Velddrif is situated some 2 km upstream from where the Berg River
flows into the sea at the Bay of St Helena. The name Velddrif
came into existence when a farmer, Theunis Smit, took his stock
through a drift in the veld, to find grazing across the river.
The animals often had to swim across the river. Later on, in 1899,
a pont was built, which was the only means of crossing the Berg
About a hundred years ago, the wheat harvest from the Sandveld
was brought down the Berg River to a storing place near the rivermouth.
There it was then loaded onto smaller boats to take the wheat
across the sand banks to bigger ships waiting further out, on
their way to Cape Town.
The "loading place" eventually became Laaiplek. In
1968 engineers blasted a channel, linking the river with St Helena
Bay, and the fishing harbour of Laaiplek was completed.
On the duny, windswept seashore lies the lovely seaside resort
of Dwarskersbos - little West Coast houses are neighboured by
fancy double storey residences. A lovely holiday resort, offering
family pleasure on warm West Coast days, drenched in blue.
Not too far away, lies the Rocher Pan Nature Reserve, which has
a freshwater lake and is home to many species of bird, animals
and plants, an absolute pleasure after the first heavy winter
Developers have discovered the potential of this beautiful part
of the West Coast. The luxurious Port Owen Marina is a popular
holiday and weekend resort for the discerning.
Regular boat trips are taken up the river to view birds, e.g.
flamingoes and pelicans. This is one of the best birding experiences
on the West Coast.
The annual Berg River Canoe Marathon ends at Velddrif, and ocean
going yachts have found this a safe basin to moor in. The area
also offers good fishing, for both boat and rock or surf anglers.
Culturally, the West Coast Gallery in the heart of Velddrif represents
over 100 artists and craftsmen in the region, including the work
of local fishermen. Here too, we find the only reed maze in South
Velddrif and Laaiplek restaurants, which are on the Crayfish
Route, have a choice of seafood delicacies and traditional country
fare, served with characteristic West Coast hospitality. And,
of course, the centre of the Bokkom industry!
The tourist has a wide choice of hotels, caravan parks and guest
houses in and around Velddrif. Hotels are situated on the riverbanks,
and caravan parks offer spectacular views of both the rivermouth
and the sea.
Velddrif and its environs have an ambience that, once experienced,
will bring one back time and time again.
The mild Mediterranean climate offers year round vacation possibilities.
Here, life drifts on in a peaceful atmosphere, giving one time
to unwind, to relax without crowds, noise and traffic, and to
surround oneself with undisturbed nature.