Earlier this year, the area surrounding Pringle Bay (a small coastal town along the Hangklip Coast, between Betty’s Bay and Rooi Els) was ravaged by a massive veld fire.
Although fires are commonplace here in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve area, this one was particularly bad thanks to immensely strong winds that fanned the flames all the way to the doorstep of Pringle Bay, taking out a couple of the boundary houses in the process, and burning literally on the doorstep of Chantelle’s aunt and uncle’s home.
(Apparently, it was only through a freak change of wind direction at the very last second that the town of Pringle Bay actually emerged relatively unscathed from this inferno.)
A couple of days after this disaster, Chantelle and I decided to take a scenic drive out along the picturesque Clarence Drive, and along the way decided to drop in on Pringle Bay to survey the damage.
The devastation was eye-opening. Many of the surrounding hill faces were now completely reduced to sand and stone, with only the blackened remains of bushes poking out here and there, the result being an eerie, almost alien landscape left to drive through.
Amazingly, despite the scale and proximity of the fire, it appeared that less than a handful of homes were actually razed, quite astonishing considering that some of the open plots sitting right in between the houses were burnt!
Making our way back to the center of the town, we decided to do a little exploring and head out towards Hangklip, seeing as it was a road that neither of us had actually ever driven before.
We ended up following the bad gravel road all the way to the (rather dilapidated, though some would say charming) Hangklip Hotel, turning around at its famous Plankies pub next door – all whilst under the watchful eye of a local baboon who was busy tucking into the leftovers of what had very obviously been quite the party the previous evening.
Back in Pringle Bay proper, we strolled around some of the lovely little establishments that seem to be popping up all over the town these days, before settling in at Simply Coffee, the coffee shop section of the super popular Bistro 365 & Simply Coffee restaurant hub.
And I’m rather pleased that we did. The food – and beer – was particularly excellent!
(Apparently the coffee shop runs during the day, before closing for the evening when the upstairs Bistro tweaks the menu and takes over).
Surprisingly enough, I didn’t nearly take as many photos on the day as what I normally would do – so all the more reason to visit again I guess…
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Not bad for an impromptu afternoon’s exploring then.
P.S. Clarence Drive alone is ALWAYS worth the drive!