Visiting the West Coast and it’s Windy?
8 Ways to deal with a howling South Easter..
Perfect, windless days on the West Coast are inspiringly beautiful and a joy to experience. But let’s face it: At this time of year, during the summer months, taking the family to the beach isn’t always idyllic. This is the time when the wicked South-Easter threatens to spoil many a vacationer’s stay. While the kitesurfers are in their element when the wind is blowing at 40 knots, you are eating more sand than lunch and holding on to your beach umbrella for dear life. To top it all, the kids are bored and irritated because the water is too cold! What are you to do?
Fortunately, the West Coast has more to offer than sea and sand. There are a host of alternatives: things to see. places to go and exciting activities to try out. So don’t despair windy days. Use them to explore beyond the beach and make the most of your holiday on the West Coast!
Take the family to learn about San culture at !Kwa ttu, situated about 13 kilometres from Yzerfontein en route towards Cape Town. !Kwa ttu is the only San-owned culture and education centre in the Western Cape of South Africa. Some of the exciting attractions and activities at !Kwa ttu include: the San-guided experience, restaurant. craft shop. accommodation, tractor rides, a visit to a replica of a traditional San village, an introduction to the San languages,drinks at the boma and a visit to the photo gallery.
A unique tented camp is set within a tranquil bush land area. The camp can accommodate 20 people in five comfortable-sized tents, with four beds each.The permanent tents are hidden under a protective pole-roof structure and beautiful vegetation with a small, well-designed patio at the entrance.
The open-air hot & cold showers and sheltered toilets are designed to fit in with the natural environment and it offers the visitor an unforgettable shower experience.
West Coast Fossil Park
The West Coast Fossil Park is situated 120 kilometers north of Cape Town, only one and a half hour’s drive along the R27. Turn off on the R45 towards Hopefield. The Fossil Park lies in an area on the West Coast of South Africa that is thought to have been the estuary of the ancient Berg River millions of years ago.
20 million year old Fossil deposits have been found in the Langebaan Lagoon area. Approximately 117 000 years ago a female left her footprints in the wet sand near the lagoon. These fossilized footprints were discovered in 1995 and named “Eve’s Footprints she may have been the ancestor of modern woman.
The remains of many invertebrates and vertebrates including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, were buried and preserved in the floodplain sediments. In 1958, the first fossil remains were discovered when phosphate mining started at Langebaanweg. Among the fossils found, are the remains of an African bear, a saber-toothed cat and a short-necked giraffe. In 1998 the Fossil Park was opened and it is well worth the visit. Tours (including a trip to the dig site) and slide shows are offered at the Fossil Park daily. Pop into the curio shop and then visit the coffee shop for light refreshments (don’t forget to try Katherine’s lemon meringue pie).
West Coast Fossil Park: 022 766 1606
West Coast NationalPark and Kraalbaai
The West Coast National Park has much to offer the visitor: fauna and flora, awe-inspiring views of the Langebaan lagoon and Atlantic ocean, picnic sites,whale watching, mountain bike trails, bird watching, archaeology and game viewing.
At Postberg there are braai and toilet facilities at Plankiesbaai, which looks out on the Atlantic and at Uitkyk which looks out on the Langebaan lagoon and town.
The well known “Preekstoel”- rock (pulpit), jutting out from the tranquil lagoon water in Kraalbaai, marks a popular swimming spot in the West Coast National Park. Because the beach is sheltered by surrounding hills, the water is mostly flat, calm and safe – great news for bathers and sun seekers who wish to flee the Cape Doctor! The temperature of the lagoon at this end is also much warmer than the water of the cold Atlantic, due to the shallow water.
West Coast National Park: 022 707 9902/3
Geelbek and Oude Post
No trip to the West Coast National Park is complete without a visit to the restored Cape Dutch homestead on the farm ‘Geelbeksfontein’, situated on the south of the Langebaan lagoon. This building is a national monument with a rich and fascinating history.
The Saldanha Bay post house (Oude Post) was situated just a few kilometers from Geelbek and according to documents dating back to the early 1700’s, an elephant killed one of the postal staff.
Geelbek was used as a cattle station for many years and around 1785 a beacon that was positioned here, marked the border of the Cape district. The small fort at Oude Post is the oldest structure in the Saldanha Bay district and was built in the time of Commander Wassenaar to defend Dutch interests and to promote trade with the natives.
Since 1987 Geelbek was incorporated in the West Coast National Park as an environmental I educational facility and today Geelbek is a popular restaurant and first-class wedding and function venue. The restaurant is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week, is family friendly and offers a children’s obstacle course. The name ‘Geelbek’ refers to a bird that is commonly found inthe area.
Geelbek Restaurant: 022 772 2134
Indoor Paintball is the perfect pastime for everyone who is looking for some good,clean fun! What is unique about the indoor paintball facility at Weskus Mall (Vredenburg), is the fact that weather conditions have no influence on the game. So come rain or shine, your fun will never be spoiled!
This indoor version of the game is ideal for the whole family from 8 years old to 80 years young! Safety is very important to the owners of Paintball Legacy and all players are briefed on safety issues and game rules before a game is played. A marshal controls and watches over the game at all times.
The field also has a very popular 10m Target Shooting Range and is ideal for children. Players compete for prizes or for fun in various age groups. Paintball guns are used to shoot down targets of various values and sizes with a set amount of balls.
Paintball Legacy: 082 957 9281
Of course, then there’s always shopping!
For far too long West Coast shoppers were forced to leave the coast in search of retail options and variety, but since 2007, the region entered a new era of development and growth with the opening of the West Coast’s first mall!
Laguna Mall in Langebaan celebrated their second birthday in November 2009 and offers the consumer ample and convenient parking, a Pick n Pay supermarket, Clicks store and pharmacy, coffee shops, clothing stores, book stores,hair and beauty salons, take-away outlets,restaurants, a travel agency, surf shop,home decor stores and much, much more.
Laguna Mall: 022 772 0528
In March 2009 the long-awaited Weskus Mall opened outside the town of Vredenburg just off Saldanha Road. This 34 000 m2 mall offers all the major brands under one roof, such as Checkers, Game, Woolworths, Edgars, Cape Union Mart and all the most popular clothing retail stores in the country. With its more than 100 shops, vibey restaurants and coffee shops, 4 entrances, 2 lifts, 2 escalators, 1854 free parking bays and 24 hour security.many agree that shopping at the beautifully designed Weskus Mall can be compared to any upmarket city mall shopping experience. There is even a Fun Time Play Area, with Fun Time Express Train for the little ones.
Weskus Mall: 022 703 6900
Fun on the water
Of course, the best way to deal with the wind is, well, to deal with it! Embrace it, use it and have fun with it. The lagoon is one of the top windsurfing and kite boarding destinations in the world, and there are any number of instructors willing to teach you the ropes.When the wind starts up, usually in the afternoon, and everyone else leaves the beach, the surfers and boarders take over and it is a joy to watch their antics. But don’t just watch, try it out yourself. Equipment can be rented if you do not have your own.
For the family who like to do things together,sailing lessons may be a lot of fun. Rent a Hobie and learn the ropes. In next to no time you will understand why seasoned “wind-chasers” refer to bad weather as a day without wind.
Lagoon Sports: 022772 2380 or Cape Sports Centre: 022 772 1114