A Western Cape Road Trip: Camping, Surfing and Climbing
South Africa, and the Western Cape in general, is an incredible self-drive and road trip destination. The beauty of it is that the different areas vary so greatly in landscape, but are often only a couple of hours drive away. We decided to explore some new areas as well as revisit places that we'd been before, allowing us to rediscover the beauty of our 'backyards'.
Get to know Western Cape's nature in 4 days
Leave Cape Town
We left Cape Town in the mid-morning allowing us plenty of time to stop en route for some food at Ou Meul Padstal in Rawsonville. We then took a slow and scenic drive to Gecko Rock Nature Reserve, before setting up camp and catching an early night to climb the next morning.
Drive To Gecko Rock or Montagu Area
We drove to the Montagu area but you can also go to Gecko Rock. It's a very nice area where you can climb the enormous rocks. It's breathtaking.
This area is a piece of heaven in nature. It's a really good place to visit if you like nature because it's not too far from Cape Town and you can do activities such as: 4x4 routes, rock climbing or hiking, among others.
Stop at a local Padstal (farm stall)
On our way, we stopped at Padstal to take a piece of cake and a coffee on the road.
Maybe you don't know what a Padstal is, let me explain it to you. It's the way we call the fram stalls here in south africa. In this farm stalls you can find a variety of products, most of them homemade and very natural. They are a great option if you are looking for something local and handmade.
Wake Up Early
After early morning starts watching the sunrise, we packed up our climbing gear and headed to one of the many walls to do some sport climbing for the day. If you don't climb, there are numerous hikes, trail runs, mountain biking routes and 4x4ing adventures to be had.
We love climbing so we were very excited for climbing the huge rocks. Please, if you want to recreate this adventure make sure you have the necesary material and the experience that this requires. If you don't please ask for a professional's help.
Climb The Nearby Crags For The Day
There are a lot of activities to do here in this area besides climbing. If you have an adventurous spirit, you can do some mountain biking or visit the reserve by a 4x4.
If you would like to try a 4x4 adventure The Geko Area offers a technical challenge that traverses changing terrain in an untouched environment. You can do it on your onw or with an expert that will explain you everything you need to know.
If you prefer Hiking, please don't forget you need to make your apointment first. Surely it's the perfect way to to experience the wonder of the Karoo firsthand.
Lots of hiking, mountain biking, and 4x4ing to do in the reserve too.
After you've tried some activities, you can also camp and look for shooting stars in the sky. It's a very spectacular view because you are sorrounded by naure and it's silence. We started a fire and got cozy as the sun set. There is no shop or restaurant on the reserve, so all food and drinks must be taken with.
Drive to Betty's Bay
We left Gecko Rock early to get a head start on our drive to Betty's Bay, a beautiful coastal village with some great surf.
Betty's Bay is a small holiday town situated on the Overberg coast of South Africa's Western Cape province. This place dues his name tu Betty Youlden, daughter of the first developer of the area.
Surf at Bettys Bay if there are waves.
We stayed at a guest house called Stay at Friends. We highly recommend you to choose this place to stay because is just 680m away from the beach and you also can enjoy the views both to the beach and to the mountain. Also, you can enjoy various activities in the surroundings, including golfing, windsurfing and diving, they even offer bike hiring.
After checking in to our accommodation at the guest house, we headed down to the beach for a surf. This area is great if you like surfing because is a reasonably exposed beach break that has quite reliable surf. It's sometimes crowded here. Be careful of rocks in the line up.
If you prefer, the beaches are also so beautiful for a sunset picnic. It is a very romantic option too.
Tapas dinner at Gnocchi
For dinner, we spoilt ourselves and ate at a delicious local tapas restaurant called Gnocchi. Welove everything about it, it's very cosy and welcoming. Their food is incredible and very delicious. The people very kind and amazing.
After a great dinner, nothing is better than a good sleep, so we went back to our accommodation for a nice night of sleep.
Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
The next day, we went to the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. This lovely garden is situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest. It encompasses mountain slopes with wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes with restios, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with specialised salt-adapted plants. The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools.
As I've said the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens offer some very scenic hikes and walks through local vegetation and habitat. You'll most likely catch a sight of the pesky baboons in the area.
Stony Point Penguin Colony
After exploring the Gardens, we headed to the local Stony Point Penguin Colony which is home to the endangered African Penguin. Stony Point offers to us visitors the chance to see these wonderful flightless birds up close, via the boardwalk through the colony, which allows the public to observe the penguins go about their daily activities in their natural habitat, without disturbing or disrupting them.
We highly recommend visiting this reserve. It will be for sure one of the best experiencies you will have in this trip.
Lunch At The Grille Shack
After all this exciting day, our trip was finally coming to an end.
We made our way back home, driving along what I think is the most scenic road in South Africa, Clarence Drive. The road is in a beautiful condition and attracts tourists, locals, bikers and cyclists in their droves.
On our way home, we made a lunch stop at The Grille Shack, a well known restaurant located on Clarence Drive just outside of Gordon's Bay. If you like, you can ask for the take-away menu and eat on the road.
Before you travel
- Bring all of your outdoor gear as well as clothing for all seasons. Cape Town is known to have four seasons in one day.
- Bring a medical aid kit, especially to Gecko Rock, as you are very far away from the city in a remote location and out of cellphone service (which is so refreshing).
- Book your accommodation in advance as these places do get booked up over weekends. Gecko Rock offers really beautiful chalets if you don't want to camp. Our guest house in Bettys Bay was incredible, however, there are many different options to choose from such as Airbnb.