West Coast National Park: The Only Guide You Need

West Coast National Park: The Only Guide You Need

Weskus is die bes kus… so the saying goes

If you want to experience the raw, authentic, outdoors side of the Western Cape, the vast West Coast National Park is a great starting point. Endless natural beauty, a string of secret beaches, uncrowded braai spots, loads of exhilarating outdoor adventures, and some of the best wildflower-spotting in the land – these are just some of the wondrous attractions that make this beautifully preserved, unblemished paradise-on-earth the ultimate escape.

Here are 15 reasons we love the West Coast National Park… What are your favourite reasons to visit this national park? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

1. Keep things cool at Kraalbaai

West Coast National Park 2022: Kraalbaai

This dreamy turquoise stretch of water forms part of Zone A, a multi-functional section of the Langebaan Lagoon, where visitors can enjoy everything from kitesurfing and waterskiing to fishing, kayaking, snorkelling, SUPing, boating – and, of course, swimming in an amazingly still, crystal-clear waters!
Why you’ll love it Water babies are spoiled for choice, given the variety of activities on offer.Take a gentle saunter along the wooden walkway leading down to Kraalbaai, stroll along the main jetty, or simply sunbathe on one of the unblemished beaches, which encircle this spectacular location.
Insider tip There’s a long jetty for your boat(s) to push off from, as well a lovely stretches of sandy beach, ideal for lazy picnics. Separate, partially enclosed braai facilities are available too, near the Information Centre.
How to get there From the West Coast Gate, drive straight for 21.3km – and, if heading from the Langebaan Gate, it’s a 31.6km drive.

2. Lose yourself in blooms at Postberg

West Coast National Park 2022: Postberg Flowers

This prime flower- and game-viewing location is at it colourful best during August and September – the pinnacle of our annual spring-flower season. Actually, it’s only open to the public during those two months, when the ground beneath your feet explodes into a dazzling patchwork of vibrant, varied daisies and sporries.
Why you’ll love it Colour patterns change from one week to the next, as some varieties fade, and others pop up in their place. This amazing flower section is unquestionably one of the best places to see the spring flowers – and it shows in the long queues of eager flower gazers, knowledgeable greenfingers and flower-loving selfie chasers. With this in mind, it’s best to get there early and, if possible, try and visit on a weekday because weekends get really busy!
Insider tip Pack a picnic to enjoy amid the blooms, and make sure you take a camera or smartphone to capture some blooming marvellous pics!
How to get there Found en route to Tsaarsbank, which is 24km from the West Coast Gate – and 34.3km from the Langebaan Gate.

3. Paradise found at Preekstoel

Preekstoel – West Coast National Park

If you’ve ever seen Preekstoel, then you’ll know we’re not exaggerating when we describe it as paradise on earth… This secret beach offers stunning secluded patches of beach, exquisite aquamarine waters feeding into nearby Kraalbaai, and some impossibly striking rock formations in the shallows and near the rugged cliff faces.
Why you’ll love it It’s hard not to love a location that is as pristine as it is stunning. You won’t be able to resist dipping into the exquisite waters (even during winter) and soaking up the sun, as you explore a place that feels like your very own patch of paradise.
Even when you see other families, bathers and sun-lovers around, you will feel like a solitary explorer, particularly with the unique rock formations.
Insider tip This beach is named after the rock formation that is shaped like a preacher’s pulpit… which is precisely what Preekstoel means in Afrikaans.
How to get there If travelling from the West Coast Gate, it’s 21.3km to Kraalbaai, with Preekstoel located nearby. If heading from the Langebaan Gate, you’ll be covering some 31.6km before you arrive at Kraalbaai.

