Lighthouses, lagoons, kitesurfing and camping — South Africa's West Coast is ensconced in the kind of untouched, outdoorsy mystique that a teasing South Easter can't even strip away. It's an enclave of windswept beaches, whitewashed fishing villages and nature reserves. The West Coast always deserves exploring, and this is our weekend guide to help you do exactly that.

Friday: Langebaan to Paternoster

Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel via Website

Afternoon: KiteLab

When in Langebaan there’s no getting away from kitesurfing. If Obama and Branson can do it, then so can you. Enrol for a quick afternoon lesson with KiteLab and hit the water the only way it’s done in this part of town. They also offer two-day courses should your first attempt reveal a dormant talent ready to appear before the world. All equipment is supplied by them, so you can come just as you are.
8 Bree St, Langebaan. +27 22 772 0026; Facebook


Dinner: Die Strandloper

Sticking to your newly discovered beach-casual vibe, there’s no other eatery to consider than Die Strandloper. It's an open-air, sand-between-your-toes establishment where lobsters and roosterkoek (traditional farm bread) are prepared over open fires, sizzling next to pots of simmering garlic mussels. You’re welcome, and encouraged, to bring your own alcoholic beverages; we’ll leave you to arrange a designated driver. It will be your first night dining under the dazzling coastal stars, and you’ll already know that you’ve waited far too long to do this.
See directions and map online. +27 22 772 2490;


Sleep: Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel

You can opt to spend the evening in the Langebaan area, but if you have a determined driver, we suggest you make the quick half-hour drive to Paternoster, where you'll wake up on a sandy West Coast beach at Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel (no relation to Die Strandloper restaurant). African-inspired decor like Nguni ottomans and driftwood lampshades accent the main attraction: huge glass doors that open up to a beach that feels exclusively yours. This is a rare bit of secluded paradise that’s typically associated with long flights and hard travel. What a morning start.
See directions and map online. +27 21 794 5858; Facebook


Saturday: Paternoster

The Noisy Oyster via Facebook

Morning & Afternoon: Pottery, Parks & Horses

Between book bonding, beach strolling, catnapping and chardonnay-ing, we don’t want to burden you with an annoyingly over-the-top itinerary. If you manage to drag yourself away from your coastal hideaway, it’s certainly worth popping into Paternoster Pottery to browse and buy ceramic artwork by craftsman Gerhard van den Heever. The West Coast Fossil Park is also worth a glimpse for viewings of creatures like short-neck giraffes and sabre-tooth cats that roamed the very earth you’re standing on some 5 million years ago. For a sunset worthy of your romance-novel weekend, book a sundowner beach horse ride (with picnic and drink basket) through Drikus Horse Trails.

West Coast Fossil Park, R45, Langebaanweg, Vredenburg. +27 22 766 1606;
Drikus Horse Trails, contact for directions. + 27 82 748 5596;


Dinner: The Noisy Oyster

Slip on your flowy white dress or your loose cream slacks and flip-flop sandals and join the other seafood diners at The Noisy Oyster. Here you'll find tables with wooden benches; fairy-lit, colour-coded hanging umbrellas; and a menu that distinguishes between Foreplay, Intercourse and Afterglow. As the name suggests, it’s festively loud and chaotically casual. However, the salmon pâté and pan-roasted Red Roman suggest the beach-shack appearance is maybe a bit of a sham — there’s nothing downplayed about their food. It’s exquisite.
62 St Augustine Rd, Paternoster. +27 22 752 2196; Facebook


Sunday: Paternoster to Clanwilliam

Bushman's Kloof via Facebook

Take a drive on the coastal path heading to Elands Bay before turning inland heading in the Cederberg direction to Clanwilliam. You’ll encounter a complete change of scenery as sandy shores give way to mountain escarpments, fynbos flora, rivers and valleys.


Dinner: Reinhold's Restaurant

Today it’s all about classic country cuisine. Reinhold’s Restaurant can easily be overlooked and driven past; the tin-roofed, barn-like cottage structure won’t bowl you over in terms of grace or grandeur. We can’t say the unintentionally old-fashioned interior and mismatched attempts at styling will go very far, either. But that plate of nothing but love in the form of baked potatoes, sweet pumpkin, roasted fillet and mushroom sauce has kept the tables of this seemingly ordinary restaurant fully booked for decades. Where has trusty home cooking ever missed?
Main Rd, Clanwilliam. +27 27 482 2163


Sleep: Bushman's Kloof

Down the road from Reinhold’s is the almost sinfully luxurious wellness retreat Bushmans Kloof. This South African Natural Heritage site is pure five-star indulgence, from helicopters dropping off celebrity guests to private starlit dinners and rare wines. Temperature-controlled swimming pools are hidden around the estate, with century-old trees providing just the right glimmer of shade. If your weekend ends up being extended, Bushmans will be the No. 1 reason why.
See directions and map online. +27 21 437 9278; Facebook

By Suzette Leal

Suzette only stays at home to watch Orange Is The New Black. She limits her fluid intake to water, wine and champagne and she absolutely doesn't get the selfie trend. Burma is next on her to-do list. That, and salmon fishing in Iceland.