The West Coast comprises six regions, which includes stretches of coastline and fishing villages. It boasts a rich geographical diversity and is blanketed by wildflowers in early Spring.
With the West Coast National Park, West Coast Fossil Park, guided game and nature drives, !Khwa ttu San Culture Educational Centre & Museum, Swartland Birding Route, and SA's first carbon neutral brewery, olive tasting and a 16-mile beach in Yzerfontein right on its doorstep, the West Coast is a picturesque gem outside big city life, with a little something on offer for everyone.
One such offer is Route 27 Roosterkoek, Biltong & Gifts (R27 Roosterkoek) padstal stop.
Located just off the R27’s West Coast 'highway', R27 Roosterkoek (opposite the turn-off to Jakkalsfontein Nature Reserve), serves up classic South African padkos.
Roosterkoek (bread cooked over the fire), one of the oldest forms of bread in South Africa is freshly baked here with fillings like cheese and jam or curried mince to choose from.
The R27 Roosterkoek also offers Moerkoffie, a ground coffee prepared over a fire, which is perfect for coffee lovers!
Here, you can have a sit down on wooden benches under a canopy, or do a walk-about to shop for earrings, old trinkets, jams, and homemade biscuits - an awesome little stop before journeying on.
Further along Route 27, is the small town of Darling, which is about 75km from Cape Town.
Famous for its wildflowers, Darling is home to the Darling Museum, the Darling WindFarm and Evita se Perron – a cabaret venue and restaurant where South African satirist and town resident Pieter Dirk Uys performs his shows as Evita Bezuidenhout – as well as Darling Olives where we made a stopover.
A family-run business located on Alexanderfontein Estate, the Darling Olives consists of roughly 70ha of dry olives with about 400 trees per hectare.
Here, we were taken on an olive-tasting safari where we took part in a 30-minute presentation, and tasted Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO); garlic-infused olive oil, olive chocolate, jams, pastes and rubs, as well as black and Kalamata olives.
The business also sells lip balms, hand butter and soaps. These are soft to the touch, smell natural and feel clean.
What’s amazing is that these products are all made from olives and their oils!
Our next stop was Darling Brew. Founded in 2010, Darling Brew has become one of South Africa’s first well-established and award-winning microbreweries, having earned the title of Best Local Craft Beer at the 2021 Kfm Best of the Cape awards.
The brewery has also officially been recognised as Africa's first carbon-neutral brewery.
The Darling Brew Tasteroom is a bustling environment of good food, good laughs and community. It overlooks the brewery operation and offers contemporary pub-style food with a craft beer tasting experience.
Here, patrons can choose from a vast menu offering comprising meat, chicken, fish and/ or veggies – from butter chicken curry to pork belly and West Coast mussels to rump. I opted for the Slow Lager Hake, which is a must-try for its crunchy succulence!
From here we made our way to Club Mykonos in Langebaan.
The family-friendly West Coast beach resort provides a unique Greek-style paradise experience.
The resort offers four-star star Athenian Cascades and Terraces units to the elegant comfort of the Village, Beachfront and Hillside units. The accommodation is fully-furnished, self-catering and comfortable, great for groups of friends and family.
The sunrise and sunsets are spectacular and taking in the quiet serenity of it all felt good.
Our last and final stop was at the non-profit company, !Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre. !Khwa ttu is based on an 850ha nature reserve. As a tourism destination, !Khwa ttu boasts a restaurant, guest houses, open-air tented camps, mountain bike trails, and a shop selling hand-crafted gifts.
San guides also lead unique tours for visitors. One such tour was experiencing and learning the San language and drinking traditional herbal teas. This was fascinating to me as it encompassed so much heritage and culture in one single experience.
And that's just what the West Coast offers from start to finish – unique experiences packed with community, where you can relax in peaceful, laid-back settings.