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For many the Cape West Coast Peninsula typifies the West Coast with its quaint fishing villages, sea-side resorts and ever popular lagoon.
Vreden means ‘peace’, but its origins were anything but peaceful. In the
18th century, a fresh water spring between the farms Heuningklip and
Witteklip caused strife between the respective owners, and it became
known as Twisfontein (´quarrel spring´). As the strife continued, it was
renamed Prosesfontein (´lawsuit spring´). The Dutch Reformed Church came to the rescue in 1875 when they built the first church near the disputed spring and promptly renamed the town Vredenburg (peaceful town). The Twisfontein Monument is the sole reminder of the renowned water ‘war’. These days Vredenburg is the transportation and commercial hub of the West Coast and administrative centre of the Saldanha Bay Municipality. The only argument you´re likely to have in modern-day Vredenburg is about what activities to participate in.
Eighteen bays, stunning sea views and sparkling surf make St Helena Bay a
very special destination. Fed by the nutrient-rich Benguela Current, it is one
of the world’s prime fishing areas and its waters provide a valuable
livelihood to many locals. St Helena Bay is a birdwatcher’s paradise and being at the southernmost point of the migratory route from Europe and the Steppes of Russia makes it a must-visit spot for twitchers.
Imposing granite boulders provide a stunning backdrop to the town and
beautiful. Endemic Heaviside’s dolphins, as well as dusky and common
dolphins visit the bay in search of food, and the calm waters give shelter to
the southern right whales that come to mate and calve in the second half of
the year. Humpback and killer whales are also frequent visitors. After good winter rains, the veld comes alive with the vibrant colours of
spring flowers. Combine this with the opportunity to enjoy the local
women’s sleight of hand as they “vlek snoek” in the harbour – fascinating to
watch – and their cultural heritage and quirky, humorous vernacular is quite
A picturesque seaside town on the northern corner of the largest natural
bay in South Africa, where every effort is made to balance industry in the
region with the eco-fragility of the area. From the Adam & Eve rock formation situated on the hill above Saldanha, you can see as far as Table Mountain and at Hoedjieskoppie there is a vantage point which provides panoramic views of the bay and surrounds.The bay’s ideal location makes it a paradise for water-sport enthusiasts and from late July to mid-December, visitors flock to the area to watch the mighty Southern Right whales that visit the bay annually. The local economy is strongly dependent on fishing, mussels, seafood and the harbour trade, as well as an established steel industry and to this day it still plays a major import-export role for industries of the region. With strong historic military links, Saldanha is also host to a naval training base and the South Africa Military Academy and the popular SAS Saldanha Nature Reserve offers a multi-hued display of wildflowers during late winter and spring and is a bird-lovers paradise.
Paternoster, meaning ‘Our Father’, ostensibly took its name from the
heartfelt prayers of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors. Although life is so closely associated with the sea and fishing industry, it is to this historic and peaceful little fishing village where the traveller comes to relax. It is a virtual paradise with miles of isolated white sandy beaches, romantic sunsets, some of the best seafood on the West Coast, wildflowers in spring and the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. Try your hand at kayaking, kite surfing and kite flying, or enjoy the scenic hiking trails. Explore the art Route in Paternoster, Walk the route, view extraordinary artworks and meet the artists. The Columbine Nature Reserve is home to the well-known ‘Tietiesbaai’ and the last manned lighthouse in South Africa. Whales and dolphins visit the bay throughout the year and spring dons a kaleidoscope of veld flowers.
Appropriately referred to as the ‘Jewel of the West Coast’, the picturesque
town of Langebaan hugs the shores of the Langebaan Lagoon. A scenic one-hour drive from Cape Town, it is both a haven of tranquility and
the hub of water sports and activities. The vast open landscapes, array of
fauna and flora, delectable seafood, breathtaking azure-blue waters, pristine white sandy beaches and a rich historical heritage, holds the promise of a never-to-be-forgotten experience. With almost year-round sunny weather and safe water conditions, this is a world-renowned mecca for kite surfers, wind surfers, kayakers, fishermen and yachtsmen. A major attraction is the 30 000-hectare West Coast National Park which borders the south side of the lagoon. Enjoy a round of golf at the 10-hole golf club, or pamper yourself with holistic beauty treatments, or browse around the many interesting shops offering curios, sports gear, holiday and fashion wear and arts and crafts. Horse-riding is a popular outdoor activity and viewing the town from the
water’s edge is a must. Be sure to book a cruise on the multi-hued lagoon. After a day of sun-sea-and-sand, try your luck in the casino, or enjoy live
entertainment at the one of the popular places in Langebaan.
Hopefield is situated on the R45 about 130km from Cape Town and nestles
on the banks of the Zoute River. It was founded in 1853 and was originally
developed as a church community for wheat and sheep farmers. More than
500 species of fynbos has attracted bees to the area and it is well known for
its high grade honey. In the heart of fynbos country, the town and surrounds
boasts with spectacular wildflower displays in August and September. Fossil
deposits, together with a cast of the renowned ‘Saldanha Man’ are on
display at the Museum.