From a farm cottage in a lush valley, to a luxury suite built into the mountainside, 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. Stanford Valley Guest Farm
What All the tranquil beauty of the Overberg is on display at this idyllic farm, nestled in the Klein Rivier valley, and surrounded by rolling green meadows watered by natural mountain springs. The cosy cottages, warmed by wood-fired fireplaces, are imbued with pared-down rustic charm, and the acclaimed Manor House restaurant offers hearty country-style meals prepared by the talented team of consultant chef Madre Malan.
Facilities All of the cottages have comfortable bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a stoep with beautiful views of the mountains or meadows. All are equipped with tea- & coffee-making facilities (complete with home-baked rusks!) as well as mini-bar fridges – and wood-fired fireplaces (unlimited fire-wood supplied) ensures you’ll want to extend your cosy stay. Three of the cottages have fully equipped kitchenettes & braai facilities, and another three units are ideal for family-getaways (each with two en-suite bedrooms, fully equipped kitchenette, private garden & braai facilities).
Activities Guests have the freedom of the 440-hectare farm, where they can enjoy a stroll through the fynbos or have a dip in the large dam on-site. The surrounding reserve can be explored via the various mountain-biking and hiking trails; and canoe trips and sunset cruises on the Klein River can be booked. Nearby attractions include the Klein River Cheese Factory, the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary, wine tasting at Raka Winery and whale watching in Hermanus.
Cost R1 800 per night (4-sleeper and 5-sleeper cottages, until October 2017)
R2 000 per night (4-sleeper and 5-sleeper cottages, from October 2017)
R945 – R995 per night (2-sleeper cottages, until October 2017)
R1 050 – R1 150 per night (2-sleeper cottages, from October 2017)
Note All cottages have the option of adding an extra single bed for R225.
Contact 072 198 0862, email@example.com, stanfordvalley.co.za
Address R326, 10km from Stanford towards the N2
2. 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 520 – R1 820 (2-sleeper cabin, 2 nights or more)
R1 520 – R2 950 (KolKol Log Cabin, 2 – 6 guests, 2 nights or more)
R2 300 – R4 700 (King Log Cabin, 2 – 10 guests, 2 nights or more)
Contact 076 913 6014 (Enquiries), 082 654 5090 (Karen)
Address Oude Molen Farm, Van der Stel pass, Bot River
3. Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve
What Almost four hours outside the hustle and bustle of Cape Town city, and surrounded by the stark wilderness of the Cederberg, is the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve. With its unique accommodation and breathtaking views of unspoilt nature and the night sky, it’s the sort of place where unforgettable memories are made.
Facilities There are 10 man-made cave suites that blend seamlessly into the natural sandstone formations they are build around. Each has a terrace and is equipped with a double bed and en-suite bathroom. The five thatched huts are modelled after the dwellings of the San clans, who inhabited the area centuries ago. Each one is fitted with a large bed and en-suite bathroom. Both accommodation types include air conditioning, and coffee and tea making facilities.
Activities Guests are spoilt with recreational choice. For culture lovers: there are star-gazing and rock-art tours; for the adventurous outdoor types: mountain-biking, a quad bike safari, a 4×4 trail and rock-climbing should keep you out of mischief; and there are also tamer nature drives and hiking trails in the area.
Cost Huts: R1 080 – R4 790 (per person per night, depending on season)
Standard Cave: R1 080 – R4 790 (per person per night, depending on season)
Premium Cave: R1 340 – R5 200 (per person per night, depending on season)
Honeymoon Cave: R1 500 – R5 400 (per person per night, depending on season)
Contact 021 872 4343, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address R303, Koue Bokkeveld, Cederberg
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaillé
4. Cottage in the Kloof
What If seclusion is what you’re after, you’ll have it in spades at this remote cottage in the mountains. It’s solar-powered, has a gas geyser, and there’s minimal cellphone reception, making it the perfect place to hole up and wait out the coming apocalypse. There’s a wood-fired Jacuzzi, where you can relax and gaze up at the star-filled sky, with nothing but the sound of surrounding wildlife to disturb your solitude.
