A friend had a holiday home at Pringle Bay long ago and I always wondered… “Why there?” Well… Pringle Bay does have a special magic and we’ve found 10 reasons to visit Pringle Bay. You can find out about accommodation and what more to do in CapeInfo’s destinations section.
1. Getting there
Pringle Bay is only an hour from Cape Town’s CBD, 45 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from Somerset West… but the drive there is one of the most spectacular in the world! Clarence Drive (R44), like Chapman’s Peak drive, was built by Italian prisoners of war in the 1940s. The road winds along the coast from Gordon’s Bay sweeping right down to a few metres above the sea in places. Mountains tower above it. Across False Bay, you can see the Cape Peninsula in its entirety.
2. Peace & Quiet
We debated what Pringle Bay’s most outstanding feature is — the beach, the dramatic views of the mountains — and what came up tops was the sense of peace. It somehow puts everything in place for you to relax. You can arrive with an agenda, and find that you ended up doing absolutely nothing at all. So for an unwinding, getaway weekend or holiday, it’s perfect… to a degree I’ve never experienced anywhere before.
And, once in Pringle, you don’t need to use your car. You can walk or cycle everywhere.
3. Sunrises & sunsets, and the quality of light
With the Cape Peninsula’s mountain chain just across False Bay, and Hangklip and the Kogelberg behind Pringle Bay, one finds very dramatic sunsets most evenings in autumn and winter. Pringle Bay is a photographer’s dream!
This beach, and the river that flows through it at the northern end, is a gem — when the wind doesn’t blow. You’ll find safe swimming, surfing, kite-sailing and fishing all taking place there. And the walk from end-to-end and back is just sublime!
5. Dramatic Mountains
Pringle Bay sits in a little valley circled by dramatic mountains and the beach. For many people, it’s the thought of a beach holiday that counts most. But in Pringle Bay it’s the mountains that dominate everything. The changing light through the day changes to shining rocks at night in bright moonlight! The mountains do appear to light up at night.
Most houses don’t have fences and formal gardens, and Fynbos dominates everywhere. The photo below was taken on our first visit to Pringle Bay where we stayed at 414 on Park, a wooden house on stilts, and that was the view from the deck. It was like sitting in a sea of Fynbos!
7. View across False Bay of Table Mountain & the Peninsula
Table Mountain’s looming and broody presence is always felt right in front of you, across the Bay. One can sense the city’s energy which is so close, but a million miles away at the same time.
There is a lot to do in and around Pringle Bay if you are feeling energetic — walks, hikes, cycling, fishing, surfing and swimming. Permits for fishing, crayfishing and collecting mussels are available from the local post office.
Many seaside towns have been ruined by abysmal architecture. Pringle Bay has it’s share of mediocrity and really bad, but it’s also full of whimsical architecture. It’s an interesting town to just wander around.
It’s always the natural assets that dominate — the dramatic mountain backdrops, the vast views of the ocean and the fynbos.
10. Nearby attractions
Betty’s Bay, 10km down the road, has the world-renown Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens and the Stony Point Penguin colony.
Baboons, for all the nuisance they may be, could be another reason to visit because they add to the edginess, sense of diversity and provide lessons in cohabitation. Which is what Africa is all about.
Some of the photos here were taken by Tania Thompson Poole, who unexpectedly left our travels at Pringle Bay. Unfortunately, she took a few hundred photos of the area still on her camera with her. We’ll either add those in time or replace them… because we will be back!
And if you have stunning pics of the area, please share them by adding them to our gallery. Include a description and credits. (You need to have registered and be logged in to add them.)