The West Coast National Park.

On the other side of the lagoon at Langebaan is the West Coast National Park. The Park was established in 1985 with the aim of conserving the Langebaan Lagoon and surrounding landscapes, which also includes the islands in Saldanha Bay and the area from Yzerfontein to Langebaan.

The West Coast National Park.
The West Coast National Park.

The habitats in the park are unique and varied and its salt marshes and wetlands together with the granite islands in Saldanha Bay, cover an area of over 32,000ha and are ideal for the large breeding population of sea birds and also the growth of lowland fynbos.

One of two entrances to the park.
One of two entrances to the park.

This is the entrance from the Langebaan side and there is another entrance from the R27 to Velddrif. Entrance costs R26.00 per adult or you can get in for free if you have a SAN Parks Wild card.

Why did the tortoise cross the road?
Why did the tortoise cross the road?

I must have seen at least 30 tortoises on the road as I drove to and through the park. Some were not lucky and had been hit by motorcars.

Shame this Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)was not to lucky.
Shame! This Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) was also not so lucky.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.
Geelbek Visitor Centre.

I recommend that  the first place you stop in at is Geelbek Visitor Centre. There is a very good information centre, great restaurant and an interesting curio shop.

Cast of "Eves Footprint".
Cast of “Eve’s Footprint”.
Close-up of "Eve's Footprint".
Close-up of “Eve’s Footprint”.

The footprint, which is believed to be over 120,000 years old, was discovered at Kraalbaai in 1995 by  geologist Dr. Dave Roberts. To find out more please go to link

Good sign posting in the park.
Good sign posting in the park

There are many sign boards in the park as to all the different spots but just be aware that not all are open to the public. One of these is the Postberg section which is only open in the spring flower season of August and September. Another not open, all year round, is Churchhaven.

Houseboats at Kraalbaai
Houseboats at Kraalbaai

Some of these houseboats, one being the Nirvana, are available for accommodation and there are also quite a few self catering chalets at a place called Duinepos.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Another view of Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Preekstoel which is close to Kraalbaai.

Both Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are very sheltered from the prevailing south-east wind which was howling across the lagoon at Langebaan

Seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.
Vondeling Island on the seaward (Atlantic) side of the park.

View of Vondeling Island (21ha) taken from Tsaarsbank. The island was last inhabited in 1962 and the old buildings are now used by penguins and other birds.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

As with much of the west coast - rough seas and rocky shoreline.

Wreck of the Pantalis a Lemos

Wreck of the Pantalis A Lemos

In the distance the Pantalis A Lemos, an ore-carrier, which went aground in 1978. It is about a 4 km hike along the beach, in soft sea sand, to get to the wreck and my time was running out so just took a telephoto shot from the beach.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Self catering cottage near the Abrahamskraal bird hide.

Electricity in the house is provided by solar power and the stove, geyser and fridge are gas operated.

The weather, on the day of my visit to the park, was not great so maybe that was why I did not see much wild life apart from the tortoises, a few snakes and a couple of wild ostriches although I was told that a lot of game can be seen in Postberg when it is open in Spring.

There are 4 different options for both hiking and cycling trails and Kraalbaai and Preekstoel are  great for just relaxing on the beach and having a family braai. There is also kayaking, windsurfing, kite-boarding and if you are lucky whale watching at Tsaarsbank from August to November.

13 Comments

  1. Hanlie on November 10th, 2009

    Nice! I haven’t been to this park, but you’ve just made it clear that it’s well worth a visit. Thanks!

    I love the pictures! That’s quite a big pufadder…

  2. pbdphoto on November 10th, 2009

    Hi Hanli Yes I think it is well worth a day or even a week-end trip out to Langebaan and the park. Would be great to spend a night or two on one of the houseboats.

  3. Lee-Ann on December 10th, 2009

    I LOVE your blogs Pat! This is still one of my favourite places to go! You should check out my photo albums on Facebook. It really is Paradise. The only down I found is over Decemeber/January when hoards of families spend the day at the beaches and make a huge mess, littering etc. Often I would pull out 2 liter fanta and coke bottles from the lagoon. That makes me sad so we try to avoid these crowds. We have also stayed on The Laris houseboat which was a dream!

  4. pbdphoto on December 12th, 2009

    Hi Lee-Ann – It is really a very beautiful and interesting place and I wish the weather had been better and I could have spent more time exploring. Thanks for the support and compliment.

  5. Love and Lollipops on January 23rd, 2012

    Hi there,

    I enjoyed your post and pictures. I linked to this post in one of my own – http://allthingschildren.blogspot.com/2011/10/west-coast-national-park.html

    Take care,
    Georgia

  6. Tyler on January 30th, 2012

    Did you do any fishing in the lagoon?

  7. pbdphoto on January 30th, 2012

    I did throw a line in on a couple of occasions but without much luck.

  8. Karen on April 2nd, 2012

    Pat,

    Where will be a nice place to camp on the West Coast ? The place must also be pet friendly, please.

    Thanks
    Karen

  9. pbdphoto on April 2nd, 2012

    Most parks are not pet friendly in season but if you have a small dog you might find a few that will say okay out of season. I would definitely check with the manager before hand and not just pitch up.

  10. Karen on April 4th, 2012

    Pat,

    Where you at Malkoppan Camping and if you where there will you recommend the place?

    Thanks

    Karen

  11. pbdphoto on April 4th, 2012

    Hi Karen – No sorry I don’t know Malkoppen. Maybe somebody else who reads this can give you an opinion?

  12. mohammed on April 6th, 2012

    are you allowed to fish in west coast nature reserve?

  13. pbdphoto on April 6th, 2012

    Hi Mohammed – To be honest I am not sure. One can definitely fish in the lagoon but I am not sure about fishing in the sea on the other side of the peninsula.



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