West Coast National Park

Activities

West Coast Fossil Park West Coast Fossil Park

The fossil site of Langebaanweg is located in the West Coast Fossil Park, approximately 150 km north of Cape Town, and is world-renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved fossil faunal remains.

A national and international team of researchers are currently unraveling the fascinating and unique history of fossils from the West Coast Fossil Park and attempting to recreate the environment and climate of the west coast many years ago.  At this time many animals that are now extinct, such as saber-toothed cats, short-necked giraffes, hunting hyenas and African bears roamed the west coast which then had a more subtropical climate with lush, riverine forests and open grasslands. 

The deeply buried fossil deposits were uncovered during phosphate mining in the Langebaanweg area. The mining started in 1943, initially at Baard’s Quarry on Langeberg Farm, close to where the airforce training base is today.  Here solid phosphate rock was mined for fertilizer and it is thought that many tons of fossils were crushed up along with the rock before scientists were made aware of their existence. 

The phosphates come from the Varswater Formation.  In the early 1960’s, the mining moved from Baard’s Quarry to the nearby Varswater ”C” and ‘E’ Quarries.  Mining ceased altogether in 1993 when Samancor made a decision to close down their Chemfos operations at Langebaanweg as it was no longer economically viable.

Contact: 022 766 1606
E-mail: info@fossilpark.org.za


Visit website
West Coast Fossil Park Geelbek Heritage and Educational Centre

Geelbekfontein, now known as Geelbek, was originally a quitrent farm and was used for several years as a livestock station by the Cape brandy retailer, S Verwey.  Geelbek was granted to his widow Aletta van As after his death in 1744.  The homestead is thought to have been erected by Alexander van Breda, as the initials 'AvB' and the date '1860' appear on the front gable.  It is a Cape Dutch building and a National Monument and was renovated three times since it was built.  The main house now forms part of an extended farmyard that has been restored and rehabilitated as part of the West Coast National Park.

Geelbek has a reputation for fine yet traditional West Coast dining in a beautiful setting.  Enjoy birds, sunshine and the views of flamingos while enjoying your food.  The restaurant serves traditional food with a colonial flair.  All recipes are well rooted in South African heritage with some of the recipes being more than 300 years old.

Contact: 022 772 2798

West Coast Fossil Park Saldanha Bay Cultural Village and Hoedjieskop Museum

“Learning from our past to understand the present and create a better future”

The Hoedjieskop Museum, part of the Saldanha Cultural Village,focuses on life along the stretch of coastline in and surrounding the coastal town of Saldahna.  Old photographs, artefacts and documents provide great insight into the town and its multi layered history.

However, the real highlight is the curator Linda and her stories.  She brings the past to life with tales of family sagas and war stories, the local heroes and the apartheid era.  She describes everyday living as a worker in the fishing factory, and revives the horror of shipwrecks and fishermen lost at sea.  Linda has a real passion for the area and will answer any question you pose to her.

Address:Kildalkey Street, Saldanha
Work: 022 714 4662 
Cell:  082 670 5151 


West Coast Fossil Park Bird Watching

The lagoon attracts hundreds of thousands of waders annually that give the West Coast National Park legendary status on South African bird circles.  The terrestrial habitats offered in the park are equally interesting to the birders.  Many West Coast specials and South African endemics can be seen with relative ease within the park and 308 bird species have been recorded to date. 



West Coast Fossil Park Langebaan Lagoon

The picturesque modern town of Langebaan borders the salt water Lagoon.  Langebaan Lagoon is a large self-sustaining, pure salt water lagoon which is an internationally acclaimed Ramsar Site for its importance as a wetland.

The large, shallow marine lagoon, includes islands, reedbeds, sand flats, saltmarshes and dwarf shrubland.  The lagoon is an important nursery area for a number of fish species and supports a diverse and ecologically important algal and shoreline biota.



West Coast Fossil Park Whales (in season)

The southern right whale has a circumpolar distribution and inhabits sub Antarctic water between about 30? and 55? south.  The whales migrate south during the summer months when supplies of krill are more prolific, and north during winter and spring to mate, calve and rear their young.  They appear around the South African coastline from May to December and can be seen interacting in the sheltered bays and coves close inshore and near river mouths.

Each year Southern Right Whales migrate into the coastal waters of the Western Cape to calve and nurse their young.  The animals, often mere metres from the shore, provide unsurpassed whale watching opportunities between August and November. 

The Cape Whale Route stretches for 900 km from Doringbaai on the West Coast to Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

There are estimated to be about 3 000 - 4 000 southern right whales at present, with South Africa receiving the major percentage visiting its coasts annually.  Present populations of southern right whales are a fraction of estimated initial stocks. 

Contact: 022 772 2798

Visit website
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West Coast Fossil Park
Downwind Dash
The fossil site of Langebaanweg is located in the West Coast Fossil Park, approximately 150 km north of Cape Town, and is world-renowned for its exceptionally well-preserved fossil faunal remains.

A national and international team of researchers are currently unraveling the fascinating and unique history of fossils from the West Coast Fossil Park and attempting to recreate the environment and climate of the west coast many years ago.  At this time many animals that are now extinct, such as saber-toothed cats, short-necked giraffes, hunting hyenas and African bears roamed the west coast which then had a more subtropical climate with lush, riverine forests and open grasslands. 

