
  • Hopefield
  • Langebaan
  • Paternoster & Jacobsbaai
  • Port Owen & Dwarskersbos
  • Saldanha
  • St Helena Bay & Britannia Bay
  • Velddrif & Laaiplek
  • Vredenburg
  • Yzerfontein
  • Seeberg viewing point
  • Atlantic viewing point
  • Bird watching paradise
  • Fossils
  • Interesting history
  • Rich flora and fauna

Introducing West Coast

The magnificent West Coast in the Western Cape of South Africa is characterised by kilometers of empty, often windswept beaches and hardy coastal scrub, low horizons and big skies, lonely tree-lined dirt roads, and distant mountains behind which lie lush pockets carpeted in vineyards.

The main reason for visitors coming to this beautiful and remote region of South Africa is to catch the spring flower displays which occur in the West Coast National Park from the end of July to early September.  Visitors have the unique opportunity to enjoy eating fresh crayfish with the feet in the sand.  Golden wheat fields welcome visitors to the beautiful coastal villages. The friendly, peaceful atmosphere of the Wild Coast surrounds the people here.

Flower Viewing in the West Coast region of South Africa (Western Cape Province)

It is impossible to predict exactly when each annual flower season will occur, but rainfall is key. Another determinant is temperature, which is why flowers rarely open before 10am and hardly at all on overcast days. Remember that flowers turn toward the sun, so make sure you have the sun behind you when traveling. For the same reason, the flowers are at their best during the hottest part of the day, from 11am to 4pm. The floral carpets are spectacular from the car, but you'll need to stop and walk to marvel at the myriad species .

Route 27 West Coast, Western Cape Province (South Africa)

The West Coast of South Africa is home to the following quaint towns and villages:

  • Aurora
  • Darling
  • Hopefield
  • Langebaan
  • Paternoster & Jacobsbaai
  • Port Owen & Dwarskersbos
  • Saldanha
  • St Helena Bay & Britannia Bay
  • Velddrif & Laaiplek
  • Vredenburg
  • Yzerfontein.

The West Coast National Park and the Langebaan lagoon on the West Coast have much to offer in regards to archaeology, flora and fauna, bird watching, fossils, history and wonderful sites and views. Birds of the West Coast.

National Park and the Langebaan lagoon on the West Coast

There are about 250 bird varieties to be found in the West Coast National Park and the Langebaan lagoon which are both resident and migratory.  Some of the migratory birds include greater and lesser flamingoes and waders, curlew sandpipers, sanderlings and knots, migrate from Siberia and Greenland and spend the summer here. The attraction for them is the salt marshes at the southern end of the lagoon, the largest of its kind in Africa.  There are 3 bird hides which are available to visitors.

History of the South African West Coast, Western Cape

The West Coast is rich in historical events from the first inhabitants, the Khoikhoi and San to the arrival of the Europeans. The first European to set foot on land was Vasco da Gama at St Helena Bay on the West Coast Peninsula in 1497. Antonia de Saldanha, after whom the bay is named, did not enter those waters at all. Juris van Spilbergen mistakenly named it in 1601 as Saldanha Bay when he thought that he had reached Cape Town. 

Although the Dutch were the first to claim ownership of this region in South Africa, the French were frequent visitors. Countries would claim ownership by planting a post in the ground and formally declaring ownership. One of these ‘posts’ may be seen today near Geelbek claiming the land on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. European settlement was very limited because of the lack of water for 8 months of the year.

However, many stirring events have occurred in the region over the centuries including two sea battles and a visit by the Confederate States of America’s, Alabama, in 1863, the most feared warship of its day. The 5 islands in the area, which are administered by the Park have a history of their own, including battles for ownership, use as smallpox quarantine hospitals, exploits for guano, sealing centres and other activities.

Viewing Points at the West Coast National Park

Great viewing points are offered to visitors throughout the West Coast National Park including:

  • Seeberg, where on a clear day Table Mountain and the Cedarberg as well as the southern part of the lagoon can be seen Atlantic view overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain is also visible
  • Plankies Bay where whales visit from August to November

Archaeology: fossil deposits on the West Coast of South Africa

Fossil deposits extending some 20 million years ago into the past have been found in the vicinity of the West Coast National Park. The oldest human remains south of the Orange River have been found on the Farm Elandsfontein. Some 117 000 years ago a lone female trudged down a steep dune to the lagoon leaving her footprints in the wet sand. Within a few hours the dune dried out and the wind filled in the footprints with sand encasing them.

Over those thousands of years more layers of sand were deposited over the footprints. The sandstone cliff collapsed and exposed those footprints. They were discovered in 1995 and were named “Eve’s Footprints”.  She was called Eve because she may have been the ancestor of modern woman. The site where the footprints were discovered may be seen today. Konstabel Kop, one of the highest points in the Park, was very recently discovered to be an extinct volcano, which blew its top over 500 million years ago.

Cities, towns and village on the West Coast of South Africa (Western Cape)

  • Atlantis
  • Aurora
  • Bitterfontein
  • Citrusdal
  • Clanwilliam
  • Darling
  • Doringbaai
  • Eendekuil
  • Elandsbaai
  • Gouda
  • Graafwater
  • Hermon
  • Hopefield
  • Kalbaskraal
  • Klawer
  • Koringberg
  • Lamberts Bay
  • Langebaan
  • Leipoldtville
  • Malmesbury
  • Mamre
  • Melkbosstrand
  • Moorreesburg
  • Nuwerus
  • Papendorp
  • Paternoster
  • Piketberg
  • Porterville
  • Redelinghuys
  • Riebeek Kasteel
  • Riebeek West
  • Rietpoort
  • Saldanha
  • St Helena Bay
  • Strandfontein
  • Trawal
  • Vanrhynsdorp
  • Velddrif
  • Vredenburg
  • Vredendal
  • Wupperthal
  • Yzerfontein
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