Gordon’s Bay is a sleepy seaside village just over half an hour from Cape Town. It offers a quiet, romantic beach retreat and some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see. Gordon’s Bay is about slowing down, skipping the crowds, and spending quality time exploring one of the best-kept secrets of the Western Cape. Here’s your guide to spending a day in Gordon’s Bay.
Start the day with a breakfast: you’re spoiled for choice. Many of the accommodation providers are bed and breakfasts, so if you’ve stayed the night you’ll be sorted for sustenance. If you’re driving from Cape Town, don’t skip Pyjamas and Jam Eatery in Strand, on the way to Gordon’s Bay. From perfectly poached eggs and creamy scramble with crispy bacon to home-baked croissants and gingerbread, everything on the menu is exquisite. If you’d prefer to dine in the village itself, don’t miss Mary-Ann’s Emporium & Eatery, which opens at 9am on weekdays. It’s a vegan eatery, but even devout eat-meaters will return again and again for the wholesome and delicious dishes. Grab a smoothie or stick around for lunch, with healthy bowls and soups on offer.
Once you’re fed and coffee’d, it’s time to head towards Betty’s Bay, along the stunning coastal route. You’ll pass Kogel Bay Beach along the way, where for a small fee you can enjoy the fantastic views, unspoilt sandy beach, and picnic and braai facilities. From there, it’s about another 20 minutes to Betty’s Bay, where you’ll find a huge colony of African penguins. Most people visit the penguins at Boulders Beach n Simon’s Town, but Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay is a hidden gem, with fewer people and more wide open space. The wooden boardwalk takes you out to a rocky outcrop, passing hundreds of breeding pairs along the way.
After a slow drive back to the village, stop for lunch at one of the sea-facing fish ‘n chips spots, or for some more sophisticated fare try Zest. It’s a sidewalk café with sea views and some seriosuly good food. Try the mussels, done in a tomato, fennel, paprika, and chilli broth, or the tender calamari. The chicken schnitzel has a perfect light crumb and is served with roasted baby potatoes and griddle-charred lemon. Whatever you choose to eat, the dishes are stylishly plated and tasty: you can’t go wrong. It’s also just nest door to the labyrinthine Bikini Beach Books, where you can get lost among the secondhand treasures from your childhood.
After lunch, you have options.
For the active types, it’s time to check out any of the fantastic hiking trails in the area. Try Crystal Pools for a challenging hike to some gorgeous natural rock pools, or head to the Steenbras Nature Reserve Danie Miller Hiking Trial for a more casual, flat walk along the contour of the mountain. The views are spectacular anywhere you choose to go!
If hiking isn’t your scene, perhaps a kayaking trip in the sheltered bay is more up your alley. Rent kayaks or a SUP (Stand-Up Paddle board) from Helderberg Adventure Zone’s offices, located at 47 Gypsies Backpackers right on the beachfront. The onsite adventure booking office specialize in adventure activities and tours in and around the area.
For those who would like to keep things a little more relaxed, you could either spend the day on one of Gordon’s Bay’s gorgeous beaches, or book yourself into the Mukda Thai Spa for a luxurious (but remarkably affordable) afternoon of treatments. The opulent décor and warm interior will make you feel like royalty, and the therapists will leave you positively renewed.
As the day draws to a close, prepare for Gordon’s Bay’s speciality: sunsets. Head back to your B’nB, hotel, or guesthouse if they have a good sundeck. If not, it’s hard to find a bad place to watch the sunset. Consider driving up to the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant lookout point for stunning ocean and mountain vistas, and watch the sun sink behind Table Mountain across the bay.
After dark, try The Thirsty Oyster for dinner if you’re after tasty seafood, or to Krystal Beach if you’d prefer cocktails and steak, with occasional live music. If you’re looking for fine-dining, you might consider Camphors at Vergelegen or Waterkloof, located on the Helderberg Wine Route just a short drive away in Somerset West.
There are endless places to choose from to stay the night. For modern, chic accommodation check out the Chocolate Box, located up on the mountainside with grand sea views. To fall asleep to the sound of waves, 185 on Beach is a romantic and comfortable guest house. Gordon’s Bay Stay has plenty of self-catering options.