I can’t believe there’s only 3 days left to enjoy the year, and coupled with New Year celebrations, seeing friends, cleaning house and enjoying the warm sunshine, it’s time to take a break and share with you a round up post detailing my top travel moments from 2014! ^_^
The hotspring hotspot of Montagu is where we celebrated our 3-year anniversary. On the way up, we stopped in at OverHex Winery just outside of Worcester for some breakfast indulgences, and ended up purchasing 3 of the divine Balance wines before continuing our journey.
Opting to stay out of town, we spent our anniversary at the 3-star rated Ravanna Mountain Retreat, complete with pets, two mountain-fed swimming pool springs, a little farmyard and veggie garden, and secluded cottages. After sigining in and gathering the keys for our cottage, we were accompanied to our weekend abode by the friendly dogs who often go hiking with visitors, and were greeted with the sight of our little wooden cabin, complete with a secluded porch and braai area, outdoor shower, and all you could need for a cosy weekend stay. I have to say, Ravenna is definitely on my ‘return-to’ list – it’s simply gorgeous! ^_^
While in Montagu, we visited Guano Caves and their heated pools, popped into Montagu Springs to soak in the mineral-rich thermal heated waters, and went food tasting all around town – with notable mentions for Platform 62, De Oude Kombuis (the old kitchen), and Viljoensdrift in Robertson.
We visited Tulbagh in July – which is the middle of winter for the Western Cape. Despite expecting a weekend of rain, we got plenty of crisp sunny days, when the landscape varied between lush green fields, grey skies, and snow on the Ceres mountains. Picture beautiful farmlands and cattle, country stalls and warm hospitality, and hearty farm fare served at every restaurant and hotel we supped at. We stayed at Saronsberg Vineyard Cottages, just outside of Tulbagh, and loved the on-site horses, easy drinking wines, and Sarah, the friendly manageress. After exploring the town, we set off further afield to go zip lining over rocky gorges that have snowy peaks beckoning in the distance, and a day trip to the snow-covered Ceres mountains. On our return trip to Cape Town, we stopped in at Butterfly World in Klapmuts, which is highly recommended for families. There are numerous bird species, several free roaming monkeys, and a host of extraordinary butterflies to see.
The whale watching town of Hermanus is a coastal paradise, with numerous ocean walks and whale viewing points, a wine land valley aptly named “Hemel en Aarde” (heaven on earth) and country markets to visit around the town every Saturday. There are restaurants and bars to explore and with accommodations that range from cosy overnight self-catering spots to decadent hotel comforts there’s a range of options to suit every kind of traveller. We stayed at the beautiful 5-star Schulphoek Seafront Guesthouse, and spotted a whale breaching just off-shore from our cottage! The manageress Petro, and her kindly husband were our hosts, and we dined with them, enjoyed wine tastings and wandering around the beautiful property. ^_^
If ever you need a stay in the heart of the Mother City, I can highly recommend Once in Cape Town – a backpackers come B&B with cosy rooms and fantastic food offered in their downstairs restaurant / pub. Though hubby and I only stayed here one night, it’s another place on my list of must ‘return-to’! ^_^
The famed Cape Winelands are an impressive sight with rolling vineyards, unique tasting rooms, friendly locals, and enough food varieties to keep even the most puritanical foodie happy. We stayed at the gorgeous 4-star WedgeView Country House & Spa, visited J.C Le Roux, Delheim wine estate, and the Stellenbosch Slow market.
DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE
A must-see for nature lovers, De Hoop Nature Reserve is a good 3-hour drive away from Cape Town, and though the dirt road is incredibly bumpy, it’s doable in a small car if you keep your speed down to 20km (ensure you’ve got a good playlist going, as it really is a long, bouncy drive). The seclusion of the reserve adds to it’s charm, and once you’ve arrived and paid the CapeNature fee, you’ll drive in and see the snow-white sand dunes in the background, with the odd glint of the ocean behind them, while a lush paradise dips and snakes off to your right, disappearing into the horizon.
Kudu, zebra, and baboon troops (with babies!) were spotted wandering the landscape after we drove in, while swallows and bats swooped high above us later that evening as we lit our braai fire (word to the wise: don’t leave interior lights on and a door open in the evenings as moths will invade the entire property). The marine walk around snowy sea dunes and the sea shore is incredibly memorable, especially if you come in season to see over 20 whale pods and their babies frolicking in the surf. Then there’s the natural beauty in every direction you look, with blooming wild flowers amid fynbos bushes, and winding bicycle trails you can explore on to the amusement of wildlife who often lazily watch visitors take to two wheels (and it is here, that I finally mastered riding a bicycle myself!). A place to stay at for longer than just a weekend if you can.
We’ve actually visited Langebaan several times this year to see friend’s who’ve moved there, and bit by bit I’ve fallen in love with it’s laid back atmosphere, ocean-scented air, and varied attractions.
We’ve explored the greater Langebaan and West Coast area, including visits to the West Coast Fossil Park (recommended for all ages!), Sunny Park (which is a local entertainment area for families), Kraalbaai with it’s waist-high waters, and some local shops along Bree Street, which is right opposite Langebaan beach.
During a work trip with friends, we stayed with friends at Club Mykanos, a raved about Greecian-styled resort that offers multi-coloured casas, ocean views, restaurants and a variety of entertainments that include a casino, children’s club, and several giant chess sets and swimming pools. After spending a weekend at the all-in-one paradise, I can say it’s fully deserving of it’s reputation for providing a touch of Greece in South Africa.
For hubby’s 31st birthday this November, we decided to visit the little seaside suburb of Noordhoek, to enjoy a weekend getaway in style and explore what the area had to offer.
The scenery was stunning, and the home-cooked breakfasts from the owner were divine! With fruit juice, french-pressed coffee, fruit and yoghurt, bacn, eggs, and toast, and a variety of little jams, we were incredibly well fed and remained so until long after our usual lunch time.
Red Herring is a stunning spot for sundowners and supper, and with such a wide menu variety, we decided to pick a couple of different dishes to try. As you can see above, they were well portioned! 🙂
We visited several restaurants including the Red Herring and the Imperial Chinese Gardens, visited Imhoff Farm, did some early morning and late evening beach walks, and made use of our little 1-bedroom (and en-suite) cottage at Marina Break.
My 2014 theatre, family, random moments of beauty and other adventures will be coming soon; and if you don’t hear from me before, here’s wishing you a 2015 filled with love, laughter, friends, family, and fun!