Hidden away on the R44 between Gordon's Bay and Rooi Els is a little-known beach spot called Koel Bay. It's one of my favourite beach spots in South Africa with its wild feel, rocky outcrops, seasonal waterfall, sandy and un-crowded beach, and great surf. There's even a cave leading far into the mountain which you can explore.
It would be easy to miss the spot if you've never been there, but look out for a sign saying 'Dappat Se Gat' just before Rooi-Els. After a short walk down to the beach , keep heading right towards the rocks. Here you'll find the awesome coves that make Koel Bay so ... cool.
The spot is very popular with local surfers who head out to enjoy the large swell that comes up around the bay, while the plebs (like myself) just sit on the beach. I have actually on two occasions tried to surf at Koel Bay, and both times I managed to swallow fistfuls of water and lose my friend's board. If there was ever one place I'd really love to be able to surf - it would be Koel Bay.
The bay is part of the Kogelberg Nature Reserve which is at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, an area known for its exceptional quality of fynbos. The area features high mountains, large unspoilt valleys, and the Palmiet River which runs through the reserve.
The reserve is also home to a popular hiking trail to Crystal Pools which offers beautiful views, waterfalls and rock pools which those brave enough can jump down into from the cliffs above. The trail has been under maintenance for quite some time as they have been restoring damaged fynbos, but has since re-opened to the public. You can book a permit for the trail from the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West which will cost R65 per person.
Koel Bay and its surrounds make for the perfect day trip. From secluded beaches to rock pools, the area is truly breath-taking and well worth the visit.