Overview-West Coast Walk

West Coast Walk is a self-guided walking/hiking holiday. It is an opportunity to view the unique West Coast of South Africa and experience life in the fishing villages St Helena Bay (Shelley Point), Paternoster and Jacobsbaai.

TypeSelf-guided walk
LocationJacobsbaai, Paternoster, Shelley Point
Group size1+ people
Duration3 nights
GradingModerate grade
Day Stages10 -20 km
Distance38-65 km (3 days)
TerrainBeach walks, seaside paths, country rd
Hotels4 star standard
MealsBreakfast each day
CostFrom R7 800 per person (less 20% for 4)
DatesAny time possible. We recommend spring or autumn


Trip details

View this unique coast and experience life in the fishing villages between Shelley Point (St Helena Bay) and Jacobsbaai. You will walk along gorgeous beaches and at least 30 bays, each with their own unique characteristics. Enjoy long stretches of unspoilt white sand and little coves of alternating rock and sand. The seafood from the West Coast is legendary, and the Shelley Bay-Jacobsbaai area has no shortage of excellent crayfishing, fishing and diving spots. A number of different species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) move through the nutrient-rich waters of the West Coast, fed by the Benguela current. On your route you might spot seals,dolphins and whales. Obviously sightings can not be guaranteed but southern right whales are regular visitors to the west coast from middle winter onwards with the most sightings in December. The presence of dolphins is less predictable being ultimately dependant on the availability of food. Probably Heaviside’s dolphins will be sighted in Britannia Bay when the northwester picks up. Good viewing points are at Shelley Point and Paternoster. On land every spring, from August to September/October, the apparently barren soil of the West Coast, from the mountains to the ocean, bursts forth in a kaleidoscopic carpet of flowers. Many tourists are drawn to this glorious and world famous annual display.


Unique coast

Gorgeous beaches and at least 30 bays, each with its own unique characteristics. Enjoy long stretches of unspoilt white sand and little coves of alternating rock and sand.

Dolphins and Whales

A number of different species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) move through the nutrient-rich waters of the West Coast, fed by the Benguela current. On your route you might spot seals, dolphins and whales.

Wild flowers

Every spring, from August to September/October, the apparently barren soil of the West Coast, from the mountains to the ocean, bursts forth in a kaleidoscopic carpet of flowers.

Nature Reserve

The reserve at Cape Columbine is on a peninsula and covers 263 hectares of gorgeous wild, rocky coastline. The huge round rocks just inside the bays are ideal for the sightings of dolphins and whales- in season. The Cape Columbine lighthouse is the only brick and mortar in the reserve. Built in 1936, it was the first South African lighthouse to receive all navigational safety features.It is usually the first lighthouse sighted by ships coming from South America or Europe.


4 star standard hotel or guesthouse. The seafood from the West Coast is legendary.

Fishing villages

Fishing villages Shelley Point, Paternoster and Jacobsbaai

Other activities

Other activities in the Westcoast area can be added to the walking package


Day 1: Arrival at Shelley Point for overnight. Visit the Da Gama museum and lighthouse

Distance 4-5 km (2.5 – 3 miles)

Day 2 : Walk from Shelley Point to Paternoster. You will pass Britannia Bay, which boasts magical scenery and typical Cape West Coast atmosphere. Enjoy a pristine stretch of white sand, tiny shell-strewn nooks, and beautifully etched rocky areas. Swimming and diving is very popular here. Your day ends in Paternoster, an easygoing fishing village, famous for its abundance of crayfish. There are 9 bays between Shelley Point and Paternoster and about 30 on the whole route. Overnight- Paternoster

Distance 12 or 22 km (7.2 – 13.2 miles). Depending on option taken – Whole Day

Day 3: Day 3 starts in the fishing village of Paternoster along the beach to Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and Tietiesbaai. During winter the Tietiesbaai area is usually quiet. In the summer months the crayfish season attracts many campers and results in much activity. The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve contains typical West Coast fynbos and also succulent Karoo scrub. From August to September/October the area is adorned by a bright tapestry of wild flowers. The route follows the rocky coast and there are beautiful pools for swimming. The day’s walk ends at Trekoskraal. There are 9 bays between Paternoster and Trekoskraal. Overnight- Paternoster.

Distance 10.5 – 18 km (6.4- 11 miles) depending on option taken – Whole Day

Day 4: Day 4 explores the coast between Trekoskraal and Jacobsbaai. You will be able to view more of the unique coast. Follow the tracks from Trekoskraal via the dunes and beaches of Wesbaai. On this hike one might spot seals, dolphins and whales – from mid winter onward with the most sightings in December. Wild flowers can be seen from  as early as July to as late as November.

Distance 11.2 km ( 6.8 miles) – 5 hours

Day 5: August and September bookings

For bookings during the flower season we recommend an extra day to hike the Steenbok trail in the West Coast National Park. The trail is limited to 20 people per day and is only available during August and September. This trail must be booked in advance and bookings open in June. Overnight day 4- Langebaan.

