The Cape West Coast (Weskus) is known for its coastal stretches and its inland beauty, its seafood and its warm locals. From fishing and surfing to a ‘lekker kuier’ (an epic visit), the West Coast has its own special culture and vibe.
This Tourism Month we are celebrating not only the incredible cultural and heritage experiences of this amazing region, but also the very essence of the Weskus with some must-do experiences below.
West Coast Fossil Park
The West Coast Fossil Park near the popular holiday destination of Langebaan, has one of the world’s richest concentration of fossils dating back some five million years ago. Discover fascinating stories of when sabre-toothed cats roamed the area, along with short-necked giraffes, four-tusked elephants and strange, three-toed horses. Adults can enjoy one of the fossil tours, and then grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, while the kids play in the play park.
West Coast Farm Stall
Eighty kilometres from Cape Town is a tranquil garden and nursery, the perfect place to catch your breath while enjoying a cappuccino and fresh scone with cheese and cream – YUM! There’s also traditional ox tail, fish and chips or eisbein and mash. The kids can visit the hundreds of birds and parrots on display in the garden and make their way onto a huge walk-on chessboard!
West Coast National Park
Considered a jewel of the Western Cape, the West Coast National Park is just a 90-minute drive from Cape Town and just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay. There is plenty to do, ranging from various hikes and mountain biking to kayaking and whale watching, while a picnic or lunch at the Geelbek restaurant are favourite pastimes in the park. There are also a number of fantastic accommodation facilities if you would like to spend some time exploring.
!Khwa ttu San Heritage and Cultural Centre
Embark on a fascinating journey into the culture, heritage, knowledge, skills and contemporary life of the San/Bushman people. Guided tours are offered and can be taken on foot or by bicycle. Indigenous to the area, the San have a wealth of knowledge of the region and are intrinsically tied to it. A great outing for young and old.
The Wild Flowers
The Cape West Coast is known for many things - its pristine beaches, quaint seaside towns and rich cultural history among them – but come spring time, it plays host to the greatest flower show on earth as the areas natural wild flowers begin to bloom. Come August/September the West Coast is generally in full bloom and visitors from around the world flock to the region to catch the show.
The riel - or rieldans - is one of the oldest dances in the world. It is an ancient celebratory dance performed by the San, depicting diverse scenes from their life, from mimicking animals to sheep shearing. In recent years this dance form has enjoyed a revival among young and old. Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers - a riel group from the small Cederberg settlement of Wupperthal - has enjoyed immense success on the international cultural stage. They won several gold medals at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in 2015.
Any craft beer drinker worth his/her salt will know of the near-iconic Darling Breweries and their incredible range of beers. Blood Serpent, Bone Crusher, Thunder Bird and Bone Crusher are just some of the brews developed by the brewery, but don’t let the names fool you, because these brews will not hurt you, they are heaven on the taste buds. A trip to Darling to see the flowers is not complete without a stop-over here…
Cradle of Human Culture – The Artist’s Journey
Africa is the continent that gave birth to humankind. Some of the oldest human fossil bones were discovered in Gauteng province, South Africa, in an area north of Johannesburg now called the Cradle of Humankind. While the dawn of biological humankind began in the limestone caves of northern Gauteng, our human story continued and developed more south, in the Western Cape Province. This is the story The Cradle of Human Culture explores. Comprising of two routes The Artist’s Journey and the Coastal Journey, the Weskus is home to the former. The route includes the aforementioned West Coast Fossil Park and !khwa ttu san culture and education centre, as well as the Eland’s Bay Cave, Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Riel dancing and more.
Groote Post Country Market
Running on the last Sunday of every month – with the exception of the winter months from June through August – the Groote Post Country Market is the perfect place to pack up the family and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Brimming with country hospitality, expect everything from artisanal food to arts and crafts. For the kids, they will be well entertained with tractor rides, zorb ball and more!
Surfing the Weskus
The Weskus boasts some of the best surf conditions in the Western Cape (we say the country) and surfers consider it one of the top road trips to take. There are some epic secret spots (we could tell you…), but why not take a look at this incredible surf-themed itinerary to really immerse yourself in the local culture? And not to worry, there is plenty for the non-surfers in the family as well! Check out here: https://wesgro.co.za/travel/itinerary/5-days-surfing-along-the-coast-of-the-weskus