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Just in time for school break and the holidays, the West Coast Way Scenic Route has announced two new sightseeing routes on the Cape West Coast.
On Monday, 14 March, Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos and representatives from West Coast Way launched a Scenic Route and Berg Route (The driving tours already include a Culture Route and Foodie Route). Tourists, vacationers, and locals can drive through a series of local attractions on their own or join one of West Coast Way’s tours.
“West Coast Way is a unique collection of themed routes that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors when they do an adventure-filled self-drive trip – the ultimate West Coast Way road tripping guide,” Carmen Lerm, founder of West Coast Way, said in a statement. “Tour operators can use these routes as part of their itinerary and easily find what they need to put bespoke and new packages together.”
All four routes are circular and start north of Cape Town. The Scenic Route begins in Malmesburg and circles through Darling, Yzerfontein, Hopefild, Koringberg, Moorreesburg, and Riebeek Valley. The drive contains stunning views of mountains, fields, and the countryside.
The Berg Route starts almost two hours north of Cape Town, in Velddrif, a coastal fishing town. It then circles through Dwarskerbos, Rocherpan Nature Reserve, Elands Bay, Aurora, Redelinghuys & Verlorenviei, Eendekuil, Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort, Citrusdal, Porterville, Piketberg, and Goedverwacht & Wittewater. The route covers an area from the Bergrivier to the Cederberg Mountains.
James Vos, Shadow Minister of Tourism, helped launch the two routes on Monday, travelling to key points on the itineraries, enjoying local cuisine, and cutting ribbons. In his speeches, he emphasised that the routes would help encourage South Africans and foreign tourists to visit the small towns featured by West Coast Way, supporting local businesses and products.
“Tourism is probably the number one sector that will improve our economy,” he said at the Desert Rose Farm Stall in Koringberg. “Many of our small town economies rely on tourism and agriculture…and tourism routes connect those small towns to each other.”
Desert Rose was Vos’ first stop of the day. A wheel-less VW bug painted with flowers sits in the parking lot, and windmills and gardens surround the small building. Martha van Wyck, the postmaster of the town, presented a short history of Koringbreg and displayed a map of the area from 1924. The map, coincidentally, bore the stamp of a W. J. Vos, delighting Shadow Minister Vos.
The tour next stopped at the Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort on the Berg Route, a beautiful hotel surrounded by the Cederberg Mountains, citrus orchards, and rooibos fields. The resort’s staff can recommend hiking and mountain bike routes in the area, and the hotel itself includes an elegant restaurant, bar, pool, and play area.
The roads around the resort have recently been renovated to promote more tourists. Vos apologised for the inconvenience to locals, but maintained that there is a growth corridor for tourism “from Cape Town all the way up the Northern Cape and eventually to Namibia.”
Vos’ final stop of the day was at the Darling Brewery and Tasteroom – Darling is on both the Scenic Route and the already-established Culture Route. The microbrewery gives tours and tastings and brews 14 different craft beers a year, including Bone Crusher, Long Claw, Silver Back, and eight seasonal blends.
Throughout the tour, Vos emphasised initiatives he wanted to undertake to improve tourism for South Africa. Right now, he said, one of his major concerns is making sure surrounding countries’ up-and-coming airlines don’t pilfer international travellers. He also wants to make it easier for foreigners to get a South African visa by initiating an online application process, make it cheaper for South Africans to visit cultural heritage sites like Robben Island, and to promote agro-tourism.
Vos is launching a campaign called #MyFirstTime that encourages tourists and South Africans to use the #MyFirstTime hashtag to inform their social media followers of the first time they visit a new museum, park, city, or other destination in South Africa.
“[The name] is a little naughty,” Vos said. “But it’s about exploring those little towns and places…about your first time travelling along those routes.”
With the Berg, Scenic, Culture, and Foodie routes, West Coast Way has provided families and adventurers with pre-planned road trip routes through the small towns of the Cape West Coast. For more structured trips, West Coast Way also offers tours with guides and pre-planned stops. Visit www.westcoastway.co.za for Route itineraries, events, trips, and tours.