March was upon us and for various reasons, we felt the need to spend some quality time down the West Coast. Plenty of parks to choose from. Ou Skip, Ganzekraal, Yzerfontein, Oostewal, Saldanha Bay and our choice for the month, situated between Langebaan and Club Mykonos – Leentjiesklip. A municipal venue that we as a club (www.trekkersclub.co.za) have not used for many years. The main reason being the fact that the last time, some of our members had some camping items stolen. Security is excellent from the roadside but there is nothing to speak of from the beach side of the park. Some serious flood lighting overlooking the beach has been installed to discourage those with evil intent. For us, it’s all about putting your precious don’t want stolen items, out of sight.
Leentjiesklip is located by heading down the West Coast Road (R27) for 120 kms if you are departing Cape Town. To break the journey we always stop at the Vyge Valley farm stall situated opposite Jakkalsfontein and 7 km from the Yzerfontein turnoff. Definately much more than your average farm stall. Yes, you will find the usual selection of jams, preserves and dried fruit, but don’t miss out on the homemade cheeses and their buttery chicken pies are a well-known speciality. All the usual arts and crafts are available, as one would imagine. We always do lunch and although their menu is somewhat limited, it covers all the bases for a hungry travel camper. The attached wine shop sells a wide range from local vineyards, and there’s also a small farmyard filled with pot-bellied pigs and raucous ducks to keep the kids amused.
Turning left off the R27 in the direction of Langebaan and then turning right just before you hit Langebaan town self, takes you down the road heading towards Mykonos. If you have arrived at the Mykonos turnoff, you have missed the Leentjiesklip left turn. The sign is there but I have seen bigger and bolder. The roadside shrubbery definately in need of a serious pruning, as well.
Pensioners pay R84 a night or if staying for a month as in our case, R1724 all inclusive. These are not the beachfront plots, mind you. Leentjies is a terraced park therefore even from the second block awesome views of the Lagoon are unrestricted. The trick at Leentjies due to the wind that can blow somewhat, is to set up your van behind a tree or three, with your back facing Cape Town. We have seen the park greener, but with the amount of watering being done at present, should recover nicely. Sites with private ablutions are available at an extra cost. The shared ablutions are in general well used and functional. A shop on site is available with a good selection of those items we tend to forget to bring with and your daily requisites are catered for, as well.
Unfortunately, no washing machines available, on site. Never mind, we discovered a do it yourself wishy-washy in Berg Street, Saldanha Bay. Oh yes, when en route for Saldanha and you have the need for something fresh out of the ocean you must stop at Charlie’s Fish Shop, situated at 50 Camp street. There’s delicious smoked and pickled fish in the fridges at the back, and you can order fresh Saldanha oysters as well. We purchased a snoek and an angelfish and did both on the coals. Absolute to live for.
One of the reasons we choose Langebaan is the fact that Langebaan with almost all year round sunshine, has safe waters with reliable winds which make this area a water sports lover’s paradise. Catering for kite surfers, windsurfers, kayakers, yachtsmen, water skiers, fishermen and not forgetting the stand-up paddling crowd, as well. Thousands of migratory birds are attracted to the lagoon every year, including both the greater and lesser flamingos and the world’s largest breeding colony of black harriers, as well. Another great find among the rocks is that of the Oyster Catchers.
Another good reason is that our brother in law owns a Bayliner 305 which is berthed at Club Mykonos. Nothing like a high speed skim across the lagoon to get rid of those cobwebs, right? You had better believe it! Powered by twin V8’s, nogal – enough horses to hold your own Grand National. Mykonos has a casino and a few restaurants and if you feel the need to break some plates, a Greek one as well.
Talking about breaking things and things that go bump in the night, we were sitting in our side tent catching up on some DStv when we heard a whoosh, a thump, and a scream, in that order. On exiting our tent we found a car buried in our neighbour’s tent. The vehicle in question had been parked on the terrace above us and had decided to go on its own joyride and subsequently crashed into our neighbours add a room tent, narrowingly missing us. Their Son who was lying down on his bed had just got up to fetch a cup of tea when the car smashed through the tent. A few seconds earlier and the car would have been on top of him. The driver swore blind that he had put the car in park and for the life of him did not know why his vehicle had gone downhill. Come on, you know if you have been indulging, you shouldn’t be driving, never mind parking your vehicle, without assistance. Could have been a very nasty one.
As mentioned Leentjies is right on the beach so, therefore, many walks was the order of the day. Only a 10 min walk away from the famous Strandloper Restaurant and Beach Bar (www.strandloper.com) Here one can experience a unique informal open-air beach restaurant with a selection of the freshest seafood available and some classic South African favourites, all cooked out in the open, for your pleasure. Don’t fill up too much on their lekker homemade bread and jams, got to leave room for all those seafood delights. They are fully licensed, but your own is allowed. They run 2 sittings a day, 2 pm and 6 pm, but be advised – you have got to book, people.
Around the corner from Langebaan, is the scenic West Coast National Park. Not Big 5 country, but just about everything else, including Eland, wildebeest, hartebeest, bontebok, springbok, kudu and mountain zebra. Uniquely, viewing can also be done from the comfort of your own bicycle, if need be. August and September are great months for flower carpet viewing. And here’s something I bet you did not know – the oldest known footprint of a modern human – Eve’s Footprint – was also discovered in the park on the banks of the Langebaan Lagoon in 1995. The fossil footprint is dated at about 117 000 years old, nogal.
Talking about things of yesteryear, around the corner at the Langebaan turnoff is the West Coast Fossil Park – the only fossil park in South Africa, apparently. It’s home to the ancient Big Five that once roamed this area. The remains of Africa’s only bear have also been discovered here, along with the fossils of 200 other species. You can enjoy an informative tour of a fossil dig and hunt for your own fossils, and there is biking, hiking, and horse riding through the park, as well.
Believe me, there is never a dull moment in the Langebaan area, with a great mix of relaxed nature and adrenaline-fuelled activities to choose from. The sunsets have to be seen to be believed.