The azure beyond

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Langebaan west coast
Known far and wide, Langebaan is paradise for any self-respecting water fiend.

Clear blue protected waters, reliable winds, a mild climate and sunny skies all add up to secure Langebaan’s status as a preferred holiday/weekend destination for sailing, kayaking, kitesurfing and fishing. The fact that it’s postcard-pretty too, raises the bar even more. And to protect its culture as a fishing, holiday and retirement village, no industries are allowed in town.

Unlike most lagoons which form where fresh water rivers enter the sea, the salt water Langebaan Lagoon was formed by the rising and falling of sea levels during pre-historic times. It’s said that more than 500 000 years ago, early Homo sapiens were probably present in the area. The area is rich in historical events from the first inhabitants, the Khoikhoi and San, to the arrival of the first European, Vasco da Gama, at St Helena Bay in 1497.

The French used Schaapeneiland (close to Langebaan beach) as a storage place for whale oil and seal hides. Officially founded in 1922, the town itself was used as a whaling station until the 1960s and a reminder of this history is the harpoon gun outside the municipal buildings.

While the lagoon’s tidal mud flats attract thousands of migratory birds every year, resident species such as the greater and lesser flamingos are prolific. The world’s largest breeding colony of black harriers also occurs in the area. Langebaan is an internationally acclaimed Ramsar site for its importance as a wetland.

There’s never a dull moment in this town. Good restaurants, coffee shops, craft and curio outlets abound and there is of course the casino at Club Mykonos. The latter also hosts a number of festivals and exhibitions. In addition, large-scale sporting events such as triathlons, the downwind dash, cycling, car gymkhanas and more are held here. Other attractions are horse riding on the beach and golf at the country club.