Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip is a scenically stunning area of coastline and mountains just over an hour east of Cape Town.
Kogelberg and Cape Hangklip are just over 1 hour from central Cape Town. Mountainous Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a bit further, while the towns of Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond occupy the flatter areas near the ocean. If you need a good road map for this trip, see our recommendations.
From Cape Town take Highway 2 east and turn off right in Gordon’s Bay. From here take the R44. The local name for the R44 between Gordon’s Bay and Kleinmond is called Clarence Drive and it’s super spectacular. There are a few pull-offs by the road to stop and admire the view.
For tourist information in the area, Kleinmond Tourist information is a good place to stop by. It’s open 8:30am – 4:30pm on weekdays, 9am-1pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
Things to do in Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip
There are plenty of things to do in the Kogelberg and Cape Hangklip area. It’s definitely worth staying for a night or two in the area to make the most of your time.
Things to do in Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip:
- Hike in Kogelberg Nature Reserve
- Hike elsewhere in Cape Hangklip
- See the penguins at Stony Point
- Visit the beach
- Check out Harold Porter Botanic Gardens
- Watch for Wildlife
- Eat Delicious Food
1. Kogelberg Nature Reserve
The main activity in Kogelberg Nature Reserve is hiking and there are several hikes here of different lengths. You can also go mountain biking or kayak along the river (June to September, Grade III). Entrance fees to Kogelberg Nature Reserve are R60/40 per adult/child or free with a WildCard.
Hikes in Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Kogelberg Trail (23.5 km, 600 m climb): A beautiful loop through the heart of Kogelberg Nature Reserve. You have to start by 8am in winter and 10am in summer. Start at Kogelberg Nature Reserve Reception.
Palmiet River Walk (10.5 km, 100 m climb): An easy walk along the river to a beautiful swimming spot. Start at Kogelberg Nature Reserve Reception.
Hangklip Peak Hike (6.2 km, 500 m climb): Walk up a distinctive mountain for great views of the coastline. Start from a small car park behind Pringle Bay.
Three Sisters Trail (8.5 km, 700 m climb): A beautiful walk up a ridge through proteas with wonderful coastal and mountain views. Start from Kleinmond Golf Club.
Perdeberg Trail (22.3 km, 500 m climb): A long walk to Perdeberg Peak and amazing views at the top. You’re advised to start by 8am in winter and 10am in summer. Start at Iona Wine Farm.
Oudebosch Harold Porter Hike (7.2km, 370 m climb one-way): A walk from the reception in Kogelberg Nature Reserve over to Harold Porter Botanic Gardens. Start at Kogelberg Nature Reserve Reception or Harold Porter Botanic Gardens.
Highlands Hiking Trail (40km, 1100 m climb): A two-day hike from Iona Wines to Kleinmond and back through Kogelberg Nature Reserve. You must book permits in advance from CapeNature (R60 per person per day) and organise your own overnight accommodation in Kleinmond. Most people stay at Frank Robb Hut in Kleinmond Caravan Park (to book email en[email protected], ~R90 per person per night). Start at Iona Wine Farm.
Mountain Biking in Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Palmiet River Valley MTB Route (22 km, 300 m climb): An out-and-back mountain biking route along a good gravel track. Start at Kogelberg Nature Reserve Reception.
2. Other Hikes in Kogelberg and Cape Hangklip
Easy Strolls around Cape Hangklip
Hangklip Lighthouse Trail (3.6 km, 20 m climb): km, an easy flat walk with beautiful coastline and beaches. Start from Maasbaai Slipway.
Rooisand Ramble (8 km, 50 m climb): An easy stroll along a boardwalk by the Botriver Estuary. Start from the Rooisand Nature Reserve car park.
Harold Porter Botanic Gardens Trail (2.8 km, 100 m climb): A walk exploring the botanic gardens (see below for more information).
Crystal Pools Hike
The popular Crystal Pools Hike is a short hike to a series of wild swimming pools in a lovely gorge. The trail is open only in the summer, Nov-Apr inclusive. The first pool is 2 km from the car park, while the furthest pools are about 1 km further. The car park for the hike is by the R44 just east of the bridge over the Steenbras River.
You must get a permit for this hike. You can either buy permits on the day at the Pitstop Grille Shack or online beforehand. During weekends and holidays, it’s recommended to book permits in advance (for normal weekdays or premium days). If you want to stay nearby, you can also stay at Pitstop Lodge* in one of their lovely cabins.
