We decided to use the Victorian village of Stanford as a base for exploring the area. We had Dudley, our miniature Schnauzer with us so we booked pet-friendly accommodation on the outskirts of the village. We stayed in a cottage on a working vineyard and ended up spending 4 nights there.
Stanford is ideally situated to explore Hermanus and the surrounding areas as well as Gansbaai – the Great White Shark Capital of the World. Stanford itself is one of the few villages in South Africa where the village market square has been retained and is still used for community events. The Klein River offers excellent bird watching opportunities, as well as lovely walks along the banks of the river. There’s an excellent choice of restaurants, shops and wine tasting available and there is also a microbrewery worth visiting.
We found an amazing Italian restaurant La Trattoria, situated on the main street through Stanford, which said we could bring Dudley into the lovely courtyard at the back of their restaurant. The restaurant makes their own pasta and has a wonderful selection of Italian wines. Our meal was sublime and set the bar for the rest of our stay.
On one of the days on our trip we set off on a scenic drive to Hermanus which is only 20km away. Hermanus is most famous for the best land-based whale watching in the world and is only 120km from Cape Town. The town boasts 12km of cliff walks and over 45km of walks in the nature reserve and on the beaches.
The cosmopolitan town has something for everyone and we found the cafés and restaurants very accommodating for pets – always bringing out a bowl of fresh water for Dudley. Of course, he thoroughly enjoyed the winding cliff walks and cooling down in the water. Do lookout for the signs indicating if the beaches are dog-friendly.
There’s a host of beaches to pick from – these include: Grotto, Kammabaai and Langbaai, Voelklip, Sandbaai Beaches, Onrus, Vermont, Plankhuis, Hawston and Fisherhaven.
We stopped off at Onrus for our lunch and would highly recommend eating at Casa Beira-Mar@ Bamboo Beach.
Another day was spent exploring Gansbaai and De Kelders.
The Harbour in Gansbaai is one of the few commercial fishing harbours in the country. There’s a pub / restaurant within the harbour and we recommend walking along the harbour wall for some great photo shots.
We stopped for coffee and decided to have breakfast as well and we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the coffee!! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to try the pizza or pasta but will do so on our next trip.
We loved this area and would recommend spending at least a couple of days to explore and take in the magnificent surroundings and beaches.
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