What many visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape don't really know, is that just 25-minutes northwards out of the city is a gateway to a uniquely vibrant and often overlooked part of the country. The Cape West Coast is truly the road less travelled, dotted with charming fishing villages, miles of pristine beaches and abundant wildlife, most people think only of Langebaan's lagoon or Yzerfontein's 16 Mile Beach,- however there is, in fact, a whole new world beyond the city limits.
Check out these West Coast Gems - just a short trip from Cape Town.
1. Enjoy a great meal at "Die Strandkombuis", Yzerfontein:
Located right on the famous sixteen mile beach, this rustic open air restaurant specialises in the freshest of seafood all prepared on open fires and served in courses over a period of three hours.
2.!Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre
!Khwa ttu offers a fascinating insight into the culture, heritage, knowledge and modern-day life of the San of Southern Africa ( Bushmen).
3. Birding in the West Coast National park
The Park, which includes the beach and dune land between the towns of Yzerfontein and Langebaan, the beautiful lagoon and the Saldanha Bay Islands, is an Important Bird Area and a RAMSAR site which is home to more than 300 bird species.
4. Cape Columbine Nature Reserve:
Un-spoilt by development the pristine reserve at Cape Columbine lies on a peninsula and covers many square kilometres of gorgeous wild, wildlife rich rocky coastline.
5. The Ostrich Show Farm:
Located only an hour from Cape Town, the Ostrich Show Farm offers informative and interactive experiences with these large, unusual-looking birds and the 40-minute tour not only covers an educational on the ostriches, but also the museum and Ostrich leather factory.
6. West Coast Biosphere Trails:
Experience what it's like to be governed by the sun, stars and tides of the sea on these awe-inspiring wilderness relaxed-paced hikes through the unique vegetation, deserted beaches and tranquil lagoon of the West Coast National Park. A choice of five exhilarating trails will transport you to a world of unchartered territory and adventure.
7. The Darling Wine Route
Darling's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the vineyards' elevation, conspire to produce stunning wines with concentrated flavour, depth and intensity which can be sampled at four magnificent wine estates.
8. Sandboard Atlantis:
Sandboarding in Cape Town is an all-year round activity and the beautiful white dunes of the Atlantis dunefield provide a safe environment to learn, have fun and improve your skills.
9. Horse riding in Langebaan
Riding along the beautiful stretch of beach here is a breath-taking experience and a great way to experience the natural beauty and rugged coastline.
10. Get some Atlantic Ocean time in a Kayak in Paternoster:
Take to the ocean in Paternoster with an experienced guide and enjoy a gentle meander along the coastline, where you could spot dolphins, seals and whales and get up close and personal with the plentiful and varied bird life on the rocks.
11. Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Calypso Beach-Langebaan:
Calypso Beach on Langebaan Lagoon is a pristine west-facing beach with warm water, and as there are no currents, its ideal for stand up paddle boarding.
12. Take the family out in one of the Beach buggy trips in paternoster:
Explore the dunes between Paternoster and St Helena Bay in a novel off-road adventure - by beach buggy for retro family fun.
13. Mamre Moravian Mission Station
Originally founded in the 16th century as a military and cattle post, the quaint restored mission complex is set under old shady oak trees - complete with church, parsonage, school, water mill, bakery, barns and stables.
14. West Coast Fossil Park:
Contrary to the way the West Coast looks today, millions of years ago the area was actually characterized by Rivers, forests and wooded savanna, which were inhabited by exotic animals like the short necked giraffe and the west coast bear, that are now long since extinct.
15. Have a laugh at one of the shows at Evita se Perron, Darling:
It is here that you can meet the infamous Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout, the most famous white woman in South Africa, enjoy traditional boerekos , take in her show, stroll around Boerassic Park and sip Evita Blanc.
16. Relax and Taste a Darling Brew
Relax and sip on craft beers with fascinating names like Bone Crusher and Black Mist, or pair them with a selection of inspired light meals that enhance their unique flavours.
17. Boat trip to Dassen Island:
Home to some over 60 000 African penguins, Dassen Island is located in the Atlantic Ocean 9 km off the coastline near the Yzerfontein.
18. Have some fun at the Club Mykonos Casino:
When you are in need of a little excitement or your tired limbs need to recover from hiking or kite-surfing, the place to visit is Club Mykonos, perched on the shores of the beautiful Langebaan lagoon, overlooking its azure waters.
19. Visit the Darling Museum:
Initially founded in 1978 by the Darling Womens Agricultural Association as a Butter Museum, the Darling Museum boasts a fascinating recreation of life in a bygone era.
20. Mountain Bike in Saldanha Bay
The spectacular SAS Nature Reserve in the military base has marked walking routes that are all bike-friendly, offering views, bird and game spotting with access onto the northern peninsula of Saldanha Bay. For more information and loads of other exciting activities on the West Coast.