Images from the trails

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Map of draft trails

As promised, here's a map of the CWCBR with the initial trail thoughts laid out spatially. The information on each trail can be found in this post. Click on the map to enlarge it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Initial Trail Thoughts

We're only about 1/3 of the way through the feasibility part of the project, but we have begun to think specifically about a set of trails that could meet the project goals for helping local communities, conserving the environment, and be successful, sustainable tourism products in the CWCBR.

Here is our current thinking, as it was outlined and shared at our recent workshops across the CWCBR. If you didn't have a chance to attend, please offer your thoughts on any aspect of these, such as names, routes, etc., including what we might have missed or what could be added to improve the trails. If you did, we of course welcome more input!

Coastal Trails

Eve’s Trail: Yzerfontein to Langebaan (2 night; 3 day)

Starts at Yzerfontein and runs north along 16-mile beach, before turning inland over the dunes to Abrahamskraal in the WCNP for the first overnight stop. An existing cottage, owned and operated by the West Coast National Park sleeps four.

From Abrahamskraal the trail winds across salt marshes into chalk dunes to the second overnight stop at Seeberg or Mooimaak, overlooking the lagoon.

Day 3 is a downhill trek to the lagoon and Langebaan.

The option exists to extend the trail by one night with kayaking or boating on the Lagoon, diving and or a cruise to the outer islands of Malgas and Jutten, with the fourth overnight stop on Marcus Island.

5 Bay Trail: Groot Paternoster to Jacobsbaai (3 night; 3 day)

This is a 3 day hiking or cycling trail with key attractions being coastal scenery and history. Approximate distance is 30km.

The trail starts in Groot Paternoster and follows the beach to Klein Paternoster with overnight accommodation in any of the many existing guesthouses and home stays.

The trail follows bays, small beaches and rocky outcrops with lovely tide pools, past the Cape Columbine Lighthouse to an overnight camp at Trekoskraal. A dilapidated camp currently exists on site. This would need to be re-furbished completely, and permission obtained from the private landowner.

From Trekoskraal the trail continues along the coast to Jacobsbaai, where hikers can spend the last night supporting existing accommodation establishments.

Inland Trails

Farm Trail ("The Darling Dream"): Darling to Yzerfontein (2 night, 2 day)

From Darling the trail winds through a series of privately owned olive and wine farms to the highest point in Darling.

The trails meanders through renosterveld and fynbos where one can see flowers, game and birds, en route to Khwa Ttu for the first night at the San Cultural Centre.

The trails then drops down through fynbos, renosterveld and strandveld to Tygerfontein farm along the coast to Yzerfontein.

Development of this trail will involve negotiation with landowners, who have provisionally bought in to the development of this trail.

Total Distance in 20km

Canoe Trail:
Berg River (Hazekraal) to Velddrif (2 night; 3 day)

The trail starts at Hazekraal at the junction of the Sout and Berg Rivers.

The trail follows the Berg River to Bokkomlaan in Velddrif with overnight stops at the historic Kersefontein Farm and Cloeteskraal Chalets.

Total distance is 55 km

Cycle Trail: Pella, Mamre, Darling, Elandsfontein, WCNP, Yzerfontein to Khwa Ttu

Blaauwberg, Atlantis, Pella, Mamre, Darling, Elandsfontein, WCNP, Yzerfontein to Khwa Ttu

Still needs to be tested

First overnight Darling

Second overnight Elandsfontein

Third Night: Flaming Joes in the WCNP

Fourth Night: Khwa Ttu or cycle back

I'll see if I can post a legible map of these trails to help you get a clearer sense of them

My Dream for the CWCBR is...

Thanks to all who participated in the workshops this past week - we had some wonderful interactions and got to know some more of the passionate characters who make the West Coast a special place to live, work and visit.

We were fortunate to have many people share with us their dreams for the CWCBR, some of which we have posted below to inspire you. Please share with us your dream, either by adding a comment to this post, or by sending an e-mail to

My Dream for the CWCBR is...

"The CWCBR has a long way to go, but their efforts should start with the people. Much of our ideas fail because we plan for the people but if CWCBR can plan with the people they instantly get participation from the local people who will feel that they own these ideas. Community tourism is the basis."

Liveson Mangumo
West Coast Environmental Cooperative, Atlantis

"To create and maintain a unique people and place experience that is ecologically and economically viable."

Andre Kruger
Saldanha Bay Tourism

"To develop cultural guiding in Paternoster and to open people’s eye’s to the small five (small mammals, flowers, birds, fossils, etc)"

Sonya Crous
The Beach Camp, Paternoster

"To promote the biodiversity of our area through environmental education and tours. Put Atlantis and surroundings back on the map."

Henry Van Heerden
Tour Guide, Atlantis

"To see this WORK as it is a great idea. We have had a lot of talk but I am passionate about this one and would like to see it work."

Antony Teale

"To work together as guesthouses, self-catering and hotels to help with poverty alleviation in this area."

Sandra Oliver, Veldriff

"My droom vir hierdie roete is dat die plaaslike gemeenskap meer “environmental aware” sal maak. "

What is your Dream for the CWCBR?

Monday, July 7, 2008

What makes for a great hiking trail?

I am keen to hear from others about what makes for an iconic hiking trail.  
Is it based on some of the following and in what weighting:

  1. diversity of landscapes and ecologies
  2. an element of physical adventure or ruggedness
  3. clear resonance between trail brand and the actual experience - e.g. whale trail, but I have not seen whales
  4. can children and aged hikers use the trail or parts thereof
  5. affordability to locals and visitors
  6. promoting awareness/understanding of local cultural/natural heritage
  7. employment for local people
  8. respect and awareness of conservation issues
  9. protection from crime
  10. can sections of the trail be hiked independently
  11. community participation
  12. others that you can think of
would be really keen to hear what you think

Saturday, June 7, 2008

what kind of trails

It will be interesting to get some feedback on what kinds of trails people would like to enjoy in the CWCBR. Hiking through striking scenery, cycling along the coast line, birding, etc. Lets hear your ideas!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

About the Trails and Tourism Feasibility Project

The West Coast Trails Project was identified as a Flagship Project for the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (CWCBR), which has over 200 kilometres of pristine coastline and a wealth of hinterland treasures. It also has a rich history and has great diversity that can be exploited to create a network of very interesting trails, along with great potential to link to community projects, in the form of new accommodation facilities, guides and wardens.

A set of specific trail products were identified by the CWCBR that are now being evaluated in terms of their feasibility, including the identification of additional or alternative trails that would achieve the goals of the project. This will be followed by implementation of the resulting trail products. These initial products are:

  • To develop a beach and coastal trail along the entire coastline of the CWCBR
  • To design a multi-purpose trail allowing for hiking, equestrian and biking trails
  • To provide additional access points to beaches
  • To train hiking guides to accompany tour groups
  • To develop accommodation infrastructure for the trail in some communities along the trail
  • To develop specific eco-adventure routes as part of the main trail

The goal of the programme is to enhance the sustainable economic well-being of at least 8 communities within the Cape West Coast Region. The purpose of the programme is the establishment of a network of community owned and sustainably managed tourism initaitives within the Cape West Coast.

The current phase of the project is this feasibility study. This is being conducted by Silimela Development Consortium and the Nature Management Company, who were awarded the tender. The work is being conducted in seven phases from April through October 2008.