Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

Vermont, Onrus & Sandbaai.

As one gets to the end of the R44 you get to a T-junction with the Bot River to Hermanus road the R43. You pass the fishing  villages of Church Haven and Hawston , which has long been the home of abalone fishermen. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore these two places and went straight on to Vermont.

Basically Vermont, Onrus and Sandbaai are upmarket suburbs of the major town in the area, Hermanus. Each place has its own character and I found Vermont to be best of the three. They all have one thing in common and that is they are all situated in Walker Bay and are great places, at the right time of year, for whale spotting and viewing.

Great coastal hiking trail that links the three places.
Great coastal hiking trail that links the three places.

Davies pool with Onrus in the background. The pool is dirctly in front of the Onrus Caravan Park.
Davies pool with Onrus in the background. The pool is directly in front of the Onrus Caravan Park.

A view of Vermont from the highest point I could find.
A view of Vermont from the highest point I could find.

Vermont is not only a residential town but is becoming increasingly popular for retirees.
Vermont is not only a residential town but is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement village with many security type estates.

Even though Hermanus is just 10 minutes away they also have a modern shopping centre.
Even though Hermanus is just 10 minutes away they also have a modern shopping centre.

The next place you come to as you head down the R43 towards Hermanus is Onrus. Actually the tree villages are linked and it is difficult to tell where one ends and the next one starts.

The Onrus River and lagoon are accesable next to the beach.
The Onrus River and lagoon are accessible next to the beach.

The beach at Onrus.
The beach at Onrus.

The safe lagoon area which is nex to the beach.
The safe lagoon area which is next to the beach. To be honest the swimming here was the best of the three areas.

The nnn at the beach.
The Beach Kiosk Bistro at the beach. Good place to stop for breakfast.

One of the good looking "sea side cottages".
One of the good looking “sea side cottages”.

I saw quite a few art galleries in Onrus.
The “Mission’s House Gallery. I saw quite a few art galleries in Onrus.

Te next place you get to just before you reach Hermanus is Sandbaai.
The last place you get to just before you reach Hermanus is Sandbaai.

Unfortuneatly there had been a massive sea so the beach was not looking it's best.
Unfortunately there had been a massive sea so the beach was not looking it’s best.

As with most sea side places I have visited there are some pretty big houses.
As with most sea side places I have visited there are some pretty big houses.

The bottom section of one of the older houses has been turned into a restaurant.
The bottom section of one of the older houses has been turned into a restaurant called Bamboo Beach.

Also discovered that Sandbaai has it's own private college calle Northcliff House.
Also discovered that Sandbaai has it’s own private college called Northcliff House.

At the junction of the R43 where one turns right to go down to Sandbaai there is an intriguing shopping village on the left which is well worth exploring. There are art galleries, restaurants, an interior design studio and a wine village shop where all of the local wines can be purchased .

Hemel en Aarde

Hemel en Aarde Shopping Village.

Intersting use of old wine barrels.
Interesting use of old wine barrels.

There are a few wine shops here and you can also go for tastings at the

There are a quite few wine shops here and you can also go for tastings at the Whalehaven Winery.

There really is a lot to see and experience in the three villages  so try and make a day of it – have breakfast, go swimming, look through the art galleries, have lunch,  taste and buy a few bottles of the local wines (some of them are excellent) and just have a wonderfully relaxing day.

Kleinmond.

The last of the 4 sea-side villages along the R44 , after Betty’s Bay, is Kleinmod which lies on a lagoon at the small mouth – hence the name – of the Botriver on a narrow strip of land hugged on the one side by the Palmiet Mountain range and on the other by the Atlantic Ocean.  Despite its beauty and relative peacefulness, Kleinmond is the largest of the four coastal towns  and as such, serves as a commercial centre for the Hangklip-Kleinmond area. Traditionally a retirement village, the town comes alive during holiday season and is renowned for large numbers of crayfish (lobster) in summer and whale watching in winter.

As with the others it is also part of the UNESCO declared Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Kleinmond lies at the mouth of the Bot River Vlei, an important wetland, which has become home to a herd of feral horses that have adapted to life in the marshy conditions. They are occasionally spotted by visitors on walks or canoe trips in the estuary. All four villages are  famous for the annual visits of the Southern Right Whales and have a wide variety of bird life.

Just before you get to Kleinmond you cross over the Palmiet River. You can experience the river during both the low summer months and in winter when this friendly stream becomes a torrent of class 3+ white water. There are tour operators in the area and people with their own kayaks can explore the Palmiet and Bot Rivers lagoons,estuaries and vleis.

Harbour Road is the place to be.  There are wonderful small shops to explore, awesome galleries and craft stores and the seafood restaurants serve the freshest fish in town.

The
The Fishing Cat

The
Sunshine Trading.

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“Deliciously Different” looked like one of the more popular eating spots.

If you are into Sushi this is the place tp be.
If you are into Sushi this is the place tp be.

The shops and restaurants are situated just above the small harbour. There was quite a big sea running and I was fascinated by the foam caused by the sea action against the rocks.
The shops and restaurants are situated just above the small harbour. There was quite a big sea running and I was fascinated by the foam caused by the sea action against the rocks.

