Namaqualand, driving the West Coast Flower Route

The endless sky of South Africa West coast. West coast travel guide
The endless sky of South Africa West coast. West coast travel guide

Unlike the famous garden route the West coast is still a journey off the beaten track in South Africa. Driving away from Cape Town you’ll see how everything changes; landscape, food, people and even their accent. Though the nothing is predominant in the area there are enough things to see and to experience. Travelling the West coast prepare to be surprised and see amazing things in the most unexpected places! My main impressions of  the West coast are the endless sky and a feeling of absolute freedom! We hope our “West Coast South Africa travel guide” will help you to plan your trip and to discover this wonderful area.

Our West coast road trip map. West coast travel guide
Our West coast road trip map; Cape Town (A) – Langebaan (B) – Jacobsbaai (C) – Paternoster (D) – Tietiesbaai (E) – St.Helena Bay (F) – 22 Waterfalls (G) – The Bath (H) – Elandsbaai (I) – Lambert’s Bay (J) – Strandfontein (K) – Vredendal (L) – Hondeklipbaai (M) – Springbok (N).

Best season to travel the West Coast

Without doubt is springtime (August-September) when all the area especially the northern part (Namaqualand) transforms completely. Deserted the rest of the year prairies after spring rainfalls are covered with thousands of flowers converting the fields into a huge oriental carpet. We did our trip in January (mid summer) and still enjoyed it but definitely planning to come back in spring.

Namaqualand in spring
Namaqualand in spring vs
Namaqualand in summer. West coast travel guide
Namaqualand in summer. West coast South Africa travel guide

West coast South Africa travel guide

Day 1-4

Cape Town – Langebaan, 126km, 1h30min.

Langebaan – a kite surfing Mekka of South Africa and a nice beach town with many guest houses and self catering places. We spent here four days and did an introduction kite surfing course that was the main reason we came here. Even if you are not planning to learn kite surfing here the town is worth of spending a couple of days; relaxing, swimming, driving around, visiting art galleries/national parks etc. For more details on Langebaan and kite-surfing check our article Kitesurfing – learning in Langebaan.

It was just the beginning of our honeymoon so we decided to upgrade ourselves from normal camping to Air B&B. So we stayed in a very nice house for ZAR500/US$ per night. But it’s possible to camp in Langebaan as well we went to check the campsite and really liked it!

Campsites in Langebaan

Leentjiesklip Caravan park, a beautiful spot not far from the main town, from ZAR139/US$10 (low season) and ZAR216/US$16 (high season) per site, up to 4 persons excluding children under 12. Cold water and beautiful sunset guaranteed! Next time we go to Langebaan we’ll definitely camp here. For booking inquire 022 772 2461

Facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Wi-fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Other – grassy spots, right at the sea.
Langebaan, all about kitesurfing. West coast travel guide
Langebaan, all about kitesurfing. West coast South Africa travel guide

Day 4-5

Langebaan – Jacobsbaai, 30km, 30min.

We spent two nights here one in a cool campsite/hostel Jacobsbaai backpackers and one in our friends’ house. Jacobsbaai Backpackers is a very nice place with a lovely garden, camping ZAR70/US$5 per person, lovely place with good facilities. They have shared and private rooms as well. Jacobsbaai Backpackers has more to offer and definitely can surprise you nevertheless your age! A whole world of pixies and fairies with small houses, castles, tree giants and is hidden in the garden. When we were here it wasn’t finished yet but they promised it’d be ready by June 2017. Even if you don’t want to camp here it’s worth of coming especially if you travel with children.

Jacobsbaai Backpackers Facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Wi-fi – Yes
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Other – fully equipped kitchen.
Magic world of pixies and fairies at Jacobsbaai backpackers. West coast travel guide
Magic world of pixies and fairies at Jacobsbaai backpackers. West coast South Africa travel guide

The town itself is very small, quite and I’d say cute with cozy white houses, cliffs and a nice beach for walking. Our advice don’t eat in local restaurants they aren’t good rather drive to Langebaan or Paternoster or just buy food at a supermarket. The nearest SPAR is in Saldanha about 15min. drive.
We did day drives and visited all listed below places you can do the same or spend a night in every town.

