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Insider Focus, Things to do in Langebaan with Léne Stuart
Léne Stuart is a 21-year-old, 3rd year Human Resource Management student at the University of South Africa. Not only is she a hardworking and diligent student, but she is also a full-time study advisor at an academic institution in Langebaan.
In 2007, Léne’s parents moved to Langebaan from Fourways, Johannesburg, when she was six. Her parents took this giant leap to give her and her older brother, Aldin, the chance to grow up with unprecedented freedoms and security that a small coastal town like Langebaan can offer.
Where is Langebaan?
Langebaan is located 100km north of Cape Town, just off the R27. The town was founded in 1922 and was initially used as a whaling station until the 1960s. The closest towns are Vredenburg (20km) and Saldanha Bay (20 km).
Langebaan is an idyllic kite surfer’s paradise and has salt water protected lagoon (16km long and 3km wide). It is the playground of the West Coast elite due to its national park, world-renowned birding spots and secure yacht club harbour at Club Mykonos in Langebaan.
According to local reports, over 300 species of birds are found in the lagoon waters of the West Coast National Park. Moreover, whales can be spotted in the lagoon from October to November.
Interestingly, the town of Langebaan allows no industries to protect the town’s sensitive environment and culture as a fishing, holiday and retirement destination.
Langebaan regularly hosts large-scale sporting events such as triathlons, the downwind dash, and cycling events, to name a few.
10 questions to a Langebaan local - Léne Stuart
We caught up with this health-conscious, gym-fanatic, Langebaan resident and asked her a couple of questions about her hometown:
Why can you be regarded as an expert of Langebaan?
I have been calling Langebaan my home for the last 15 years. My Father, Charles, is a keen water sports enthusiast with an open water skipper’s license who enjoys showing us the beauty of the lagoon and surrounding areas.
My mom, Daleen, is an avid nature lover with a passion for Langebaan’s bird life who often takes me bird-watching in the area.
I have also been exploring all the sweet spots in Langebaan with my friends.
For this reason, I consider myself an expert and a Langebaan local.
If you had to describe Langebaan in three words, what would they be?
Enchanting, fresh and scenic.
I selected these three words because we have so much unspoiled nature here, our beaches are not crowded, and we have beautiful sunsets.
Why should people visit Langebaan?
Langebaan is an exotic tropical paradise with clear flat waters, a scenic lagoon, and white (fine) sandy beaches.
Langebaan is a much more affordable destination (thanks to a good Rand to Euro currency) than for example, the Côte D’Azur, Mauritius or the Maldives that are comparable to our coastal town.
Langebaan has a mild climate, the best natural scenery, the safest locations for tourists to explore, and if you pick the right time of the year to visit, the ideal weather [giggling] for kayaking, sailing, kite surfing, fishing and several other water sport activities.
Most people in Langebaan speak English, and our locals are very friendly towards foreigners because we want them to have a positive experience at Langebaan.
In my opinion, many small coastal towns in South Africa lack the class and lavishness that Langebaan has in terms of our restaurants and accommodation offerings.
Even though, Langebaan can become terribly busy in season, it remains an extremely safe destination with hardly any crime.
In contrast to Cape Town, which is a big city, Langebaan is a relaxed destination with a small town island vibe but also offering many activities for the more active holiday maker.
What is there in Langebaan that is not often found anywhere else in South Africa?
We have not only excellent restaurants offering unique cultural experiences for foreigners, such the ‘Die Strandloper’ restaurant and ‘Boesmanland Plaaskombuis’, but also several good charter companies offering deep-sea fishing trips, day trips on the lagoon and excursions to Kraalbaai.
Sailing and kayaking are extremely popular on the lagoon.
What are the three must see attractions in Langebaan?
A visit to Langebaan is not complete without visiting the Shark Bay area, which is about 5 minutes from Langebaan’s centre. I think it has the most scenic beach with the warmest water on Langebaan’s lagoon.
A new café at the top of the walkway overlooks the lagoon. It is also a great spot to view the wildflowers in bloom during Spring (August to September). However, many of the best flower-viewing sites have disappeared since many buildings have been happening in the area. Shark Bay is also the best place to view the flamboyance of pink flamingos prancing in the lagoon.
Mykonos Harbour is a trendy spot in Langebaan, offering a spectacular view over the many luxurious yachts. It comprises Mykonos Resort which resembles a Greek village with colourful ‘calivas’ (apartments). Some apartments are built on the water’s edge and have spectacular ocean views.
Three excellent restaurants perched on a large wooden deck overlooking the yachts in their bays, making it the ideal location to enjoy either breakfast, lunch, or a moonlight dinner. There is ample parking available near the harbour for visitors.
Do you need to pay for parking at
I’m not sure [laughing]. Usually, the security guards just let us in when we go there. I’m not sure how it works for tourists; maybe they charge them [giggling].
Kraalbaai, also referred to as the ‘hidden gem’ here in Langebaan, as previously mentioned, is another firm favourite of mine. This secluded beach is on the opposite side of the lagoon toward Shark Bay. Once there, you experience luxury as the bay overflows with grand yachts and millionaire boats.
The best way to get to Kraalbaai is to take a chartered boat trip from Mykonos Resort. Many affordable charter companies, like Elite Charters, drop anchors near the beach, allowing guests to enjoy a braai on the boat or shore.
