Cape West Coast Biosphere - 5 trails

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2012-01-17 13:43

For more about the trails – here's a whole blurb about each, who you need to contact for more information, and to book.

“The Five Bay Trail, Darling Stagger, Wheels of Time, Eve's Trail and the Berg River Canooze are hospitable Cape West Coast trails for everyone, from hardcore mountain lovers, twitchers and botanists to family groups and modern-day strandlopers.”

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, for those of you who, like me, didn't know of its existence, lies between Diep River in Milnerton in the south, the Berg River, Velddrif in the north, the N7 at the towns of Moreesberg and Malmesbury in the east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

It is one of only six biospheres recognised as such by UNESCO in South Africa.

It's quite something being a biosphere, if you consider that not only are they there to protect bio-diversity of the fauna, flora, birdlife, lagoons, rivers and sea, but they're also there to sustainably meet the material and aspirational needs of the people who live within the biosphere – and there are many communities, given the myriad fishing villages etc. on the West Coast.

A series of new trails – five in all – have been developed, passing directly through eight of these communities – Atlantis, Mamre, Darling, Velddrif, Paternoster, Jacobsbaai, Langebaan and Yzerfontein.

They're all slackpacker trails, which means they're guided and catered for, with no schlep beyond carrying a day pack.

The emphasis is on 'local' so there are local guides, people, restaurants and accommodation. Responsible tourism like this means you're voting with your wallet. The price of your place on the trail enhances the lives of locals and raises awareness of the beauty of the biosphere.

We were recently lucky enough to go on the Five Bay Trail – you can read all about our adventure – here – suffice it to say, it was a real 'experience' and one we'd gladly repeat.

More on the 5 trails:

Darling Stagger 2.5 days, 10 km cycle and 15 km walk
A slow-paced, mouth-watering hiking and cycling trail from the coast to !Khwa Ttu San Cultural Centre, through the hills via wine and olive farms to Darling.

This trail is all about slow food wine and good company. Over two and a half days you follow a route once walked by short-necked giraffe and the San, and enjoy a taste of contemporary culture, olives and wine tasting whilst doing so. It's an accredited Green Flag Trail.

There are three legs to the trail. The first is a 7 km gentle cycle from !Khwa Ttu San Cultural Centre on the R27, down tot he sea and along the coast to Yzerfontein.

The second leg is a 13 km hike from !Khwa Ttu across farmlands and up into olive groves and vineyards of the Darling hills, and finally into Darling itself.

The third leg is a lazy morning spent exploring Darling, followed by a 5 km meander and lunch at Groote Post farm.

Eve's Trail 2.5 days – 30 km
A wilderness hiking trail from Yzerfontein along 16 Mile beach, veering into the West Coast National Park and along the restful Langebaan Lagoon.

This trail starts on the white, endless beach south of the West Coast National Park and makes its way onto the narrow peninsula that separates it from the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

This is a trail in amongst the beautiful scenery in the footsteps of Eve, from whom it is suggested that all human life, long before the emergence of Homo sapiens – is thought to have descended.

Experience what it is like to be governed by the sun, the stars and the tides of the sea. Spend the days without your watch, and live life at the pace of nature to replenish your soul.

Five Bay Trail 2.5 days – 28 km
A gentle coast-hugging hiking trail between the fishing villages of Paternoster and Jacobsbaai.

This trail traces the human harvesting of the sea along the coast. It explores the five scenic bays (although in reality there are myriad) between the two villages and operates out of Paternoster, where there is a choice of sleeping and eating establishments.

A gentle outdoor challenge with the sea as your constant companion, delicious food and memorable intereaction with the folk of the West Coast.

Read about our experience of the hike.

Wheels of Time 4 days – 146 km
A recreational, supported, back road cycling trail from mamre to Darling, Elandsfontein Farm, the West Coast National Park and !Khwa Ttu.

This is a mountain bike ride along the secondary roads of the West Coat. It isn't aimed at adrenalin junkies or Absa Cape Epic trainees, but rather recreational cyclists who are keen to experience the back roads and beauty of the West Coast, from the seat of a bike.

Your overnight stops vary but the journey inbetween is guaranteed to be full of incredible scenery and fun, but at times challenging, riding.

You can do the 4 days as two weekends.

Berg River Canooze 2.5 days – 40 km
An effortless downstream kayak from Hopefield to Velddrif with farm stays en route.

This is a relaxing river kayak along the Berg River suitable for the entire family. River kayaking opens up a whole world of exploration, and it's an exciting way to enjoy the scenic beauty and incredible birdlife of the West Coast.

The trail starts with an overnight farm stay near Hopefield. The following day after breakfast, paddlers follow the river past reed beds, trees, and pastoral landscapes to another farm, and the trail ends at the famous Bokkomlaan in Velddrif, where boats lie moored while pelicans the size of merino sheep laze on the far bank of the estuary.

For more about the trails visit www.capebiosphere.co.za
086 187 2457 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              086 187 2457      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              086 187 2457      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (trails)
022 492 2750 (Cape West Coast Biosphere Central Office)