South Africa’s coastline is almost 3,000 km long, offering a wonderful variety of experiences. In this series, SA Blog dips a toe in the country’s major destination coasts.
The Diamond Coast
- Where: Namaqualand (a.k.a. the Richtersveld), Northern Cape Province, in South Africa’s extreme northwest.
- Attractions: Port Nolloth, where diamonds are vaccuumed up from the ocean floor; Alexander Bay, which was once a forbidden area for visitors, but now offers diamond mine tours.
- How to get there… By car: From Cape Town, drive hell-for-leather up the N7, turning off at the R382 for both Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay. Stopping over one night in Garies is a good idea – especially during flower season.
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By plane: *Best Option* Fly Air Namibia from Cape Town to Oranjemund (Namibia), then skip across the border to Alexander Bay. Or fly to Upington, then drive. (See SA Blog’s handy Upington Airport guide.)
If you’re wild’n’crazy (& with a travelling companion): A. Get a map of SA’s entire west coast. B. Proceed to the Cape Town minibus taxi terminus, on the roof of the central train station. C. Ask random people about long-distance taxis. D. Having found one, see how far north you can get in one go. (aim for Springbok). E. Go there. F. Repeat from “C” until you reach your destination.
- Highlight: The “shipwreck trail”, an (eco-sensitive) meander in a 4X4 across coastal dunes, tracking a series of sunken ships, many of which can be seen from the shore. The trail begins in Kleinsee, a town a few kilometers south of Port Nolloth – contact Jackie Englebrecht on +27 (0) 27 807 2999 to arrange a trip.
- More information:
coastofdiamonds.co.za (best site for shipwreck trail and package tours)
Northern Namaqualand Tourism Information Office:
+27 (0) 27 831 1330 ext. 2396 or +27 (0) 84 513 0871 (mobile)