Facilities Braai facilities and firewood are provided. There’s the aforementioned Jacuzzi, a gas fridge and stove. The main bedroom has a double bed, and the living area has a fold out double couch.
Activities The nearby Saggy Stone Brewery and Restaurant offers a range of craft beers and hearty pub grub, and the Kolgans River Boat Restaurant is around 20 minutes drive away. Wine-tasting tours can be enjoyed throughout the Robertson Wine Valley, as well as olive-tasting experiences at Willowcreek and Marbrin Olive Farm. Outdoor activities include a two-hour walking trail from Penhill to Saggy Stone (followed by refreshing beer at the pub, of course), and mountain-biking in the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy.
Insider info The farm will soon be home to some zebra and small buck, so they, too, can enjoy the peace and quiet of country life.
Cost R1000 per night (sleeps up to 4 people)
Contact 083 453 3526, email@example.com
Address near Saggy Stone, Amandalia Farm, Agtervinkrivier, Robertson
5. Wildekrans Country House
What The rustic charm of a 19th-century homestead, warm hospitality, and the peace and quiet of country living… it doesn’t get better than this. On a rainy winter afternoon, snuggle up around one of the two fireplaces, with an old classic from the heaving bookshelves. The house is surrounded by lush gardens, decorated with a collection of unique South African art pieces and sculptures.
Facilities There are three en-suite bedrooms: Mountain View Suite (with a balcony, living room with a fireplace, and a library); Art Room (decorated with contemporary South African art); and Garden View (the owner’s personal favourite, for the views of the garden and swimming pool). Each room has a double bed and a private bathroom, and all are equipped with DStv and wireless internet.
Activities Wander around the estate and enjoy the splendid mountain views, relax by the pool, or curl up with a good book. There are mountain-biking and hiking trails in the surrounding area, and several renowned wine estates nearby. The charming village of Houw Hoek is within walking distance, where a visit to the Houw Hoek Farm Stall (for delicious homemade pies) is obligatory.
Cost Art Room & Garden View: R1 160 – R1 730 (per night for two people, includes breakfast)
Mountain View Suite: R1 340 – R1 995 (per night for two people, includes breakfast)
Homestead: R3 330 – R4 959 (per night for six people, self-catering, breakfast and braai available at additional charge)
Contact 028 284 9827, firstname.lastname@example.org or Alison on Airbnb
Address On the N2 to Garden Route & Hermanus
6. Protea Farm
What A mere 30km from the heart of Montagu, in the Koo Valley, lies Protea Farm offering guest solitude in one of four private cottages. The valley – famous for producing pears and apples – is high up and receives a generous snow cover in winter. Guests can relax, warm and cosy, and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Although terrible wildfires in March burnt much of the mountain, forest and surrounding valley, the area is still rich in beauty.
Facilities Each of the self-catering cottages (three are wooden cabins, and one Cape Dutch cottage) have an open-plan kitchen and living area, with an indoor fireplace (extra wood can be supplied at a fee) and at least one bathroom. Limited bedding is provided (additional bedding can be supplied at a fee). Each has its own outside braai facility and secure parking.
Activities Surrounded by a forest of pine trees means that nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will be in their element. Guests can enjoy tractor rides, as well as several wonderful hiking and mountain-bike trails. In summer, the nearby lakes are perfect for swimming in. In winter, the icy climes and snow create a tapestry of proteas and wildflowers on the mountain.
Cost Pinetree: R700 – R940 (per night, sleeps up to two adults and two children)
Ou Opstal: R800 – R1 120 (per night, sleeps 2 – 4)
Panorama: R1 200 – R2 160 (per night, sleeps 5 – 13)
Waterblommetjie: R1 400 – R1 880 (per night, sleeps 4 – 6 adults or four adults and four children)
Contact 023 614 3012, email@example.com
Address Koo Valley, Montagu
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaillé
7. 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 600 – R2 000 per night (1 – 4 guests, until October 2017)
R1 700 – R2 200 per night (1 – 4 guests, from October 2017)
Contact 023 625 1780, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address Tanagra Wine and Guest Farm, Robertson Road, McGregor
8. Oudebosch Eco Cabins
What These slick, self-catering cabins lie in the midst of the Kogelberg Nature Reserve – considered by many to be the most beautiful of CapeNature’s protected areas. A series of wooden walkways connects the various structures, forming a small village with a tranquil eco-pool at the centre, and each cabin is glass-fronted, inviting the mesmerising surrounding landscape in. Great care has been taken to minimise their impact on the surrounding environment.
Facilities There are five eco-cabins, each with two bedrooms, a bathroom (shower only), lounge, dining area and a kitchen equipped with a fridge/freezer, microwave and toaster. Each cabin has a courtyard with braai facilities. Bedding and towels are provided, and there are power points available for charging electrical appliances. There is no cell phone or TV reception. Two of the cabins have wheelchair access.
Activities The Palmiet River flows throughout the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, making it a popular spot for whitewater kayaking trips, which can be booked through outside operators such as SA Forest Adventures and Gravity Adventures. Popular hiking trails include the Palmiet River Walk (hikers are welcome to take a dip in the river along the way), and the Kogelberg Trail. A variety of bird life dwells in the region, including the African Penguin Colony at Stony Point, and whales can occasionally be spotted from the coast.
Cost R1 170 per night (sleeps up to four people)
A permit is needed to explore Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Theses cost R40 for adults, R20 for children; and can be purchased at the reserve office, or directly from CapeNature.
Contact 021 483 0190, email@example.com
Address Kogelberg Nature Reserve, R44, just before Kleinmond
9. Elandskloof Farm Cottages
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 June/July school holidays. Stay for 3 nights, and you’ll get the third night for free. Includes weekends as well as midweek.
Cost Willow Cottage: R2 800 per night (sleeps 9 people)
Thatched cottages: R1 500 – R 2150 per night (sleeps 4 – 7 people)
Bachelor Thatched Cottage, Riverside Upstairs: R900 per night (sleeps 2 people)
Riverside Downstairs: R1 600 per night (sleeps 4 – 6 people)
Riverside Upstairs and Downstairs combined: R2 250 per night (sleeps 6 – 8 people)
Contact 082 877 4023 (Natasha), firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Orange Grove Farm
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 400 – R2600 (1 – 2 sleeper cottage)
R2 400 – R3 600 (1 – 4 sleeper cottage)
R3 200 – R5 400 (Wouterspan Lodge, 1 – 6 sleepers)
Rates valid until 15 January 2018
Contact 023 100 0067, 023 626 6442, email@example.com
Address Noree rivier, Robertson Wine Valley
11. 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 R950 – R2 000 (one-bedroom studio)
R1 800 – R4 050 (De Rijger Seafront House, Leerdam Seafront House)
R2 150 – R4 590 (Dromedaris Seafront House, De Goede Hoop Seafront House)
Contact 021 794 5859 (phone), 081 388 2681 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Address Korte Close, Paternoster
12. Weltevrede Fig & Guest Farm
Where Great 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
Address Weltevrede Fig & Guest Farm, Prince Albert Road, N1 National
13. 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.
Pets are allowed.
Cost R1 150 – R1 380, depending on season (2 adults)
R365 – R395, depending on season (extra adult)
R165 – R195, depending on season (children, 4 – 11)
Free (children under 3)
Contact 023 004 0054 (phone), 083 556 4947 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Address Farm Tierkop, Breede River, Rawsonville
14. The Cliffhouse
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 R3000 per night (sleeps 6 people)
Contact 082 829 3705, email@example.com
Address 77 Old Camp’s Road, Misty Cliffs
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