What to do in Gordon's Bay?

The answer would be, how much time do you have? We have an extensive list of things you can do in and around Gordon's Bay. You'll find everything on the Things to do page, but first let's get an idea of what Gordon's Bay has to offer on day trips to explore the area. All the (day) trips below can be started from our guesthouse!

Only 35 minutes from Cape Town Airport you will find our Guest House situated on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland Mountains with a distant view over Gordon’s Bay and the ocean. You are within one hour from all the major attractions that the Cape has to offer.

Whatever is on your bucket list for an ideal holiday around Cape Town, you can tick it from here and we have listed them for you.

Gordon's Bay is the Heart of the Cape. Close to Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Hermanus and all major attractions within an hour's drive.

Explore the Helderberg and Overberg region, Elgin Valley and the Wine Lands. Your stay to taste, shop and explore the beauty of the Cape.

Gordon’s Bay is often described as Gorgeous Bay, our little secret, a sunny quaint village in the Heart of the Cape. Centrally located with Cape Town within an hour's drive (outside peak traffic), Stellenbosch within 30 minutes, Hermanus and Franschoek also within the hour. We say, 40 things to do within 40 kilometres. Cape Town airport is just 35 minutes away.

explore gordons bay map

Gordon’s Bay is one of the oldest seaside villages located on the coast of False Bay and hosts an array of cultures, two fully functioning harbours which is unique for South Africa, three beaches where one is blue flagged (highest grade for safety and cleanliness) and a variety of restaurants and stores. A perfect holiday destination to explore the Cape. Our beaches have white sand and shallow water. The gentle shallow water warmed by the sun is a delight for you to suntan and swim or for youngsters to safely play in rock pools.

False Bay has warmer water compared with Atlantic Beaches in Cape Town! Sea temperature in summer often reaches 22 °C (72 °F) in False Bay due to the South Easter wind blowing the warm Agulhas into False Bay.
Whereas on the Atlantic beaches (in the City of Cape Town) the same wind pulls the warm surface water away from the coast, and this is replaced by very cold water from great depths, usually 6 - 14 °C (45 - 57 °F).
We like to believe that False Bay is actually the Indian Ocean but like Cape Point is not the “most southern point of Africa”, The Indian Ocean actually also starts at Agulhas.

Source: capetourism.co.za

gordons bay beach

Why is Gordon’s Bay so special?

It is quaint with beautiful beaches and tugged away with the Hottentots Holland Mountains as a backdrop but be prepared when the Sun sets. Gordon’s Bay has jaw dropping, breath-taking spectacular sunsets! Every evening we have a new painting with the backside of Table Mountain and Cape Point as background.

sunset rita strachan

Gordon's Bay is sunny! South Africa is on the Southern Hemisphere. Gordon’s Bay is north-facing which means sun all day long. Europeans could get confused since they are used to south-facing to get sun but remember, coming from Europe, you crossed the Equator!

By the way, there is only one continent in the world that lies in all four hemispheres: Africa. It lies in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the Western and Eastern Hemispheres.

Back to Gordon's Bay and surroundings, what is there to do in Gordon's Bay?

Things to do in and around Gordon’s Bay

Besides the tours starting from or finisingin in Gordon's Bay, here are the boxes to tick from the bucket list:

Swim in a natural pool under a waterfall

Not the ordinary hike. Crystal Pools Pools starts around the corner at the start of Clarence Drive. An intermediate hike of about 45 minutes brings you the first natural pool with a waterfall. Permits (R70) are required to enter the trails which are closed from May to the end of October due to winter flooding.

gordons bay crystal pools

Dope on a Rope

What name is Kamikaze Kanyon for an Abseil experience? Experience a full day of adventure with a 65 metre waterfall abseil, canyoning (also known as kloofing) with jumps from 3 to 22 metres high and a beautiful hike. Yes, this is also Crystal Pools. This exhilarating canyoning trip is ideal for novice to seasoned adrenaline junkies and offers striking views.

abseilafrica kamkazi kanyon

Photo & Contact: https://abseilafrica.co.za/

Meet new friends in Primate Centre

Monkey Town Primate Centre, located on the N2 in Somerset West is a Wildlife Centre for monkeys and apes as well as a large variety of other species of animals. There are more than 250 primates and 26 different exotic species of monkeys and apes including Tammy, Ruby, and Sunny, our famous chimp sisters.

