The Bergrivier region, which lies just north of Cape Town, has been officially dubbed as the Adventure Capital of the West Coast and it is no surprise as to why.
This beautiful area – known for its open spaces and dramatic landscapes – boasts some of the most pristine and untouched nature reserves, wetlands, lagoons, mountain landscapes and more. It is also peppered with small towns that offer a massive array of activities and adventures to suite all ages, interests and budgets.
“Holiday makers are increasingly looking for exciting experiences, for local adventures in off-the-beaten-track destinations – and the Bergrivier region, situated just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town, certainly delivers,” says Nomonde Ndlangisa, CEO of Bergrivier Tourism. “We are so excited to be able to officially present this stunning part of the Western Cape to visitors as the “Adventure Capital”.”
“The Bergrivier area offers incredible outdoor, water sport, and camping adventures – to name a few. But we are also aware that adventure comes in so many different shapes and sizes, and the area also offers unique culinary and cultural adventures – there truly is something for every taste, interest and fitness level!”
“The towns of Velddrif, Aurora, Piketberg, Porterville, Redelingshuys, Eendekuil, Goedverwacht and Wittewater all fall withing the Bergrivier district and each one is a perfect travel destination for people looking for an adventure,” says Ndlangisa.
A birding hot spot where water sports abound
The hugely popular West Coast village of Velddrif, which hugs the banks of the beautiful Berg River, is one of the most popular bird-watching sites in South Africa. In fact, the Berg River estuary was recently declared a Ramsar Site and location of international importance.
The town is perfectly located to offer a wealth of activities to water-sport enthusiasts – including kayaking with Canoe and Kayak World in Bokkomlaan; boat trips up the river on the Crackling Rosie, Knot Xtreme and Tollie’s River Cruises; sailing with Port Owen Sailing Charters; fishing; surfing at Dwarskersbos; skiing; kite-boarding; stand-up paddling in the river – and so much more.
Velddrif also offers culinary adventure – such as a taste of Bokkoms (salted and dried fish -a unique West Coast delicacy), or many options for fresh seafood, eclectic, rustic, fine-dining or take-aways. Those looking for a cultural experience will love a visit to the historic Bokkom Laan which is the oldest road in the town – and a Heritage site – that snakes up the edge of the Berg River. The Fisheries Museum near the Laaiplek harbour is also well worth a visit to find out about the colourful history of the fishing industry along this coast.
When it comes to camping, Velddrif has many options such as the Kliphoek Rivier Oord, Kuifkopvisvanger camp site, Knorvarkie, Happy Campers, and the camp site in Dwarskersbos.
Step back in time and quaff bubbly with oysters
Piketberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range, draws visitors looking to enjoy – amongst many other things – the stunning natural surrounds and the abundant outdoor activities.
For bird lovers the nearby Verlorenvlei at Redelinghuys is an incredible spot. The Jakkalskloof 4×4 route in Redelinghuys is a great outing for 4×4 enthusiasts. Piketberg also boasts game viewing at the Goudkop Bush & Detox Camp, and golf at the PPC De Hoek Golf Course. On the last Saturday of every month is the Piket Bo-Berg Farmers Market, which takes place on a farm in the mountains above Piketberg.
For history buffs, Piketberg boasts a unique and fascinating self-guided tour – the Piketberg Historical Route – which is the best way to experience the rich heritage of this town. For foodies, a visit to Org-de-Rac, the local organic winery, is a must to sample their wine and cheese pairing, as well as the fresh oysters served with Methode Cap Classique.
Hiking, paragliding, gin tasting and more
Porterville is a quaint village nestled on the slopes of the Olifant’s River Mountains at the base of the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area. Outdoor enthusiasts are in for a treat with a visit to Porterville, which offers a variety of hiking trails in the Groot Winterhoek, where impressive rock formations can be found. There is also an uphill waterfall trail at Waterval (a hugely popular camping spot) which is dotted with 22 waterfalls snaking their way down the mountainside, interspersed with crystal clear pools for a cooling dip.
For those keen to truly test their adrenalin levels, there are companies which offer tandem-paragliding and hang-gliding experiences. Bird watchers can also expect to find an abundance of feathered friends in the Groot Winterhoek. Those keen to throw in a line can opt for some fishing in the area, and for golfers Porterville offers a scenic golf course with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Porterville also boasts an artisanal gin distillery in the mountains above the town and a variety of eateries in the village.
“Whether it is camping, birdwatching, river cruising, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, golfing, eating, drinking, or immersing yourself in the past – there are so many adventures to be had in the Bergrivier area that visitors are truly spoilt for choice,” says Ndlangisa. “Because of this, the Bergrivier region has been officially named as the Adventure Capital of the West Coast and we invite South Africans to come and experience it for themselves to see why.”
For more information on the Bergrivier area as the Adventure Capital of the West Coast, towns to visit, where to stay, eat and things to do visit https://bergriviertourism.co.za/bergrivier/.