Kleinmond: a little gem on the way to Hermanus

Posted by Hannelie Van As on 10 April 2012

I am sitting in Kleinmond, close to the harbour, drinking in the blue of the sea and feeling the chill of the morning breeze. It is not a long drive from Gordon’s Bay. This morning, I got up while the mountains were still a smoky grey to watch the sun rise over the vast ocean. I watched a troop of baboons grooming each other along the road on Clarence Drive and stopped for a big cup of coffee at Pringle Bay. Then the road meanders past Betty’s Bay (I make a mental note to stop at Harold Porter Botanical Garden and the Potter’s Place on the way back) and then to Kleinmond for breakfast. I like Kleinmond’s beautiful white beach, but the main reason for my visit is Harbour road. It is filled with interesting little shops and restaurants. Here, you can find from timeless ceramics to fresh calamari, precious stones to old records, innovative art to dusty little trinkets.

Part of the beauty of the place is its simplicity. It is not overcrowded or flashy or grand. That is why I always turn back from here, although Hermanus is just a stone’s throw away. Don’t get me wrong, Hermanus is quite something, but it has become a little bit like Sandton by the sea. Thankfully, Grotto Beach, the two harbours, the whales, Fern Kloof and the Hermanuspietersfontein morning market will always make it special. But if it is a bit of quiet contemplation you are after, Kleinmond is as far as you have to go from Cape Town.

I wandered down to the market to see what treasures were pulled from the sea during the morning. I stood among fisherfolk skilfully filleting their fish, arguing and laughing, the far-away look of the next horizon in their eyes.

But like all beautiful quiet places, I see a new development is planned for exactly this spot, where I am sitting. Flashy and grand. It will change the character of this place completely. I wonder if the dusty little shops will still be here two years from now. Yes, I realise it will bring much needed employment and a cash injection to the town. But it will make it something different. Development always has a price. Which means perhaps in future, I’ll only go as far as Betty’s Bay.

To do: Apart from visiting every shop in Harbour road, you can take a guided coastal walk with licenced tour guide, Klem Dunstan. For R130, Klem will unlock the treasures of the coastline for you, and it includes a drink and some fish and chips at Sandpiper restaurant. Walks take place at 11:00 or 17:00. For more information call Klem on 083 298 0654, or book at Sandpiper restaurant.

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