The Cape West Coast stretches from Cape Town as far as the border with the Northern Cape at Touws River, including within its parameters the majestic Cederberg Mountains, famous for centuries-old rock art. All along this stretch of coastline is a series of quaint historic towns and fishing villages with names like Velddrif, Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan.
The West Coast is a treasure trove of unspoilt beaches, incredible mountain ranges, rich geographical diversity, and the most colourful carpet of wild flowers in spring. Hiking, water sports and fishing are a way of life here and ‘bokkoms’ (salted mullet strung up in bunches and left to dry) is the local delicacy.
A 3 – 5 day customised tour for school groups can include:
The popular town of Langebaan is just over 100 km NW of Cape Town and is situated along the shores of the Langebaan Lagoon. The lagoon is an ideal place for water sports such windsurfing, kite-surfing, canoeing and kayaking. There are some horse ranches in the area where one can learn how to groom a horse, saddle up and ride.
On the way to Langebaan, stop at !Khwa ttu Culture and Education Centre to learn about San history, their tracking and rock art painting skills and their complex ‘click’ language. Go on a tractor-driven tour and hear the San’s traditional animal stories or go on easy nature walks and discover their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The West Coast Fossil Park, which lies just next door to Langebaan, has uncovered 200 fossils of different kinds of animals, many of them new to science. Phosphate mining operations at Langebaan during the late 1950s exposed one of the richest fossil sites the world has ever seen. Learn how to identify fossils and experience being a budding paleontologist at a dig site.
Paternoster is a small, quaint and picturesque fishing village near Saldanha Bay famous for its traditional fisherman’s architecture and endless pristine sandy white beaches. Paternoster is also popular among artists. Enjoy sketching and painting some of the quaint fisherman’s cottages and colourful fishing boats.
Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, often referred to by locals as Tietiesbaai, lies just south west of Paternoster. Its manual lighthouse – the last of its kind – is well worth a visit.
West Coast National Park
The West Coast National Park is the closest spot outside of Cape Town where one can sample the spring flower season. Besides nature’s tapestry of multi-hued flowers, Postberg a section of this park, has many antelope such as Eland, Red Hartebeest and Cape Grysbok. The park has a few bird hides where one can study waders such as Plovers, Lapwings and Flamingoes along the colourful mud flats. There are also many sheltered bays suitable for swimming and a rugged sea shore with numerous rock pools.
On the hills just outside Darling, roughly 70 km from Cape Town, stand four wind-generated mills. The Darling Wind Farm is a renewable, ‘green’, energy source and is only one of two demonstration wind farm sites in SA. The other is at Klipheuwel, on the other side of Cape Town. You can drive fairly close to the wind turbines which are impressive as they rise some 50 metres above the ground.
The picturesque harbour town of Saldanha has the largest and deepest natural bay in the country. The sheltered harbour here is dominated by the Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore project and is home to a Naval training base, the South African Military Academy. The Sishen-Saldanha railway line is 861km long carrying iron ore to the coast. It is an impressive sight, seeing the world’s longest production trains of 4km long moving slowly along the tracks. These trains are made up of 342 wagons with 8 locomotives each.
Velddrif, the mouth of the Berg River and home to South Africa’s pilchard industry, Cerebos salt industry and bokkoms (salted mullet strung up in bunches and left to dry). The SA Fisheries Museum will show you many different fishing methods used today and how pilchard shoals are herded, caught, transported, canned and distributed to us, the consumer. Here you can experience sealing and labeling your own can. There is an abundance of bird life in the area all the way north to Lambert’s Bay, renowned for its large Gannet colony.
OR a 3 – 5 day customised camping experience:
Cederberg Wilderness Reserve
The Cederberg Wilderness Reserve, 71 000 hectares of mountainous terrain that runs almost north to south from Clanwilliam to Citrusdal, is renowned for its stark, rugged beauty, spectacular rock formations, such as Wolfberg Cracks, Wolfberg Arch, Maltese Cross and Stadsaal Caves. Enjoy camping along clear mountain streams, cooking outdoors, birding, challenging hikes, seeing the night sky at the Observatory and exploring caves decorated with ancient San rock art.
Resting at the foot of the Cederberg Mountain range lies the little hamlet of Clanwilliam. Regarded as the only town in the world where rooibos tea is planted and cultivated, it is also famous for its locally made veldskoens or leather shoes. Enjoy water sports on the Clanwilliam Dam or White Water Rafting down the Doring River.
Watch our YouTube video on the Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch hike
Julie Womack is a qualified South African primary school teacher with 29 years teaching experience. She has organised and led more than 15 school tours to Cape Town, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park. She is offering her services to help you with your Outdoor Education Programme by organising a trip for your class. She is also available to go with you on the tour and do the tour guiding and managing.
The All Africa Tours West Coast tour for kids aims to:
- Let you see and experience the unique diversity of the West Coast of South Africa
- Study the diverse fauna and flora along the West Coast.
- Look at the geology and the rich history of the area and its people.
- Visit local industries and identify the sectors of the economy that supply employment
- Expose urban children to camping and cooking outdoors
- Partake in adventure and a variety of physical challenges
- Allow for reflection and personal development
- Allow the children to manage themselves as ambassadors for their country.
- Complete worksheets for each day’s itinerary for the purpose of teaching and learning.
- For South Africans, this Outdoor Educational experience is linked to the SA curriculum.
As an optional part of the tour, each child will need a 10p flip file to store the ± 10 worksheets that cover every place visited.
The cost will depend on the length of the trip, the activities chosen, time of year and the number of children and adults. Cost will include all bookings, meals, accommodation, equipment, entrance fees, activities, guiding fees, coach or overland company, driver’s costs, pro rata costs of the teachers and master copies of all the worksheets.
- There must be at least one teacher / 18 pupils.
- The teachers are responsible for their pupils on the bus, at the different places,restaurants and at night until the children are asleep.
- The children must supply their own 10p flip file.
- The worksheets need to be rolled off by the school at least 10 days before the trip as they include the final itinerary and a list informing the children what to bring on the tour.These will be emailed to you a month before the tour begins.
- Every child’s parents will be required to fill in an indemnity form and an emergency form with contact details. This will be emailed to you a month in advance.
- The school needs to supply a comprehensive First Aid kit to accompany the children on tour and to have obtained written permission from the parents for the teachers to administer non- prescriptive medicines. A list of recommended medicines is available.
- If Julie is required to accompany the group, the teachers are to take full responsibility for the behaviour of the children especially at night.
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