The West Coast is the part of South Africa’s coastline running from approximately Bloubergstrand (‘Blue mountain beach’), just outside Cape Town, up to the Orange River, which forms the country’s northern border with Namibia.
It is a sparsely inhabited, arid part of the country, renowned for its long sweeps of deserted white beaches, its characteristic fishing villages whose inhabitants make their living from the abundant fisheries in the cold Atlantic waters, and its magnificent springtime flower display.
It offers many attractions for paddlers, including rich bird and marine life, the opportunity of camping on deserted beaches, feasting on a meal of freshly caught crayfish and the chance to interact with the character-bursting communities that call this place home.
Depending on which stretch of the route you are keen to tackle, access is best accomplished by vehicle, using the N7 to reach the more northerly points and the coastal R27 to reach the more southerly launch sites. There are sea kayaking base camps, which offer advice, guides, equipment rental and all-inclusive excursions, at St Helena Bay, Paternoster and Langebaan.