Leave the city and streetlights behind for endless beaches and blue skies.

The West Coast is where time moves slowly and days are spent combing windswept beaches and enjoying bountiful feasts of seafood. Its irresistible allure – of ocean and salt, whitewashed walls and the scent of woodsmoke – is what keeps people coming back year after year.

It’s a coastline that captures the imagination: from the first glimpse of the Aegean-blue Langebaan Lagoon from the R27 highway to Velddrif’s flamingo-flecked saltpans and the colourful fishing boats returning with their catch in Paternoster. It’s also not a place of citified convenience, nor is there a concern for the opinions of outsiders – the West Coast is unapologetically real, unpretentious and unfiltered. For the visitor, the area opens up a series of evocative experiences that will spark an unshakeable desire to return.

Which are your favourite places to visit on the West Coast? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Langebaan
Paternoster
Velddrif

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Langebaan

Unofficially the most famous attraction along this stretch of coast, Langebaan Lagoon is the closest one can get to the Greek Isles without leaving South Africa. With its azure waters, sheltered beaches and picturesque vistas, it’s been popular with holidaymakers since the days of the ox wagon. The cosmopolitan heart of the area, Langebaan is a town designed for pleasure, with multiple restaurants, shopping, kitesurfing, fishing and a golf course attracting visitors with varied tastes.
Your first stop just before the lagoon, if you’re heading up the R27, should be Yzerfontein, a charming village just an hour from Cape Town. Loved for its laidback lifestyle and proximity to the city, “Yzer” also has a fledgling foodie culture that is growing stronger by the day. Nearby Darling is a typically quirky country town, also with a surprising number of foodie attractions.

West Coast National Park

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: National Park

A five-minute drive away from Langebaan town you’ll find yourself in the wilds of the West Coast National Park – a world-famous wildflower paradise during August and September. A protected area home to a variety of animal and bird life, the park also offers a wealth of activities designed to make the most of sun, sea and sand. Kraalbaai (a paradise beach within the park), with its warm, shallow water, is great for swimming, while the houseboats anchored offshore can be booked for a holiday afloat. Click here for more about the park.
Good to know There are two entry points: Langebaan Gate in the north, just outside town via Park Drive; or West Coast Gate in the south, off the R27, closer to Yzerfontein.
Cost SA citizens/residents: R70 (adult), R35 (child)
SADC nationals and international visitors: R110 (adult), R55 (child)
Note: The entry fee goes up in flower season.
Opening times Daily, 7am – 7pm (last entry 6.30pm)
Note: In winter it closes an hour earlier.
Contact 022 772 2144, moipone.thathane@sanparks.org
Where to find it Off the R27

Rosemead Artisan Bakery

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Rosemead Artisan Bakery

Run by Anli and Brett Nortier, this popular spot in Yzerfontein is never devoid of a crowd (we advise placing your loaf order prior to arriving to ensure you get what you came for). Famous for pasteis de nata, pain au chocolat, croissants and a selection of seeded sourdough, ciabatta and olive sticks, it also has a small bistro that serves breakfasts, delicious soups, sandwiches and cakes.
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 8am – 3.30pm
Sunday, 8am – 2pm
Contact 066 222 5076, brett@rosemeadartisan.co.za
Where to find it Corner of Park and Volstruis Streets, Yzerfontein

La Petite Maison

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: La Petite Maison

Helmed by Michelin-starred French chef Yohann Suire and his South African wife, LaRetha Venter, this culinary collaboration amalgamates West Coast ingredients with French execution – think classic mouclade made with mussels sourced in neighbouring Saldanha Bay. Located in the historic Farmhouse Hotel in Langebaan, La Petite Maison’s menu is not its only drawcard: a sprawling verandah overlooks the lagoon, while inside a double-volume space replete with fireplace and thatched eaves offers respite on winter nights.
Good to know There is a kiddies menu.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm
Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Contact 064 657 7716, reservations@lapetitemaisonrestaurant.co.za
Where to find it The Farmhouse Hotel, 5 Egret Street, Myburgh Park, Langebaan
Book through DinePlan

