From a cliffside coastal villa to a log cabin in the mountains, and even a cottage in the vineyards, winter escapes have never been as exciting and inviting. We’ve selected our favourites in the Cape. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
1. KolKol Mountain Lodge
Where Bot River
What No one’s going to find you up here… in this log cabin in the mountains. Breathe in some fresh mountain air while relaxing in a wood-fired jacuzzi.
Facilities There are several log cabins, each designed for a certain number of guests. All are equipped with crockery, cutlery, a microwave, fridge, freezer and gas stove. Each also has an ensuite bathroom, lounge with a CD player and a stone fireplace, and on the patio outside, braai facilities and the aforementioned wood-fired hot pool.
Activities There’s a 3km hiking trail, a gravel road perfect for mountain-biking, and a nearby dam for swimming. Other attractions in the region include Hermanus, the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, and a number of wine farms.
Cost R1 950 (two-sleeper cabin)
R1 950 – R3 050 (KolKol log cabin, 2 – 6 guests)
R3 300 – R4 900 (King log cabin, 2 – 10 guests)
Contact 076 913 6014 (Enquiries), 082 654 5090 (Karen)
Where to find it Oude Molen Farm, Van der Stel pass, 7185, Bot River, Western Cape
2. Cliff House
Where Atlantic Seaboard
What It may only be a 40-minute drive from Cape Town, but this house on the edge of the ocean may as well be on the edge of the known world. It sure feels like it, when you’re sitting on the balcony overlooking stormy seas in winter, or watching the whales that occasionally visit the bay.
Facilities The villa, featured in the Phaidon World Atlas of Architecture, has three bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, a private outdoor shower, a kitchen with self-catering facilities, an open-plan dining room and living room with a fireplace, wi-fi, and a patio with views of the mountain and atlantic coastline stretching out in both directions.
Activities Misty Cliffs forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, and the villa is around 15 minutes from Cape Point, the Constantia Winelands, and the beaches of Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town, where the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean can be found.
Cost R2950 (until October 2016)
Note The cliff house is currently booked from 1 July until mid-November. Vacancies are still available for the remainder of June
Contact 082 829 3705, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 77 Old Camp’s Road, Misty Cliffs, Cape Town
3. Elandskloof Farm Cottages
Image credit: Crushland
What Like something out of an Enid Blyton novel, the rolling green meadows and rivers of Elandskloof are the picture of peaceful farm life. Go for a paddle in the stream or a walk in the fields while taking in the views of the Riviersonderend Mountain Range and valley, as herds of cows saunter by.
Facilities Each of the self-catering cottages have a kitchen with a stove, fridge, microwave and dishwasher, and a lounge with a wood-fired stove (although in the Riverside cottages, the wood-fired stove is located in the open-plan kitchen area, and the upstairs section has gas heaters available on request). Each has at least one bathroom, and some of the larger cottages have two. The five new riverside cottages have upstairs and downstairs areas that can be booked separately or together, and their own braai areas.
Activities The river is great for swimming and canoeing, and there are hiking and mountain-biking trails. For the kiddies, there’s a playground with a jungle gym and trampoline, as well as a games room with snooker and table tennis. And, the nearby town of Greyton has pubs, restaurants and loads of fascinating junkshops.
Insider info Elandskloof Farm Cottages are currently running a winter special for the school holidays. Stay for 3 nights, and you’ll get the third night for free.
Cost R800 (2-sleeper cottage, riverside cottage upstairs)
R1 400 (4-sleeper cottage)
R1 500 (Riverside cottage downstairs, sleeps 4 – 6)
R1 600 (6-sleeper cottage)
R2 000 (7-sleeper cottage)
R2 100 (Riverside upstairs and downstairs, sleeps 6-8)
R2600 (Willow cottage, sleeps 9)
Contact 082 877 4023 (Natasha), email@example.com
Where to find it Helderstroom, 7230
4. La Chataigne
What Near a tree, by a river, there’s a cottage in the woods. Well, there are three cottages, actually, and they’re in a citrus orchard… with beautiful views of the vineyards and mountains in the distance. Owned by Swedish-born couple Richard and Julie Parkfelt, the original workers’ quarters have been stylishly renovated and turned into monastic (and oh-so-chic) self-catering lodgings.
