Pringle Bay History
The original inhabitants the Khoi Khoi (people people), spelled Khoekhoe are the native people of southwestern Africa.
They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD. When European immigrants colonized the area after 1652, the Khoikhoi were practicing extensive pastoral agriculture in the Cape region, with large herds of Nguni cattle.
The European immigrants labelled them Hottentots, in imitation of the sound of the Khoekhoe language but this term is today considered derogatory by some. Most of the Khoikhoi have largely disappeared as a group, except for the largest group, the Namasarchaeological evidence can still be found.Two centuries ago runaway slaves sheltered in our mountain caves and the area is famous for the cave “Drostersgat” – Deserters Cave.
Residents in the 1890′s had visited the cave and found skeletons, the remains of game and proof of fires. In the old days the “False Cape” regularly prompted sailing yachts from the East to turn north far to early, having mistaken it for Cape Point. The bay is now called False Bay and there are many tales of pirates and shipwrecks.
Pringle Bay is named after the Royal Navy Commander-in-Chief of the Simons Town Naval Base in the late eighteen’s century, Sir Thomas Pringle. The plan was to develop Pringle Bay as a port so that farm produce could be shipped across the bay to Simons Town.
During World War 2 Hangklip Hotel was the barracks of the personnel manning the (still visible) radar station high on the slopes of Hangklip Mountain, watching out for German U-boats.The Glen Craig Conference center at the outskirts of Pringlebay served as a prison for Italian prisoners-of-war, who with only spades and picks built the majestic Clarence Drive, the scenic whale watching coastal road between Gordon’s Bay and Pringle Bay.In 1980 there were only about 100 houses in Pringle Bay/ Pringlebaai with electricity only installed in 1993 in the area.
During the 1930's land in the Hangklip area between the Palmiet River and the Rooiels River was acquired by three business partners, namely Harold Porter, Arthur Youldon and Jack Clarence. They called it the Hangklip Beach Estates and divided the area into three townships, namely Betty's Bay (named after Youldon's daughter, Betty), Pringle Bay and Rooiels and sold off plots to interested parties.Until the Second World War when the coastal road (Clarence Drive) from Gordon's Bay was built to service the radar stations at Stony Point and at Hangklip, the area was accessed via Sir Lowry's Pass and Kleinmond and a pontoon crossing the Palmiet River.
Today out of 1700 plots more than a thousand have houses on them, approximately half holiday houses and the rest accommodating about 1600 permanent residents.In the past some well known South Africans had their holiday homes in “Pringlebaai” including Dr. Christian Barnard.The quaint village is home and hide-away to many talented artists in the theater, film and art industry. You will find an interesting mix of young and old, and South African and overseas residents in Pringle Bay. Pringle Bay has always been the ideal retirement haven for senior citizens, but it is also nice to see that with the influx of so many younger permanent residents, the village has now become a very vibrant place throughout the whole year.