West Coast Fossil Park

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Fossil Park
Georgia East

Roughly five million years ago, the Langebaan we know today looked very different. Profuse with water, the area was subtropical, lush and fertile, teeming with fantastic beasts like the sabre-toothed cat, the African bear and sivathere (short-necked giraffe). The fossilised remains of these and many other animals can be seen at the site of an ongoing excavation at West Coast Fossil Park (north of Langebaan in the hamlet of Langebaanweg). Great for all ages, the park features a museum, interactive exhibitions and a guided tour of the dig sites (with a “mock dig” for children). The West Coast Chef School also has a cafe here, and there is a market every second Saturday of the month.
Good to know The park is home to modern-day fauna and flora, too, best seen on the hiking and cycling trails (R20 – R50).
Cost Museum: R50 (adult), R30 (child age 5 – 15 years), R40 (pensioners/students)
Tour: R100 (adult), R50 (child), R70 (pensioners/students)
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Guided tours: 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm (weekdays); 10am, 11am, 12pm (weekends)
Contact 022 766 1606, edu@fossilpark.org.za
Where to find it Off the R45, Langebaanweg
Enquire Now

!Khwa ttu

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: !Khwa ttu
Georgia East

Located just before the Yzerfontein turnoff, !Khwa ttu houses a collection of Khoi-San art, history and cultural artefacts curated in collaboration with surviving communities in the Northern Cape, Botswana and Namibia. It celebrates our human origins through its enjoyably educational Heritage Centre spread over three buildings (the purpose-built Way of the San is beautiful and thought-provoking). Tours with San guides can include tea tasting, bush and medicinal foods, tracking or a game drive. Come for the culture, stay for the cuisine – chef Werlise Rautenbach’s San-inspired menu reflects her passion for local produce, foraged ingredients and local fare.
Good to know There are also walking and biking trails, and cottages or glamping for overnight stays.
Cost R80
R180 (45-minute tour with a San guide)
R320 (90-minute game drive)
Note: Entry fees are optional on the first day of the month.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Contact 022 492 2998, info@khwattu.org
Where to find it Off the R27
Enquire Now

Groote Post Vineyards

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Groote Post Vineyards

One of the oldest farms on the West Coast, originally a trading post for sailors heading down to Table Bay, is now a celebrated wine estate run by three generations of the Pentz family. Groote Post bottles West Coast flavour – the Seasalter Sauvignon Blanc has been lauded as the quintessential “Weskus white”. Pop in for a tasting and stay for a picnic in the garden or a modern country lunch at Hilda’s Kitchen, a restaurant housed in the former home of Hildagonda Duckitt (an avid cook and late-1800s cookbook author).
Good to know The farm is also a reserve, with game viewing available at 9am, which includes a cheese-and-wine stop with views of Table Mountain. Booking is 48 hours in advance.
Cost R30 (tasting of six wines)
R225 (picnic platter)
Game drive: R980 (1 – 3 people); R245 per person (4 – 9 people); R95 for children
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Restaurant: Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 022 492 2825, wine@grootepost.co.za
Where to find it Darling Hills Road, off the R307 or R27, near Darling
Enquire Now

Slipway Cottage, Churchhaven

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Slipway Cottage
Georgia East

Found deep within West Coast National Park, in a section of it that is generally off limits to the public, it doesn’t get more idyllic than this. With beautiful views over Langebaan Lagoon, and the occasional francolin chirruping in the fynbos your only interruption, it’s impossible not to remain glued to the sunny stoep – although there is a beach just steps away (and SUP boards supplied). With a pizza oven, two braai areas and a firepit, Slipway is a foodie’s paradise – perfect for cooking up seafood feasts as the sun sets.
Good to know The off-grid cottage sleeps 11 people in four bedrooms (one is a loft room). There is no wifi.
Cost From R8 500 per night (2-night minimum stay)
Where to find it Churchhaven Road, off West Coast Gate Road, West Coast National Park
MAKE A RESERVATION

The Boat and Beach House, Yzerfontein

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: The Boat and Beach House
Grace Charlotte Photography

Combining modernity with a classic maritime aesthetic, this is the epitome of beachfront living. The main house is a whitewashed villa just steps from the sea, with an enclosed verandah and open-air deck. Pull up some chairs or hop in the hot tub and set the scene for sundowners… The adjoining but separate wood-clad boat house (a designer Scandi-chic conversion of a shed) has its own stoep with a hot tub. Do take a walk around the quiet neighbourhood and perhaps spot one of Yzerfontein’s resident ostriches.
Good to know The main house sleeps 10 in four bedrooms; the boat house sleeps 4 in two bedrooms (one is a loft room). Dogs are welcome.
Cost Beach House: From R8 500 per night
Boat House: From R2 500 per night
Where to find it 1 Mossel Street, Yzerfontein
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Paternoster
Georgia East

Setting foot in Paternoster is like going back in time. One of the oldest villages in the area, it is still home to numerous fishing families – generations later. It’s a beacon for travellers; the cluster of whitewashed cottages makes it one of the most photographed towns on the West Coast, and the burgeoning foodie scene is drawing new fans.

