Western Cape Information

 

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Western Cape Information

Located in South West South Africa, Western Cape is a large provence that bordered by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Its rugged and spectacular geography makes its capital Cape Town and ideal place to base yourself. The Coastline is dotted with small fishing villages, vineyards nestled amongst rolling hill, mountain ranges and striking escarpments.

De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape offers some of the best whale watching experiences in the world. It is also renowned for its rare and endangered plant life and beautiful hiking trails through the fields of fynbos that are part of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape province is most famous for its incredible whale watching, but offers much more to do and see for the whole family.

The reserve is situated in the Overberg region about three hours drive from Cape Town and covers approximately 34 000 hectares, with its entire length classified as a marine protected area.

Beautiful hiking trails of varying lengths, through fynbos and along this Western Cape nature reserve's beaches, offer a fascinating view of its rich animal life.

Its sunny weather, huge sand dunes and tidal rock pools offer fun for the family, but its greatest attraction remains the offshore breeding grounds of the southern right whale . These, however, are not the only whales that make their way past this nature reserve on the Western Cape's southern coast: rare humpback and Bryde's whales have also been spotted along with dolphins, porpoises and seals.


Visitors are not allowed to fish or remove organisms from the protected area, but they can experience its rich marine life by snorkeling in gorgeous rock pools and viewing some of the 250 species of fish found here. The reserve is also very popular among cyclists for its many trails and bird watchers for its 260 species of birds, among them rare Cape vultures.

The life on land is just as diverse with 86 species of mammal on the reserve, including baboon, grey rhebuck, leopard, caracal, Cape zebra, yellow mongoose and rare bontebok. De Hoop Nature Reserve also protects the world's smallest and most threatened plant life - the Cape Floral Kingdom's fynbos.

The Western Cape is heaven for gourmet gluttons. Whether you gorge on multi course tasting menus in Franschhoek or wolf down mouthfuls of umngqusho in Gugulethu there is something to suit every mood, palate and wallet.

It is impossible to do justice to the culinary and scenic splendour that awaits those who explore the food terroir of the Western Cape. Majestic mountains covered with indigenous edible flora give way to rugged coastlines dotted with whitewashed fishing villages, verdant vineyards and everywhere a fusion of people, history, cultures and flavour.

The essence of Western Cape foods is found in the complex, multi-cultural history of the province. In Cape Town you will find everything from indigenous Cape Floral Kingdom fynbos menus at Azure to Xhosa classics at Gugulethu’s Mzoli’s Place and Cape Malay fusion food at the Bo-Kaap’s Biesmillah, the city offers a melting pot of Asian, African and European food genres. Every dish reflects waves of historical settlement and layers of flavour interaction. In addition to its traditional tastes, Cape Town is currently experiencing an ultra-modern gourmet boom that sees molecular gastronomy, tapas and dim sum spin out of the restaurant kitchens.

As travellers move out of Cape Town and into the winelands, Cape Dutch settler cuisine is revealed in restaurants such as Stellenbosch’s De Volkskombuis. If the former reveals the tastes of times past, Franschhoek’s Le Quartier Francais offers a glimpse of the region’s future glories. The olive groves of Riebek Kasteel give way to the port wine and ostrich of the Klein Karoo and then on again to the oysters and champagne of Knysna.

The west coast offers up the traditional cuisine of Cape fishing villagers at eateries such as Lambert’s Bay’s Bosduifklip and Paternoster’s Tea Garden. Ancient indigenous culinary culture comes to the fore with !Khwa ttu's San guided tours of hunting skills and edible plants in Langebaan and Samp and Souffle’s tour of Nama edible wild flowers and roots in Namaqualand. Wherever you go and whatever you eat and drink the food terroir of the Western Cape will have you begging for a second helping.


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