At first glance, the semi-arid landscape of the West Coast does not appear very appealing at all. The mostly dry scrubland of hardy fynbos is starkly grey under an unforgiving open sky with cold windows blowing in from an even colder sea. But once a visitor looks past the surface, they soon discover why the West Coast is one of the most amazing places of the Western Cape. Hidden beneath this grey exterior is hidden a land beauty with a warm and welcoming heart.
|Quaint fishing towns like this one is part of the charm
of the West Coast
The West Coast region, also known as the Weskus, is delineated by the area along which the R27 runs from Cape Town in the south to Touwsrivier in the north. This route follows the coastline of jagged cliffs and unspoiled beaches stopping briefly in small towns and fishing villages along the way.
Many of the small towns and villages are welcoming to visitors and where there are no resorts; there are often wonderful guest houses that offer you the distinctive West Coast hospitality, but more importantly, West Coast cuisine. One thing the West Coast can offer in spades is many kinds of fresh seafood. From smoked snoek, fresh mussels, crayfish, the local delicacy, 'bokkoms' and many more, the food of the area must be experienced to appreciate it.
It may not look like it at first, but the West Coast offers a wide range of activities for visitors. Where swimming is out of the question in the cold Atlantic, other water sports have taken its place. Wind surfing, kite surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing and many others are available for those looking for a little adventure. The area is also a good place to see whales during the mating season from August to November.
For those looking for a more relaxing holiday, the historical towns like Lambert's Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan offer interesting museums detailing the history of the area. In many of these places the people still live much like they did a century ago except for the addition of electricity.
National parks also give visitors the chance to see the many bird and animal species that call the area home. In the spring, the West Coast comes to life. While seemingly grey for much of the year, when spring comes, the land turns into a carpet of colourful wildflowers that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hiking trails and tours take visitors up close to marvel at the wonder of the natural world of the West Coast.
Whether you come here for the natural beauty, the solitude of a forgotten coastline or the fun activities available, the West Coast is the perfect destination. Come and see for yourself the warm heart that beats beneath the grey façade. Be careful, though, once you arrive you may never want to leave.
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