Bokkomlaan Is Where Time Stands Still 100%

Time stands still on a walk along Bokkomlaan, the heritage heart of Velddrif.  Join West Coast Way as we go exploring.

Velddrif is the heart of the fishing industry on the West Coast. Many visitors go there and miss this undiscovered gem. Until now. Cross the Carinus Bridge and take a right along Voortrekker Road. At the Heritage Site sign (on your left) turn right. This takes you to the gravel road of Bokkomlaan.

It’s where bokkoms started, the first road in Velddrif and the heart of the town,” says artist Marina Clunie from River Studio.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Bokkomlaan is named after the salted silvery fish that are strung into bunches and hung to dry

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Fringed by the Great Berg River the road is scattered with a cluster of historic buildings and jetties

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Take it slowly

Fringed by the Great Berg River the dirt road is scattered with a cluster of historic buildings and private jetties. Bokkomlaan is named after the salted, silvery, savoury mullet strung into bunches and hung to dry, like biltong. It’s the signature local delicacy in this area and part of the West Coast Way self- drive Berg Route. Bokkomlaan is a great place to chill and watch the tide come in while sipping freshly roasted coffee. Or sit on a jetty with a cocktail as seagulls bob between children splashing and playing. The birdlife is amongst the best on the coastline. From flamingos and spoonbills to pelicans and pied kingfishers, you might be lucky to spy a black swan.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Sit on a jetty and watch the tide go in or out

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Beware: herons wait for fish and when you turn your back they peck you

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Abundant birdlife, from flamingos and spoonbills to pelicans and pied kingfishers.

Go Slow With Cracklin’ Rosie

A good way to see birdlife up close is by boat offering a memorable trip up the river. And this is where we discover CracklinRosie River Tours by Wendy and Nico. Birding enthusiasts will relish the knowledge they share on the various birds.

“The river is navigable for shallow-drought boats for over 40 km,” Wendy says. Leaving the jetty she promises the best birding in the area. And she is right. “Seeing pelicans here is the equivalent of seeing lions at Kruger,” says Wendy and Nico. From the upper deck, we watch these large birds take off and land appearing like small aircraft. Nearby, flamingos, both lesser and greater appear here, wading with bill upside down in the water, foraging and filtering out small organisms.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Seeing pelicans here is the equivalent of seeing lions at Kruger

Preparing The Bokkoms

Linda Voges was almost born in Dagreek Visserye, one of the bokkom fisheries. Now aged 58 years she employs many casual fishermen from the local community and north to Walvisbaai. Spend time watching fishermen prepare the bokkoms. It’s a summer process. After rinsing Jonathan Klaasen skins the fish with deft concentration. The fish are then tied together with string and stacked in layers in crates, salted and weighted. They are then left for 14 to 21 days. Nearby Charles Pieters cuts the dried salty fish and fills packets for sale. They make a delicious snack with a local artisan beer from Charlie’s Brewhouse at Port Owen.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Take time to with the fishermen prepare the bokkoms at Dagreek Visserye

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Bokkoms are salted, silvery, savoury mullet strung into bunches and hung to dry, like biltong

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

With deft concentration, Jonathan Klaasen and Charles Pieters skinning fish

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Preparing bokkoms at Dagbreek Visserye

Impressionism In Bokkomlaan

From the outside, all buildings look like they are used as bokkom fisheries. However, some have been carefully converted and are now used as coffee shops, restaurants and art galleries. Due to their heritage status, no structural changes can be made thereby still keeping the sense of place and their past – but thankfully without the smell. One of them is River Studio owned by artist Marina Clunie since 2003. She says the original owners made the buildings with gum trees and homemade bricks.

The roof is lined with fluitjies riet – whistling reed. The building came with a jetty but a storm took it away. A freezer room dominates the centre of her gallery. Every conceivable space is covered with beautiful paintings of Velddrif landscapes typical of Bokkomlaan’s boats, sky and water. And so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that water is her favourite subject and blue her favourite colour.

Marina shares her art journey with us: “In May 2009, I visited Paris. My trip included a visit to the Louvre and Claude Monet’s house, studio and lily pond. The highlight for me was visiting the pond – a most awesome experience and a dream come true. The play of light, water and sky here on the Berg River take me right back to Monet’s lily pond series.”

Bokkom Laan Velddri

Artist Marina Clunie of River Studio

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Marina Clunie captures the essence of the area

And by now your tastebuds should be craving bokkoms, beer and big boasting!

“Ek en Djy Vissery”

Next door is ‘Ek en Djy Vissery’, a play on I & J, and open from ‘9 am tot gatvol’. At one end of the narrow stoep is a tiny kitchen. “We serve good food, not fast food,” says Gert Aggenbach. He and wife Magdel specialise in fish dishes and all-day breakfasts which they call Africa Burn. Go inside and get lost among risqué signs and a bizarre collection of memorabilia for sale. Gert says they opened the shop one year ago and the restaurant five years before.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

At Ek en Djy Vissery eat on the veranda or the jetty

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

Magdel and Gert Aggenbach serve good food, not fast food

‘Ek en Djy Visserye’ is the place to find grey Herons, geese (that come when called), Mossies, bokkoms, Velddrif souvenirs and the Afrikaans language, which is used to tell stories with the famous and distinctive West Coast burr. (rolling rrrrr)

Bikers and dogs (in no particular order) are welcome! And in season they are only closed on a Tuesday.

Ek en Djy Visserye is a recipient of the coveted Sluurpy Certificate of Excellence.

Bokkom Laan Velddrif

If it’s coffee you want, then we found another reason to stay longer. A coffee and cake choice is Columbine & Co.

Find Bokkomlaan on the West Coast Way Berg Route


Cracklin’ Rosie River Tours: 071 897 9611 (whatsup preferable) Email

Please contact Wendy (Tour guide) or Nico (skipper) for bookings and more information. This river cruiser is perfect for Small Functions, Birding Tours, Bird Watching and Environmental Education.

River Studio: 083 415 9524, [email protected]

Give Marina Clunie a call to make sure she is at her gallery, if you`re coming through especially to see her.

Ek & Djy Vissery: 082 781 3878 or 082 600 1889

Closed on Tuesdays during high season (and depending on weather in winter/low season). Serving breakfasts and lunches only.

Columbine Co: +27 84 879 7006

Hand roasted coffee open 7 days a week. And great cake.

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Road-Trip-Southern-Africa-West-Coast-Way-Routes Find a 101+ things to see and do on the West Coast Way: Enjoy wine, craft beer, olives and Rooibos tea tastings, Weskus cuisine and braaivleis (barbecue), swing into Citrusdal with a zipline, go Cederberg bouldering, jump into natural (warm) pools, step onto cruises of lagoons and rivers, trek through nature reserves and a National Park, hop onto game drives, try the skill of archery and angling, get your adrenaline pumping with sand-boarding and quad-biking, go horse riding, learn about the San culture and Riel-dancing, do kite- and windsurfing, chill in your flip flops and do surfing, book a kayaking trip, go beach hopping, learn about bees, whales and listen to our birds in a twitcher’s paradise – all in South Africa’s wildflower reserve. For more information on the West Coast’s top places to go, road tripping, hikes, tours and trails, explore or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777.  Follow us on @WestCoastWaySA on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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