Two weeks ago I spent a lovely weekend away up the west coast with friends. We visited the small town of Velddrif and stayed at the beautiful Rocherpan Nature Reserve about 15 minutes outside town. Having only visited Velddrif once before fleetingly, it was wonderful to experience this sleepy town properly for the first time
We were lucky that our friend Georgia East from the beautiful blog East Afternoon is somewhat of an expert on the area having visited there her whole life, so having our own tour guide to introduce us to a few of her favourite spots was very special. We spent a lot of time in the picturesque Bokkom Laan next to the Berg River and hung out with our new friend Rudolph Dante who owns the quirky Columbine & co coffee shop. These are must-visit places when staying or even passing through Velddrif. His place is a converted fish-drying shed protected as a heritage building and no structural changes can be made. All the buildings along Bokkom Laan are the same so there really is a sense of place and what the past was like here. Privately owned Jetty’s are dotted along the short road making the whole place very Instagramable. There are a few other eateries and bars in Bokkom Laan too, so it’s as much a place to ‘kuier’ (spend time) as it is to take photos. PS – be sure to try the carrot cake at Columbine, its sublime.
Velddrif is not as developed and touristy as other West Coast towns like Paternoster, Langebaan and Yserfontein so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are looking for a more authentic and rustic West Coast experience then it’s definitely worth a visit.
Probably the most important attraction in Velddrif are the iconic bokkoms. Salt-cured and dried fish that are not that dissimilar to anchovies. They are a taste I am planning to acquire more of having loved them in a bubbling pan of butter at Kobus van der Merwes Wolfgat last year. You will see bokkoms drying and for sale all over Velddrif.
Rocherpan is part of Cape Nature and has 8 eco cabins accommodating 3 – 5 people each. They are positioned near the entrance to the reserve and look over The Pan which had water in it for the first time in ages. There are 3 bird hides where you can get closer to the incredible bird life in the reserve as well as hiking trails, so all round this is paradise for the nature lover and bird watcher. I was sorry I only managed one short walk to a hide but next time I visit I plan to do the longer loop. We did manage to catch the sunset on the beach on our first night in one of two lookout spots over the ocean. It was particularly fiery and wild with big clouds creating much drama.
The four of us are all foodies so we carefully planned everything we ate for the weekend. It involved a lot of braai broodjies (toasted cheese tomato and onion sandwiches cooked on the fire), fresh mussels procured locally in Velddrif at Blue Ocean Mussels (highly recommended) and homemade cheese from Cecil. This along with loads of wine and delicious gin & tonics by The Gin Geek made for a very festive weekend. It just wasn’t long enough.
We also had the pleasure of meeting and breaking bread with Arend Louw – a local artist, so check out his incredible paintings on his Instagram.
Here are a few of my pictures from the weekend:
*picture of me, the 3 of us on the beach taken by Georgia. The one above taken by Rudolph.
Rocherpan Nature Reserve Official website
Blue Ocean Mussels They deliver to Cape Town too
For fish, buy from Nossab Fisheries (they have 2 shops in town)
Visit East Afternoon for more stories and pictures on the area:
More about my trips up the West Coast
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