West Coast hiking trails

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Caroline Hurry
Caroline Hurry
A variety of hiking trails in the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR) include:
  • DARLING STAGGER: An Italian style slow-paced 25km trail from Yzerfontein on the coast up into the hills and through wine and olive farms to Darling
  • EVE’S TRAIL: A 30km wilderness hike through the deserted beaches and tranquil lagoon of the West Coast National Park
  • FIVE BAY TRAIL: A gentle 28km coast-hugging hike between the fishing villages of Paternoster and Jacobsbaai
  • WHEELS OF TIME: A 106km ride through time for recreational cyclists keen to experience the back roads and beauty of the West Coast from the seat of a bicycle
  • BERG RIVER CANOOZE:  A 30km downstream kayak from Hopefield to Velddrift with farm stays en route

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR)

Miles of beautiful beach to walk along.

Covering 378 000 hectares of coastal lowland plains, the CWCBR stretches from Diep River in Cape Town to the Berg River at Velddrif in the north. The reserve’s farms, fishing villages, lagoons, rivers, pristine flora and distinctive birdlife offer a diversity of natural, cultural, historical and recreational experiences.

The variation of geology, soils and rainfall over the CWCBR offers biodiversity and a rich flora of 1 500 species, of which 127 are on the Red Data list.

The CWCBR’s goal is to foster ecologically sustainable human development. The CWCBR is the only biosphere with a nuclear power station, oil refinery and a toxic dump site. It offers shore-based whale watching and includes Dassen Island, a breeding site for pelicans, penguins and gannet colonies, at Lamberts Bay. The reserve is home to the dried fish (‘bokkom’) industry, while its Berg River estuary produces salt.

Kersefontein Guest Farm

Kersefontein has been in the Melck family and was first used as a cattle post, then two centuries later, for sheep, cattle, horse and wheat farming. Owner Julian Melck converted farm buildings into suites, featuring period antiques. The fine old Cape Dutch homestead is a National Monument with an early 19th-century dining room.

Guests can walk along farm roads, pop in at the Turn & Slip pub (originally the bakery) watch waterfowl on the banks of the Berg River in spring, and admire wildflowers in late winter.