Like a farm breakaway, a coastal breakaway is the perfect medicine for weary city slickers, yearning for a break. There is something about the ocean that revitalizes the body and mind like no other place on earth. The sounds and smells take us back to a more simple time when we lived closer to nature. Here are 8 amazing and affordable coastal stays in the Western Cape, all are close enough to Cape Town for a weekend breakaway.
The Boardwalk, Gordons Bay
At the foot of the Hottentots Holland Mountain lies the little (sometimes windy) town of Gordon’s Bay. The town has two beautiful beaches in Bikini Beach, a blue flag beach and Gordon’s Bay Main beach. A drive down beach road is always a festive affair; you’ll always see kids walking with soft serve ice-creams that are dripping down their arms and parents who are tucking into fresh calamari or hake from the local fish shops. The best place to eat, have a beer or watch the sun set is at Harbour Island. This Waterfront is situated on the edge of Gordon’s Bay’s Main Beach in the middle of Faure Marine Drive, the road that runs along the town’s coastline. The Boardwalk Accommodation is situated in this Waterfront above two of the town’s most popular restaurants, Bertie’s Mooring and Antonio’s Pizza Place. The building has 10 recently renovated units that can be rented, from a one bedroom to a 3 bedroom unit.
The best thing about the Boardwalk is its location. With two restaurants just below the units and an Ocean Basket only a short walk away you will never have to worry about driving anywhere for good food and a glass of wine. Each unit has an outside veranda that overlooks the small harbour and False Bay in the distance. At Antonio’s or Bertie’s Mooring you can have a cold beer with fresh seafood or a hot pizza while you sit and marvel at the sunset. Bertie’s Mooring is one of South Africa’s cult live music venues with the likes of Ard Matthews and Jessie Jordan regularly performing at the restaurant. The Boardwalk offers guests the opportunity to relax with friends or family while great food is served and good music is played in the background, nothing wrong with that scene.
Hoogwaterhuis, Hangklip/Pringle Bay
About 30 km from Gordon’s Bay lies the picturesque little town of Pringle Bay. The stretch of road from Gordon’s Bay to Pringle Bay is arguably South Africa’s most beautiful coastal road. The 20km stretch of road named Clarence Drive snakes along the False Bay coastline past the famous Kogel Bay or “Cool Bay” surf spot at the foot of the Hottentots Mountains. The town of Pringle Bay has undergone somewhat of a revival, turning itself into a small artistic, foodie town. The town is filled with coffee shops and clothing boutiques that are jam packed over weekends with people who come to walk through the small market that is held in the town centre every Saturday. Artists like Valiant Swart, Albert Frost and the Akkedis Band regularly perform at one of the town’s most popular restaurants, Perigators. For the best seafood in town head to Hook, Line and Sinker, you won’t be disappointed.
At the end of the main road that runs through town you hit a gravel road that heads past the Hangklip Hotel all the way to the Hoogwaterhuis. The secluded house has an unrestricted view over Maasbaai and the slipway that is used by crayfish divers and fishermen during the summer months. The three bedroom house has been beautifully decorated with modern art and furniture. There is an inside braai for the cold winter days and outside braai for the sunny summer days. The rooftop deck is a great place to have some drinks or lunch with friends. The white sandy beach of Moonlight Bay is walking distance from the house, the view of sunset from Moonlight Bay is amazing. If you decide to head to Hoogwaterhuis during the crayfish season, take out a crayfish licence at your local post office and go diving in Maasbaai or Moonlight bay for some of these delicious little creatures, they are plentiful in this area.
Bo-Bakkies Self-Catering, Paternoster
Bo-Bakkies Self Catering Cottages (Bo-Bakkies means above boats) is situated on a rock formation above the beach. The close proximity to the beach and the elevated position of the units give Bo-Bakkies some of the most beautiful views in all of Paternoster. The recently restored old fishing cottages have been fitted with all of the modern comforts that the original fishermen who first lived here did not have. Bo-Bakkies has two units; unit 1 has one bedroom and an open plan kitchen and living room while unit 2 is an open plan unit with a living room cum bedroom and kitchen. Both units have DSTV, inside braai areas and patios with an outside braai. Paternoster with its white-washed fisherman’s cottages is one of the most sought after coastal property markets in South Africa, one can see why. The picture perfect white sandy beaches and old style charm of the village attracts thousands of travellers every year, come rain or shine.
