Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails
Experience the Cape West Coast of South Africa
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails offer a wonderful way to contribute to sustainable economic development and conservation, stay healthy, connect with nature, feel a whole lot better, explore and experience the West Coast of South Africa.
What trails are there on the Cape West Coast?
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails is a network of 5 slack-packing trails exploring the rolling hills of the West Coast by mountain bike; walking through the wilderness in the West Coast National Park; trundling from fishing village to fishing village along the coast; staggering from the wine farms and spectacular views of the Darling hills – to the hospitable !Khwa ttu San Culture & Education Centre – to Yzerfontein seaside village; or canoeing down the Berg River.

Read more about the 5 fabulous slack-packing trail options.

How were the Cape Biosphere Trails developed?

Following the trial tour model used by Eco-Africa Environmental Consultants ( in Madagascar, Gondwana Alive conducted a series of exploratory trails with real tourists to develop the trail products, train the local team and help develop their administrative systems.

Exploratory trails are very special experiences … read more CWCBR Virtual Trail

Wetland restored by Kommetjie Coastal Stewards
Our recommendation

You can read more about the Cape Biosphere Trail standard offers here. They also customize bookings to suit your needs.

Our favorite itinerary:

Day 1: !Khwa ttu mountain bike trail (or walking trails if you prefer), lunch in their restaurant and a night in their guesthouse with a braai organized by some of the young San staff – it is not currently on the Cape Biosphere menu but I’m sure they could organize it for you easily as !Khwa ttu have their own bikes for hire and trails to suit children, casual and experienced mountain bikers.

Day 2: A walk in the wilderness in the West Coast National Park and a night at their self catering Duinepos chalets. Geelbek Restaurant in the Park is rather nice if you prefer to eat out.

Day 3: A walk along the coast from Trekoskraal to Paternoster (or vice versa depending on the wind) and a night in the lovely little fishing village of Paternoster. They have many guesthouses in town – we like Aha Guesthouse or the self-catering Klein Patnernoster.

Day 4: Time for a bit of staggering rather than walking. Following a visit to the West Coast Fossil Park, embark on a bit of wine (e.g. Grootepost, Ormonde, Darling Cellars) and olive (Alexanderfontein) tasting in and around Darling and a night in this eclectic country town – we love the Darling Lodge but there are plenty of other options in town and I’m sure they can point you to whats trending – perhaps the Bistro or one of the other restaurant options, or if you are lucky perhaps the famous Tannie Evita will be in town for a bit of dinner theatre at Evita se Perron.

Day 5: Last but certainly not least – if you have the time and your own canoes, or the Biosphere Reserve can arrange them for you, we highly recommend a 14km (4 hours, with optional take out after 6km)) paddle down the Berg River between the lovely, but quite different farms of Kersefontein and Doornfontein. If you can find time to spend a night at both farms please do – the combined experience is a lovely balance of West Coast farm hospitality and there is plenty to explore on the farms.

Click here to book your standard trail

Contact the Biosphere to customize your trail experience on the West Coast:

Tel: 0861 TRAILS (872 457)

“I commend the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve for this initiative that will not only augment the local economy and create job opportunities, but also ensure that they do so responsibly.’’- Alan Winde: Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Western Cape

Why does Gondwana Alive support the Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails?
To create jobs, support local business, and unique celebrate natural and cultural heritage. We also support them because they fall in a biodiversity hotspot and along the Africa Alive = Homo sapien Corridor.
How does Gondwana Alive support the Cape Biosphere Trails?
CEO Dr Tracey Phillips and mentor Ivan Groenhof were part of the team who conducted the original feasibility study and developed the business plan.

Gondwana Alive went on to support the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve with implementation by:

• Preparing a project grant proposal and securing funding.
• Facilitating environmental impact assessment, development of trail environmental management plans, and Green Flag accreditation.
• Mentoring a local team to develop and operate the trail network – including delivering training in basic business, trail monitoring and assessment.

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