The West Coast National Park

There is just much to see and do in the West Coast National Park that a traveler needs to spend a few days soaking it all in.

From the world class Geelbek Bird Hide to 16 Mile Beach and the sand banks at low tide at Preekstoel, as well as the blooming wild flowers, there is something for everyone at the West Coast National Park.

No visit to the Park is complete without stopping at the Geelbek Visitors Centre to have a look at a replica of Eve’s footprints. These fossilized footprints belong to a young woman who lived alongside the Langebaan Lagoon about 117 000 years ago.

The three footprints were found in 1995 by geologist David Roberts and were made on a steep sand dune during a turbulent rainstorm.

They were found in a ledge of sandstone at the edge of Langebaan Lagoon near the Atlantic coast.

The footprints measure 22–26 centimetres in length and are about the size of a modern-day (U.S.) woman’s size 7½ shoe

Roberts explained further that dry sand blew over the wet footprints and filled the prints.

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They eventually were buried to a depth of about 9 metres. The sand and accompanying crushed seashells hardened like cement into sedimentary rock and protected the footprints.

“I fell on my knees and brushed the loose sand out of the hollows. The heart-stopping instant of discovery – two beautifully preserved fossil human footprints.

They could have been minutes old rather than thousands of years. Gingerly I placed my feet alongside the impressions and felt an electric link with the past” said Roberts about the discovery.

                                                   The beacon at the Geelbek Bird Hide.

A long time later, the Dutch East India Company declared ownership of the Langebaan Lagoon and set a number of beacons including one at Geelbek in 1785.

The West Coast National Park totals 47 000 hectares and includes the Langebaan Lagoon, islands and a Marine Protected area.

Accommodation is available within the park with Duinepos Chalets being a firm favourite with those wishing to take a break and enjoy bird life and being surrounded by coastal bush.

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