There is quite an endearing duality to the quaint Western Cape village of Darling and its seaside-sister Yzerfontein, only a stone’s throw to the west … You see, even though both fall under the Swartland local municipality, both of these villages stand astraddle-astride with one foot in the sea and the other in Renosterbos sand. The Swartland (stretching from Malmesbury in the south, across the Riebeek Valley to Piketberg in the north, and from Yzerfontein / Darling in the west to the Oliphants Mountain at Porterville in the east) was named after the original predominant Renosterveld vegetation, which turned black during summer.
Darling is situated just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Well known as the home of Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout’s Evita se Perron, it is popular for the combination of a small cabaret theatre and restaurant that forms a signature landmark, run by resident and satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys. This vibrant village is a boisterous blend of old and new, art, culture, heritage, nature, hiking and cycling. It is a thriving agricultural centre serving the surrounding farms, and a popular tourist attraction for those in search of a laid-back getaway or day trip. Since 1917, the Darling Wildflower Society holds the annual Darling Wildflower show, which attracts visitors from all around the globe. The Darling Wind Farm is situated between Darling and the coastal town of Yzerfontein, and is operational with plans for expansion.
Locals enjoy the most necessary amenities. The first private school to open its doors in the Swartland area, Darling College, is situated close to the entrance of the town on the Malmesbury side. The wide diversity of vegetation in the Darling area offers birders a large variety, from larks and pipits to lesser flamingos and great white pelicans. Besides an attractive and well-maintained 9-hole golf course, the Darling Club also has bowls, netball, tennis, gymkhana and cricket facilities – the perfect venue for corporate and social events.
Festivals include: Rocking the Daisies Music Festival, Taste of Darling Lifestyle Festival, Darling Winter Beer Festival. The Darling Music Experience organises small concerts in a rural setting with chamber music, popular choir works and Jazz, bringing together community ensembles and soloists with well-known national and international musicians. The Darling Wine and Art Experience offers the sampling of award-winning wines, fine cheeses and olives, country cuisine, and an arts and crafts market (a charitable organisation addressing poverty by establishing grassroots projects).
Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay
A treasure chest of history and heritage. A tragic tale of a ship wrecked and eventually a lady lost, but love found. Stories of life and strife buried in sea and sand upon this stretch of land where West Coast culture and Sandveld charm take hands to form a close-knit community.
As you travel up the West Coast of South Africa, you will find Elands Bay about 220 kilometres north of Cape Town. Drive about 60 kilometres further north, past the estuarine channel of forlorn marsh called the Verlorenvlei (‘lost valley’), and you will reach Lamberts Bay, the larger of the two fishing villages. In Elands Bay there is little more than sea and sand to lure holidaymakers and therefore this small village has managed to elude the rush of development and city dwellers trying to stake their claim. Although primarily a fishing town, Lamberts Bay has become a significant tourist attraction and holiday destination due to its moderate climate all year round. World-renowned for its West Coast (seafood, fish and crayfish) and Sandveld (potato farming) cuisine, locals love to give visitors from around the globe a taste of their traditional food especially at Die Plaaskombuis, on Steenbokfontein, and Die Muisbosskerm, just outside of this unpretentious, picturesque seaside town. The HMS Sybille ran aground opposite the Steenbokfontein farm where the Burger family still lives and run a tourist hotspot with a holistic approach. From filling you in on the detail of the Sybille and the consequent intricate tales of love and war, archaeological finds and caves with San rock art, to appreciating nature, soothing the soul and riding the waves, these locals always succeed in keeping visitors intrigued and entertained.
Both Elands Bay and Lamberts Bay is a surfer’s paradise and a watersport haven offering sunbathing, swimming, fishing, surfing, kite surfing, boating, yachting and more. Put your 4×4 and sandboarding skills to the test on the towering dunes; take a trip to Bird Island to view the Cape Gannet and Seagulls; enjoy the Flower Season during August; watch whales from July to October; experience the snoek run a couple of times during the year, or join the locals for the annual Crayfish Festival. The town also sports a 9-hole golf course, a bowling green, tennis courts and a jukskei rink. It offers al the necessary amenities and makes the ideal property investment.
Pretty and picturesque like a pearl in a Pandora’s box of rocks … The South African Cape West Coast is the burial-ground of many a shipwreck and Paternoster is believed to have been given its name due to this fact. In Latin the name means ‘Our Father’ and people believe that many Catholic Portuguese seamen’s desperate prayers started with ‘Paternoster’ as they realised their ships are being gutted by the problematic rocky coast and running aground our troubled shoreline. Others believe that the name refers to the beads, called ‘paternosters’, which the indigenous Khoi tribes wore. Also, the place was marked on an old map of Pieter Mortier (an 18th-century mapmaker and engraver from the Northern Netherlands) as St Martins Paternoster. Whatever the case may be, Paternoster is one of South Africa’s oldest fishing villages and cute as a button.
Paternoster is situated 15 kilometres northwest of Vredenburg, with the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve located just southwest of the dainty little village. The nature reserve has kept this stretch of incredible countryside untainted by development and the lighthouse (the only brick and mortar in the reserve) is a beacon amidst the huge round rocks inside the bays. It is the last manned lighthouse built on the South African coast, commissioned on the 1st of October 1936. Both the headland and lighthouse derive their name from the barque Columbine that was wrecked 1.5 kilometres to the north, on the 31st of March 1829. Locals still lovingly refer to Cape Columbine as Tietiesbaai – whether it is due to the round rocks resembling women’s breasts, or named after Jacques Titius (a French trader in the area at that time) is debatable … However, everyone agrees that the Cape Columbine Lighthouse shines comforting and bright in their night sky because it was the first to receive three navigational aids (light, a fog signal and a radio beacon) as well as a lens system designed for use with a 4 kW incandescent electric lamp.
Dolphins and whales can be seen in season, the unspoilt beaches provide nesting sites to the endangered oystercatcher, and Paternoster offers some of the best kayaking available. Local delicacies such as crayfish, black and white mussels, and snoek (an extremely tasty white fish) are very popular. There are no less than 19 top-quality restaurants, more than 15 shops, and the Paternoster Art Route features outstanding artwork by talented locals. Strict architectural guidelines ensure that the fisherman-influenced architecture is retained, which is part of the appeal of the village and makes Paternoster one of the most sought-after coastal towns in South Africa.
Seaside splendour in a very rare form … Saldanha bay is the largest and deepest natural bay in South Africa, and in its most northern corner lays the seaside town of Saldanha. About 110 kilometres up the West Coast from Cape Town, this picturesque harbour town offers a largely unspoilt stretch of land home to seagulls, cormorants, Cape gannets, duikers and terns that tend to outnumber humans by about a million to one.
When referring to the harbour town of Saldanha, it should not be confused with the whole of the Saldanha Bay local municipality (SBM). The SBM’s seat is situated in its largest town, Vredenburg, in the centre of the West Coast Peninsula, also called the Vredenburg Peninsula. The SBM covers an area of more than two thousand square kilometres and a total population of around one hundred thousand people. Vredenburg’s residents amount to approximately 40% and Saldanha’s to about 30% of this total. The two smaller towns of Langebaan and Hopefield, as well as the rest of the much smaller villages of Jacobsbai, Paternoster and St Helena Bay, and the air force base at Langebaanweg make up the rest. It is a region rich in history and a diverse mix of cultures that draws tourists and visitors from all over the country and across the world. Job creation and building the population’s pride in what the peninsula has to offer, as well as eco-tourism, are its top priorities.
Saldanha was named after Antonio de Saldanha who visited South Africa in 1503, but there is fossilised evidence in the West Coast Fossil park that man may have been present here as many as 117 000 years ago. The town is known for its Naval Training Base, the South African Military Academy and a whole fleet of fishing vessels that add character to the bay. Today we also recognise the name Saldanha from the branding that its several fish canning operations use. The town’s economy is driven by export and the fishing industry (crayfish, fish e.g. snoek, yellowtail and tuna, mussels, oysters from its very successful oyster farm, as well as seaweed processing plants). The port developed into a modern harbour when it became necessary to facilitate the export of iron ore from Sishen in the Northern Cape. This not only required the construction of a railway of more than 800 kilometres to the mines at Sishen, but also the construction of a deepwater jetty in Saldanha Bay to accommodate ore carrier ships.
This semi-bustling seaside town still maintains the ideal of slow living and has a Mediterranean climate characterised by dry summers and mild, wet winters with a low rainfall. It makes the bay ideal for water sports and the beaches are not crowded.
St Helena Bay
Historically, St Helena Bay is the location where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama first set foot in South Africa on the 7th of November 1497, and today a monument marks the actual site. In the 1700s the English used St Helena Bay as a soldiers’ outpost. Some of the original barracks is still in existence today. However, St Helena Bay should not be confused with Saint Helena, the island belonging to the United Kingdom. (The island lies some two thousand kilometres west of the coast of southwestern Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople and is one of the most isolated islands in the world – the place the British used to imprison first Napoleon, then Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo along with more than 5 000 Boer prisoners during the Second Anglo-Boer War.) Coincidentally the bay was named Bahia de Santa Helena (Portuguese for its current name) after Saint Helena (a devout, influential Christian and mother of Constantine I).
At first the fishing industry in this remote, calm and tranquil village revolved around the drying and salting of fish. Locals nicknamed the bay Agterbaai (‘Bay at the Back’) because of its location. Over the years it evolved into a thriving business exporting fish around the world. Now the greater area consists of other developments like Britannia Bay, Duyker Eiland and Shelley Point (a very secure and luxurious golfing estate). Past the Shelley Point peninsula southward to Cape St Martin in the west, it actually comprises a total of 18 small bays with intriguing names, such as Hannasbaai, Vioolbaai and Stompneusbaai.
Today St Helena Bay is a major fishing village and home to Sandy Point Harbour. In winter it is host to many fishing activities, e.g. the ‘snoekloop’ when snoek (an extremely tasty white fish) is in season, as well as an endangered species of rock lobster and crayfish, for which you need a permit. Other attractions include surfing, birding, and dolphin and whale watching. St Helena Bay is the only area along the South African West Coast where the sun rises across the bay because the town itself faces northeast and almost north. The dual character of the town is a contrast between the older cottages in the original parts with its village lifestyle, and the modern spacious homes along the Golden Mile of bays with new developments offering wonderful sea views, a real sense of exclusivity and elegance, combined with the relaxed atmosphere of West Coast living.
St Helena Bay
Where the sea and river waters meet … Velddrif was given its name by a local herder when he had to take his animals through a drift in the field to find grazing across the river. In 1899 a pont (pontoon ferry) was built to more easily cross the river, and eventually the well-known Carinus bridge – now a landmark at the southern entrance to this fishing village – was built over the Berg River Estuary.
Velddrif falls within the Bergrivier local municipality but close to all its neighbouring towns in the Saldanha Bay Municipality, of which Vredenburg is the largest. Velddrif also comprises Laaiplek, Noordhoek, Port Owen and Dwarskersbos with many residential areas and developments. Port Owen consists of 100 hectares of sought-after properties within the marina estate, including 3.5 kilometres of waterways. Whether you are in search of rural tranquillity, a holiday home, safe retirement or a great investment, you will find what you need here. Velddrif offers basic amenities and for everything else, Vredenburg is only 20 minutes (25 kilometres) away.
The main industries are fishing, tourism, and salt production. There are two large salt works, providing much of the salt in the Western Cape. The fishing industry is substantial and the town is part of the Crayfish Route. Fed by the nutrient-rich cold Benguela current along the coast, the waters here boast abundant fish, e.g. snoek, often sold straight off the boats. A common scene in the area is the rickety wooden jetties with the dried fish speciality, bokkoms, hung up to dry. This forms part of the age-old tradition and the art of drying fish that the residents and local fishermen pride themselves in. They even have a bustling little road called Bokkom Street with shops and restaurants where locals choose to meet and greet over a glass of wine, some sushi and other local delicacies, of which bokkoms are always on the menu.
