The West Coast offers a vibrant, unique and diverse cultural experience, celebrating both the past and the present, as well as the incredible natural abundance and diversity with which this spectacular part of South Africa has been blessed. Discover a whole new world and embark on the adventure of a lifetime by exploring the West Coast at a leisurely pace to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
Blaauwberg Nature Reserve Trail
Following historical routes, this gentle 4.4 km coastal hiking trail starts and ends at the Eerstesteen Resort. Points of interest along the trail include World War II buildings on top of Blaauwberg Hill, an old milkwood tree, a well point and a kraal. Shell middens and archaeological remains along the coastline as well as to the east of Blaauwberg Hill are also present and are testament to the indigenous Khoikhoi communities who once inhabited this landscape. The still stand and are of historical significance.
Enjoy stunning views of two World Heritage Sites, Robben Island and Table Mountain, and make a day of it by having a braai or picnic at the Eerstesteen resort.
Where: Otto du Plessis Drive, Cape Farms
Coordinates: : -33.766416, 18.461581
Contact: +27 21 554 0957
West Coast National Park, Langebaan
An accredited Green Flag trail, the theme of this trail is walking in the footsteps of Eve to experience what life would have been like here at the very beginning.
The 2.5 day, 30km wilderness hike takes you through the unique vegetation, across deserted beaches and round the tranquil lagoon of the West Coast National Park.
The hike starts on the white sands of the beach south of the West Coast National Park and ends at Seeberg cottage, which is the highest point of the park. Your two nights are spent in accommodation in the West Coast National Park and your first day includes a sunset walk to the dunes overlooking Langebaan Lagoon.
The hike ends with a ride to Kraalbaai where Eve’s footprints were discovered, and a dinner of fresh seafood cooked over an open fire.
Contact: +27 86 187-2457 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.capebiospheretrails.co.za
The Darling Stagger
The Darling Stagger is a slow-paced combination of hiking and cycling from the coast to !Khwa ttu San Cultural Centre, through the hills, via wine and olive farms, and ending in Darling.
On this two and a half day slackpacking trail, the emphasis is on the food and wine of the region whilst following a route once walked by both the short-necked giraffe and the San.
This incredible history, and the more recent culture of wine and olive tasting, combine to form the backdrop of the slow-paced 2.5 day experience which is divided into three legs. The first is a gentle seven kilometre cycle from !Khwa Ttu San Cultural Centre on the R27 just outside Darling, down to the sea and along the coastline to Yzerfontein. The second is a 13 km hike across farmland inland from !Khwa Ttu, into the olive groves and vineyards of the Darling hills, and finally into Darling itself.
The third leg is a little 5 km meander through Darling, followed by lunch at the wonderful Groote Post farm.
Coordinates: Start point at !Khwa ttu San
Contact: +27 86 187-2457 | www.capebiospheretrails.co.za
The Darling Mystery Trail
This innovative trail is great fun for the whole family. Offering an exciting fusion of geo caching and treasure hunting, it takes visitors through the scenic historic village of Darling, and participants will find themselves doing exciting things like hunting for a message in a bottle, searching for clues or using their skills in compass reading. All riddles are family-friendly and distributed only in the secure and relaxed surrounding of the old village of Darling.
Simply get your personal trail map for R25 at the Darling Museum and head off for a relaxing two hours walk, or hop on a bike for a quicker finish. Once all the riddles have been solved, the participants receive a treasure and everyone who finishes the trail stands the chance to win a Darling weekend for two worth R2000.
Coordinates: -33.383333, 18.383333
Contact: +27 71 154 0243 | email@example.com | www.mysterytrail.co.za
The Five Bay Trail
The 2.5 day Five Bay Trail explores the rugged coastline between the fishing villages of Paternoster and Jacobsbaai. The theme for this trail is tracing human harvesting of the sea, and it tracks several shell middens as well as contemporary life in fishing villages.
The trail starts with a late afternoon stroll along the beaches of Paternoster as far as ‘Tweede Mosselbank’ and ends with dinner at a local restaurant. Day two takes you through the fishing village of Paternoster, along the beach to Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and Tietiesbaai.
