Once you’ve settled in, Langebaan is literally “your oyster”. Langebaan Lagoon is the focal point of the West Coast National Park, and is a successful blend of conservation and recreation. For the energetic there are facilities for watersports, golf, cycling, horseriding, fishing, and many more. For nature lovers there is the abundant bird life, nature reserves and flowers in spring. You can walk along the beaches, visit the interesting shops, eat at the many restaurants - or do absolutely nothing!
Langebaan is a magnificent sailing venue, and attracts watersports events from all over the world. Watersports include kite-surfing, kayaking, waterskiing, sailing and of course swimming (if you like cold water) ! Kite surfing is particularly popular, and if the wind is up, the sky is full of the painted fingernails of the kites. You can hire or buy kitesurfing gear, stand up paddle (SUP) boards, windsurfers and kayaks from the Cape Sports Centre. The Centre offers lessons in all disciplines, or you can get kitesurfing lessons at the Kite Lab or Constantly Kiting Kitesurfing School , all at Langebaan. There are two main venues for wind- and kite- surfing. Beginners usually start in the shallow waters of “Shark Bay”, which is about three kilometres south of the centre of Langebaan. This venue is at the beginning of the West Coast National Park, and the access and sailing areas are restricted. Make sure you get the rules and regulations from the Tourism Office before you go. Main Beach at the bottom of Bree Street is one of South Africa’s favourite kite-surfing spots, and it is pleasantly surrounded by places to drink beer and have a meal, such as the delightful Pearly’s, Froggies, and Driftwoods restaurants etc.
Further north down Long Beach, Friday Island restaurant is popular as it is right next to the kite-surfing rigging and training area.
The new WindTown hotel in Bree Street caters especially for kite-surfers, with storage and washing facilities for the kites and boards.
South of Main Beach are two smaller beaches, called Sandy Bay, and Second Sandy Bay by the locals. The second beach is close to Langebaan Yacht Club and is popular with fishermen, bait collectors and catamarans.
If you are a keen water sports enthusiast, don’t miss the annual Downwind Dash from Langebaan to Saldanha Bay ahead of a wild south-easter. The event is open to all wind powered vessels. Sailors and those with power boats can explore the western side of the Lagoon, especially Kraalbaai, Preekstoel and Churchhaven. These places are in the nature reserve so do get those rules and regulations!
There is an 18 hole Gary Player, Black Knight design course in Langebaan, which is part of the Langebaan Country Estate. There is also a 9-hole mashie course suitable for the whole family. You can hire golf clubs at the mashie clubhouse and enjoy some refreshments there after the game. There are two other courses further north at Shelley Point and Vredenburg.
Enjoy an elevated view of the area on horseback. Oliphantskop, a few kilometres north of Langebaan on the road to Club Mykonos, offers many different outrides, suitable for beginners and advanced riders. Oliphantskop also offers a restaurant and accommodation. Or try Windstone Adventure Centre, on the way to Langebaanweg. The Windstone Centre offers a backpacker’s lodge, kennelling for pets and lots of Adventure!
Langebaan Lagoon was proclaimed a Ramsar site in 1988 – a wetland recognised and protected by the international Ramsar Convention as being of great importance to birdlife. The most southern end of the lagoon is out of bounds for any activity at all in an effort to protect the rare waterbirds in the area. Birding enthusiasts will have plenty to see all around the shores of the lagoon – there are flocks of flamingos, rare oyster catchers, gulls, terns and many other waders and waterbirds. Schaapen Island, opposite the Main Beach, is home to the biggest colony of kelp gulls in the country. Apart from the waterbirds, there are many interesting birds in the surrounding veld – a real birdwatchers’ paradise. You can drive through the nature reserve at the southern end of Langebaan and see many of the waterbirds at the birdhides at Geelbek and Oude Pos and other spots in the West Coast National Park.
Drive south along Oesterwal Road and turn left up Sunbird Road, opposite the turnoff to Langebaan Yacht Club. A short way up Sunbird Road, turn right into Park Road, and continue until you reach the gate to the West Coast National Park. The Park is home to many animals, including the “Slow Five” – tortoises, sandsharks, whales, porcupines and dune moles. If you continue on past Geelbek into Posberg you will be sure to see springbok, hartebeest, bontebok, kudu, mountain zebra, eland and wildebeest. Visit birdhides at Geelbek, Seeberg and Abrahamskraal. And see the site where Eve’s Footprint was found in 1995. The footprint is about 117 000 years old.
Several hiking, mountain bike and walking trails start from the Geelbek Visitors’ Centre within the West Coast National Park. Guides will show you the natural fauna and flora of the area. One of the most exciting events is the West Coast Marathon which will be held on 20 April 2013.
