Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

From the R27 to Yzerfontein

As one takes the turn off from the R27 down to Yzerfontein there are a few interesting places to stop and have a look around. I had travelled up and down the road a few times and been intrigued by the names and look of some of these places so determined to have a wander around and explore.

The first place as you turn off the R27 - The Weskus Padstaal.

The first place, as you turn off the R27, is The West Coast Farm Stall (Weskus Padstaal).

The West
Entrance to the farm stall.
Carvings from trees.

Carvings from trees.

The new owners  moved down from Mafikeng, in the North West Province where they had run a game farm, and took over the West Coast Farm Stall (Die Weskus Padstaal) in February 2009. They had a man working for them who does these amazing carvings from tree trunks and branches and have brought many of them down as décor for the farm stall.

Part of the outside tea garden area.

Part of the outside garden area.

One of the many colourful birds that can be viewed at the back.

One of the many colourful birds that can be viewed at the back of the stall.

The farm stall is a really interesting place to make a stop and buy fresh bread, jams, honey,  pies, milk, herbs etc. and also have a delicious farm style meal. Apart from having a look at the wonderful carvings there is also huge aviary at the back with a wonderful collection of birds and, for a small  fee, you can go on a guided tour.

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Old Lime Kiln

A bit further down the  road are 2 Lime Kilns. In the days of the Dutch Est India Trading Company there was no cement available for building so these kilns were built to burn mussel shells to form a binding material which was then used in place of cement. There is also a scale model of a kiln in Yzerfontein where one can read and see how they worked.

Blombos

Blombosch Hideaway Lodge.

I did take a drive down to the Lodge but there was no one there to chat to and get information. If you are interested just give the number on the board a call.

Start of the

Start of the Bokbaaivygie Hiking Trail

Die Strand Kombuis.

Entrance to Die Strandkombuis.

Not too long ago there was a road directly from Yzerfontein to the Strandkombuis but that has now been closed and you have to turn off the road about 3 km’s out of town and take a 6 km drive, round the salt pan, to get there. The restaurant is run by the  Sandpiper Guest House which is close by.

There was a beach wedding and reception taking place the next day.

There was a beach wedding and reception taking place the following day.

Die Strankombuis.

Die Strandkombuis.

On the beach.

On the beach.

Found this on the beach in front of the restaurant but have no idea what it could be. The photo does give you an idea as to how close the place is to Yzerfontein in the background.

The Fish Market.

The Fish Market.

Unloading snoek.

Unloading snoek.

No fish can be sold or off loaded in the harbour area so as soon as the boats are out the water they head straight for the market, which is about 2 km’s out of town, where the buyers are waiting. There prices are agreed and fish offloaded. There are also good facilities for washing and cleaning the boats.

Die Stal.

Die Stal Pub and Restaurant.

Situated between the market and town I would imagine that this place really jumps over week-ends and especially when the Springboks are playing

End of the road.

End of the road.

Hope you enjoyed the trip down from the R27 to the great seaside town of Yzerfontein.

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.

Langebaan

I have decided to do four posts on Langebaan as there is much to see and do and it would be difficult to squeeze it all in to just one post. I am going to divide it into  older Langebaan, newer Langebaan, Leentjiesklip Caravan Park and the West Coast National Park – starting with older Langebaan.

Founded in 1922 and known as “the jewel of the West Coast”  this historical town was once a whaling station but has now transformed into one of the busiest holiday destinations on the West Coast. Langebaan is just over 100km’s from Cape Town, off the R27 to Velddrif, and is situated alongside the Langebaan Lagoon. Just before you get to Langebaan town centre you will see, on the left side of the linking road, Langebaan Country Estate.

Langebaan Country Esate.
Entrance to Langebaan Country Estate.

The estate is 450 hectares and is a gated, secure golf type estate, and has an 18 hole Gary Player redesigned course. The club house, which overlooks a splendid water feature, is perfect for conferences and wedding receptions. Tennis courts, a bowling green and residents swimming pool are also available. To find out more please go to link.

