Accommodation in the Western Cape
The Western Cape is one of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations. Its plethora of national parks is testimony to its natural beauty and hints at a world of promise for the outdoor enthusiast. Its cities are as lively as its country towns relaxed. Its culture reflects the richness of its history, both long past and more recent.
It has one of the world’s most famous mountains, right in the middle of the Mother City – a city that is often a finalist when lists of ‘most beautiful cities in the world’ are compiled. Cape Town is rich in history. And although laid-back, it also has a very active night life.
Extending south from Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula forms a spectacular knife edge that runs out to sea for miles. Naturally, this coast is rich in maritime history. Much of this is fraught with tragedy – it is not called the Cape of Storms for nothing.
On wild, stormy days its seas pulsate with unrestrained energy. You would hardly recognise it from days of cobalt skies and blond beaches when the weather gods are on their best behaviour.
The southernmost tip of the African continent is just a few hours’ travel to the east of Cape Town at L'Agulhas.
This coastline is probably the best place in the country to spot southern right and humpback whales at close quarters. Mid-August to mid-November is the best time for this.
From here the gentle corn lands of the Overberg gradually give way to the temperate ridges and valleys of the Garden Route.
This region is well known for its beaches, estuaries and freshwater dams, for its coastal cliffs, and for its green mountain ranges covered in indigenous forests and fynbos.
Crossing the first range of mountains to the interior – via a collection of ragged mountain passes or ‘poorts’ (a chasm through the mountains, usually following a river bed) – brings you to the plains of the Klein (Little) Karoo and its fortified wine and ostrich farms.
Here summers are unforgiving and the climate dry, but still nothing in comparison to the plains of the Central Karoo. This you reach by crossing yet another range of mountains. Go for early morning walks, go tortoise spotting in the late afternoon or arrange your own sundowners. The landscape is big and the skies vast. Most of all, appreciate the solitude.
To complete the ‘arid circle’, you have to head back to the coast again. Travel west until you reach the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
In contrast to the southern coastline the Cape West Coast is arid, but makes up for this austerity with a rich bloom of flowers in spring. The flowers only open when the sun is high in the sky, making for lazy mornings. They are also polite enough to close in time for you to get back to your front porch to watch the sunset with a smoky single malt.
Returning to Cape Town - and heading out north-east from the city this time - brings you to the Cape Winelands. Here the valleys of the Cape fold mountains give shelter to stately vineyards. Some of them have been around since the early 1800s.
Spoilt for choice, the best way to make the most of the Western Cape is to plan your second trip even before you set out on the first.
Articles & Blogs
My Ultimate Winter Winelands Escape6:30am 25 Jun
Cascade Country Manor, My Ultimate Winter Winelands Escape
Crystal-Lynn Pretorius for Cape Town Tourism
Whoever said a luxurious stay in the Paarl Winelands is solely a summer activity?
My recent decadent getaway to the impressive Cascade Country Manor proved that not only is a gourmet-loving, spa treatment-worthy and activity-filling winter break possible, it’s also totally necessary!
On a recent media trip, my partner and I discovered all that this boutique hotel has to offer – from a beautiful onsite cascading waterfall (...
Tintswalo Atlantic Launches new Winter Warmer experience2:50pm 22 May
As the colder months subtly creep in, we suggest booking a mini winter warmer break to heat things up. Treat your loved ones to a special visit at the spectacular Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel. Built by the Corbett family, this eco-friendly and sustainable hotel is a harmonious marriage of nature with luxury, situated in the Table Mountain National Park and Heritage site.
Priding itself on impeccable service, sophistication and world-class style, friendly and caring staff and wonderful amenities, this luxury accommodation in Hout Bay now offers a well-deserved winter warmer...
Splurge in Style11:55am 13 Nov
Splurge in style at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Kate Turkington for Cape Town Tourism
Lady Gaga brought 80 pieces of luggage with her. I only brought one, but then I wasn’t staying in the Presidential Suite.
Not that it mattered, because the service with a smile and superb style is given to all guests at the multi-award-winning The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa at Oudekraal in Cape Town.
Wait for that rich aunt to leave you a legacy or when you win the lotto (because this gorgeous hotel doesn’t come cheap), but it is worth...
Kliphuis10:39pm 14 Oct
Photojournalist Justin Fox recently stayed at Kliphuis while on assignment in the Cederberg. This CapeNature property on the Pakhuis Pass is known around the world as a fantastic bouldering destination, but Justin kept his feet on the ground and opted for hiking instead. There are lovely trails to Heuningvlei and up the Krakadouw Pass nearby. The Kliphuis cottages are newly renovated and are warm and welcoming. Each has an outside braai for summer and an indoor fireplace for cooler weather. There’s no electricity, but gas and solar power supply your needs. An advantage of the power...
