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Sit Back and Relax in Betty's Bay

Dec 10, 2007
If you want to head off the Garden Route a little bit, one of the Western Cape's most well-guarded secrets lies just a few kilometers away in the Overberg region. Betty's Bay has a reputation amongst residents of nearby cities as one of the best places to have a holiday home. In fact, many Capetonians would say that Betty's Bay is what going away for the weekend in the Western Cape is all about. You won't find a lot of shops, cinemas or tourist attractions, because this sleepy seaside town is all about relaxation and nature.

That is not to say that you have to rough it - five star luxury Betty's Bay accommodation is easy to come by, if you book fairly well in advance. You can usually rent out vacation homes or villas, and the one thing that makes this a truly special place to go on holiday is that virtually every home overlooks the sea. Driving in along the R44, you won't see much. Coming closer you will start to see a few dotted cottages and luxury guest houses dotted about, but that is all you will ever see of development here. Strict zoning laws keep this seaside town sparsely developed - a certain amount of all ground space must be untouched vegetation.

Betty's Bay prides itself on its consideration of the environment, and the town is essentially a walker's paradise. For any nature enthusiast there is enough to keep you occupied for days, including beach walks, mountain hikes, the Palmiet River trail, bird watching and fishing, to name a few. The beaches are open to all, but they are protected by strict laws and a carefully maintained dune ecosystem that is home to hundreds of endangered species.

The Betty's Bay beaches are pristine and tranquil, with no sign of pollution or man's footprint. The water is warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit year round, but the surf never goes above 2-3 foot due to the lack of a reef. Betty's Bay is a popular stop for longboarders on a surfing trip up and down the coast, and you can catch them on the waves at almost any time of year.

Betty's Bay is a beautiful detour off the Garden Route, but it is ideally a weekend stop over on a larger Garden Route trip. It is only a 90 minute drive from Cape Town, and only about 30 minutes from Hermanus, a far more popular tourist destination. Some attractions nature lovers might enjoy in Betty's Bay are the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and the Stony Point penguin colony.

Any walk around the area is stunning, and Betty's Bay is a perfect example of fynbos, the flora of the Cape Floral Kingdom. This is the smallest of the world's plant kingdoms, but has nearly the greatest variety of all. Please note that all of the vegetation is protected, especially the giant protea flowers you will find growing naturally almost anywhere.
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