Clarence Drive is one of South Africa’s most excellent roads.

Clarence Drive
Clarence Drive

One of the most beautiful coastal roads in South Africa is Clarence Drive. It’s just as exciting as Chapman’s Peak, but without the toll.

This 22-kilometer (13,5 miles) long tourist route provides a panoramic view of False Bay, the coastline, Table Mountain, and parts of the Cape Peninsula. The beaches in Kogel Bay are particularly sought-after by surfers, and the coastline is well-liked among fishermen and whale watchers. The path follows False Bay’s eastern shore and connects Strand to Hangklip in the south, just like Chapman’s Peak route does.

Where is Clarence Drive located?

The Hottentot Hollands Mountains are on one side of Clarence Drive, which is part of Route 44. And the ocean is on the other. This stretch of coastline is wonderfully beautiful and connects the seaside communities of Rooi Els and Betty’s Bay just southeast of Cape Town.

You can locate this road on the map below:


Enlarge the map

Information about the Clarence Drive:

Between the windswept hamlet of Rooi-Els and the naval town of Gordons Bay, which is tucked into the northeastern bend of False Bay under the shadow of the Hottentots Hollands mountains, lies the magnificently gorgeous coastal highway known as Clarence Drive.

The 21 kilometers (13,5 miles) between the two cities is covered by a stunning coastal road. It follows the rugged, azure coastline of the Cape the entire way. This pass is perfect for you if you enjoy doing many turns because it has 77 bends, curves, and corners, four of which are more than 150 degrees. The route is in excellent shape and draws a large number of visitors, locals, bikers, and bicycles. One may generally anticipate averaging well below 60 kph and there is only a moderate amount of overtaking.

History of the road:

Cattle drovers used to cross the road to provide supplies to Rooi-Els. A route across the mountain was suggested by businessman Gerald Jack Clarence, who had property at Hangklip and Betty’s Bay. Gerald Morkel, the Premier of the Western Cape, unveiled the reconstructed sections of the road on May 29, 1998. Construction started in 1940 and was finished by Italian POWs during World War II. There are still some abrupt curves, and there are sometimes rockfalls.

Clarence Drive preview:

You can obviously have a preview of that drive. Here is a YouTube video that shows a part of the road:

How to get to Clarence Drive?

The road starts out close to Gordons Bay. Then it travels south to the mouth of the Steenbras River, past Kogel Bay, Sparks Bay, and Rooi-Els, and ends at Pringle Bay. The road splits at this point, with one lane leading to Betty’s Bay and the other to Cape Hangklip.

You can visualize how to get there on this approximative map of the drive:

Is Clarence Drive open?

While Route 44 officially begins at Gordon’s Bay and Clarence Drive only at Rooi Els, we’ve ranked the most interesting parts of the whole route from Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay, where it meets with Route 43, out of curiosity. It is open all year round.

It is always advisable to take other road users into account when driving at a reasonable speed, and this is especially crucial on Clarence Drive. The route is used by bicycles, motorcycles, and other vehicles often, and staying in your lane is crucial as the road somewhat narrows beside the cliffs.

Clarence Drive, a stunning 21 kilometers (13,5 miles) length of coastline sandwiched between the ocean and the Hottentots Holland Mountains’ foothills, is followed along this coastal scenic route between Gordon’s Bay and Kleinmond. So if you’re around, don’t forget to take a trip on this route.

Picture credit: 6000.co.za on flickr.com


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