- 26 Jan 2017
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Six Wonders of the West Coast
The Cape West Coast is split into two distinct sections: the Western and Northern Cape (aka the Diamond Coast) – where true adventure begins. There are easier and shorter ways to get to Hondeklipbaai, but where's the fun in that? If you've got a 4x4, turn off the N7 just after the Northern Cape border and hug the cold Atlantic coast all the way in. It's the furthest place from anywhere, we assure you. Stay at Die Honnehokke Resort and eat at Huisie by die See. After two days in this bewitching place you'll be looking for cell signal to call the office and retire right there and then.
Ideal ride: Diamond-dredging boats fill the bay, so a sophisticated ride like the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé should do.
OK, it's not technically on the West Coast but everyone knows the Namqualand plateaus erupt in a blaze of flower power every August (depending on rains). But why sit in a car when you can explore all the floral splendour on a bicycle – and really smell those flowers? The seven-day experience starts in the Orange River settlement of Keimoes, passing through the Goegap, Skilpad and Namaqualand nature reserves, as well as the sleepy towns of Pella, Pofadder, Springbok and Kamieskroon. Unforgettable stuff.
Ideal ride: Prove you're no average garden tourist by loading up a Mercedes-Benz V 250 d Avantgarde – bikes, family and all.
On the buffet at Langebaan's famous beach eatery, just 125 km up the R27 from Cape Town, are seafood delicacies like paella, angelfish, mullet, kabeljou, mussels and snoek. But this is the West Coast after all, so don't even try asking for a salad – just tuck into the roosterbrood. Park off on your cooler box and soak up the jumble of rowboats and whatever flotsam and jetsam is on the beach that day. Only open Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends.
Ideal ride: The 270 kW Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 will get you there and back in style for the perfect weekend daytrip.
The Diamond Coast is best explored off the N7 but if you have any hope of making the 800km haul to Namibia by sundown you're going to need to exploit the refurbished Cape-Namibia route to its fullest. Do so and you'll realise it’s an epic stretch of road, particularly for low-flying. At the end of the line is where you'll find Port Nolloth. The nicest little shipping town along the Namaqua coast also serves as an ideal gateway to the Richtersveld National Park. Stay at the Scotia Inn Hotel. If you find a diamond, drinks are on you.
Ideal ride: You really don't need a 4x4, a Mercedes-Benz E 220 d with optional Drive Pilot will do the driving for you up to 130kph, executing lane changes and everything. Sheer brilliance.
The Diamond Coast is an adventurer's paradise but the climate can be harsh, with extreme temperature fluctuations and driving wind in summer. However, at Tietiesbaai (its suggestive name inspired by two rounded hills in sight of the Cape Columbine Lighthouse) you'll experience the nicest, most sheltered site on the entire West Coast. Local custom is to enjoy a fish braai on the beach, washed down with plenty of the fisherman's friend – Old Brown Sherry.
Ideal ride: Favourable weather makes this an ideal camping/caravan spot, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350 d 4MATIC with its 2 500-kg towing capacity is your ideal companion.
Three hours' drive up the West Coast from Cape Town, timing is everything when visiting this wild, frontier-like town. If you're surfing, the waves are best in summer when the Cape Doctor delivers a brisk south-easterly wind and swell comparable to that of Jeffreys Bay. But you'll want to visit a month or two earlier to catch Namqualand's semi-arid spring flower performance. Decisions, decisions.
Ideal ride: Hedge your bets with the Mercedes-Benz GLA 220 d 4MATIC – roof racks for your surf boards and go-anywhere capability for exploring the wonderland of flowers.
Watch Jeannie D and Terry Pheto explore the West Coast in the new Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé as they try to find their best on every terrain.