Restaurants at the main beach area
Restaurants at the main beach area

As one drives through the town you take a right turn at the 5th stop street and come to the beach area of Langebaan where all the sports action takes place and there are also some great sea food restaurants.

There are also  some interesting looking shops.
There are also some interesting looking shops.

Look ma no hands.
Look ma no hands.

Langebaan is internationally known for it’s ideal conditions for kite surfing, wind surfing and sailing during the summer months and the white beaches, surrounding the crystal clear waters, are one of the main attractions.

Apartment development on the beach front.
Apartment development on the beach front.

Many years ago this section used to have lease hold timber beach house that were regularly flooded and damaged at  spring high tides. I must be honest and say that I would love to have one of these lock-up and go apartments as a holiday house.

Some of the original houses at Langebaan.
Some of the original houses on the southern side of Langebaan.

Reverse view of that same section of the lagoon.
Reverse view of that same section of the lagoon.

This was the part of Langebaan, the southern section, that was first developed and still has a special atmosphere.

Fishing in the lagoon.
Fishing in the lagoon.

If you know what you are doing, have the right bait etc, there is some great fishing in the lagoon. These guys were catching mostly Stompneus.

There is no more space for new houses along the edge of the lagoon in this section of Langebaan so all the  newer development has taken place on the hills that overlook the lagoon.

One of the newer houses overlooking the lagoon.
One of the newer houses overlooking the lagoon.
One of the older original cottages.

One of the older original cottages.

As one goes back out of the town centre you can take a left turn that takes you to Saldanha Bay via many of the new housing developments, which I am going to post about next time, and also past one of the most famous restaurants in the area – Die (The) Strandloper.

Signpost to The Strandlooper.

Signpost to Die (The) Strandloper.

If you enjoy seafood then this is a must go to but just be aware of two things – you have to book well in advance, and I am talking weeks maybe even months, and you must allow at least 4 hours for the experience.

The open air restaurant.

The open air restaurant right at the edge of the lagoon.

I could only get there when it was closed but have eaten there on quite a few occasions and it was an amazing experience. I was sad to see that much of the beach area in the front has been washed away as we used to go for a swim between courses.

Just loved this sign so had to put it in.

Just loved this sign so had to put it in.

To find out more info about Die Strandloper please follow this link.

The next place along the road toward Saldanha is call Leentjiesklip Caravan Park, where I am staying, and then starts all the new developments around Langebaan which is what I will show you in my next post.


Jacobsbaai.

Situated on the coast between Saldanha Bay and Paternoster lies the picturesque retirement and holiday village of Jacobsbaai. The turn off to get to Jacobsbaai is on the Saldanha Bay – Vredenburg  road, just outside Saldanhna, and the road, until fairly recently was a not so good gravel road.

Jacobsbaai is out of sight of the bordering developed towns and the main traffic flow of the area and is also surrounded by agricultural land and natural vegetation. It is the kind of place you don’t just stumble upon but rather have to know about and make an effort to get there.

Welcome to Jacobsbaai.
Welcome to Jacobsbaai.

IMG_2323Part of Jacobsbaai’s 2km coastline.

The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village.
The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village called Hospital Bay.

As one arrives in Jacobsbaai there is an extraordinary sight that greets you. On the 24th June 2009 a barge, the Margaret that was being towed from Durban to the Netherlands, ran aground and is still stuck on the rocks. It is a huge multi decker barge and there is no way that you can miss seeing it.

The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.
The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.

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Salvage Operation.

There are plans to try and salvage either the barge or at least the cargo.

Weskusplek.
Weskusplek.

Weskusplek is an 80 seater restaurant, holiday and conferencing resort, uniquely situated on a narrow peninsula between  Jacobsbaai bay on the one side and the white-sand beach of Hospital Bay on the other side. Weskusplek is also sometimes referred to as “Steve’s place” after Steve Hofmeyer, a well known South African entertainer, who is a part owner.

The multifunctional conference fascility.
The multifunctional conference facility.

I say multifunctional as it is also used as a wedding chapel and on the day I was there was being prepared for a whole crowd to gather and watch the semi finals of the Currie Cup rugby competition.

