Even if you don't stop in West Coast National Park, consider driving the scenic road that runs through it rather than the R27 to Langebaan. The park is a fabulous mix of lagoon wetlands, pounding surf, and coastal fynbos. On a sunny day the lagoon assumes a magical color, made all the more impressive by blinding white beaches and the sheer emptiness of the place. Birders can have a field day identifying water birds, and the sandveld flowers are among the best along the
West Coast. Postberg, the little mountain at the tip of the reserve where ships would drop off their mail on their trip around the Cape, is open only in flower season, which changes from year to year but usually falls between August and October, when the flowers are at their very best. It's easy to run out of superlatives when describing West Coast flowers, but imagine acres of land carpeted in multicolored blooms—as far as the eye can see. If you're lucky, you may catch glimpses of zebra, wildebeest, or bat-eared fox. Accommodation in the park is rarer than hen's teeth, and families book cottages at the little village of Churchhaven here for years at a time.
If you really want to spend time in the area, contact Langebaan Houseboats to inquire about the houseboats moored in Kraalbaai. Some are superluxurious; others are simpler affairs. Either way, it's a great way to escape. 021/689–9718 or 082/258–0929. www.houseboating.co.za.
Off the R27, 11 km (7 mi) north of the R315, Langebaan, 7357, South Africa