The small settlement of Papendorp is situated overlooking the Olifant’s River Estuary where the river enters the sea.
Located on the West Coast Way Wild Route
Papendorp is located on the West Coast Way Wild Route. Papendorp is a tiny settlement on a big river. Situated deep in the West Coast it is 300km from Cape Town travelling on the N7 and the R366. Set back about a kilometre from the sea the few dwellings overlook the Oliphant’s River, floodplains, salt pans and the abundant bird life. The river opens out onto an unspoiled beach, accessible only on foot. Steps and a boardwalk take walkers through a marshy area and past gleaming white salt pans before hitting the path to the bird hide. The river is bright blue in contrast to the earthy tones of the fynbos. The birdlife here is prolific and the silence is absolute. White sand dunes rise in the distance and it is just you and nature.
It has a beautiful view over the wetlands and river with a huge variety of bird species to be seen (183 species).
Papendorp derives its livelihood from fishing in the estuary and from salt gathering at the nearby salt pans. Salt is still processed in the traditional way.
Remnants of the old reed-and-mud houses where the fishermen dwelled in the past can still be seen as well as the rustic tittle church overlooking the river mouth. At the community needlework project beautiful hand embroidered linen can be bought.
Another attraction is archaeological remains in the form of shell middens.
Papendorp is one of the few remaining places where you can see the simplicity of life in its purest form as it used to be along the entire West Coast.
Find Papendorp on the West Coast Way Wild Route.
Open 7 days a week
Distance from Cape Town: 307.3 km
Coordinates: 30.5724° S, 17.9887° E
Contact: +27 (0)27 712 8035/6 | www.experiencenortherncape.com