African adventure: South Africa's wondrous West Coast
Rugged mountains, rock art, white-sand beaches and fishing communities
Sweep over the border into South Africa and drive through lush scenery into the Cederberg Wilderness Area. It will feel as though you’ve arrived in the Garden of Eden, bursting with citrus orchards and vivid flowers. The region’s rugged mountains are home to over 2500 amazing examples of bushman rock art, so be sure to stop off to take a look.
Then head for the shoreline of the West Coast, to a land of white sand bays and unspoilt coastal scenery, dotted with charming fishing communities. If you like beach life, this is paradise, particularly when enhanced by superb seafood and South African wines.
Paternoster is especially pretty and looks like a chic Greek fishing village, with low whitewashed houses, swish B&Bs and inviting restaurants. And, during the crayfish and lobster season in early December, vendors make pincer movements above their heads to tempt you to buy their fresh shellfish!
Tietiesbaai is another sublime spot, with a wild flower-strewn coastal path weaving its way around the white sand coves. The highlight, though, is the West Coast National Park – 80km of protected wilderness, with dazzling plants and butterflies, birds and sealife. Ostriches dance along the roadside as you head for the pristine lagoon beach, where the warm turquoise waters are perfect for swimming.
From here, it’s an easy ride into Cape Town. Set up camp just outside in the seaside town of Melkbosstrand, and take an excursion to admire the splendours of Table Mountain and the glorious botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch. Then visit Robben Island in tribute to former prisoner Nelson Mandela.
● Take your time over a seafood lunch at The Noisy Oyster in Paternoster (around £15).
● Buy clothes, homewares and gifts in Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, which is still a working harbour.
● Kruger National Park is South Africa’s wildlife jewel. Visit www.krugerlive.com.
Tip: Try some biltong, a delicious cured meat sold in supermarkets
How we got there
Carefree – part of The Camping and Caravanning Club – offers the Southern Africa Discovery tour, which includes South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. This 39-night trip, November to December 2013, costs £5450 per person, based on two sharing a four-berth motorhome (from Bobo Campers, www.bobocampers.com), including tour escorts, flights with South African Airways, campsite fees, vehicle insurance and excursions. This well-run tour is a safe way to embrace this amazing adventure. Carefree also offers individual itineraries – a tailor-made trip for 28 days costs around £3900 per person in October/November 2013. Visit www.motorhometouringholidays.co.uk or call 0845 601 0905.
More ways to go
● Africa Odyssey creates personalised tours all over Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. A Tanzania safari and beach adventure costs from £1999 per person, including international and internal flights and three nights’ safari at Lake Manze Adventure Camp, followed by three nights at Pongwe Beach Hotel on Zanzibar. Visit www.africaodyssey.com or call 020 7471 8780.
● Fly to southern African with South African Airways from around £600 (www.flysaa.com).