Where to Stay - South Africa
 

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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This Wednesday (15th January 2014) at midday (SAST) a group of South African ‘Tweeple’ got together on Twitter with a common purpose to chat about the Overberg region of South Africa. Their goal was to connect with fellow SA Travel Twitter folk and to promote and share everything that is great about the Overberg.

 #discoverOverberg

Using the Hashtag #discoverOverberg the chat was hosted by the following Twitterati:

  • @intheOverberg
  • @visitstanford
  • @beatnikloves
  • @MariettedTH

The chat on Wednesday produced some amazing results that highlighted the power Social Media can have. READ MORE


Like much of South Africa the West Coast is just waiting to be explored. Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life the West Coast transports you to a world of endless sandy beaches and pretty villages. Summer days are long here and in Spring the landscape is transformed into a colourful sea of spring flowers. Typically the wildflowers will bloom from August to the end of September.

From Cape Town the best route to take is the R27 coastal route which takes you all the way up to Velddriff but the secret is to stop along the way at the numerous villages to really uncover the beauty of this part of South Africa. Although not as well trodden as the Garden Route the quality of accommodation along the West Coast is excellent with lots of self-catering establishments to choose from. READ MORE


Ramsgate Beach on the South Coast

Ramsgate

The stretch of coastline to the south of Durban is commonly known as the South Coast or sometimes the Hibiscus Coast. No matter what the time of year tourists and locals flock here in their thousands to soak up the sunshine that lingers long into the winter months of June and July.

At the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast scene is Margate just 130km south of Durban. This is a real holiday town perfect for family holidays where the beach takes precedence. Its’ sandy beaches are filled with tanning bodies during the holidays along with the aroma of coconut sun-screen which seems to be everywhere. READ MORE


Tips on driving in South AfricaAfter listening to numerous car hire stories from guests that have stayed at my ‘in-laws’ guest house in Port Alfred I decided it was time to write a few tips for international visitors to South Africa.

Do some research before you arrive

Many people book their car-hire online at the same time as they book their flights without having done the relevant research into the areas they are going to be driving in. A great way of doing some research is to check blog articles on the places you intend to travel to or to interact with people on social websites that cover South Africa. Both of these ideas will inform you and give you very honest and up-to-date report and advice on things to be aware of.

Cheapest is not safest

I am constantly surprised by the number of people that arrive at our guest house in the smallest car you can imagine and they have just travelled hundreds of miles often along roads requiring more than a little TLC. Car-hire can be expensive but your own personal safety should come before cost. If you are intending to visit places like the Wild Coast, Sani Pass or the Wetlands in St Lucia you should be hiring a 4×4 vehicle that is capable of handling the roads. READ MORE