Ah man, there’s no better place to plug into your outdoor buzz than on the West Coast! This month in #TakeYouThere, we’re going for a ‘Blooming Duo’, setting you up to experience the 2023 wildflower splendour by both bike and boat. Yup, those Renosterveld hills around Darling are already tweaking in total technicolour, and it will take you just an hour to get there from the Mother City. Go on, grab your mountain bike and kayak, and give it gas!
CHASING THE SUN
If you’re in search of endless beaches and secret trails, ‘Yzers’ should be top of your list! Yup, some of you may know those beach breaks, but here’s the low-down on the local singletrack, too. All you have to do now is head for the enosterveld hills, and revel in trail networks there …
!Khwa ttu San Trails, Yzerfontein
The world-class !Khwa ttu San Centre is situated on a low hill overlooking the Yzerfontein coast and is just the spot to start your ‘crankventure’. Pedal from Reception onto a dippy little downhill with half a dozen cheeky kickers where the trail crosses old irrigation walls. Watch your air though, as the landing zone can be loose and gritty in places..
Bang across a narrow wooden bridge (1.4km) and slowly contour up the gentle ascent on a purpose-built trail. urprisingly, there is negligible sand and the trail-builder did well using contours to zigzag you amidst rocky outcrops in long, loopy ess-bends. Crank clockwise around the hill until you summit at just on 5km, with spectacular views over the icy Atlantic Ocean.
From here, drop down past the boma along a technical rock-drop into an old quarry; this is relatively tame, but you do have the option of a chicken run if the idea of a Moab- descent scares the bejesus out of you. Fast-forward into the valley and knuckle down into a final climb as you contour clock-wise via the adjoining koppies. There’s a replica Bushman Village en route, and a good chance of seeing zebra, eland, springbok, bat-eared fox and other game.
The last kilometre of downhill to !Khwa ttu is a play zone of note, with superb little jumps on a speedy trail section. The ride makes for a funky 10kays out on the bike, but the good news is you can connect onto the 30km ‘LIVING COLOUR’ Route via a wooden stile (www.livingcolour.co.za). And Pssstt … book the bush house at !Khwa Ttu for a stunning weekend away – www.khwattu.org.
West Coast National Park
Time to get wet! The renowned West Coast National Park centres around magical Langebaan Lagoon, with spectacular fynbos, diverse dune systems, hide-away beaches and globally renowned wetlands all round. Saline marshes are home to large concentrations of migrant waders, and the spring wildflower bloom transforms the Strandveld into a technicolour tapestry of colour.
Sandbaai Beach near Langebaan yacht club offers ‘secret’ launching spot for those keen to explore the estuary by kayak, with zero waves. You want to launch on the pushing tide and time the return paddle for the switch; just a little inside info there! This makes it an ideal location for kids or adults to learn and practice their SUP or kayak skills.
Add Schaapen Island to your route if you’re keen on birding, and the chance to spot the peculiar white rabbits who live here. You may also see seals, dolphins and, if you’re lucky, some whales or sunfish. Fabulous wildflowers line the shore throughout the year, but blade to the Postberg Reserve section for a spring bloom to blow your mind! The wind picks up from mid-morning, so be on the water at dawn!
Get more info on West Coast National Park at www.sanparks.org, but make sure you stay at ‘Indigo Blue’, my favourite spot in all of Langebaan – www.gravity.co.za.