West Coast Tranquillity

The West Coast region of the Western Cape is still one of the most unspoilt. A couple of hours drive out of Cape Town, you'll find this area hard to beat for sheer peace and quiet.It's famous for its spring flower displays, bringing people from all over the world to see it's magnificence during late August, September and early October. Carpets of daisies and brightly coloured bulbs erupt to create brilliance hard to match with words ? superlatives don't do justice to this magnificent spectacle.The land could be seen as rather austere and not much appreciated outside of the flower season, but the desert and semi-desert areas do have their own appeal of wide open sky, distant hills and multi-coloured rocks.

Of course, there is much more to this region than just the flower season. Dropping down off the main N7 road, down to the coast, you come to St Helena Bay.Slightly warmer water than Cape Town will greet your toes as you wander along white sand beaches, virtually on your own with the seals, cormorants and seagulls for company. The Southern Wright Whales are also visible on their migration during the months of July, August and September.Stay at the St Helena Bay Hotel, or choose one of the smaller guest houses.

The hotel's a friendly place with glorious views from its front bedrooms out over the water.Even in late December it's possible to just alight on accommodation, but don't count on this to happen for much longer, as this little known area will surely be discovered before too long.Take a short trip along one of the dirt roads, through the farmland down to Paternoster, where you'll believe you've ended up in Greece. Wonderful houses, whitewashed with green roofs giving out onto a long sandy beach.

Brightly coloured fishing boats trailing their nets meters from the beach, then hauling their catch straight onto the sand for everyone to view, squabble and purchase the fruits of their labour. Behind you, you'll see fish hanging, drying in the open air.From St Helena head towards Velddrif, a quaint fishing village situated at the mouth of the Berg River where it flows in St Helena Bay.

Here is a paradise of fishing, birdlife and boating. Here life drifts on in a peaceful atmosphere, giving you time to unwind, and relax far from the madding crowd, noise and traffic and to surround yourself with the wonders of nature.Don't forget to take your binoculars and view the stunning flock of flamingoes on the salt pans ? they love the mineral rich waters of the Berg river.

For more information on where to stay and what to do in this region, contact us on http://www.magical-cape-town-vacations.com/travel-and-tourism for your own personlised tour itinerary.

Take the strain out of your planning, let us help you find your own magical Cape Town vacation.

.Helen Palmer is the author of the website http://www.

magical-cape-town-vacations.com, whose family's love of Cape Town was spawned some 30 years ago, when her aunt moved there to live. Regular visits and a genuine love of travel persuaded Helen to share her passion. Grab a copy of our special report, "Where to find Nelson Mandela in Cape Town" at http://www.


By: Helen Palmer


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