West Coast National Park

West Coast & Swartland

This park encompasses the clear, blue waters of the Langebaan Lagoon and is home to an enormous number of birds. It covers around 310 sq km and protects wetlands of international significance and important seabird breeding colonies. Wading birds flock here by the thousands in summer. The offshore islands are home to colonies of African penguins.

The park is also famous for its wildflower display, usually between August and September – it can get fairly crowded during this time.

Aside from the white-sand beaches and turquoise waters of the ocean and lagoon, the park's greatest allure is that it is under-visited. If you visit midweek (and outside school holidays) you might find that you're sharing the roads only with zebras, ostriches and the occasional leopard tortoise ambling across your path.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby West Coast & Swartland attractions

1. West Coast Fossil Park

12.39 MILES

The first bear discovered south of the Sahara, lion-size sabre-toothed cats, three-toed horses and short-necked giraffes are all on display at this…

2. !Khwa ttu

18.67 MILES

!Khwa ttu is the only San-owned and -operated culture centre in the Western Cape. It's based on an 8.5-sq-km nature reserve within the ancestral lands of…

3. Darling Brewery

23.69 MILES

Darling is one of the country's best-known breweries, pouring a wide range of beers including Africa's first carbon-neutral brew. You can taste any or all…

4. Cape Columbine Lighthouse

25.39 MILES

Built in 1936, the diminutive lighthouse is worth a brief pause. You can also stay over here in a simple cottage (double from R650).

5. Cape Columbine Nature Reserve

25.68 MILES

Three kilometres south of Paternoster, along a rutted gravel road, lies this windswept but beautiful reserve. It has campsites with basic facilities at…