Facilities Two of the cottages sleep four, and one sleeps two, and all bedrooms have recently renovated ensuite bathrooms. The newly revamped kitchen, with a central island, opens onto the lounge with fireplace, and is stocked with good quality cutlery, crockery and glassware (enjoying a glass of wine in a thin-rimmed glass when you’re in the back of beyond makes all the difference). Outside is a spacious patio, with a built-in braai area, overlooking a river and an enchanting forest of pear trees.
X factor The good glassware! And the (faux) fur-covered hot-water bottles – delicious on an icy night.
Activities Beautiful walks and mountain-bike trails abound, but if you’re looking for a buzz, Franschhoek’s main drag is a five-minute drive away. And there’s a fabulous, ubercool swimming pool in the orchard that’s very inviting in summer.
Cost R1 200 per unit per night (four-sleeper, low season)
R900 per unit per night (two-sleeper, low season)
R1 500 per unit per night (four-sleeper, high season)
R1 100 per unit per night (two-sleeper, high season)
Contact 021 876 3220, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it R45 to Franschhoek, La Chataigne Wines, Franschhoek
TIG Reviewer Nikki Benatar
5. Tanagra Faraway Cottage
Where McGregor Valley
What The spiritual silence of the Great Karoo envelops this hidden gem, a lone cottage against the backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains. The night sky may stretch out forever here, but the house itself is warm and inviting (handcrafted liquor from the nearby wine farm also keeps the cold at bay).
Facilities Faraway cottage is one of several guesthouses run by the Tanagra Wine Farm. There are two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a dining area, lounge, open fireplace and kitchenette equipped with a gas stove, fridge and freezer. On the stoep, there’s a braai area and plunge pool with perfect views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards.
Activities There are several walking trails that wind their way through the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, offering plenty of opportunities to see the vibrant fynbos and birdlife. You can also taste some of the boutique wines and grappa at the nearby Tanagra Wine Farm, named for the old wild fig tree that still shields the homestead from the sun (Tanagra is the Khoisan expression for a shaded place).
Cost R1 400 – R1 900 (1 – 4 guests, until October 2016)
R1500 – R2000 (1 – 4 guests, from October 2016)
Contact 023 625 1780, email@example.com
Where to find it Tanagra Wine and Guest Farm, Vrolijkheid, McGregor, 6708, Western Cape
6. La Baleine Beach House Collection
What The sleepy fishing village of Paternoster hosts this collection of premium beach houses, each offering luxurious surroundings and the perfect base for enjoying the ocean views and laidback vibe of the West Coast. Take a stroll down to the shore and see the villagers setting off in their small fishing boats. If you’re lucky, you might even snag a fresh crayfish for your dinner.
Facilities Each beach house has a fully equipped kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms stocked with linen and towels, a patio and braai area, underground parking and private walkways leading down to the beach. Some of the houses have fireplaces, while others have electric heaters. DSTV and wi-fi are also available.
Activities There’s no shortage of hot spots for nature lovers; Bird Island at Lambert’s Bay, the West Coast National Park, hiking trails, beach buggy trips and whale watching from July to December. Other points of interest include !Khwa ttu (The San Culture and Education Centre), the West Coast Fossil Park and the Columbine Nature Reserve, where you can visit one of South Africa’s last manned lighthouses. Amble on down to Paternoster and you’ll find restaurants serving fresh seafood and other gourmet dishes.
