The very helpful West Coast Peninsula Tourism (tel. 022/714-2088) is in Saldanha, on Van Riebeeck Street. There's very little reason to visit this industrialized town. Langebaan, the closest town to West Coast National Park, may be more convenient. Tourist Information (tel. 022/772-1515) is at the corner of Oostewal (the road in from the R27) and Bree streets. Farther north, the Paternoster Village Tourism office (tel. 022/752-2323; Mon noon-5pm, Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-6pm) is as informative; find them as you enter town, on the right side of the road before the four-way stop. For up-to-date information on the best places to view flowers at any given time, contact the Flower Line at tel. 083/910-1028 (daily Aug-Oct).
From Cape Town, take the N1, then turn north onto the R27. If you intend to travel farther north, say, to Cederberg, and want to get there quickly, take the N7 off the N1; this is the main road north to Namaqualand (the flower region) and Namibia.
The only way to explore the area is by car or with a tour operator. Sun Tours (tel. 021/797-4646 or 083/270-5617; www.suntourssa.co.za) offers tailor-made tours with a network of guides in vehicles ranging from Harley-Davidsons to luxury sedans. They charge per vehicle, not per person, which means good value for families or larger groups. From R330 per hour.
In Langebaan, 62-year-old André Kruger (tel. 022/772-2412 or 073/664-0506) is one of the area's most experienced birders and guides. He offers tours of the internationally recognized Important Bird Areas of West Coast National Park and Lower Berg River Wetlands, as well as more general nature and cultural excursions, from R1,000 per day (excluding vehicle costs).
For a look at San culture and history (the San, called Bushmen in the past, are Southern Africa's First People), visit !Khwa ttu (tel. 022/492-2998; www.khwattu.org; Tues-Sun 8:30am-5pm; tours are set for 10am and 2pm and cost R175 per person), an educational center run by the San themselves, off the R27 en route to Langebaan. San-guided tours include a game-viewing drive and nature walk, a visit to a traditional village, and an introduction to the clicks and tones that are such a characteristic part of San speech.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.