The sheer cliffs of the Kogelberg range drop steeply to a narrow coastal plain along which Betty’s Bay is situated, between Kleinmond and Pringle Bay on the R44. The town stretches about 12km from one side to the other.
Betty’s Bay is a quiet seasonal holiday village, ideally suited to those who prefer outdoor living. It has only a handful of shops and one garage.
The town is well known for the nearby Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Stony Point penguin colony, the Harold Porter National Gardens, some great beaches, and good rock and surf fishing. Southern right whales are easily visible from the shoreline when they visit to mate (June-Nov) and give birth; dolphins and seals are also frequent visitors.
Snorkelling and scuba-diving are popular; and according to locals, much of the time one can surf here without a wetsuit. We think this is optimistic, but the surfing is nonetheless very good.
The town saw prominence as a whaling station for the first few decades of the 20th Century, and the rusty remains of a whaling ship and oil tanks are still visible in the old harbour, which is now home to the penguin colony.
Look out for
Stony Point African Penguin Colony - This is the biggest attraction in Betty’s Bay. Up until 1982, Africa’s only penguin species, Spheniseus demersus, nested on islands and was inaccessible to bird and nature lovers, until this colony formed. The best time to visit is late afternoon when they return from their 20km fishing expeditions. Also at Stony Point are the relics of the Whaling Station and slipway used in the early 1900’s to process southern right whales. There is a small restaurant run by the Mooiuitsig Community Trust that serves light refreshments.
Harold Porter Botanical Gardens - Set between the mountain and sea on the R44, the 200ha gardens encompass 10ha of cultivated fynbos and 190ha of pristine natural fynbos. The paths are wheelchair friendly and offer walks through this floral splendour, up Disa Kloof and Leopard’s Gorge, revealing its indigenous flowers, fynbos-covered mountain slopes, streams, dark pools and waterfalls. Birding is good here with 88 species, and some to look out for are the blue-mantled crested flycatcher, the orange-breasted sunbird and the rare protea canary. There is a restaurant and an indigenous nursery.
Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve - The 100 000ha reserve is a great outdoors venue of mountain landscapes, fynbos of exceptional quality, and a pristine coastline. It’s signposted on the R44 east of Betty’s Bay and is open daily from 07h30 to 19h00. The reception office is 3km along the gravel road, where visitors can either book into accommodation or get permits to spend the day.