West Coast tours & holiday packagesMore than a few fishing villages
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Apart from the unpretentious seaside villages along the Atlantic, the West Coast also offers majestic mountain ranges, wine valleys and wildflowers as far as the eye can see.
South Africa's West Coast is 400 kilometres in length and forms a narrow strip along the Atlantic Ocean. The small seaside towns once lived in solely by local fishermen have become popular holiday destinations, with more sophisticated homes now dotting the coast. Inland, the landscape is covered with fields of canola that explode annually into carpets of vivid yellow. To the north, the awe-inspiring Cederberg mountain range draws countless hikers and campers, and further north still the Olifants River Wine Valley and dry Namaqualand complete this diverse coastline.
The two roads that take travellers from Cape Town into the region are the unremarkable N7 and R27, which despite their lack of scenic interest make access to the towns and natural beauty of the West Coast easy.
My favourite part of the West Coast is the seaside fishing villages. There's nothing like waking up early and going for a long walk on the beach while the fishermen are out, and waiting for the catch of the day.
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Each of the West Coast towns has its own character. Paternoster still has numerous old, white-washed stone fishermen's cottages, although many have now been converted into seaside-themed restaurants and shops. Langebaan is the place to be for windsurfing and kitesurfing on its vast lagoon and Eland's Bay is the place with the most abundant, and easily accessible, crayfish population in the area. Travellers with permits can take out a limited quota during the season. Slightly to the east, the town of Darling has a well-known local micro-brewery as well as the historically significant former railway station, now theatre, Evita se Perron. Carrying on, the Cederberg mountains with their anchor town of Citrusdal and cottages and camping spots high on the slopes are endless. Hikes to rock pools and rivers are the best way to spend the days here.
While a few days can be spent tasting wine in the Olifants River Wine Valley, the Namaqualand area is just as beautiful, especially after the winter rains when the wildflowers pop up everywhere and create a colourful palette of beauty.
West Coast Map
West Coast's location on Google Maps
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