A basket of bokkoms on the West Coast Way Foodie Route
Get to know the West Coast with a road trip: You have to taste a culture to understand it.
When experiencing the West Coast Way Foodie Route, you have to chew on a bokkom (whole, salted and dried mullet) from Velddrif – some call it the bokkom capital of the world – to get the real feel of the West Coast.
When slicing thin strips off a bokkom it’s impossible not to envisage a fisherman with a weatherbeaten face and a twinkle in his eye. Often belied by a curt answer in a gruff voice. But that’s before the storytelling begins.
Luckily for the more squeamish the West Coast Way Foodie Route, one of the unique themed routes by West Coast Way that showcase the area’s attractions and activities, offers much more than the ubiquitous bokkom.
Storytelling and earthy hospitality is part and parcel of the West Coast. As the West Coast Way Foodie Route is a self-drive route – as a day trip, short break from Cape Town city life or extended West Coast holiday – it is up to you whether you want to linger longer.
Often it is indeed difficult not to do once you have decided to visit a museum or two, view some art, learn more about the fishing history and listen to some of the local stories in order to become acquainted with the culture of the West Coast.
Huge portions go hand in hand with hospitality in this part of the world.
At Thali Thali Game Lodge the Weskus platters and eisbeins, not to mention Sunday buffets, will attest to this. Those who are not seduced by stoep sitting can attempt to hone their skills with a bow and arrow.
Ormonde Private Cellar in the town of Darling – before I’m accused of casting before I’ve baited my line – is the starting point of the Foodie Route. Ormonde offers wine tastings including bespoke chocolate and wine tastings as well as artisan platters with a selection of goodies like poached pears in merlot.
The next place to explore on your West Coast road trip is Geelbek Restaurant in the West Coast National Park – known for their Cape Bobotie – a recipe passed on from generation to generation.
At Protea Hotel by Marriott® Saldanha Bay, you feel the sea breeze caressing your face whilst slurping oysters. The world – or rather, the West Coast – becomes your proverbial oyster. This luxury establishment also makes a mean braaibroodjie.
Club Mykonos offers total relaxation with panoramic views over Langebaan Lagoon. Lather on some sunscreen and enjoy a little bit of Greece as you breakaway on an Elite Charters cruise of Langebaan Lagoon. You’d probably be tempted to stay for a night or three.
Book: +27 (0)72 702 9919 | elitecharters.co.za
Or enjoy one of the countless sunny days per year – it’s said that the Cape West Coast has more sunny days per year than anywhere else in the world, though it might be one of the countless yarns they spin good-naturedly – at Russells on the Port overlooking the Port Owen Marina. Chef Charl Coetzee serves distinctive local cuisine with global inspiration at this boutique guesthouse.
Blue Bay Lodge & Resort in Saldanha has its own restaurant, Blue Bay Café Restaurant, and Bar, with views over the bay of Saldanha. It’s a popular meeting place over cocktails.
The West Coast Fossil Park – one of South Africa’s most important Heritage Sites – is home to 5 million-year-old fossils and the Sivatherium Coffee Shop. Enjoy tasty home-baked goods here.
Paternoster has more restaurants than you can shake a harder at. This is but one of the reasons why you should seriously consider spending a few nights in this fisher village turned trendy.
After all, bokkoms, a derring-do attitude and a passion for their district are what the people of the West Coast share – it’s their culture on their plate.
Visit www.westcoastway.co.za to find accommodation, for information on restaurants as well as on things to see and do and to get all the insider info on the Cape West Coast. Share your experience on @WestCoastWaySA
West Coast Way is a unique collection of themed routes that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors when they do an adventure-filled Cape West Coast self-drive trip for a day trip or a West Coast Holiday. The new West Coast Way “basket” of free routes on offer include the West Coast Way Tractor Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, the West Coast Way Cultural Route – as well as the newly launched West Coast Way Wild Route, all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many.
For more information on West Coast Way, the other routes on offer, and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.
Written by: Ilse Zietsman
I’m a freelance journalist – I love writing about travel, food, and people. Travel is my passion – I’ve traveled to 44 countries and I’m always planning my next trip.
I have a curious mind, I love learning new things and doing something different. And yes, I confess, I listen to Boney M over Christmas.