WALKER BAY FISHING TRAIL
Right next to the beach in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve (between Hermanus and Gansbaai) and near the small village of Stanford.
Whether you’re a solo angler, or taking your family on a day trip, the Walker Bay trail offers spectacular scenery that’s surprisingly remote and accessible only to 4WDs. As the name suggests, the trail guarantees a wide variety of shore-angling opportunities with a good chance of your catching large kabeljou, white steenbras, or the much-sought-after winter fish, galjoen. Orcas and several other species of whale are also a common sight along this shoreline, which has the added benefit of not being crowded or inundated with tourists.
You can enter the reserve at any time, all year long. There used to be a guard at the gate but this station has recently closed – so now entry into the reserve is free.
Situated in the LeBos section of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, the fishing trail follows the eastern coastline from the picturesque village of Stanford towards Hermanus. Spanning 4 500 hectares of shoreline, there’s a seemingly endless and pristine stretch of beach that greets visitors to the Nature Reserve. The beach is only accessible from four well-signposted points that dot the route. Each section of the beach is different to the one before it – and the best spot is the last. The Sopiesklip stop at the end of the route boasts huge sandstone formations, and offers the perfect place for a picnic, or a sheltered sundowner between the rocks. After reaching this point, your only way out of the nature reserve is back along the seven-km route you came. If you don’t take any detours, the exit shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to drive.
The trail is soft-roader friendly, so if you have a RAV 4, a Subaru Forrester, or anything in between, you’ll be fine. There are some tricky sections where the sand can get a bit deep, especially if the weather’s hot and the sand dries out; but this makes the route that much more fun (and challenging) to drive. In some sections, the path is covered by dune sand that has spilt over the track, which you may need to plough through with a heavier right foot, or make sure that your tyres are adequately deflated.
At around 20km (including detours from the trail to the beach stops), the Walker Bay trail isn’t particularly long, nor is it difficult, but it is the perfect place to take your family for a day out in nature – without damaging your vehicle or breaking the bank.
Turn off the R43 into Stanford, drive past the tourism office and continue to Moore Road, where you turn left. The road soon becomes gravel and takes you 17 km to the entrance of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve.
S34° 25’ 800’’
E 19° 21’ 182’’
Stanford (17km by gravel road)
TIME & DISTANCE
7km – 20 km
45 minutes – 2 hours
Take extra time to explore the trails that lead to the beach
There are lovely hotel and self-catering options in Stanford Village, as well as a campsite, known as Harbour Caravan and Camping, in nearby Gansbaai.
Walker Bay Nature Reserve on (028) 314 0062
Harbour Caravan and Camping: 028 384 0872
Visit www.stanfordvillage.co.za for accommodation options