Wolfgat

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Wolfgat
Georgia East

Needing little introduction, the award-winning restaurant and chef-patron Kobus van der Merwe epitomise the West Coast dream. Having adopted a unique approach to the region’s food, his cuisine is a mix of foraged botanicals, local ingredients and just-caught seafood. Recipes pay homage to Khoi-San hunter-gatherers, Cape Malay and Afrikaner fare – all combining to create the chef’s signature Strandveld style of cuisine. While the wait for a reservation is lengthy, the experience is a lasting one.
Good to know Pop in at Kobus’s charming shop/farmstall, Oep ve Koep (corner of St Augustine Road and R45) – it has a little eatery in the garden for light meals from the bakery, and a bistro serving a 3-course Strandveld set lunch menu (same times as Wolfgat).
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 12.30pm; Sunday, 12pm
Friday + Saturday, 7pm
Oep ve Koep: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 4pm; Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact diewolfgat@gmail.com, Oep ve Koep: 072 741 3709
Where to find it 10 Sampson Street, Kliprug, Paternoster
Book through DinePlan

Voorstrandt Restaurant

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Voorstrandt Restaurant

If you’re after fish and chips with a fantastic view, look no further than this popular spot. Housed in a century-old building with an iconic red tin roof, right on the beach, the restaurant serves up the catch of the day alongside West Coast classics – thee smoked snoek samoosas with a secret sauce are a particular highlight. Sit seaside and enjoy a glass of local wine, or kick off your shoes and stroll down to the ocean while you wait for your food to arrive.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 9pm
Saturday + Sunday, 11am – 9pm
Contact 022 752 2038, voorstrandt@gmail.com
Where to find it Strandloper Street, Voorstrand, Paternoster
Enquire Now

Cape Columbine Nature Reserve

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Cape Columbine Nature Reserve

Whether you’d like to fire up a lunchtime braai, pitch a tent or simply take in the scenery, Cape Columbine offers a 263-hectare stretch of untouched rocky coastline to the south of Paternoster that includes hiking trails and multiple sheltered coves ideal for kayaking or taking a dip (if you can handle the chilly water). A walk to the only manned lighthouse in SA may be rewarded with a guided tour of the interior – and simply stunning views from 80 metres up. FYI: This is the furthest west you can get in the country.
Good to know The campsite and braai facility is at Tietiesbaai; it has 60 sites, and also allows 150 day visitors (R29 entry fee).
Opening times Daily, 7am – 7pm
Lighthouse: Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm
Contact 022 752 2718, mun@sbm.gov.za
021 449 2400, lighthouse.tourism@transnet.net
Where to find it Off St Augustine Road, 5km south of Paternoster
Enquire Now

Britannia Bay Beach

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Britannia Bay Beach

Fringed by beautiful holiday homes, Britannia Bay is a great getaway destination that’s the right kind of remote. This stretch of coastline 20km north-east of Paternoster is known as the “Golden Mile”, and it truly lives up to its name. Powdery soft, pristine white sand and bracing seascapes make walks here a blissful experience. For a sweet reward, visit Lammies Bakery (newly arrived from Cape Town), or treat yourself to a facial and lunch at The Shelley Point Hotel & Spa (the next headland east of Britannia Bay), then explore nearby St Helena Bay’s harbour and myriad coves.
Contact 022 742 1065, info@shelleypointhotel.com
Where to find it Follow Stompneusbaai Road out of Paternoster
Beach at the end of Ecklonia Street, Britannia Bay
Lammies Bakery: 7 Watsonia Street, Britannia Bay
Shelley Point Hotel: Golden Mile Boulevard, Shelley Point

Weskus Spens Padstal

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Weskus Spens Padstal
Georgia East

En route to Paternoster, just before the Vredenburg/Paternoster turnoff on the R27, this farmstall is famous for its all-day breakfast, delicious preserves and proper plaasbrood (farm bread) made in a wood-burning Dover oven. Run by Annemarie Thom, who bakes all kinds of treats to tempt locals, it’s the loaves that sell out fast. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, enjoy it with some snoek pâté or butter and konfyt ( jam). If you explore the menu further, you can try out traditional foods like bobotie, mutton tripe curry, homemade pies and snoek fishcakes, plus you can get breakfast.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8.15am – 4.30pm
Contact 022 715 4400, kinnie2408@gmail.com
Where to find it R27, driving from Langebaan to Paternoster and Velddrif

Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel

Of the 16 rooms at this sea-scraping luxury hotel, ask for an Ocean Suite. If they’re all taken, the Nature Suites are also fabulous – bigger, with views of the reserve that protects the region’s unique Strandveld fynbos. Right on the north-eastern edge of Paternoster, it feels far-flung yet it’s a short stroll along the beach to the centre of town. There’s a beautiful pool, a spa on site, and a variety of bespoke activities for guests, from a guided coastal bush hike to a beach picnic. The hotel’s refined restaurant, Leeto, should be reserved at the same time you book a room.
Good to know No children under 12 years old.
Cost From R4 550 per suite (including breakfast)
Contact 021 794 5858, info@strandloperocean.com
Where to find it Dick Clarke Street, Mosselbank, Paternoster
MAKE A RESERVATION

The Oystercatchers’ Haven

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: The Oystercather's Haven

This characterful guesthouse on the beach in Paternoster’s Bekbaai combines rustic reed ceilings, stable doors and antique sash windows with chic décor, Persian carpets and African art. There are just four rooms, each completely different, plus a wonderful verandah with a lap pool and front-row seats to the spectacular sunsets in this part of the world.
Good to know Smugglers Cottage is a pet- and kiddie-friendly option next door.
Cost From R2 299 per room (R1 800 single occupant)
Where to find it 48 Sonkwas Road, Bekbaai, Paternoster
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Velddrif
Georgia East

Follow the R27 highway to its end and you’ll find Velddrif. Flanked by pastel-pink saltpans and the mighty Berg River, this is the home of the bokkom – the West Coast’s infamous (and eye-wateringly salty and smelly) dried fish delicacy. Part industrial town, part holiday destination, Velddrif is a mecca for everyone from anglers to artists. For many, it epitomises the warmth and energy of the West Coast.

Bokkomlaan

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Bokkomlaan

The historical heart of Velddrif, this street running beside the river is instantly recognisable by its quaint fishing huts and spindly wooden jetties. Once the fishing hub of the town, the Laan is now a heritage area, protected from development. While only a few of the fish-drying huts are still operational, the rest contain a quirky mixture of eateries, shops and cafés – the most popular of which is Columbine Co. Here you can choose from a selection of teas and coffees – owner Albert Junior Cornelissen roasts his own beans – and take up residence on the stoep to chat with the locals or perhaps spot the Laan’s resident pelicans.
Contact Columbine Co: 084 879 7006
Where to find it Off Voortrekker Road (R399), Velddrif

Kokerboom Kaas

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Kokerboom Kaas

Craving an oozy camembert or rich blue cheese? Look no further. Made by David and Carolyn Malan, the Kokerboom Kaas range consists of hard and soft cheeses and yoghurt using Guernsey cow milk from nearby Langrietvlei Farm. The artisanal cheeses and charcuterie are sold all over the West Coast and in Cape Town. An avid cook himself, booking a bespoke tasting with David at his home (one road back from Bokkomlaan) is a must-do when in the area.
Good to know Tastings cost R75 per person (6 – 10 cheeses) and are for four people minimum, eight people max.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 4pm – 5.30pm
Alternate stockist: Bokmakierie Nursery, Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Contact 082 563 4640, carolyn@kokerboomkaas.co.za
Where to find it 5 Waterkant Street, Velddrif
Bokmakierie: De Plaat, off the R399 (as you’re leaving town)
Enquire Now

AVOO Health Café

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: AVOO Health Cafe
Georgia East

Operating out of her Bokkomlaan café, Danica Mackie offers delicious salads, sandwiches, burgers and smoothies to a devout client base. Bringing a fresher side to the array of fried foods generally sold on the lane, AVOO caters to hunters of healthy, tasty food – the homemade bokkom bread and spekboom cake are particularly noteworthy. The platters are a great option if you’re going for a picnic or river cruise.
Opening times Monday, 8am – 1pm
Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 061 077 2110, avoohealth@gmail.com
Where to find it Bokkomlaan, Velddrif

Cracklin’ Rosie River Tours

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Cracklin Rosie River Tours

At the end of one of the wooden piers on Bokkomlaan, you’ll find this 23-seater boat. Hop on board for a gentle meander upriver, with fantastic scenery, interesting stories from skipper Nico and guide Wendy, and a lot of birdlife (flamingos, sandpipers, larks, spoonbills, kingfishers and more). The sunset cruise is a beauty. You can book a cheese platter or Saldanha oysters and bubbly to enjoy on board.
Good to know A minimum of four passengers is required. Specialist photography trips are run from time to time, as well as fishing trips and braai trips on request.
Times 8am – 10am; 10am – 12pm; 1.30pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 8pm
Cost R125 (1 hour); R250 (2 hours)
Contact 071 897 9611, trekduiker@gmail.com
Where to find it Bokkomlaan, Velddrif
Enquire Now

