Laaiplek lies on the western side of the little town Velddrift, closest to the sea. Its name derived from its function – a place where one can offload the catch of the day on the pier.Laaiplek lies on the Berg River, its pier a hive of activity, particularly last thing in the afternoon as fishing boats sail alongside, and proceed to throw out their catch of the day where it is weighed and then picked up by whatever market has bought today’s catch.
The quayside is a colourful collection of fishing vessels, most of them old-fashioned, brightly painted wooden boats, with names like Doloreze, Roseveld and Excalibur. Laaiplek’s harbour was the site of the first fishing factory and today there is still evidence of fish canning and fish industry. Most of the fish caught here are sardines or haarders, which are then salted and hung out to dry – ride down Bokkoms Laan in Velddrif to see evidence of the fish biltong hung on racks.
But the fishing community is as colourful as it was in the past, and if you want to get a feel for the way of life here, stroll along the quayside in the last afternoon, and join the seagulls and the people who come to get a taste of the action.