10 Essential Spots to Visit in Cape Town’s West Coast

The glorious Cape West Coast is easily known as one of Cape Town’s most beautiful hidden gems. It’s therefore no surprise that the charming, charismatic and breathtakingly beautiful west coast of Cape Town has stolen the hearts of locals and travellers alike. Its unapologetic beauty, tranquillity and pure sense of serenity has made it one of the most sought-after destinations when you’re looking to escape the hustle and hype of the city for a while.

Widely known as one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets, the Cape West Coast is jam-packed with unapologetic natural beauty, charming fishing villages, a treasure chest of secret spots and hidden treasures as well as some of the most picturesque beaches in the world. It will almost feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new world entirely all without really leaving the city at all.

Cape Town West Coast

In order to ensure your west coast visit is one you won’t soon forget, here are some essential spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast that will make you fall even more head over heels in love with it than you already are.

1. West Coast National Park


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The world-renowned West Coast National Park is one of the most essential spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast. The beautiful west coast gem deserves to be on every nature lover’s bucket-list, especially during the Mother City’s vibrant spring season. Located just an hour’s drive from the city centre, the beloved West Coast National Park is well-known for its unapologetic natural beauty, spectacular scenery, sensational views, variety of hidden gems, rich biodiversity and magnificent fauna and flora display. But it’s during the Mother City’s blossoming spring season, locally known as flower season, when the West Coast National Park really comes to life.

Every year during August – September the West Coast National Park bursts into a beautiful and glorious celebration of colour as Cape wildflowers stretch as far as the eye can see. You’ll see these wildflowers in their raw and untamed state, completely unapologetic, relentless in their spectacular pursuit to set the west coast alight in a magnificent burst of vibrant colour. It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s therefore no surprise that the West Coast National Park is known to draw flora lovers from all corners of the globe all looking to experience the Cape West Coast floral magic first-hand.

In addition to being one of the top places to visit during Cape Town’s glorious spring flower season, the West Coast National Park offers visitors so much more to do, see, explore and experience. Boasting endless stretches of natural beauty, a string of sensational secret beaches, uncrowded braai and picnic spots, loads of exhilarating outdoor adventures, and some of the best wildflower and marine life sightings, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top spots to visit and adventure experiences to enjoy when visiting the West Coast National Park:

  • Visit Kraalbaai: A picturesque stretch of beach boasting white sand and turquoise ocean water where visitors can enjoy everything from kitesurfing and waterskiing to fishing, kayaking, snorkelling, SUPing, boating and, of course, sunbathing and swimming in the amazingly still, crystal-clear waters.
  • Explore the rich fauna and flora of Postberg: Postberg is considered the prime flower and game viewing location within the West Coast National Park during August and September. In fact, it is only open to the public during those two months. So, be sure to pay it a visit on your spring trip to the West Coast National Park. Be sure to pack a lovely picnic basket too!
  • Visit the West Coast National Park’s very own piece of beach paradise found at the Preekstoel: Widely known as one of the Mother City’s most magnificent secret beaches, the picturesque Preekstoel is by far one of the top spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast. This picture-perfect secret beach offers stunning secluded patches of white sand, lovely and refreshing ocean waters feeding into nearby Kraalbaai, amazing marine life sightings and striking rock formations in the shallows and near the rugged cliff faces. It truly is the epitome of the west coast’s very own beach paradise. Here’s a little insider tip – This beach is named after the rock formation that is shaped like a preacher’s pulpit, which is precisely what Preekstoel means in Afrikaans.
  • Enjoy a braai and picnic at Tsaarsbank: Does it get any better than enjoying a braai by the sea? We certainly don’t think so! Tsaarsbank boasts a beautiful stretch of beach that is perfect for shell collecting, enjoying a traditional South African braai or a lovely picnic on the picnic tables, surrounding rocks or the beach as you watch the waves of the Atlantic crash down on the shore.
  • Enjoy incredible whale watching and wildlife sightings: The West Coast National Park is home to over 250 bird species, reptiles and mammal (including far-off herds of gemsbok, zebra and bontebok as well as tortoises and snakes). Not to mention it is seasonally visited by pods of whales, making it the perfect place to go whale watching on the Cape West Coast. From August until October, visitors should keep a keen eye on the shoreline as huge pods of Southern Right Whales can be seen bobbing in and out of the clear water as they swim along the Tsaarsbank section of the park, particularly if the waves aren’t too choppy.
  • Enjoy a West Coast National Park Hiking adventure: The best way to soak up the Cape West Coast scenery is, of course, on foot. The West Coast National Park has several walks and trails to choose from. Ranging from a short 4.5km hike to a scenic viewpoint to the 2.5-day Eve’s Trail. Thus, it provides something for every hiker to enjoy.
  • Stay on a houseboat: Staying on a luxurious houseboat on the slow-moving waters of the Langebaan Lagoon truly is a bucket-list worthy experience in every way. These permanently anchored house boats are perfect for large-group holidays. There are 4 main options to choose from, namely Eve which accommodates four people, Serenity and Larus which each sleeps six people and Nirvana which can accommodate up to 24 people. Not only does a stay on one of the Cape West Coast’s houseboats give you the opportunity to experience something truly incredible, but have tons of fun while doing it too! Enjoy on-deck braais and swims around the lagoon and make the most of every second.

