Cape Town  - Langebaan

Langebaan Lagoon
West Coast South Africa

Langebaan Lagoon with the West Coast National Park in the background

Langebaan is a town on the west coast of South Africa about a 100 kilometres from Cape Town. Its a growing town and it is situated on the Langebaan Lagoon. The lagoon was discovered way back in the 1601 and was owned by various nations over the years.

In 1662 Jan van Riebeeck sent scouts to explore the lagoon as he wanted to establish a harbour there. Fortunately for us the scouts could not find fresh water so Cape Town was established at the base of Table Mountain where there was plenty of water.

Three hundred years later in 1922 the town of Langebaan was established. Nobody actually knows where the name came from but some think that it came from the Dutch phrase meaning Long Fjord. My theory is that the person who named it had to travel a long way from Cape Town and called it long road.(Langebaan)

Over the years the lagoon has been used for many different activities. There have been pirates, whale hunters, guano collectors, and sheep farmers. It has been used as a navy base and a landing strip for flying boats as well.

The land where Langebaan has been built has been dated at about 10 million years of age and fossils have been found in a phosphate mine nearby. Of great importance however are the salt water marshes which make up about a third of all the salt marshes found in South Africa.

On the southern end of the lagoon the West Coast National Park has been established. In it you will find animals, such as tortoises, zebras, gemsbok and wildebeest. There are also a number of ostriches roaming about in the park. As there are no really large animals it is safe to cycle through the park and experience its beauty from closeup.

Another view of the lagoon with Donkergat in the background

Along the southern edge of the lagoon a number of bird hides have been built. There one can sit quietly and watch some of the 70,000 migrating waders that visit our shores each year. 250 bird species visit and use the lagoon annually. These include Kelp Gulls, Swift Tern, Crowned Cormorants and Black Oystercatchers, a bird on the endangered list. One of our visitors is the Curlew Sandpiper which spends eight months in South Africa and then flies to Siberia in April to breed.

In April the National Park comes into its own when the wild flowers start putting on a show. The whole veld becomes a carpet of flowers and is beautiful to see.

Today the town of Langebaan is growing like mad. There are a number of housing projects being built and they have a lovely view over the lagoon. On the southern end of the lagoon is a small fishing harbour where small boats can launch to fish in the lagoon.

Boats being launched off the beach at Langebaan

Closer to the centre of the town is a place where boats can launch from the beach.To the northeast of the town a golfing estate is being established. It has a beautiful 18 hole golf course which has been built in an area that was once virgin bush. About 5 kilometres out of town towards the north is Mykanos. A holiday resort with an hotel and a casino. All the buildings in this village are built in a greek style and when visiting the area one would think that you are on an island in Greece.

The small boat harbour at Mykanos

Mykanos also has its own harbour where pleasure craft can be moored. The Langebaan lagoon is one of the most beautiful lagoons in South Africa. Anybody visiting the west coast must visit the lagoon and experience the beauty for themselves. I'll save you the expense this time as I have included a number of photos for you. After seeing them I'm sure you'll be on the next plane to SA for a visit. See you here soon.

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