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The charming coastal town of Kleinmond in the Overberg region of the Western Cape is included in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO heritage site and regarded as one of the most important ecosystems in South Africa. Kleinmond is also on the Whale Coast route, a nursing area for Humpback, Bryde’s and Southern Right whale offspring during the breeding season.
Kleinmond, meaning Small Mouth in Afrikaans due to its location alongside a small river mouth, is populated with mostly holiday homes set amongst natural fynbos, wetlands and up against the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not uncommon to see baboon troops relaxing in someone’s garden nor is it a surprise to have to brake for a tortoise crossing the road.
The town is reached via one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives – Clarence Drive – and with a beautiful beach, calm lagoon and small but vibrant waterfront, Kleinmond is well worth a stayover.
Top 8 reasons to visit Kleinmond
1. Kleinmond has a fabulous beach that is manned by lifeguards over the holiday season. The lagoon alongside is popular for safe swimming and boat rides.
2. Visit Kleinmond during the period July to November to watch the whales entering the bay. A number of boat operators offer boat-based whale watching, get details from the local info office.
3. Hire a wetsuit, snorkel and flippers, and collect your permit at the post office before venturing into the sea to dive for crayfish. Crayfish (rock lobster) are commonly found in amongst kelp beds. The season lasts for 5 months only.
4. The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve showcases thousands of fynbos plant species and hiking through this area is an eye opener. There are steep trails to reach the peak for stunning sea views and forested ravines that overlook river courses. Expect to see baboons and if truly fortunate, a Cape leopard.
5. Travel to the Rooisand Nature Reserve to watch the wild horses that have made this marshy area their home. The horses have adapted to their environment with a thicker coat and flatter hooves. They are believed to be descendants of horses left behind by British troops following the South African War of 1899-1902.
6. Shop for interesting and unique curios created locally and sold at the Kleinmond Waterfront. Have lunch overlooking the harbour at one of the many seafood and other restaurants located here.
7. Enjoy a round of golf at the Kleinmond 9-hole golf course flanked by large mountains in the north and the ocean to the south. For the more serious golfer, the Arabella 18-hole championship course is a short distance away.
8. Fishing is popular on the west side of Kleinmond main beach. Hire a rod and attempt to catch South Africa’s national fish, the Galjoen. When fishing along this stretch of the coastline, know that you are in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and only certain species may be collected, others must be released, in particular, the Galjoen.
The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport, 95km from Kleinmond. Car rental agencies are located at the airport, Cape Town city and Stellenbosch, otherwise order a vehicle online and collect at a convenient location. The area is best travelled using a hired vehicle. There are no rail and bus services in the area.
Did you know?
Town authorities along this section of the coast are always on the lookout for volunteer ‘nannies’ to watch over the endangered oystercatcher bird’s eggs during the breeding season. These birds lay their eggs on beach sand, exposed to the elements and possible damage by human and dog traffic. Nannies locate the egg and ensure that the area remains undisturbed.
Before a church was built in Kleinmond, services would be conducted under a tree known as Die Preekboom (a makeshift tree pulpit, indirectly translated). The tree is still standing and the occasional sermon takes place during the holiday season.