4. Fire up the braai and enjoy a picnic at Tsaarsbank

West Coast National Park 2022: Tsaarsbank

On the more weather-exposed, rougher side of the West Coast National Park, the Lagoon’s tranquil, mirror-like waters are swapped for crashing, frothy Atlantic Ocean waves. The less pristine, yet still somehow beautiful, stretches of beach are perfect for shell collecting, and, you guessed it, a lekker braai by the sea!
Why you’ll love it A braai by the sea – it doesn’t get better than that! Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the Cape’s most popular braai spots, so get there early – or be prepared to wait in the first-come, first-served queue – which provides few guarantees other than grumbling tummies. We recommend packing a hamper to snack on while you wait to braai. Bring a picnic blanket, some cushions and extra plastic bags to collect your rubbish in.
During the months of August and September, visitors might get lucky with a chance spotting of some southern right whales frolicking offshore, along the Tsaarsbank stretch of coastline.
Good to know While you’re in the area, you might also enjoy a hike along a rather deserted beach to the Pantelis A. Lemos shipwreck, which has been there since 1978. The walk along the strand is pretty heavy and tiring, making the trek seem longer than it is – but you rarely see another human in sight for miles, so it offers its own reward: freeing isolation.
Please note Alcohol is strictly prohibited in public areas, such as the picnic and braai sites, as well as the banks and shores of the Langebaan Lagoon.
How to get there Travel past Postberg, covering 24km from the West Coast Gate, or 34.3km from the Langebaan Gate.

5. Enjoy whale-watching and a wildlife safari

West Coast National Park 2022: Wildlife

The West Coast National Park is home to over 250 bird species, reptiles and mammals. Not to mention, it is seasonally visited by pods of whales. Nature-loving families will be in their element, spotting all the different fauna.
Why you’ll love it The excitement of spotting far-off herds of gemsbok, zebra and bontebok, or giving way to a stray tortoise or scary cobra is the stuff that lifelong (Insta-worthy) memories are made of.
Insider tip From August until October, visitors should keep a keen eye on the shoreline. Huge pods of southern right whales can be seen bobbing in and out of the clear water as they swim along the Tsaarsbank section of the park, particularly if the waves aren’t too choppy.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27

6. Drift on by in a houseboat

West Coast National Park 2022: Kraalbaai Lifestyle house Boats
Kraalbaai Lifestyle House Boats

If you grew up in the 70s, and watched one too many Jaws movies, the thought of being alone on the ocean might not appeal. But for most of us, hanging out on a luxurious houseboat – while bobbing around the slow-moving waters of the Langebaan Lagoon – is a castaway fantasy come true. These permanently anchored house boats are perfect for large-group holidays: Serenity and Larus sleep six each, Eve sleeps eight and Nirvana accommodates 24. Enjoy on-deck braais and swims around the lagoon.
Why you’ll love it Living in a houseboat offers a unique – private, fuss- and queue-free – perspective of the park.
Cost Serenity: From R3 900 per night (minimum stay: two nights over weekends)
Larus: From R3 600 per night (minimum stay: two nights over weekends)
Eve: From R4 700 (minimum stay: two nights over weekends)
Nirvana: From R16 000 (minimum stay: two nights over weekends)
Insider tip Each houseboats come fully decked out with a kitchen that includes a gas stove, oven and fridge, braai facilities, and bathrooms with shower, toilet and basin.
How to get there If you’re coming from Cape Town, travel along the R27 for 85km, then turn left into the SANParks gate (about 10km after the Yzerfontein turn off). Follow road for 22km and turn right into Kraalbaai.

7. Leisure adventures on the Langebaan Lagoon

West Coast National Park 2022: Langebaan Lagoon

Turquoise waters, asphalt-coloured cliffs, giant boulders, and soft, sandy beaches straight out of a Grecian beach scene, Langebaan Lagoon has a dreamy, decidedly European feel.
Why you’ll love it With a wide range of watersports, activities and some partially enclosed braai facilities to enjoy, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this stunning setting.
Good to know The lagoon is divided into three zones: Zone A, B and C. Zone A is a multi-functional section that allows watersports (kite-surfing, waterskiing, SUPing, snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, fishing, angling and boating); while Zone B is reserved exclusively for sailboats and board sailing no-power boating or angling). Zone C is a private sanctuary; public access is strictly prohibited.
Insider insight Langebaan Lagoon was classified as a wetland of international importance in 1975 according to Ramsar Convention criteria.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

