Upgraded road surface along Clarence Drive, Kogelberg views for days, delicious poached eggs benedict for breakfast from Simply Coffee and then some exploring of the rock pools, dunes and lovely beach of Pringle Bay – now that’s the way to spend a Saturday morning.
Interestingly enough – I am reasonably sure that this was the first time that I had ever actually made the effort to locate Pringle Bay’s beach. Unfortunately for me though, this also just happened to be the end of my trusty Huawei P8’s battery.
Hence the almost complete and utter lack of photos of said beach. Sigh.
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Guess it just gives me a reason to head out back that way when I next get the chance.
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!
Without a doubt one of the most beautiful stretches of road in South Africa is Clarence Drive (also known as the R44), a 22 km long scenic coastal drive between the windswept hamlet of Rooi Els and the naval town of Gordons Bay, which nestles in the north-eastern crook of False Bay in the shadow of the Hottentots Hollands mountains.
Clarence Drive was named after Jack Clarence who was responsible for replacing the footpath between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els with a proper road in order to service the radar stations at Stony Point (Betty’s Bay) and at Hangklip. It was built with the help of Italian POWs during WW2 and stretches all the way from Gordons’s Bay into Kleinmond and the heart of the Kogelberg Biosphere.
(From Cape Town’s side, the route takes you through Gordon’s Bay, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Hangklip, Betty’s Bay and finally Kleinmond)
There are 2 stone cairns erected on the side of the road at different points. One is in honour of Jack Clarence and the other is to commemorate the modernisation and upgrading of the road in 1998. The 1998 upgrade has created a well finished, safe road dotted with loads of viewpoints to stop to enjoy the marvelous views over the dramatic scenery of towering mountains meeting the rugged coastline.
The whole coast belongs to the Kogelberg Biosphere reserve, a part of the Cape Floral Kingdom which is the most species dense of all the world’s Plant Kingdoms. With about one thousand six hundred plant species found in barely ten square miles, the area that Clarence Drive passes through contains a floral diversity per unit area that is one of the highest on the planet.
The area is also home to a vast array of wildlife including Cape Leopards, African Weasels, African Wild Cats, Caracals (African Lynxes), Small and Large-Spotted Genets, Cape Foxes, Aardwolfs, Baboons, Cape Clawless Otters, Water Mongooses, Small and Large Grey Mongooses, Striped Polecats, Honey Badgers, Porcupines, Rock Hyraxes, Red Rock Rabbits, Cape and Scrub Hares, Klipspringers, Cape Grysboks, Common Duikers, Grey Rhebucks, and even Bushbucks.
The drive is also the beginning of ‘The Whale Coast’, which is generally regarded as one of the best places in the world to view whales from shore.
Of course, Clarence Drive does hold a particularly special place in my heart as well.
After all, this is the exact spot where I stopped, got down on one knee and asked Chantelle to marry me – in the process making the 6th of December 2008 one of the best days of my life! :)
Admittedly, Easter Weekend 2011 was probably not the most awesome or exciting of Easter periods I’ve ever had, but this one did come with enough variety in activities (and chocolate) to not make it a bad one! ;)
Seeing as our disposable money levels aren’t yet recovered (sigh, I wonder if it will ever recover), it was no going away this year for the two of us, a pity because for a change Chantelle was actually off for the weekend!
Anyway, Friday evening, as all Friday evenings have pretty much become, was a pretty laid back affair, with us doing the daily routine of getting little Jessie-bean fed, bathed and ready for bed, Chantelle then grabbing the opportunity to get to bed early-ish (shame, she has a lot of admin like expressing and getting milk ready each and every night before she can turn in!) for a change, and me the opportunity to put my feet up and take in some entertainment, be it in the form of manga, anime, television or gaming, or my particular favourite, a Jackie Chan movie – watching South African actors in “Who am I?” was so much fun!
Saturday we decided to make the best of the beautiful weather, and after some work in the garden while Chantelle got Jessie all ready to go, we hit the coastal road enjoyed a scenic (well we had to because we were stuck in a line of cars behind one rather leisurely driver) trip past Rooi Els and into Pringle Bay, where we first dawdled around (and changed nappy), before ending up at our usual spot at the delightful, if a little overpriced, @365 restaurant for some yummy lunch and most importantly, delicious dessert!
(This actually marked the first time we had taken Jessica into an eating establishment with us, and because we were prepared with bottle at hand, it went really, really well!)
We followed this up with a lazy drive through to Betty’s Bay, marvelled at the huge sand dunes and commented on how big the sleepy coastal spot seems to have gotten since last we were there (we say the same thing every time), before turning around and driving home.
Note: Once again, life gets ahead of blogging, and this post which was meant to appear on Tuesday, only appears now. Oh well, what can you do? :P
And I’m back. Thanks to all of the public holidays plus three days’ leave, I have technically been away from work for 11 days now, having last been there back on the 22 April! Having not taken a holiday break last December, I was pretty much desperately in need of this little downtime, but unfortunately as any single parent with a baby will tell you, there really is no such thing as proper rest and relaxation if you have one of those little critters in your care! :)
Lack of funds and of course the fact that Chantelle was working meant that I didn’t go away for my leave period, and instead found myself home-based for the entire holiday, which isn’t all that bad I guess – if you don’t mind a little hard work. Yup, once again those sleeves got rolled up and I found myself toiling away for a considerable number of hours around the yard, sawing down poles, pulling up brick borders, laying down cement slabs, doing gardening, cleaning up the yard and yes, even doing a little bricklaying as well.
But it wasn’t all hard work, all the time mind you.
On the Saturday of the Easter weekend Chantelle, Jessica and I went out for our first real outing together, taking the car for a spin along the always scenic coastal road towards Betty’s Bay, on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. We trundled about Pringle Bay, enjoyed lunch, changed nappies, drove through Betty’s Bay and in general just enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together. The evening brought with it another first, with us taking Jessica along with us to a restaurant for the first time, the family friendly Gordon’s Bay Sunset Spur. Armed with a milk bottle (always at the ready), the evening went quite well actually, though we didn’t break any records for length of stay come to think of it! :)
The Monday following the gluttonous, copious Easter egg devouring of the Sunday was kicked off with an enjoyable visit from Zania and Dean with Jessica and myself, before Chantelle arrived back from work and the Montgomery clan rolled in to join us for a late afternoon braai. As it turned out, my folks popped in for a visit on their way back from their little weekend away, and ended up staying for the delicious meat-fest as well!
It was a beautiful sunny day, so no wonder Chantelle, Jessie and I so enjoyed our Easter outing to Pringle Bay, followed up by a compulsory visit to the Sunset Spur! ;)
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