Visit West Coast

Whether it's a quick stroll to the corner shop or a multi-day hike, there's no arguing that the very best way to experience a place is to explore it on foot.

Here are five West Coast hiking trails that will help you soak up the fresh ocean air or immerse yourself in countryside bliss.

Geelbek, West Coast National Park

This well-signposted circular route is located in the West Coast National Park and will take you from the Geelbek Information Centre, through the local strandveld, along a stretch of the famous 16 Mile Beach and back again.

Distance: There's a choice between a 7km and a 9km, so it really depends on how energetic you feel!

Difficulty: Easy enough for the whole family

Cost: Once you've paid your conservation fee (R50 for adults, R25 for children/R75 for adults and R37 for children in flower season) to enter the park, this self-guided hiking trail is free. Check out the SANParks website for more details.

Hiking 1

Helderwater Trail, Hopefield

Located halfway between Hopefield and Velddrift, Langrietvlei Farm is home to the picturesque Helderwater Trail, following the bends and curves of the Berg River.

Distance: 10km (+/- 3 hours)

Difficulty: Moderate

Cost: Contact langrietvlei@sandveld.co.za for details on costs and bookings

Hiking 2

Restoration Trail, West Coast Fossil Park, Langebaan

If you like your nature experiences with a side-serving of palaeontology, this West Coast Fossil Park trail was made for you! Enjoy a leisurely meander along old mine roads and past various bodies of water, where you will get to spot a host of different bird species.

Distance: 3.5km

Difficulty: Easy

Cost: Entry to the park is R20 for adults and R15 for students/children/seniors. You can also opt for a guided tour, which costs R55 for adults, R30 for students/seniors and R20 for children. Check out the West Coast Fossil Park website for more details.

Hiking 3

Postberg Trail, West Coast National Park

Exclusive to flower season, this two-day trail is certainly something for every avid hiker’s bucket list. Starting at Tsaarsbank, the trail takes you along the colourful carpet of wild spring flowers and to your overnight spot at Plankiesbaai (remember to bring your own tent), after which you will return to Tsaarsbank again the next day.

Distance: Day 1 – 15.5km (+/- 6 hours); Day 2 – 11.8km (+/- 3.5 hours)

Difficulty: Moderate

Cost: For booking and tariff information, contact the Geelbek Information Centre on 022 707 9902/3. Also check out the SANParks website for more details.

Hiking 4

Five Bay Trail, Paternoster to Jacobsbaai

Get to know the coastline intimately when you follow this two-and-a-half day trail between the quaint fishing villages of Paternoster and Jacobsbaai. Since it’s a slackpacking trail, you need only carry a small backpack with your daily necessities and will enjoy 3-4 star accommodation at lodges in Paternoster on both nights.

Distance: Day 1 – 5km sunset stroll to and from Paternoster, Day 2 – 17km from Paternoster to Trekoskraal with a transfer back to Paternoster, Day 3 – 11km from Trekoskraal to Jacobsbaai.

Difficulty: Moderate with comfortable evening accommodation

Cost: Visit the Cape Biosphere Trails website for more details

Hiking 5