8. Follow the leader with Eve’s Trail

Eves Trail Best West Coast National Park

Trace back time with this wonderfully scenic two-and-a-half-day hiking trail that follows in the footprints of Eve – unmistakable human footfalls in rock (formerly sea sand) that are said to have belonged to a young woman who lived 117 000 years ago. The trail covers 30km of the park’s beautiful terrain, starting from Duinepos and ending at Seeberg – the park’s highest point.
Why you’ll love it After taking in the breathtaking surrounds, hikers might enjoy a comfy stay (and meals) at the three-star Duinepos chalets (or other lodgings that adjoin the park) for the duration of the trail.
Cost Full trail: dependent on group size
Contact  0861 872 457 / 083 708 4007, trails@cwcbr.co.za
Insider tip If Eve’s Trail seems like too much of a commitment, a customised trails can be done and the park also has a variety of shorter hiking trails, such as the Bakoor and Steenbok Trails, as well as a couple of two-day hikes, namely the Strandveld and Postberg Trails.
How to get there From the West Coast Gate, drive straight for nine kilometres – and, if heading from the Langebaan Gate, it’s a 16km drive.

9. Discover ancient treasures on a shipwreck hike

West Coast Nature Reserve Ship Wreck

If you possess an adventurer’s sense of wanderlust, the possibility of seeing a real-life shipwreck is always an exciting prospect. Just beyond Tsaarsbank, you may sight the rusted remains of the once-74 000-ton bulk Croatian carrier, Pantelis A Lemos, shipwrecked here in 1978.
Why you’ll love it The wreck supposedly lies at the end of 1.8km hike (although it seems to work out longer… or so it feels), and is open to the more intrepid among us. This deserted stretch of coastline, far less pristine than its fellow West Coast National Park beaches, is nevertheless a wild and liberating spot, enclosed on one side by beautiful white dunes (which you’re not allowed on) and on the other, by the frothing Atlantic Ocean. Expect to see debris washed up onto the shore but rarely another human being…
Insider tip It’s a pretty tough hike because the beach sand underfoot can make for heavy going, but if you walk close to the crashing waves, it’s somewhat easier.
How to get there Accessible from Tsaarsbank, which is 24km from West Coast Gate and 34.3km from Langebaan Gate.

10. Ride like the wind through nature

West Coast National Park 2022: Bicycle Trails
Kraalbaai Lifestyle House Boats

Feel the wind on your face (and the dust at your feet) as you enjoy a leisurely cycle or an exhilarating mountain-bike ride through the park’s glorious surrounds. All rides start at Langebaan gate, with the first route taking bikers on a 30km round route to Geelbek and back. The second trail goes to the ever-beautiful Kraalbaai and back, covering 70km of terrain. Kick it up a gear, and explore the park from either the Green Trail (13km) up to the Seeberg Bird Hide and back, or the Red Trail (17km) which goes to Seeberg Lookout before heading to Mooimaak and back.
Why you’ll love it The proximity to unblemished nature that these routes afford is unique and liberating.
Insider tip The park has a strict no-helmet; no-ride policy, so be sure to bring yours, and plenty of water.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

11. Discover history at Geelbek Visitor’s Centre

West Coast National Park 2022: Geelbek Visitors Centre

History buffs keen to learn about the park’s fauna, flora, and cultural history will get more than they bargained for at this visitor’s centre. For it is here that you will be able to witness replicas of Eve’s footprints, which were discovered in 1995 at Kraalbaai. The original prints, discovered in rock (formerly beach sand), are said to have belonged to a woman who lived some 117 000 years ago.
Why you’ll love it In addition to discovering rare and lesser-known tales, visitors might also enjoy a bite at the restaurant, which is open 365 days a year.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm; Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, 8.30am – 5pm
Contact 076 562 9206, admin@geelbek.info
Good to know Eve’s original footprints can be found in the Iziko South African Museum.
Insider tip The name Geelbek comes from the Yellowbill Duck and not from the Geelbek (Cape Salmon) fish.

