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Whale Watching – What a Treat!

Published: July 28, 2009 12:33 pm

From May through November, whales make their homes around the shallow coastal waters of Southern Africa, South America and Australia.

Whale watching is a well-known tourist attraction in the Western Cape, South Africa. Every year, these gentle giants make the coastal bays their home, to mate, calve and cavort.

Frolicking in the warmer waters around the Overberg and False Bay regions of the Western Cape, the whales are attracted to the sandy-bottomed and sheltered bays, and nurture their young in nutrient-rich waters.

The main types of whales that visit our shores are the Southern Right Whale Dolphin, Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales and Orcas, whilst many more varieties of whale are commonly seen at play in our bays.

They honour this great playground and are more than happy to put on a show for the streams of visitors to the Western Cape. Whale-watching has become a major tourist attraction for many coastal towns.

With that in mind, most resorts, establishments and whale-watching tour guides keep to very strict and ecologically friendly regulations. Areas designated for boat-based whale watching are carefully selected so as to not interfere with land-based whale watchers and, of course, the whales themselves.

The Cape Overberg region forms part of the famed Whale Route. Hermanus, situated about an hour and a half away from the metropolis of Cape Town, is hailed as offering the best land-based whale watching in the world.

Fish Hoek is one of the few villages in Cape Town that is little affected by the push for development that has altered most of the Cape’s coastline. Nestled in False Bay, its calm waters make it a popular spot for whales and their offspring to play in the waters.

The Cape Stay Accommodation Guide lists over a hundred luxurious and comfortable establishments for you to call home during your whale watching adventure, and more than fifty of those are located in the ever popular fishing town of Hermanus which offers brilliant viewpoints from where you can watch the whales play in the bay.

Go ahead, begin your whale watching adventure today!

Review – Soho on Strand – De Waterkant

Published: May 26, 2009 8:54 am

Reviewed: May 2009

If you want a place to relax in luxury and style, then Soho on Strand is the place to visit! Situated in De Waterkant, on the edge of the Mother City, away from the city’s hustle and bustle, Soho on Strand is just minutes away from the Waterfront and provides its guests with easy access to Table Mountain, glorious beaches and highway systems. This stunning accommodation is just 5 blocks walking distance from the World Cup Stadium!

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Upon arriving at the Soho, you are met by the Property’s representative, who will show you around the apartment. He is a charming young man and is very well connected in Cape Town – Chatting to him will provide you with the ability to have VIP access to a number of clubs in the city as well as special treatment at some of the top restaurants.

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The apartment is ultra-modern, with all the appliances one could possibly need. There are three bedrooms, the main bedroom being en-suite. The apartment is open-plan, which lends itself to an open, yet surprisingly comfortable and, not to forget, stylish feel.

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The view and atmosphere from the balcony, complimented with a glass of the delicious house red that the Property’s representative leaves for all guests – usually a 2002 – 2004 blend – made us feel as if we were in the heart of a buzzing, world-class metropolitan.

 

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This apartment truly makes you feel as if you could be living the life of a star; gallivanting around and experiencing the best that Cape Town has to offer, or simply staying at home, in star-quality luxury, which includes a swimming pool and communal barbeque-area.

If you are looking to experience the vibe that Cape Town is famous for and at the same time doing it in style, then this is definitely the place to stay.

 

For more information, rates and enquiries, please visit  http://www.capestay.co.za/capetownluxury

Review: The Admiralty B and B – Marina Da Gama

Published: April 30, 2009 11:04 am

Reviewed: March 2009
The Admiralty B and B offers you Individual Excellence.

Admiralty Bed and Breakfast is located on Cannon Island in Marina Da Gama and overlooks the tranquil waters of the Zandvlei estuary, just minutes from the fabulous bathing beaches of the False Bay coastline.

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This fabulous home with superb architecture, is designed around a centre courtyard with stunning pool and enclosed by glass sliding doors. The house seems to go on forever and is decorated with the highest levels of care and love.

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Each of the five, individually styled, rooms are equipped with their own en-suite bathroom and balcony or terrace.

For those wanting to experience the water first hand there is a row boat that can be taken out onto the vlei. Pack a bottle of wine and glasses and go for row at sunset!

Our hosts Mary and Russell were wonderful and made us feel right at home straight away – offering us a cold beer on arrival and a quick dip in the pool to cool off. They made sure we had everything we needed for our Saturday night picnic on our own little terrace overlooking the beautiful vlei. Ducks and the two very friendly wire-haired resident terriers kept us company under the stars.

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Even though we had to leave ridiculously early to catch the Cape Argus cycle race, Mary and Russell had a breakfast spread fit for a king and queen rustled up and ready by 5AM!

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The Admiralty B and B offers comfort, luxury and tranquility, all in one neat home-grown package.

