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.
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.Source: capetourism.co.za
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.
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.
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.
What to do in Gordon’s Bay?
The answer would be, how much time do you have? We have an extensive list of things for you to do in and around Gordon's Bay. Find them below on this page but first let's get an idea of what Gordon's Bay can offer you and the day tours you can make from our guesthouse in Gordon's Bay to explore the area. All below (day) tours you can start from our guesthouse:
- Whale route to Hermanus over Clarence Drive with spectacular views
- The 4 Passes route through the Wine and Fruit lands that surrounds us;
- The Wine route from Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset to Stellenbosch and Franschoek;
- Bay route taking you along False Bay to quaint places like Muizenberg, Kalk-Bay up to Simons Town and Cape Point!
Whale route to Hermanus over Clarence Drive with spectacular views
Most of the visitors know Hermanus for the Whales but did you know that the Whale route starts in Gordon's Bay? Just follow the R44 from Gordon's Bay in the direction of Kleinmond and you will find the first signs telling you to park the car and watch for Whales. The whale season is between June and December every year. Now this is only the start of one of the most scenic panoramic drives in the Western Cape!. Clarence Drive starts in Gordon's Bay and ends in Kleinmond and will bring you along the magnificent Hottentots Hollands Mountains on one side and the ocean coming ashore in False Bay. There are plenty of parking spots on the road which makes this tour much safer compared with Chapman’s Peak to give you photo opportunities. You can be lucky spotting whales (in the season) but especially the dolphins who seems to reside in Gordon’s Bay, can give you unforgettable moments to enjoy while they play in the waves. Read our full article here.
Compared with Chapman’s Peak (the beautiful scenic drive from Noordhoek to Houtbaai), Clarence Drive offers much more opportunities to stop and park, spot whales (in the season), dolphins, birds, baboons or other beautiful species that want to live close to Gordon’s Bay.
The Whale Route brings you from from Gordon’s Bay via Betty's Bay, Kleinmond to Hermanus. It is considered one the most beautiful scenic drives in the Western Cape with on one side the beauty of the West Cape flora of the Steenbras Nature Reserve and Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and the ocean on the other side.
On this route you will pass:
- Dappat se Gat, a long stretched sandy beach like you see on post cards. Watch the surfers taming the huge waves!
- Sparks Bay Tidal Pool on Clarence Drive. A coastal haven and “known as one of the country’s best and most tranquil whale-watching and braai spots”.
- Klipspringer Hiking Trail.
- Unspoiled hike in the Steenbras Nature Reserve.
- Penguins in Stoney Point / Betty’s Bay. Compared with Boulders Beach (Simons Town), which is very pretty but touristy whereas Stony Point is a much more natural setting and more penguins.
- Harold Porter Botanical Garden in Kleinmond, discover the Leopard Walk. The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. Experience the Leopards Kloof Trail, a photo moment in the making.
- Palmiet River Hike and swim in the pools. Main entrance for three hikes where this four hour walk is one that should not be missed. The trail follows the river where swimming is possible in some of the first few pools.
- Kleinmond and Hermanus. Kleinmond is the last little village you will find on you way to Hermanus. Hermanus famous for whale watching and Gansbaai for shark cage diving.
Clarence Drive is worth to stop a few times so it might take a few hours. No time to stop, you probably reach Kleinmond in 45 minutes. Read the full article here or download in pdf here.
The 4 Passes route through the Wine and Fruit lands that surrounds us
From our door step and back a 360 tour through Elgin Valley Fruit lands and the heart of the Cape Winelands. You start going up Sir Lowry's Pass (1) via Grabouw in Elgin Valley down via Viljoenspas (2) up the Franschoek Pass (3) and down Helshoogte Pass (4) in Stellenbosch. This route brings you stunning lookout points, the beauty of Elgin Valley, a selfie at theTheewaterskloofdam that provides Cape Town most of the drinking water, Franschoek for breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, South Africa's Gourmet Capital straight to Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, known for its natural beauty and oak-lined avenues, Cape Dutch architecture, history and culture – and of course its wine routes. Stellies is also a university town, so despite its long history it retains a youthful vibe. From Stellenbosch, it is less than 30 minutes to return to our guesthouse still simmering about all impressions in one day!
The Wine route from Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset to Stellenbosch and Franschoek
Wine is the answer, what was the question? It is Wine-O-Clock and more sayings about Wine but here we are literally at the foot of the vineyards! The 4 passes route brings you to the famous Wine Lands but did you know we have well known wine-estates around the corner? We have about 20 vineyards within a 30 minute drive from Gordon's Bay, so there no excuse to miss Wine-O-Clock.