Monkey Town is not just a primate centre but also a wildlife centre with over 700 animals in total to admire.

monkey town friends

Photo & Contact: https://www.monkeys.co.za/

Make your hole in one

South Africa is recognised internationally as a "Favoured Golf Destination". Gordon's Bay, with two 18 hole Championship Courses within a fifteen minute drive (no pun intended!), five more within 30 minutes, and a further seventeen more within one hour, can confidently lay claim to being the perfect base from which to explore and experience, the wide variety of terrain and settings, "off-course" experiences, friendly atmosphere and value for money that golf in the Western Cape provides. We have listed the nearest 7 for you below! That is why we are called Heart of the Cape Golf!

strand golf club full

Fish your own meal

Gordon's Bay has two harbours and ofcourse they have the famous Dolosse's. Angling is a local sport so why don't you join them. There are different bait shops in Gordon's Bay. It was not for nothing that Gordon's Bay was named Fischhoek or Vissersbaai when it was discovered! Use the Fishing Reminder for the proper time to throw out that line! Beyond Blue Charters can accommodate 4 guests with a maximum of 8 guests together with crew of Skipper and First Mate.

beyond blue charters

Photo: https://beyondbluecharters.co.za/gallery/

Help the Cheetahs

Cheetah Outreach in Somerset West / Strand is an education and community-based programme created to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah and to campaign for its survival. It took 4 million years of evolution for the cheetah to become the exceptional animal it is today and only 100 years for man to place it on the endangered list. This Selfie is the money worth!

cheetah outreach

Photo: http://www.onlyadayaway.com/visiting-a-cheetah-outreach/

Kayak in the ocean

Ever gazed out towards the vast ocean, wondering what it would be like to just sail away into the horizon? Well, you can do exactly that here in Gordon’s Bay. Guided sea kayak trips with Black Pearl Adventures

black pearl kayaking

Photo: http://www.blackpearladv.co.za/

Surf a wave

Bring your surf or kiteboard. The surf is nice and warm in Strand (next to Gordon’s Bay) or just join the pro’s in Muizenberg. Kitesurfing is also possible in Strand when the wind is more South or South West or Macassar with the dominant South Easter wind in summer.

Penguins watching you

Betty's Bay - on the Clarence Drive Route - only 30 minutes from Gordon's Bay has Stoney Point. Most tourist know Boulders Beach in Simons Town and that is why Stoney Point in Betty’s Bay is a much more natural setting to let the Penguins watch you. You might spot Dassies and Turtle's as well. Don’t spread the word, this is a hidden gem!

stoney point penguins

Photo: https://www.capeclick.co.za

Get the real Thai Massage

Relax, temporarily relieve muscle and / or joint pain, and temporarily boost a person's mood. Enjoy the exotic Thai way to relax your body and soul at Mukda Thai Spa. Be charmed by the touch of Thai Massage, and unique aromas of the essential oils and services of the professional staff.

mukda thai spa 

Have a beer at the brewery

No matter what your favorite brew is, Red Sky Brewery has a craft beer for you! With traditional favorites and some unique specialty beers you wont be disappointed. Born out of enjoying a refreshing cold one while watching the red African dusk approaching. Brewing in the middle of the Wine Lands, they have a Pinotale Wine Infused Beer!

red sky brewery

Adrenaline kick on a waterski or wakeboard

Just outside Gordon's Bay in Sir Lowry's Pass, there is Blue Rock. Blue Rock’s Cable Waterski a ski-lift on the water with 5 towers and an over-head pulling system which generally runs at 30 km per hour. It can take up to 10 kneeboarders / waterskiers / wakeboarders at the same time.

Blue Rock offers various other outdoor activities such as a fenced-in paintball field which is perfect for spectators to watch (up to 40 players), 400 metre long fufi-slide (also known as a zip line), beach volleyball, stand-up paddle boards, a two-man canoe, a 6-7 metre high rock jumping point, various swimming & diving areas (for scuba & commercial divers).

 blue rock waterski

Magnificent Sunsets

Gordon’s Bay is famous for the spectacular sunsets! Watch as the sun slips behind the indigo-coloured Table Mountain Range across the Bay and the sky lights up. Tones of peach, apricot, gold maroon and violet swirl in amazing cloud patterns and shine on the Helderberg Mountains, which reflect pink hues onto the patchwork of vineyards in the Helderberg wine region.

