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Elands Bay (Elandsbaai)

Cape West Coast

About

This intriguing and beautiful little fishing village, 200 kilometres from Cape Town, is both quiet and wild and is a major Cape surfing mecca. It is accessible via the R366 from Redelinghuys, the R365 from Leipoldtville and a gravel toll road from Lamberts Bay.

The principle attraction of the latter route is Muisbosskerm, the famous open-air beach restaurant, where one can feast on fresh crayfish (West Coast rock lobster) in 3 hour lunch and dinner marathons. 

Elands Bay’s magic is in its valleys of indigenous fynbos and bush, craggy hills offering opportunities to hike and rock-climb, bird-rich vleis, endless beaches and its large seal colony, where the comedic seals flop about in spacious rock pools.

Southern right whales and Haviside’s dolphins also enjoy this coastline. Bird-watchers will find Verlorenvlei rewarding. It is one of the largest estuaries on the west coast, attracting water birds in large numbers. 

The sense of space, quiet and natural beauty is augmented by the lack of development, although it can seem desolate and lonely in grey weather and it is often windy. Exploring the dirt roads on foot, or by car or mountain bike, leads visitors past Bobbejaanberg, where the waves crash along the rocks and walls of the lobster-processing plant.

The mountain prohibits a slipway so boats are hoisted onto the wharf, unloaded and then lowered back into the sea.

Occasionally rock lobsters walk out of the sea to get oxygen and thousands die on the beach, a phenomenon colloquially called “red tide”. Fresh-water and salt-water fishing and seasonal licensed crayfish-diving are popular activities.

Look out for

Baboon Point - Bobbejaanberg Cave’s rock art, shell midden and archaeological excavations point to human habitation dating back 15 000 years. Rock paintings show an eland, a sheep and red hand prints.

Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve – (from Diep River in Milnerton, to the Berg River near Velddrif) encompasses Eland’s Bay. 

Verlorenvlei (Lost Marsh) - An Important Bird Area and RAMSAR-listed site, this rare coastal fresh-water lake stretches between Elands Bay and Redelinghuys. It has 232 recorded bird species, including black egret, purple gallinule, African spoonbill, Cape shoveller, Eastern white pelican, goliath heron, palmnut vulture and, in summer, northern hemisphere waders.

The Sishen-Saldanha railway - one of the longest trains in the southern hemisphere runs through a tunnel under Bobbejaanberg.

To Do

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Nightjar

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Erik