Cape West Coast
The Cape West Coast stretches from Cape Town as far as the border with the Northern Cape at Touws River. What is still an almost undiscovered treasure trove of unspoilt beaches, incredible mountain ranges, rich geographical diversity, and the most astounding carpet of wild flowers in spring, is evolving into a major holiday route out of Cape Town. Within its parameters the indescribably beautiful Cederberg Mountains, famous for centuries-old rock art. All along the coastline is a series of quaint historic towns and fishing villages with names like Lambert's Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan.
This is the gateway to the West Coast and the most southerly of the sub-regions, with Malmesbury being a mere 64km from Cape Town. It is best known for its undulating yellow wheat fields, interspersed by vivid green vineyards.
The Olive festival (Riebeek Valley) as well as outdoor activities on the Berg River and Misverstand Dam (Moorreesburg and Koringberg) attract many tourists to the Swartland region. The wineries of the Swartland produce top quality wines and most offer tasting centres that are open to the general public. Wild flowers are prolific in the areas closer to the coast during spring, while Southern Right and Humpback whales often visit the sheltered bay of Yzerfontein from June to November.
For many the Cape West Coast Peninsula (Saldanha Bay Municipal Region) typifies the West Coast with its quaint fishing villages, sea-side resorts and ever popular lagoon. It lies south of the Berg River mouth and includes the West Coast National Park, stretching inland to Hopefield.
Fishing and watersports are popular attractions throughout the region. The coastal towns in the region boast rocky and sandy bays, beaches and an abundance of seafood. Boardsailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, diving and angling, as well as whale watching in season are very popular.
Bergrivier region starts in the mountains of Stellenbosch and eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Velddrif.
The river is the main water source for the numerous wine farms along its banks. It is heaven to bird-watchers, fishermen and sailing enthusiasts. Birdwatchers can spot 183 species, of which at least 70 are water birds in Velddrif itself, or at nearby Rocherpan Nature Reserve. But its not just about the river and the coast. The inland town of Piketberg stands at the foot of the towering Piketberg mountain in the middle of undulating fields of wheat, green vineyards, fallow land and flowering yellow canola. Poretville is a picturesque, country town on the slopes of the Olifants River Mountains and is well known for its nearby mountain waterfalls.
The region offers a rich natural heritage, fruit-filled valleys and towering mountains. The beautiful Olifants River Valley, with its snaking irrigation canals, sustains a large citrus industry which is a hive of activity during the winter harvest time. This is also Rooibos tea country, being the only place in the world where the bush, producing this healthy beverage, is grown.
San rock art can be viewed. Hike amongst the spectacular rock formations or cool off in the clear mountain rock pools of the spectacular Cederberg Wilderness Reserve. Wupperthal is a picturesque Moravian Mission Station in the heart of these mountains. A feeling of calm peacefulness envelopes one on arrival in this serene valley.
Down on the coast you can relax on the unspoilt sandy beaches of Lamberts and Elands Bay where whales and dolphins can be spotted from August to November. Not to be missed is the famous Bird Island at Lamberts Bay, with its thousands of cormorants and gannets. These coastal towns are also renowned for angling and crayfish diving. During August and September the spectacular spring wild flowers are a sight to behold. There are also numerous good birding sites along the beautiful wetland area of Verlorenvlei.
Namaqua West Coast
The Namaqua West Coast region borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west and includes the Sandveld, Knersvlakte and the Matzikamma Mountain range. The region takes pride in their mountain peaks such as the Gifberg, Maskam and Koebee, while the coastal region is a haven to migrating whales from July.
The Olifants River winds its way through the region, supporting the vineyards on its banks and beckoning visitors to its wine route. The region is a stark contrast of vast unspoilt beaches, rugged mountains and a fertile emerald green valley. The first rains in early winter ensures that the seemingly arid expanse is transformed into a kaleidoscope of brilliant colours in spring.
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