This self catering cottage is situated near the Abrahamskraal waterhole.
The Unit is a fully equipped 6 Bed Cottage (2 en suite bedrooms, 1 bedroom with a double bed and the second bedroom has 2 single beds and 2 pull-out beds), with an open plan living area and kitchen. There is a fireplace in the living area to utilize as a braai or fireplace. Guests should bring their own braai wood.
The fridge-freezer combination, geysers and stove are all gas operated. Electricity in the house is provided by solar energy. There are no points or plugs for electric equipment and guests are requested to use the lights sparingly. Tap water comes from a well-point and is safe to drink, however guests may not be accustomed to the taste so they are welcome to provide their own drinking water. No pets, loud music or portable generators are allowed in the West Coast National Park.
On arrival, guests can collect keys at the Geelbek Information Centre, and after working hours they can collect either at Langebaan or R27 gate and hand them in at Geelbek Information Centre on departure.
Accommodation is available from 14:00 on the day of your arrival and time of departure is 10:00.
No after-hours access will be permitted.
Conservation fees are payable when making the booking or in advance unless clients have a valid Wild Card.
This recently renovated, self catering cottage can accommodate a maximum of six (6) people. The cottage used to serve as one of the homesteads on the Geelbek Farm. It is situated at the Geelbek stables.
The Unit is fully equipped and has electricity available.
The cottage features one bedroom with a double bed and two bedrooms each with two single beds. Other features include a bathroom and shower, dining/kitchen area and a braai facility.
The cottage is in close proximity to the Geelbek Environmental Education Centre where group bookings (schools, universities, etc.) are accommodated.
"Recharge your spirit, waking up with the sounds of birds, experience a beautiful sunrise, being surrounded by the silence of nature itself. A peaceful, private haven of tranquility. It is affordable! It is beautiful!"
Duinepos Chalets are situated inside the West Coast National Park. Each Chalet is situated to ensure privacy, peace and tranquility, as you take in the fresh sea breeze, azure waters, and all that the park has to offer over the various seasons...from spectacular birdlife, to the tapestry of spring flowers that cover the strandveld during August and September each year.
The Duinepos Story:
Duinepos Chalets is a community-based project brought to life in 2005 as part of the sustainable livelihoods programme of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
During the first phase 8 old houses previously occupied by staff of the West Coast National Park were restored; the service infrastructure was upgraded, the area landscaped and locals were recruited to manage the project.
The second phase of the project saw the addition of a swimming pool, boma (out-door recreational area), and 3 additional chalets to the facilities. For this phase an eco-friendly approach was taken; a local crew was empowered to build using the sandbag method.
More than 3 years later the success story provides a 3-star accommodation that blends in with West Coast fynbos. It is here where nature lovers from all over the world come to recharge their spirits.
A total of 11 self-catering chalets each sleeping 4 people comfortably and allowing for a maximum of 6 people.
2 chalets are disabled-friendly.
Each chalet offers 2 bedrooms, an open plan kitchen, lounge, fire place, shower, toilet and an outdoor braai area.
Other facilities include: swimming pool, communal braai and boma area.
The Geelbek Stables are specifically designed to accommodate school and community groups. The units are dormitory-style and can take up to 62 people and more by arrangement.
Ablution facilities are available and have both hot and cold water.
The kitchen is equipped with a microwave, gas stove, fridge and freezer, however groups must bring their own cutlery and crockery.
Braai facilities - wood can be bought at the information office on arrival.
Groups must bring their own bedding.
All groups can check-in at the Geelbek Information Centre from 14:00 to 16:00. After office hours they can check in either at the Langebaan or R27 gates and have to vacate the accommodation at 10:00am on the date of departure and hand keys in at the Geelbek Information Centre.
This exclusive self-catering cottage is situated near Churchaven, within walking distance of the lagoon.
It is a fully equipped self-catering (3 en-suite bedrooms-sleeping 8 persons in total) cottage, with an open plan living area and kitchen. There are braai facilities on the front stoep and in the back yard.
It has three bedrooms, each with toilet and shower. The main bedroom has a double bed, the second has two single beds and the third is a 'children's' room with two pullout beds (sleeps four). The kitchen has a gas fridge and stove, fitted cupboards, utensils, serving/eating counter with stools.
