Back roads of the West Coast
- L'Ermitage Quagga Lodge near Velddrif
- Going off the grid to Hondeklipbaai
- Shipwreck 4x4 Route
- Dune driving near Hondeklipbaai
- Alexander Bay and the Orange River Mouth
The West Coast is a place to celebrate the goodness of life! It is remote, underdeveloped and has a unique charm enabling you to gear down to slow living and driving. Most people think that they know the region, but on this tour, we are going to uncover and experience the hidden gems that are not possible to do while simply driving through or when on a weekend break-away. When you start digging for stories, characters, and authentic encounters, you realize that the West Coast offers an incredible number of experiences that still needs to be discovered. The people of the West Coast are sincere, caring, and warm-hearted. And then of course there is the food - not only is the variety usually over generous and mouth-watering, but the seafood is probably the absolute best in the whole of South Africa.
True to the Live the Journey way of doing things, we have put together a trip that is truly special in every sense of the word. Our detectives dug deep and found special characters with amazing stories for you to meet. We also obtained special permission to visit certain places that are closed to the public.
Join us and go off-the-beaten-track as we drive from the mouth of the Orange River to the mouth of the Berg River. A one-of-a-kind experience awaits!
DAY 1: ARRIVE PORT NOLLOTH
Travel in your own time to Port Nolloth a town and small domestic seaport in the Namaqualand. Port Nolloth is 701 kms from Cape Town via the N7 and Springbok. It is 1 305 km from Johannesburg on the N14 via Upington and Springbok.
The port was previously a trans-shipment point for copper from the Okiep mines, and diamonds from the Namaqua coast. Since the 1970s the principal seagoing activities have been fishing and small-vessel tourism. Today the town is a sleepy commercial hub with a few holiday homes and a caravan park at the adjacent McDougalls Bay.
Ensure that you arrive by 17:00. Check-in at the hotel.
18:00 – Group members will meet our tour guide, Dudley Wessels, in the main dining area of the hotel. Dudley is from Hondeklipbaai and are extremely passionate about the West Coast. It is not an exaggeration to say that Dudley is one of the most knowledgeable people on the West Coast and its vegetation. Dudley is described as “an extraordinary guide with unparallel knowledge about this particular part of our country”.
19:00 – We kick-off the tour with dinner at the hotel.
O/N Scotia Inn, Port Nolloth (or similar) (dinner)
DAY 2: PORT NOLLOTH - KLEINZEE
Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out.
We will drive to Alexander Bay in the extreme north-west of the country. The town is located on the southern bank of the Orange River mouth. From a view point you will see the mouth of the Orange River … our journey will take us from the mouth of the Orange River to the mouth of the Berg River over the next couple of days.
We return to Port Nolloth for a light snack lunch and then proceed to Kleinzee. Here we visit the museum with its exhibits of shipwrecks, geological, paleontological, and archaeological finds. If time allows, we will also visit the Molyneux Nature Reserve with its over 100 indigenous plant species.
O/N Houthoop (or similar) (breakfast, snack lunch, dinner)
DAY 4: HONDEKLIPBAAI DUNES
Enjoy breakfast and check-out.
Depart for Koingnaas with an opportunity to refuel. From there it is a 20 km drive to reach the dune area. Here you will deflate tyres and receive a briefing from the guide about dune driving as we are going to play in the dunes this morning.
Enjoy dune driving with regular photo stops. Your guide will also point out archaeological sites and will tell you more about the Khoi-Khoi, the early inhabitants of the area.
Picnic lunch will be in the dunes followed by a fun sandboard activity for those who are adventurous. Drive to Hondeklipbaai and arrive early afternoon. You will then have time at leisure.
It is believed that Hondeklipbaai got its name from a rock next to the police station that resembled a sitting dog. That was before it was struck by lightning. The village was originally used as a harbour to export copper ore from the mines near Springbok. Today the town serves the fishing and diamond-mining community. The diamond dredgers use the bay as their base.
Dinner will be at the Rooi Spinnekop Restaurant.
O/N Hondeklipbaai – different self-catering units (breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner)
DAY 3: SHIPWRECK ROUTE
After breakfast we enter the De Beers restricted area. Live the Journey needs to book the permits in advance. For this we will require a copy of your ID. We are going to drive the Shipwreck 4x4 route today and visit four shipwrecks. This is a particularly beautiful drive. Expect gravel roads, soft sand, pebble beaches and rock. In between the wrecks there are a series of historical, archaeological, and geological sights, but your guide will tell you more about this. Later in the afternoon on the return journey, there will be an opportunity to do some dune driving. Few get the opportunity to drive here in these white sands of West Coast. We can promise a memorable day.