2. The beautiful town of Paternoster


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Did you know that Paternoster is one of the oldest villages on the west coast of Cape Town? It is also one of the few west coast sea-side towns that epitomizes and embraces the authentic and traditional West Coast lifestyle and still prides themselves on living a life that is closely connected to the sea. To this day, fishermen still head out daily in colourful traditional wooden boats to catch fish, which can be bought at the local market or enjoyed in the quaint Paternoster restaurants.

The charming coastal town of Paternoster truly is the picture-perfect west coast escape to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, sit back, relax and recharge. With rows of whitewashed fishermen’s cottages, long stretches of white sand and an old dock where boats still pull up every day, this authentic fishing village is a West Coast gem in every way. Not to mention that it is the ultimate seafood mecca boasting some of the very best fresh seafood in the entire Western Cape.

Besides down-right delicious seafood, magnificent beaches, sensational scenery and a real fisherman’s village charm, Paternoster also has an endless variety of natural gems to discover and explore. Nature lovers should definitely spend a day or two exploring the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, a vast stretch of beautiful coastline with plenty of secluded beaches and hidden coves. You will also be able to enjoy amazing bird life and marine life sightings, with whales and dolphins often visible right from the shore. It’s therefore safe to say that the beautiful fishing village of Paternoster is without a doubt one of the best spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast.

Other highlights, sought-after attractions and must-visit spots in Paternoster include: The ‘Oop vir Koop’ shop which is a well-known landmark in Paternoster; The Noisy Oyster for some sensational seafood; and Paternoster se Padstal is a not-to-be-missed authentic local craft and flea market as well as the Cape Columbine Lighthouse. Built only in 1936, it was the last manned lighthouse constructed and rests on a windswept coastline within the Columbine Nature Reserve, just five kilometres outside of the fishing village of Paternoster.

3. The charming coastal town of Langebaan


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White sandy beaches, turquoise ocean waters, breath-taking ocean views, a laid-back beach vibe and pure unapologetic natural beauty around every twist and turn is just some of what you can expect from this beautiful and charismatic West Coast beach town. Located approximately 100km from Cape Town’s city centre, Langebaan is one of the most essential spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast.

In addition to the white Caribbean like beaches and the crystal-clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the charming coastal town of Langebaan has a variety of hidden gems, natural wonders and sought-after attractions just waiting to be explored and experienced by you. Langebaan has also become a top hub for water sports along the west coast with local and international surfers, kite-surfers, kite-boarders and windsurfers travelling from far and wide to experience its windy ways and cool water sport status first-hand. In addition, the beach town is a great place for yachting, angling and various fishing opportunities.

Not to mention the variety of hiking trails, nature walks, adventure experiences and unapologetic natural beauty this captivating west coast town has to offer. It is home to the renowned West Coast National Park after all. 

4. Wolfgat


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Voted the Best Off-Map Destination & Restaurant of the Year in the internationally acclaimed 2019 World Restaurant Awards, Wolfgat is one of the most sensational seafood restaurants, not only on the Cape West Coast, but the world too.This tiny beach restaurant opened their doors just 2 years ago in a 130-year-old cottage and cave on the beach at Paternoster. Headed up by talented Chef Kobus van der Merwe and his six mostly female staff that have no real formal training (making this achievement even more remarkable). Wolfgat offers a truly authentic local culinary experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

At Wolfgat it’s all about sustainable, back-to-basics cooking. Chef Kobus van der Merwe and the staff go out everyday foraging for fresh ingredients, herbs, succulents and dune spinach on the wild Atlantic shore of the Western Cape to be incorporated into the delicious dishes. Talk about passion and dedication to their craft. This is one Cape West Coast culinary gem that deserves to be on every foodie’s bucket-list and is one of the very best places to enjoy seafood in Cape Town.

5. Visit the charming town of Darling


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Located approximately 75km from the Cape Town city centre, situated between vineyards and golden wheat fields, the quaint town of Darling is one of the best places to visit on Cape Town’s West Coast. Located right in the heart of the West Coast flower region, this small west coast town goes into full bloom every year during Cape Town’s famous and fabulous flower season.  The Darling Wildflower Show, which is held every third weekend in September, has therefore become one of Cape Town’s top events for nature lovers from all around the world. As everyone celebrates an integral part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom comprising of Renosterveld, Rietveld, Sandveld and Strandveld where more than 1200 different species of flowers can be found.

In addition to sensational fauna and flora and prolific displays of wildflowers that carpet the area in vibrant colours between August and October every year, Darling is also home to a variety of other top attractions and sites, including the famous Darling Brew Tasteroom & Brewery. Here you are invited to sit back, relax and sip on some authentic Darling brew, enjoy a beer tasting experience, indulge in all the delicious meals and pairings from the restaurant and even buy a few incredible Darling brews to take home with you. They also have an open-air kids play area to keep the little ones entertained, awesome live events and is MTB-friendly. So, be sure to pop on by on your Cape Town west coast road trip. It promises to be absolutely worth the visit. Not to mention, Darling is widely known for its sensational locally produced wine. So make sure to enjoy and purchase a few bottles while you’re there.

But, just before you think your Darling adventure is over, we’ve got one more surprise up our sleeve. This one is definitely going to put a massive smile on every avid hiker’s face. Yes, we’re talking about the Darling Stagger Hiking Trail! The renowned Darling Stagger is a 20km guided trail that takes in the San cultural sites, vineyards and olive farms around Darling; making it a pretty remarkable and exciting hiking adventure for every hiking enthusiast at heart.

6. Visit the charismatic coastal town of Saldanha Bay


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Located approximately 150km from Cape Town’s city centre, Saldanha Bay is another one of the Cape west coast’s most beautiful and beloved coastal towns. Situated in South Africa’s largest natural Bay, Saldanha is a stunning sea-side village that is widely known for its unrivalled natural beauty and small-town coastal charm. Not to mention the fact that Saldanha Bay is also considered the hub of the fishing industry, boasting a highly successful commercial fishing trade. Besides it’s highly acclaimed fishing industry, Saldanha Bay is known to serve up some of the very best seafood in the entire west coast; making it any seafood lover’s dream come true.

The fact that Saldanha Bay is located closer to the desert region of Namaqualand certainly provides it with a contrasting, yet spectacular landscape, which is quite an exciting adventure to discover and explore. In addition, Saldanha Bay has also established itself as quite the adventure mecca for water sport lovers and ocean thrill seekers from all around the world looking for the perfect west coast spot to go surfing, kitesurfing, kiteboarding, wind-surfing and deep-sea diving. Not to mention the fact that it is one of the most popular spots on the west coast for fishing enthusiasts, offering something for every ocean lover and adventure seeker to enjoy. But, that’s not all, Saldanha is widely known for its incredible bird-watching opportunities and beautiful white sandy beaches that stretches for miles on end, making it the ideal west coast beach escape.

