The crystal blue azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon are the central focus point of the West Coast National Park. Just 2.5 hours from Cape Town, it is the perfect choice for a break along South Africa’s west coast. Think endless white beaches, salt marshes, migrant waders and carpets of flowers every year at spring.
This park is a dream for visitors loving the fresh air and plenty of sunshine. With a variety of trails, you can choose a short walk or more strenuous hike, while cyclists can enjoy themselves on one of the many routes. Langebaan Lagoon is good for water sport such as kayaking, sailing and kite-boarding in selected sections; just remember the sun-tan lotion. Birding enthusiasts can visit one of four bird hides to capture spectacular snaps of the birdlife. Approximately 10% of South Africa’s wader population occur in the park.
Sixteen Mile Beach forms part of the Marine Protected Area which means that no fishing is allowed here. There are four islands, which are not accessible to the public, including the famous Malgas Island, which forms part of this Marine Protected Area. Malgas is home to a breeding colony of Cape gannets while the other also plays a very important conservation role.
There are numerous self-drive routes, plenty of beautiful viewpoints, and exciting discoveries to be made. The region is extremely rich in fossils. Imprints of human footprints dating some 117 000 years back were found at Kraalbaai back in 1997. The original footprints were removed and are now kept in the South African Museum.
The park’s size according to the park management plan is 47,457 hectare and the nearest international airport is situated in Cape Town.
Yes, there are restrictions. The Langebaan Lagoon is divided into sections. Activities such as recreational fishing and power boating is allowed in certain sections only while non-power driven vessels have a section allocated to them specifically. Another section is classified as a sanctuary, so no activities, apart from bird watching, can take place there.
The Geelbek Restaurant serves a range of traditional meals portraying a local rich history, enriched by Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian and Malay influences. The setting is a beautifully restored Cape Dutch homestead, which can also be booked for weddings and events. Langebaan offers plenty of shops.
No, but Langebaan is only approximately 5km from the park.
No, flowers occur in spots over thepark, but are most prolific in the Postberg section.
In August and September, Postberg is open from 09:00-17:00. No entries after 16:30.
Swimwear, suntan lotion, hat, fishing gear, camera, binoculars and walking shoes
The majority of wildlife is found in the Postberg section of the park, which is only open during the annual flower season between August and September. However, wildlife such as eland, Cape grysbok, red hartebeest, caracal and rock hyrax can be spotted in the rest of the reserve. The ocean itself is home to whales and dolphins. Birding is prolific here.
The Langebaan Lagoon is a RAMSAR site (a place of global significance to wetland bird species). Spring is best to spot Palearctic migrants, especially September when they return from their travel. In March, masses of birds congregate in large numbers to feed before leaving for their journey. Visit Geelbek hide at low tide as the rising tide will force birds closer to the hide.
The West Coast National Park is a great destination for spring and summertime due to its location and beaches. May to August is generally the rainy season and summers are quite dry with early morning mists and southeasterly or southwesterly winds. The area has a temperate coastal climate.
Apart from walking and cycling, the park is a great destination for water activities with the Langebaan Lagoon as the central focus point. The Tsaarbank section of the park is great for whale watching in August and September.
For a wide range of accommodation inside and around West Cost National Park, please see below: