Strandfontein Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean, is bordered by cliffs extending to the mouth of the Olifants River, where the village is situated, 55 kilometres from Vredendal (the nearest town) and 60 kilometres from Lamberts Bay on the R362.
Early Khoi-San residents gathered water from a spring near the beach, hence the name, which is translated as “Beach fountain”. Now it’s busy in flower season (August to September) and its miles of sandy white beach are popular with retirees and holiday-makers.
There is a slipway for rubber ducks (inflatable motorboats), the blue seas are popular with anglers and yield crayfish and mussels (permits required). A tidal pool and children’s playground provide safe entertainment for kids.
Cold and wet in winter and hot and dry in summer, swimming is a debatable attraction as the water’s average temperature is 12 degrees Celsius. Southern right whales have no trouble with the chilly water, coming to the bay to calve and play with their little ones, making Strandfontein a popular whale-watching spot. Dolphins are also often seen playing in the waves.
Camping and chalets are available but there is only one shop and a small coffee shop.
Look out for
The Olifants River estuary – one of four west coast estuaries, is four kilometres from Strandfontein. It is earmarked for a future RAMSAR listing and is an Important Bird Area, with 183 recorded bird species, including the little blue heron, flamingos and sandpipers.
Olifants River Valley Wine Route - enjoy the final stretch of this 120-kilometre wine route, famous for its Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes.
Papendorp salt pans – for tours, contact, Matzikama Tourism Bureau, Vredendal.
West Coast Eco Tours and Accommodation offer 4x4 excursions, kayak sightseeing, and microlight trips in flower season.
The seven-kilometre long Lobster Coast hiking trail lets you see whales in season, antelope, tortoises, flowers and a small colony of cormorants. Rest points have fresh water and ablution facilities.The five-day Swart Tobie slackpack trail starts at Brand se Baai and follows the Olifants River from Papendorp inland; traversing beaches, cliffs and farmland. It overnights at the peaceful farming and fishing community of Ebenhaeser, originally founded as a mission station in 1608.