Western Cape DestinationsDe Kelders, Cape Overberg
The little village of De Kelders, which lies just 5 km north of Gansbaai and about 25 minutes’ drive from Hermanus, has managed to remain largely immune to the large scale tourism that envelopes this part of the country, and is still essentially a fishing village and famous for its seafood.
De Kelders lies on the shores of Walker Bay - renowned as the home of the Southern Right Whale - because it is predominantly to these sheltered bays and rocky inlets that the whales return year after year to mate and calve between July through November. Some of the best land-based whale watching in the world is the major attraction of De Kelders and whales come to within metres of the rocks that line the edges of kelp beds along the De Kelders coastline, never ceasing to elicit delight.
The coast here has one of the most unusual and distinctive geological features in the form of a series of underground caves beneath the cliffs. Known formerly as Die Drup Kelder (the drip cellar) the town is today simply called De Kelders (Dutch for the cellars). These natural caves - there are a number of them, both large and small - contain stalactites and stalagmites and crystal clear pools set in the floor with cool water perfect for swimming. One in particular, known as the Freshwater cave, is famous for its pool, but not open to the public in a bid to conserve its original beauty. Stanford’s Bay in De Kelders is an ideal alternative for swimming.
The Klipgat Trail is a 7 km path from the Gansbaai harbour to the cave past a number of rock pools and caves en route that also takes in some of this part of the coast’s rare limestone fynbos. The Walker Bay Nature Reserve itself is well worth a visit and includes a long beach, known as De Plaat, along its 17 km coastline.
The reserve stretches between Hermanus and Stanford for about 25 km. Fine examples of lowland coastal fynbos, also known as strandveld, are in evidence here and animals in the reserve include the Cape clawless otter, bushbuck, duiker, grysbok and steenbok. One can fish, swim and picnic within the reserve as well as enjoy a number of day hikes.