7. Explore the little coastal town of Jacobsbaai


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The captivating coastal town of Jacobsbaai is one of the most charismatic and essential spots to visit in Cape Town’s West Coast. Considered somewhat of a west coast hidden gem, very few people actually know this west coast wonder exists. This makes it all the more exciting to discover and explore. When you first arrive at Jacobsbaai, it will almost feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new magical world entirely. Filled with authentic white painted clay houses, turquoise ocean waters and a truly picturesque coastline that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. All without travelling too far out of Cape Town’s city centre at all. Home to a beautiful, rugged, rocky coastline with small, sandy bays tucked in between, Jacobsbaai boasts a sea frontage of 2km which has 7 different bays. All of which makes the landscape of Jacobsbaai both picturesque and unique.

Jacobsbaai is the epitome of small west coast living right to its core. There aren’t even any tar roads in the entire town of Jacobsbaai. Yes, it’s all dirt roads; thereby taking travelling ‘off-the-beaten-path’ to a whole new level. But what an incredible and truly beautiful off-road adventure it is indeed! The fact that its easily one of the west coast’s best kept secrets, paired with its authentic nature and raw unapologetic beauty, means it’s relatively untouched, undiscovered and unspoilt by the masses. It’s the ultimate serene and tranquil escape from the hustle and hype of city life. As there isn’t too much around, we suggest you pack a lovely picnic basket, some sundowners, a picnic blanket for comfort and find the picture-perfect spot to admire the spectacular view. But, if you’re looking to enjoy something truly special, a sunset picnic on the rocks or shore of Jacobsbaai promises to be everything you can imagine and so much more.

In addition, the coastal fynbos of Jacobsbaai also supports a variety of wildlife which can best be seen along the 17-km hiking trail that runs between Swartrietbaai and Tietiesbaai. Often referred to by locals as ‘Namaqualand by the sea’ its wildflowers are breathtakingly beautiful in spring. This certainly makes Jacobsbaai another must-visit Cape Town spring destination.

Insider tip: Keep a lookout for the Jacobsbaai sign as you make your way past Langebaan, it’s pretty hidden, so if you drive too fast you might just miss it entirely.

8. Visit Olifants River Valley & tour the wonderful west coast wineries


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Very few people are actually aware of the fact that the Cape West Coast is home to some of the most exemplary and exceptional wineries that will have head-over-heel wine lovers going back for more again and again. For a truly eclectic and extraordinary selection, we suggest you head over to the Olifants River Valley, the northernmost wine region in the Western Cape province. The Olifants River Valley consists of three districts, namely Lutzville Valley, Citrusdal Mountain, Citrusdal Valley as well as a few wards with no districts, which are Spruitdrift, Vredendal and Bamboes Bay. The wine route in this fertile valley is called the West Coast Wine Route which has become synonymous with good food, good wine and good company. When it comes to an authentic and exceptional Western Cape wine experience, what more could you ask for?

Three of the largest wine cellars in South Africa, namely Namaqua Wines, Klawer Wine Cellars and Lutzville Vineyards, can be found right here in the Olifants River Valley, as well as the country’s largest organic wine cellar, StellarOrganics, and smaller boutique wine producers. It offers something for every wine lover to sip, savour and enjoy. Not to mention the sensational scenery and spectacular vineyard backdrops you’ll be able to admire while exploring the stunning West Coast Wine Route and tasting its stellar selection of wines.