The lounge has four lounge chairs, table and with jetmaster. The stoep looks out on the lagoon and has a braai.
Guests should bring their own fire wood.
The fridge-freezer combination, geysers and stove are all gas operated.
Electricity in the house is provided by solar energy. Please use lights sparingly - there are no points or plugs for electronic equipment.
Tap water comes from a well-point and is safe to drink, however you may not be accustomed to the taste. You are welcome to provide your own drinking water. Please use water sparingly.
In order to preserve the peace and tranquility of the area and not to disturb other residents, no loud music or portable generators are allowed.
No pets are allowed within the West Coast National Park.
No fires permitted on the beach.
No alcohol is permitted in public areas.
On arrival guests can collect keys at the Geelbek Information Centre, and after working hours they can collect either at the Langebaan or R27 gates and hand them in at the Geelbek Information Centre on departure.
Accommodation is available from 14:00 on the day of your arrival and time of departure is 10:00.
No after-hours access at the gates will be permitted.
Conservation fees are payable in advance when making the booking, unless clients have a valid Wild Card.
Familiarise yourself with the zonation of the lagoon as described in the information brochure provided. Jo Anne's falls is in the B zone and therefore no fishing or motorised crafts are allowed in the area.
Two well-equipped Houseboats, permanently moored in the calm turquoise waters of Langebaan Lagoon at Kraalbaai in the West Coast National Park, offer a unique experience to all guests.
A luxurious and beautifully appointed, fully equipped, double-storey 22 sleeper Houseboat comprising: 9 Bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 lounges, 2 kitchens and ample deck space on both level s is available. This Houseboat is ideally suited for corporate groups, functions, special occasions or family getaways.
Also available is a cosy fully-equipped two-bedroomed 6 sleeper Houseboat offering an intimate getaway for couples young and old or a fun family breakaway.
No boating experience is necessary as both are permanently moored.
Please note that due to minimum stay-duration rules enforced on reservations for the Larus House Boat, prospective guests interested in making use of this accommodation-type during their visit to the West Coast National Park are encouraged to contact any reservations office for availability enquiries as well as to make a reservation.
For more information:
Contact West Coast National Park on tel: (022) 772 2144.
Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.
To view the accommodation prices, refer to our Tariffs.
For bookings for Abrahamskraal Cottage and Jo-Annes beach Cottage contact Central Reservations / Geelbek information centre: +27 (0) 022 707 9902/ +27 (0) 022 772 2145.
All accommodation is serviced and fully equipped with crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, bedding, towels and soap.
Check in time for accommodation is 14:00 on the day of arrival at Geelbek Information Centre between 14:00 to 16:00. After office hours, clients can check in at the Langebaan Gate / R27 Gate. Check out time on the day of departure is 10:00 at the Geelbek Information Centre.
All units are self-catering.
Sheets and towels will be changed every 3 days.
Guests should bring their own wood.
The fridge-freezer combination, geysers and stove are all gas operated.
Electricity in the house is provided by solar energy. There are no points or plugs for electric equipment and guests are requested to use lights sparingly.
Tap water comes from a well-point and is safe to drink.
9km: Beginning at the Geelbek Information Centre, the 9km is a circular walk to the dunes and back.
7km: Also beginning at the Geelbek Information Centre, the well sign-posted 7km includes part of the 16mile beach, and is a circular walk.
This is a short walk from the Langebaan gate to the Seeberg View Point, which is 4,6km long. Along this route bat eared foxes, Ostriches, Eland and many other animals can be spotted, as well as the beautiful view of the Langebaan lagoon.
Strandveld Trail Two-Day Hike
Day 1 of this trail will take you through about 14km of Strandveld unique to the West Coast of South Africa. Learn to identify plants such as the wild asparagus, sedge-stemmed love grass and many more while walking on this trail.
Day 2 of this trail is 14km long and will take you through Strandveld to the Sixteen Mile Beach before heading back to Geelbek.
Postberg Two Day Hiking Trails (Only during August and September)
NB! This trail must be booked in advance (bookings open in June). For booking and tariff information, contact the Geelbek Information Centre on 022 707 9902/3.
