1. Pringle Bay Beach
Pringle Bay boasts a beautiful beach that stretches from the mouth of the Buffels River and down one side of the village. The white sand is kept clean and pristine year round, so people can enjoy it in the height of summer or in the middle of winter when they come to see the whales. The lagoon created by the Buffels River is ideal for swimming in and the perfect spot for children to play in the water and build castles in the wet sand. During the summer months there are life guards on duty all along the beach.
The coastline in the area has some great spots where you can cast a fishing line. The waters are also full of mussels and crayfish that can be caught and collected. If visitors wish to go further into the ocean, they can use the Maasbaai slipway for boat launches. There are also several charter companies that operate in the area, which allow tourists to go on guided fishing tours. It’s important to note that if you want to fish in the area, or collect or catch other marine life, a permit must be obtained first. These can be bought at the post office in the centre of Pringle Bay.
3. Whale Watching
Pringle Bay and Rooi Els fall on the Whale Route that runs from Cape Town through to Durban along the western coast. The Hangklip area is an ideal spot for seeing these gentle giants as they come close to the shoreline to mate and calve every year between July and December. The most common species that can be seen at this time are the Humpback and the Southern Right Whales. Large schools of dolphins can also be seen coming close to the land and frolicking in the protected waters. Seeing all of the beautiful creatures of the ocean up close and personal really is a special treat.
4. Water Sports
The best of Pringle Bay and Rooi Els has to be the opportunities for water sports in the summer months. There is a beautiful spot for swimming and snorkelling in the mouth of the Buffels River. Further out to sea, you can speed off on rubber ducks, go diving for crayfish (with a permit) or take out a kayak. If surfing or body boarding is more your thing the beach experiences some excellent swell when the South Easter is blowing. For those who don’t have their own equipment, there are places in the village where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards and surfboards.
5. Hiking in the Biosphere
A firm favourite of the Pringle Bay area highlights is the incredible hiking trails around the village. These range from two-day events in the nearby nature reserve to short walks on coastal paths that are easy for any fitness level. The top picks for hikes that won’t take all day but will get you to some incredible sights are the Hangklip Mountain Trail, the Brodie Trail and the Old Coastal Gravel Road. These offer a bit of a challenge but most fitness levels can handle them.
6. The Kogelberg Nature Reserve
The nature reserve spans a large area behind Pringle Bay, Rooi Els and the other towns along Clarence Drive. It’s a beautiful space that protects the fynbos and wildlife that lives there. Visitors to the reserve are limited, but it is reasonably easy to get a permit to enter for hikes. For those who enjoy their mountain biking, there is a great trail in the reserve. It’s roughly 22km and offers a tough challenge that’s quite a workout. When in the reserve, it’s worth taking the time to explore all of the areas that are open to the public. You can even swim and kayak in the rivers. If you’re into extreme sports, you can apply to do white water rafting down the Palmiet River in winter.
7. The Hangklip Lighthouse
The lighthouse was built in 1960 and is completely automated to shine a light out to ships, warning them that they’ve reached the rocky area before False Bay. The only way to reach the lighthouse is via the hiking trail that runs from the small beach next to the Maasbaai slipway. It’s an easy walk that follows a gravel path along the coastline to the lighthouse. Just past the building, there are two secluded beaches that make a great escape for those seeking complete solitude. The walk is relatively flat and will take between one and two hours.
8. Bird Watching
The Kogelberg Biosphere offers some incredible opportunities for those who love bird watching. On the Pringle Bay beach visitors can find the African Black Oyster Catcher as this is a breeding ground for them. The Hangklip area also regularly sees large flocks of the Black Cormorant, which uses Stony Point as a breeding ground along with the African Penguins. Over in Rooi Els, birders often see endemic species such as the Cape Rockjumper and the Rock Thrush.
9. The Quiet Lifestyle
Pringle Bay and Rooi Els are situated within the Kogelberg Biosphere, which has ensured that the villages have remained small, quiet and peaceful. The only tarred roads in the area are Clarence Drive and Hangklip Road – the main road through Pringle Bay. There are also no street lights in either village so the stars really come out to play in the night sky. Both villages are ideal holiday spots for those who want to get away from city life and enjoy some tranquillity.