Clarence Drive - A scenic wonder - Gordons Bay to Hermanus

Near Rooiels on Clarence Drive
Near Rooiels on Clarence Drive Credits: Freda Andrew

Directions to Hermanus from Cape Town -via Gordon’s Bay and Clarence Drive.

This scenic route to Hermanus is an alternative to the route via Sir Lowry's Pass.

From Cape Town take the N2 toward the Cape Town International Airport and Somerset West. Go past the airport and continue to Somerset West. Pass through Somerset West and when you approach the last set of traffic lights as you leave the town turn right onto the R44 to Kleinmond and Gordon’s Bay

. Continue along this road through the suburb of Firlands until you reach a T junction.

Alternative 1

Turn right then first left into Sir Lowry Street and drive down to Beach Road. Turn left and drive along beach road past all the street side cafes restaurants and shops with the various beaches of Gordon’s Bay on your right. You will pass the Gordon’s Bay small craft harbour as well as the South African navy General Botha Training Academy. Alongside the small craft harbour is Bikini Beach - One of South Africa's Blue Flag beaches. Just past Bikini Beach you rejoin Clarence Drive at a T Junction Turn right and continue as below.

Alternative 2

At the T junction turn left, and take the high road above Gordon’s Bay. You can look down between the houses onto the small craft harbour and snatches of the beaches and sea. Beach Road (from Alternative 1) rejoins this road as you head out of Gordon’s Bay toward Hermanus.

A few hundred metres along watch out for a turn to the left marked with a blue on white board indicating the route up to the water treatment plant. Take this deviation which is very very steep as you climb up the side of the mountain to the treatment plant. The views from there are really spectacular and on a clear day you will get some outstanding pictures. When you descend please take it very slowly. Turn left back into Clarence Drive.

All the way along scenic Clarence Drive there a plenty of lay-byes where you can stop to take photographs and enjoy the views. I also, often pull over and let vehicles behind go past. As you travel this magnificent road you are in the midst of the UNESCO proclaimed Kogelberg Biosphere

About 2 km out of Gordon’s Bay you cross the Steenbras River and about 5km further on is “Dappat se gat” a favourite spot for intrepid surfers. The Kogel Bay Day resort has a magnificent and unexpected stretch of beach and is a very popular spot with locals.

Rooiels is a small village with a pleasant beach and a few small restaurants. There are a lot of holiday homes in Rooiels.

Here Clarence Drive turns away from the sea as it goes behind a mountain for a few kilometres until you reach Pringle Bay and Hangklip.

Betty’s Bay is next and if you take the first turn right into Betty’s Bay and follow the signage you will get to the African Jackass Penguin colony at stony point.

Betty’s Bay is also home to the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden which is on your left as you pass through Betty’s Bay.

After Betty’s Bay you reach Kleinmond from where you can enter the Kogelberg Biosphere after making prior arrangements for entry.

Kleinmond’s Harbour Road area is undergoing a huge facelift in 2011 and the new roads are almost complete (August). Cute curio shops and a host of restaurants look down onto Kleinmond Harbour which will also be given new life with a major redevelopment in 2011-2012.

Kleinmond has a beautiful blue flag beach which is on the eastern side of the town. After leaving Kleinmond watch out for the sign to your right to Rooisand Nature Reserve, which is home to Kleinmond’s famous wild horses.

Continue on the R44 and pass the Arabella Golf Estate on your right, and then the turnoff left to Highlands, which a gravel road up to Grabouw and passes the Iona Wine Estate.

A few hundred metres past the Highlands turnoff you reach the T junction with the R43. Turn right to get to Hermanus.

Total distance from Gordon’s Bay is around 80km.

© bruce m andrew

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