A guide to Betty s Bay MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Welcome to Betty’s Bay: A Hidden Gem by the Sea

Have you ever wondered what makes Betty’s Bay the perfect destination for your next holiday adventure? Well, the answer lies just a few steps away. All you need are a comfy pair of shoes and a thirst for discovery. (Scroll down to find our top recommendations for places to stay and eat in Betty’s Bay).

Unlocking the Secrets of Betty’s Bay

When I first visited Betty’s Bay, I saw it as nothing more than a quick stopover on a picturesque road trip from Cape Town to Hermanus. It seemed like a modest collection of houses, squeezed between the mighty Kogelberg Mountains and the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

The houses themselves didn’t strike me as particularly remarkable. Scattered amongst the native fynbos vegetation, they varied in style from charming Spanish villas to plain face-brick structures. Some were eye-catching, while others faded into the background. At first glance, Betty’s Bay appeared to be just like any other place. However, that all changed when I took a closer look.

When I first arrived in this town, I couldn’t help but notice something peculiar. Every house, regardless of its design or layout, had a patio or balcony. It was a small detail, but it made me realize that there was something unique about this place, and it wasn’t just the town itself. No, what truly made this town special were the things that happened around it.

As I explored my new surroundings, I quickly discovered that this town was a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. There was hiking through scenic trails, swimming in crystal-clear waters, lazy days spent on the beach, and leisurely strolls along the edge of the ocean. It was a paradise for nature lovers like me.

But before I could fully immerse myself in the wonders of this town, I had to take care of a more pressing matter: dinner.

When I arrived at the small town, I didn’t have much hope of finding a good restaurant. All I could see in the darkness was a petrol station as the only source of light. However, I was recommended to try Tides, even though it looked completely closed from the outside with no windows to assure me it was the right place.

Stepping inside through a simple wooden door, I half-expected to find myself in someone’s kitchen. But to my surprise, I was warmly welcomed into a cozy and friendly atmosphere. The restaurant was filled with people, and there wasn’t an empty table in sight. I had to wait at the bar until a spot opened up in a cozy corner.

Between enjoying my delicious smoked salmon pasta and thinking about the adventures awaiting me the next day, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Betty’s Bay.

A beacon of warmth

Arriving in a new place at night and waking up to a new day is always exciting. When I flung open the French doors of my room at Buçaco Sud, a charming family-run guest house nestled against the mountain, I was greeted by a breathtaking view. The morning light danced on the sea, creating a shimmering spectacle that reflected off the roofs of the houses, turning even the simplest dwellings into something magical.

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After a delicious breakfast, I set out to explore the sandy coastline that stretches along the front of the town. The individual beaches are not clearly marked, but if you follow the green ‘beach’ signs through town, they will lead you to a parking lot. From there, you will find yourself at the main beach, which is monitored by lifeguards. It’s the perfect place for both locals and visitors to spend their summer days.

I went west to Rooi Els and Pringle Bay and discovered the last beach before town called Silversands. It’s a popular spot for fishermen who patiently wait on the sandbank, hoping to catch galjoen and steenbras. Silversands is also a great place for diving, especially if you’re looking for crayfish. Just keep in mind that the crayfish season starts again in November this year.

Later in the day, I reached Stony Point, where I found the African penguin colony. It was the perfect time to visit, as the penguins were returning from their fishing trips and settling on the rocks. I couldn’t help but smile at their awkward poses as they stood drying off. With their wings slightly spread, necks tilted to one side, and beaks pointing up towards the setting sun, they looked both comical and endearing.

Don’t forget to check out one of the beautiful beaches in Betty’s Bay, like the one captured in this photo by Hougaard Malan.

Exploring the Majestic Mountains

After indulging in the joys of the beach, I eagerly set out to discover the wonders of the magnificent mountains in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Little did I realize that my shoelaces would become an unexpected hindrance on a trail that was filled with enticing swimming spots.

There are two challenging trails that lead into the mountains, but I opted for a different path – one that led me closer to the water. The Palmiet River Trail offers a leisurely and level route (you could even walk it in flip-flops), winding alongside the river with awe-inspiring mountains on either side. It’s an ideal choice for families with children, as most people casually stroll along the five-kilometer stretch equipped with coolers, beach toys, and colorful buckets and spoons. Of course, everyone makes sure to make a pitstop or two at the enchanting swimming holes along the way.

As I journeyed alongside this enchanting river, I couldn’t help but become attached. Its clear, cool waters guided me until I reached its end. Along the way, I skillfully avoided a massive spider and its intricate web, navigating through a trail that grew more and more overgrown as I went further. Finally, I arrived at the river’s mouth, where the lush vegetation opened up to unveil a serene beach. This hidden gem was just as sandy and beautiful as the main beach, but without the bustling crowds.

As evening fell, I found myself sitting on a typical Betty’s Bay porch, marveling at the slow transformation of the sky. It ignited into a mesmerizing display of fiery colors before gradually fading into a soft pink hue. It was in this moment that a profound realization struck me – the aesthetics of one’s holiday house pale in comparison to the natural splendor that surrounds this captivating town.

Leopard’s Kloof Trail. Photo by Hougaard Malan.

Discover the Best Accommodation in Betty’s Bay

1. Natanya

Imagine arriving at a cozy self-catering house that’s been beautifully decorated, and as you step inside, you’re greeted with a vibrant bunch of flowers. The house has a special feature, with three pairs of French doors that open up onto stunning rocks, offering a breathtaking view of the ocean beyond. And nestled between those rocks is a peaceful gully where you can safely swim when the water is calm.

