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 it 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.

A breathtaking coastal road winds along the Cape’s breathtaking, azure coastline for the 13.5 miles (22 kilometers) between the two cities. With its 77 bends, curves, and corners, four of which have a turn of more than 150 degrees, this pass is perfect for those who enjoy driving on winding roads. The road is well-kept and draws a lot of tourists, locals, cyclists, and bikers.

What is the history of the Clarence Drive:

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, the most interesting parts of the whole route are from Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay, where it meets Route 43, out of curiosity. It is open all year round. Expect to average less than 60 km/h (35 m/h) because there are few opportunities for overtaking.

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 22 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: on

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