Thursday

Travel South Africa – Attractive Coastal Towns in the Western Cape

South Africa's coastal towns offer everything from relaxing sunbathing to exhilarating surfing adventures to gregarious cafes and quaint antique shops. Where can you visit a bookshop with a sea view? Which town is famous for Merino Sheep farming? Where can you look at a shipwreck? Where can you go on a 14-kilometre long beach walk? Which town is famous for its surf? Where can you buy local art? Where are the most instagrammable coastal towns in the Western Cape? You would love to see gannets, penguins and seals in the wild? Plan a long or short escape to the coast, with this choice of coastal towns in close proximity to Cape Town.



Bredasdorp

If you drive to Cape Agulhas from Cape Town you come along all these tiny towns. In between towns you will see entrance gates and dusty trails that lead to farm houses you can hardly make out so far are they in the distance. This region feels very remote and lonely. You reach Bredasdorp when you have almost arrived in Agulhas. Bredasdorp in the Southern Overberg Region is as coastal-country-style as you would expect it from a town in this location. The town founded in 1883, is named after its founding father, the first mayor of Cape Town, Michiel van Breda. He was into sheep farming and to this day the town is famous for Merino Sheep farming.

Visit the Shipwreck Museum to learn about the nautical dramas and tragedies of the past. Another place you are going to fall in love with is Bredasdorp Square Eat Sleep Shop. It is a Victorian house full of wonder. Chandeliers, fish ponds, a rose garden, and a gift shop and art gallery that will keep you engaged for a while. Enjoy the heavenly décor while eating lunch or breakfast.



Info Bredasdorp Square Eat Sleep Shop Sunday and public holidays closed. Long and Clarendon Street, Bredasdorp, 7280, South Africa. Monday to Friday 07.30am - 5pm. Saturday 9am to 3pm.

Shipwreck Museum Independent St, Bredasdorp, 7280, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.45pm. Friday 9am to 4pm. Saturday 10am - 4.45pm. Sunday 11am - 4pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Years Day. Tickets: Adults: R20.00, Children: R10.00.

L’Agulhas

Over a million years ago San and Khoisan people settled in this region, the surroundings offered perfect living conditions. In 1488 the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias noticed that their ship's compass needle pointed straight to the north, and he decided to name this place Cape of Needles (Cabo dos Agulhas in Portuguese). Many of the approximately 150 shipwrecks that sank on South Africa’s coastline are found around the most southern tip of Africa at L’Agulhas. Bartholomeu Dias and his crew died during a storm at Cape of Good Hope, the remains of the ship have yet to be found. The explorer knew how challenging conditions can get around here; he aptly had named that Cape the Cape of Storms (Cabo das Tormentas in Portuguese) on an earlier journey. When the lighthouse was built in 1849 it was supposed to bring better times for sailors, and to his day its light gives guidance to seafarers.

Cape Agulhas is the southernmost of the African continent and the official border between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Near the lighthouse, a wooden boardwalk was built to allow visitors a stroll through the fynbos and along the shoreline. There are over 2000 different plants in this area, and imagine that some of these grow nowhere else on earth. The smell of the ocean is simply divine.

Visit the Agulhas National Park while you are here, and if you have enough time, make sure you stay for a few nights. From here you can also go and visit De Mond Nature Reserve. It is a fifty shades of blue meets untouched nature plus pink flamingos kind of place at the mouth of the Heuningnes River.

Have lunch at the Suidpunt Potpourri. The name of this place in walking distance of the lighthouse says it all; it is a mixture of pretty much everything. A souvenir shop, a gallery and a café where you can also buy clothes and handicrafts, home decorations, condiments, chutneys and jam.






Suidpunt Potpourri 25 Main Road, L’Agulhas 7287, South Africa. Hours: : Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 5pm. Phone: +27 28 435 7378.

De Mond Nature Reserve Drive on the R319 from Struisbaai. GPS: 34 42 36.81 S 20 06 17.41 E. Gate hours: 1 April to 30 September: 07.30am to 6pm. 1 October to 31 March: 7am to 6pm. Visitors must exit by 6pm, and no visitors are allowed to enter the reserve after 4pm. Phone (028) 425 1242/(028) 424 2170.

Struisbaai

Within a few minutes by car from Cape L’Agulhas, you reach Struisbaai, this is a proper fishing village. You can take photos of the whitewashed heritage listed fisherman's houses and spend some time at the little harbour. It is a working harbour, and in the afternoon fisherman sell their catch of the day. The darling of all nature lovers is the 14-kilometre long beach. Catch a drink in the bar at the harbour overlooking the sea (and the parking ground).




Pelican’s Harbour Café Hawe Road, Struisbaai Harbour, Struisbaai, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am to 8pm. Friday 10am to 9pm. Saturday 10am to 9pm. Sunday 10am to 4pm. Phone +27 28 435 6526.

Muizenberg

In 1795, the British defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Muizenberg, and today the place is slowly turning into that trendy seaside resort for affluent Capetonians that it used to be at the beginning of the last century; gentrification is in full swing and all the magnificent villas along the beach promenade are getting refurbished. You wouldn’t believe that not so long ago there weren't any organic shops or cafes that serve speciality coffee in Muizenberg but rundown and neglected houses and train stations.

People love surfing in the False Bay, and surfing is big in Muizenberg. Why this place is called False Bay? Back in the days, it often happened that when ships arrived, they thought they landed in the Table Bay... and soon found out it was, in fact, the false bay. The beach is endless, the watercolour takes your breath away and the beach is shallow enough for a paddle. Everybody says the influence of the Indian Ocean makes the water much warmer than at the other Cape Town beaches; it is still freezing cold though.