Tranquil and cozy Jacobsbaai
Tranquil and cozy Jacobsbaai
A nice photo spot at a restaurant in Jacobsbaai
A nice photo spot at a restaurant in Jacobsbaai

Jacobsbaai – Paternoster, 30km, 30min.

On the way from Jacobsbaai to Paternoster there is Weskus mall with many different shops in case you need to do last-minute shopping or to stock your food supplies for the next days.
Paternoster is one more small town on the coast with quite a few nice restaurants and many small white fishermen houses for rent. It has very relaxed vibe, a wide sandy beach is nice for walking or running. You can stop here on the way up the coast or just do a day drive from Langebaan or Jacobsbaai. For seafood and fish lovers is highly recommended Voorstrandt restaurant; fresh seafood food, nice vibe, right on the beach with affordable prices. If you feel like pizza go to Blikkie Pizzeria. Don’t forget to check out the Panty bar at Paternoster hotel.

Small and cozy Paternoster. West coast travel guide.
Small and cozy Paternoster. West coast South Africa travel guide.
Fresh seafood at Voorstrandt restaurant, Paternoster. West coas travel guide
Fresh seafood at Voorstrandt restaurant, Paternoster. West coast South Africa travel guide

Paternoster – Tietiesbaai National park,

A national park on the coast between Paternoster and St.Elena bay. Most people come here to camp on weekends and holidays. Entrance fee ZAR19/$1,5 per person. Tietiesbaai rest camping (for up to six people) ZAR153/$12 (from November till Easter), ZAR104/$8 (rest of the year). Beautiful area with small beaches and quite cold water nice place to come for weekend with family and friends, to braai on the beach, read, relax and enjoy the nature. If we didn’t have friends to stay in Jacobsbaai we’d definitely come and camp here one night. Warning! Watch your belongings and lock vehicles there were some cases of robbery reported.

Tietiesbaai Rest camp facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – No
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – No
  • Wi-fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
Sea view from one of the campsites, Tietiesbaai Rest camp
Sea view from one of the campsites, Tietiesbaai Rest camp

Tietiesbaai – St. Helena bay

The best of the bay is the light house at Shelly point inside the security complex to get in say at the gate you want to see the lighthouse. Usually there are several seals relaxing on the rocks at the point and some dassies running around the beach. The area is beautiful; white sand dunes, blue sea, rocks and cliffs, sea birds… I wouldn’t mind to have a house in the complex.

Lighthouse at Shelly point. West coast travel guide
Lighthouse at Shelly point. West coast South Africa travel guide
A seal chilling at Shelly point
A seal chilling at Shelly point

Day 6

Jacobsbaai – 22 Waterfalls (Porterville)

Here we made a bit of a loop and went inland to see some waterfalls and chill down in hot springs. Something different from endless sandy beaches and small white towns. If you don’t have much time or just don’t feel like it from St.Helena you can keep driving up the coast to Elandsbaai.
22 waterfalls is a holiday farm/campsite (ZAR100/US$7,5 per person) with good facilities in a quite place far from the main road, the best thing about it is obviously the waterfalls. We didn’t regret about driving extra 100 or 200km from the coast to get here. For more info check our article 22 Waterfall a perfect getaway.

22 Waterfall campsite facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Wi-fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
22 Waterfalls, Porteville
22 Waterfalls, Porteville

Day 7

22 Waterfalls – the Baths Hot Springs (Citrusdal), 163km, 2h30min.

One more inland place we visited and really enjoyed. The Baths is a beautiful and absolutely safe place, hidden in the forest between the mountains and the orange plantations. It is  built around hot springs, which are the main reason most people come here. There are different accommodation options; camping, caravan park, rooms and chalets.
Camping is ZAR100/$7,5 per person. We liked spot N12 it’s more private. There is a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and a small shop where you can buy cool drinks, snacks, wood, ice cream etc.

