A paradise for hikers, cyclists & mountain bikers, birders and nature-lovers alike. And the park truly comes alive with colour during flower season.
Against the backdrop of the azure blue lagoon, white dunes, and rare fynbos, the West Coast National Park has so much to share. I took a trip to the park and found it to be a true hidden gem, and a must for all visitors to the Western Cape.
Starting Out From The Farmhouse Hotel
We started our day from The Farmhouse Hotel where we were staying, a beautifully restored Cape Dutch homestead turned luxury hotel. From there we drove to the Langebaan gate of the park, only a five-minutes away from the hotel.
The Farmhouse Hotel overlooks the azure Langebaan Lagoon and is only five minutes from the park.
We used our Wild Card to get free entrance, but the tariffs are very reasonable even if you don’t have one.
First Stop: Seebank View Point.
Our first stop was Seebank View Point. This is the highest point in the whole park and has the best views of the whole park. It a perfect opportunity to take in the whole lagoon, as it is on route from the Langebaan gate to the rest of the park.
100,000 Years of History at Geelbek Visitors Centre
The beautiful Geelbek Restaurant has delicious food, perfect for a mid-morning snack. Next door, the Visitor’s Centre offers a wide range of information as well as a replica of Eve’s Footprints. Palaeontologists discovered these prehistoric footprints in the Park and estimated them to be over 117,000 years old.
There are also two bird hides at Geelbek that extend over the high tide mark of the lagoon, allowing you to get close to the flocks of bright pink flamingos.
Wildlife Safari On-Route
From Geelbek we drove to Kraal Baai and along the way we had ourselves a self-drive safari game drive, spotting a tortoise crossing the road, ostriches, and a small herd of gigantic Eland.
While the West Coast National Park doesn’t have large predators or the big five, it does have a great number of other mammals, including Mountain Zebra, Bontebok, Caracals, Duiker, and Mongoose.
West Coast National Park is also home to over 250 bird species, over a quarter of South Africa’s total.
Endless Azure Water and White Sandy Beaches at Kraalbaai
Kraalbaai was my favourite stop in the West Coast National Park. With warm shallow water and white sandy beaches, it felt like paradise.
We stopped for a swim (perfect for those of us who don’t like cold water!) and a picnic.
Kraalbaai features beautiful houseboats gently floating in the warm shallow waters.
Crashing Whales and Shipwrecks at Tsaarsbank
A short drive away, Tsaarbank offers all the magnificent power of the crashing waves, in contrast to Kraalbaai’s tranquillity. It features a lovely braai and picnic area and is also the start of the Shipwreck Hike, which takes you to the wreck of the Pantelis A. Lemos.
During August and September, Southern Right Whales pass by the park and Tsaarsbank is the perfect place to view these magnificent creatures.
The Shipwreck Hike starting at Tsaarbank is a great hike for adventure-lovers.
Next Time: Flower Season
Heading out from West Coast National Park, I know this is a place I want to come back to, particularly during flower season.
The West Coast National Park is famous for bursting into a vast array of colour during August and September with flowing fynbos and veld. Particularly prominent in the Postberg Section of the Park (which is only open to the public during Flower Season), the beautifully bright colour-scapes are said to be unmatched.
Spend the day taking in the beauty of the West Coast National Park and stay in The Farmhouse Hotel in Langebaan.