Postberg Trail in a Nutshell:
Hikers start and finish at Tsaarsbank and overnight at Plankiesbaai(tents are required)
Duration: 2 days one night
Day 1: 15.5 km (6 Hours)
Day 2: 11.8 km (3,5 Hours)
Maximum number of people on the trail: 12
General Information for the Postberg Trail:
Hikers must arrive at the Tsaarsbank gate at 09:00am to start the Trail. Cars can be parked at the Tsaarsbank gate. Please show your permit to the gate guard on duty before beginning your hike.
Stick to the designated and marked trail and do not take any short cuts.
The overnight point is situated at the southern end of Plankiesbaai. Hikers are required to bring their own tents and camping equipment. Tents should be erected on the level close to the ablutions and not on the dunes.
Ablution facilities include toilets, basins and drinking water. There are no showers, hot water or cooking utensils.
Braai facilities and wood are available at the overnight stop.
In the event of any injury or similar emergency, contact Park personnel on 022 772 2144.
Water is only available at the Tsaarsbank gate and overnight point at Plankiesbaai. No water is otherwise available along the rest of the trail.
This trail has been completed by both young and old alike, but it is strenuous and should not be undertaken unless you are reasonably fit.
Under no circumstances will vehicles be allowed to overnight, pick up or drop off people or equipment at Plankiesbaai.
Hikers with medical problems are advised not to start this hike. Remember to bring the map with you and enjoy the hike!
Steenbok One Day Trail (Only during August and September)
Steenbok Trail in a Nutshell:
Hike starts and finishes in Tsaarsbank.
Duration: One day hike.
Distance: 13.9 km (5 hours excluding breaks).
Maximum number of people on trail: 20
NB! This trail must be booked in advance (bookings open in June). For booking and tariff information, contact the Geelbek Information Centre on 022 707 9902/3.
General Information for the Steenbok Trail:
Be sure to stick to the demarcated paths - the first section (+/-2 km) of the Steenbok Day Trail follows the route of the 2 day trail up to Konstabelkop. The 2-day trail is marked with flower sign boards. Where the Steenbok trail deviates from this trail, it is marked with Steenbok signboards.
Water is only available at Tsaarsbank and Plankiesbaai; therefore ensure that you start the trail with sufficient water.
The trail starts and ends at the Tsaarsbank gate. Once you are ready to begin, check in with the gate guard at Tsaarsbank. You are advised not to start later than 09:00. The Postberg section closes at 17:00, so please aim to complete the trail before closing.
In the event of any injury or similar emergency, contact Park personnel at 022 722 2144.
It is unavoidable that some sections of the trail are on the roads used by the general public. For your own safety please be aware of vehicles.
Eve's Trail is a 2,5 day 30km guided trail, traversing the ancient steps of "Eve" - the being from whom it is thought that all human life descended.
Eve's footprint was discovered in rock (formerly sea sand) at Kraalbaai in 1995 and are said to belong to a young woman who lived 117 000 years ago. The original prints are housed at the Iziko Museums' South African Museum in Cape Town. The replica of the footprint can be seen at the Geelbek Visitor's Centre.
West Coast National Park is home is over 250 bird species, over a quarter of South Africa's total. Some of these, such as the Curlow Sandpiper, Sanderling and Knot, journey 15 000km from Russia every year to their breeding grounds inside this beautiful National Park on the West Coast of South Africa.
The four bird hides inside the Park give you the opportunity of viewing some of the many bird species found in this area, such as Flamingo, Ostrich and Black Harriers. Bird hides can be found at Geelbek (two), the Abrahamskraal Waterhole and below the Seeberg Lookout Point.
Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach with family and friends. Kraalbaai's beach provides the perfect peaceful setting for having a picnic or braai with the whole family.
If you fancy the beach as against the banks of the lagoon, take a drive further north to the Tsaarsbank section of the park and picnic or braai while looking out for whales swimming along the coastline (during August and September).
Please do note that alcohol is not permitted at public areas such as the picnic and braai sites, beaches and the banks and shores of the Langebaan Lagoon.
During the peak summer and holiday months of December and January, West Coast National Park is a very popular spot amongst both local and international tourists - so be sure to come early to avoid queues and to find a braai-spot, as these are first-come, first-serve and cannot be reserved.
During the months of August and September, visitors to the park are treated to magnificent displays by Southern Right whales passing our shores - these beautiful creatures can be viewed as they swim along the coastline in the Tsaarsbank section of the park.
