West Coast National Park in the Western Cape

Surrounding the Langebaan Lagoon (which is deemed to be a globally significant site to wetland birds), the park is home to numerous Palaearctic-migrant wading species; making summer the ideal time to visit. September in particular is when many species return from their overseas travels, exhausted and fatigued; while March is the time of year that they congregate in enormous quantities to fill their bellies before undertaking the journey once more.

The “hide” is the perfect place to observe the birds, and as the tide comes in these waders must edge closer to the hide until they’re finally forced to fly off again until the water recedes once again. Smaller flyers are the first to depart with the long-legged Whimbrels, Curlews & Godwits leaving last. Sanderling; Knot; Little Stint; Marsh; Ruff; Curlew & Terek Sandpiper; Ringed & Grey Plover; Turnstone; Whimbrel; Greenshank; Bartailed Godwit; & Curlew can be seen most of the time, with rarer species making an appearance on occasion.
South African Shelduck, as well as Little Egret are often seen amongst the waders, while White Pelicans & Flamingoes are found in deeper waters; Osprey may also be seen. Overlooking a salt pan, a secluded hide, situated west of Geelbek Educational Centre, is a perfect place to spot Chestnut banded Plover.

Around the lagoon, the reserve’s “fynbos” houses Cape & Greywinged Francolin; Black Korhaan; Cape Penduline & Southern Grey Tits; Anteating Chat; Yellow & Whitethroated Canary; Karoo Larks; Bokmakierie; Cape Bunting; & Titbabbler. Black Harrier & African Marsh can also be seen. The coastal islands located at the Lagoon mouth are havens for numerous breeding species like: Hartlaub’s & Kelp Gulls, African Penguins & Cape Gannet, and also Terns & Cormorants.

Bokmakierie

Pearly’s, situated on Langebaan’s main beachfront, has been the Warmerdam family restaurant for 11 years and has proven itself, time and again, in both its quality food & service.

Langebaan Lagoon

So, if you enjoy bird watching or simply want to experience the isolated beauty of Langebaan Lagoon; make sure the West Coast National Park is on your list of interesting places to visit while in Cape Town.

The Langebaan Lagoon is the focal point of the Western Cape’s West Coast National Park. With thousands of birds roosting along the sandy white beaches and sheltered islands, an abundance of migrant sea birds from the north stretch out among the salt-water marshes into the morning’s early mist. Springtime sees the “strandveld” dotted with millions of flowers of every colour, while antelope can be seen in the “Postberg” section; a setting as unique as it is beautiful. Various mammals can be spotted throughout the reserve including Eland, Cape Grysbok, Red Hartebeest, Rock Hyrax and Caracal. Make sure to check the Atlantic Ocean for dolphins and whales passing by.

Directions from Cape Town City Centre: (+ – 1hr, 50min)

Take N1 (Paarl) On-ramp
Pass Lower Church Street off-ramp
Take next off-ramp – R27 (Marine Drive)
Drive through Paarden Eiland and Milnerton
R27 continues as West Coast Road
Travel along R27 for ±120 km
Past Yzerfontein/Darling Turn-off (11 km)
Turn Left into West Coast National Park Gate

Directions from Airport

Airport – N2 – Goodwood N7 Off-ramp
Vanguard Drive (Past Grand West) becomes N7 (Malmesbury)
Melkbosstrand Turn-off (Left)
At Robot, turn Right onto R27 (Velddrif)
Pass the Yzerfontein/Darling Turn-off (11 km)
Turn Left into West Coast National Park Gate

West Coast (Geelbek)
S 33 11′ 37.9″
E 18 07′ 33.1″3.