submit to reddit GoNOMAD Travel
Tags: Women's Travel Africa South Africa
Tranquil Azure bay with yachts and houseboats moored. photos by Lauren Manuel.Tranquil Azure bay with yachts and houseboats moored. photos by Lauren Manuel.

A Blue Lagoon & Ostriches in the West Coast National Park




It’s no longer summer in South Africa but the sun is lending enough warmth for me to be tanning in a bikini beside the lagoon.  On our little beach, there isn’t another soul to be seen.  On a rock just around the corner are a group of young people fishing and swimming.  It’s a touch too chilly to swim, but I wade in until my knees and look out across smooth bay.

I can make out every detail of my toes, so utterly transparent and turquoise this salty water is.  I see a water-skier holding onto the back of a speedboat and yachts gliding slowly past.

When the boats disappear, the only sound to be heard is the lapping of the ocean’s water on the glistening sand.  I am beside ‘Kraalbaai’ lagoon and in a total state of bliss having only had to drive two hours out of my home city, Cape Town.



autumn-in-kraalbaaiPreekstoel, or Pulpit

Just forty minutes drive from our holiday house in Langebaan with its fishing boats, holidaymakers and kite’s flying on the beach, this National park is home to a number of various mammals, birds and indigenous vegetation.  Even now as I relaxed on the secluded beach beside a rock formation named ‘Preekstoel’ (meaning pulpit) with a huge hole in it that allowed you to duck and walk beneath it, there were young, fluffy birds circling us in search of food. 

I didn’t know such azure, turquoise water existed in South Africa, I had only witnessed it in Hawaii and Thailand.  If only it was just as warm.  Luckily for us locals, it’s just as beautiful and easily accessible.  If I could have, I would have stayed right there all day, but there was quite a bit more to see, so I made my way up the wooden boA male ostrich at the park.A male ostrich at the park.ardwalk and turned around to admire the view one last time.
 
The moored boats look glued to the sea, with the slight hills causing a shadow to finally fall over the bay.  I could see two girls hitting a ball on the sand, probably also wanting to prolong their beach day.

We continued around the park to the Atlantic Ocean side. Now this looked familiar.  Huge, rough waves and water beating up against the rocks.  Seagulls are forming a pattern around the dirt bins and the sea breeze cooling the air dramatically.  I suddenly feel quite far from ‘Kraalbaai’s’ peaceful lagoon.  This side was wilder and we were no longer sheltered from the wind we are so used to.

Ostriches Ahead

We continued to drive slowly along the quiet roads, hardly passing anyone at all. Countless times I yelled ‘stop’ when spotting an ostrich. There were exquisite males with their bold black and white feathers and the bland females that were so well camoflaged amongst the natural ‘fynbos’ bush. 

better-wavesI saw a tiny tortoise actually attempt to ‘run’ away from us as we tried to catch him on camera.  A large, brown ‘eland’ (antelope) with a hanging throat eyed us as we slowed the car down.  He seemed to have made his way to this side of the fence, whilst all his furry friends remained on the inner side. 

He however seemed totally unfazed.  As the sun made its way further down in the sky, two ostriches ducked their heads towards the ground and paused, silhouetted in the low-lying mist.

It was autumn at the time, so the bright flowers that everyone flocked here for had not yet begin to bloom.  I passed ‘ Geelbek’ restaurant and went to have a look at Church haven.  

There was nothing much there besides a white-washed church and graveyard overlooking the sea.  A few private, rustic cottages were filled with families and a guesthouse sign poinView from the parking lot over the bay.View from the parking lot over the bay.ted us towards the right if we so wished to find accommodation.

Choosing a Dirt Road

Kraalbaai beach front: secluded and sunny.Kraalbaai beach front: secluded and sunny.Finally leaving the park through the Langebaan gate, we chose a dirt road this time in the hopes that it was a shortcut. 

What started as a scenic route past the sea, birds flying overhead and children on quad bikes, turned into a road with potholes you could disappear in. 

My car was by no means a 4x4, but luckily it had a slightly raised body.  With a regular sedan, I’m quite sure we would’ve had to be hauled out of the ditches.

One final stop before heading home was the Langebaan beach front.  By now a cold wind blew over the hard sand and the only people around were getting off boats, walking their dogs or enjoying the sunset. 


Marker poles with red and white paint stood tall in the low water to indicate to boats where to return to.
 
Small fishing boats named Blake and Lisa were anchored to the sand waiting for this next trip out the following day.  Sea gulls are the only ones oblivious to the wind. Before the light was no more, I jumped in the car and called it a day.  I looked forward to my next West Coast weekend.

Entrance fee to the Park is R30 per person.  Visit the park website for more information of various accommodation, restaurants, trails and more.

Lauren Manuel

Lauren Manuel says: "When I wasn't teaching English in Seoul, surfing in Hawaii or competing in Hiphop dance contests in Germany, I was trying to capture it all in writing and through photography. I'm a wannabe nomad, She is now based in beautiful Cape Town, but explores new bits of South Africa frequently. Her stories and photos have appeared in Getaway Magazine, Tango Diva, Travellady, In the Know Traveller and The Travel Mag. Follow me on Twitter @Lauren_Manuel and read about my adventures on www.thetravelmanuel.blogspot.com.


Read another story about South Africa by Lauren Manuel

Read more stories about South Africa on GoNOMAD

South Africa

South Africa: Model for the Future Touring Johannesburg by Day and dining
Cape Town Revisited: South Africa is both Modern and Quaint By Janis Turk In Evelyn WaughAs
Leopards at the Djuma Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Sights
A lion named Calvin Klein relaxes in the game preserve at Kapama Lodge in South Africa
Cheetahs at the Djuma Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Sights
Table Mountain and Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Janis Turk Click to return to the story. Cape Town, Again
Eagle's Nest Winery, Cape Town South Africa. Janis turk photo. Click to return to the story. Cape Town, Again
Africa. Photos by Carly Blatt Oudtshoorn, South Africa: Ostrich Rides and Animal Encounters
& Ostriches in the West Coast National Park By Lauren Manuel ItAs no longer summer in South Africa
Caving with Swartberg Adventures. Oudtshoorn, South Africa. Photo by Carly Blatt
in the in the U.S. but in South Africa it is all about game, live game. Big strange looking game! The team includes
A lion named Calvin Klein relaxes in the game preserve at Kapama Lodge in South Africa. Photos
myself with my hand in a hippoAs mouth. Of course, South Africa is well known as a safari destination



New Travel Articles
Follow GoNOMAD.com Travel's board Destination Guides on Pinterest.
 
 
 


Subscribe to GoNOMAD's monthly enewsletter for all of our new travel articlesGet our free monthly travel newsletter
and help support sustainable and responsible tourism.
No spam, no selling
your email, we promise!

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...