The List, Slow Down Towns (INTREPID EXPLORER)

A visit to Namaqua Cellars, Vredendal
February 28, 2019
Silent Step se Shoreline of the San hike was ‘n “hemelse ervaring”
April 30, 2019
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The List, Slow Down Towns (INTREPID EXPLORER)

Namaqua West Coast

Very few people know of this tiny mission village – often referred to as Viswater by the locals – that is set at the
mouth of the Olifants River. The estuary itself has been declared a Ramsar site to protect a rich and diverse
aquatic bird life – there are 138 recorded species here –while the pristine beach at the mouth is only accessible
on foot. Traditional fishing from wooden ‘bakkies’ still sustain a portion of the community, an activity that is being
developed as an increasingly popular local tourism product. Day hikes to the bird hide and archaeological
remains of shell middens, or a slow wander along the estuary shores, allows for a unique exploration of the
village and lifestyle harking back to a forgotten West Coast era. Visitors can don oilskins and jump into a fishing
bakkie boat with Oom Piet then row via the channels onto the estuary to experience traditional fishing for
West Coast bokkoms: The small fish are salted and dried, making for a high-protein delicacy in these parts. There is
also the option of an ocean fishing experience from Doring Bay, with the bonus of fresh, sustainable reef fish
for the braai that evening. The ocean-side trail from Papendorp to Strandfontein and Doring Bay is a top
outdoor attraction too and the cliff-top footpath is popular with hikers, trail-runners and mountain bikers.
Fog in the mornings, as well as extreme temperatures during both summer and winter, should be take into
account,while a certain level of skill is required for biking.

WORDS & PICTURES: Jacques Marais


05122018 Slow Down towns The List