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For more information, rates and enquiries, please visit www.capestay.co.za/admiraltybnb

Review: The Winston – Simon’s Town

Published: April 30, 2009 8:29 am

Reviewed: March 2009

The Winston is an impressive 4-star Bed and Breakfast about 5 minutes outside of the centre of Simon’s Town, and only a stone’s throw away from the stunning
Boulder’s Beach.

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We were warmly greeted by the owner Mike upon arrival, who showed us to our room “The Whale Suite”, and quickly got us settled. The large room, complete with king-sized bed and amazingly comfortable couch, has a white-washed nautical Cape Cod theme, which fits in perfectly with the feel of the area.

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After we unpacked, Mike showed us around and made us feel welcome. He even recommended a restaurant for us to go to that evening, and made the booking for us.

Hugging the rocky coastline, The Winston offers amazing panoramic sea views. Stepping out of our suite and onto the outdoor patio, I was bowled over with just how expansive the mass of ocean felt. For me, the outdoor area was one of the highlights: an awesome wooden deck with lounge chairs, swimming pool and braai area.

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This is the perfect peaceful environment to settle in with a good book while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean. Or as I did a little later, explore the tranquil surroundings by taking a very short walk down to the coastline. Scrambling along the rocky shore, I managed to take some photos of the beautiful natural setting.

And for star-gazers, Simon’s Town is an amazing place. After making our way back to the Winston after dining out, we were in awe of how beautifully the night sky lit up with hundreds of stars from the patio outside our room.

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In the morning, I woke up to the sounds of the ocean, which is always a delight for me. Making our way upstairs to the breakfast area, we were treated to an absolutely delicious full English breakfast (and great coffee!)

En route home, we had to stop at the world famous Boulder’s Beach. A protected penguin sanctuary that delighted us with close up encounters with these amazing and adorable animals. Not only does Boulder’s Beach offer you the chance to see hundreds of penguins, but it is also one of the most picturesque and sheltered swimming beaches in the Cape. The opportunity to relax at a breathtakingly beautiful beach, while swimming with the penguins is an amazing combination, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

Our weekend getaway at the Winston was a lovely experience, littered with many highlights, and leaving us feeling relaxed and privileged to experience the beauty and character that this area of the Cape has to offer.

For more information, rates and enquiries, please visit www.capestay.co.za/thewinston

Review: Sacred Mountain Lodge – Noordhoek

Published: April 29, 2009 12:03 pm

Reviewed: March 2009

Nestled at the foot of the Table Mountain Reserve on the East Coast of the Cape Peninsula, and within walking distance of beautiful Noordhoek beach, lies the enchanting Sacred Mountain Lodge.

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We were welcomed at the door by the establishment’s friendly manager, Alex, who showed us to our luxurious room, Clydesdale, and then went on to give us an all-round tour of the lodge.

Owners, Jason; his lovely wife, Samantha and beautiful children are always a whisper away, ready to assist in anything they can.

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Sacred Mountain Lodge is a true “home away from home” and we immediately felt comfortable and relaxed. A delicious bottle of wine and bowl of fresh fruit were waiting for us in our room. The rooms are very spacious and have been well-furnished, with extreme care and attention to detail!

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The lush green garden and turquoise swimming pool created a tranquil setting, perfect for relaxing with a good book. As the sun set, rays of light shone through the tall trees and created a surreal setting. As we enjoyed a glass of wine at the fireplace, we were told the interesting story behind the discovery of the name, Sacred Mountain, which was taken from a book called ‘Table Mountain to Cape Point’ by Carrie Hampton.

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After a good braai (BBQ), we enjoyed some private time in the Jacuzzi spa, surrounded by hundreds of candles and soft gentle music. The Jacuzzi’s easily-controlled bubbles gave us an invigorating massage-like experience.

Upon arriving back at our Lodge after the relaxing Jacuzzi experience, we were surprised and delighted to find little chocolates on our pillows – yet more evidence of Sacred Lodge’s attention
to detail.

Breakfast, served with great care, allows guests to have anything from fresh fruit, to yoghurt, to a full english breakfast – which can be enjoyed in bed, in the garden or overlooking the pool.

Jason, Samantha and Alex have created a truly amazing escape from the world – one which I hope to be able to visit again!

 

Review: Campsbayglen – Camps Bay

Published: April 29, 2009 10:40 am

Reviewed: April 2009

Campsbayglen was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Just a short drive away from Cape Town central, we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy the finer side of life in rustic yet elegant setting.

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Surrounded by a nature reserve, Campsbayglen is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway! It felt as if we were in our very own isolated paradise with a view of nature from every angle.

This beautiful house is full of character and has been split into 3 levels, a separate studio on each level, each with quaint yet comfortable rooms. The studios are fully equipped with everything you need for a self catering holiday.

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We spent a relaxed afternoon by the pool, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the natural river and waterfalls running through the garden while watching the guinea fowl that flock to the side of the mountain.

For those who like to read, grab a book and lounge on one on of the numerous hammocks either by the sparkling pool or on your own private deck.

