Visit the small town of Hopefield on the West Coast during the week and you might not notice much going on; pop in on Saturday morning and you’ll see it buzz with activity. Find it about 120km from Cape Town, close enough for a weekend away. Here are 8 things to do in and around Hopefield.
Kids can come here to feed the sheep or turkeys and the whole family will enjoy the small army of odd stuffed creatures, some of them poking their noses out of hollow columns, others buried waist deep in the ground with the soles of their shoes painted with odd messages like ‘Help me’ or ‘Eish, it’s dark!’ Shoes and boots have been turned into plant holders, a kettle is parked in a garden bed as if it’s a plant. Signs at the entrance caution drivers to take care around ‘free range children’ and warn that ‘trespassers will be recycled’. It’s a weird place for sure, but well worth stopping to appreciate the sense of fun and get an insight into the strange workings of the creators’ minds.
2. West Coast Fossil Park
Imagine sabre-toothed cats, short-necked giraffes and African bears roaming the West Coast. You can find out about them at the West Coast Fossil Park 23km northwest of Hopefield, just beyond where the R45 joins the R27 to Langebaan. Take a journey 5 million years into the past on a guided fossil tour to a dig site, hike a nature trail, go hiking and mountain biking, or have a meal in the coffee shop. To check opening hours and tour times, tel 022-7661606, email email@example.com.
3. Traditional hartebeeshuisie
4. Dutch Reformed church
5. Simply Bee
After a recent Carte Blanche TV programme about American Foul Brood (AFB) disease in bees, there's been a bit of an uproar in the industry. ‘The mistake Carte Blanche made,’ Simply Bee’s Helena van der Westhuizen told me, ‘was to put out the message that AFB is a terrible bacteria – and indeed it is very harmful to the bees – without mentioning that the honey is completely fit for human consumption! It doesn’t affect the quality of the honey either. We’re fortunate,’ she added, ‘not to have any hives that are AFB positive.’ Fortunate because having to destroy hives to prevent the spread of the disease is a costly business.
6. Mill Country Fair
7. Spend a night or two in Hopefield
If you’d like to stay over in the Hopefield area to kick back, relax and soak up the country air, there are a number of places that offer accommodation. Browse through the Safari Now or TravelGround accommodation guides for the region.
8. Hopefield Fynbos Show
There’s lots of other action too – food stalls, beer tent, tractor rides, and animals for kids to watch. The Naval Band and organ recitals in the church (see 4 above) may be on the cards too. Simply Bee’s observation centre (see 5 above) is open for visitors and a partnership with the West Coast Fossil Park (see 2 above) allows show visitors to go to the fossil park too.
The show’s opening hours are 9:00–17:00 for stalls, entertainment and exhibition, live entertainment until 23:00. For more info see the show’s Facebook page. You can also phone the tourism office on 022-7231720 or Ulrich Donaggi on 073-1000357.
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