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LOCAL TIME: 10:24 pm | Monday, 22 July
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Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Titiesbaai, West Coast

Camping in paradise at TietiesbaaiThis Cape Columbine lighthouse is usually the first South African lighthouse to be seen by ships coming from Europe, and was the last manually controlled lighthouse to be built in South Africa. The reserve is home to Tietiesbaai, one of the most beautiful beaches on the West Coast.

The area is famous for large numbers of the West Coast Rock Lobster, known as “Red Gold” and for an abundance of whales and dolphins. It is also one of the best spots on the West Coast to view the brilliant sunset. There is no shopping in Tieties Bay and the closest town is  Paternoster.

What makes the Cape Columbine reserve particularly special is the huge round rocks that sit just inside the bays and people are drawn here for the space, the sightings of dolphins and whales, in season, and the opportunity to kayak these inlets and shoreline – said to be some of the best kayaking available.

The camping at Tietiesbaai is like nowhere else, with secluded spots between great boulders that offer instant access to the beach and the fresh atlantic ocean. The bonus is that there are two camp sites from which to choose. Down the far end is the one that obviously belongs to the reserve, with two ablution blocks, no electricity, but the chance to snuggle in amidst the giant boulders really close to the water – ideal for a scuba diving and fishing weekend. The other, closer to the gate, is the Beach Camp, a series of rather jaunty A-frame huts or tents in which you’ll find more comfortable beds than are usually associated with camping. Add to that the eco-friendly ablution facilities and the fact that you’re right on the beach, and camping takes on a new meaning.

Getting there: from Cape Town, take the R27 and turn off at the R45 which is the Vredenburg turn off. The road becomes the R399. Follow it into Paternoster. Here, take St. Augustine road all the way in to the reserve.

More info on the town of Paternoster More info on The West Coast area