Here’s some inspiration for a quick road trip from Cape Town, up the West Coast and into the Cederberg. It’s the perfect Spring trip – the flowers are out and the weather is warming up, but it’s not too hot to enjoy the many hikes and activities on offer.
Starting from Cape Town, head up the R27 and stop off at !Kwa Ttu San Experience Nature Reserve. They have a great mountain bike trail (bring your own or rent one of theirs), as well as interesting displays and guided tours on San culture. Enjoy an early lunch at the restaurant – much better food than is available in the West Coast national park, which is your next stop. www.kwattu.org.
From there, continue up the R27 for a few more kilometers before turning into the West Coast National Park. Make sure you plan this trip to start on a weekday – on weekend in flower season, the queue to get into the gate can take a few hours to navigate! Head straight into the Postberg section of the park for the best flower displays. Remember that the flowers are best between about 12pm and 4pm and that they face the sun. One your way back, do a quick snack stop at Kraal Bay – the powder white sand beach and warm blue water makes this an idyllic spot for a picnic. And if it’s warm enough, bring your swimming costume! www. https://www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast/
Continue driving through the park, aiming for the exit into Langebaan. If you have time, the viewpoint at is definitely worth a stop – on a clear day, you can see Table Mountain in the distance and the small cottage on site has been converted into an information centre packed with information on the fascinating history of Langebaan and the Langebaan Lagoon. You’ll exit the park and drive past through the unfortunate Shark Bay development – land that was zoned as a nature reserve is now being built up with houses – a sad example of human greed. Over the hill and down into the original part of Langebaan, you’ll find Indigo Blue Beach House (sleeps 6-8) and Baby Blue beach Cottage (sleeps 2-4). Both are directly on Sandbaai and are set up to be the prefect spot to enjoy a beach break. Cook your own dinner or head out to a local restaurant – Pearly’s on the Beach or Kokomos are great sundowner spots.
Wake up early for a walk on the beach. The house comes equipped with sit on top kayak, paddles and lifejackets so head out for a paddle if there’s no wind. If you head down towards Schappen island, you’ll see kelp forest, loads of seabirds, seals and … white bunnies. Yes, these rabbits were left on the island generations ago as a source of protein for visiting ships and have adapted to the harsh environment, eating seaweed during the dry summer months. You can also opt for a guided paddle trip if you prefer. If you’re not the paddling type, take a long walk and enjoy a cappuccino and breakfast at Pearly’s or Friday Island. You’ll won’t want to rush off from the relaxed beach lifestyle of Langebaan so we recommend booking two nights here! www.gravity.co.za/products/accommodation.
Pack up early and head out up the coast. You’ll pass the salt works at Veldrif and cross the Berg River before driving through lovely countryside and along the beach towards Lambert’s Bay. This is a good spot for lunch and a walk on the beach before you turn inland. Heading towards Clanwilliam, the landscape changes as you enter the foothills of the Cederberg. Your destination is Oudrif Strawbale Cottages – an off the grid, eco-friendly holiday cottages set on the Doring River. The last part of the drive is all on dirt roads which are suitable for an ordinary car – just don’t rush! A stay at Oudrif includes delicious communal meals prepared by hosts Bill and Jeanine. You’ll sleep well tonight, far from the intrusions of modern life.
Activities include walks, mountain biking (bring your own bike), fishing, swimming and paddling on the Doring as well as visits to the local Rooibos farms – South Africa’s iconic rooibos tea can only be grown in this area. This area is also a flower hotspot – the Biedouw Valley in particular is incredible. You’ll definitely want to spend two night here! www.oudrif.co.za
- Optional Add On #1! If you are the adventurous type and, (if there is enough water), a 2 day white water rafting trip with Gravity Adventures should definitely form part of your plans – the Doring offers incredible wilderness scenery and exciting Class 3 rafting. It’s a bucket list adventure for sure. gravity.co.za/products/doring-river-white-water-rafting/
- Optional Add On #2! Keep heading north for more flowers or to explore the Northern Cape. Red Rock River Camp is situated on the banks of the Orange and offers camping as well as meals and activities such as fishing and guided rafting trips. gravity.co.za/products/red-rock-river-camp/
Day 5: It’s time to return to real life and you’ll head out through Clanwilliam and onto the N7 through the citrus orchards of the Olifants River Valley. The Baths at Citrusdal is a lovely stopover, for the day or as an overnight on your way home – mineral hot springs and a variety of accommodation including camping, private chalets and apartments in historic Victorian buildings. www.thebaths.co.za
The last day of your spring fling road trip and we highly recommend a small diversion to Goedverwacht – a beautiful mission village tucked in a pretty kloof behind Piketberg. There’s a small coffee shop for a quick bite and you can do a hike or have a guided tour of the old mill. It’s a little slice of village life that time seems to have forgotten. It’s very much off the tourism trail so expect to do a bit of walking, a bit of chatting and bit of exploring.
From here, it’s a couple of hours’ drive through the countryside and you’ll find yourself back home.
Contact Marie-Louise Kellett for more information and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org