Let’s go to Yzerfontein
It is a freezing winters day, the West Coast wildflowers are hiding their colours, curled up tightly against the biting wind, and like them I am yearning for a hint of sun.
Beulah’s Farm Deli is my introduction to the friendly, small town lifestyle in Yzerfontein. Driving along the short dirt road to Beulah’s it just looks like a corrugated iron warehouse with a stunning field of wild daisies in front of it.
Closer inspection reveals little details, starting on the long porch. An old bicycle, a wagon wheel, milk urns and jars of wildflowers share space with the table and chairs set outside.
Stepping inside there is a fabulous bakery to the left and a large space dotted with interesting furniture, books, blankets, and things. Behind the long counter, Aaron the barista stands proudly next to his hard core coffee machine.
Karen, the owner of Beulah’s takes me through the menu selection and chats to me in between serving customers popping in for lunch or to buy the freshly baked breads and produce. She introduces me to the giant of a man called Silent, the Zimbabwean baker responsible for the yeasty aromas wafting out of the oven.
Hot orange butternut soup and bread still warm from the oven are just what I need to ward of the cold.
Aaron takes my coffee order and with great flourish and a huge smile produces an impeccable flat white to round off my meal.
After lunch I spend some time exploring the shop, it’s that kind of place.
A selection of delicate unmatched tea cups dangle on hooks, a colourful crocheted blanket hangs over an easel, pots of paint are displayed on an old kitchen dresser and a ginger cat is curled up on an easy chair in front of the fire.
In the bakery section I watch as Silent kneads the dough, his huge hands making it seem effortless.
Tip: Beulah’s is situated five hundred meters before the turn off to Yzerfontein on the R27 and accessed via a short dirt road. The signage is not very visible, blink and you will miss it, so keep your eyes peeled, this spot is not to be missed.
Karen Schrader from Yzerfontein Accommodation takes me to my home for the next 3 nights, 92 Atlantic House, a mansion set up on the hill with views to die for. It can accommodate ten people and the master suite occupies the entire upper level and I have this all to myself.
While I am unpacking Karen is telling me all about Yzerfontein in between taking calls from prospective clients.
Yzerfontein Accommodation is more than a website portal, Karen knows each property well and for me the biggest plus is she welcomes phone calls.
I find it so much easier to book accommodation when I can talk to an actual human who knows her products and listens to my unique needs, and that is Karen’s strength. She makes it her mission to find you the perfect match at the right price and failure is not an option.
Yzerfontontein is a nature lovers happy place
Yzerfontein is for nature lovers. There is so much to explore from the Dassen Island Lighthouse built in 1873 and home to seabirds, penguins and shipwrecks, to the Black Oyster Catchers spotted on the beach, and the pelicans and flamingos on the salt pans just out of town.
The Southern Right and Humped Back Whales can be seen from July to January every year.
For history lovers there are Middle Stone Age sites that include old lime kilns, an ancient hyena lair and a cave. The harbour, rock cliffs and beaches offer hours of walks an exploring throughout the year.
I got to know Yzerfontein through the people I met at the places I visited and here are a few more of my highlights.
Meet some more people and places of Yzerfontein
Rosmead Artisan is the dream of Brett and Anli Nortier.
As a teenager Brett worked in his aunts shop in Kalk Bay and this inspired him n to study to become a chef.
Finding life in Cape Town a little crazy, he and Anli moved to Yzerfontein three years ago, initially renting space to bake. They moved into their new premises last year and according to Brett decorated it on a shoestring budget.
The walls are decorated with the work of local artists and are for sale. The shelves and extremely long Oregon pine counter were made by Brett’s uncle using wood that had been lying in the family garage for years.
Rosmead Artisan is a light airy space. Simple and welcoming.
Comfy chairs lend themselves to reading the paper, tables and chairs are perfect for a sit down meal and a long counter at the window is ideal for people watching or admiring the views.
The large ovens are in full view and Brett and his assistant Ticha can be observed rolling out dough and doing all the things that bakers do.
Brett now supplies many Cape Town venues with his breads and pastries, and locals have standing orders for his tasty treats as they tend to sell out fast.
Anli does the admin and books and she is often accompanied by their adorable baby daughter who entertains the visitors.
