Seaside gem

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Yzerfontein, West Coast
Jewel-like, Yzerfontein clusters snugly into the West Coast coastline. In its luxe blue sky and ocean frame, the town literally sparkles.

With its status as the jewel of the West Coast, one can understand why Middle Stone Age people 70 000 to 115 000 years ago chose this site. In modern times, the village was laid out and developed by Abraham Katz in 1936 and it has remained a popular holiday resort. Today, it has 5 000 residents.

There’s even more antiquity in Yzerfontein: firstly, two white lime kilns next to the R315 are the only ones remaining in South Africa and were declared national monuments in 1980; secondly, the old fish house near the harbour dates from the 19th century and now serves as the Yzerfontein Tourism Bureau.

Holiday homes constitute the largest percentage of houses, but mansions and cottages sit comfortably side-by-side. Small boutique centres are dotted throughout town. Restaurants such as Die Strandkombuis, Lula’s and Kaijaiki Inn enjoy good ratings.

Famed for its magnificent 16-mile beach which actually stretches for a full 19 miles (30,5 km) all the way to the land mass between Langebaan Lagoon and the sea. But, washed by the cold Benguela current, ankle-deep does the trick for most beach goers. However, surfers get stoked by this prime surfing spot, which was pioneered by the legendary John Whitmore in the 1950s. When the Atlantic’s powerful westerly swells roll into town, the infamous Schaap Eiland surf-break is created.

Walkers/runners are spoilt for choice in terms of routes in the town, because apart from the splendid beaches on either side, neat, scenic walkways have been created throughout the fynbos areas on the southern side. Secret coves and hamlets further please the senses.

Because of its elevation, Yzerfontein is a good whale-watching spot when these mammals frolic in the bays, or even mount a display in the harbour. And by the way, with 60% of all the line fish caught on the West Coast landed here, the town’s small craft harbour is a fisherman’s haven.

Finally, at Yzerfontein: “the sea nourishes, the flowers adorn.”