I love getting overseas visitors. More importantly, I love showing overseas visitors around who have already done all the standard touristy things on offer in the Mother City and who are keen to get a local’s perspective on things to do.
I was able to indulge my preference for visiting spots off the usual tourist track when a very distant relative came over from the UK for a visit. Having already tried out the thrills of Canopy Tours, Shark cage diving and experienced the 7th wonder that is Table Mountain, she was only to happy to join me on a trip up the West Coast to visit some of our experience providers in the quaint village of Paternoster….
Being intrepid travellers (Helen was on her way home to the UK from living in Spain…. Not sure if it was the shortest route back but it sure is a scenic one!), we took all the back roads. Winding dramatically through the crop fields around Philadelphia then along through Atlantis onto the West Coast road and northwards through Vredenburg to the very quaint whitewashed village of Paternoster got me thinking about my West Coast bucket list of things to do….. it’s one of my favourite areas in the Cape so here’s a personal shortlist of places to visit and things to see on the southern parts of the West Coast that are a little more off the beaten track. It’s by no means exhaustive, but includes all my favourites.
1. Spend some quiet time at the Seeberg bird hide in the West Coast National Park. This somewhat windswept and tranquil spot gazes out across the upper reaches of the Langebaan lagoon and we spent some enjoyable moments adding to our twitchers list…. and it’s just so peaceful!
2. Walk or ride the beaches at the back of Saldanha Military academy’s nature reserve towards Jacobsbaai. It’s a completely different experience, beautifully deserted and has fabulous scenery for great photos.
3. Lunch at Voorstrandt on the beach in Paternoster. This was a little gem that we stumbled upon in Paternoster. Right on the beach, it serves wholesome, hearty seafood dishes as well as some other meals. I tried their seafood curry and it was epic!
4. Cycle through the West Coast National park – look out for Caracal, ostrich, Eland, enormous snakes, blesbok and more….. It’s hard work but completely worthwhile and if you’re there in flower season, it’s even more gorgeous although you’ll fight for road space with other sightseers then.
5. Take a mussel farm tour in the late afternoon and enjoy a pot of mussels in a creamy white wine sauce at Saldanha bay harbour. Remember to pack your sea-sickness pills but it’s informative and interesting and offers a great view of the deep-water harbour operations at Saldanha bay.
6. Spend the night or two in a wigwam with a hot tub under the stars in Paternoster. It’s unusual and novel. Set back from the beach outside the quaint town, you get to enjoy a secluded spot, plenty of privacy and a really novel weekend away.