Motorcycle tour of Western Cape South Africa Langebaan

A Motorcycle tour of the Western Cape, South Africa 

(Part 2)

Author: Steve and Carole Eilertsen.

** Back to African Touring Navigation Page **

 This, the coastal part of our trip, is seafood heaven. The Antarctic current that sweeps up the coast line is plankton rich forming a solid base for a food chain that includes lobster, squid, mussels, seals, penguins, whales and all manner of birds. It is the this same current that spawns the thick early morning mist so characteristic of this part of the world.

Our route to Langebaan on our trusty BMW F650 was via the West Coast National Park. The park must look spectacular in the flower season but in December, all you saw were rolling hills covered in fynbos. Tortoises and ostriches were the only animals we saw. The parks emblem is a gemsbok – maybe when the park officials saw it, they were so surprised they made it into the symbol for the park! 

The West Coast - famous for its early morning mist see here at Yzerfontein

Langebaan with its lagoons as far as the eye could see, clear water and long white beaches make this an incredible piece of coastline. I’m not a sea person, maybe because of too many Jaws movies or a drunken episode in my youth that found me being pulled off a rock and out to sea. Whatever the reason, the sea is not my favourite, especially not the icy Atlantic but the lagoon was everything the sea was not i.e. clear, shallow and best of all, warm! The sandy beach was long and uncluttered with the usual sunbathers and squabbling children despite being holiday season. We saw the occasional fisherman reeling in some rather large ones. Watching the kite surfers showing off their skills in the usual stiff Cape breeze was hugely entertaining. We spent the rest of the day just soaking up the sun, lying on the sand and drinking in the beauty of this very special place.

Overlooking the huge inland lagoon at Langebaan at low tide


A vegetation type characterised by small, hard, dry bushes. During the wet season however they flower,  making spectacular shows for tens of kilometres in every colour imaginable

That night we had booked our meal at “Die Standloper” – an internationally well-known, open-air restaurant right on the beach. Being the West Coast it naturally serves only freshly caught seafood. It’s fixed menu of ten different courses ranged from mussels to crayfish and is all cooked over a large open air fire. Home made bread and traditional moer coffee complete the menu. Booking is essential weeks in advance because of its presence on the international “must-do” tourist route. The restaurant does have a bar but if you bring your own wine from a local vineyard there is no charge for corkage. The food was awesome but greater than the food was the setting. Seagulls hang around for titbits; two buskers with guitars sung some golden oldies while the sun set over the long golden beach. No silverware in this restaurant, your knives and forks were muscle shells so you did most of your eating by hand. You go the Standloper for an evening’s entertainment and not just a meal. After a bottle of wine and with a very full stomach we rode slowly back to our accommodation which was fortunately a few hundred meters away. It was with a heavy heart that Carole left Langebaan as she felt that every place after it would only be a disappointment. Nevertheless, we set off north to Port Owen, a suburb of Velddrif in the North

The view from the Strandloper beach restaurant

Strandloper - Left the pub and above, inside looking out to sea

We drove through Vredenburg to post gifts home, as this was the biggest town in the area. Paternoster was unfortunately a quick stopover although we would have loved to explore this unusual town more. The small fishing village is fast becoming a secluded holiday home paradise. All the homes are built in a similar way and looks a bit like Greece, with its white plastered walls and blue roofs. There’s not a lot here except great beaches, a general dealer and an old hotel. The area is basic but very charming with loads of character. 

After chatting to a young chap at the general dealer, we took his advice and headed off to the Cape Columbine lighthouse – one of the few manned lighthouses left in the world. Here the lighthouse keeper took Carole and I on a tour. Despite being on a desolate and wind swept nature reserve, it is good to see the entrepreneurial spirit is even touching this government department with the opening of two B + Bs within the lighthouse enclosure. 

We arrived in Velddriff after a very eventful day and sat at the Boardwalk Bistro having a drink overlooking the sea considering all we had seen and done over such a short time. The long, curved golden beach was deserted. Shells littered the beach and a cool breeze was coming off the sea. This was a perfect setting for one of life’s greatest pleasures and best-kept secrets i.e. an 8km run on the beach! Run barefoot and partly in the water, I have yet to find an inland running experience than can compare with it. The crashing of the waves, the cries of the gulls and the invigorating water laden air is a natural high that can refuel your soul for months afterwards. Later, with a king size appetite, Carole and I had a fresh fish dinner at the Bistro and watched the fishing vessels move about the moon lit bay.

 Moer Coffee

Traditional coffee made in a cast iron pot over a fire. The grounds are separated from the liquid by dropping a red hot coal into the pot.

Our accommodation that night was in Port Owen. This is a new development, which falls under the area of Velddriff and is essentially a yachting and boating estate with the usual clubhouse and private jetties for members.  

Our plan for the next day was to take the shorter dirt road that followed the coast from Velddriff to Lamberts Bay but were warned that it was in a poor condition. We left early and started along the dust road for about 500m before realising there was no way we could use it under the current circumstances. It was a question of combinations. A loose road surface of sand and stones, a long distance of 90km, a deserted road, travelling two up on your own and with a very strong cross wind was a formidable combination I was not feeling equal to. Part of any adventure is knowing when to bow out gracefully which I did and we set off on the main tar road to Lambert’s Bay, a round about route of roughly 300km.

All along the coast are the endless supply of fishing vessels of all sizes as seen here at Lamberts Bay

We had though it was going to be a long boring straight road but were pleasantly surprised. Piekeniers Pass offered beautiful views and the whole trip did offer enough twisties to make it interesting. A quick stop at the wine cellars of the Citrusdaal Co-op resulted in yet another box of wines being crated up and sent back home to Johannesburg . . . this time a Shiraz and a Pinotage. 

After Citrusdal, you travel close to the Cederburg mountains past Clanwilliam and then head back west towards the coast and Lamberts Bay. This town was a little disappointing after Langebaan as it was a bit run down and didn’t offer any interesting shops or activities. Its big claim to fame is Bird Island. This whole coastline is home to a number of large colonies of sea birds, penguins, seals and schools of whales. The plankton rich icy water moving up from Antarctica provides the foundation for a huge and diverse food chain. 

Our accommodation was 10km from town on the farm called Dollika. It’s a dust road for 10km, bumpy but easy to ride on. The guest farm run by Mrs Burger was like walking into your great grandmother’s home . . . warm, friendly, dark with antique furniture, lace-lined windows and a strong granny smell! We were treated like long lost family by our host who promptly made us rich, dark moer Koffie and home made biscuits. We enjoyed the extra attention more than usual because we saw so little of it on this particular trip.

The sea was a few hundred meters from the farmhouse. The desolate and wind swept beach was typical of the west coast i.e. seaweed and shells piled up to 30cm deep in some places.  I swam in a rock pool while Carole gathered shells off the beach. The powerful sound of the sea pounding against the rocks reminded us of how far we were away from home and what an amazing adventure this was turning out to be.

Breakfast the next morning was all you would expect from a guest farm i.e. cereals , home made yoghurt, guavas, freshly squeezed orange juice and toast.  Then Mrs Burger came out with eggs, bacon and fish cakes followed by her famous moer Koffie.  That day not even the queen ate better than we did.

We left Lambert's Bay straight after breakfast and turned inland towards the hot, dry and sometime mountainous interior. As I opened the throttle and powered the heavily laden BMW F650 eastwards we headed towards some of the most deserted and sparsely populated parts of our country.

Page 2 of 3

Page 3  Petrol and Itinerary Accommodation Details Tour Navigation



A local red grape and wine type of a high quality