Wild West Coast Adventure with SANParks
Quad biking, sand boarding, bird watching and delicious seafood are just some of the attractions of the West Coast outside of the flower season. This last weekend we got to experience a selection of these as guests of SANParks on a weekend of discovery.
We all met up at the SANParks offices in Kirstenbosch gardens from where we were taken by the Green Cab to our base for the weekend, the West Coast National Park. As much as I like driving it was actually a pleasure to be driven and before we knew it we had arrived at the park which is just 120km outside of Cape Town, perfect for a weekend away. There are several options of accommodation within the park and we stayed at the Duinepos Chalets nestled in amongst the natural fynbos.
After dropping our bags we went out for a quick tour of the park and to the lagoon for a swim as it was a very warm day despite the cloud that was blowing in off the Atlantic Ocean. While the West Coast National Park may not be able to boast the big five it is home to several of the smaller cats like the caracal and African Wildcat as well as several antelope such as springbok, eland, red hartebeest, bontebok and my favourite, kudu, which we were lucky enough to see.
Anyone who has visited Cape Town will know just how cold the Atlantic Ocean is. Even in summer, the beaches are packed but there are very few people in the water. The Langebaan lagoon however is usually several degrees warmer making it a great destination for water lovers and some of our group took full advantage of this.
With the sun starting to set we slowly made our way back towards Duinepos when we came over a rise and were literally spellbound by this view back towards Table Mountain.
Our host for the weekend explained that West Coast National Park is the only national park where you can literally see another national park – Table Mountain National Park. So taken by the view we stopped off at the Atlantic viewpoint for a group photo.
Back at Duinepos we all congregated at the boma for welcome drinks and snacks around the fire but as we sat there the sunset just got better and better with the sky turning from orange to pink and seemingly getting brighter while we clambered onto the jungle gym by the communal swimming pool to get a better view. As some of us craned our necks to get the shot, others were busy getting shots of us all on the jungle gym.
The catering was being provided by Geelbek Restaurant. Started and run by Elmarie whose passion for history and the area saw her knocking on the doors of local residents and asking them for recipes. There are many different cultural influences on the food because of all the different nationalities that came over on ships to the Saldanha port resulting in authentique dishes you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. The homemade ginger beer was just what we needed to quench our thirst as we all got to know each other a bit better. Then they unveiled the snacks which were absolutely delicious including the famous Geelbek Muscles and Torpedo Prawns that were fried and served in a shot glass of sweet chilli sauce.
That’s all before the main course of fresh snoek done on the braai and to top it all off some traditional bread pudding with custard. After eating so much food it was as if sitting was all we could do as we exchanged stories around the fire.
While we could have probably stayed up all night but we had an early start the next morning to get to Lambert’s Bay for what was probably the most anticipated activity of the weekend – quad biking on sand dunes. There was some debate however as to whether it would still happen as the weather forecast wasn’t great which had everyone trying to remember the old adage ‘red sky at night, sailor’s delight.’
Well we’d definitely had a red sky that evening but we would have to wait until the morning to see if this was true or just a myth…