During August and September, West Coast National Park bursts into a vast array of colour as Spring brings with it a landscape of flowering fynbos and veld.
Particularly prominent in the Postberg section of the park (which is only open to the public during Flower Season), the beautifully bright colour-scapes are unmatched along the West Coast of South Africa.
Take a drive or hike through the Postberg section during flower season and you are guaranteed to capture picturesque scenes of Game in amongst the colourful flowers.
Flower Season Popularity:
Flower Season at West Coast National Park has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and visitors are encouraged to come early to avoid long queues at park gates, which on sunshine days, can be very long.
Tips to make the most of Flower Season:
Download the Gate Registration Form and fill it out before you come to the park. This will speed up time at the gate and shorten the waiting period for everybody.
Weekends are particularly busy, so if you can, come through on a week-day.
Plan to spend the whole day (or even overnight at one of the accommodation facilities in the park), as experiencing the Flower Season is best done at a slow, relaxed pace.
Pack a picnic basket, or enjoy breakfast or lunch at Geelbek Restaurant in the park, which always brings Flower Season to life with new menu's and specials.
Rain occurs mainly from May to August. Summers are dry with early morning mists with southeasterly or southwesterly winds. A temperate coastal climate prevails.
Day visitors are welcome, and form the bulk of all visitors to the park. They can obtain food and refreshments at Geelbek and when Postberg is open during Flower Season (August - September) there is a kiosk.
Vehicle fuel is not available in the park . The nearest fuel station is in the Langebaan Village (approx. 5km from the park).
South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimatepetrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.
Gate Times / Office Hours
September to March:
07:00 - 19:00
Last vehicle entry at 18:30
April to August:
07:00 - 18:00
Last vehicle entry at 17:30
Postberg opens during August & September:
(Flower season) 09:00 - 17:00
Last entry to Postberg at 16:30
For emergencies within the park, contact Reception during office hours (08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday) on +27 (0) 22 707 9902/ 022 772 2145 or the Manager on duty at any time (including after hours) on 072 873 6453.
Useful Emergency Contacts:
The nearest hospital is at Vredenberg, 30km from the park.
Provincial Hospital Tel (after hours): +27 (0) 22 709 7200
Life west Coast Private Hospital: +27 (0) 719 1030
Doctor Marie Human (office hours): + 27 (0) 22 772 2758
Doctor Joos Bester(office office) : +27 (0) 22 772 1606
The nearest police station is at Langebaan: +27 22 707 5140
Ambulance contact details: 10177
Provincial Ambulance call centre: 086122 5599
Tips & Hints
Remember to bring along bathing suit, angling equipment, hat, sun block, walking shoes, camera, binoculars, bird and mammal reference books.
Beware of strong and changeable currents on both sides of Schaapen Island.
Water sport enthusiasts should acquaint themselves with local conditions and boating and angling regulations.
Saldanha Bay (including the Langebaan Lagoon) is a crayfish (rock lobster) and abalone (perlemoen) reserve. Removal of these organisms from this area is a punishable offence.
Due to the recreational zoning of the park some water sports are restricted to certain areas. Please adhere to regulations.
Pets are not allowed in a national park.
As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
Motorcycles are allowed in the park, except in the Postberg section during the flower season.
Medical, pharmaceutical, vehicle repair post office and police services in Langebaan Village.
Nearest hospital: Vredenburg 30km)
Fuel available in Langebaan Village (outside of park) or Ysterfontein.
No wood is available inside the park
No alcohol is permitted in any of the public areas such as picnic and braai sites as well as on beaches and around the lagoon.
Lost and Found
For lost items, please contact Reception on +27 (0)22 707 9902/3 or email us.
The park surrounds the Langebaan Lagoon, which is a world Ramsar site (site’s deemed to be of global significance to wetland bird species).
Many of the wader species are Palearctic migrants, so summer is the best time to visit the lagoon, particularly in September as species return fatigued from their transcontinental travel, and March when they congregate in large numbers to feed heavily prior to undertaking the reverse journey. In such times, the birds are often changing into or out of their Northern Hemisphere breeding plumage.
