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False Bay

False Bay is a body of water defined by Cape Hangklip (Dutch/Afrikaans for "Hang(ing)-rock") & the Cape Peninsula in the extreme South-West of South Africa  © alcuin lai, License

False Bay

False Bay is a body of water defined by Cape Hangklip and the Cape Peninsula in the extreme South-West of South Africa. It's name came from sailors who over 300 years ago confused the bay with Table Bay to the north. The confusion arose because sailors returning from the east initially confused Cape Point and Cape Hangklip, which are somewhat similar in form. Cape Hangklip was known to the early Portuguese seafarers as Cabo Falso, which means False Cape, and the name of the bay was therefore derived from this.

Known for its scenic beauty, False Bay encompasses the small seaside villages from Hangklip, near Pringle Bay, to Cape Point. It has one of the Cape Peninsulas most tranquil and picturesque stretches of coastline. The bay is popular with surfers, swimmers, bodyboarders and anyone who enjoys peace and quiet and the fresh sea air. Towns along the False Bay coastline offer a multitude of arts and craft shops, fantastic restaurants and bars, cute and quirky coffee shops, and quiet look-out points.

Whales abound on the False Bay coastline and every year between June and November, southern right whales migrate to the Western Cape waters to calve and nurse their newborns, while humpback whales journey through the region between May and December. Thousands of local and international visitors flock to False Bay to experience these amazing whale-watching opportunities, where the creatures are often seen metres from the shore. And it is not uncommon to spot whales only metres from the road while driving along the coastal route.

Nature reserves, including Cape of Good Hope, Rondevlei and Silvermine, offer the opportunity of walking among the rich biodiversity of the Cape Peninsula, which includes indigenous fynbos. But some of the other ways to relax along the False Bay coastline, while enjoying the stunning scenery, are playing a round or two of golf at either the Westlake, Clovelly or Simons Town golf courses, or sampling a few wines along the Cape Point Wine Route. There is also the experience of sharing Boulders Beach with its local inhabitants, the African penguins.

Some of the most popular small towns along the False Bay coastline include the historical naval village of Simons Town, Muizenberg with its popular water slides, St James with its colourful huts, Kalk Bay with great seafood restaurants and Fish Hoek with one of the best beaches in the Cape.

False Bay has a Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cool, damp winters. In winter gales and storms from the northwest are common and can be ferocious. False Bay is exposed to south easterly winds in summer and its waters are approximately 6(°)C warmer than those of Table Bay, because of the influence of the warm Agulhas Current.

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