Clarence Drive or the R44 (22km) is a scenic coastal drive on the eastern shoreline of False Bay near Cape Town that connects Gordon’s Bay and Rooi-Els. The road has sufficient elevation above the ocean to provide sweeping views over the picturesque Bay. Above towers part of the Hottentots-Holland Mountain Range, including a section known as Kogelberg (Bullet Mountain). Together with Chapmans Peak Drive - also close to Cape Town - this route is a must-do. Both are right up there with the best in the world.
Clarence Drive is often included as route for tours arriving in Greater Cape Town from Hermanus or to end / start a circular route from Cape Town out to Hermanus and back. It works well in both directions but it’s probably best to drive it from Rooi-Els (Hermanus-side) to Gordon’s Bay, as you will then be driving on the ocean-side of the road and have easier access to the various small parking-view spots overlooking the Bay. We drive on the left of the road in South Africa. Keep in mind that at sunset the sun will be shining onto you from across the Bay, which makes for a beautiful sunset but also potentially difficult driving into the sun as you navigate the winding road.
Rooi-Els is a small hamlet by the mouth of an minor estuary, while Gordon’s Bay is a medium-sized town with a small fishing harbour and family beach. The coastline along Clarence Drive, named after one Jack Clarence who first envisaged the route, is mainly rugged and rocky. At various points along the route there are small coves, including one or two sandy beaches and a camping ground. However, do keep in mind that rip-tides are frequent and swimming dangerous. On the mountainside there are a number of hiking options, amongst others to the popular Crystal Pools. Most of these fall under the control of Cape Nature, which means that you need to obtain a permit before starting your hike.
For hiking, fishing, swimming, surfing or related activities we do advise that you do some research before heading out. For simply driving the route the only requirement is that you take it easy in order to navigate the dozens of turns and at a pace that will allow you to enjoy the spectacular surrounds. If you’re in a hurry you’ll find the route a bit tiring and slow. In season Clarence Drive and the various parking spots offer a perfect vantage point for observing Southern Right Whales (approx. July to November). Continuing beyond Rooi-Els there’s an African Penguin Colony at Betty’s Bay and further along the coast Hermanus awaits, arguably the best shore-based whale watching spot in the world.
This is a circular 5 day scheduled tour departing from Cape Town. Route 62 journeys through the valleys and mountain passes of the Klein Karoo. On the Garden Route you’ll focus on Knysna You return to Cape Town via the Cape South Coast. Mountain scenery, wildlife, ocean and more.
Highlights: Oudtshoorn , Cango Caves , Route 62 , Garden Route , Knysna , Oudtshoorn ostrich farms , Mossel Bay , The Garden Route Game Lodge , The Bartolomeu Dias Museum , Swellendam , Hermanus , Cape Agulhas .
Hermanus is situated on the southern coast of the Western Cape, and is known as the best land based whale watching spot in the world. The Southern Right Whale comes to the South African coastal waters during winter and spring to have their young and to suckle them before returning to the Antarctic.
African Penguins are classified as ‘vulnerable” and are only found along the African Coast in the Southern Hemisphere. They normally colonize islands and are seldomly found on the the coast of the mainland. Stoney Point at Betty’s Bay is one of only three such places and offers the rare opportunity to see them up close.