The best time to observe the lagoon waders is to visit the Geelbek hide from low tide as the tide is coming in. As the water level rises the waders are forced closer to the hide until eventually they must fly off until the tide has receded once more. The smaller species depart first, with the more long-legged godwits, whimbrels and curlews the last to leave. Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ruff, Marsh, Terek and Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Ringed and Grey Plover, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit are present on most occasions, while there is always the possibility of seeing rarer species. Little Egret and South African Shelduck may be seen alongside the waders. Flamingoes and White Pelican frequent deeper water, and there is chance of seeing Osprey. Another isolated hide west of the Geelbek educational centre overlooks a salt pan that is an excellent place to see Chestnut-banded Plover.
The reserve’s fynbos surrounding the lagoon hosts Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Spurfowl and Grey-winged Francolin, Southern Grey and Cape Penduline Tit, Ant-eating Chat, White-throated and Yellow Canary, Karoo Lark, Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, Bokmakierie and Cape Bunting are all easily seen. African Marsh and Black Harrier can often be seen quartering the ground.
The coastal islands at the mouth of the lagoon are breeding havens for a number of species such as Kelp and Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Gannet , and African Penguin. Cormorants and terns are present too.
The largest concentration of mammals in the West Coast National Park can be found the Postberg section, but this is only open to the public during the annual flower season (August and September). However, mammals are found throughout the rest of the reserve. Eland, red hartebeest, Cape grysbok, caracal and rock hyrax are some of the terrestrial species to search for. Visitors should also keep an eye on the Atlantic Ocean for passing whales and dolphins.
Traits: A sizeable grizzled gray fox. Huge, cupped ears with black backs and a dark brown or black face mask. Lower limbs and upper tail are black. Forefeet equipped with 20-cm claws for efficient digging. Ecology: Prefer arid regions. Eighty percent of food is insects with a prefer-ence for termites and succulent subterra-nean beetle larvae. Locate prey by lowering their heads, keeping ears close to the ground and listening above ground and underground. Also eat small rodents, reptiles and fruit. Social structure: Monogamous (remain with one partner for life). Pairs forage and raise pups (2 to 5) together. Pairs live in burrows, which they dig themselves or adapt springhare or aardvark holes.
Traits: The only true fox and the smallest canid found in South Africa. It is silver-grey in colour with large pointed ears and a dark colouring around the mouth. Adults measure 350 mm at the shoulder and have a weight of 2.5 to3 kg. They are remarkably agile, espe-cially since the bushy tail serves as a counter-balance when dodging and weaving. Ecology: The Cape fox is endemic to the Cape region and surrounding areas. These animals are active hunters and prey on insects, mice and other small animals. They occasionally feed on wild fruit. Excess food is cached in holes and covered with ground. Most of their activity is at night. Social structure: The Cape fox appears to be monogamous. They are solitary animals (except females with cubs) and live in dens.
Family Mustelidae - badgers, otters, polecat and weasel
Traits: Broadly and powerfully built carnivore with stout legs and broad feet, foreclaws like curved knifes with sharp edges, conspicuous white or grey upper parts and black lower parts. It has an almost impenetrable, thick, loose skin, which enables the animal to turn in its skin to attack an enemy that got hold of it. Ecology: It tolerates a wide range of conditions. It would eat almost any arthropods and small vertebrates, including rodents, reptiles, birds and bees' honey and larvae. Social structure: They are usually solitary, but occasionally pairs or fam-ily groups can be seen.
Traits: A small grey mongoose. Ecology: They have a diet of in-vertebrates, reptiles, mice and small birds. Hunting by sound, sight and scent, they poke into vegetation and scratch in debris. Social structure: Diurnal with peaks of activity during the mornings and afternoons. Solitary animals except during the mating season, when male-female pairs can be seen.
Traits: Long legs with hindquarters higher and more developed than forequarters. Strongly built with big feet, a short face and powerful jaws. A distinctive feature is their high upstanding ears with tassels of long hair on the top. Lips, the back of the ears and the tufts are black and there are dark facial markings on the cheeks and over the eyes, bordered with white fur. Ecology: Most caracals live in arid bush country. They take a wide range of food from insects to small antelope but feed mostly on rodents. They catch prey by stalking, chasing and pouncing. Social structure: They are nocturnal, solitary and secretive. Litters of up to four kittens are born.
