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The West Coast of South Africa offers many excellent hiking trails, where the pace of life is slow because the joy is in the journey, not the arrival. The area is renowned for its rare and endangered plant life, as well as beautiful walking trails through the fields of fynbos that form part of the Cape Floral Kingdom that can be enjoyed year round.
FFrom Cape Town to Strandfontein, the Cape's West Coast is rich in fauna and flora and perfect for hikers of all levels. The West Coast National Park, less than an hour's drive from Cape Town, offers hiking routes that incorporate sections of beach, rocks and tracks. In summer, the adjoining Postberg Reserve is opened to visitors to enjoy the floral display and there is an overnight and day trail.
The Columbine Nature Reserve, which is slightly further north, has similar topography, as well as some quirky accommodation establishments for hikers and backpackers to consider.
West Coast hiking
AA number of guided tours are offered along the West Coast for those who’d like to have some local knowledge thrown in along the way. You can contact West Coast Tourism for more information about these walks.
The Darling Stagger is a 25km hike, spread across three days, from Darling to Yzerfontein, passing through wine and olive farms along the way. Darling is famous for its wild flowers and is also the home of famous South African comedian, Pieter-Dirk Uys. Hikers who enjoy a bit of theatre should visit his establishment, Evita se Perron, to see one of his shows.
If you fancy a bit of beach walking, Eve’s Trail is a great option, as it includes the 16 Mile Beach at Yzerfontein, as well as sections of the West Coast National Park and Langebaan Lagoon.
Further up the coast there is also the Five Bay Trail, a 28km stretch between Paternoster and Jacobsbaai.
IIn addition to the wide range of vegetation along the West Coast, hikers may also see wildlife including eland, rock hyrax, caracal and marine life such as whales and sharks.
The West Coast is well known for its seafood, so there is no shortage of sustenance for hikers. Fuel up at any of the fishing villages that you pass through during your travels.
Tips for long-distance hiking
- Embarking on longer hikes is more strenuous than the average stroll on shorter walking paths. Follow these tips to ensure your hike is much more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Plan ahead and ensure you have all the equipment you’d need.
- Considering you could be walking for days, pack energising food and drinks, and don't forget the bedding.
- In case you run out of bottled water, take water purification tablets with.
- Be wary of climate changes and choose a good time in the year to do the hike. Spring and autumn are generally ideal periods.