The West Coast National Park is a misty, stunning landscape that spans 27,500 hectares and is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the SANParks portfolio, it is set among the striking spring flower blossoms and expansive beaches surrounding the Western Cape’s Langebaan Lagoon
The West Coast National Park was established in 1985 with the aim of conserving the Langebaan Lagoon and surrounding landscapes, also including the islands in Saldanha Bay, and stretches from Yzerfontein to Langebaan.
The habitats in the park are varied, and it is of international and national importance in respect of both terrestrial and marine life.
The unique and diverse habitats of the Langebaan Lagoon and its salt marshes and wetlands, the granitic islands of Saldanha Bay with its large breeding populations of seabirds, the varied rocky and sandy shores of the coastal strip, the parabolic coastal dune fields and the terrestrial lowland fynbos communities on calcareous soils form the current extent.
The area is also extremely rich in fossils and reported remains of human occupation in the park date back to the Holocene Age. It is recommended to spend a weekend or a couple of days in the West Coast National Park, it offers great accommodation and there is plenty to do to keep you busy.
Things to do
- Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach in Kraalbaai with family and friends. It provides a peaceful setting for a picnic or braai.
- Water sports, for example, waterskiing, snorkelling, diving, swimming, fishing, angling, and boating.
- Kayaking – enjoy the scenery from a different view.
- Kitesurfing – Langebaan offers perfect conditions for the avid kiteboarder.
- Visit the Postberg section during the spring flowering season (only open to the public from August to September). During spring the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section antelope can be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.
- Game viewing – In the park you will see many tortoises (we counted 200 in October), ostriches, dung beetles, Eland, bontebok, springbok, hartebeest, wiledebeest, Cape mountain zebras, scorpions, and if you’re lucky even snakes.
- Whale watching. The southern right whale can be viewed at Tsaarsbank from August to November.
- Bird watching. The West Coast National Park offers birders a diversity of habitats; see below for more information.
- Visit the viewpoints Seeberg and Atlantic and combine the Kodak moments with a picnic.
- The Geelbek visitor’s centre is conveniently located at the southern end of the lagoon offering visitors refreshments, curios and information on cultural history and all things to do in the West Coast National Park.
- The Geelbek Restaurant, situated in a Cape Dutch building dating back to 1744, prepares traditional food. Try the trio consisting of malay chicken curry, bobotie and denningvleis. Dishes portray a local history enriched by Portugese, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian and Malay influences. The award-winning wine menu offers the best local wines. Geelbek Restaurant is also a conference and wedding venue.
- The stables – a nice venue for school groups (education programmes), community events and team building.
- Cycling/mountain biking – Four different routes are available: 30km trail to Geelbek on tarred road (start at Langebaan gate); 70km return trip from Langebaan gate to Kraalbaai; 13km circular MTB trail around the Seeberg view point; 30km circular MTB trail around Seeberg view point and Mooimak.
- Have a braai/picnic. There are great official braai spots overlooking the lagoon for day visitors at the Preekstoel information area. The rule: first come, first serve. Here you will also find information on what you can see and find in the West Coast National Park.
- Sleep over at the West Coast National Park, it offers great and diverse accommodation. Read our overview for more information.
- And hike; see below for more information on hiking routes.
The West Coast National Park offers birders a diversity of habitats. The park is centred on the ecological and aesthetically spectacular Langebaan Lagoon.
The bird hides give you the opportunity of viewing some of the many bird species found in this area, such as flamingo, ostrich and black Harrier. Bring your binoculars. There are three bird-hides: Geelbek, Seeberg and Abrahamskraal.
Langebaan wetlands have been allocated Ramsar status, attributed only to sites of international importance. The lagoon attracts hundreds of thousands of waders annually that give the West Coast National Park legendary status on South African bird circles.
The terrestrial habitats offered in the park are equally interesting to the birders. Many West Coast specials and South African endemics can be seen with relative ease within the park and 308 bird species have been recorded to date.
Where to stay
Abrahamskraal Cottage (FA6)
Jo Anne’s Beach Cottage (FA8