Activities & Experiences
Cliff Lodge is located in De Kelders, in the heart of the beautiful Overberg region just two hours from Cape Town, near the fishing village of Gansbaai. The area is well known for its dramatic coastline, with sweeping bays fringed by majestic mountains, unspoilt beaches and aqua seas. De Kelders is a nature lover’s paradise and there are a myriad things to see and do in in the area. Here are a few of our guests’ favourite things to do while staying at Cliff Lodge.
Whale Watching (June to December)
De Kelders offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the world. The Southern Right Whales come very close inshore to the sheltered deep waters between June and December each year. The high cliffs of De Kelders give excellent land-based sightings of these magnificent mammals and as Cliff Lodge is located right on the edge of Walker Bay you can watch the whales from the comfort of our all-weather conservatory and sea front deck. It is an awe-inspiring experience to see these gentle giants just metres from the shore. Unique boat based whale-watching trips let you experience the thrill of seeing the whales up close and personal. The Southern Rights seem to be as curious about us as we are about them, and are often friendly and playful, passing under or next to the boat. The boat-based whale watching industry is strictly controlled here, and the designated areas have been carefully selected so as not to interfere with whale-watchers observing from land.
Gansbaai is reputed world-wide to be the best place to dive with Great White Sharks – the most impressive apex predator. Surface view or cage dive with the Great White and other sharks in its natural feeding ground around Dyer Island, just offshore of Gansbaai. The white shark sea-safari lasts about 4 hours, and begins with a 20 minute boat trip from Kleinbaai Harbour to Dyer Island. Viewing of these sharks from the comfort of the boat is spectacular, as Great Whites are surface feeders. For the more adventurous, the safety of the cage gives you a face to face encounter with the awe-inspiring sharks. This is a wonderful way to appreciate the power, grace and mystery of these elusive creatures. All of the necessary diving equipment is supplied, and all shark diving operators have to comply with strict safety and environmental rules set out by the South African government.
The Overberg is home to beautiful mountain ranges, nature reserves, forests and beaches. The area boasts spectacular hikes and more gentle scenic walks, and hikers are spoilt for choice in this beautiful part of the Cape.
The best view of fynbos is on foot. When you hike through the mountains and valleys of the Overberg you have time to appreciate the thousands of floral species that make up the Cape Floral Region. There are beautiful day hikes in the mountains of Hermanus, Stanford and the Gansbaai area. There are incredible walking trails from Cliff Lodge along the dramatic De Kelders coastline where you will experience intimate coves for swimming, quiet beaches and sea cliffs with pounding waves and interesting caves. We will happily drop you at the start of the Klipgat Trail so that you can walk the 5km along the incredible shoreline back to Cliff Lodge.
Explore the remarkable Klipgat Cave, a short walk from Cliff Lodge in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. Middle Stone Age people lived in the cave about 70,000 years ago. The remains found here are amongst the earliest findings of modern Homo Sapiens in the world. During the later Stone Age early Khoekhoe herders also lived in the caves, leaving stone and bone artefacts. A true cultural and historic treasure.
The cave is set on a beautiful, unspoilt stretch of beach, surrounded by sand dunes, with spectacular views across Walker Bay. Perfect for beachcombing, walking or enjoying the sunshine.
Whether you’re a horse riding enthusiast or a beginner, horse riding in the Overberg is for you. Enjoy a long beach canter along the beautiful white beaches, and if conditions are right swim with your horses in the ocean. Alternatively ride through the fynbos covered hillsides, experiencing the wonders of our Cape Floral Kingdom. Exploring the area on horseback is an unforgettable, eco-friendly way of immersing yourself in our natural splendour.
Fat Bike Tours
Taking a guided fat bike rides along the beach and sand dunes of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve is a great way to enjoy the spectacular coastline with minimal impact on the environment, while keeping fit. The tours leave from Cliff Lodge, and take you along the spectacular beaches of De Kelders, and for the more adventurous riders, all the way to Hermanus. The tours are customised for all levels and skills. The large tyres of the fat bikes make it easy and fun to ride on the sand, and you will have the time of your life while riding in the most beautiful terrain there is.
The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the world’s most precious natural assets. So special that it has been designated as one of the world’s six plant kingdoms. It is the smallest Floral Kingdom in the world and is in a league of its own in terms of diversity. Fynbos makes up most of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and is the term given to a collection of plants that is dominated by shrubland. It is only when you experience fynbos at close hand that you discover the rich variety of its exquisite flowers and grasses. This fascinating botanical wonderland is a delight to explore. We will arrange walks through the fynbos and visits to fynbos farms for you, or you can explore the fynbos on horse-back or fat bike.
