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We take a trip up and down South Africa's West Coast

South Africa's West Coast

By Johan Kloppers

When taking a holiday trip in South Africa's beautiful Western Cape province a mere 25 minutes north of Cape Town itself you will find a whole new world of rugged unspoiled beauty, pristine beaches, and wide open skies.

Between the coastal R27 and scenic N7 routes you’ll find the West Coast Biodiversity Corridor, home to a rich diversity of marine species, wildlife and endemic flora, and the gateway to the vibrant Cape West Coast.

The West Coast is the “road less travelled” and built for a good old-fashioned road trip. To plan the perfect trip, look up the exciting new tourism initiative called the West Coast Way for two spectacular self-drive routes: the GroeneKloof and BlueBenguela routes, which offer a total of 21 attractions.

On the heritage-inspired GroeneKloof Route you’ll find the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, Melkbosstrand, Koeberg Nature Reserve, Silwerstroomstrand, Witzand Aquifer Nature Reserve, Mamre Mission Station, Groote Post Wine Cellar, Darling, Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve, West Coast National Park, Yzerfontein and !Khwa ttu San Cultural and Educational Centre.

The laid-back BlueBenguela Route features Langebaan, Saldanha, Jacobsbaai, Paternoster, Shelley Point, St Helena Bay, Hopefield, West Coast Fossil Park and Thali Thali Game Lodge.

Some West Coast gems:

* Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve and Thali Thali Game Lodge are two privately owned game reserves on the R27. Both offer spectacular game drives with Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve known for its lions and rhinos.

See giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra, gemsbok, springbok, bontebok and more. The reserves also have great accommodation and restaurants to boot. It’s definitely worth a visit, whether as a day trip or overnight stay.

* Jacobsbaai boasts a 2km stretch of rugged, rocky coastline with seven small, sandy bays tucked in between which make the landscape both picturesque and unique.

* Kwaaibaai is popular among surfers, while Toothrock and Bamboesbaai are renowned for diving and fishing. Smalbaai is popular with oystercatchers and cormorants which sun themselves on the rocks and Mauritzbaai can be awash with hundreds of terns roosting on the rocks in the shallow waters. The sandy beach of Hospital Bay is ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

* The West Coast Fossil Park is a 5 million-year-old playground. Well, not really, but it has one of the richest Pliocene fossil deposits ever discovered. They also have excellent child-friendly facilities and holiday activities.

The park is a short drive from Langebaan, which makes it the perfect day trip and a fun adventure for the whole family.

* Shelley Point is a tiny, unspoiled peninsula that gives it the illusion of being an island surrounded by sea. It lies in the calm waters of Shelley Bay which makes it ideal for sailing and fishing, and also provides shallow, safe water to splash about in.

Here you can unwind, taking scenic walks along the pristine beach, collecting mussels or just enjoying the sheer pleasure of the unspoilt natural beauty.

* !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre offers a fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge and modern-day life of the San of southern Africa. During a fascinating tour, San guides share their ancient knowledge about oral history, tracking animals and identifying edible and medicinal plants.

The tour includes a ride in an open-top vehicle, a visit to the replica traditional San village and an interactive session about San languages at the traditional boma. The original farmhouse has been restored as a restaurant which serves breakfast and lunch.

!Khwa ttu also offers family friendly mountain bike trails for all ages and abilities for one of the best “2-wheeler” fun adventures in the Cape West Coast.

* For access to more information about all these places, a free app is also available for download from Google Play store, Windows Phone store and the Apple iTunes store. West Coast Way’s app is available as part of an internationally recognised travel app called Tourism Radio City Guides, and showcases over 101 fantastic things to see and do on the West Coast.

* For more info CLICK HERE!

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