9. The beachy gem of Yzerfontein


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The beautiful beachy town of Yzerfontein is one of the Cape west coast’s best kept secrets. This small coastal town proudly boasts the longest stretch of uninterrupted coastline of 25km! How glorious is that? Situated just 80km north of Cape Town’s city centre, is where you’ll discover this serene and tranquil sea-side village. Boasting endless stretches of white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water, it will almost feel like you’ve escaped to your own piece of paradise without really leaving the city at all. Known for its natural beauty, vast stretches of beach and pure sense and serenity and tranquillity, the beautiful Yzerfontein is a true west coast gem in every way. Boasting a stunning unspoilt coastline with both rocky and sandy beaches including the famous sixteen-mile beach which stretches all the way to Postberg Nature Reserve within the West Coast National Park, Yzerfontein is any beach and nature lover’s dream come true. 

In addition to its natural unapologetic beauty, Yzerfontein boasts beautiful year-round sunshine and a mild winter climate, making it the perfect getaway and holiday destination for locals and travellers alike. This captivating west coast town is also home to a small craft harbour which is any anglers dream come true, well known for its snoek and crayfish. In fact about 60% of all line fish caught on the West Coast happens right here in Yzerfontein.

In addition to its scenic beauty and stunning surroundings, Yzerfontein boasts an endless variety of exciting adventures and amazing experiences. From mountain biking, whale and dolphin watching, bird watching and scenic drives to several hiking trails and water sports such as skiing, sailing, surfing and angling. Yzerfontein has something for everyone to enjoy.

10. Die Strandloper


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Die Strandloper is another Cape West Coast seafood gem that should be on every seafood lover’s bucket-list. This laid-back beach restaurant situated in the beautiful coastal town of Langebaan is about as authentic as they come. At Die Strandloper it’s all about traditional fresh west coast seafood prepared the real local west coast way by real west coast locals. And it’s sensational!

It’s therefore safe to say that Die Strandloper is local, authentic West Coast cuisine at its finest. Visitors to this top Cape Town seafood restaurant can expect to enjoy a delicious seafood feast consisting of a variety of courses prepared in true west coast style. From fresh fish curry, mussel pots, freshly baked breads and grilled Weskus Haarders to braaied snoek, Crayfish, smoked Angelfish, sweet potatoes and traditional local Moer Koffie, the list goes on and on.

Besides a truly sensational seafood feast, Die Strandloper’s beautiful, beachy setting is what makes this Cape Town seafood experience extra special. Positioned right on the beach, you can feel free to chuck your shoes aside from the moment you arrive. Plus, it allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local experience. Picture soft white sand beneath your feet, the sound of gently lapping waves in the background, seagulls flying above, a ceiling of heavy fishing nets, the smell of braai wood, sea spray, and fresh roosterkoek perfuming the air. You simply won’t find a more quintessential West Coast experience anywhere else.

At Die Strandloper It’s all about good food, good people and good, old-fashioned West Coast hospitality. You’ll surely feel it from the very moment you arrive. You can even bring your drinks and ice along. Or if that’s not quite your style, they have a Beach Bar ready and waiting to serve.

Regardless of which west coast gem you choose to visit on your Cape Town west coast road-trip, it promises to be well worth it. Filled with unapologetic natural beauty, spectacular fauna and flora, a rich and diverse biodiversity, picturesque beaches and a treasure chest of hidden gems and secret spots that have remained relatively untouched, Cape Town’s west coast truly is the ultimate escape.

Planning to visit Cape Town in 2020? Learn more about the Mother City, how to get around, free things to do in Cape Town in 2020, and more from our blog. We can help you find the perfect place to stay. Get in touch if you’d like help finding accommodation or Cape Town tours to indulge in when you are around.

About The Author: Bianca Bunge

I am a Cape Town based Travel Blogger & aspiring writer. Travelling is the ULTIMATE joy, it allows us to lose ourselves & find ourselves all at the same time, is there anything better than that? PURE BLISS!! And being a Travel Blogger allows me to share my love of travelling, especially my LOVE of Cape Town, with all of you. The Mother City truly did steal my heart, and perhaps she'll steal yours too! I also love the ocean, going on adventures & wine, I REALLY love wine! Join me on my mission to discover EVERY little bit of Cape Town, and what a glorious adventure it will be!
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