Travel: West Coast is brrrrilliant

Words & Pictures by Richard van Ryneveld

‘Horses for courses’, the saying goes. And I can’t agree more. Luckily, I sometimes get to choose the caravan parks (or courses) where I stay on a trip. I also get to explore them out of season and in the middle of the week.

I know some people like the hustle and bustle of a full resort during peak season, but if you are like me and have the chance to travel all year round regardless of holidays, you probably also enjoy some peace and quiet. That’s why a quick dash up the West Coast with a Toyota double cab and a Sprite Tourer SW was just my cup of tea.

Before I go on, I just have to say that I actually saved this story from quite a while ago… it was a midweek winter trip. We might still be a few months from the cold season, but I hope this adventure on the next couple of pages will convince you to start planning a peaceful winter trip.

Off-season camping means plenty of space at resorts, no crowds, just the west coast all to myself.

To be at a place like Tietiesbaai, with only the warm sweep of the Cape Columbine Lighthouse as your lone camping companion, is a memory never forgotten. I did have non-human company though. An owl gazed wide-eyed from a nearby bush. Later after a braai, a spotted genet came to see what he could scrounge.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Ganzekraal was my first stop. Site 7 in Camp A is my favourite spot. You can literally dip your toes in the Atlantic from the well-grassed site. Plug in your power, set up your camping chair looking seaward, slide out the fridge and crack open a beer… another tough day in Africa!

I’d forgotten the milk, though. Cheryl- Anne January at reception kindly advised me to head north along the R27 towards Yzerfontein and Langebaan, ‘… and about 16 kilometres along the road you will find the Vygevallei Farmstall and Winehouse – they sell milk, bread and stuff.’

Actually, they sell a whole lot more. Owned by the Louw family from Malmesbury, this lekker little padstal has a coffee shop that serves breakfasts and light lunches. The chalkboard menu outside offers delicious meals like cold leg of lamb with mustard, vetkoek and curry mince, bobotie, and (for okes like me) offal and rice.

Vygevallei is just one of a couple of good farm stalls along the R27. On your way up the west coast, pop into the Weskus Padstal on the R315; or the nearby newly-opened Beulah Deli. Beulah’s is a farm stall and deli serving great coffee. The bakery bakes ‘real’ home-made bread and pastry every day. The deli’s situated 500 metres down the R315 where it crosses the west coast R27 road.

The Ganzekraal Holiday Resort and the nearby Yzerfontein Caravan Park, both just off the R27, are great spots for a base if you are planning to explore the surrounding area – especially the nearby towns of Darling, Yzerfontein and the West Coast National Park.

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