If there is one thing that Gordon's Bay is known for and also the number one local sport: Sunset photo's! Hundreds have been taken and all unique and beautiful. Every day a new painting. From our Outlook Points, the harbour, the beach, our restaurants at Beach Road, your apartment or room, there is hardly no place where you can watch the star at the center of our Solar System. 

gordons bay john corser 2000x604

Celebrate Wine-O-Clock

With about 20 vineyards within a 30 minute drive from Gordon's Bay, There is no excuse to miss Wine-O-Clock. The idea of rewarding yourself after a day’s hard graft with a goldfish bowl  could become an experience visiting one these of estate's that service wine-tasting or even better, wine-pairing. The first ones just outside Gordon's Bay are Idiom in Sir Lowry's Pass, Onderkloof and Waterkloof in the direction of Somerset and Lourensford and Vergelegen in Somerset. The list continues in the direction of Stellenbosch.

 idiom wine

Photo: http://idiom.co.za

Our unique two harbours with typical South African Dolosse's

Unique in South-Africa, Gordon’s Bay boasts two harbours. Our picturesque Gordon’s Bay Harbour and the Blue Flag-rated Harbour Island Marina. First is Gordon’s Bay Harbour where luxury yachts rock lazily. Unique in Africa, Gordon’s Bay boasts two harbours. Our Naval Centre and the Sea Rescue - NSRI -  is located here. Have a taste at the Thirsty Oyster Tavern or for Indian Food to Foodmandu.

The other, Harbour Island Marina where large cruisers and other sea craft are safely moored offering a delightful setting for seaside dining and sipping the excellent local wines. There are a few restaurants at the harbour and Crystal Beach Hotel and Conference Centre.

 What can be more South African than Dolosse? Not only were they invented in South Africa, but we have a long history with Sangoma’s who also throw the Dolosse. 

Those huge and oddly named concrete creations used to absorb and dissipate the energy of the seas, which are mostly found at the entrances to ports and harbours, although they also find use elsewhere where scour protection is required. The Dolosse at our Old Harbour are symbolic on so many levels. Perfect selfie backdrop with the setting of sun or a moody ocean but also knowing that they serve to shelter from a storm, sign for family values, used for angler perches.Rugged, handsome and honest, down to Earth. Unique for a selfie. 

gordons bay monique de beer 2000x604

Chill at the weekend market(s)

Good food, delicious drinks, lively tunes and brilliant company. ROOT44 knows South Africans enjoy nothing more. The perfect all-weather setting where you, friends and family can come together rain or shine. A market with a difference: housed in sturdy, super cosy marquees (which means rain is never an issue), and surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and trees, we offer funky live entertainment, craft and homeware stalls perfect for leisurely browsing, and an awesome selection of edible and drinkable treats.

root44

The Blaauwklippen Family Market has become renowned for being the best way to spend a Sunday in the Western Cape. Not only are there a wide range of mouth-watering foods and creative crafts, but there’s also fantastic entertainment and plenty of space for the kids to run free and play.

blauwklippen family market

If you’re looking to appease your appetite there’s plenty to please, whether it be banting burgers, scrumptious samosas or any of the incredible international cuisine on offer; Greek kebabs, German Flammkuchen, Chinese dumplings and more! All this paired perfectly with Blaauwklippen wines, live music from the very best talented local musicians, to ensure a toe-tapping good time!

Elgin Railway Market in Grabouw, is the brainchild of businessman Roger Orpen, who converted the old apple warehouse into a bustling steampunk station market boasting local vendors, live music and a gateway to the beautiful Overberg town.

elgin railway market

Inspired by the barn's railway-side setting, Orpen took his creative cues from the invention of steam and the industrial age, milestones accompanied by the rapid development of rail networks across the world. Creating a beautiful space where art deco meets Victorian, the Market is unlike any other in South Africa. The whistle and steam of the arriving train is a must-see for children (and adults) and a bucket list experience for the passengers who sign up to take the ride. Visitors to the market can greet the train on the station platform or view its arrival from the Market's leisure deck overlooking the railway.


History of Gordon’s Bay

Gordon’s Bay has a long history as it was named after Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon (1743-1795), commander of the VOC garrison during the first British occupation of the Cape in 1795. Robert Jacob Gordon not only has left many letters from that time describing his findings during his stay but also paintings and sketches from the era are archived in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As you will read, Simon van der Stel (Stellenbosch) has left some trace in the history of Gordon's Bay as well.

Before that the little bay was known as Vischhoeks Baay or Vissersbaai due to the abundance of fish caught under Cape Hangklip. The village Fishhoek which we know now in False Bay has an archive from that period with a timeline of history
False Bay also has an even longer history since Vasco da Gama mentioned it in 1497 when he sailed around the Cape coming from one of his famous trips.

There are not a lot of images from the early days of Gordon's Bay. Here you will find a few.

Fall in love with Gordon’s Bay

With a history of fisherman, heritage and a laid back culture you leave Gordon’s Bay with sweet memories. That is why many visitors return and even bought property in the recent years.