Langebaan Lagoon, West Coast
Did you know?
Langebaan was founded in 1922 and housed the biggest whaling station in the southern hemisphere.
The Langebaan Lagoon, on the West Coast of the Western Cape, sits like a delicate little topaz in a ring of semi-arid vegetation and desolate white beaches. Its trademark azure colouring has long been a source of fascination for visitors, which include both holidaymakers and feathered friends from around the world.
The lagoon is a magnet for migratory wading birds with up to 70 000 birds flocking to the waters each summer to feed and breed. The wetland areas are rich in plankton and sustain massive bird populations, so it's not surprising the Langebaan Lagoon is a Ramsar site - a wetland of international importance.
The lagoon is fascinating in that it's completely fed by the ocean, not a river - as is normally the case. This has given rise to numerous salt marshes and the wetland habitat in the south, which is frequented by thousands of Pink Flamingos, Crowned Cormorants, Kelp Gulls, Black Oystercatchers and Swift Terns. Some species visit from as far afield as Siberia and Greenland.
The Langebaan Lagoon is also home to four islands - Schaapen, Malgas, Marcus and Jutten. These are important breeding grounds for the birds, including the rare Cape Gannets, which have colonised Malgas Island. Similarly, Marcus Island is a hot favourite for the local African Penguins, which can be viewed from the nearby rocks. Please note there are strict rules governing the viewing of the birds, and some islands can be visited by boat while others are out of bounds.
Boating is a popular way to explore the lagoon and enjoy this wealth of biodiversity. The lagoon is also synonymous with watersports, which are restricted in certain areas due to the sensitivity of the ecosystems.
Langebaan watersports include windsurfing, kitesurfing, power boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, sailing and sea kayaking, all within the calm ocean confines of the 17km long, and 2 - 3km wide lagoon. There are also several local houseboats for hire.
Langebaan Lagoon is part of the West Coast National Park, renowned for its exquisite display of wild flowers each August/ September. The park also offers numerous bird hides, walking and hiking trails, mountain bike and cycling trails, and perfect whale watching spots from which to view Southern Right Whales, which return to the lagoon each year to calve.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)22 772 1515