Under the Milkwoods12:41pm 19 Aug
Under Milkwood Collection
I recently had the opportunity to spend a night at the Under Milkwood Collection in Knysna, and woke up to this beautiful sunrise. The self-catering chalets, wonderfully hidden under milkwood trees for privacy, are on a steep slope with the furthest ones being within a few metres of the lagoon.
The timber chalets are not only close to the lagoon, but they are well located in general. I walked to the Knysna Heads restaurants for breakfast, having decided I was too lazy to actually self cater!
They also have a luxury guesthouse with...
Kardouw Farm House in Citrusdal11:55am 2 Aug
The great thing about living in South Africa and being a South African is that there are always places to go that you’ve never heard of. For me, one of these places was Citrusdal, home to natural hot springs and an abundance of orchards. The Kardouw Farm House provides rustic accommodation suitable for a large group of friends or family. The perks of the house are not limited to the house itself. Visitors are allowed to take back as much citrus fruit as they can carry from the property’s orchard. A pair of friendly horses roam the backyard and have a lovely affinity for people. The...
Excelsior Manor Guesthouse1:55pm 27 Jun
There are very few things in life that beat a farm stay for relaxation. Granted, a pampered retreat is lovely and does the job, but the quickest way to switch off from the daily grind is to sit on a stoep drinking a glass of red wine and watching the rhythms of harvest season playing out in front of you. Farm stays definitely suit some personalities better than others, as a farm tends to be surprisingly vibrant, with voices coming from the orchards during harvest season, tractors 'putting along merrily, and some kind of animal trying to get your attention. However, if you...
Angala Boutique Hotel2:55pm 26 Jun
Angala Boutique Hotel & Guesthouse - http://www.angala.co.za/
We dedicated the last week to exploring the magical kingdom of the Cape Winelands. With more scenery than you'd think possible, and hundreds of things to do, this made for a jam packed week. We started with a trail ride in Tulbagh, and spent our first night near Franschhoek.
Our destination of choice was Angala Boutique Hotel, which is situated behind the Vrede en Lust wine estate, so that you drive through the vineyards and emerge on the slopes of Simonsberg. From this...
Riverside Estates2:55pm 19 Jun
(2) Cape Town as a Tourist: Riverside Estates
I seldom venture to Hout Bay, due to my Capetonian dislike for any drive longer than 10 minutes, and so when the opportunity arose to spend a night at Riverside Estates, my curiosity was piqued... and what a gem it turned out to be!
The magic began when we arrived, finding ourselves directly across the road from World of Birds. This forested estate would not have looked out of place in the fabled Cape Winelands. Getting out of the car, we were transported by the chatter of birds in the trees, and all thoughts of the city were left...
The Ballinrobe11:05am 19 Jun
(1) Cape Town as a Tourist: The Ballinrobe
Last week I had the opportunity to see Cape Town through the eyes of a tourist; a rare treat for someone who had lived in the city for over a decade.
My first stop was at The Ballinrobe in Sea Point, also owned and managed by South of Africa. I like to think of Sea Point as 'little San Francisco' for its vibrancy, steep hills and spectacular sea views. Of course, nothing is ever easy, and I stood at the gate frantically pulling at a push gate for 5 minutes while my girlfriend stood and laughed. Nonetheless, we made it inside just in...
Seaside Cottage4:55am 12 Jun
Having been spoilt rotten by our first night's luxury at Abalone House, we felt that we needed to experience the seaside village feeling as well, and moved to Seaside Cottage (also owned and managed by South of Africa). Seaside Cottage holds more true to the theme of a fisherman's cottage, and being self catering you are also isolated from other guests. Although the couch was more than comfortable, the new ambiance inspired us to sample more of the area, so we checked out the Columbine lighthouse and the magnificent rock structures of Tietiesbaai. That evening we snuggled up under all the...
Abalone House6:54pm 11 Jun
Over the weekend, we shot out to Paternoster for a proper break from the buzz of the city. I think my sunset photo posted over the weekend says it all - we had a great time and relaxed completely. Part of the recipe was our stay at Abalone House, owned and managed by South of Africa. The photo you see here is from the cosy guest library and bar area, and there's even a hidden doorway - to the wine cellar, we couldn't resist the mystery! Most of the guest rooms are in private enclaves on the upper level, and the deck outside the rooms has that gorgeous view that I snapped the sunset from....