Day three follows the tracks around the headland of Trekoskraal and on to the dunes and wave scoured beaches of Wesbaai, ending up in Jacobsbaai where you tuck into a hearty lunch.
Where: R399 off the R27
Coordinates: -32.811498, 17.895309
Contact: +27 22 492-2750 | www.capebiospheretrails.co.za
West Coast Fossil Park Trails
The West Coast Fossil Park near Langebaan north of Cape Town has one of the world’s richest concentrations of fossils dating back to the early Pliocene era five million years ago when the region was lush and green.
The park offers both hiking and mountain biking trails which traverse a number of different rehabilitated areas in the park and they are an excellent opportunity to experience first-hand the unique west coast flora and fauna. One of several trails in the Park, the Restoration Trail is a self-guided, peaceful 3km walk through indigenous flora and fauna and includes some water bodies where aquatic birds can be spotted from the bird hide.
Contact: +27 22 766 1606 | www.fossilpark.org.za
Grotto Bay Trail
Only an hour out of Cape Town, between Koeberg Private Nature Reserve and Yzerfontein, you will find Grotto Bay; a proclaimed nature reserve which forms part of the Cape West Coast Biosphere reserve and offers several scenic walking trails, an abundance of birdlife and, during spring, becomes a wonderland of wild flowers.
Fynbos and stretches of strandveld offer shelter to a vast array of birds and local mammals, including tortoises, steenbok and duiker, and there is also an African Black Oystercatcher Conservation and Breeding programme in place.
Coordinates: -33.501389, 18.319167
Contact: +27 22 433 8505
Langrietvlei and Helderwater Trails
Just 22km form Hopefield, lies the pristine farm Langrietvlei which offers two stunning hikes along the Berg River. Set amongst the fynbos, hikes in spring are particularly beautiful as the terrain turns into a flower paradise after the first rains. The 10km Helderwater Trail mainly follows the Berg River and takes about three hours to complete and the 20km Langrietvlei Trail meanders further and takes you past a tidal pan with flocks of flamingos.
The Berg River is tidal, and the sea pushes up 10km from the river mouth to the tidal pool near the farmhouse. The area is a natural wetland, and can be flooded by the Berg River in the rainy season from April to November. The 1715 farm homestead has been declared a national monument and is the starting point of both circular hikes.
Contact: +27 22 783 0856 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bakoor Trail, West Coast National Park
The Bakoor Trail is especially great for beginners and those with young children as it is only 4.6km long. Starting near the park entrance gate on the Langebaan side of the lagoon it should take less than three hours to complete at a very leisurely pace, so everyone will be able to keep up.
Pack a picnic and stop half way to enjoy the spectacular views, one of the best spots being under the tree at Seeberg overlooking the lagoon. Be on the lookout for red haartebeest, eland, ostriches, tortoises and, of course, the bat eared fox (bakoor). In spring, when the flowers are in full bloom, this walk is particularly breath-taking. There are loads of photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera.
Coordinates: -33.766416, 18.461581
Contact: +27 22 772-2144/5 | www.sanparks.co.za/parks/west_coast/
Cape Columbine Tietiesbaai to Lighthouse Trail
This rugged nature reserve near Paternoster runs along a rocky stretch of coastline indented with beautiful inlets and coves. Dolphins are often spotted here as well as whales in calving season and the sunsets over the ocean are always breath-taking. The reserve is beautiful all year round, but really shines in flower season.
Cape Combine boasts the last manually controlled lighthouse to be built in South Africa and, for a minimal entrance fee you can visit the lighthouse between 10am and 3pm.
Coordinates: -32.760312, 18.027112
Contact: +27 22 7522 718
Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort
Circling the Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort you’ll find a stunning 3.14km hiking trail meandering through various fynbos species and other indigenous flora. The trail has three viewpoints with truly breathtaking visas of the surrounds including the dramatic Cederberg Mountains. A lower hiking trail is half the length f the full version for a more leisurely stroll. The lower trail can also be accessed via an entry point below Chalet 7 and 8.
Where: N7 Piekenierskloof Pass, Citrusdal, 7340
Contact: +27 (0)22 921 3574 | email@example.com | www.piekenierskloof.co.za