12. Soak up the sights at the Seeberg Viewing Point

West Coast National Park 2022: Seeberg Viewing Point

Witness some of Cape Town’s greatest sights – Table Mountain, the Cederberg mountains and the southern part of the Langebaan Lagoon – from the Seeberg viewpoint, which offers the best vistas in the park.
Why you’ll love it The 4.6km hike from Langebaan Gate up to the Seeberg viewpoint is indescribably beautiful.
Insider tip If you enter from the R27 side (at the West Coast Gate), you can also enjoy the Atlantic viewpoint, which offers sheltered picnic spots and benches. On clear days, you can see Table Mountain from there.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

13. Spend a night stargazing

Accommodation West Coast National Park

The West Coast National Park has a number of charming cottages ranging in size and location, including Abrahamskraal Cottage, Van Breda Cottage, and Jo Anne’s B Cottage, to name a few. There are also 11 self-catering Duinepos Chalets and two houseboats available for hire.
Why you’ll love it Apart from offering plenty of privacy and solitude, the cottages and chalets all boast incredible views of The Milky Way.  How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

14. Spot some birds

Birding West Coast National Park

The West Coast National Park is home to over 250 bird species, making it a bird-lover’s paradise. There are four hides inside the park, which provide excellent viewing. Flamingos, ostriches and black harriers can be seen hanging out in the area, along with curlew sandpipers, sanderlings and knots, which journey some 15 000 kilometers from Russia to breed at the park each year.
Why you’ll love it One of the main hides is located just beyond the Geelbek Restaurant and Visitor’s Centre. Take a leisurely walk from the restaurant’s lawn to this well-positioned hide to view some of the many species.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

15. Do some water sports

Watersports West Coast National Park

On the edge of the West Coast National Park is Langebaan Lagoon, an idyllic paradise of white sand beaches and turquoise water. Known for its crosswinds, it’s the perfect spot for windsurfing, snorkelling, wakeboarding, water-skiing, kayaking, kitesurfing – and anything else you can think of.
Why you’ll love it Um, water sports! And if aquatic activities aren’t your thing, then a leisurely stroll along the pristine beaches and some chilling will provide much needed relaxation.
How to get there West Coast National Park, between Yzerfontein and Langebaan on the R27.

West Coast National Park rules

In order to gain access to all of the above, please note the following fees (which are not applicable for valid Wild Card holders)
R70 (adults, SA citizens and residents with ID)
R35 (children)
R110 (SADC adults with valid passport)
R55 (SADC children with valid passport)
R110 (international adults; standard conservation fee)
R55 (international children; standard conservation fee)

(During flower season, August – September 2023)
R104 (adults, SA citizens and residents with ID)
R52 (children)
R160 (SADC adults with valid passport)
R80 (SADC children with valid passport)
R234 (international adults; standard conservation fee)
R117 (international children; standard conservation fee)

Opening times September 2022 – March 2023: Daily, 7am – 7pm (last vehicle entry at 6.30pm)
April 2023 – August 2023: Daily, 7am – 6pm (last vehicle entry 5.30pm)
Contact 022 772 2144, moipone.thathane@sanparks.org

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 10 January 2023

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3 Responses to “West Coast National Park: The Only Guide You Need”

  1. Rashid Julies

    Was there love it so tranquil and relaxing 😎

  2. Birgitte Boye

    Discover all of the Cape’s hidden gems

  3. Arthur

    Good day , do you have pensioner rates please as we realy love the park , but a bit costly for us elderly folk .
    Thank you kindly .