Yzerfontein is 85 kilometres north of Cape Town on the R27, at the start of the Cape West Coast route and is built around a rocky cape with a harbour. Its main industry is fishing, with a large portion of west coast line fish caught here.
Two white round lime kilns five kilometres out of town on the R315 are the last remaining in South Africa and have been declared national monuments. Quicklime was used to whitewash the fisherman’s houses which are so iconic of the west coast. Fishing is still a popular pastime and Strandkombuis (“Beach kitchen”) offers delicious seafood feasts on the beach.
The motto of this simple, hospitable village is Mareditat Flores Decorant (“the ocean nourishes, the flowers embellish”) - peaceful, respectful sentiments typical of its tranquil atmosphere. Tourists flock to the town, and to nearby Darling, during the spring wild-flower season (from August to October), when the surrounding veld and dunes burst into colour.
Yzerfontein is amongst the finest surfing spots on the west coast, with beautiful views and the longest uninterrupted sandy beach on the South African coastline, stretching 16 kilometres to Postberg Flower Reserve in the West Coast National Park. The 273-hectare Dassen Island Nature Reserve lies nine kilometres offshore. Closed to the public, it protects the breeding grounds of African penguins.
With dolphins, seasonal southern right whale visits, plenty of birds and winter daytime temperatures that seldom fall below 10 degrees Celsius, it’s a comfortable, friendly and harmonious place to spend a holiday.
Look out for
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, from Milnerton to near Velddrif, encompasses Yzerfontein. The West Coast National Park stretches from north of Yzerfontein to Saldanha Bay - home to eland, bontebok, springbok, steenbok, kudu, duiker, Cape mountain zebra, caracal, African wild cat and bat-eared fox.
Yzerfontein is water sport heaven - it has skiing, sailing, surfing, canoeing, windsurfing, kayaking and an internationally-recognised kite-surfing destination.
Fishing – snoek is the main haul. Angling, spearfishing and crayfish-diving (from November 15 to the Easter weekend) are popular pursuits. Permits are required and are available from the post office. The old whaling station’s jetty is a good fishing and crayfishing spot in calm swell.
Hiking – two hikes begin at the main beach: the two-kilometre coastal Yzerfontein Hiking Trail to Schaap Island and the 16-kilometre trail to West Coast National Park, offering whale-spotting, coastal birds and spring wild flowers. Contact Yzerfontein Tourism. The three-kilometre Blombos eco-trail is named for its floral beauty (and has mountain-bike and 4x4 trails).
!Khwa ttu ('”water pan”), is a San Culture & Education Centreon the R27 between Yzerfontein and Darling. It gives insight into the kinship, culture, heritage and knowledge of the southern African San people.
Wild flowers – there is an indigenous garden in town and the Bokbaaivygie Flower Trail on the R315.
Birdwatching – the Afmine Gypsum Mine on R315 and the salt pans are good for birding - look out for chestnut-banded plover, flamingos and African black oystercatcher. Contact Yzerfontein Tourism.