The town attracts tourists especially for its wildlife, fishing, yachting and art galleries, which represents the work of over 100 artists and craftsmen in the area. Birdwatching is a significant component of the town’s tourism sector as the Berg River Estuary is an important bird habitat and home to up to 80 species that are endemic to the Cape coast. Well over 350 different species of birds can be seen here, as it includes sea, river and land birds. More can be found in the Rocherpan Nature Reserve outside of Dwarskersbos. Indigenous flowers that grow in the area have the most wondrous names, e.g. Kersbos, Rotstert, Sonkwasriet, Strandroos and Sandveld-luisebos.
Since 1962 the annual Berg River Canoe Marathon, which starts in Paarl and ends at the Carinus Bridge in Velddrif, has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest courses in the world, as well as the longest in South Africa.
Call it a tiff or a quarrel, a disagreement or a dispute, the fact of the matter is that the tale behind this town’s name starts with discord and strife, and a good old fight, like most great stories do. The word vrede means ‘peace’ and burg means ‘town’, but before peace and quiet came, tantrums were thrown and tempers flared over one of life’s most essential means, i.e. water. The site became known as Twisfontein (‘quarrel spring’), later renamed Prosesfontein (‘lawsuit spring’), but when the dust settled after the Dutch Reformed Church came to the rescue in 1875 by procuring peace between the two sides who fought over a freshwater spring, the town was promptly renamed Vredenburg (‘peaceful town’). Problem solved. And we all love a happy ending, don’t we?
Today Vredenburg is the transportation and commercial hub of the Cape West Coast. Located about 15 kilometres inland from Saldanha Bay and 140 kilometres north of Cape Town, Vredenburg is largest of the towns in the Saldanha Bay local municipality (one of the best operating municipalities in SA), and therefore the main business and administrate town on the West Coast. During the last few years the town has grown considerably due to large industries, such as Saldanha Steel, Duferco, Namakwa Sands and the Saldanha Harbour. The harbour in Saldanha is the deepest natural harbour and the second largest in South Africa. This has attracted various large overseas companies, such as Ferro Marine Africa, to invest here.
Vredenburg offers excellent modern amenities: superb schools and the West Coast College for tertiary education; various shopping centres, of which the West Coast Mall is the largest; outstanding healthcare facilities and two hospitals; several industrial areas, and great residential neighbourhoods. On recreational front, you can indulge yourself in various activities from golf, hiking and horse riding to bird watching and freshwater fly-fishing at locations in and around town and the neighbouring villages of Jacobsbaai, Paternoster, St Helena Bay, Velddrif, Dwarskersbos, and even as far as upto the Verlorenvlei.
Visit Vredenburg and surrounds during spring to experience nature’s splendour when she starts straightening her flowery ‘feathers’ and strutting her vygies and daisies, wille magrietjies and madeliefies. You will find these wildflowers transforming the Vredenburg landscape as well as the West Coast National Park’s. While you are it, you can also marvel at its other fauna and flora, go back in time in the West Coast Fossil Park and visit the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and the Cape Columbine Lighthouse – a beacon amidst the rocks, and the only brick and mortar in the reserve.
Yzerfontein is the sleepy seaside-sister of the very endearing West Coast village of Darling. Both these settlements stand astraddle-astride with one foot in the sea and the other in Renosterbos sand. Just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town and within easy reach of its interior-neighbouring towns, Yzerfontein is a popular weekend and holiday destination. It consists of many holiday homes located around a beautiful bay with long stretches of white sandy beaches and the natural fynbos adds to the tranquillity of the scenic, unspoilt environment. In spring, the veld bursts into a kaleidoscope of colour – truly a feast to the eye.
The West Coast is renowned for its fertile fishing grounds and fishing culture. The village has a small harbour and the bay provides more than enough space for various kinds of fishing and boating. On weekends and over holidays when the weather permits fun in the sun, the strand is inundated with jet skis, kite boarders, surfers, kayakers, sunbathers and swimmers. Those who like a brisk walk while enjoying the boisterously blue hues of a seaside view will love the approximately 25-kilometre stretch all the way upto Posberg where you will find Pearl Bay beach with a wonderful view of Table Mountain.
