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Located on the shores of False Bay in the Western Cape, Pringle Bay is best known for the Hangklip (hanging rock) that juts out to sea and marks the eastern end of False Bay. It’s a quiet seaside village, occupied by a small community and with many of the beach houses shuttered during the off season, purchased both as a holiday home and wise investment for the owners.
At the entrance to Pringle Bay is a pristine fynbos (fine bush) forest, the natural flora watered by moisture driven off the sea. Here, baboons and other wildlife are protected and venturing further inland, one might be treated to a Cape leopard sighting.
The nearby Hangklip Mountain at 484m above sea level and pocked with numerous natural caves, was once a refuge for bandits and slaves escaping their Dutch masters.
Although Pringle Bay is on the scenic route between Cape Town and Hermanus, it’s a short detour off the road, making it a great place to de-stress and to appreciate the coast, and to watch the whales and dolphins regularly frequenting False Bay.
Top 6 reasons to visit Pringle Bay
1. Take a walk on the sparsely populated beach to reach the unmanned lighthouse. Watch as the fisherman return in their trawlers stocked with the day’s catch or see if you can spot whales offshore.
2. Head over to the Hangklip Hotel where regular music acts keep patrons entertained. Meet the locals and sample the fresh crayfish collected by local divers from surrounding kelp beds. The hotel hosts an annual trance party attended by visitors from all across the Cape.
3. Visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in nearby Betty’s Bay to stroll through the pretty gardens containing the unique flora endemic to the region. Walk over the river bridge into the gorge for spectacular views. Restaurant on site.
4. A trip to Stony Point is a must to see one of only 3 African penguin colonies located on a mainland. The site is at an old whaling station and has become a successful breeding ground for the African penguin, currently endangered.
5. Hiking trails criss-cross the mountains surrounding Pringle Bay. The area is included in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, proclaimed a conservancy of international importance due to the vast plant life found here. A suggested route is a hike up to Deserters Cave, where human remains were discovered several years ago.
6. Travel one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world – Clarence Drive – to spend the day wine tasting along the Stellenbosch wine route. Pop in at the town’s info centre for advice on the best routes to suit your taste.
Pringle Bay is 73km away from Cape Town International Airport. Car rental agencies are based at the airport and in Stellenbosch to hire a vehicle or simply book a rental online. When hiring, it’s best to opt for a 4x4 vehicle, as some of the gravel roads to the best beaches are difficult to negotiate in a standard sedan. Shuttle service companies in Stellenbosch offer trips to Hermanus, Cape Town, the Cape Town airport and surrounding areas.
Did you know?
Pringle Bay was once the scene of a hit TV series filmed on a farm called Pringle Ranch.
Up until recently, Pringle Bay had one of the first solar-powered telephone exchanges in the country.
Italian prisoners of war were used to build Clarence Drive during WW2 and open the route to this magnificent stretch of the coast. Before the construction of the road, only a footpath from nearby Gordon’s Bay existed.