Six awesome adventures to have along the Northern Cape's Diamond Coast

From surfing to exploring shipwrecks, there's no shortage of things to do while travelling along this stretch of the Atlantic seaboard

03 October 2021 - 00:01 By Jacques Marais
A Cape seal catching rays on a rocky outcrop along the Diamond Coast.
A Cape seal catching rays on a rocky outcrop along the Diamond Coast.
Image: Jacques Marais
Densen Magaisa gazes at the wreck of the Brazilian steamship the Piratiny — which ran aground in 1934 — near Kleinzee, Northern Cape.
Densen Magaisa gazes at the wreck of the Brazilian steamship the Piratiny — which ran aground in 1934 — near Kleinzee, Northern Cape.
Image: Jacques Marais

The Diamond Coast stretches along the Atlantic seaboard, from Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape to SA's Orange River border with Namibia.

It encompasses one of Earth's most uniquely diverse succulent desert biomes, and outdoor adventure abounds. 

If you're in search of adventure, here are half a dozen options not to miss:

1. GET WRECKED

The tempestuous west coast brims with snarling rocks and lurking reefs, ready to tear at the underbellies of errant vessels navigating the shore. Over centuries, hundreds of ships have been claimed by the dense fog and raging storms, with rusted wrecks littering the coast.

Dudley Wessels offers day trips exploring the legend and lore of these historic marine treasures. Call 083-305-2569.

2. SMILES AND WAVES

The surfing is feral and in your face, with everything from uncharted point breaks and kelp-strewn ledges to brawny big-wave reefs. Best you get there early to bank the light off-shore breezes. Wavescape can help you locate some of the best spots

3. CAMINO BY BIKE

It's a wild and arid land up there, but luminescent beauty and headspace await across the bars of your bike. Crank the nine-day Bikamino gravel-grinder route, with pre-booked accommodation and meals every night. Visit bikamino.com

4. PARK LIFE

The Namaqua National Park is best known for its spectacular wild flower displays in spring, but don't miss the secret "Green Season" from June to August. The 200km Caracal Eco-route starts at Skilpad Wildflower Reserve and descends the Kamiesberg via Soebatsfontein Pass. It makes for a breathtaking 4x4 drive (or mountain bike ride), especially if you work in a detour via the dramatic Wildeperdehoek Pass. 

4. STONE AGE

Get all transcendental at the Spoeg River caves, a historic San and Khoi settlement site in Namaqua National Park. Shell middens here date back at least 1,900 years, and it makes for an unmatched astro-photography location. 

Densen Magaisa holds up the fossilised teeth of a great white shark and the gargantuan Megalodon shark dinosaur.
Densen Magaisa holds up the fossilised teeth of a great white shark and the gargantuan Megalodon shark dinosaur.
Image: Jacques Marais

6. BOOT UP, BOET

Clear your head while reconnecting with nature on a 10-day slack-packing adventure along the Namaqua Camino route. Walkers will cover a staunch 240km, much of it inside the national park, but every night there will be a comfortable camp and tasty food to welcome you home. Visit namaquacamino.co.za

There's unfortunately a lot of destructive mining happening along the Diamond Coast — much of it illegal and uncontrolled — and you could help by supporting the NGO Protect the West Coast (find out more at protectthewestcoast.org).


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