dk villas top tips for a West Coast National Park day trip

If you’re around Cape Town and on the lookout for a retreat into nature, a visit to the West Coast National Park is just the thing you need! Located just over an hour from Cape Town, the park is a beautiful reserve filled with indigenous flora and fauna, a stunning lagoon and incredible views.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, spending a day in the West Coast National Park should definitely be on your Cape Town bucket list. It is close enough to the city centre and surrounding towns that it is accessible for a day trip, but far enough away that you will feel truly transported.
It’s a versatile destination with an array of activities to keep visitors of all ages entertained.

Wondering when to visit, what to do when you’re there are more? Wonder no more! Below, we have put together a quick guide to planning a day trip to the West Coast National Park. Read through it and get ready to head out and explore!

West Coast National Park Daisies

How to plan a day trip to the West Coast National Park:

1. When to visit: Pick a date and time.

The annual flower season may be the biggest pull, but the West Coast National Park is lovely throughout the year! There is a range of activities available so choose the best time of year to enjoy whatever it is you would like to do.

For the flowers, generally visit between August and September when the flowers are in bloom. The best time to visit is generally over midday when the sun is at its highest. The flowers are at their best when the sun is shining so try and avoid visiting on an overcast day. The most popular flower viewing destination is the Postberg section of the park which is only open at certain times of the year. It’s worth the trek to the northern part of West Coast National Park to see the landscape blanketed in blooms! Do keep in mind that flower season is an incredibly popular time to visit so it could be a great idea to visit during the week or early on the weekends. Take a look at our guide to wildflower season in the Western Cape for more information!

If you’re keen to head to the Langebaan lagoon and try out some watersports, visit in the warmer months. For hiking, you can visit throughout the year just be sure to be prepared for all kinds of weather! Also, note that some hikes may need to be booked in advance. Find more details about West Coast National Park hikes here. Bird watching is best during summer and spring when migrating birds are around. While there is no big game in the reserve, you can see mammals like eland, zebra, red hartebeest, Cape grysbok, bat-eared fox, caracal and rock hyrax. In general, you can usually enjoy a decent amount of nature watching throughout the year here. You can also enjoy whale watching, usually between August and September.

Keep note that you will have to pay for entrance at the gate. Costs change depending on the time of year. During flower season it is R94 per adult and R47 per child for South African residents. Outside of flower season, it is R66 per adult and R33 per child for South Africans. Full rates information for international visitors is available on the SANParks website.

West Coast National Park Entrance

2. What to do: Decide on the activities you would like to enjoy!

Nature viewing and bird watching
Spending an hour or two viewing the resident animals and birdlife is a must-do! The park is home to 300+ species of birds and there are four bird-hides in the park (well signposted and illustrated in a map that each visitor will receive at the entrance gate). As you drive through the park, keep an eye out for bigger mammals grazing in the grasslands. You may even come across a tortoise or two crossing the road!

During August and September, make a stop at one of the viewpoints along the Atlantic seaboard to see if you can spot any Southern-right whales swimming past the shore.

Have a beach day
Langebaan Lagoon is the focal point of the park. Visit and enjoy a leisurely day on the sand, paddle in the shallows or head into the water for some fun! Watersports like windsurfing, snorkeling, wakeboarding, water-skiing, kayaking and kitesurfing can be enjoyed at West Coast National Park.

Flower season
“Going to see the flowers” is one of the most popular activities along the West Coast! The national park is home to Postberg. This section of the park is only open between August and September and is one of the best places to see the flowers in the Western Cape!

West Coast flowers

Enjoy a picnic or braai
There are a number of spots to enjoy a delicious picnic or braai. Kraalbaai’s beach is a fantastic setting for a picnic or braai while Tsaarsbank offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Take a hike or go mountain biking
West Coast National Park is home to a number of scenic hikes that range from short walks to 2day hikes. Choose from Geelbek short day walks, Eve’s Trail, Postberg hiking trails, Bakoor Trail, Strandveld Trail, and Steenbok One Day Trail (only open in August and September).

For more fun outdoors - grab a bike and get cycling! Cycling and mountain biking routes begin from the Langebaan gate and the dirt trails are well marked. E-biking is another great way to see the reserve!

More activities to enjoy in the park include a visit to “Eve’s Footprints” at the Geelbek Visitor’s Centre, enjoying a meal at Geelbek Restaurant and the short hike to Seeberg Viewpoint for sweeping views of the park.

Seeberg Viewpoint

3. Plan your time in the park

The West Coast National Park is a big place! It can take a fair bit of time to drive around as you need to stick to the speed limits. Keep this in mind when planning your time in the park and be sure you don’t lose out on time enjoying your chosen activity.

In general, the drive from the West Coast Gate and the Langebaan Gate to Kraalbaai, Tsaarbank and the entrance to Postberg will take about an hour. Thankfully the drive is filled with gorgeous views that you can appreciate as you amble along!

4. Decide what to pack for your day trip

Be smart and think ahead. If you are enjoying a day on the sandy shores of the lagoon and in the water, pack swimwear, towels, sun protection and water. If you are driving around the park nature watching, be sure to pack water and snacks for the car to keep you going!

For braais and picnics, you’ll need the food you would like to cook, drinks, charcoal, crockery and cutlery. Also, don’t forget to nominate a braai master beforehand! Be sure to clean up after your group - leave nothing but footprints!

West Coast Ocean

5. Choose whether to spend the whole day in the park or explore the towns nearby

Langebaan is just north of the West Coast National Park and is home to beautiful beaches and great restaurants. Paternoster is about 40minutes from the park and is a charming seaside village. If you are coming from further up the coast, a trip to Blouberg or even Cape Town could be a great option for a lovely late lunch or early dinner to top off your day!

6. Don’t forget your camera!

Seriously! The Western Cape is home to a multitude of incredibly beautiful destinations and the West Coast National Park is no exception! Make sure your phone/camera is charged or, if you’re doing it the old school way, that your camera has batteries and film.

On that note, don’t spend all of your time in the park stuck behind a camera. Make sure you take many moments to appreciate the beauty of the nature that we are so lucky to have nearby!

West Coast Proteas

Now you should be more than ready to enjoy a fantastic day trip to the West Coast National Park - happy travels!