The deeply buried fossil deposits were uncovered during phosphate mining in the Langebaanweg area. The mining started in 1943, initially at Baard’s Quarry on Langeberg Farm, close to where the airforce training base is today.  Here solid phosphate rock was mined for fertilizer and it is thought that many tons of fossils were crushed up along with the rock before scientists were made aware of their existence. 

The phosphates come from the Varswater Formation.  In the early 1960’s, the mining moved from Baard’s Quarry to the nearby Varswater ”C” and ‘E’ Quarries.  Mining ceased altogether in 1993 when Samancor made a decision to close down their Chemfos operations at Langebaanweg as it was no longer economically viable.
Contact: 022 766 1606
E-mail: info@fossilpark.org.za
Visit website
Geelbek Heritage and Educational Centre
Downwind Dash
Geelbekfontein, now known as Geelbek, was originally a quitrent farm and was used for several years as a livestock station by the Cape brandy retailer, S Verwey.  Geelbek was granted to his widow Aletta van As after his death in 1744.  The homestead is thought to have been erected by Alexander van Breda, as the initials 'AvB' and the date '1860' appear on the front gable.  It is a Cape Dutch building and a National Monument and was renovated three times since it was built.  The main house now forms part of an extended farmyard that has been restored and rehabilitated as part of the West Coast National Park.

Geelbek has a reputation for fine yet traditional West Coast dining in a beautiful setting.  Enjoy birds, sunshine and the views of flamingos while enjoying your food.  The restaurant serves traditional food with a colonial flair.  All recipes are well rooted in South African heritage with some of the recipes being more than 300 years old.
Contact: 022 772 2798
Saldanha Bay Cultural Village and Hoedjieskop Museum
Downwind Dash
“Learning from our past to understand the present and create a better future”

The Hoedjieskop Museum, part of the Saldanha Cultural Village,focuses on life along the stretch of coastline in and surrounding the coastal town of Saldahna.  Old photographs, artefacts and documents provide great insight into the town and its multi layered history.

However, the real highlight is the curator Linda and her stories.  She brings the past to life with tales of family sagas and war stories, the local heroes and the apartheid era.  She describes everyday living as a worker in the fishing factory, and revives the horror of shipwrecks and fishermen lost at sea.  Linda has a real passion for the area and will answer any question you pose to her.
Address:Kildalkey Street, Saldanha
Work: 022 714 4662 
Cell:  082 670 5151 
Bird Watching
Downwind Dash
The lagoon attracts hundreds of thousands of waders annually that give the West Coast National Park legendary status on South African bird circles.  The terrestrial habitats offered in the park are equally interesting to the birders.  Many West Coast specials and South African endemics can be seen with relative ease within the park and 308 bird species have been recorded to date. 
Langebaan Lagoon
Downwind Dash
The picturesque modern town of Langebaan borders the salt water Lagoon.  Langebaan Lagoon is a large self-sustaining, pure salt water lagoon which is an internationally acclaimed Ramsar Site for its importance as a wetland.

The large, shallow marine lagoon, includes islands, reedbeds, sand flats, saltmarshes and dwarf shrubland.  The lagoon is an important nursery area for a number of fish species and supports a diverse and ecologically important algal and shoreline biota.
Whales (in season)
Downwind Dash
The southern right whale has a circumpolar distribution and inhabits sub Antarctic water between about 30? and 55? south.  The whales migrate south during the summer months when supplies of krill are more prolific, and north during winter and spring to mate, calve and rear their young.  They appear around the South African coastline from May to December and can be seen interacting in the sheltered bays and coves close inshore and near river mouths.

Each year Southern Right Whales migrate into the coastal waters of the Western Cape to calve and nurse their young.  The animals, often mere metres from the shore, provide unsurpassed whale watching opportunities between August and November. 

The Cape Whale Route stretches for 900 km from Doringbaai on the West Coast to Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

There are estimated to be about 3 000 - 4 000 southern right whales at present, with South Africa receiving the major percentage visiting its coasts annually.  Present populations of southern right whales are a fraction of estimated initial stocks. 
Contact: 022 772 2798
Visit website
Downwind Dash
Downwind Dash
Each year early in January Langebaan’s horizon is filled with a tapestry of kites and sails.  It is time again for the Downwind Dash, the premier downwind event in Africa where windsurfers, kitesurfers, dinghy and catamaran sailors and stand-up paddle boarders join in a on a really special race for some wild, wet fun.

The downwind dash was conceived by three keen windsurf enthusiasts who had just started the Saldanha Beach Sailing Club.  The first Dash was held in 1984 and attracted an entry of around 40 competitors.

The race has been held every year without interruption since the inaugural event.  The Dash started as a reaching course over 17 km, but has now settled down over 20 km.

The race has a le Mans start off the beach at Langebaan, following a zig zag pattern over the bay to finish off the beach at the club house.

The fastest time for the race was done by Peter Slate who screamed down the course in a gale in 18 minutes.

In the last ten years the race has been opened up to the kites, and they have dominated the event in number of participants and winners.

Organisers:

Saldanha Beach Sailing Club
Email: info@langebaandash.co.za
Phone: 082 449 5033 | 082 451 1548 | 082 350 0884
West Coast National Park
Downwind Dash
The West Coast National Park lies 120 km north of It is 27,500 hectares in size. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the R27 coastal road, and runs from the town of Yzerfontein in the south up to the Langebaan Lagoon. The park was proclaimed in 1985 and is well known for its bird life and for the spring flowers which occur in the months from August to September, especially in the Postberg flower reserve section of the park.  The park, with the islands in Saldanha Bay, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.
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