Pringle Bay: Building a Home


At Hangklip

13 December 2017. I took a few pictures at Hangklip when I visited Pringle Bay yesterday.

Random on the road in Pringle Bay. Photography by Ismail Lagardien ©️


13 December 2017. The plans for the home have been drawn up, and with all the necessary documents, they were delivered to Overberg municipality in Kleinmond. The council will meet next Wednesday. I hope they can appreciate the aesthetics and downscaling to small living I want to achieve with the container home.

Below is the style I hope to create. I see no value in cladding the container walls. That would make it look terribly bland; like a square match-box home. It would deny the aesthetic that is part of the reason why I went this route. A basic unit, twice the size of the yellow one in the picture, will be prepared and placed on a foundation, sometime in March. That is if the Overberg Municipality approve my design – without external cladding.

If the demand for cladding, in that they would prefer smooth outer walls, is based on aesthetics, the building below👇🏽 on Clarence Road, Pringle Bay, does not say much about the municipality’s preferences?

This house👆🏽Is not exactly easy on the eyes.

4 December 2017. Sunset over False Bay – From the Beach in Pringle Bay with Cape Town on the horizon. (An old picture made in 2013.

Sunset over Cape Town. The view from Pringle Bay. Pic ©Ismail Lagardien

By Ismail Lagardien

4 December 2017. I am building a home in Pringle Bay, in the Western Cape of South Africa. Pringle Bay, which lies on the flanks of Hangklip, is where a small group of slaves, which were held at the Cape (present day Cape Town) escaped to, and built temporary shelter around 200 years ago.

My forebears were among the Nusantaran slaves that were brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India company from around the mid-17th century. I would love to spend time in the archives of the VOC in the Netherlands and let serendipity take me where it will. Maybe some day, when I don’t have to worry about paying the rent.

Nonetheless, it would be disingenuous to claim that I knew of the link between escaped slaves and the Pringle Bay/Hangklip area before I bought the small piece of land in Pringle Bay. I bought it because I liked the place when I first visited Pringle Bay in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The black and white pictures, below, were taken when I visited the Bay in about 1990-91.

Picture by Ismail Lagardien


Picture by AGRB

I began to consider building a container home early in 2017, and had to scale down the plan because of sudden changes in my work life in October. I cannot discuss the issues relating to my resignation from Nelson Mandela University, but read THIS, THIS and THIS. I have a lot of respect for the name the university carries.

To build the container home, I retained the services of Berman-Kalil Housing Concepts  mainly because of the dedication and professionalism they showed all those months ago, when I first explored the idea of living small. I’m not sure that is an actual concept, but there you go. Ayla Damon of POCHE Architectural Concepts did the design. She was helpful, courteous and professional

It will be a very basic home with one bedroom, a bathroom and living/working space and a small deck. I can’t afford much more beyond that, at least not for now, but look forward to living there. I expect that place to be ready by the end of March. In the meantime, I need to complete a few writing projects and find a new position – soon!

The Whale Coast and Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

Pringle Bay is part of the Whale Coast which stretches from the eastern shores of False Bay along the coast past Gansbaai. See the map, below.

Picture of the Whale Coast Courtesy of Cape Whale Coast

Pringle Bay is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in the Western Cape Province, within 40 km from Cape Town. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated the Kogelberg areas as a Biosphere Reserve in 1998. This, the first designated South African biosphere reserve covers 103,629 hectares, where more than 80% consist of mountainous landscape with high mountain peaks and deep valleys to gentle hills and lower mountain slopes. The remaining area is made up of a gently rolling coastal plain as well as a marine part that covers some 24,500 hectares. The coastline is mostly rocky with some sandy beaches and estuaries. It is the floristic heart of the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms (Cape floral kingdom) and it provides habitat for approximately 1,600 plant taxa of which an estimated 150 taxa are endemic to the area and characteristic of the Fynbos biome. The marine environment is part of the warm temperate south coast, and is subject to nutrient- upwelling events that support a highly productive and diverse marine community (Source: UNESCO MAB Biosphere Directory)


Reproduction of a painting of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve by Frans Groenewald (Source:

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