Placid estuary, stilted water birds, bunches of bokkoms and homegrown boat cruises – these and cheery, unpretentious small-town living are what the coastal town of Velddrif on the Cape’s West Coast are all about. Set on the estuary where the Berg River flows into St. Helena Bay, the town is an inviting habitat for birds, and a happy stop for West Coast travellers. The townsfolk of Velddrif are sustained mainly by the fishing and salt industries, and both are put to combined use in the the area’s unique product of bokkoms – bunches of dried, mouth-tinglingly salty small fish. Another of Velddrif’s claims to fame is that it’s the end point of the annual Berg River Canoe Marathon.
Life on the Water in Velddrif
The estuary makes Velddrif a wader’s paradise – there are many varieties to enjoy. Little Blue Heron, otters and water mongoose are just some of the life you may encounter on the estuary. We were lucky to see flocks of flamingoes ducking, diving, high-stepping about and taking off in exquisite streaks of cerise flight. There’s good fishing at Velddrif, so pack your rod and tackle and settle yourself on a simple wooden jetty at the waterside – there’s absolutely no sense of hurry in this delightful West Coast town. Boat cruises are also a wonderful way of enjoying the estuary and its life.
The Velddrif Bridge escorts you in, and greets you with the sight of vast salt pans and, very probably, flocks of flamingoes and pelicans.
Velddrif’s Shops and Restaurants
There are quaint curiosity shops, restaurants, tea shops and an art gallery along the water’s edge where cheerful locals are only too happy to feed and natter with visitors. If you enjoy seafood, then you’ve come to just the right place.
Bokkoms are almost compulsory when visiting Velddrif – you’ll find them along delightful Bokkomlaan. Fresh harders are another popular
purchase, and delicious cooked on a fire.
Velddrif makes a great shotleft from Cape Town, the distance being about 145 km. We travelled there via Hopefield, and the spring flowers were spectacular on route!
If you’re staying in Velddrif, also visit the West Coast Fossil Park and the Rocherpan Nature Reserve. Neighbouring West Coast towns also make excellent day trips:
Aurora – 52km
Elands Bay – 67km
Lamberts Bay – 27km
Piketberg – 64km
Citrusdal – 108km
Langebaan – 39km
Vredenburg – 26km
Saldanha – 37km
Paternoster – 42km