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But it gets even better. This house was once a beloved home, so it’s fully equipped for all your self-catering needs. You’ll find everything you require to cook up a delicious meal and make yourself comfortable. And the price for all this luxury starts at just R3,500 per night for the entire house.

If you’re interested, you can reach them by telephone at 083 382 7989 or visit their website, www.natanya.co.za, for more information.

2. Bucaco Sud Guest House

Get ready for a guest house that offers the best of both worlds. Picture this: behind the beautiful swimming pool, the majestic Kogelberg Mountains rise up, creating a breathtaking backdrop. And from the balconies of the front rooms, you can soak in the scenic view of the incredible ocean.

But there’s more to enjoy than just the breathtaking views. Each morning, you’ll be treated to a hearty breakfast that will leave you feeling satisfied and ready for the day ahead. And if you’re unsure about what to do or where to eat, the friendly staff will gladly provide recommendations.

If you’re considering a stay, you’ll be pleased to know that the rates start at just R360 per person per night when sharing. For reservations or more details, give them a call at 028 272 9750 or visit www.bucacosud.co.za.

3. Seascape Cottage

Imagine perching on the rocks of a farm, right on the edge of town. From this cozy, two-bedroom flat in Betty’s Bay, you can’t even see the rest of the town. It’s just you and the owner’s house in the distance. As the day winds down, you can head over to the boma along a path through the rocks and take in a breathtaking sunset. The cottage is available for just R1,000 per night. Talk about a steal!

Now, let’s talk about where to grab a bite to eat in Betty’s Bay. I’ve got a couple of fantastic options for you:

Where to eat in Betty’s Bay

1. Tides

If you’re looking for a fancy gourmet meal, Tides might not be your first choice. However, the enchanting fairy lights twinkling on the porch, the warm and friendly service, and the sound of the crashing waves in the distance transform simple seafood dishes into a truly memorable experience. Just remember to book ahead, especially if you’re planning to visit on the weekends. You wouldn’t want to miss out on this coastal delight! Give them a call at 028 272 9835.

2. The Whaling Station

Another great option for dining in Betty’s Bay is The Whaling Station. If you want to enjoy a sumptuous meal surrounded by ocean views that will take your breath away, look no further. The Whaling Station is the place to be. They serve up delicious seafood dishes, and the ambiance is simply unbeatable. So, the next time you’re in town, give them a call at 028 272 9261 to reserve your spot and indulge in an unforgettable dining experience.

Betty’s Bay started because there was a whaling station near Stony Point in the 1900s. The restaurant called Betty’s Bay is the only place that has pictures of this station and also serves delicious Greek food and cheesy pizzas. You can reach them at Tel: 028 272 9238.

What to do in Betty’s Bay

1. Stony Point

If you want to see penguins, you can visit Stony Point. It’s one of the only two places in the Cape where you can see penguins on land (the other place is Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town). Remember though, you have to stay on the boardwalks and watch the penguins from a distance. Stony Point is open to visitors from 8am to 5pm every day and costs R10 per person to enter.

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2. Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

If you love hiking in the beautiful mountains covered in fynbos, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is the place to go. You’ll need a permit, which costs R40 per person, to enter the reserve. It’s open from 7:30am to 7pm daily. You can get permits at the gate until 4pm. Contact them at Tel: 028 271 5138 or visit their website at www.capenature.co.za.

3. Beaches

There are hidden paths that connect the houses, lead over the dunes, and take you to the sandy beaches. If you want to swim, head to the area supervised by lifeguards because the waves and currents can be powerful. Take caution and stay safe while enjoying the beach.

4. Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

When you’re in the mood for a relaxed walk, visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. It’s a favorite spot among locals. After your stroll, treat yourself to some delicious cake at Disa Kloof Restaurant. The gardens are open every day from 8am to 4:30pm. The entrance fee is R20 for adults and R10 for children. Make sure to check their website at www.sanbi.org or call them at 028 272 9311 for more information.

When to visit Betty’s Bay

Betty’s Bay is perfect for outdoor activities, especially during the summer months. Don’t worry about the morning wind; it usually calms down by noon. In winter, the sea gets wild and the days are chilly and rainy, making it a great time to cozy up by the fireplace. If you’re interested in spotting southern right whales from the shore, plan your visit between June and December.

Welcome to the Journey to Betty’s Bay!

Hey there! Are you ready for an exciting adventure to Betty’s Bay? One of the best parts of the trip is the scenic drive from Cape Town. It’s a 95-kilometer journey that will truly captivate your senses. As I leave the N2 highway, Gordon’s Bay comes into view, and the real fun begins. The R44 road hugs the coast, offering breathtaking views of the Hottentots Holland Mountains on one side and the vast Atlantic Ocean on the other. Along the way, you’ll discover several lookout points along the famous Clarence Drive. Don’t miss the chance to stop and soak in the stunning scenery, making your road trip even more memorable.

As we venture further, the opportunity for adventure unfolds. Have you ever considered hiking in the magnificent Kogelberg Mountains? The beauty of the landscape will leave you in awe. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, as you traverse the trails that wind through this natural paradise. Capture the perfect photo to remember this incredible moment.

Experience the joy of connecting with nature in Betty’s Bay. Marvel at the diversity of plant and animal life that thrives in this unique ecosystem. From fynbos to penguins, every step reveals a new and exciting discovery.

So, are you ready to embark on this extraordinary journey? Pack your bags, hop in the car, and let the adventure begin! Welcome to Betty’s Bay!

This article first appeared in the June 2014 issue of MzansiBride.

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