There’s more to the park, Darling | Inspire
There’s more to the park, Darling
Places to Go
Places to Go

There’s more to the park, Darling

Want to meet your 117 000-year-old ancestors? Then get to the West Coast National Park, which has more secrets than just the spring flowers.

The West Coast National Park is an hour north of Cape Town and offers great adventures on good roads. Stretching from Yzerfontein up to the edge of Langebaan, it surrounds most of the enormous Langebaan Lagoon, a magnet for water sport junkies. 

There is no fuel available in the park itself – be sure to fill up first in Langebaan village some five km away. Then try our pick of what to do:

Go in search of Eve’s Footprint

Head out on this 30km, two-and-a-half day catered hiking trail that follows in the footsteps of Eve - the being from whom it is thought that all human life descended. Discovered in 1995 at Kraalbaai, these unmistakably human prints in the rock belong to a young woman who lived 117 000 years ago. The park also has various self-guided hiking trails that take you through the wilderness, dunes and beaches.

Explore Postberg in the flower season

Spring brings a riot of colour to the West Coast National Park when the fynbos bursts into flower. This delightful spectacle is most concentrated in the Postberg section of the park which is only open during August and September. And don’t miss the glorious annual Darling Wildflower Show which has been going since 1917.   

Tick your bird list

There are four bird hides in the park from where you can check out some 250 species of birds including migratory waterbirds that fly here during summer, some from as far away as northern Eurasia. You can also do boat-based birding on the Langebaan lagoon. And during August and September you can admire the antics of southern right whales as they visit the coastline in the Tsaarsbank section of the park.

Take to the water 

The vast saltwater Langebaan Lagoon has great kayaking, snorkelling and some of the best windsurfing and kite surfing on the planet.

Get on that bike

The the park has a 70km cycling route on tarred roads, and two different mountain biking routes. 

But there’s more, Darling!

If the park isn’t enough for you, head out to the small town of Darling, the heartbeat of the west coast, which lies between vineyards and wheatfields. It’s probably most famous for Pieter-Dirk Uys’s theatre, Evita se Perron, but it also has some fabulous outdoor action.

Back on that bike

The Darling Brew Extreme and Renosterveltd MTB are both popular annual mountain biking events; or try the new !Khwa ttu mountain bike route near Darling that features fast moving terrain and gorgeous scenery.

Do the Darling Stagger

This slow-paced, slackpacking trail takes you from the hills of Darling through wine and olive farms to !Khwa ttu San Cultural Centre and down to Yzerfontein on the coast. Or you can head out on a guided trail run on a working farm in Darling, which includes an olive and chocolate tasting en route, as well as a wine tasting and lunch at the famous Darling Brewery.

Words: Bridget Hilton-Barber.

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