Ignite your enthusiasm at Yzerfontein Tourism
The Yzerfontein Tourism office is right on the beach in Die Vishuis, (the Fish House) the oldest building in the town.
Lynn, the manager is new to the area, she is a ball of energy with boundless enthusiasm, and her passion for Yzerfontein is contagious. While selecting brochures, the view through the door is of the ocean, and for added enjoyment there is a small grassy area with a bench just meters from the breakers. I can’t think of a better spot to sit and chat about the local attractions.
If you want to get salt spray in your hair and sand in your toes, take a walk down the side of the building. Small dark stones rubbed smooth from aeons of wave action lead to sandy spots, large rocks to sit on and a tiny, steep sloping beach. Gulls soar and screech overhead, waves pound the rock sending up dramatic spays and the ocean absorbs all my senses.
This is where Lynn and I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a shared enthusiasm for everything about the sea. As Lynn says, she has the best office in the world.
Do pop in for some advice, a chat and know you will leave with a smile, and quite possibly a big hug.
Get a Taste of Yzer
Meet Joey and Iris Cupido. This delightful couple retired to Yzerfontein, both having had long and highly successful careers in the medical profession.
Iris has just completed her Tour Guide course and invites guests to an authentic West Coast experience.
I arrived at their house just after six in the evening and we sat and chatted over a glass of port. Iris expresses her love for Yzerfontein by preparing simple but delicious, traditional West Coast fare, home cooked to perfection.
Iris cooks and Joey talks, but what fascinating stories they both have to share. That evening we enjoyed a snoek pate with kale, apple and tomato, a chicken curry, malva pudding with custard and finished with coffee.
I arrived as a guest and left as a friend.
Tip: Arrive hungry. Contact the tourism office to book your “Taste of Yzer” culinary adventure.
When Eldre and Anel realised that they were not finding the kind of food they liked in restaurants, their solution was to make it themselves and so Feast was born.
They started with exciting pop events and secret menus, expanded into catering for events and parties and now have the cosy Feast coffee shop right at the beach.
Sit inside or out but do visit for good coffee and a yummy selection of cakes and treats or lunch.
They also boast the smallest gift shop in town, I think it is about the size of a cupboard, do go and see it for yourself.
Eldre and Anel also have a range of home cooked meals that can be ordered and delivered to self-catering accommodations in the town, so do take note of their number.
Feast: 084 430 5225 give them a call, your taste buds will thank you.
This quirky shop with the awesome name sells great coffee and is worth exploring.
It’s one of those places where the more you look you more you see.
I loved the inside tables, glass tops cover a lower box shape covered in funky red and black paper.
Old tin containers, rooibos tea, home made sweets and interesting signage are just a few of the delights of this shop.
Go and say hello.
I love these tables.
About Yzerfontein and how to get there.
Yzerfontein is a seaside town on the West Coast 95 km from centre of Cape Town on the R27.
It hugs the coastline and is spread out over 7,5 km of pristine beaches, rocky cliffs and a harbour, and extends inland up the dunes by half a kilometer. Everywhere is close the sea.
It’s northern boundary is the West Coast National Park, and heading east it is 25 kilometers from Darling.
Yzerfontein was declared a village in 1937. The name is a derivative of the original farm called Eijzerfontein which translated from Dutch means Iron Fountain and refers to the high iron content in the water.
It is where you will find South Africa’s longest beach, aptly named 16 Mile beach which has Blue Flag status.
Yzerfontein is paradise for anyone who enjoys slow living and a beach lifestyle with a strong focus on nature, surfing, wind surfing, fishing, and walking.
Home to about three thousand permanent residents, the numbers swell to around thirty thousand over the summer season.
Upcoming Festivals and Events
Every Saturday: Yzerfontein Park Run
14 -16th September: Darling Wildflower Show
22nd – 24th September: Khwa ttu Heritage Festival
30th September: Groote Post Country Market
13th October: Beach Clean Up
28th October: Groote Post Country Market
26 – 28th October: Darling scarecrow festival
3rd November Yzerfontein Cycle Experience
25th November Groote Post Country Market
Yzerfontein is on the West Coast Way Culture and Tractor Routes, making it an ideal base to explore Darling, Khwa ttu San, Thali Thali and the events and festivals in the area.
As always, opinions are my own.