The Baths Hot Springs facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Wi-fi – Yes, at the reception, you get 1Gb per day per person
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Other – hot springs, restaurant, small shop
The Baths Hot Springs, Citrusdal
The Baths Hot Springs, Citrusdal
Activities

Hiking; 1-hour and 2-hour walks up the hills with panoramic views over the valley.
Swimming (more relaxing and floating); there are two big pools with hot and cold water behind the reception. We loved jumping from the cold one to the hot one and back! There are two more pools much smaller behind the chalets, uphill. Don’t forget to go for a nice night swim in the big hot pool and check the stars.
Jumping; there is a small trampling near the main pools.
Bird watching; if you are a bird lover it’s a place for you especially early mornings, the birds were all over our tent.
Mountain biking: a mountain bike trail near the entrance.
Warning! Don’t leave your stuff especially food unattended there are baboons in the area though in two days we didn’t see any.

Pool with hot water, the Baths
Pool with hot water, the Baths

Day 8

The Bath – Elandsbaai – Lamberts Bay – Strandfontein – Vredendal, 249km, 5h30min.

From The Baths we went to Citrusdal to refill petrol and drove back to the coast. Some parts you drive on a bad dirt road so 4×4 is recommended. We didn’t drive straight to Vredendal but with some stops along the way.

Wallpainting in Lambert's Bay. Especially for us!
Wall painting in Lambert’s Bay. Especially for us!

The Bath – Elandsbaai, 111km, 2h30min.

Elandsbaai is famous for its perfect waves locals say the best waves in Western Cape so many surfers from Cape Town drive here on weekends. If you are a confident surfer (it’s not a good place for beginners) and have your board with you it’s worth to stop here to check it out.

West coast travel guide. South Africa road trip
West coast South Africa travel guide.

Muisbosskerm

5km before Lambert’s Bay on the Elandsbaai  road there is a very special family run restaurant named Muisbosskerm. The name means shelter built from a certain kind of shrub called ‘muisbos’ or mouse bush if directly translated. Seafood/fish buffet for 2-3 hours you eat as much as you can for ZAR250/$19 per person. Children pay less depending on their age. Make a phone call for booking before you go +27 (0)27 432 1017 as they prepare meals only if 15 people or more booked. The restaurant opened for lunch and dinner.

Muisbosskerm restaurant, Lambert's Bay
Muisbosskerm restaurant, Lambert’s Bay

Elandsbaai – Lambert’s Bay, 25km, 25min.

A small town on the coast a nice stop on the way. The main attraction is a bird island at the harbor where you can see thousands of gannets and crowned cormorants. The admission is ZAR40/$3 per person it’s free if you have a Wild card.

White sand beach, Lambert's Bay
White sand beach, Lambert’s Bay

We recommend to stop for a cup of coffee or lunch at Mad Hatter, a small restaurant at the entrance to the town near the information office. The whole interior is about Alice in Wonderland. By the way if you need some info on the area go to the info office they are very helpful and know the area quite well.

Mad Hatter restaurant, Lambert's Bay. West coast travel guide
Mad Hatter restaurant, Lambert’s Bay. West coast South Africa travel guide

Just outside the town on the way to Strandfontein there is a wine farm “Kookfontein” where you can do wine tasting, their specialization is Sauvignon blanc. You’ll get a very personal approach here the lady-owner will do a tasting for you. Unfortunately she wasn’t there when we stopped but we met her dog a charming boerboel Kongo. It’s better to phone and arrange the tasting 082 456 4299 Theunette van Heerden.

Meeting a new friend, Kongo, Kookfontein wine farm
Meeting a new friend, Kongo, Kookfontein wine farm

Lambert’s Bay – Strandfontein, 63km, 1h30min.

