The spectacular Clarence Drive
The route to Betty’s Bay and the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden follows the spectacular thirty-mile stretch of coast between Gordon’s Bay and Kleinmond around False Bay, known as Clarence Drive and regarded by some as the most scenic drive in the world, it is the sheer scale of the mountains above the road that immediately arrests the senses.
At one stage a single spur of mountains over ten miles in length is visible – from Hangklip, ‘The Hanging Rock’, through to Kogelberg that is over four thousand feet in height. Like Chapman’s Peak, but unlike the other mountain drives, the mountains do not ascend in relatively gradual steps, but instead reach their full height in astonishingly sheer cliffs. From this vantage point, one can view the entire Cape Peninsula that terminates in Cape Point thirty miles to the west across False Bay.
The whole coast falls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, a part of the Cape Floral Kingdom that is the most species-dense of all the world’s Plant Kingdoms, containing a floral diversity per unit area that is greater than anywhere else on the planet. It is also home to a vast array of wildlife and is the beginning of ‘The Whale Coast’, which is generally regarded as the best place in the world to view whales from shore.