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Day trip through the Whale Coast Region

This really interesting 263km self drive circular route, offers scenery, vineyards, marine life, beaches, walks, birds, historic towns, missionary villages, scenic harbours, artists, great places to eat, and special attractions. Start from any point on the hop on, hop off route – we have started it at Stanford. Before you know it, the wonderful day will be over. Please take your camera – you will have plenty of beautiful pictures as a memento.

The Towns

For detailed information on all the things to do in each town, just click on the links.

1 Stanford: 2 Napier: 3 Bredasdorp: 4 Arniston: 5 Struisbaai: 6 Cape Agulhas: 7 Wolwegat: 8 Elim:

9 Baardskeerdersbos: 10 KIeinbaai: 11 Gansbaai: 12 De Kelders

Day Trip around Whale Coast

Click for Enlarged Map

From Stanford (1), take the R326 over the Akkedis Pass until the junction with the R316. Turn right and drive through the rolling wheat and canola fields towards Napier (2), Bredasdorp (3), and eventually Arniston (4). From Arniston backtrack for about 6.6km and take a gravel road to the left to Struisbaai (5) and Cape Agulhas (6). From Cape Agulhas, backtrack for through Struisbaai for 10km and take a left turn onto gravel to Wolwegat (7) and Elim (8). From Elim, turn left onto a gravel road to Baardskeerdersbos (9). After Baardskeerdersbos, continue through Franskraal to Kleinbaai (10) on the R43. Visit Kleinbaai, and continue on the R43 to Gansbaai (11) and De Kelders (12) and back to Stanford (1).

Points of interest along the route

Stanford Klein RiverStanford – known for great restaurants which have revitalised the idea of slow lunches. The wandelpad, a magnificent 3km walk along the beautiful Klein River is not to be missed and is great for a stretch of the legs after being in the car.  The African Queen, a river boat, offers a scenic cruise on the Klein Rivier, where plenty of birds are part of the experience.

Stanford is an historical village, where the local protect the national heritage status of the entire town.

Klein River Cheese FactoryOn the R326Birkenhead Brewery where you can enjoy beer on tap.

Visit the Klein River Cheese Factory where you can find out about South Africa’s award winning cheeses or buy a picnic basket to enjoy along the river.

Stop at Raka Wines, where you can sip away in pretty surrounds.

On the R316 – the drive itself though beautiful scenery of rolling wheat and canola fields.

Napier wheat and canola fieldsNapier – Napier is rated by the Tourism Board as the fourth most attractive village of the Western Cape. Walk along the main road and browse Rose Boats & Toy Museum, a delightful experience for kids and parents alike, the toy museum is home to a wonderful collection of old toys and trains; the All Sorts military museum, an astonishing collection of military memorabilia; antique shops, local galleries and collector’s shops. Some other attractions are the old watermill, an ox Wagon monument (Kakebeenwa) to commemorate the Ossewa Trek of dissidents from the Cape in 1838 and a giant sundial at the municipal offices. Read the time from it, accurate to within 30 seconds.

Napier has plenty of restaurants, farm stalls and the Jean Daneel Winery. Jean Daneel is a well-known name for producing excellent wines. While at the estate, you can also visit The Larder deli and the special restaurant Renéessance, both run by Jean’s wife Renée.

Bredasdorp Blue CraneBredasdorp - the original farm homestead of the founder of Bredasdorp, together with the original church and coach house, all national monuments, houses a unique and fascinating collection of shipwreck memorabilia in the Shipwreck MuseumJulian Keyser Ceramics are manufacturers of a unique range of objects d’art, fine art, hand-crafted ceramics and table linen in African and contemporary designs. His gallery is next door to Julian’s Restaurant, which has a charming setting and is open all day. Kapula Candles offers a beautiful range of handcrafted candles and ceramics, designed with the colours and spirit of our beautiful country in the process of transition and rebirth.

Arniston CottagesArniston - Arniston is a seaside fishing village on the Cape Agulhas coast that is still centred around the local fishing traditions of the 1800′s.

The Kassiesbaai fishing village, a national heritage site, is a photographer’s dream.