The idea of rewarding yourself after a day’s hard graft with a goldfish bowl could become a real experience visiting one of the estate's that service wine-tasting or even better, wine-pairing. The first ones just outside Gordon's Bay, also known as the Schaapenberg Wine Route. In Sir Lowry's Pass you will find Idiom and from there to Onderkloof and Waterkloof in the direction of Somerset where Lourensford and Vergelegen are situated. The list continues in the direction of Stellenbosch. A taxi is the safest way because you might like a bit more tasting after the first one just to check if you made the right choice ;-)
This wine region is often referred to as South Africa’s premium red wine area. Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular wine blends in the Somerset West area due to the warm ocean influence, moderate rainfall and sheltered grounds in the shadow of the Hottentots Holland mountain range.
Drive up Sir Lowry’s Pass and within 20 minutes you will reach Elgin Valley, famous for their “cool climate” wines.
Bay route taking you along False Bay to quaint places like Muizenberg, Kalk-Bay up to Simons Town and Cape Point!
Yes you can go to Cape Point from Cape Town but you might end up in traffic or find out that Chapman's Peak is closed. We already explained why Gordon's Bay is the Heart of the Cape so why not to Cape Point via False Bay? Start your route from Macassar and drive on the backside of Cape Town's biggest township called Khayelitsa to Muizenberg. You will be impressed about this coastal route along the sandy beaches where locals fish and a view over the thousands of tin houses and shacks that form the current Khayelitsa township. If you are interested in a township tour, we have the Lwandle Labour Migrant Museum in about 15 minutes from the guesthouse where the local guides are more than happy to tell you about and explain the impact of the past era of apartheid and the struggle for those who are the less fortunate. We can only state that the guests who spent the two hour tour, were impressed and support the initiative.
Once you arrive in Muizenberg with the surf dudes and the coloured houses on the beach, you will pass St. James, Kalk-Bay (named as coolest neighbourhood in the world) on your way to Simons Town and ulitmately, Cape Point. From Simons Town the entrance of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve Park is just another 11 km bringing you along stunning coast lines. The total distance of this route to Cape Point is 75km.
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:
Whale and Dolphin Watching from ashore
Just outside Gordon's Bay you will find our Whale Lookout Points. The Whale Walk ending at the Whale Outlook Point on Suikerbossie Road or go up to the Steenbras Lookout Point. Both have parking facilities, benches to watch over the ocean of False Bay and be lucky to spot the Dolphins and Whales. The whale season is between June and December every year.
Take a Hike, with a view
If you come for a hike, you came to the right area. We have our own Danie Miller hike, just up Aurora Road or Suikerbossie Road. The Danie Miller Hiking Trail will surprise you with the most spectacular views of Gordon’s Bay, False Bay, Helderberg Area and our harbour. It has a wide variety of indigenous plants, small streams and is a contour walk for young and old and follows the contour above the top houses along the length of Gordon’s Bay just below the anchor. The trial is about 2.9km long and takes about 2 hours to walk. Danie Miller Hike is not only accessible for almost everyone but you will be enjoying a wide variety of indigenous plants (depending season), abundant bird life and a breath-taking view over Gordon’s Bay, False Bay and the Helderberg during this short hike. Alternatively you can also enjoy spectacular views at the Steenbras lookout point and Whale lookout point at the Monica Miles Whale Way.
Not in for a hike but just want to see where everyone talks about? Steenbras Lookout Point or the Sir Lowrys Pass Lookout at the N2 will give you that WOW moment for that beautiful picture capturing everything we are blessed with in the Cape.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hire a bicycle
Hire a bicycle and experience the splendour of the Western Cape in a most unique way. Rentabicycle based in Gordon's Bay not only rents out bikes but also offers four different routes in the area. Have different and eye opening experience of South Africa’s culture and natural beauty by bicycle. Cycle with view!
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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
Zip a Line
Lonely Planet listed Cape Canopy Tour, located in the Elgin Valley near Grabouw and scaling the rugged Hottentots Holland mountains in the Cape Nature reserve of the same name, as second on the list of the world’s hottest new tourism experiences for 2015. Cape Canopy Tour was the only African attraction to make the list! It has been described by Lonely Planet as “vertigo-tinged fun” and “an exciting aerial perspective”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.