Visit the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary
The seabird sanctuary in Gansbaai provides temporary care to diseased, oiled or abandoned marine birds with special focus on the endangered African Penguin, in order to conserve and maintain threatened populations. The sanctuary creates awareness about the challenges that marine wildlife is facing, and raises funds for conservation initiatives. As well as being very informative place to visit, there is a curio shop and a coffee shop at the sanctuary. The sanctuary is a short drive from Cliff Lodge, and it’s a real treat to see the penguins up close.
Explore Stanford Village
Experience Stanford’s easy village life as you stroll through the village and explore antique stores, markets, and enjoy the many varied cafes and restaurants. Stanford’s quaint historical architecture is set against the backdrop of spectacular mountains.
The Stanford Wine Route meanders through these breathtaking mountains and a warm welcome awaits you at the beautiful tasting rooms and cellars.
A leisurely cruise along the Klein River on the Lady Stanford is a wonderful activity. The river is home to a large variety of birds, many of them endemic so this is a great activity for bird watchers.
Day Trip to Cape Agulhas
Cape Agulhas is located at the very tip of the African continent, where the cold Atlantic and the warmer Indian Ocean meet. The country’s second oldest working lighthouse was built here in 1848 and it now houses a tea room and the only lighthouse museum in South Africa. The coastline at Cape Agulhas is known as the graveyard of ships because the winds, high swells, treacherous rocks and erratic weather conditions have caused countless shipwrecks. The Agulhas Plain is still wild and unspoilt with a fascinating coastline of jagged wind- and water-sculpted formations. Cape Agulhas is a well worth a visit, and is an interesting day trip to consider whilst staying at Cliff Lodge. The drive to the southernmost tip takes you past wine farms and the small town of Elim, a quaint and historically important village.
The town of Hermanus meanders along the western cove of Walker Bay between magnificent sea cliffs and mountains. Hermanus offers lots of things to do all year round; pristine beaches, diving, hiking, cycling, bird-watching, paragliding, kite surfing, golf, mountain biking, shopping, wining-and-dining. One of our favourite places in Hermanus is Fernkloof Nature Reserve which offers a number of walks amongst the beautiful fynbos and has sweeping views of the mountains and Walker Bay. The Hermanus Wine Route winds through the Heaven and Earth valley, and boasts over 15 renowned wine farms, many with wonderful restaurants. This world famous wine route is just 40km from Cliff Lodge, and makes for a lovely day out or can be visited en-route to De Kelders.
The Overberg has more than 330 bird species with at least 20 endemic species. This impressive diversity is due to the variety of habitats in the area. The coastal area around Cliff Lodge has a variety of habitats and food sources for birds. The many fruiting trees and shrubs attract fruit-eating species as well as insect feeders. Sugarbirds and sunbirds also use the area as stepping stones to the fynbos covered mountains. Numerous raptors can be seen in the Overberg, and Dyer Island off of Gansbaai is a breeding ground for many sea birds such as Jackass Penguins, cormorants and Cape Gannets. The Overberg is a bird enthusiast’s paradise.
Just 10km from Cliff Lodge is the Gansbaai Golf Club – a 9-hole golf course, nestled between indigenous fynbos and the ocean. The course has a links style layout, with lovely views from most of the fairways. The course is also home to an abundance of bird and animal life.
The Hermanus Golf Course, situated between mountain and sea, must be one of the most beautiful courses in the country. There is a stunning view from every hole and the rich fynbos gardens are a treat. The 27 hole course is challenging for accomplished golfers, but forgiving enough for the social golfer to enjoy.
Arabella Golf Course is situated in Kleinmond, and has been voted among the top 5 golf courses in South Africa. This parkland course has spectacular views across the Bot River lagoon and the a mountain range, and stretches through rolling fairways, deceptive bunkers and challenging water traps.
Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
Panthera Africa is a sanctuary for big cats that have been captive bred, where they are protected and enriched for the rest of their lives, without any trading or breeding taking place.
One of Panthera Africa’s objectives is to be an educational platform for creating awareness for the conditions big cats face in captivity worldwide. A visit to the sanctuary gives one the opportunity to see these majestic big cats from close up, and of learning more about these incredible animals.