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As an additional treat, there is a bath on the deck of studio A, where I treated myself to a candle lit bubble bath and watched an incredible sunset over the sea while sipping a glass of wine.

We left our studio feeling relaxed and completely spoilt. For nature lovers Campsbayglen is a must.

For more information, rates and enquiries, please visit Campsbayglen

Review: The Retreat – Betty’s Bay

Published: March 3, 2009 12:23 pm

The Retreat is a charming guest house situated in the tranquil coastal village of Betty’s Bay in the Western Cape Overberg, just one hour’s drive from Cape Town.

The beach-style guest house is owned and managed by Chimmy, who has created a wonderfully relaxed and comfortable environment for her guests. From the minute we arrived at The Retreat and were warmly greeted by our hostess, we immediately felt at home and comfortable.

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Chimmy showed us to our room, Waterberry, a superior double room, decorated to a sunny botanical theme, with Queen size bed, a dressing room and en suite shower. The second room is Sacred Ibis which is The Retreat’s luxury suite. It is perfect for honeymooners and has a gorgeous full en suite bathroom finished in sandstone.

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Both rooms at The Retreat have magnificent mountain views, separate entrances and offer complete privacy.

After settling in to our room, Chimmy took us on a tour of her delightful B&B, showing us the intimate communal lounge area, the sunny breakfast room, the charming courtyard area with plunge pool and built in braai (BBQ) facilities, as well as the outdoor hot tub, set in the indigenous “Fynbos” back garden – what an incredible setting.

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The Retreat is just a five minute walk to Silversands beach and we headed there to spend some time relaxing and reading in this unspoiled, idyllic setting. Upon our return, we hopped into the hot tub with a glass of wine kindly provided by Chimmy and soaked up the tranquil, outdoor atmosphere. Thereafter, it was time for our massages.

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Chimmy offers a choice of massages at The Retreat including deep tissue, Kahuna, head and shoulders, reflexology and hot stone. Additionally, a full detox programme can be arranged to suit your individual tastes and requirements.

After a superb night’s sleep, we awoke to the serene sounds of Mother Nature and were treated to a delicious full English Breakfast, cooked and served by Chimmy. We spent some time talking to our lively hostess and then, all too soon, it was time for us to leave The Retreat and head back to Cape Town.

Before the drive home, we decided to go with Chimmy’s suggestion of visiting the world renowned Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. (Chimmy is a treasure trove of information and will assist in organizing activities and dining in the area.) We followed the gentle Disa Kloof trail that leads to a gloriously peaceful waterfall. It was the perfect way to end our getaway.

My lasting impression of our stay at The Retreat is one of total relaxation and invigoration. If you are looking for a comfortable and affordable getaway in cheerful and peaceful surroundings, I thoroughly recommend a visit to the Retreat in Betty’s Bay.

 

Garden Route

Published: January 21, 2009 11:15 am

Wherever you’re from, you have probably heard about the Garden Route. And rightly so, because this is one of the most awe-inspiring stretches of land in South Africa, if not the world. The Route is sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian Ocean.

Situated about 280kilometres from Cape Town, the Garden Route boasts majestic mountains, breath-taking views and a natural garden of rich colours that seems to stretch on forever.  Coupled with valleys, lakes, rivers and forests, the Garden Route is a paradise for bird-lovers and nature lovers and an eco-destination like few others in the world. Mile upon mile of beuatiful, white sandy beaches and a million things to do and explore complete this true paradise.

You can explore the paradise of the Garden Route here: Garden Route Properties

Winelands

Published: January 15, 2009 3:55 pm

Winelands is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and is divided into six main wine regions, each offering their own unique wine route – Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington. The geographic area is generally referred to locally as the Boland, meaning “Uplands” in Afrikaans.
Valley wine regions are situated in mountainous surroundings and boast some of the oldest wine estates and homesteads, alongwith several award winning wines and restaurants.

The Winelands region is any wine connoisseur’s dream location and you can invesigate it here!

West Coast

Published: January 15, 2009 3:54 pm

The Cape West Coast stretches from Cape Town to as far as the border with the Northern Cape at Touws River. The indescribably beautiful Cedarberg Mountains are nestled in the West Coast, and famed for their centuries-old rock art.

Salt of the earth residents make the area from Ganzekraal to Strandfontein their home, where snoek, mussels and crayfish are a way of life and ‘bokkoms’ (salted mullet strung up in bunches and left to dry) is the local delicacy. Route 27 is a seafood Mecca and a number of open-air beach restaurants offer seafood fresh from the sea. Sit back, relax and enjoy the finest ocean delicacies cooked on open fires whilst you watch the sun sink slowly over the sea.

All along this stretch of coastline is a series of quaint historic towns and fishing villages with names like Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan- names that, today roll with ease off the tongue, but until fairly recently were left to languor in relative obscurity.

Go ahead and explore the West Coast here