Another view of Weskusplek.
Another view of Weskusplek.

Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
looking accross another small bay at the Crayfish
Looking across another small bay at a place called Live Fish Tanks.

At Live Fish Tanks they pack live West Coast Rock Lobster (crayfish) for export to to Europe and  the far east.

Another old look out building on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
An old look out tower on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.

Stopped and had a chat to the owners of this house who told me they were the first to build at Jacobsbaai only 17 years ago. An interesting fact is that of the over 300 houses here 80% are occupied all year round. They reckon that once you stay here you never want to leave.

As you can see there are some good looking houses.
As you can see there are some good looking houses.
They got the rugby result correct - Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.
They got the rugby result correct – Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.

Probably the most practicle finish you caould have for a house at the sea.
Probably the most practicable finish you could have for a house at the sea.

This was only the second time I had been to Jacobsbaai, the first was for a photographic assignment some months ago, and after having had some time to explore and have a good look round I really enjoyed the village and can understand why people don’t want to leave. It is only 140km’s from Cape Town and also close to a new modern shopping centre outside Vredenburg. It has a moderate climate, great seafood restaurant and there is good fishing, crayfish diving in season, small boat access, bird life and walking trails.

Velddrif.

I initially found it a bit confusing trying to work out where Velddrif started and ended as there are no boundary boards or markers. You cross the bridge over the Berg River, about 170km’s from Cape Town and you are in Velddrif, turn left and follow the road, east to west,  and within the next 2 km’s you get to Port Owen and Laaiplek. The central feature of all three places is the Berg River.

A graphic representation of the area.
A graphic representation of the area.

Just to try and give you an idea of where the 3 places are situated.
Just to try and give you an idea of where the 3 places are situated.

Velddrif has been a popular holiday destination for many years and, as with Dwarskersbos 12kms  up the R27,  also originally belonged to the Smit family who farmed cattle in the area. However it was not cattle farming that put Velddrif on the map but the harvest from the sea that has always drawn people to the area. The first large fish factory was opened in 1944 and to this day tons of pilchards, snoek and harders are harvested from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

The Berg River from the eastern side of Velddrif.
The Berg River from the eastern side of Velddrif.

"Bokkom Lane"
“Bokkom” country.

You can’t spend time in the area without trying the local delicacy called bokkoms. It is here that large schools of harders are netted and hung out to dry in the sun and turned into fish biltong (jerky).

A fresh harder before being hung up to dry.
A fresh harder before being hung up to dry.
Bokkoms drying in the sun.
Bokkoms drying in the sun.
Spotted this Pelican waiting to feed on some of the throw aways.
Spotted this Pelican close inshore waiting to feed on some of the throw aways.

The birding at Velddrif is outstanding with over 180 bird species having been recorded there. I wanted to go on the birding boat trip which is normally R80.00 for an hour and a half  but, because I was the only customer, it was just too expensive as I would have had to pay R200.00.

The studio of Marina Clunie right at the rivers edge.
The studio of Marina Clunie right on the rivers edge. She is one of many local artists.

Wish I could paint.
Wish I could paint.
Velddrif also has salt pans and a processing factory right on the river.
Velddrif also has salt pans and a processing factory right on the river.

Cerebos salt processing plant.
Cerebos salt processing plant.

Tours to the salt factory are available on Thursdays and are by appointment only.

Moving westwards through Velddrif this is a shot taken from the bridge.
Moving westwards through Velddrif toward the sea this is a shot taken from the bridge.
There are some great restaurants and if you enjoy fish this is the place for you.
There are some great restaurants and if you enjoy fish this is the place for you.

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A good place to buy some bokkoms if you want to give them a try.
The river front craft market.
The river front Pelican Harbour.

A number of tourism related businesses operate from Pelican Harbour creating an interesting stop for those exploring the attractions of Velddrif.

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Artful Things. The wall mural on the left was a collaboration between 4 of the local artists.

Overall I enjoyed exploring Velddrif and found the people  friendly and helpful. I was originally going to include Laaiplek and Port Owen in this post but there was more than enough for Velddrif to stand on its own.

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