Gordons Bay to Rooi Els
I can remember, years ago, when friends and I would take a Sunday drive out to Gordon’s Bay and drive the 20km stretch of road to Rooi Els and then along past Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay and have a braai (BBQ) along the way. It was beautiful then and remains beautiful today.
The first place to go to, as you leave Gordon’s Bay, is up the road to the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant just for the incredible view one gets of False Bay. In the old days one could also drive to the dam itself but that is no longer permitted.
I have travelled this road (R44) to Rooi Els many times but never new it was officially called Clarence Drive. I must say that along with Chapmans Peak drive in Cape Town I rate this as one of the most beautiful drives I have been on in the Cape Province.
This coastline is very popular with rock anglers but is notorious for the number of fishermen that have been washed off the rocks and drowned over the years.
“Die see het hom geneem” (The sea took him)
One of the first places you come to on the drive is The Sunbird Restaurant and Pub at the mouth of the Steenbras River. There is also a guest lodge and self catering B&B.
I remember my folks telling me stories about camping here when they were both students. There are also challenging hiking trails in the area.
Just be aware that the Kogel Bay Park is pretty rough and ready. There is no electricity and the ablution blocks are not great. Also you can not just arrive on a Friday and book in. That all, including payment, has to be done in advance via fax or at the Strand Municipality. I am beginning to wonder if the Overberg and Overstrand Municipalities are trying to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible to try and stop people camping? Very strange!
The hot water is heated by gas and as you can see there is a solar panel for some lighting. I was told that unfortunately the light was not working.
There are 2 other day camps such as the one above, Sharks Bay and Klippis Baai, which are very popular for Sunday picnics and braai’s for the family.
I have friends who have a holiday house at Rooi Els where I stayed on a few occasions and it became one of my favourite places to go to for a break. It has not changed that much over the years – a few new shops – and there are only a certain number of houses that can be built there. If I remember correctly there are about 180 houses and only about 60 more that can be built there.
Clarence Drive (R44) is only about 20km’s long but it has some of the most beautiful views and scenery in the Cape Province and it is truly worth taking some time out and exploring all the stops along the way.