A visit to Paternoster will not be complete without a good seafood braai or dinner at one of the local seafood restaurants. The Noisy Oyster and Gaaitjie, Salt Water Restaurants are both very much worth a visit. For a seafood braai head to the slipway for the catch of the day which is usually snoek, one of the best braaing fish in South Africa. On Sunday as you head back home stop over for lunch at Die Strandloper, a seafood restaurant that is situated just outside Langebaan. This simple restaurant serves up some of the best rustic seafood dishes in South Africa; the restaurant’s setting isn’t bad either. The old thick stone walls of Bo-Bakkies will charm you from the moment you walk through the door and will keep you coming back year after year.
Cliff Cottage, Hermanus
The whale watching capital of the world, Hermanus has a large number of hotels, B&B’s, guesthouses, backpackers and self-catering accommodation units available for tourists to choose from. You can have anything from a world class 5 star hotel to a rustic little cottage at the back of someone’s house, if that might be what you’re looking for. One of Hermanus’ little gems is the Cliff Cottage in Westcliff Road. Cliff Cottage is situated across the road from the Hermanus cliff paths, these paths are known for having some of the best whale watching spots in the world. The Cape Dutch Style cottage has twin rooms, double rooms, family suites and a Garden Cottage that can be rented. The cottage offers either a continental or home-cooked breakfast to clients in the morning. For lunch and dinner head on down to the town centre and eat at one of the town’s many trendy restaurants.
The famous Grotto beach, Hermanus Golf Course, Fernkloof Nature reserve and wine estates like Creation Wines and Gabrielskloof are just a short drive away. There is so much to do in Hermanus, you can go shopping, go on nature walks, go golfing, do township tours, relax on the beach or during the calving season you can do some whale watching. More adventurous travellers can even go and do some Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai. Cliff Cottage has an old world, rustic farm-style feel to it. The Cape Dutch Style building is much like those of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek which makes it different to other accommodation units in Hermanus. Guests have described Cliff Cottage as “Pleasant, peaceful and private”, “home from home” and “Warm and inviting – A delightful stay”, head to Cliff Cottage this weekend to see they’re all raving about!
The Beach House, Jacobsbaai
Jacobs Bay is a relatively unknown little village on the West Coast between Saldanha and Paternoster. If you’re looking for a private place to go fishing, diving or sailing, look no further than Jacobs Bay. The coastline at Jacobs Bay never gets crowded, which means you will be able to enjoy it in relative exclusivity. One of the most exclusive houses in Jacobs Bay is The Beach House. The Beach House is situated on top of a dune at the end of a small peninsula, with the beach at its sides and the vast Atlantic Ocean in front of it. As you can imagine every room in the house has an unrestricted view of the unspoilt Jacobs Bay coastline. The Beach House could not have been situated in a more perfect location; it is less than 50m from the ocean and only a few steps from the beach. At night while lying in bed you can hear the relaxing sounds of the waves crash against the rocks.
The house is built for outside living with sliding doors opening up to the veranda and sundeck, which then leads straight onto the beach. The house is situated at the edge of a peninsula in Hospital Bay, an area at the northern end of Jacobsbaai. It’s quite easy to get fresh seafood in Jacobsbaai, you can either go and stand on the rocks and cast a line into the ocean and try your luck at fishing or you can buy fish or crayfish from the local fisherman. You have to bring all of your groceries along with you when you come to Jacobsbaai because there is no supermarket in town. Visitors to this little town can get an exclusive getaway without having to pay the large price tag that usually comes with such a holiday. If you’re looking for a quiet and secluded house to recharge the batteries then The Beach House is for you.
Rots en See, Franskraal
Just outside the Shark Cage Diving Capital of the world Gansbaai is Franskraal, a small coastal holiday village at the end of the Danger Point peninsula. Franskraal is right next to the village of Kleinbaai, which is where the huge Shark Cage Diving boats head out from to Dyer island with hundreds of tourist on-board every day. Most of the activities in and around Franskraal involve the ocean in one way or another. The long sandy beaches that the locals call “Die Plaat” and “Die Grys” respectively offer ample fishing spots, nature walking trails, 4×4 trails and secluded bays where you can spend the day in the sun, braaing and swimming with friends. Right on the coastline at Franskraal is an old fisherman’s house that has been turned into the Strandveld Museum. The museum’s most famous artefacts come from the HMS Birkenhead which sank just off the coast of Gansbaai on the 26th of February 1852. The ship was one of the British Royal Navy’s first iron-hulled ships and the phrase/theory of ‘woman and children first’ comes from the actions of the sailors of the HMS Birkenhead who allowed woman and children to disembark the ship first when it struck the rock which eventually sank it.