August and September are the “official” flower months on the West Coast, although the season often starts as early as July. The countryside casts off its brown winter coat and bursts into colour. Carpets of purple, yellow, red, white, and blue adorn the landscape. Along with the flowers come bees, tortoises, birds, buck, butterflies and many more creatures as the land springs into life. One of the best places to see the flowers is at Postberg within the West Coast National Park, but almost every hill, empty plot, field and verge will have a beautiful display of wild flowers. Flowers are best seen between 11am and 3pm on sunny days, and remember that they follow the sun, so be sure to travel in the right direction! You can get an update of the best viewing places from Flowerline (Tel: 071 320 7146) which will also give you weather reports and information on flower shows. Or contact the Langebaan Information office on +27 22 7721515.
Whales are best seen from Tsaarsbank on the western seaboard, and seldom come into the lagoon, but seals are often seen eating and catching their prey in the lagoon itself. Occasionally you might be lucky enough to see dolphins at play.
Sunny Park in Oostewal Road opposite the Spar offers putt-putt, trampolines, a waterslide, pool tables and arcade games.
Denlyn Park, on the right hand side of Oostewal Road, just before you get to Langebaan Yacht Club, has a miniature train, jungle gyms, swings and a skateboard and boulle park. Every now and then a craft market is held at this venue.
Silver Falcons: The Langebaanweg Airforce Base is 16km outside Langebaan and is home to both the Central Flying School and the Silver Falcons – the South African Airforce aerobatic display aircraft. Several airshows are staged at Langebaanweg. Details are available from the Tourism office.
Fossil Park: Go out of Langebaan and cross the R27 at the Engen One-Stop. After 8km you will reach a T-junction – turn left onto the R45. Drive 3km more and then turn left into the Fossil Park. There are tours every weekday from 10:00 until 15:00 and on weekends and public holidays from 10:00 until 13:00. Book on firstname.lastname@example.org. Activities at the Park include a walking trail where you can see how the area has been restored after the archeological digs, and of course a visit to the dig where you can see one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Over a million specimens have been stored at Iziko – the South African Museum in Cape Town, but there are many many more. The fossil site was discovered during phosphate mining in the 1930’s.
Thali Thali Game and Adventure Lodge: Opposite the turnoff to Langebaan. A wide range of game, birds, adventure activities, kiddies play park, and accommodation. Book on www.thalithali.co.za Tel: +27 (0) 22 7661626.
Lagoon Cruises: Try one of the following companies for a lagoon experience:
Atlantic Yachting : Tel: +27 (0) 22 7720718 (Sailing school, lagoon cruises)
Brian’s Boat Trips: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7722093 (Cruises around the lagoon and to Saldanha)
Cape Sports Centre: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7721114 (Hire all sorts of water craft)
There are many places to eat out at Langebaan, but some of the favourites are:
Die Strandloper: Tel: +27(0)22 7722490: On the beach – lunch and dinner, seafood and South African delicacies – allow 3 hours per meal!
The Farmhouse Hotel: Tel: +27(0)22 7722062: Overlooking Langebaan Lagoon, 4* accommodation and food
Pearly’s on the Beach: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7722734: On the beach – very popular place to watch the sunset. Great food – pizza’s, steaks etc.
Friday Island: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7722506: On the beach – great for summer lunches.
Froggies: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7721869: In Langebaan – delicious cuisine by Mr Frog himself
Driftwoods: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7721413 Seafood, steaks, sushi.
Boesmanland Plaaskombuis: Tel: +27(0)22 7721564 Informal outdoor setting – seafood and farm food.
Dockside Cafe: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7077896 Cakes, coffee, exotic tea. Big screen.
Beach Bar: Tel: +27 (0) 83 8806738 Live entertainment, cocktails, karaoke.
Lekka by die See: +27 (0) 82 8996377 Beach restaurant for the whole family
Bouzouki: Tel: +27 (0) 22 7077796 Greek style dishes near the harbour.
Do you want to be more than just a casual tourist, and you're thinking of relocating to Langebaan. Here's details of Curro in Langebaan. Here's Curro Langebaan's swimming pool, which is the only school on the west coast with a swimming pool where they practise underwater hockey, biathlon & swimming.
You would think you were in Greece, and not just 5km west of Langebaan. Day trippers will have to pay a small entry fee to get into the Mykonos area. If you want to stay for a few nights, you can hire a kaliva - a white Greek-style beach house with a balcony overlooking the waves, or try one of the many guest houses. You can enjoy the delightful Greek village with chapel, artworks and shops, or wander around the marina, looking at the very expensive yachts anchored there. Sip ouzo or a beer at the outdoor Oceanis restaurant and spend the evening at the Casino. Or enjoy boat cruises, donkey rides, fishing, sailing, paintball games, quadbiking, saunas, squash or just laze around on the beautiful white beaches. Just outside Mykonos is the Gateway Centre where there are delightful, quaint shops and restaurants, as well as the Laguna Mall, which has a large variety of useful stores.
For a wedding with a difference try the Mykonos Church.