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Langebaan: The Perfect Day Trip to South Africa’s Kitesurfing Capital from Cape Town

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1 month ago

Excellent wind conditions have turned Langebaan into a kitesurfing town, and when the weather is good, the kites fill the sky in the most mesmerizing way. If that wasn’t enough, Langebaan is also a prime spot for twitchers, or bird-watchers given the diversity of birdlife in the area.

Langebaan is about a 1.5-hour drive from Cape Town so it makes for a great day trip from Cape Town, especially during the windy months from November to February. Be warned that your drive to Langebaan will pass through a few sketchy areas so make sure your car is locked, you don’t stop on the road, and you have a full tank of gas before you set off.

Things to do in Langebaan

Watch the kitesurfing

The real reason that we recommend you visit Langebaan is to experience the world-class kitesurfing culture. For those who haven’t experienced a kitesurfing town, it feels strangely like a ski town, except instead of snow and ski gear rentals, there’s sand and kitesurfing shops.

The culture is otherwise quite similar to a ski town. People tend to congregate around the beach to watch the kite surfers, and there is a culture of “apres” where everyone goes for a drink or a meal after the day is over.

We recommend you get a table at Pearly’s or RocXiBeach at about 4 pm to see the best view of kite surfing. Otherwise, you can simply walk straight into the main part of Langebaan Beach in front of Bree Street and take a seat on the sand or, better yet, walk along the beach (keeping distance from the kite surfers).

The true joy of spending the day in Langebaan is speaking to the friendly locals about the sport that they know and love. People are only too willing to talk about the wind conditions, the best spot on the beach to launch from, the best boards, and how to master a particular technique. Get into the local spirit and join the conversation.

Take a kitesurfing lesson

If you’d like to try kitesurfing yourself, there are a number of excellent group and private lesson providers just a stone’s throw from the main beach. Kite Lab and Constantly Kiting come very highly recommended by Langebaan locals.

Specifically, Kite Lab’s group lessons are no more than two persons, which is essential for first timers. They don’t require any experience with water sports, so even true beginners will be embraced with welcoming arms. And if you’re really looking to get into kitesurfing and have some time to spare, Constantly Kiting offers “Zero to Hero” camps over a few days or a week so you can be out on the water on your own sooner.

Cape Town and surrounds is full of adventure activities and sports (some of which, like hiking, are free). Kitesurfing is one of the best of them, and you can get lessons for less than US$250 with everything included if you book far enough in advance. If you do decide to stay in Langebaan for kitesurfing lessons, there is plenty of great accommodation that is designed for kitesurfing in the area.

Pick up great antiques at incredibly low prices

Small towns usually have great antique selections at rock-bottom prices because they’re serving the local economy and not the tourist economy. This is very much true of Langebaan which boasts Vintage 2 Decor, an antique shop which might have some of the most unique things at the best prices you can find.

As you’re walking along Bree Street, don’t be shy about walking into the kitesurfing shops and speaking to the locals about the sport, especially if you’re unfamiliar. People take it very seriously in Langebaan, and they’re only too happy to share the knowledge.

Walk along Langebaan Beach

First, make sure go get a soft serve from Milky Lane. After that, take your ice cream down to Langebaan Beach and walk along the beach, soaking up the vibe of the area while watching the kite surfers do their thing (expertly). Remember, it’s windy, so the wind will very likely carry that ice cream onto your clothes.

Milky Lane (and a lot of other shops and restaurants) are only open during kitesurfing season in the summer.

If you’re looking for a more secluded area but still have a great view of the kitesurfing, walk right to the top of Langebaan Beach. You’ll easily find a spot away from the cars and crowds so you can enjoy an entirely uninterrupted view of the kitesurfing.

Long lunch at Die Strandloper

One of the other reasons to head up north to Langebaan is to eat at Die Strandloper. This is a place that only locals and South Africans know. In short, Die Strandloper is a ten-course lunch cooked over open hearths. It’s extremely casual, so don’t expect any cutlery. Instead, you’ll be given mussel shells to pick up your food.

A long lunch at Die Strandloper might be the most quintessentially South African (and, specifically, West Coast) experience that one can have. Bring a boardgame to enjoy in between being called up for your next course.

You can bring your own drinks, but there is also a beach bar for some added serenity (and to escape the children, if that might enhance the experience for you). Once you’ve got your drink, you can go for a dip in the ocean, or even just sit by the water and smell the ocean and take in the vibe.

Everyone will be describing the food as lakka, or good in Afrikaans.

There is a real commune-like feel of the meal at Die Strandloper. The cycle of life feels alive and well here, with the lady charged with deboning your fish throwing the head and tail to the seagulls. Everything feels very inviting, and no one is there for anything other than spending an afternoon with friends and family.

Staying the night

If you decide to stay the night in Langebaan at one of the many hotels (maybe because you’ve been inspired to take kitesurfing seriously), we recommend dinner at Kokomo Beach Bar in front of the beach. It epitomizes the vibe of the town, and you’ll find yourself very easily striking up conversations with locals about the kitesurfing conditions.

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