After an hour drive on a gravel road (quite bad road) we arrived at Strandfontein. Right at the entrance there is an info office where you can inquire and book accommodation in the town. The place is very small with mostly rental houses and two campsites that didn’t look too impressive and were quite expensive from ZAR300/$23 for two people. There is a beach and a nice view over the cliffs not really much to do here.

One more light house on the way to Strandfontein
One more light house on the way to Strandfontein

Strandfontein – Vredendal, 50km, 1h.

We had to go to Vredendal for our windscreen replacement and we found a cheap camping here, ZAR50/$4 per person. The drive to Vredendal is quite nice with a couple of wine farms on the way where you can stop and do wine tasting. There is a mall here if you need to stock it’s a good place, check for the water refill shop.

Vredendal campsite facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – No
  • Wi-fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
A very long train on a very long bridge, on the way to Vredendal
A very long train on a very long bridge, on the way to Vredendal
Camping in Vredendal
Camping in Vredendal

Day 9

Vredendal – Hondeklipbaai, 260km, 3h40min.

The drive to Hondeklipbaai was quite nice we saw some ostriches and gemsboks. The town was a bit of a disappointment, quite sad-looking small fisherman village with a lighthouse and two old ship wrecks. Not really worth of turning off from N7 and driving for more than an hour on a bad gravel road. Unless you want to experience a life style of a South African fisherman village in the middle of nowhere. Accommodation here is quite expensive the cheapest we could find was a caravan at Honnehokke resort for ZAR350/$27 for two. Apparently there is a caravan park but when we arrived there the gate was closed, there was nobody inside and no answer when we tried to phone a number on the gate.

Budget accommodation options in Hondeklipbaai
Budget accommodation options in Hondeklipbaai
Lighthouse, the main attraction of Hondeklipbaai
Lighthouse, the main attraction of Hondeklipbaai

Day 10

Hondeklipbaai – Springbok, 152km, 2h30min.

Springbok was our last stop before crossing to Namibia. Springbok is the largest town in Namaqualand area and its flower capital. The place to be in August-September to enjoy millions of all kind of flowers covering the hills and fields of Namaqualand.

There are plenty of accommodation options here; hotels, guesthouses, self-catering and two campsites. We camped at Springbok Inn hotel, ZAR100/$7 pp. The camping is great spacious with good facilities.

Springbok Inn campsite facilities

  • Hot water shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Wi-fi – Yes, at the hotel
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Other – swimming pool at the hotel building, cooking area.
Springbok Inn hotel and camping, Springbok
Springbok Inn hotel and camping, Springbok

That was the end of our West Coast honeymoon trip and the beginning of our Namibia honeymoon adventure check our complete 30-day Namibia travel itinerary.

West coast road trip tips

Take camping gear with you it’ll save you a lot of money. Accommodation is quite expensive and campsites are common in the area.
Prepare music for the trip you’ll have long days of driving and in some areas no radio stations are available.
The small towns look very quite and safe but always be aware don’t leave you stuff unattended and lock everything in the car.
Buy a local sim card (if you aren’t South African) you’ll need a phone to make bookings or inquire about places as well as for the internet, wifi is not very common in the area.
Take at least one spare tire the gravel roads sometimes quite bad you can get stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting for the help.

100km/h on this road! Seriously!?
100km/h on this road! Seriously!?

Always make sure you have enough petrol to last till the next station.
Take a jerrycan though we never used our but you never know.
Bring 5L water bottles for drinking water. Tap water is ok for drinking but sometimes doesn’t taste nice. Bottled water is quite expensive. Some shops (SPAR) have water refill for about ZAR1,75 per liter.

Useful Apps for self drive trip

  • Maps.me for IPhone and Android – an offline map, you download a map for a country and use it offline for navigation.
  • iOverlander for IPhone and Android – works offline, shows campsites in any selected area, we used it a lot in Namibia.
  • WestCoastWay an app for IPhone and Android with a lot of info on the West coast.
West Coast Way map
West Coast Way map. West Coast South Africa travel guide

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