3. Stony Point Penguin Colony
If you’re in Kogelberg or Cape Hangklip area, one of the best things to do is to visit the Stony Point Penguin Colony. The area is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm every day, with the last entrance allowed at 4 pm. Entrance fees are R30/20 per adult/child and WildCards are not accepted. There’s a short walk by the ocean and apart from penguins, you can see many other sea birds such as cormorants nesting on the rocks.
4. Visit the Beach
There are several beautiful beaches in the Kogelberg and Cape Hangklip area. Coming from Cape Town, as you drive along Clarence Drive the first beach on your right is Kogel Bay Beach.
Kogel Bay Beach
This is split into three sections – Kogel Bay Beach, Klippies Bay Day Camp Beach and Spark’s Bay Day Camp Beach. From all these areas there are great views of the coastline and a chance of seeing dolphins.
Behind Kogel Bay Beach is Kogel Bay Resort. There’s a campsite here right by the beach with braai pits and picnic areas, and lovely views. It can get busy on weekends and remember not to leave your stuff unattended.
Slightly further along is Klippies Bay Day Camp Beach. It’s free to enter and there are several picnic & braai spots and parking. There are nice views but the beach here is mainly pebbles and the entrance road is slightly rocky.
The next cove along is Spark’s Bay Day Camp. It’s also free to enter and there are many braai and picnic spots, but alcohol is banned in the area and this is checked. There’s a large tidal swimming pool and the beach has lifeguards. There’s not much shade, so bringing a gazebo is recommended. It can get busy on the weekends, but there are really great views of Hangklip Mountain.
Cape Hangklip Beaches
Rooi Els Beach is a sheltered sandy beach in a cute cove with a calm, shallow ocean. It’s often not windy here and when the ocean’s flat it’s a great place for snorkelling. You can also go padding in the river that enters the ocean through this beach.
Pringle Bay Beach is another lovely beach, also quite sheltered and with lots of sand. At times it can be very windy, and sometimes it can be good for surfing. All year round there are great views back to the mountains.
Grootsands Beach is towards the end of Hangklip Peninsula and not too far from Hangklip Lighthouse. It’s never too busy, has lots of sand and is backed by sand dunes.
Blokbaai Beach is a perfect beach not far from Grootsands Beach. It’s quite remote and has a rather wild feel. The white sand forms an arc around crystal clear water, with a very scenic mountainous backdrop. It’s a good place for snorkelling. You pass this beach on the Hangklip Lighthouse Trail.
Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond
Silversands Beach is to the west of Betty’s Bay town. It’s a very sandy beach and is backed by sand dunes, where you can go sandboarding. There are quite a few waves here so it’s good for surfing.
Betty’s Bay Main Beach is in the middle of town and is a long, sandy beach backed by vegetated sand dunes. It’s also quite wavy here and can be very windy too.
Palmiet Lagoon Beach is a beautiful beach on the western edge of Kleinmond. The Palmiet River forms a calm lagoon just behind a sandbank and the ocean. While the ocean can be rough, the lagoon is always a nice place for swimming, though it’s quite cold in winter. It’s a lovely place for sunset.
Kleinmond Beach is a very long (10 km) sandy beach in front of a warm(ish) lagoon. Kleinmond town is at the beach’s western end, with Rooisand Nature Reserve behind the beach in the middle by Botrivier Lagoon.
5. Harold Porter Botanic Gardens
The Harold Porter Botanic Gardens are a great place for a stroll. There are many gorgeous plants and flowers, with a wilder area of mountains, forests and waterfalls to explore. The gardens are open every day of the year from 8 am. Last entries are at 4:30pm/5pm on weekdays/weekends but you can stay in the gardens for an hour or two longer once inside. Entry is R40 for adults with reductions for concessions.
6. Watch for Wildlife
Rooisand Nature Reserve
Rooisand Nature Reserve is a great area for birdwatching since there are several different habitats, from beaches and seabirds to salty lagoons and waders. As an additional bonus, some wild horses live here and they’re not too difficult to spot. Rooisand Bird Hide overlooks a lagoon about 700 metres from the car park. If you want to walk further, the Rooisand Ramble is an easy 8 km stroll along a boardwalk by the Botriver Estuary. The car park for the nature reserve is 2.5 km along a dirt road south of the R44.
Dolphins are often spotted off the coast of Cape Hangklip at any time of year. It’s also a great place for whale watching in season (June-Nov) when the Southern Right Whales swim by.
