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 River.
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 duney, 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 freshwater vleis and is home to many species of bird, animals and plants, an absolute pleasure after the first heavy winter rains.
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 watersports enthusiast or nature lover.
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. Ocean-going yachts have found Port Owen a safe basin to moor in. The area also offers good fishing, for both boat and rock or surf anglers.
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.