The West Coast of South Africa is a beautiful part of our country that attracts tourists from all over the world and with the launch of the new West Coast Way tourism routes earlier this year, this special region is attracting even more visitors.
It’s for this reason that the Saldanha Bay Tourism Office recently opened its doors at their brand new offices in Vredenburg in the old Station Building on Main Road, which was refurbished into something quite special.
Coupled with the opening of these beautiful offices was the launch of the new Visit West Coast Website and Social Channels, which are a hub for the entire region, to see what to do and when to do it.
To help launch this spectacular new route, Carlinn and I spent a few days exploring the West Coast with a few other travel writers, seeing, tasting and experiencing a side of this region that none of us had ever done before.
These experiences ranged from family & educational excursions, all the way to things you can do on a romantic getaway from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, so I thought I’d put together this list of things you can do when you next visit the West Coast.
What To Do when Visiting the West Coast
1. Visit the Hopefield Museum and see their “live” mannequins.
The Hopefield Museum is one of the most unique museum’s I’ve ever visited because unlike most of the others I’ve ever been to, they have LIVE mannequins.
It’s quite special actually because these “live mannequins” are all dressed up in vintage clothing and are there to tell you all about the rich history of this quaint little town.
The museum itself has so many old artifacts from vintage cameras all the way to piles upon piles of old drivers licenses and ID’s from back in the day, so if you know of any family that grew up there in the 1940’s to the 1970’s, chances are you’ll find their documents there.
2. See a working bee hive and learn all about these cute insects at Simply Bee in Hopefield.
Bees are really important to the world, but there’s so much a lot of us just don’t know about these hard working little insects.
Heading over to Simply Bee will help educate you (and your kids) about how bees work, why some honey is dark and others light. Not only that, but they have a working hive closed off behind a window (so there’s no chance of being stung) so you can see how bees work together to make a hive full of honey.
3. Travel back MILLIONS of years at the Brand New West Cost Fossil Park education centre (Opening September 2017).
Ever since I was a kid, archaeology has fascinated me, so when we visited the West Coast Fossil Park‘s working dig site to learn all about animals from millions of years ago, I was like a kid in a candy store.
Did you know there used to be something called a Short Neck Giraffe? Well, neither did I until this visit.
What’s more awesome is that we got a sneak preview of the BRAND NEW education centre that will be launched in September 2017! Do yourself a favor, GO and visit it when it’s open!
4. Go for a drink at the famous Panty Bar in Paternoster.
If there’s anything up the West Coast you’ve probably heard about already, it’s the Panty Bay in Paternoster, which is located inside the Paternoster Hotel.
This hotel bar has hundreds, if not thousands of panties hanging from the ceiling and has quite a controversial past, which you can read about here.
The bar itself is a great experience and if you’re brave enough, you can add to the collection too ;)
5. Book a truly unique eating experience at Wolfgat in Paternoster.
Paternoster is FULL of amazing places to eat, but after our last visit to Kobus van der Merwe’s restaurant, Wolfgat, I’ve been left with an amazing taste in my mouth and all I want is MORE!
This is a truly amazing dining experience that is by booking only, where your tastebuds will be treated to some of the most incredible food you’ve ever had.
6. Enjoy breakfast with a view at the Saldanha Protea Hotel.
Breakfast is a really important part of our lives, but what can make or break this super important meal, is the view.
So, if you happen to find yourself in Saldanha looking for a place to eat breakfast with an amazing view, the Protea Hotel offers a delicious buffet breakfast with views of Saldanha Bay.
7. Learn about the rich history of Saldanha at the Saldanha Cultural Village and Heritage Museum.
Saldanha is a small fishing town with a rich history! Take some time to visit the Cultural Village & Heritage Museum and listen to some really amazing stories by local, Linda Prezens.
8. Visit the West Coast National Park in Spring to see the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen.
If you’re from Cape Town, you’ve no doubt heard about the West Coast flowers that pop up every spring, turning the West Coast National Park into fields upon fields of color.
If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and make a trip there this Spring and don’t forget your camera.
9. Eat Oysters right out of the Ocean at the Oyster & Mussel Factory in Saldanha.
There’s nothing better than a fresh oyster right out of the ocean with black pepper, a gentle squeeze of lemon and squirt or two of tabasco sauce.
If this is something you’re keen on, make your way down to the Oyster & Mussel Factory in Saldanha and request a tasting.
10. Explore the Langebaan Lagoon on a Stand-Up Paddle Board with Windtown.
If you’re a little adventurous, there are so many things to do up the West Coast, including a tour around the Langebaan Lagoon on an SUP with Windtown.
Windtown is a 4,5 star hotel in Langebaan that offers a variety of water sports from SUP’s to Kitesurfing Lessons.
As much as I REALLY wanted to do this myself, I injured my elbow the night before, so I had to pass, but I know what I’ll be doing on my next trip to the West Coast.