Catch the colourful boats at the harbour or take a walk to the cave after which the town was originally named. This walk must be done at low tide.

Struisbaai HarbourStruisbaai- Struisbaai is a coastal village boasting the longest continuous stretch (14km) of white sand coastline in the Southern Hemisphere. The quaint, picturesque fishing harbour has collection of very small fishing boats and Pelicans Harbour Café is a good lunch stop.

The fishermen’s cottages at Hotagterklip,  just outside Struisbaai have been declared national monuments. They are often featured in the paintings of South African artists.

Cape AgulhasCape Agulhas - Cape Agulhas (“Cape of Needles”) is a rocky headland in the Western Cape, South Africa and attracts tourists from all over the world.

It is the geographic southern tip of Africa and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian oceans as is well known for the shipwrecks that happened in historic times.

Visit the lighthouse and take a picture with one foot in each “ocean”.

Wolwegat Art GalleryWolwegat - the beautiful little Overberg village of Wolvengat, is home to well-known South African artists Wim and Tina de Roubaix who have a wonderful gallery to view.Wim & Tina De Roubaix have had an impressive career – they are listed in the “Directory of South African Artists” and have exhibited extensively throughout South Africa, Germany & the USA and their work appears in private & corporate collections all over the world, including the Oppenheimer family and Tokyo Sexwale.  Phone to ensure they are at home.

Elim CottagesElim - Elim is an almost forgotten village that developed around a Moravian Mission in the mid 1800’s. On entering Elim, the historical charm of the town will be immediately evident with the lime washed cottages, Moravian Church and friendly people to welcome you. Ask around and you are sure to find a guide. The entire village is a national heritage site!

Close to Elim is the Black Oystercatcher Winery and Restaurant is on the wine farm and offers a fresh, intimate food experience.

Niel Jonker, Baardskeerdersbos Art RouteBaardskeerdersbos - has become home to a thriving art community who open their homes on certain weekends, as part of the popular Baardskeerdersbos Art Route. Some of the artists are Joshua Miles, Andreé Bonthuys, Philip John, Niël Jonker, Amanda Jephson and Nikki Miles, and of course a guest artist or two. Their are painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers and ceramicists. For more information on when the art can be viewed, contact Gansbaai Tourism Bureau: Gateway Centre, Kapokblom street: Tel : +27 (0) 28 3841439.

Kleinbaai cruise to Dyer IslandKleinbaai - Kleinbaai is a small but charming town, 4km from Gansbaai on the Dangerpoint peninsula. It has a natural harbour that is the launch pad for the famous shark cage diving trips to “Shark Alley”.

Boats also launch from Kleinbaai to visit Dyer Island, with its seal population that attracts the sharks to this part of the world. The town boasts an excellent tidal pool, perfect for children. Close by is the Danger Point Lighthouse, which can be reached by car. The lighthouse has some interesting exhibits from shipwrecks.

Great white sharks, GansbaaiGansbaai - Gansbaai should have been the location for the movie “Jaws”, because great white sharks have found the easy life here. With the plentiful supply of over 50´000 Cape fur seals on Dyer Island, a few km south of Gansbaai, the large population of the great white have given these waters the name of Shark Alley.

You can view these top line predators from a boat by taking a cruise to Dyer island where you will see whales, dolphins, penguins, sea birds and a colony of 50 000 Cape Fur seals. Else, you can face your fear for a once in a lifetime experience of diving with the sharks – in a safe cage of course!

Rock Pools and Beaches, De KeldersDe Kelders - De Kelders near Gansbaai, on the whale coast of South Africa, is considered one of the best land-based whale viewing spots in the world.

There is no better place to whale watch than from the veranda of Coffee on the Rocks Restaurant, which has a bird’s eye view of the bay, or if you want to get even closer, take a kayak trip.

There is a beautiful 7km trail along the coast to the Klipgat Cave.

Platbos ForestThe ancient 30ha Platbos forest, on the left hand side of the road between De Kelders and Stanford, has trees that are over 1000 years old and is Africa’s most southerly indigenous forest.

A magical two hour walk, is on easy gradients and wide paths and is for old and young alike.

More info on the town of Elim More info on the Cape Agulhas