Rots en See is a self-catering holiday home in Franskraal that is situated right on the water’s edge. The house is fully furnished with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a large open plan kitchen that flows into the living room and indoor patio. The house has an outside and inside braai which comes in handy in Western Cape weather, as it changes every 20 minutes. The house is perfect for larger groups as it sleeps up to 12 people in comfort without it feeling crowded. If you’re worried about missing the weekend’s game, don’t , the house has a full DSTV bouquet so you won’t miss a moment of the action. Send the kids to go fishing right in front of the house while you sit on the patio with a hot coffee or a cold glass of wine, life couldn’t get any better than that, could it.
Sea Cottage, Yzerfontein
Around 90km from Cape Town lies the sleepy little coastal village of Yzerfontein. The village is known for its Sixteen Mile Beach, the longest uninterrupted sandy beach in South Africa. Fishing and tourism are the town’s two main sources of income. From August to September the village is jam packed with tourists coming to view the blooming of the Namaqua flowers. Water sport activities are plentiful with the harbour allowing the launching of jet skis and boats, while the bay in Yzerfontein is popular among surfers, body boarders and kite-surfers. The area has numerous wildlife reserves that one can visit. Here you can see a wide variety of wildlife including eland, springbok, steenbok, bontebok, kudu, zebra and African wild cat. There are some great restaurants around with the Strandkombuis and Beaches Restaurant & Boathouse serving up some great local seafood like Yellowtail Fillets, Smoked Snoek and Seafood Potjie, both restaurants are well worth a visit.
The Sea Cottage is situated only a few meters from the ocean in the southern part of town. The private self-catering studio has DSTV, a fridge, a 2-plate stove and a microwave, more than enough kitchen equipment for a self-catering weekend away. The unit only has one bed which overlooks the outside patio and the ocean. The deck is where you will be spending most of your time, is equipped with a portable braai and patio furniture and comes standard with an amazing view of the ocean. Like many of the other villages listed above it’s easy to get your hands on fresh seafood like snoek, black mussels and Angelfish in Yzerfontein. Imagine the sun setting in front of the deck, fire burning, fish marinating waiting to be cooked, wine on ice and good music playing in the background, if that image doesn’t make you excited then surely nothing will.
Indigo Blue Beach House, Langebaan
It’s not difficult to see why Langebaan is one of South Africa’s most popular coastal holiday destinations. The town has an endless white sandy beach, a large lagoon where one can do all kinds of water sport activities, great restaurants and a world class golf course designed by one of South Africa’s most successful sportsman, Gary Player. Right on the water’s edge lies Indigo Blue, a spacious 3 bedroom beach house. The front door is literally only 10 meters from Sandbaai Beach, you can walk right out of the front door onto the beach. Sandbaai is perfect for kids to play around in as it is a protected, shallow lagoon with many rock pools where kids can fish and swim. The house is simply, but very comfortably furnished, and it is fully equipped with everything one needs to make one’s holiday comfortable. There is a mooring in front of the house where you can tie up the two kayaks that come with the house or you can use it to secure your boat if you decide to bring it along. There are various activities that you can join in on including kite surfing, deep sea fishing, guided kayak trips, golfing and horse riding just to name a few.
Being a beach house there is obviously an outside braai on the deck that overlooks the lagoon and the ocean. You cannot come to Langebaan without eating at one of the town’s two popular seafood restaurants, Die Strandloper or Lekker by die See. Lekker by die See is an informal restaurant at Club Mykonos that provides a wide variety of dishes from pizza to calamari to fish and chips. Die Strandloper offers a traditional west coast set menu which includes freshly baked bread, sweet potato and fresh line fish along with up to 7 other dishes. These seaside restaurants are very popular so be sure to book a table ahead of time to avoid being disappointed. Whether you’re looking for a bit of a party weekend or just a laid back relaxed one with the family, Indigo Blue Beach house and Langebaan never disappoints.