"Get away from it all in gorgeous Langebaan" Langebaan by CatherineReichardt

Langebaan Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 51 photos

If you love the idea of escaping from civilisation into wild, challenging surroundings, then the fantastic West Coast National Park is for you!

What I love most about the West Coast National Park is that it is only 120km (and just over two hours drive on a good but slow road) from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, and yet feels so untouched and remote. This must have been how the Cape appeared to the first Europeans, and you can understand how this beautiful but harsh, parched landscape must have intimidated them.

The park is centred on Langebaan Lagoon, a startlingly turquoise stretch of water that boasts the warmest water I've experienced in the Cape (a relative term!) and is home to thousands of seabirds. The park has RAMSAR status, and many of the birds migrate here from the northern hemisphere to breed in the lagoon and fringing salt marshes, and an abundance of species also live in the fynbos. In other words, a twitcher's paradise, and even non-twitchers should appreciate some of the more 'mainstream' feathered attractions such as flamingoes, pelicans and ostrich.

In springtime, the strandveld erupts into a riot of colour - this is a very popular time on the West Coast, so if you're visiting to experience this glorious spectacle, then be sure to book well in advance, as accommodation is at a premium. In summer the West Coast can get extremely hot, and as the fynbos is so low, there is absolutely no shade, so come prepared with a hat and more sunscreen and water than you think you'll need.

I think that this is a very special place, which has the added virtue of being sparsely touristed compared to the Cape's other attractions - especially if you visit out of school holidays. So relish the opportunity to experience pristine Africa as it would have been before European settlement - there are few places so accessible that feel so remote!

If you're in the Langebaan area and fancy a taste of South African culture, might I recommend a short detour inland to the nearby town of Darling? It's a charming little town that's also home to South Africa's premier political satirist Pieter Dirk Uys and his alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout. Well worth a visit for a beverage and a koeksister and a chance to peruse the on site cabaret theatre and egocentric art gallery at the whimsical Evita se Perron or to sample the local produce (alcohol and foodwise) at the fantastic little Darling brewery (in which case, make sure that you either stay overnight or that someone else is nominated as the designated driver)!

  • Last visit to Langebaan: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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