Trails and Tourism
Cape West Coast Trails
NEW Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails open for bookings!
It's been three years in the making but the Cape West Coast Biosphere portfolio of trails are now one of the newest trail products on offer in the Western Cape. Funding secured from the Development Bank of SA (DBSA) some three years ago enabled a team of consultants to prepare a trails feasibility plan and more recently the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) came to the party by providing funding for the implementation of the five trails.
The trails are an exciting way to grow the local economy by supporting existing and emerging tourism and hospitality services in the region and sustaining the livelihoods of the guides, caterers and drivers. Over the past 8 months, 3 new hiking trails have been launched, and a canoe trail and a cycle trail will be launched early in 2012.
The trails are suited to hardcore mountain lovers, twitchers and botanists as well as family groups and modern-day strandlopers. These slackpacking trails, without the schlep, are guided and catered, comfortable and safe. Hikers carry a small daypack, lifts and luggage are organised and local folk and restaurants prepare meals in traditional West Coast style.
An Italian style slow-paced, mouth-watering 2.5 day, 25km trail from Yzerfontein on the coast up into the hills and through wine and olive farms to Darling.
A 2.5 day, 30km wilderness hike through the unique vegetation, deserted beaches and tranquil lagoon of the West Coast National Park
Five Bay Trail
A gentle 2.5 day, 28km coast hugging hike between the fishing villages of Paternoster and Jacobsbaai.
Wheels of Time
A 2.5 day, ±100km ride through time for recreational cyclists keen to experience the back-roads and beauty of the West Coast from the seat of a bicycle.
Berg River Canooze
A 2.5 day, 24km downstream kayak along the Berg River with farm stays en route.
The trails are power breaks of 2.5 days duration and the starting point is less than an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town.
Eve’s Trail is already an accredited Green Flag Trail indicating that is strives to be environmentally and socially responsible. The other trails are in the process of being certified.
The trails all make use of existing facilities and services in the region with an estimated R21 million in direct local spend over 5 years. The development of additional businesses that can support and benefit the trails is being encouraged. Direct local spend in the West Coast over the past year has been more than R450 000 (spent on guesthouses, catering, shuttles, etc). Additionally 3 new jobs have been created for historically disadvantaged individuals and the sustainability of existing jobs improved.
These five new responsible tourism products are operated by the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR), a credible, non-profit organisation caring for people and the environment. The CWCBR has appointed and are training a team of people from local communities, to manage and run the trails.
Upcoming Trail Dates and Prices (Proceeds go to a good cause)
CUSTOMISE YOUR TRAIL
You can choose your own dates and we will customize a trail for you. You may even want to do 2 or 3 of the trails back to back for an overall West Coast experience. Itineraries and quotes are provided on request. You can choose your own dates and we will customize a trail for you. The Canoe and Cycle Trails require a minimum group of 8 people.
The price is fully inclusive of accommodations in 3-4 star guesthouses, dinners, breakfasts, lunches, guides, activities, equipment, luggage transport and local transfers. Terms and Conditions Apply.
Ask us about our shortened and/or self-catering budget options which range from R1600 - R2000 per person.
Some comments from our hikers:
"Coming down to earth with a bang, I realised why this weekend was called the Darling Stagger. After all this fabulous food, serious walking is no longer an option. So we just staggered to !Khwa ttu, where Ivan gave us an introduction to San medicinal knowledge of the Fynbos vegetation. From !Khwa ttu we walked through the fields, vineyards, and olive groves of Ormonde and Alexanderfontein with stunning views of Table Mountain, Dassen Island, and the Atlantic Ocean behind us. The terrain varies from sandy and grid tracks to some tarmac roads or just through the fields.
The trail is not hard, you only carry your daypack and the distance is limited to about 15 km. I had no problems at all, so basically anybody in reasonable shape can do it. After about three quarters of the hike, we arrived at an idyllic setting in the olive groves, where a Bedouin type tent was erected, straw bales set out to give the old legs a good rest and a delicious light lunch of salads ready to be devoured. Natasha, Kyle and Morgan had done a sterling job!"
- Louise de Waal, Baobab Travel
"I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and obvious attention to detail that has gone into the trail. Without any exception the inclusion of locals in making the trail so enjoyable is a great tribute to the developers of the trail."
- Mike Lillyman, Freelance Journalist
"Well catered for! Loved the champagne and snacks at Kraalbaai and the meal at Suurberg. (flowers also were magnificent)."
- Shaun Bloch, hiking enthusiast
"A relaxed and comfortable hiking and cycling experience, with wonderful food, wine, olives and interesting evening activity that makes it a real treat for both locals and tourists alike."
- Frank Dwyer, promoter of trails