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Yzerfontein is in the Western Cape Province, a tiny tranquil seaside town on the West coast of South Africa about 80 kms north of Cape Town.
The unspoilt fishing village is on a rocky cape overlooking a harbour on the Atlantic Ocean. With endless pristine beaches, it is famous for having the longest uninterrupted sandy beach on South Africa’s coast.
The Sixteen Mile Beach is like a surreal dream, huge, wild and disappearing away into the distance. The views of the Atlantic sea are especially beautiful from the West Coast, shifting from purple to deep blue and turquoise.
In recent years, Yzerfontein has transformed from a small fishing village into a prime investment area. It is conveniently near Cape Town , the wine farms of the Darling area, and the windsurfing mecca of Langebaan.
Yzerfontein has wonderful holiday homes and is a magnet for fishermen, birders and surfers. It is great for whale and dolphin viewing. However, Yzerfontein is still rural enough to see the occasional ostrich wander through the tiny town or a dassie sunning itself on the road.
The climate is mediterranean, influenced by the Benguela current. Summers are warm (average 27 degrees) , and winters cool (average 13 degrees.). Summers are dry, bright and sunny, and rain falls in winter. The vegetation is Cape Dune Strandveld and Coastal Sand Fynbos.
Things to do
The first stop after turning off the main road is the Yzerfontein West Coast Farmstall. The farm stall is unique - it has a drive-through and also houses big cats - lions and tigers. It has a restaurant, shop, aviary and indigenous nursery.
Further along the road are National Monuments, the two historic lime kilns used by the Dutch East India Company in the late 1600s to produce lime for whitewashing walls. The road continues past salt pans to the north before reaching the wonderfully clean and bright town of Yzerfontein.
An Art Route map from the info centre lists the local venues. There is a daily 2-hour tour at the nearby !Kwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre showing interesting insights into South Africa’s early inhabitants, the San people. It includes a game drive and visit to a typical San village. The centre has a restaurant where Eland (our largest buck species) meat can be sampled.
Rocking the Daisies is one of the biggest music festivals in the country, held every year in early spring at the Cloof Wine Estate in Darling .
West Coast Wildflowers
The spectacular natural phenomenon of the wildflowers happens in spring, in August and September.
A billion wildflowers burst into bloom along the West Coast,creating vast drifts of vibrant colour across the landscape. This glorious display attracts visitors from far and wide.
The Tienie Versfeld wildflower reserve in Darling is worth visiting during springtime to see the masses of colours produced by wildflowers.
Yzerfontein celebrates a beer festival, the Oktoberfest, in its own style. The event takes place annually at Yzerfontein ’s Sports Club.
Game Drives and Boat Trips
Game drives are offered at Burgherspost Estate and the Buffelsfontein Nature Reserve to see members of the Big Five - Lion, Rhino and Buffalo.
One can take boat trips to Dassen Island, 10kms offshore. The island is a Nature Reserve and part of an underground mountain chain that protrudes only 10ms above sea level. It has a large tortoise population and the African penguin and white pelican breed here.
West Coast Fossil Park
The Park has daily tours of ancient fossils found here, 5 million years old from the Pliocene Epoch, including bones of sabre-toothed cats, African bears and short-necked giraffes.
Visitors are given an opportunity to sift through to find fossils. There is a tearoom, and cycling and hiking trails .
Beaches and Activities
The main Yzerfontein beach has Blue Flag Status and looks onto a big shallow bay frequented by people paddling, swimming, body boarding, surfing and kite surfing .
Yzerfontein has a fun, easy walking route along the beachfront, traversing rocky outcrops . The route passes a blowhole, interesting rock formations, cliffs and ancient shell middens.
For hikers the Darling Stagger is a 3 day 25km slack-packing hike beginning at the !Kwa Ttu Centre with 3 separate routes, one ending at Yzerfontein.
The nearby town of Darling has a 9-hole golf course and all are welcome.
The pristine Sixteen Mile Beach separates Yzerfontein from the West Coast National Park in the north. There are dunes 60ms high.
The small cove of Smoedbaai, south of Yzerfontein, is a kitesurfing spot for intermediate and advanced kite surfers.
The West Coast National Park
An unspoilt reserve 15 minutes from Yzerfontein, the park is a great place for cycling, mountain biking and swimming in the warm waters of the indigo lagoon. The Park also organises a 30 kms wilderness hike .
The waves alongside Yzerfontein’ Schaap Eiland (Sheep Island) are popular with surfers.
Four wineries along the short 27km drive to Darling are the Cloof, Darling Cellars, Groote Post and Ormonde Vineyards, open Monday to Saturday. The historic Groote Post is also open on Sundays and has a restaurant.
Where to Eat
Yzerfontein has 4 restaurants.
Kaijaiki Country Inn has a restaurant (closed on Thursdays) with various fish and game main dishes. A speciality is the Dutch Bitterballen starter.
Strandkombuis (Beach Kitchen), an open air restaurant with a limited menu, specialises in Snoek, a local fish that flourishes here.
The West Coast Farm Stall has home cooked meals, and a buffet breakfast over the weekends priced by weight! Their flagship dish is Tripe & Trotters. Speciality breads and preserves are available in the shop.
Die Rooi Granaat (Red Pomegranate), a favourite with the locals due to the warm ambience and excellent food, has a limited menu and is only open in the evenings.
Where to Stay
There are impressive guest houses perched overlooking the ocean and a wide range of holiday homes available. There are country inns, guest houses and farms, and immaculate self catering cottages. The beautiful architecture and interior design of the West Coast is unique to the place and reflects the beauty and simplicity of the surrounding landscape.
Cars can be booked in Cape Town or Langebaan. Car rentals can be arranged online.
There are no taxis in Yzerfontein, but some tour operators offer shuttle services between the airport and Yzerfontein.
Yzerfontein is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town along the R27.
Did you know?
Yzerfontein offers free Wi-Fi to all visitors.
The lighthouse off the coast and on Dassen Island is 28m in height, and has a resident Lighthouse Keeper. The bright lamp can sometimes be seen in Cape Town on clear evenings.
In the late 1600s, salt was collected by the Dutch East India Company from the pans inland of Yzerfontein.
The Yzerfontein residents are so proud of their town that they have an official coat of arms!
Recent archaeological finds at the Yzerfontein harbour have attracted the attention of the Cape Town University and two American Universities.
Roughly 60% of all line fish caught on the west coast is landed in and around the Yzerfontein bay.
The Bokbaai vygie (Buck Bay daisy) is endemic to the area and hard to miss, they are bright mauve.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.