19:00 – Dinner at the Houthoop
O/N Houthoop (or similar) (breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner)
DAY 5: GO OFF THE GRID
Check-out. Breakfast will be a the Rooi Spinnekop.
After breakfast we will depart on a beautiful, rugged route. The day will be relatively long, but we should be in time to watch the sun set on the West Coast in Strandfontein.
We will cross the border from the Northern Cape into the Western Cape between Brandsebaai and Groenriviermond. Our route will follow a tweespoor track via places like Brandsebaai, Malkopbaai, Abraham Villiersbaai, Groenriviermond, Kwaassebaai and Skuinsbaai until we arrive in Lutzville.
From Lutzville we will proceed to our overnight stop in Strandfontein. The group will be making use of different accommodation units in the town. All meals will be at one venue.
19:00 – Enjoy dinner. Meet Hilda who is famous for her catering and mouth-watering meals.
O/N Strandfontein – different self-catering units (breakfast, dinner)
DAY 6: STRANDFONTEIN TO VELDDRIF
Check-out and enjoy breakfast.
After a relaxed morning in Strandfontein we depart around 11:00 for Doringbaai. In Doringbaai we stop for a wine tasting followed by a light snack lunch. Then we venture further south along the West Coast. We will drive via Elands Bay and Dwarskersbos to reach our overnight stop. Elands Bay is a typical West Coast town that draws visitors during the flower season and surfers who are in search of the perfect wave.
Arrive late afternoon in Velddrif which is situated on the Berg River. The name Velddrif is derived from a local farmer, Theunis Smit, who took his stock through a drift in the field (Afrikaans: veld), to find grazing across the river. In 1899, a pontoon ferry was built to cross the Berg River. The nearby estuary is an important bird habitat. The area is home to 30 000 birds, including up to 80 species which are endemic to the Cape coast.
Our overnight stop is situated on the banks of the Berg River just outside of Velddrif.
19:00 – We end the tour with a delicious dinner
O/N L’Ermitage Quagga Lodge, Velddrif (breakfast, snack lunch, dinner)
DAY 7: DEPART HOME
Depart on a morning game drive. The lodge owners breed, among others, with exotic game (weather permitting). They are doing pioneering work that we will experience first-hand. The quagga project is fascinating. It started in 1987 and is an attempt to bring back an animal from extinction and reintroduce it into reserves in its former habitat.
For more information visit www.lermitagelodge.co.za/the-quagga-project.
08:30 – Breakfast and check-out.
It is then time for sad farewells as you will depart home in your own time.
- 02 to 08 September 2023 (Fully Booked)
- 09 to 15 September 2023
LAND PACKAGE COST:
Per person sharing, driving in own vehicle: R 14 750
Per person sharing, in Tour Leader vehicle: R 17 750 (limited spaces available)
Single room supplement: R 1 890
Prices for conservations fees, taxes, park fees and fuel may be changed without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will be passed to you.
- Experienced tour leader with own vehicle, accompanying the group
- 6 Nights’ accommodation (1 night Port Nolloth, 2 nights Kleinzee, 1 night Hondeklipbaai, 1 night Strandfontein, 1 night Velddrif)
- Daily dinner, breakfast and picnic lunch
- Flyers Cove wine tasting
- Flyers Cove finger lunch
- Scotia Inn snack platter
- Permit for Shipwreck Route
- Permit for dune driving
- The use of two-way radios for self-drive vehicles for the duration of the tour
- Transport (a 4x4 with high ground clearance is required)
- Fuel for self-drive guests for duration of the trip
- Lunches, unless specified, and snacks
- All drinks
- Travel insurance and vehicle insurance
- Any items of a personal nature such as telephone bill, curios, and laundry
- This tour requires a minimum of 14 guests to offer it at the quoted price.
- For self-drive guests this tour starts in Port Nolloth and ends in Velddrif. Guests make their own way to / from these points.
- Live the Journey can assist with pre and post accommodation en route to Port Nolloth and from Velddrif en route home.
- For guests in the tour leader vehicle this tour starts and ends in Hondeklipbaai.
- In the case of non-availability, we reserve the right to use alternative accommodation of similar standard.
- The daily tour routing may be changed on short notice, at the tour leader’s discretion, due to severe weather and gravel road conditions.
Charlotte Pistorius - September 2021
“Ons kan ook nou soos St Augustine sê. ‘The World is a book and those who don’t travel, read only one page’ …ons is met dankbaarheid ‘n paar bladsye verder te danke aan Live the Journey asook wonderlike toermaats en toerleier.”
Joy Dean - September 2022
“Thank you Dudley for a fascinating week. I am so much cleverer now than I was last month.”
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