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Location: South Africa » Western Cape » West Coast

The West Coast National Park is especially renowned for its sea

Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere. During the spring the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section many antelope are to be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic.

Accommodation in the West Coast National Park

  • Geelbek Environmental Centre.

Attractions of the West Coast National park

  • Postberg Flower Reserve
  • Geelbek Bird Hide, Tea Room and Information Centre
  • Cape Gannet
  • Jackass (African) Penguin
  • Flamingos
  • Waders
  • Black Harrier

Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay one finds the tranquil waters of the Langebaan Lagoon; secluded islands where thousands of seabirds roost, pristine golden beaches stretching for miles into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes sheltering vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere. During spring the strandveld is embroidered with carpets of multihued flowers, while in the Postberg section eland, bontebok, springbok and gemsbok are to be seen in a setting that is an idyllic as it is unique. These are but a few fascinating elements of the West Coast National Park. This 20 000 ha park includes the Postberg Nature Reserve as well as the offshore islands of Malgas, Jutten, Marcus and Schaapen. The Geelbek Environmental Centre has limited accommodation. There are a number of accommodation establishments in nearby Langebaan.

Bird Watching

The Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park, was registered as a wetland of international importance for birds, with the Ramsar Convention, which came into force in 1975.

Geelbek Bird Hide

This is a salt marsh and mud flat feeding area and therefore one of the best spots in the country to study waders (about 30 000 migratory waders) as they feed at low tide. As the hide was erected on stilts with a boardwalk connected to the mainland, birds can be seen within two metres. The hide is comfortably close to the reedbeds. Birds associated with reeds, including harriers, rails and terns are the order of the day. Best Time: Intermediate tidal levels. Eight months of the year, from September to the end of April, for migratory waders. After April the migrating waders return to Siberia (Taimyr Peninsula), Greenland and Northern Europe. Flamingoes can be seen and studied during winter. The tide at Geelbek Bird Hide is about 45 minutes later than the tide in Saldanha Bay. Resident wading birds may still be studied all year round at Geelbek. There are four other hides within 2 km from Geelbek, where wading birds gather when it is high tide at Geelbek

Seeberg (near entrance to Park, on Langebaan side).

During winter there are always flocks of flamingoes to be seen at high tide, sometimes as many as 300 – 400 birds. Flamingoes do not breed on this part of the West Coast; they go north, as far as Walvis Bay (Namibia). In summer, other waders and terns, especially migratory species can be seen at Seeberg, mostly between tides.

Lagoon (west side, up to Kraalbaai, along untarred road)

Birds of all kinds can be seen during all tides in that area.

Islands Saldanha Bay Malgas Island

One quarter of the world population of Cape Gannet breed on this island. (The rest of them are on three islands off the Namibian coast, and at Bird Island, Algoa Bay and Bird Island, Lamberts Bay). Food: small fish; the birds fly as far as 50 km to catch fish, when breeding they can fly up to 100 km offshore and when not breeding, up to 400 km offshore. Best Time: Preferably not during winter as most birds are away, and the weather is usually stormy. The best spectacle is during spring or mid-summer; Gannets are building nests, breeding and raising their young. Other species found on Malgas include cormorants, penguins etc. Malgas Island may be visited by boat under guidance of a Parks official. Gannets can be seen from as near as a few metres.

Jutten Island

Different species of marine birds can be viewed. Visitors are allowed to sail around the island and cormorants and penguins are easily seen from the water; due to the sensitivity of the breeding colonies, nobody may embark.

Marcus Island

Breeding are for penguins, cormorants and other marine birds. Due to the sensitivity of the breeding colonies, visitors may only drive along the Breakwater gravel road. A protective wall is in place to keep predators out. Whales and dolphins can be seen from the breakwater wall, especially late winter and spring.

Schaapen Island

Many species of seabirds. Visitors may circle the island by boat, or may book for the canoe excursions at the Park Office. In the bigger park and along all it’s roads, many land / bush species, as well as birds of prey can be seen – also in the trees around the Geelbek homestead.

Accommodation in and around Western Cape

Swartberg Nature Reserve    accommodation in Western Cape
This restored traditional cottage is fully equipped as self-catering accommodation and has a lovely view into Onderpoort. The flat-roofed home of Koot and Hettie Cordier at "Die Hoogte" is one of the most recent structures in the Kloof. It ... More

Directory of accommodation in Western Cape