The house come in all shapes and sizes but I rather fancied this one which over looks the main beach and lagoon.
The houses come in all shapes and sizes but I rather fancied this one  overlooking the beach and lagoon.

Main Beach in Kleinmond.
Main Beach in Kleinmond.

The beach here, although not great for swimming, is perfect for fishing.
The beach here, although not great for swimming, is perfect for fishing.

The safe, cool waters of the lagoon.
The safe, cool waters of the lagoon which is next to the main beach.

Fishing from the rocks while the family enjoy themselves at the beach about 50 meters away.

Fishing from the rocks while the family enjoy themselves at the beach about 50 meters away.

There are also 2 caravan parks in the area, one at Palmiet River and the other just as one leaves the town on the left hand side. To be honest I would love to have spent more time (and money) in the area but I found their prices and new high season dates to be totally ridiculous. I know for a fact that sites at both parks were charged out at R75 per day last year are now charged at R240 plus R30 for electricity. That is crazy and I really hope that the municipality come to it’s senses soon as they, and the surrounding towns, are loosing a lot of tourist money.

The Arabella

The Arabella Country Estate

A few km’s outside of Kleinmond is the Arabella Country Estate which overlooks the largest natural lagoon in South Africa. Situated just 20 minutes away from Hermanus it has a variety of dining and entertainment options and the award winning 18 hole championship golf course which is rated as one of the best courses in the Western Cape.

Pringle Bay.

The first village from Rooi Els on the R44, in the Cape Hangklip area, is Pringle Bay. ( From what I was told Hangklip is not a place but an area and there is Groot Hangklip and Klein Hangklip.)

The villages of Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond share a common history from the ancient heritage of the early Bushmen and Hottentots, to a safe haven for smugglers in the 1800s, whalers in the early part of the 1900s before developing as holiday and retirement villages. There are now quite a lot of people that live and work there permanently (lucky people at that) as shop and restaurant owners, artists and of course estate agents. (I always marvel at the number of estate agents there are in all the small villages that I have been to.) The area is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve which is an internationally acclaimed conservancy because of the incredible variety of plants found here: an estimated 1650 species of mainly fynbos. In 1998 it became the first UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserve in Southern Africa.

Welcome to Pringle Bay.
Welcome to Pringle Bay.

A copy of an airial photograph of Pringle Bay.

A copy of an aerial photograph of Pringle Bay. Not sure how long ago it was taken.

You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experiance views like this one.
You ether build as close to the sea as you can or up the side of the mountain to experience views like this.
House with a view.
House with a view. It almost looks suspended from this angle.

If you drive through Pringle Bay and take the dirt road that used to go directly to Betty’s Bay you come to a T junction where the road has now been blocked off. There is a short but bad road that leads down to a spectacular beach. ( I am not kidding about the road as I saw 2 cars get stuck and have to be towed out.)

End of the road - turn right to the beach.
End of the road – turn right to the beach.
Stunning beach.
Stunning beach. There had been massive seas so there was a lot of kelp on all the beaches.

A short distance away, as one drives back to Pringle Bay, is the Hangklip Lighthouse which is about a 15 minute walk,  and the small harbour /  launching area for all the various types of recreational boats. The fishing, crayfishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming at Pringle Bay is excellent and I saw many fish and crayfish being brought in on the boats.

Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.
Hangklip Lighthouse which is now 50 years old.

An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.
An old reminder, near the harbour, to always respect the sea.

Somebody was going to be dining well.
Somebody was going to be dining well.

After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.
After a hard days fishing always good to stop in for a cold one at the famous / infamous Hangklip Hotel.

The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
The beautiful main beach at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately as stated previously there had been massive seas that week and the beach was covered with kelp.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore as well.
As you can see there are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!
When I did a post for McDougals Bay last year I took a photo of quite a strange looking house and mentioned I had seen something similar in Pringle Bay. Well here it is!

I think Pringle Bay is a great place and would love to have spent more time there and at Betty’s Bay exploring. Unfortunately they, together with Kleinmond, fall under the Overstrand Municipality who have increased prices at the 2 local caravan parks to such an extent that I could not afford to stop over for even one night. At Palmiet Rivier Park and Kleinmond the price of a stand last year was R75 and now this year they have pushed it up to R240 plus you pay an extra R30 for electricity. (R900 pm for a 10 amp plug.)  Not only that but they have extended their High Season to now be 1st November to end of April.  Most places have December, January and Easter weekend as High Season. Maybe they don’t want campers and caravaners at their parks. Sure looked like it when I went to have a look – a combined total of about 400 sites and 5 people staying there.

Gordon’s Bay.

Gordon’s Bay, a picturesque coastal village just a few km’s from the Strand, is set against the steep slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and is one of the 3 towns that form the Helderberg Basin. This Mediterranean style sea side village is home to the South African Naval College and only 50 minutes from Cape Town and just off the N2 high way.

I asked a few of the locals where the Strand stops and Gordon’s Bay begins and all said the start of Gordon’s Bay is at the new harbour or Harbour Island.