And, of course, you have to take a photo of the brightly coloured wooden cabanas. Have you even been to Muizenberg, if you haven't taken a photo of these? No.

Pop into Blonde and Beard for coffee and a snack or breakfast before you head to the beach.




Kalk Bay

You can easily spend the whole day (and longer) here in Kalk Bay. There are antique stores, coffee shops, bars, restaurants, boutiques, the beach, a tidal pool, galleries and a theatre, whale watching in spring, a harbour with a famous seal. Why would you ever want to leave? Whatnot and China Town is an antique store that is packed to the rafters with vintage china, glasses and cups. Kalk Bay Books is a book shop with a sea view. If you have the patience jump into the Kalk Bay Trading Post to hunt for vintage treasures. For that special present or souvenir visit the Artvark Gallery to look at the latest pieces local art. You have to go for lunch or breakfast at the Olympia Café and Deli, it is the place to be.



Artvark Gallery 48 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7990 Cape Town, South Africa. Hours: November to April 9am to 6pm. May to October 9am to 5pm. Phone +27 (0)21 788 5584.

Whatnot and China Town 70 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7990 Cape Town, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 4pm.

Kalk Bay Trading Post 71 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7990 Cape Town, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Friday 09am to 5pm. Saturday/Sunday 9.30am to 4pm. Phone +27 21 788 9571

Kalk Bay Books 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7990 Cape Town, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm.

Olympia Café and Deli 134 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7990 Cape Town, South Africa. Hours Monday to Sunday 7am to 9pm. Phone +27 21 788 6396.

Simon’s Town

Simon's Town is South Africa's most important naval base with old-world charm and Victorian and Cape Dutch houses. In the 18th century, when the Dutch needed a safe harbour they chose this place in the False Bay close to the Cape of Good Hope and named it Simonstad after a governor at the time; the British, of course, had to anglicize it and translated it into Simon's Town. Go for a walk on the Main Road, visit shops and cafes before you head to the beach to go swimming and bring enough time to visit the endangered African (Jackass) penguins at Boulders Beach.

On the beach, which is named after the rounded granite rocks you find here, only a few pairs of African penguins were found in the eighties of the last century. Over the last thirty years, the population grew to nearly 4,000 but is decreasing now with only about 2,000 who live here today. Over-fishing and oil catastrophes, we humans create difficult living conditions for the black and white seabirds. If you visit the penguins please respect them, be a responsible tourist, please do not touch, feed or harass them in any way. It is busy, most people just rock up to take a selfie and leave. You are going to look at wildlife in its natural habitat; the penguins are not put here to entertain you. Remember you are the guest. Take your time to look at the penguins; they are adorable and it so interesting to study their behaviour for an afternoon. Get all the information you need and buy tickets at the visitor centre at Foxy Beach.

Have breakfast, coffee and cake or grab a bite to eat at the Lighthouse Café before you head back to Cape Town.







Boulders Beach Visitor Centre Kleintuin Road, 7995 Simon’s Town, South Africa. Hours: April to September 8am to 5pm. December to January 7am to 7.30pm. February to March 8am to 6.30pm. October to November 8am to 6.30pm. Tickets: South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R76 per adult per day, R41 per child, per day. SADC Nationals (with passport): R76 per adult per day, R41 per child, per day. Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors): R76 per adult per day, R41 per child, per day.

Lighthouse Café 90 St George's St, Simon's Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa. Hours Sunday to Tuesday 8.30am to 4pm. Wednesday to Saturday 8.30am to 10pm. Phone +27 21 786 9000.

Hout Bay

Hout Bay is popular for its harbour and its location between the mountains and the sea. Hout Bay means wood bay. There is still some forest, a leftover from the thick forest that Jan van Riebeeck found when he arrived and used for shipbuilding.

From the harbour in Hout Bay, there are daily boat trips to the seal island. Near Duiker Island, you get the chance to watch hundreds of seals as they are frolicking in the waves or resting on rocks. The journey takes about one hour and there are several companies offering trips. The beach is lovely for swimming and walks. Have coffee at Hout Bay Coffee Roastery, it is tiny in space but big in taste.

At sunset make your way to Chapman's Peak Drive and watch the sun sink over Hout Bay and into the ocean.



Hout Bay Coffee Roastery Mainstream Avenue, 7806 Hout Bay, South Africa.

Yzerfontein

Yzerfontein, a fishing village 85 kilometres north of Cape Town has only about 1,000 residents. There is a magnificent beach called 16 Mile Beach, and that for a good reason, it is kilometres long, and best of all, it is a beach where you hardly ever meet any other people. On your walk along the beach breathe in the salty air and look out for black Oystercatchers and Cormorants. If you happen to be here in winter, this area is especially exciting to visit. From July to October, you can see Humpback- and Southern Right whales. At the !Khwa ttu Culture and Education Centre you can learn all about the San. Go for lunch and for a little bit of shopping to the The Marmalade Cat Café in nearby Darling. 



The Marmalade Cat Café 19 Main Road. Hours Monday to Sunday from 8am to 4.30pm. Yzerfontein, 7351 South Africa. !Khwa ttu Culture and Education Centre: Grootwater Farm R27.

Read all about the West Coast and the coastal towns of Langebaan, Saldanha, Paternoster and Lambert’s Bay here: Travel South Africa. The West Coast -Top Places & Day Trips.

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.