You can also get there by driving through the West Coast National Park, but this route takes quite a long time and is not very interesting.
What is the craziest activity to do in Langebaan?
The Langebaan lagoon is known for kite surfing because the lagoon, with its shallow estuary, enables beginners to experience kite surfing and advanced surfers to enjoy high speeds on flat waters. The lagoon is an absolute paradise for adrenalin junkies.
Why is it because of the weather?
[burst out laughing]… Ja! Our high-speed winds contribute to making it a pleasant experience. There are also several excellent kite surfing schools located at Shark Bay.
Besides kitesurfing, power boating activities are enormous on the lagoon, particularly over the December holiday. Many chartered companies also offer deep-sea fishing excursions and catamaran island cruises.
I particularly enjoy the catamaran cruises because they take you near some islands, such as Schaapeneiland, where you can experience our unique birdlife.
Where are your favourite restaurants in Langebaan?
Mark’s Beach Bar is my favourite restaurant to enjoy an easy-going breakfast or spectacular sunset dinner because they have a wide variety of foods. The ambience reminds me of a fun beach hut with several surfboards stacked against the walls, giving Mark’s bar a lovely beachy vibe. There is always live music playing which enhances the holiday vibe. Besides their vast variety of foods (ranging from steak to seafood, hamburgers, and the best pizzas), they are known for having the best cocktails in Langebaan. They are also immensely popular with kids because they have a large boat-shaped playground right on the beach.
When we have something to celebrate or when we have guests from other parts of the country, we enjoy introducing them to Die Strandloper. I love this restaurant because it gives our guests a truly West Coast cultural experience. For example, be prepared to eat without contemporary cutlery as you eat with sea-shells spoons here. This buffet restaurant offers a 10-course menu prepared on open fires, on a beach setting. The food selection includes mussels, Westkus Haarders, fish curry, braaied snoek with potatoes and patats, lobster (kreef), smoked Angelfish and line fish, beef and bean (boontjie) bredie, freshly baked ‘roosterkoek’ and ‘pot brood’ with farm butter and homemade jams. And of course, no South African meal can be complete without traditional ‘koeksisters’ (a plaited doughnut deep-fried and drenched in syrup) for dessert.
The rates for lunch are R350 per person or 20 Euro per adult and R80 or 5 Euro per child aged 5 to 11 years.
The best part about Die Strandloper restaurant is that they contract local people to entertain the guests with live music and sing-a-longs.
Die Strandloper is currently (until September) only open on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays for lunches. Bookings far ahead of time is absolutely essential. They are also not open for dinner until mid-October.
I come from a traditional Afrikaans family, and many of my family members enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal. For this reason, I also selected Boesmanland Plaaskombuis (the name is derived from the indigenous Bushmen from the Kalahari and a farm kitchen). This traditional South African restaurant offers an informal buffet consisting of several famous South African served against a backdrop of fabulous ocean views.
They serve (eat as much as you like) seafood, African food and ‘boerekos’ on the world-famous West Coast beach. All dishes are prepared on open fires in big black pots and served on traditional enamel plates. I also find the fact that you sit on old tree trunks very interesting and unique.
They offer a ‘boere breakfast’ (to be booked in advance) at R130 or 7.80 Euro per person and a lunch for *R230 or 13.70 Euro per person (winter rates). Their menus are rather extensive and can be viewed on their website by clicking here.
Add *R20 per person to prices over weekends. They are open for dinner, although bookings are essential.
Where is the best place to enjoy a good breakfast in Langebaan?
Dockside restaurant at the Mykonos Harbour offers the best breakfast with a spectacular view. However, I enjoy Roxi’s Beach Bar’s excellent breakfast options and healthy smoothies. The best part about Roxi’s is their tropical island feel location because they are set right on the beach.
Can you recommend a good weekend stay in Langebaan?
My first choice would be the Shark Bay Hotel. It is a good option for romantic couples or Instagrammers who enjoy fantastic views. The hotel is near the West Coast National Park, where most of the best activities are in Langebaan.
My second choice is Club Mykonos Resort. I fondly remember my childhood holidays there before we moved to Langebaan. This resort is ideal for families with children because several holiday programmes are running during the season.
There are often live entertainment and spectacular shows, and their self-catering ‘calivas’ have the most amazing ocean views.
They say Langebaan is the ornithological capital of South Africa, what does that mean?
Ornithology relates to the study of birds. It is a well-known fact that Langebaan has the most incredible variety of bird species.
The West Coast National Park has a map of all the bird hides and lookout points where one can enjoy the best views.
For example, in Shark Bay, we have pink flamingos. Watching their reflections in the water, particularly during sunset, is very special.
When is the best time to visit Langebaan?
Google and travel pages tell you a different story [laughing out loud] but take it from me, the best time to visit Langebaan is from February until May.
We have hardly any wind during these months and the best warm sunny days.
Is Langebaan’s beaches pet friendly because we saw some photos of you on Instagram with your puppy on the beach?
You often see people with their dogs at restaurants and on our beaches. I have never had a problem taking my dog anywhere with me.
We could not have asked for a more in-depth “insider focus” of Langebaan. Léne has provided tips and guidelines for having the best time visiting Langebaan. If you have any more questions about Langebaan, you are welcome to leave a comment in the section below, and we will ask Léne to respond to them.
You are welcome to follow this remarkable you lady on her personal Instagram page @lenestuart