Road trip to the West Coast National Park
After moving to Cape Town I’ve been to the West Coast National Park a few times. When arriving here everyone told me that we should visit the park. At first, I couldn’t understand why people would go… I mean there isn’t even any big game! No big five and the biggest predator you might see is a bat-eared fox. I was intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about.
And so our journey began…
We took the R27 towards from Cape Town, it truly is a beautiful drive all along the coast past Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand, Grotto Bay, and Yzerfontein. We did stop at the West Coast Farmstall. I’ll recommend that you stop there for a pitstop. You have to turn off towards Yzerfonstein, 100m in the farm stall is on the left. The freshly baked bread with Nastergal jam (truly South African jam) is a must and there is a lovely restaurant, you can decide to enjoy your meal inside or outside. Toward the back is the garden and it feels like you’re walking into another world, with majestic marble-, wood sculptures and birds welcoming you with their singing. You can lose track of time as you walk from cage to cage admiring the beautiful birds. There’s even one that will mimic your laughter, we had a lot of fun with him. A place where you can enjoy a few moments of rest and the kids can run around safely with loads of photo opportunities. Definitely worth the stop.
The Park is about 10 minutes further on the R27, as with all Parks, we had to fall in line to pay the entrance fee. The 14th annual SA National Parks Week will take place from 8 to 15 September 2019 with free access to most of the 19 national parks. The BEST time to visit the Park is during August & September. Why? The gates to Postberg will be open, more about this a little later. As we entered the park we were greeted by ostriches and little ostrich chicks, how cute are they, exact replicas of the mom. Did you know that you can’t distinguish which chick is male or female until they are between the ages of 3-4 years only then do the males get their distinctive black feathers!
The absolute awe that fills you the first time you see the lagoon is indescribable. There is a little fishing village in the Park called Churchhaven, but unfortunately, no day visitors are allowed. So onward we went, driving along with the lagoon on our right and a few glimpses here and there of the ocean on the left. As we approached Kraalbaai, you can see the houseboats and other boats in the water, the lagoon is so calm and inviting, even if there is still a bite in the air. You can swim, canoe, kayak or sup board. We planned to braai here at one of the picnic spots but all the braai facilities were spoken for, where to now? Luckily they give you a map at the entrance so you will quickly see there are more picnic spots in the park, so we went to Tsaarsbank. But before we can think of eating, seeing that it is not lunchtime yet, we need to visit Postberg.
Postberg is privately owned property and only open during FLOWER season! As you drive toward the gate you can already feast your eyes on the abundance of beautiful flowers everywhere. There are various routes you can take, any route will do. Seeing this natural phenomenon can’t be described in mere words, you have to experience these fields of flowers for yourself. Have you ever seen flower heads turning toward the sun, if not you will see it here, amazing to sit and watch, just like sunflowers?
You will not only see flowers there is game like zebra, wildebeest, eland, ostriches, gemsbok & hartebeest, don’t forget the birds and insects. Remember to charge your phone or camera battery, you don’t want to miss anything
It’s been a long drive and steak will go down perfectly. After unpacking we realized we forgot one key element to a successful braai… A braai grid! So no steak for us today. We have a tendency to always overdo everything, hence there being food to have a cold picnic on the beach under the umbrellas. Breath in the fresh air, enjoy the fresh breeze, unwind, let go of all your stress, bask in the sun, hide under the umbrella with a book or take a well-deserved nap.
A couple of hours later it was almost time to go before e get locked in! But before that we wanted something nice to drink and stopped at the only restaurant in the Park, Geelbek. The milkshake was a very good idea. They usually have the most amazing weddings and you can also go bird watching, there is usually a lot of Flamingos in the Lagoon. They only keep certain hours so call ahead to make a reservation.
There are various activities you can partake in such as:
- You can go for a short day walks or more serious hikes (2 / 3 days), more details at the Information Centre
- What about mountain biking on the cycling routes
- If you would rather prefer to get wet, apart from swimming, you can kayak or kite-board in the lagoon
- For the bird scouts, there are 4 bird hides to enjoy
- During August and September you can watch the whales from Tsaarsbank, you can enjoy the flowers and the Whales in one day
- Tsaarsbank is also one of the lovely picnic spots
Just in case you wondering here are a list of a few animals you might run into in the park:
African Black Oystercatcher Bat-eared fox Bontebok
Cape Cobra Caracal Common duiker
Dung beetle Eland Lesser Flamingo
Gemsbok Cape grey mongoose Black Harrier
Mole snake Ostrich Great White Pelican
Puff adder Red hartebeest Steenbok
Angulate tortoise Cape mountain zebra
This park surprised me and I will visit it every chance I get. Now I truly wish I were there!