Harbour Island
Harbour Island

The new harbour
The new harbour
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There are lots of shops and restaurants situated in the harbour.
You can also try your luck fishing off the horbour wall.
You can also try your luck at fishing off the harbour wall.

Pleasure trips on luxury yachts and cruisers are available for charter from both harbours.

Looking accross the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.
Looking across the bay one can still see the famous ships anchor with GB on the side of the mountain which has been there for many years.

As one drives into the centre of Gordon’s Bay through the narrow streets you will find many street cafes, bars and restaurants and if you are a seafood lover this is the place to be.

Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant int he centre of the village.
Trawlers Sea Food Restaurant in the centre of the village.

The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
The SA Naval College is situated in the old harbour area.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.
Fishing boats in the old harbour.

There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called
There are some interesting restaurants in the old harbour and this one is called the Happy Oyster.

Gordon’s Bay is  known for it’s safe bathing with both the Main and Bikini Beaches attracting thousands of happy sun worshippers on weekends during  hot summer days. Bikini Beach is a Blue Flag Beach and is situated next to the old harbour.

Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach blue flag status.
Bikini Beach.
Bikini Beach. This was taken on a weekday so only a few lucky locals were there.

I am sure that early on Gordon’s Bay was more of a holiday town with not many people actually living there. Now days, what with the high way and fast cars many people live here and commute to work in Cape Town. There are some some really amazing houses that have been built on the beach front and on the side of the mountain  offering some spectacular views over False Bay looking toward Cape Town. On a clear day Table Mountain and the mountain ranges round Cape Point are clearly visible.

Some of the houses right next to Bikini Beach.Houses right next to Bikini Beach.

House built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don't allow building any higher.
Houses built on the side of the mountain. Hopefully they don’t allow them to build  any higher.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have from this point.

A new structure built high above the bay. The next shot gives you an idea of the view they have.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

I don't know about you but I would find it difficult to leave and go to work.

Gordon’s Bay, as is the Strand, is only ten minutes away from the Helderberg Wine Route and brewery and a 15 minute drive over the Spectacular Sir Lowry’s pass takes you to the fruit route at Elgin and Grabouw. The village is on the scenic coastal route to Hermanus and the whale route. During September and October whales can be seen in False Bay. For the more active there is a walk above the village on the Danie Miller trail and you can explore the historic cannon and Foogon wheel walk at Sir Lowry’s Pass or have  a dip in the Crystal Pools in the Steenbras Valley.

The Strand.

Well here I am at the start of the second part of my travel adventure to try and cover the coastline of South Africa from Alexander Bay, on the West coast, all the way to Kosibay on the East Coast in my little old Sprite caravan. So far I have completed the journey all the way down the west coast to as far as Tableview and am now heading up what I will call the Western Cape South Coast and starting off again  at the Strand.

The Strand (the beach) , also known as the Gem of  False Bay, with it’s endless white beaches, is situated about 50km’s east of Cape Town at the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and along with Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay forms part of the picturesque Helderberg Basin.

In 1714 the Strand was founded as a holiday and fishing resort, it’s main attraction being “the strand”,  consisting of 5 km’s of sandy white beaches lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean in False Bay. The beach is recognised as one of the best and safest bathing areas in South Africa

5 km's of safe bathing in the warm Atalantic Ocean.
5 km’s of safe bathing in the warm Indian Ocean.
Having fun on the beach
Dylan Frick having fun on the beach

The beach front promenade is lined with restaurants, pubs and coffee shops as well as entertainment areas, such as Dune Park, with putt-putt (mini golf), water-slides, tidal pool and a heated Olympic size swimming pool.

Putt-putt (Mini Golf) at Dune Park
Putt-putt (Mini Golf) at Dune Park

Waterworld.
Waterworld.
One of the many beach road cafes.
One of the many beach road cafes.
The beach road goes on for km's and has some pretty impressive buildings along the way.
The beach road goes on for km’s and has some pretty impressive buildings along the way.
More modern buildings linning the beach road.
Modern buildings lining the beach road.

This one reminds me of a design I have seen from somewhere overseas?
This one reminds me of a design I have seen from somewhere overseas?

The Strand is basically split into two parts –  The beach-front area and 2 or 3 streets back, away from the beach, is a small business section and many of the older housing properties – but most of the action takes place along the beach front.

The Strand Pavillion.
The Strand Pavilion.

Some of the shops housed in the pavilion.

Some of the shops housed in the pavilion.

Next to the Pavilion there are trading stalls which are open 7 days a week.
Next to the Pavilion there are many trading stalls which are open 7 days a week.
You can even buy fish for your supper there.
You can even buy fish for your supper there.

For the sporting enthusiast Strand offers a wide variety of organised sport such as golf, tennis, bowls, rugby and squash and on the water-sport side there is surfing, sailing, powerboating, paddleskiing, boardsailing and of course fishing and diving. It is close to the wine route  and there are many interesting places nearby to be explored.

All in all I enjoyed the 5 days I spent here and in Gordon’s Bay but I can tell you that over a hot summer weekend the place really gets packed out with beach lovers and holiday makers so that even 5 km’s of beach doesn’t feel like quite enough.

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