West Coast National Park: Azure waters, ostriches and my final day of summer.

It was an breathless autumn day. The day before I was in warm woolies,ugg boots and trying to keep warm.  But today I was lazing in Langebaan in my swimsuit, clutching a Getaway magazine and shading my eyes from the welcoming sunshine.  To the right of me was a hole in the rocky outcrop that resembled a map, I could see through it all the way to the turquoise blue on the other side.  Fluffy baby birds ran beneath it and circled my towel looking for food. The Kraalbaai water was way to chilly, so I just dipped my toes in, content to lay just here. 

Aside from some young people fishing from the rocks on the other side and a couple wading in the water in wetsuits nearby, this little beach was all ours.  That never happens in Cape Town.  But here I was met with total tranquility.  The flat water lapped the glistening sand ever so slightly and every once in awhile a boat zoomed by with a wakeboarderbehind it. Yachts glided by unheard. And I savoured every second of the sunlight.


I didn't ever want to leave, but in order to see any of the park before the sunset, we had to get going.  Passing antelope sign boards, a tortoise beside the road (that actually tryed to run away from the camera) and an abundance of bushveld, I spotted a few poised ostriches.  No sooner had the car stopped and they would begin running inland for the bushy hills.   The majestic males with their bold black and white feathers and the camouflaged females blending in with the dry grass as they stuck their heads down to the ground.  There was a large eland making his way slowly along the fence.  All his family and friends were far away on the other side.  I wondered how he ended up here.  He just stared at us, his throat hanging low beneath his chin.

Driving further away from the central blue lagoon, we reached the Atlantic side.  Rough waters crashed over the rocks and big, unruly waves raced towards the shore.  Seagulls congregated near the bins and stood tall in the wind.  The sun was dipping low and the wind nipped through the window.  Mist rose from the angry sea and I almost forgot just how calm the water at Kraalbaai was.  Here the wind completely had its way with the ocean, not allowing it to rest and causing it to foam at the tips.

There were no other cars in sight.  Ignoring a sign that said 'no unauthorised vehicles', we drove down a gravel road towards Churchhaven.  All we saw was a white building with a cross on the wall , a graveyard on the hill and a few coastal holiday homes.  To the right was a sign for accommodation and boats floating down in the bay.

On the way out, I had one last look at the sheltered,blue bay hugged by the mini mountains and dotted with moored boats.  What a sad thought that I'd have to wait for summer to return to South Africa before I could grace these secluded beaches again.

For more information on West Coast National Park visit http://www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast/