When you chew on the whole, salted and dried mullet from Velddrif – some call it the bokkoms capital of the world – you get the real feel of the West Coast.
When slicing off thin strips, it’s impossible not to envisage a fisherman with a weather-beaten face and a twinkle in his eye, and then the storytelling begins
Fortunately, for the more squeamish the Foodie Route of the West Coastoffers much more than the ubiquitous bokkoms.
Storytelling and earthy hospitality are part and parcel of the West Coast. The Foodie Route is a self-drive trail – as a day trip, short break from Cape Town city life or an extended holiday – it is up to you whether you want to linger longer.
It is difficult not to do so once you have visited a museum or two, viewed some art, learnt more about the fishing history and listened to the local stories to become acquainted with its culture.
It’s said that the West Coast has more sunny days per year than anywhere else in the world, though it might be one of the countless yarns the people spin good-naturedly.
At Russells on the Port, a boutique guest house overlooking the Port Owen Marina, chef Charl Coetzee serves distinctive local cuisine. Huge portions go hand-in-hand with hospitality in this part of the world.
At Thali Thali Game Lodge, the seafood platters and eisbeins, not to mention Sunday buffets, will attest to this. Those who are not seduced by stoep talk can attempt to hone their skills with a bow and arrow.
Ormonde Private Cellar in Darling – before I’m accused of casting before I’ve baited my line – is the starting point of the Foodie Route. Ormonde offers wine tastings including bespoke chocolate and wine tastings as well as artisan platters with a selection of goodies such as poached pears in merlot.
Another place to explore is Geelbek Restaurant in the West Coast National Park – known for its Cape bobotie - a recipe passed on from generation to generation.
At the Protea Hotel by Marriott Saldanha Bay, the sea breeze caresses your face while you slurp oysters. The world - or rather, the West Coast – becomes your proverbial oyster. This luxury establishment makes a mean braaibroodjie.
Blue Bay Lodge & Resort in Saldanha has its own restaurant with views over the bay. It’s a popular meeting place to enjoy cocktails.
If you need a place to sleep, the Albatross Guest House in the heart of Langebaan has four double rooms with private entrances, and are a short walk from the beach.
The West Coast Fossil Park – one of South Africa’s most important heritage sites – is home to 5 million-year-old fossils and the Sivatherium Coffee Shop. You can enjoy tasty home-bakes here.
Club Mykonos offers relaxation with panoramic views over Langebaan lagoon. Lather on some sunscreen and enjoy a bit of Greece as you break away on an Elite Charters cruise. You’ll probably be tempted to stay for a night or three.
Paternoster has more restaurants than you can imagine. There are a plethora of places to stay from cottages to boutique guest houses, and everything in between.
Still fancy a taste of bokkoms? HeronsRest in Velddrif is within walking distance of Bokkom Laan, where you will find bokkoms, sushi and art, all side by side.
Visit www.westcoastway.co.za to find accommodation, information on restaurants, sites to see and things do and to get all the insider info on the Cape West Coast. Share your experience on @WestCoastWaySA