Cost R850 – R1 850 (one-bedroom studio)
R1 695 – R3 750 (De Rijger Seafront House, Leerdam Seafront House)
R1 995 – R4 250 (Dromedaris Seafront House, De Goede Hoop Seafront House)
Contact 021 794 5859 (phone), 081 388 2681 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Korte Close, Paternoster, Cape West Coast
7. Orange Grove Farm
Image credit: Travelground
Where Robertson Wine Valley
What Venture into the heart of the Robertson Wine Valley and you’ll find this serene wine and olive farm, hidden amid waterfalls and rock formations, like a South African Shangri La. The farm offers an escape into nature coupled with luxurious mountain- and vineyard-facing accommodation.
Facilities The six cottages (spaced far enough apart for ample privacy) have bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, their own verandas, swimming pools and braai areas. There’s also free wi-fi, coffee- and tea-making facilities, cellphone reception and DSTV. The cottages are serviced daily.
Activities The Peerboom Dam Trail offers a short and easy self-guided hike with spectacular mountain views; more challenging guided hikes and nature drives can be organised with reception. On full moon evenings, you can join a night hike and witness the splendour of the clear night sky.
Cost R2 200 (1 – 2 sleeper cottage)
R2 200 – R2 800 (1 – 4 sleeper cottage)
R2 200 – R3 100 (1 – 5 sleeper cottage)
R3 000 – R4 200 (Wouterspan Lodge, 1 – 6 sleepers)
Contact 023 100 0067, 023 626 6442, email@example.com
Where to find it Orange Grove Farm, Noree, Robertson, 6705
8. River Edge
Where Breede River Valley
What The longest river in the Western Cape waters some of the nation’s most famous wine farms, as it flows from the mountains of Ceres towards the Indian Ocean. And these stone cottages – as the name suggests – sit right on its shore. Explore by boat or on foot during the day, and warm yourself by the open fireplace or in the outdoor jacuzzi at night, listening to the sounds of the river.
Facilities All of the riverside cottages can accommodate at least six people, with the larger Coetzer House able to hold 10. Each has a bathroom, an open-plan kitchen, a lounge with a fireplace, and a sundeck with a sunken jacuzzi.
Activities If you fancy a dip, a fishing trip or a bit of kayaking, the river’s right on your doorstep. Explore the nearby wine and blueberry farm, or one of the fynbos hiking trails. There are some restaurants nearby, and a farm shop with great coffee and some of the best cheesecake in the land.
Cost R1 050 (2 adults, low season)
R1 200 (2 adults, high season)
R350 (extra adult, low season) R380 (extra adult, high season)
R150 (children, 4 – 11, low season)
R180 (children, 4 – 11, high season)
Free (children under 3)
Contact 023 004 0054 (phone), 083 556 4947 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it River Edge Accommodation, Breede River, 6858, Western Cape
9. Weltevrede Fig & Guest Farm
Image credit: SafariNow.com
Where Central Karoo
What Weltevrede Fig Farm has cultivated some of the best fruit in the land for six generations, and it’s clear little has changed on the farm since its founding in the 1800s. Quiet Karoo nights give guests a taste of life on the frontier during the 19th century.
Facilities There are four guest houses (the original Weltevrede Farm House is no longer available). Two of them (Vredenhof and De Hoek) can sleep a group, while Fonteinskop holds a couple or single, and Klein de Hoek can fit two adults and two children. None of the guesthouses have electricity, but there are paraffin lamps, a gas stove, gas fridge and geysers, as well as firewood and braai facilities.
Activities History buffs will enjoy a visit to the nearby village of Prince Albert, where you can see the grave of Boer Rebel Johannes Klue, and the bridge that inspired Kipling’s poem Bridge Guard in the Karoo. Guided hikes into the Swartberg Mountains can be arranged, and the village hosts a food market every Saturday.
Cost R300 for first two persons, R100 per additional person (Klein de Hoek, sleeps 2 adults and 2 children)
R400 per person, R1600 minimum rate (De Hoek, sleeps 6)
R1600 (Vredenhof, sleeps 4)
R1600 (Fonteinskop, sleeps 2)
Contact 023 541 1229, email@example.com
Where to find it Prince Albert Road, Central Karoo DC
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