We can all agree that a drive up the West Coast any time of year is a sight to behold. But did you know that the West Coast is also home to a number of truly historic landmarks and cultural museums?
Whether you want to walk in the footsteps of the people of the ancient San tribes or discover the mysteries housed within the fossils still being excavated on our shores today, the West Coast is a treasure trove of history and culture.
Here are our top 5 Historical and Cultural Activities on the West Coast
1. !Khwa ttu San Cultural and Educational Centre
Talk a walk through time, back to the days where all that existed on our sandy shores was the unmarked landscape and the indigenous people who called the West Coast home; the San.
The !Khwa ttu San Cultural and Educational Centre will take your whole family on a historical journey into the heritage, culture, knowledge and modern-day life of the original inhabitants of the West Coast.
Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon with a fascinating tour by qualified San guides who will show you their unique skills and share their historic knowledge about the San people. Why not make a weekend of it? Families can also book a scenic mountain bike trail and accommodation on the premises. If you’re only staying for the day, enjoy breakfast or lunch at the original farmhouse restaurant.
Good to know:
Opening hours: The centre is open 7 days a week
Cost: Free entry | R150/person for a San-guided tour on foot or via tractor
Address: Grootwater Farm, R27
Distance from CPT: 74km
Contact: (c) +27 (0)22 492 2998 | email@example.com | www.khwattu.org
Note: For larger groups, group bookings are essential.
2. West Coast Fossil Park
Millions of years ago, the West Coast shores were covered in lush, riverine forests and wooded savannah plains. Fossils give us a glimpse into those ancient days where animals that are now extinct, roamed wild and free.
Today the West Coast Fossil Park is a National Heritage Site which lets you and your family walk in their historic footsteps! The 1950s saw the discovery of one of the richest fossil sites ever discovered. The site is still being excavated for early Pliocene fossils. You and your family can enjoy a fascinating guided tour where you’ll hear about the fossils and the various climatic changes that have taken place.
Once you have been wowed by the wonder of these historic artefacts, enjoy a coffee and a bite at the on-site coffee shop or a picnic in the garden area while the kids have fun in the play park.
Good to know:
Opening hours: Weekdays from 09:00 – 15:00 | Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: guided tours run from 10:00 to 13:00.
Address: R27 to R45
Distance from CPT: 120km
Contact: +27 (0)22 766 1606 | www.fossilpark.org.za | firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Opening times vary according to season. It’s best to phone or email ahead.
Source: West Coast Way
3. Mamre Mission Station
The small West Coast town of Mamre is one of the Western Cape’s best-kept secrets. If you’re heading up the West Coast on a fun family drive, be sure to make a pit stop at this charming, hidden gem.
Mamre boasts a beautiful and rich history. The town was originally built by Cape Governor, Simon van Der Stel, in the late 1600’s to protect the settlers and their cattle from the local Khoi-Khoi.
Home to a historic Moravian Mission Station established in the year 1808, this beautiful town also houses buildings-turned-national monuments like the original church, South Africa’s fifth oldest church in fact, which is still used for services today.
Families will love a stunning day out in this historic town with local wine tasting and Cape cuisine to be enjoyed.
Good to know:
Address: Off R27, via the R307 between Atlantis and Darling
Distance from CPT: 59km
4. Evita se Perron, Darling
A must-see for every Capetonian, Evita se Perron is home to ‘Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout’, the most famous white woman in South Africa. For those of you aren’t in the know – Tannie Evita is the hilarious alter ego of Pieter Dirk Uys, SA’s most famous political satirist and impersonator.
Evita se Perron is possibly the best combination of fun and history you will find on the West Coast or Cape Town for that matter. On weekends, a number of Pieter Dirk Uys shows are presented at lunchtime. In the evenings expect his famous line up of political characters, a number of whom have been with him since 1980.
Evita se Perron has a delightful collection of political art that has been housed at this historic comedy venue since the beginning. Walk through the Boerassic Park, an eccentric art garden that reflects plenty of political humour through signature icons and symbols.
From old apartheid signs to a quirky gravy train led by a smiling Nelson Mandela, locals and tourists alike are sure to enjoy everything on display.
Good to know:
Opening hours: 7 days a week | Monday 19:00 – 13:00 | Tuesday – Sunday 09:00 – 16:00
Address: 8 Arcadia Street, Darling
Contact: +27 (0)22 492 2851 | email@example.com | www.evita.co.za
Note: Parents may want to leave the kids at home for the show.
Source: Evita se Perron
5. Groote Post Wine Cellar, Darling
A day at Groote Post Wine Cellar makes for a perfect family day out on the West Coast. If the drive up the coast isn’t stunning enough, this historic location is sure to be the cherry on top.
Groote Post is a historic 18th century farm known the world over for its delicious wines. The winery is nestled in a lush, green valley with the Klawer River running through it. The rolling lawns and original, magnificently-restored Cape Dutch homestead makes for the perfect backdrop to a perfect day on the West Coast.
See the historic cellar and enjoy wine tasting and wine sales. There is an open-air kiddie’s play area, but if you prefer to have a child-free day, take a meander along the self-guided walking trail and visit the bird hive or enjoy a guided farm drive.
Good to know:
Distance from CPT: 60km
Address: Groote Post Vineyards: Darling Hills Road, off the R27, Darling
Contact: +27 (0)22 4922825
Source: Groote Post Wine Cellar