Traits: Legs and tail are striped, sometimes pale stripes on body, black garters on legs and rufous ears. Longer legs than the domes-tic cat with exceptionally long front legs, which result in a more upright seated posture. Ecology: The African wildcat occurs in virtually all places where rats and mice are plentiful. It feeds mainly on rodents but also on small birds, lizards, snakes, frogs and large insects. Social structure: Although they are noctur-nal, there is a good chance of spotting them during early mornings and afternoons. They are solitary animals (except a female with her kittens).
Traits: Shoulder height is 54 cm, mass between 10 and 12 kg. Although reddish brown, the white hairs on the back and upper parts give the grysbok a grizzled effect. The coat appears quite rough. Ears are large, buff white inside and greyish on the back. Only the males have horns rising vertically from the head. Ecology: Found along the eastern coastal belt of South Africa as well as the south-eastern Cape, westwards to the Cape Peninsula. They graze and browse and go without water for long periods. Social structure: They begin their nocturnal activities at dusk. Most of the time they live alone, the females in overlapping home ranges and the males in territories. Mating occurs on the move and a single offspring is born usually in September or October. Both sexes urinate and defecate in middens. If alarmed they dash away, then suddenly drop and freeze.
Traits: Shoulder height 70-76 cm, mass between 18 and 23 kg. They have good eyesight, hearing and sense of smell. When they run they show a distinctive white tail. Ecology: Occur throughout the Cape, Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and southern Mpumalanga. They are brows-ers, able to survive without drinking. Social structure: They live in groups of one adult male with up to a dozen females and their offspring. Each group has a home range and the male defends it against other males. Territorial males are aggressive and their straight horns are deadly weapons. Occupied areas are marked with secretions from the pedal glands. Their alarm signal is a snort.
Traits: Shoulder height 60 cm, mass between 12 and 16 kg. A uniform brown to reddish-brown with pale to white underparts. Ears are long and broad. Only males have horns, which are about 11 cm long. Tail fairly short, black above and white below. They are mainly browsers but also take a large range of other vegetable food including fruits, bark, flowers, gum, and roots but rarely grass. They rarely drink. Ecology: This is a common species found throughout southern Africa. Social structure: They are active in the early morning and from late afternoon until very late in the evening. The rest of the time they lie in the shade of dense vegetation. The com-mon duiker is solitary except when mating or a female with a lamb. They give birth to a single offspring at any time of the year. The female will drop her lamb in heavy cover and leave it there, returning two or three times a day to clean and suckle it. If the baby is disturbed it gives an alarm bleat, which brings its mother rushing to protect it.
Traits: Shoulder height 50 to 56 cm, mass between 12 and14 kg. A small, graceful antelope with long slender legs and a slim body. The upper parts of the body vary in colour from rufous brown to reddish while the underparts are pure white. The tail is also white underneath. Only males have horns, which rise vertically with a slight forward curve near the tips. The ears are outstandingly large, with the same colour as the body on the outside and light insides with black fringes at the centre. They are mainly browsers and prefer forbs to woody plants. They can live without water by eating melons and digging up juicy roots. Ecology: Found throughout southern Africa in both arid and temperate regions. They are both grazers and browsers. Social structure: They are solitary and territorial except for mating pairs and females with young. Mainly diurnal, they are most active in the cool of the early morning and in the late afternoon and evening. Near their territorial boundaries they defecate and urinate in middens, but elsewhere they have the unusual habit of digging a hole with their fore-feet and burying their excrement. The lambs are born in dense vegeta-tion, where they stay hidden while the mother feeds.
Traits: Shoulder height 78 to 84 cm, mass between 36 and 50 kg. Both sexes have horns, which are lyre-shaped and heavily ridged; the males' horns are heavier and longer than the females'. They are both browsers and grazers. Independent of water, but will drink regularly if water is available. When startled the members of a herd dash in all direc-tions with leaps that can take them 2 metres of the ground and cover 6 metres. They can sprint away at 88 km/h. Ecology: Springbok live in habitats ranging from dry areas of the Kala-hari to the barren regions of Namibia. Social structure: Springbok form herds of a few dozen animals but congregate in much larger groups in areas of good feeding. When fe-males drop their lambs the lambs stay hidden in long grass under bushes. Within a week they can sprint away, but it takes them a month to stay with the herd.
