Having worked the Cape Town region as a tour guide for the past 10 years, I began to realise the general industry I work within and my previously preconceived personal ideas of the Blouberg side of the bay have great parallels and similarities.
I have lived here now for 6 months and have realised a remarkable side of Cape Town which to me never existed. There are copycat scheduled day tours offered by the many tour companies, leaving daily from Cape Town to the firm favourites of Cape Point and to the Wine country, yet not a single one which explores the opposite, so called, “Forgotten” side of Cape Town. Given the unique floral kingdom which encompasses the majority of the Province, the Big Bay side and the country districts further up the West Coast do get a window of a high season to benefit from whilst the tapestry of colour from the wild flowers adorn these regions for a few weeks every year in Spring time.
So given the fact these routes are largely neglected in the context of organised touring, if you have a private guide and vehicle at your disposal or are driving your own car rental I have a few ideas for you to explore and enjoy so make sure you send me an email and we can discuss some exciting options solely suited to your travel group dynamic.
You can make a full day out and explore further a field or fit a nice little program of sight-seeing and fun into half a day too.
A good plan for your tour party, if you have children even better, is after breakfast head around to Big Bay and let the family enjoy the beach at Eden on the Bay before it gets too hot and possibly book the family in for some fun surf lessons together. If Mum and Dad prefer, there are plenty of choices for a beachfront coffee, snack or depending on the time of the day, a good gin and tonic whilst in view of the beach and marvelling at the panoramic view of the majestic Table Mountain across Table Bay in the back ground whilst the children under surf instruction, enjoy the waves.
Of course, Big Bay is also the Premium Kite surfing and Windsurfing off-shore sailing location in South Africa. One can choose between relaxing at a Cafe, taking in the extravaganza of colour from the movement of the performing kites whilst enjoying the spectacular Mountain backdrop across the bay or for the more adventurous there are many kite surfing schools to select from in the area to learn Kite surfing at a famous and very unique sailing destination. This of course would require you to stay in one of the many guesthouses which host sailing folk throughout the year, as it’s certainly not a one lesson and ‘off you go’ sport.
Lunch time on this coastline is explorational. I can highly recommend driving about 15 minutes further up the coast to the beachfront town of Melkbosstrand. Usually not crowded with plenty of parking to be found and an amazing host of seaside restaurants with casual ambiance, great fare and a fantastic long beach to stretch the legs after lunch. Recommendable is the historical, Dam Huis restaurant, housed in the original 1790 homestead which has recently been extended and nicely renovated, my personal favourite Cafe Orca which has exactly one meat dish and everything else from the sea on the menu guaranteed to put a smile on your face and appreciation of great value and then a little secluded and very relaxing with hunger- busting food and unequalled proximity of the shoreline is the Kliphuis restaurant.
To extend the day, travel up the coast to the West Coast National park, visit the town of Laangebaan or simply explore the local wine region known as the Darling wine route which offers fantastic opportunities to experience quality wines and a stroke of country mystique.
So, if you are the kind of traveller who enjoys the highlights of a destination but has the time and appreciation of exploring the places locals enjoy and wish to spend your time and visit the off-beat, less commercialised and alternative places as local South Africans would, feel free to contact me at GPS SA to have an informal online chat. We can even suggest how to experience South Africa’s commercial tourist highlights in a manner not conveyed. At the end of the day it all boils down to your group dynamic, specific interests, logistics and what makes you tick.