Posts tagged with “Western Cape”

Cape West Coast

Saturday, 3 May, 2014

by PG Jonker

West Coast drive

April, the fairest of all months.

I know, the poem by C. Louis Leipoldt was about October being the fairest of all months.  But Leipoldt did not live in post-1994 South Africa.  More in particular, he did not experience the marvel of South African April with all its public holidays, interspersed by a working day here and there.

So making use of some of these holidays we went for a drive up the West Coast.

Weskus Fossielpark trip

[Source:   Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

First stop the West Coast National Park at the Southern part of the Langebaan lagoon.

Weskus Nasionale Park

[Map from the SanParks brochure – see also].

As a National Park you need to pay the preservation fee if you don’t have the Wild Card.  The Langebaan lagoon has fynbos, internationally acclaimed wetlands, and a wide variety of birdlife  and antelopes.

At Kraalbaai, on the Western side of the lagoon, you find the Preekstoel (pulpit).  According to the Sanparks brochure the firs Khoi dictionary of 400 words was documented here by De Flacourt, the Director General of the French East India Company in 1648.


Also some house boats and yachts.

Bote by Kraalbaai

When we were there it was low tide.


From there we drove to the southern tip of the lagoon.  Geelbek is a restaurant inside the park.  This was also in 1785 where the VOC in the Cape of Good Hope placed a beacon to demarcate it northern most boundary.


A boardwalk takes you to bird hides.


Bird species Curlow Sandpiper, Sanderling and Knot travels the 15000km’s from Northern Russia every year to breed here.  Over 250 bird species are found here.  This is more than a quarter of the total of South Africa’s bird species.

The birds don’t hide in the bird hide, though.  We do.

Bird hide

The Langebaan lagoon was classified as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention criteria in 1975.


Unlike the beach at Kraalbaai, the bird hide did not exactly have the two twelve year olds with us thrilled.  Admittedly, we were not there at a good bird spotting time, so we have not seen too many of the more than 250 species.

Shades of green:


Lunch at Driftwoods in Langebaan proved rather popular with all, though.

Drift Woods

It was now becoming afternoon, and we first took a vote on whether we would still visit the West Coast Fossil Park.  I was quite surprised at the two twelve year olds’ enthusiasm.  Maybe they had grand visions of Jurassic Park.


We arrived at the Fossil park after the departure of the laste guided tour to the excavation site.  The lady at the laboratory was kind enough, though, to give us a tour through the laboratory – which is where the guided tour in any event ends.

In die lab

Some interesting facts we learnt were that this is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.  It was discovered in 1930 when phosphate mining started there.  Unfortunately a great many of the fossils had been destroyed in the mining operations.  Apparently as much as 80% thereof.  Nevertheless, more than a million specimens found its way to the Iziko museum in Cape town.  After the mine closed in 1993 it was developed as a fossil park.

By the end of our tour even our Jurassic Park enthusiast’s concentration was starting to wear thin.  After all, if the 5 million year old bone is actually solidified into stone, it cannot be cloned, and the DNA won’t exist to churn out a new African bear.

African bear

Last stop:  Stompneus Bay.

Shelly Point

It does not get better than this, huh?…