Traits: Shoulder height between 83 and 99 cm, mass between 59 and 95 kg. Both sexes have horns, but the females' are more slender than those of the males. Striking in appearance, showing a distinctive blaze on the face. Most active early in the morning and late in the after-noon. They are grazers, preferring short grass, and drink at least once a day. Ecology: Bontebok are confined to the south-western Cape. Social structure: Adult males establish stable territories, through which female herds move. The territorial male often stands on a patch of higher ground with a proud stature.
Traits: Medium-sized antelope. Shoulder height between 1.20 and 1.37m, mass be-tween 150 and 159 kg. Horns in both sexes, which are ringed and complexly recurved. Coat short, glossy, plain tan to chestnut. As grazers and browsers they feed selectively, preferring freshly sprouted grass. Will drink regularly, although capable of going for long periods without water while deriving moisture from shrubs, succulents and melons. Ecology: Prefer plains and transition zones between savanna and arid biomes. Social structure: Live in herds up to about 30.
Traits: Largest antelope. Shoulder height 1,5 to 1,75 m, mass up to 900 kg. Both sexes have horns, which have one to two tight spirals. The males' horns are thicker but shorter than the females'. Small ears. Cow-like tail with black tuft. Tawny colour - darkening with age to reddish brown. Independent of water; they derive their moisture intake from plants. Mainly browsers but will also graze. Eat leaves, wild fruits, bulbs and the bark of certain trees. Ecology: They are nomadic, inhabiting savannas and open plains, light woodland and grassland. Sociastruture: Gregarious and non-territorial, they form small herds, whose copostion changes seasonally. During the winter bulls and cows herd sepa-rately but in the spring they form breading herds. Cooperative defence of young against predators.
Traits: Shoulder height 1.2 to 1.4 m, mass between 227 and 272 kg. It has a short mane and a well-developed dewlap below the throat. It is capable of going without water for up to three days. When in search of water, it will dig down up to three meters. Its call is a low, plaintive neigh. As a grazer, it feeds on tufted grass. Active during the day. Ecology: Lives in arid stony regions. Its black stripes are broader than those of Hartman's moun-tain zebra. Social structure: Herds up to 6 mares and their foals are controlled by a dominant stallion. These herds are formed by stallions herding unattached females. Stallions are unable to breed until they have gained control over a herd. There is a dominance hierarchy among a herds' females, which is established through fighting. A mare with a foal is very possessive of the foal and very aggressive towards outsiders. A foal can run beside its mother within hours of its birth.
Apps, Peter. Wild Ways: Field Guide to the Behaviour of South African Mammals. 2000. Struik Publishers, Cornelis Struik House, 80 McKenzie Street, Cape Town 8001.
Carnaby, Trevor. Beat About the Bush, Mammals. 2006. Jacana Media, PO Box 2004, Houghton 2041, Johannesburg.
Estes, Richard. The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals. 1997. Russel Friedman Books CC, PO Box 73, Halfway House 1685.
Walker, Clive. Signs of the Wild. 1996. Struik Publishers, Cornelis Struik House, 80 McKenzie Street, Cape Town 8001.
Though the thousands of migrating birds is one the main reasons for the conservation of the West Coast National Park, the showy plants of the area, usually growing on granite or limestone rocks, especially during spring time, are what attracts most of its visitors to this fascinating park.
WCNP contains mostly strandveld vegetation (24,025 ha), which was previously classified as West Coast Strandveld and Langebaan Fynbos /Thicket Mosaic. In recent years the park has expanded incorporating substantial areas (6,382 ha) of an additional vegetation type /broad habitat unit i.e. Hopefield Sand Plain Fynbos, previously called Coastal Fynbos. Both these habitat units were given a 50 % irreplaceability rating, however, sand plain fynbos is regarded to be of higher conservation value than strandveld, due to very little being formally conserved and it being more threatened by alien plant invasion.
The strandveld vegetation of WCNP occurs on the Langebaan peninsula and east of the Langebaan lagoon on deep calcareous sands of the Langebaan formation. Sand plain fynbos occurs inland of the strandveld on deep acidic light-grey to pale-red sands of the Springfontyn formation. Extensive marshes, dominated by Sarcocornia, Salicornia, Spartina, Limonium, Phragmites, Typha, Juncus, and Scirpus species, occur on the fringes of the Langebaan lagoon.
