The west coast of South Africa stretches approximately 650km (400 miles) along the Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Town up to the Namibian border. The main road that serves the full length of this route is the N7, which runs in a northerly direction approximately 50km (30 miles) from the coast.
After travelling north from Cape Town, initially on the R27 which stays close to the coast, the first landmark of note is the Koeberg nuclear power station, the only nuclear power station in Africa. This offers guided tours.
Next comes the West Coast National Park, situated only around an hour’s drive from Cape Town, an important wetland area which hosts a huge number of birds. Within the park, Langebaan Lagoon is well known for watersports, and the towns of Langebaan and Saldanha are famous for their seafood, which is often served in restaurants on the beach itself. The Postberg Nature Reserve, situated in between the Atlantic and the lagoon, offers the most accessible display of spring flowers (see below for further details).
About 65km (40 miles) inland from South Africa’s west coast are the Cederberg mountains, which run from north to south for around 60km (40 miles). The southern end of the Cederberg is not much more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The mountains are known for their many unique rock formations. The main towns from which to explore the mountains are Citrusdal and Clanwilliam.
The rest of the west coast of South Africa (extending slightly inland), is the arid and sparsely populated area known as Namaqualand, of which the main town is Springbok. This generally unremarkable area bursts into life in the spring (from around mid August to early October), with an incredible display of millions of colourful flowers. The quality of the display does depend on there being sufficient rain during the winter.
If you are interested in visiting the area, find out more about accommodation in South Africa’s west coast region.