West Coast National Park in South Africa

Accommodation in West Coast National Park

Product NameRoom TypeRATINGPrices
West Coast National Park Jo Anne's Beach Cottage (FA8) from: ZAR 2000
West Coast National Park Abrahamskraal Cottage (FA6) from: ZAR 1560

West Coast National Park

Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere. During the spring the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section many antelope are to be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.ACTIVITIES The park has been divided into 3 recreational zones:
Zone A: multi-functional section for most water sports.
  • Zone B: reserved for sailboats and board sailing (no power boats or angling).
  • Zone C: wilderness area which is closed to the public.
  • The Strandveld Educational Trail starts and ends at Geelbek Homestead.
  • The Postberg Flower Trail is open during the spring flowering season only.
  • Game viewing from own vehicle in the Postberg Section (only during the spring flowering season).
  • Picnic, barbecue and ablution facilities for day visitors in the Postberg Section (only during the spring flowering season).
  • Tea garden and light meals at the Geelbek Homestead.
  • Bird hides near the Geelbek Homestead.GENERAL INFORMATION- Climate
    Rain occurs mainly from May to August. Summers are dry with early morning mists with south-easterly or south-westerly winds. A temperate coastal climate prevails. - Day Visitors
    Day visitors are welcome, and form the bulk of all visitors to the park. They can obtain food and refreshments at Geelbek and when Postberg is open there is a kiosk.- Emergencies
    For further information contact the office or the Park Warden:
    Tel: +27 22 772-2144/5 • Fax: +27 22 772-2607- Handy Hints Remember to bring along bathing suit, angling equipment, hat, sun block, walking shoes, camera, binoculars, bird and mammal reference books.
  • Beware of strong and changeable currents on both sides of Schaapen Island. - Take Note Water sport enthusiasts should acquaint themselves with local conditions and boating and angling regulations.
  • Saldanha Bay (including the Langebaan Lagoon) is a crayfish (rock lobster) and abalone (perlemoen) reserve. Removal of these organisms from this area is a punishable offence.
  • Due to the recreational zoning of the park some water sports are restricted to certain areas. Please adhere to regulations.
  • Pets are not allowed in a national park.
  • Medical, pharmaceutical, vehicle repair post office and police services in Langebaan Village.
  • Nearest hospital: Vredenburg (30 km)
  • Fuel available in Langebaan Village. - Travel / How to get there
    The entrance to the park is some 100 km north of Cape Town, off the R27 highway. Most internal routes are tarred. The last section of the road to Postberg is, however, gravelled.- Gate Hours
    1 April to 30 September: 07:00 - 19:30
    1 October to 31 Maart: 06:00 - 20:00
    Postberg: 09:00 – 17:00 (this section is open during flowering season only). - Wheelchair Access
    The major attractions of the reserve are the marine and lagoon fauna and flora, fossil deposits, flower displays, wading birds and the use of houseboats. There are a variety of visitor destinations within WCNP all with varying access potential. Some of the more noteworthy ones include: Geelbek Hide
    Accessed via a long wooden boardwalk, a person in a wheelchair can easily enter the hide (although with weathering the boardwalk is a bit creaky in parts). Depending on the tides, a person can have marvelous viewing of aquatic wading birds.
  • Postberg Flower Reserve
    Flower season is August and September, but there is also the presence of some large herbivores. Most of the viewing of the flowers is done from the confines of a motor vehicle. There are a couple of picnic sites and a viewing site overlooking the lagoon. The pathway to this latter facility becomes too narrow for passage in a wheelchair. There are toilet facilities that are spacious and can be easily accessed. However no assisting rails are present.
  • Lagoon jetties and beaches
    There are several jetties leading people onto the lagoon. These have steps and a wheelchair user will require assistance. Mobile toilets that service these jetties or the pathways that lead down to lagoon beach pockets are not appropriate for people in wheelchairs.FAUNA AND FLORAMammals
    The largest concentration of mammals is in the Postberg Reserve, but this is only open to public during flower season. However mammals are found throughout the rest of the reserve. Eland, red hartebeest, Cape grysbok, caracal and rock hyrax are some of the terrestrial species to search for. Visitors should also keep an eye on the Atlantic Ocean for passing whales and dolphins.Birding
    The park surrounds the Langebaan Lagoon, which is a world Ramsar site (site’s deemed to be of global significance to wetland bird species). Many of the wader species are Palearctic migrants, so summer is the best time to visit the lagoon, particularly in September as species return fatigued from their transcontinental travel, and March when they congregate in large numbers to feed heavily prior to undertaking the reverse journey. In such times, the birds are often changing into or out of their Northern Hemisphere breeding plumage. The best time to observe the lagoon waders is to visit the Geelbek hide from low tide as the tide is coming in. As the water level rises the waders are forced closer to the hide until eventually they must fly off until the tide has receded once more. The smaller species depart first, with the more long-legged godwits, whimbrels and curlews the last to leave. Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ruff, Marsh, Terek and Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Ringed and Grey Plover, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Curlew and Bartailed Godwit are present on most occasions, while there is always the possibility of seeing rarer species. Little Egret and South African Shelduck may be seen alongside the waders. Flamingoes and White Pelican frequent deeper water, and there is chance of seeing Osprey. Another isolated hide west of the Geelbek educational centre overlooks a salt pan that is an excellent place to see Chestnut banded Plover.

    The reserve’s fynbos surrounding the lagoon hosts Black Korhaan, Cape and Greywinged Francolin, Southern Grey and Cape Penduline Tit, Anteating Chat, Whitethroated and Yellow Canary, Karoo Lark, Titbabbler, Bokmakierie and Cape Bunting are all easily seen. African Marsh and Black Harrier can often be seen quartering the ground.

    The coastal islands at the mouth of the lagoon are breeding havens for a number of species such as Kelp and Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Gannet, and African Penguin. Cormorants and terns are present too. Vegetation Though the thousands of migrating birds is one the main reasons for the conservation of the West Coast National Park, the showy plants of the area, usually growing on granite or limestone rocks, especially during spring time, are what attracts most of its visitors to this fascinating park.One of the summer-flowering west coast plants is the kukumakranka (koeke-makranka - Afrikaans, Khoi). There are about 32 Gethyllis species, of which G.afra and G.spiralis are perhaps the most commonly used ones. Koekemakranka is one of the few Khoi words still in use today and an interesting example of the contribution which the Khoi people have made to the cultural wealth of the Western Cape Province.These interesting plants all have an underground bulb of which the scales form a distinctive neck at ground level. The long, thin leaves are usually spirally twisted or coiled. The attractive flowers appear in summer when the leaves have already died. They have a narrow tube which extends below the ground where the fruit will eventually develop. In mid-winter, the long, club-shaped berry emerges from the ground. It has a fragrant pulp in which numerous seeds are embedded.The ripe fleshy fruits are gathered. They are highly aromatic and have a powerful sweet, fruity odour. The gathering of the inconspicious fruit depends to a large extent on a good sense of smell.Kukumakranka brandy is one of the early Cape remedies for colic and indigestion. Traditionally an alcoholic infusion or tincture is made from a few ripe fruits in a bottle of brandy or witblits. The edible fruit was also highly valued to perfume rooms and linen.