Where to Stay - South Africa
 

On a recent day trip, we took the Tradouw Pass along to Barrydale which is situated about 61km km from Montagu along the famous Cape Route 62. On the one side of the Tradouw Valleys is Barrydale and on the other side is the semi-arid Klein Karoo. This beautiful Pass, built by Sir Thomas Bain is renowned for its wild flowers, waterfalls and magnificent swimming pools. We stopped here to capture some aerial footage with our DJI Pro Drone. You can see the short video we made here which really gives you a bird’s eye view of the Tradouw Pass – Tradouw Pass Video

Getting aerial shots

Getting aerial shots

 

Barrydale is unique and offers a variety of places to eat and things to do and see all year round. We parked and then took a stroll along the main road. The town is totally geared up for people stopping to explore, grab a bite to eat and buy a curio or two. It’s a very popular stop with the tourist buses! We grabbed some lunch at Diesel and Crème and we would definitely recommend having one of their specialty milkshakes or craft beers. And yes the Milkshakes really are this big and this pink! On a hot day it is the perfect way to cool down.

Diesel & Creme inside

Diesel & Creme inside

Each place has its own attraction and unique quality and it’s worthwhile exploring the little shops with their artisan specialties. Take a stroll up and down the main high street and don’t be afraid to pop your head into places like the Hand Weavers to watch the ladies in there hard at work. Fascinating to watch them.

This charming town has sunny days for most of the year and is built at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains. It offers unsurpassed vistas of the mountains and there is a wide range of pathways and foot trails for hikers and walkers alike. Excellent wines, brandy and craft beers are produced in the area.

Just 24km outside Barrydale (en route to Ladismith) is the infamous Ronnies Sex Shop. This is well worth a stop for a cold beer or drink to quench your thirst and take in the surroundings. Ronnie’s Sex Shop has had visitors from all over the world and is a regular pit stop for bikers, local farmers and people travelling this road regularly. It has to be said that when a group of riders ride in or out it makes for quite a sight and as for the sound – well some ear plugs might come in handy for the little ones.

 

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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.

River Walk in Stanford

River Walk in Stanford

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.

Amazing cliffs in Hermanus

Amazing cliffs in Hermanus

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.

Food mmm

Food mmm

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.

Gansbaai Harbour Wall

Gansbaai Harbour Wall

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.

For options on Hermanus accommodation please click here:

For Western Cape accommodation please click here:

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We’ve often travelled through Swellendam on our way to Cape Town or other areas within the Western Cape however never actually stayed there. (Swellendam is about 220 kms from Cape Town). However on our last trip, we decided to put this right and to spend a couple of nights in which to explore the town and the area and aren’t we glad we did this! So a bit about Swellendam – it’s the third-oldest town in South Africa being declared a magisterial district in 1743.  The town is at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and is well known for its fascinating past, great outdoor life and its eclectic architecture. Swellendam is just one of a number of great places to explore in the wider Overberg Region of the Western Cape.

Swellendam Town

Swellendam Town

We stayed a few kilometres outside of Swellendam at a pet-friendly, self-catering chalet, at Kwetu Guest Farm.  We bought all our supplies in Swellendam as there’s an excellent choice of shops.  For those opting for B&B / Guest House or other – there are loads of places to stay in Swellendam and of course, a variety of places to eat – definitely something for everyone.

Swellendam Mountains

Views of the mountains

The view was amazing from our chalet and can I can honestly say we really looked forward to our sundowners as we had the most amazing multi-colour sunsets with the backdrop of the mountains. The accommodation is Pet-Friendly but they do have buck roaming on the farm so you may need to keep an eye on your loved one.

Sundowners in Swellendam

Sundowners

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities and things to do. About 7km from town is the famous Bontebok National Park – a world heritage site; the Drostdy Museum which has a collection of 18th and 19th century Cape furniture; Dutch Reformed Church with its eclectic architectural features including Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque and vernacular Cape elements. Marloth Nature Reserve is on the southern slopes of the Langeberg Mountains and the reserve has an abundance of wild flowers and fynbos.

Swellendam Sunset

Swellendam Sunset

As for activities – you can pick from abseiling, canoeing, hiking, horse riding, kloffing, walking, whale watching trips and mountain biking. The area is well known for great hiking and mountain biking trails such as the Whale Trail and the 4 – 6 day Swellendam Hiking Trail.

For accommodation options in the Overberg Region please click here Overberg Accommodation


(SANParks) has announced the dates of the South African National Parks Week 2015.

National Parks Week 2015 in South Africa

 

The 10th annual SA National Parks Week will take place from 14 to 18 September 2015. The inaugural South African National Parks Week took place in 2006 and was aimed at linking the South African national parks system to the global national movement and to also showcase the best of South Africa’s national parks.

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Accommodation within the Kruger National Park itself can naturally be quite expensive and needs to be booked well in advance. An alternative is to find accommodation outside of the park but within easy reach of one or two of the Kruger Park Entrance Gates. Here are a few ideas of venues that fit this bill.

Kruger National Park has eight entrance gates.
There are five gates in the Southern Section of Kruger Park:

  1. Malelane Gate
  2. Crocodile Bridge Gate
  3. Numbi Gate
  4. Paul Kruger Gate
  5. Phabeni Gate

There are two gates in the Central section of Kruger Park:

  1. Orpen Gate
  2. Phalaborwa Gate

There is one gate in the Northern Section of Kruger Park

  1.  Punda Maria Gate

These gates open at the following times:

  • October to March: 05h30
  • April to September: 06h00

 Accommodation ideas close to Numbi Gate and Phabeni Gate entrances to Kruger Park

Nandina Guest House

Nandina Guest House (Hazyview)

Nandina Guest House has three lovely rooms all with en-suite bathrooms (shower only). The Honeymoon room “Wisdom room” has aircon. The rooms include extra length beds: TV, (DSTV Easy view, SABC Channels), bar fridge, couch / chairs, built in cupboard, coffee/tee station, ceiling fan and standing fan. Rooms are cleaned daily linen and towels supplied.

Nandina Self-Catering Cottages in Hazyview

Nandina Self-Catering Cottages (Hazyview)

Nandina Self-Catering Cottages (300m from the Guest House) offer four private Self-Catering Cottages, set in beautifully landscaped gardens with prolific birdlife. These owner-managed establishments’ offers tailor-made packages each uniquely developed to suite your individual requirements, making each moment memorable.
Nandina Guest House and Self-Catering Cottages are 17.9km from Numbi Gate and 17.6km from Phabeni Gate.  READ MORE