Distance 14 km ( 8.5 miles) – 5 hours

Stay at some of West Coast’s finest hotels and guesthouses and visit restaurants serving mouth watering international cuisine. A variety of establishments has been selected, offering differences in character. All bookings are subject to availability. Click on the pictures to view the high standard of accommodation.

Oystercatcher Lodge Shelley Point
Oystercatcher Lodge, Shelley Point
Farmhouse Hotel Langebaan
Farmhouse Hotel, Langebaan
Lookout 10 1198x430 2
Gilcrest Place, Paternoster
Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, Paternoster- West Coast Walk
Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel
ah! Guest House, Paternoster
ah! Guest House, Paternoster
Paternoster Manor Guesthouse
Paternoster Manor Guesthouse
De Linden Boutique Guesthouse Paternoster
De Linden Boutique Guesthouse Paternoster
Absolute Beach Guesthouse, Shelley Point
Absolute Beach Guesthouse, Shelley Point


The rate for the Standard 4 day West Coast Walk option is from R7 800 per person for two people sharing. For a group of 4, with 2 people per room, the rate is from R6 240. It will be 4 star standard. Superior accommodation is also available. The rate is available on request. A minimum of 2 people per group. The above rates apply for groups of two or four people. Costs for single accommodation or an extra night or more than four people per group, available on request.

3 nights accommodation in selected  guesthouses, including breakfast
Hotel to hotel luggage transfer along the trail
Detailed Route directions
Information about the area
Transfers to and from the trail where necessary
Not included
Transport to and from Shelley Point
Lunches, snacks, drinks with meals.
Overall rating of the West Coast Walk is Moderate. You do not need to be ultra-fit but certainly able to walk between 12 and 20 km per day and be able to cope with undulating countryside and some hills. The route takes you along sandy beaches, seaside paths, along field and tracks and along country roads.
See Walking grades for more details about Moderate rating. Day 1 – arrival:  Day 2 – Moderate:  Day 3 – Moderate:  Day 4 – Moderate

Alternative/additional options

Your holiday can be extended or amended to include additional activities, for instance hiking in the West Coast National Park during the flower season (August or September). The costs of additional options are not included in the rate of the standard 4 Day trip but is available on request.

When to book West Coast Walk

Any time of the year, but we recommend spring or autumn. During spring, late July to beginning October, the normally dry coastline becomes a wildflower tapestry. This is normally the highlight of the year. A beautiful autumn day or windless winter’s day on this coastline is a gem and something to experience. The winter temperature is mild and the West Coast is a low rainfall area During the winter (low season) accommodation is normally more freely available. It is a good option for local guests who are either prepared to accept weather risks or can change their plans based on 7 day weather predictions. During December and January (high season) strong south easterly winds can be unpleasant.


The West Coast is a semi arid region. The climate is influenced by the Atlantic (cold water) ocean. In summer the West Coast is hotter, drier and more windswept than Cape Town. It is consistently windy, especially during the blustery summer months. It becomes increasingly drier further north and fog banks hug the coastline in winter. Spring is a great time to visit when spectacular wildflowers appear in the fields . Peak flower season is July to September after the winter rains.

Getting there

For international visitors:  Fly to Cape Town International airport and from Cape Town to Jacobsbaai by car.

From Cape Town to Jacobsbaai The route to Jacobsbaai is as follows:

N1 Cape Town out going for 3 Km to R27 West Coast turn off. Follow West Coast Road for 119 km. Turn left, follow Road for 21 km. Go straight over Saldanha – Vredenburg road, follow Jacobsbaai for 12 km. Total distance 155 km- Minimum driving time: 1 Hour 40 Mins

What to take

Comfortable, well aerated clothes in keeping with the season. Always bring a pullover / windbreaker, good walking boots  (already worn-in) and several pairs of cotton or wool socks. For daily needs, it is advisable to take a day-bag, a plastic bag to line the day-pack (to protect the contents from rain), rainwear, a sun-hat, sunglasses, sun block, a water bottle, plastic picnic boxes (for transporting lunches), first-aid kit , camera and film, torch/flashlight, extra plastic bag for litter.


It is recommend that appropriate holiday insurance be arranged with cover against illness, injury, and loss or damage to luggage. This insurance should also cover any possibility of cancellation for any reason.

Availability and Booking

To enquire or reserve a date, go to: Availability request

For general information: Contact us, or

email: info@trailsandtravel.co.za, or

Booking process and -conditions – Go to  How to book

Map of the West Coast

View Larger Map


View pictures in West Coast Gallery


Comments by guests who have experienced a self-guided walking/hiking holiday offered by Trails and Travel in South Africa- Overall, the holiday was invigorating-  You certainly went out of your way to make the whole time memorable- We are recommending it to our walking community in the States- Fantastic walks, wines and accommodation” For details  go to Reviews

West Coast area information

You can enjoy Paternoster, Jacobsbaai, gorgeous beaches and view whales and wildflowers (in season) on the West Coast Walk– a self-guided walking/hiking holiday. To find out more about the area, go to Read more . The West Coast Walk is a convenient way to see and experience the atmosphere of this unique part of South Africa.

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