Things to do in Betty's Bay
Betty's Bay is a typical small sleepy village where people come to live off the grid, retire from the urban bustle or where holidaymakers come to have a truly relaxing break. However, this is not to say that the coastal hamlet doesn't have an ample amount of things to do. On the contrary, the unique natural setting caters for many outdoor activities.
One of Betty’s most popular things to do is spend the day at the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens which holds 190 hectares of indigenous coastal fynbos with an additional 10 hectares of cultivated gardens. The whole day can be spent strolling between the immaculate gardens, lunching at the restaurant, hiking to waterfalls and bird watching. Ninety-six different species have been recorded in the gardens and a bird list is available at the entrance in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The reserve is invested in the natural ecology so the fauna, such as baboons and snakes, are often left in peace and respected by everyone that enters the gates. The gardens also hold many hiking trails that vary in length, difficulty and scenery.
One of the attractions Betty's Bay is most well-known for is the African Penguin colony at Stony Point. The African Penguin, otherwise known as the Jackass Penguin due its donkey-like braying call, is only found between Algoa Bay in South Africa and central Namibia. Mostly found on islands, Stony Point is one of the only three mainland sites in the world. These smart tuxedo birds are doted on for their cute waddle. Unfortunately the population has decreased by almost 90% and they are now considered an endangered species. At Stony Point there is a colony of approximately 2 000 breeding pairs. A wooden pathway leads through their breeding grounds which makes it perfect to behold them but also ensures that we do not encroach on their space.
Before the penguin colony took up residence at Stony Point there used to be an Old Whaling Station. The station targeted Southern Right Whales due to the ease of spotting them and because of how close they would come to the shoreline. Today the Southern Right Whales are an enchanting attraction for both locals and tourists. From July to December large groups of whales can be spotted from the shoreline as they venture close to the rocky coastline.
Betty's Bay is home to a master chocolatier Gaspard Bossut. His shop, Gaboli, is situated at his house on the corner of town close to Blesberg dune. Visitors can order chocolates from Gaboli or they can organise a personal tour of Gaspard's chocolate-covered kitchen to receive some delicious intel on how he weaves his magic. Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa, chilli chocolates that will have you doing headstands in the shower (according to the passionate chocolatier), Amarula truffles, chocolate sticks and even unique concoctions like blue cheese and biltong are available/for sale. But these are just a few of the treats to be found inside Gaspard's decadent home.
For the adventurers there is sand boarding down the renowned Blesberg dune. It is renowned as one of the best dunes in South Africa for sand boarding and the descent begins at around 200 metres high . However , first timers need not stress as instructors will be at the ready to assist and you can even begin the adventure sliding down the dune sitting on your board until confidence is gained. Once standing up the adrenalin begins pumping as this exhilarating activity truly begins.
Besides the cascading waves of sand dunes at Silversands beach, there is also Betty's Bay beach where sun goers can enjoy walks, surfing, body boarding, fishing and just lounging beneath the hot sun with the backdrop of the Kogelberg mountains. In town there are a handful of curio shops and restaurants to while away the time. There is also a pottery gallery that boasts some impressive crockery and engaging art pieces.
No matter your agenda, there will be something to entice you at Betty's Bay. Although it is almost guaranteed that you will depart at such a glacial pace as the overall tranquil atmosphere is difficult to ignore. Exactly how you need to return to reality after a much-needed holiday.