There is plenty to explore in the local area, and we have listed some of the specific things you may be interested in below.
Gordons Bay is a pretty, quiet, and relatively small community, ideally situated for touring the wine estates of the Helderberg, or of Hemel-en-Aarde and Elgin. It is home to a small harbour, and the South African Naval College.
Close to the N2, it is within easy reach of Hermanus, Cape Town, and closer to home, to Strand and Somerset West.
Many first time visitors to the area think that the stone built ‘GB’ insignia on the mountainside above the house stands for Gordons Bay. But they are wrong; the GB it commemorates is actually General Botha, or ‘Bothie’, after whom the original Naval Station was named.
Close to the property, just outside Somerset West, is the world-famous Erinvale Golf Course.
Host of the World Cup 1996 and South African Airways Open 2003 and 2004, Erinvale is considered one of the best residential golf courses in South Africa.
Designed by legendary course designer and golfer Gary Player, the course features many of his distinctive immaculate challenges.
Stunning views, well established shade trees and the substantial attention to maintenance of the fairways, elevate this course to world-class standards.
The first nine holes are on the low lying part of the estate and the second nine are on higher, rolling ground. The standard of the gorgeous shaped greens and beautifully consistent putting surfaces remains throughout.
All in all Erinvale promises a superb experience when you play a round of 18 on this outstanding layout in the Winelands.
The de Zalze Golf Estate is also situated nearby on the R44 at Somerset West.
The De Zalze Golf Course situated within the De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate was designed by Peter Matkovich (course architect for Leopard Rock, Arabella & Pinnacle Point amongst others), who made the most of the stunning setting, and created a course that places a premium on accuracy.
The course has an excellent mix of parkland holes, with its main challenges presented in the form of the water features on several holes, as well as the oak tree lined Blaauwklippen River which winds its way through the Golf Estate and comes into play at various intervals
Strand Golf Course is a new championship layout with abundant water hazards and bunkers. Many of the holes on the back 9 play in semi-links style. Near the famed Strand Beach and Stellenbosch wine estates.
Somerset West Golf Club is a Par 72 course and was recently redesigned by the legendary Peter Matkovich. The Parklands style of some of the course is beautiful, and the links feel to the back nine provides variety to the game.
Stellenbosch Golf Club is the fourth oldest golf club in South Africa. This Parklands style Par 72 course is set partly around the famous vineyards of the area.
Arabella Golf Course is a Peter Matkovich designed Links, Parklands, Coastal course accessed via Clarence Drive from Gordon’s Bay. This Par 72 Championship course is consistently ranked in the top 10 courses in South Africa. Other accolades include the 8th hole as the most beautiful Par 5, and the 18th hole as the finest finisher.
Kleinmond Golf Club is the one that surprises everyone. Set in a kloof in the Kogelberg Biosphere this Eco friendly course offers wildlife, fynbos, mountain and sea views and even whale sightings between July and October.
The South African art scene is alive, vibrant, and accessible. Many of the wine estates have sculptures and other installations, but we wanted to highlight a few of our favourite places and artists:
- Adriaan Diedericks – Adriaan is a talented young artist and sculptor with a studio and foundry in Strand. Check out his work here
- Cavalli Wine Estate – Cavalli has a lovely basement gallery with changing exhibitions at its estate in Somerset West. It also has a boutique and a restaurant. We feature Cavalli in the wine estate section of this site. Check it out here
- Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden – Dylan Lewis creates striking sculptures that sit within the broader landscape in a striking way. His sculpture garden near Stellenbosch is well worth a visit. Check it out here
- Grande Provence – The Gallery at Grande Provence in Franschhoek is arguably one of the finest in the area. It is well worth a visit, and the estate grounds are awash with sculptures by the renowned Anton Smit. Check it out here
- For the ultimate in personal service and customised art tours, we strongly recommend you contact Cape Culture – run by the charming and knowledgeable Brad Twaddle, who lives locally. Check them out here. Pre-booking before your vacation is strongly advised.
The South African wine scene has transformed over the last 10-15 years, and now produces wines of the highest standards.
There really are too many producers within a short distance to mention; for the most comprehensive guide, get hold of a Platter’s South African wine guide – available at all good book shops and at good wine producers – or buy the App – see both here
We have listed here some of the Estates that we like for their wines, the architecture, the food, and the overall experience:
- Vergelegen – a stunning estate with a tasting room, extensive grounds, two restaurants, in a gorgeous location near Somerset West. An entrance fee applies which is well worth the money.
- Waterkloof – you can see Waterkloof on the hillside from the house, but you need to go there to really appreciate its beauty. Great architecture, a quality restaurant, and a farm shop/delicatessen, a short drive from the property. The restaurant at Waterkloof has been voted #1 in South Africa 2019 in the prestigious Eat Out Awards.
- Cavalli – already mentioned for its art gallery, it gets a mention for its beauty and its restaurant.
- Idiom – another short drive from the property, through Sir Lowry’s Pass village at the bottom of nearby Sir Lowry’s Pass. Informal dining, wine tasting, and breathtaking views.
- Oak Valley – the wines and restaurant at this Elgin estate are growing in reputation.
For personalised tours, try contacting Mark Tanner in advance - firstname.lastname@example.org
For general help and advice with travel, attractions, and up to date information about the latest events, contact the Gordons Bay Tourism Centre on 082 929 9583, or visit them here
Many visitors to Gordons Bay come to visit the attractions just around the coast at Betty’s Bay. Betty’s Bay is a small holiday town that stretches about 13km long along the R44. During colonial times Betty’s Bay was allegedly a favourite place for runaway slaves, and in 1912 it became a whaling station until the 1930’s.
There are a few key attractions in Betty’s Bay:
Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.
A boardwalk meanders through the colony, allowing you to watch the penguins going about their daily activities without disturbing them. The reserve is quieter and a more pleasant experience than Boulders Beach, on the Cape Peninsula. There is a small restaurant on site.
Bookings required, tel: 028 272 9829.
The Harold Porter Botanical Gardens are also nearby. One of 10 botanical gardens managed by the South Africa National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), this lovely garden is situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest.
It encompasses mountain slopes with wind clipped heathlands, deep gorges, flats, marshes, and dunes. The garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools.
There are a number of trails and guided tours are available. An entrance fee applies.
Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools is a popular destination that has strict limits set on the number of visitors per day in order to protect the natural habitat. There is a moderate hike to the pools from the parking area, which is about 7km from Gordons Bay.
A permit is required, and it is possible to make an electronic booking in advance.
Gordons Bay is home to Bikini Beach, one of Cape Town’s 10 Blue Flag beaches, renowned for its clean, warm, water, sheltered from the winds, and with unending views across False Bay towards the Cape Peninsula.
Strand Beach is a long, white, sandy beach, ideal for families.
There are a number of local shops for essential items – food, pharmacy, fuel etc.
There is a small Woolworths in the shopping centre on Sir Lowry’s Pass Road; the largest Woolworths Food Hall in the country is at their store in Somerset West, which has a wide range of fresh foods and delicacies.
A number of the wine estates, including Waterkloof, have delicatessens selling their own artisan produce and that from local producers.
Strand is good for banks and a wider range of shops, including butchers.
"We love wine and this home is the perfect location for visiting the Helderberg Wine Estates."
Tony Page, Washington, USA