The Western Cape is one of South Africa’s most-loved regions. It has pristine beaches, picturesque landscapes, and quaint seaside towns. Go once and it’s hard not to return! Just ask the many foreigners who decide to spend their retirement years in the West Coast, Overberg or Garden Route. Of course the fact that Cape Town is often within driving distance doesn’t hurt.
How do you pick where to settle, though? It’s near impossible, we admit, but these five seaside towns are all worth exploring:
Langebaan is a popular West Coast town. It lies 120km north of Cape Town on the eastern shore of the Langebaan Lagoon. Here you can learn to kitesurf in the morning, enjoy a round of golf in the afternoon, and end the day with dinner at Pearly’s, a Langebaan institution, while the sun sets over the lagoon.
Langebaan is also the perfect place from where to explore the rest of the West Coast’s charming towns. Saldanha, Paternoster and Jacobsbaai are all within driving distance. While you’re out and about, go for a game drive at Thali Thali Game Lodge or explore the West Coast National Park.
You simply cannot afford to miss out on the Die Strandloper either! Here you get served a ten course menu made fresh on the fires. You can look forward to mussels, fish curry, snoek and much more.
To work off all that delicious food, pop in at the Langebaan Country Estate, where you’ll find tennis courts, walking trails and a swimming pool.
Yzerfontein lies between Cape Town and Langebaan. The main beach is 25 kilometres long, making it the longest uninterrupted stretch of beach on the South African coastline.
The town is close to the West Coast National Park and surrounded by wild fynbos and wildflowers. It’s a spectacle in spring when the flowers are out in full bloom!
Aside from marveling at Yzerfontein’s surrounding flora, you can also set off on one of the many hiking trails in the area and indulge in a spot of bird watching. Once you’re a local, you may also want to join the bowling, angling, or gardening clubs in town.
If your goal is to relax as much as possible during your retirement years, you have to put down roots in Pringle Bay. This sleepy coastal village is situated at the foot of the Hangklip Mountain in the beautiful Overberg region. The village and surrounds are part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is rich in fauna and flora. You can explore the hills and mountains by foot, walk on Moonlight Bay, a secluded beach popular with locals, or simply sit back and relax with a G&T at the Hangklip Hotel.
Over weekends you can drive to Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond to explore the rest of the Overberg region. Betty’s Bay is only 10 minutes from Pringle bay while Kleinmond is just 22 minutes away.
Should you ever feel like you need to pop into the city, you can get to Cape Town in 90 minutes. You can go in the morning and get back to the haven that is Pringle Bay in the evening.
While Hermanus has a holiday feel to it, this town still does not allow you to get bored. Locals’ favourites are the 11-kilometre cliff path, the Hermanuspietersfontein Market on Saturdays, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley’s fine wines, and walks through the Walker Bay and Fernkloof Nature Reserves.
From June to December each year, tourists flock to Hermanus for whale season. You can go on a whale watching tour but you can also simply take your binoculars with whenever you’re near the ocean.
Hermanus is also not short of galleries, museums, world-class eateries, or beautiful beaches. You’ll find you rarely leave Hermanus for other parts of the Western Cape!
Plettenberg Bay, or ‘Plett’ as locals call it, is about 45 minutes from Knysna on South Africa’s famous Garden Route. It’s a nature lover’s paradise! You can go fishing, horse riding, hike through the Robberg Nature Reserve, and explore your wild side at the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary or Elephant Sanctuary.
You’ll also find plenty to do along the rest of the Garden Route. You can whizz through the trees of the Tsitsikamma forest on a treetop canopy tour, bungee jump off the world’s highest bridge, visit farms stalls, and much, much more. There is something for everyone!
Visit each of these towns at least once before settling on your final choice. It’s the best way to judge if you could live in any of these towns. Even if you decide to go elsewhere, you still would’ve experienced some of South Africa’s most beautiful parts first-hand.