Rooi-Els is by far my go to place whenever I am in need of a nice easy outdoor walk, rich in fresh air and landscape scenery, but generally devoid of people. Such was the case on one particularly clear Spring day in October of last year, when I bundled the kids into the car and sped off along the achingly beautiful Clarence Drive in search of some Shank’s pony time in my favourite little Overstrand village.
Situated beside the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, and itself a registered conservancy, the tiny town of Rooi Els has almost no tarred roads, is without street lights, and stands pretty much without any commerce except for the (now three!) eateries, estate agent, and a little corner shop as you enter the village.
With the distinctive Klein-Hangklip mountain looming ever present over us, we set off, following the streets along the sea, skipping across the sands of the beach, and picking our way past the wild flowers on the occasional boardwalk encountered. The girls giggled at the sculptures spied, gazed at the various Agama lizards sunning themselves all over the rocks, and kept a constant vigil for any baboon that might get a little too close for comfort. (For a change, there weren’t any to be seen).
Full of fresh air and with sweat now dripping off from our brows, we next headed down the road to the next little town along the Clarence Drive/R44 route, Pringle Bay – another firm favourite especially among my girls as they now pretty much only associate it with tea, waffles and ice cream from La Galerie, the only bribe that I ever need to throw out there whenever I want them to willingly join me for a walk.
That distraction done though, the next fresh air activity was taking them for a scramble up and through the sand dunes, as you have to power your way across the sinking soft white sand to end up on Pringle Bay’s surprisingly large beach – which just so happens to have the most magnificent of views. In other words, well worth the sandy effort!