The vegetation of the park, excluding the newly acquired properties such as Van Niekerks Hoop, Kalkklipfontein, Langefontein and Elandsfontein, may be divided into 36 associations (or communities), having some 482 plant species (including salt marsh species), of which 21 are Red Data Book species. A further 14 Red Data species have been recorded, or are likely to occur on the newly acquired sections of land.
Flowers that can be seen during the year (not just flower season):
Flowers: November to July Where to find: Roadsides in park.
Flower season in the West Coast National Park is at its peak from August to September annually. During these two months visitors to the park will see a wide variety of flowers on display, from daisies, to bulbs etc. Large areas of flowers can be seen in the Seeberg\Mooimaak and Postberg areas.
Photography by Carmen Gagiano.
During a visit to the park in flower season, visitors can expect to see the following species on display:
Two chalets are disabled-friendly. Each chalet offers 2 bedrooms, an open plan kitchen, lounge, fire place, shower, toilet and an outdoor braai area. Other facilities include: swimming pool, communal braai and boma area.
For bookings and more information, contact:
Tel: +27 (0) 22 707 9900
Accessible Activities & Facilities
The major attractions of the reserve are the marine and lagoon fauna and flora, fossil deposits, flower displays, wading birds and the use of houseboats. There are a variety of visitor destinations within WCNP all with varying access potential. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:
Accessed via a long wooden boardwalk, a person in a wheelchair can easily enter the hide (although with weathering the boardwalk is a bit creaky in parts). Depending on the tides, a person can have marvellous viewing of aquatic wading birds.
Postberg Flower Reserve
Flower season is August and September, but there is also the presence of some large herbivores. Most of the viewing of the flowers is done from the confines of a motor vehicle. There are a couple of picnic sites and a viewing site overlooking the lagoon. The pathway to this latter facility becomes too narrow for passage in a wheelchair. There are toilet facilities that are spacious and can be easily accessed. However no assisting rails are present.
Lagoon jetties and beaches
There are several jetties leading people onto the lagoon. These have steps and a wheelchair user will require assistance. Mobile toilets that service these jetties or the pathways that lead down to lagoon beach pockets are not appropriate for people in wheelchairs.
The goal of People & Conservation (P&C) is to build constituencies among people in support of the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage efforts of SANParks. P&C ensures that a broad base of South Africans participate and get involved in biodiversity initiatives and further that all its operations have a synergistic existence with neighbouring or surrounding communities for their socio-economic benefit. We do this through:
Community Relations - to establish an effective community relations environment with stakeholders in the proximity of the parks.
Cultural Resource Management & Indigenous Knowledge - to manage our protected areas, in a manner that will uphold the rights of all people, as well as protecting and restoring places of cultural and spiritual significance.
Environmental Education awareness, Interpretation & Training - to implement comprehensive environmental interpretation, awareness and education programmes particularly targeting children and previously excluded sectors.
Youth Outreach - to coordinate and integrate portfolios of youth conservation awareness projects and tasks.
Environmental education is important in educating young people about our ecosystems, sustaining both plant and animal life. Through environmental education we are able to teach learners about the environment and link this to their school curriculum.
As a means of achieving this, a variety of programmes are offered at the West Coast National Park by the People and Conservation Department. Educational activities are as follows:
As a means of welcoming guests to the park a welcome presentation is done by the People and Conservation Department. The aim of the presentation is to introduce SANParks but more specifically the West Coast National Park to the visitors.
This entails an excursion to either 1 of the 4 bird hides in the park to spot and identify the birds in the park. This talk can be supplemented with a talk regarding the Langebaan Lagoon system as well as the salt marsh ecology.
A game drive into Postberg Nature Reserve that includes game identification and viewing and discussion on the importance if eco- system balance as well as animal adaptations and eating habits etc. Environmental issues that are discussed include the over population of game in Postberg Nature Reserve and how we manage game.
This is a hands on activity where the various forms of life and rocks are explored. An explanation on what causes the tides is also done coupled with interesting facts about red tides as well as the search and identification of sea organisms under rocks, seaweed and kelp. This activity is usually done at Tsaarsbank and on the 16 Mile Beach.