There are also some great areas for mask and snorkelling along the coastline here, for example in Blokbaai on the Hangklip Lighthouse Trail. Rooi Els beach is also a good place for snorkelling in calm weather. The water is very clear but also cold, so wetsuits are recommended if you want to swim for a significant period. My Octopus Teacher, the award-winning documentary was filmed not too far away from here.
7. Eat Delicious Food
There are some surprisingly good restaurants in the towns of Cape Hangklip area. Below are mentioned several highlights.
Hook Line and Sinker Restaurant*: A long-running and popular seafood restaurant.
Lemon + Lime Deli & Eatery*: A bakery, deli and cafe with delicious food.
Bistro Three Six Five*: A popular restaurant selling classic pub food plus a coffee shop.
Hanging Rock Kitchen*: A great pizza restaurant that also serves seafood.
Gnocchi Tapas and Wine*: A great restaurant with nice views and delicious food.
Sea Biscuit*: A coffee shop with a great breakfast.
Coffee, On Clarence*: A nice place for coffee and cake.
Bistro 14*: A great restaurant with a nice courtyard.
KabelJoe’s Seafood Restaurant*: A seafood restaurant with a great ambience.
Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip Camping
Palmiet Caravan Park Kleinmond: A great caravan and camping park next to the beach. It can be quite busy and sometimes noisy on weekends. Rates from R226 per camping spot, increasing in peak periods and for better sites.
Kleinmond Caravan Park: A great caravan and camping park a few hundred metres from the beach in Kleinmond. Rates from R226 per camping spot, increasing in peak periods.
Kogel Bay Resort: Campsite with lovely views right by the beach. There are braai spots and quite a bit of shade. It’s a beautiful place but it can get busy on weekends and you shouldn’t leave your stuff unattended.
Disakloof Camping: A lovely campsite with clean ablutions near the mountains. A peaceful spot for those looking to relax.
Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip Hotels
There are many accommodation options in Kogelberg & Cape Hangklip and only some of the most interesting and best places to stay are mentioned here. Accommodation is ordered roughly west to east, i.e. closer to further from Cape Town.
Pitstop Lodge*: A lodge with lovely cabins and a great restaurant above the cliffs by the R44. Permits for the Crystal Pools walk are available from here, and the start of the hike is nearby.
Rooi Els Sea Cottage*: A super cute cottage with great views, close to the beach.
The Crowded House*: A holiday home to rent near Pringle Bay Lagoon.
Villa Marine Guest House*: A guesthouse on the clifftops and rooms with great views, there’s also an outdoor swimming pool and a shared kitchen.
Kapensis Guesthouse*: A cute guesthouse with an outdoor pool, bar and a short hiking trail on the property.
Stay At Friends*: A lovely guesthouse with an outdoor pool and delicious breakfast.
Sol Y Sombra*: A self-catering studio with a kitchenette and cute little courtyard.
Fijnbos Manor*: Lovely rooms in a house with an outdoor pool.
Jack’s Seaview Inn*: Rooms with nice views of the bay with a restaurant downstairs.
The Trailhouse*: A cute guesthouse up against the mountains with great views and a trail starting from the door.
Van Den Berg’s Guesthouse and B&B*: A beautiful guesthouse with parking, kitchenette, barbecue and shared garden.
Villachad Guesthouse*: A fancy boutique hotel with an outdoor pool.
Villa Le Roc Kleinmond*: Luxury self-catering accommodation close to the beach.
Kleinmond Lodge*: A clean guesthouse with nice rooms, not far from the beach.
Beach Cottage*: Useful for the Highlands Trail. A cute cabin very near the beach and Kleinmond Lagoon.
Honeyrock Cottages*: Several cute little white cottages on peaceful grounds with views of the mountains.
Arabella Hotel, Golf and Spa*: A posh hotel on a golf course with fantastic views over the lagoon.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve Accommodation
Mbali Collection: Five 2-person and three 3-person cabins with beautiful views, right in the middle of Kogelberg Nature Reserve near the reception. All have a self-catering kitchen, bathroom and outdoor braai. Rates start from R1260 for the 2-person cabins at off-peak times.
Oudebosch Eco Cabins: Five 4-person cabins and one 2-person honeymoon cabin with beautiful views, in the middle of Kogelberg Nature Reserve not far from the reception. All have a self-catering kitchen, bathroom and outdoor braai. Rates start from R1340 for two at off-peak times.
I hope you enjoyed our guide to Kogelberg. There are several other great places to explore not so far away along the Garden Route, such as Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in Wilderness, Diepwalle Forest, or de Hoop Nature Reserve. For more hikes and activities, check out our Guide to South Africa.