Discover the West Coast National Park
Surrounding the spectacular Langebaan Lagoon on the West Coast of South Africa, the West Coast National Park is home to a multitude of seabirds, and a variety of mammals, including eland, grysbok, hartebeest, rock hyrax and caracal. Listed as a Ramsar site due to its integral role in the preservation of wetland bird species, Langebaan Lagoon with its small bird-covered islands, saltpan marshes and stunning beaches is the year-round focal point of the reserve, with masses of brightly colored wildflowers taking centre-stage in spring.
Birding enthusiasts will find that the best time to visit the West Coast National Park is in the spring and summer months, starting in September, when many Palearctic migrant waders return from their transcontinental journey. The reserve’s Geelbek hide offers superb viewing of flocks of waders, particularly at low tide. As the tide comes in the birds move closer to the hide, before flying off to safer ground until the tide goes out. Birds that may be spotted from this hide include sanderlings, knots, ruffs, terek sandpipers, grey plovers, ringed plovers, greenshanks, curlews and godwits, as well as little egrets and South African shelduck. Deeper waters of the lagoon attract flamingoes and white pelicans, while a hide overlooking a salt pan offers the opportunity to see chestnut-banded plovers.
Moving away from the shoreline to explore the fynbos of the West Coast National Park, visitors are likely to see Cape and grey-winged francolins, black korhaans, ant-eating chats, bokmakieries, Cape buntings, titbabblers and Karoo larks. At the mouth of the azure-coloured lagoon are some small islands which are breeding sites for Cape gannets, African penguins, kelp gulls and Hartlaub’s gulls, with cormorants and terns being found there too.
Other activities to be enjoyed at the reserve include mountain biking, cycling, kite-boarding, kayaking and other water sports. Between August and November, as Southern right whales make their way along the Atlantic coastline to their breeding waters, visitors may see these magnificent marine creatures breaching the waters and spraying water into the air through their blowholes – an unforgettable sight to add to the marvelous memories of a visit to the West Coast National Park.