This part of shoreline bordering the Atlantic Ocean ranks as one of the most popular coastal property belts for holidaymakers, retired residents and those who prefer to work from home or commute to the Mother City or surrounding towns for work. Yzerfontein offers basic facilities, convenience stores and restaurants. Other amenities are within easy reach in its neighbouring villages and towns. Local commercial fishermen catch snoek and yellowtail in season and contribute to the West Coast economy well known for its seafood, fish and crayfish. The people are wonderfully warm and always ready to welcome visitors at a number of open-air beach restaurants for an unsurpassed dining experience: seafood fresh from the sea, cooked on open fires while you enjoy the view.
Yzerfontein nestles alongside the West Coast National Park, about 70 kilometres north of Cape Town on the R27/West Coast Road. Close offshore is Dassen Island with a working lighthouse and home to many species of seabirds, penguins and Cape Fur Seals.
About 28 kilometres south of Yzerfontein, Jakkalsfontein offers nature lovers even more property options closer to Cape Town. Jakkalsfontein is the winner of 3 prestigious awards, including the National Premium Award for Integrated Environmental Planning and Management. Ongoing conservation programmes ensure that this exclusive green portfolio is well maintained and preserved. Title of individual properties is freehold with an undivided share in the private coastal nature reserve.
We are a family-run business who officially opened our doors in 1972, when the West Coast was still relatively unknown and the current property “explosion” far from most minds.
The man at the helm is Virgil Allen:
A man whose vision and belief in what the West Coast – South Africa, has to offer, opened offices in the towns of VREDENBURG, SALDANHA, LANGEBAAN.
Langebaan’s name may quite literally be derived from the Langebaan Lagoon, a long shallow stretch of salt water separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land, which in Afrikaans makes sense because lange means ‘long’ and baan means ‘way’, ‘path’ or ‘runway’, i.e. referring to the strip of land forming the lagoon. What is important though, is to note that the Afrikaans saying ‘iets op die lange baan skuif’, which means ‘to put something off’ should not be adhered to when considering this small but vibey town with big-city perks …
Situated only a 90-minute drive from Cape Town and a popular holiday destination, this bustling town attracts scores of weekend and holiday visitors. The Langebaan Lagoon provides a spectacular setting and locals love the fact that everyone loves their town. It boasts more sunshine than rain, safe beaches for swimming and sunbathing, a broad range of water sport from jet-skiing, kite boarding and surfing to yachting and boating.
Langebaan lies at the entrance to the West Coast National Park and birdwatchers can enjoy over 300 species of birds found in the lagoon waters and natural fynbos of the park. The park is very busy from August to September during spring when the wild flowers are in bloom, and locals have dubbed the home of the ‘Slow Five’: tortoises, whales, sand sharks, porcupines and dune mole rats. A stone’s throw away you will also fine the West Coast Fossil Park, which spans a total of 80 square metres and is exceptionally well preserved.
A number of estates, including the Langebaan Country Golf Estate and the Club Mykonos Resort with a casino and spa, offer a range of properties to rent or buy. The town has an excellent infrastructure and amenities, which includes convenience centres, the Laguna Shopping Mall, several restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, guest houses, as well as good public and private schools. It is only 20 minutes’ drive from Saldanha and Vredenburg for all other necessities, including the West Coast Mall (regional shopping centre), industrial areas, healthcare and other facilities. Langebaan offers a wide range of property to choose from, ranging from apartments and village houses to estate, luxury and seaside homes.
Mykonos Access Rd
As Realtors, our first priority is to make our clients happy. We listen to our clients’ wants and needs to achieve the best outcome in every transaction, and we strive to ensure that the buying or selling process is fun, easy and stress-free. Our clients can count on us any time of day when they have a question or a concern.
Although we are not restricted to, we focus predominantly on the Langebaan, Velddrif, St Helena Bay, Saldanha and Hopefield areas, and would love to hear from you should you, or someone you know, need a home to buy or sell! When you refer a friend, we value the trust you place in us and we promise to deliver an exceptional level of service.
St Helena Bay