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PLACES TO SEE

Places to see on the Cape West Coast & Sandveld

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The Sandveld on the Cape West Coast

The Sandveld falls within the northwestern section of South Africa’s unique Cape Floral Kingdom, a World Heritage Site, a biodiversity hotspot and one of the six Floral Kingdoms of the world.

Framed by the cold Atlantic Ocean to the west, the foothills of the Olifants River Mountains to the east, and between the Berg River in the south to Lambert’s Bay further north, the Sandveld area comprises a unique mosaic of vegetation types and a rich diversity of plants and animals. The area also has a rich cultural history.

The 1500 ha coastal lake of Verlorenvlei stands out like an oasis in this seemingly barren landscape of the Sandveld. It received RAMSAR status in 1991 due to its international significance for birdlife. Verlorenvlei is host to various species such as the Cape Clawless otter, Fish Eagle, Purple Gallinule and the Redfin- a species endemic to Verlorenvlei and found nowhere else. It’s also part of the West Coast Flamingo Birding route.

Download the West Coast list of birds HERE (pdf)

The West Coast is famous for its annual display of wild spring flowers when nature puts on her most spectacular show of floral splendour for all to enjoy (Aug-Sept). The area is also famous for its Rooibos tea and plants of medical value.

The Sandveld has at least 12 vegetation types representing three major biomes: Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Southern Afromontane Forest. Nine of these are threatened by habitat loss

Leipoldtville Sand Fynbos grows widely in the acidic sands of the central plains. Typical plants here are Cape Reeds, such as Sonkwas Riet and shrubs like Blombos, Skilpadbessie and Harpuisbos.