Laaiplek Harbour

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Laaiplek Harbour

Meaning “loading place”, the neighbouring port’s character is as colourful as the fishing trawlers lining its dock. Home to numerous little cafés and shops in between the warehouses, it makes for a lovely visit – especially when the cormorants are flying upriver after a day’s fishing. Make a turn at The Lighthouse Deli for pancakes and ice cream, the Harbour Pop-up Shop Market for gifts and collectables, and Doepie’s for the best fried snoek and chips on the West Coast… just be sure to order prudently as their portions are enormous!
Contact Doepies: 022 783 2433
Lighthouse: 082 070 8651
Where to find it Mossel Street and River Street, Laaiplek

Hopefield Market

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Hopefield Market
Hopefield is a short drive from Velddrif and hosts a wonderful farmers’ market every Saturday morning. Stocking a wealth of gorgeous produce from artisans from across the region, this is the best place to source seasonal fruit and vegetables, organic eggs, breads, chilli sauce, preserves, pickles and more. Make a morning of it and grab a breakfast of freshly made roosterkoek (bread grilled over coals) or pannekoek (pancakes) just outside the market’s doors and bask in the sunshine. The market is reopening in April 2023.
Good to know While in Hopefield, pop in at Simply Bee in Church Street, which has a hive observation centre and a range of lovely bee-produced products.
Opening times Market: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Simply Bee: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm; Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Contact 022 723 0569, hopefieldmarket@gmail.com
Where to find it Market: 38 River Street, Hopefield

Rocherpan Nature Reserve

The Ultimate West Coast Guide: Rocherpan Nature Reserve

Settled in the coastal scrub between Dwarskersbos and Aurora, 25km north of Velddriff, this reserve is almost entirely off-grid. Home to many bird species around its seasonal wetlands, and offering private beach access, it’s the ideal getaway for those looking to rest and recharge. Eight smart eco-cabins provide pleasingly rustic finishes, an open-plan living space, a deck with braai facilities and a bathroom with a big shower.
Good to know The reserve welcomes day visitors from 8am – 4.30pm, entry R50 (adult), R30 (child). There are picnic spots, hiking and mountain-biking trails.
Cost From R970 – R2 020 per night, depending on cabin and season
Where to find it On the R27 Dwarskersbos Road
MAKE A RESERVATION

Wamakersvlei Beach Farm

The Ultimate West Coast Guide Wamakersvlei Beach Farm

Just north of Dwarskersbos, and neighbouring on Rocherpan, this former fishing hamlet (the name means “wagonmaker’s lake”) is now a dreamy, picturesque destination offering 400 hectares of unspoilt nature and 7km of private beach. There are five restored, rustic-chic fisherman’s cottages behind the dunes that place you in the midst of the beauty, with a firepit made for stargazing and the sounds of the ocean a constant lullaby.
Good to know The cottages sleep 2, 4 or 8 people and are dog-friendly.
Cost From R705.50 per person sharing (2-night minimum stay)
Where to find it Hoef Street, Dwarskersbos
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT

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Disclaimer:

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.

Add new comment

14 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide To The West Coast”

  1. Sammi Green

    Very informative article

    Reply
  2. Lesley Simpson

    Please add me on to your mailing list

    Reply
  3. Lisa

    Paternoster Wine Lounge with its tasting options and great choice of wines and Paternoster Brewery are both worth a visit. As is Noisy Ouster for delicious food with that laidback Paternoster charm

    Reply
  4. Jeannie de Kock

    Excellent article and information – please note the Stompneus Baai road from Paternoster is closed! May be opened in the next few weeks but no guarantees. The Vredenburg – Stompneus section is being tarred, it’s in the final stages but the Paternoster section is not usable yet.

    Reply
  5. noeliene vosloo

    Please keep me updated on specials for the hidden gems

    Reply
  6. Denise Pelteret

    Very interesting and informative

    Reply
  7. Danny Chetty

    Would love to explore the Westcoast.

    Reply
  8. Karen Schrader

    Great… So much to do and “sea” in our part of the world!

    Reply
  9. Cheryl

    Thank you

    Reply
  10. Varenke La Grange

    RIVER Restaurant & Shipwreck Bar, Pelican Harbour, Velddrif. On the Banks of the Bergriver. Open Air Venue, Restaurant, Bar & live music over weekends and public holidays.

    Reply
  11. Alan Nottingham

    Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Moni

    Great suggestions – will try to get to the ones I havent yet done! Tourism rocks!

    Reply
  13. Frans

    Very interesting and informative article … thank you!

    Reply
  14. Vivienne

    An interesting article, looking forward to the next one.

    Reply