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Suggestions please - Away from crowds over Xmas near Cape Town?


Sep 15th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Suggestions please - Away from crowds over Xmas near Cape Town?

My husband and I have been invited to stay with friends in Cape Town over the new year period. We are planning to arrive a few days beforehand and to spend some time (say 23-29 Dec) in a small town(s) outside Cape Town.

As we'll be based in Cape Town for about 9 days from the 29th onwards, we're planning to spend the first 5 days somewhere further east - more than 2-2.5 hours drive from Cape Town, as we reckon anything under that can be done as a day trip from Cape Town.

We have been to Cape Town twice before (and LOVE it!) We have done day trips to Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl, all of which we love, but would like to try somewhere new and further afield.

We do know that it will be the peakest of peak times in the Cape, so we're planning to stay away from the main spots like Knysna, Hermanus etc. We're looking for a small town/farm a little off the beaten track, for rest/relaxation, scenery, good food and wine (we're not too big on adventure-type activities). We'd like to do some day trips for sightseeing, but are not too bothered about trying to squeeze loads of sights into the few days we have. We're thinking of spending the whole time in just one spot (maybe 2 at most). We'd like to take things easy - after all, if we miss out on some things, it will just give us an incentive to come back!

Our initial ideas on a base to stay:

Should we stay away from the coast entirely if we want to avoid the crowds?

We'd be very grateful for any thoughts/comments/suggestions - on the suitability of the above as a base over Xmas, or of other possibilities.

Thank you very much!
eeyoregrey is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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Your question is a challenging one in that it certainly is not the normal type of question that one is asked about visiting Cape Town.

Firstly I could not agree with you more in your planning of trying to move away from the city during the peak holiday season. I think you are very wise to take this plan of action as things do become rather hectic over the period 20 December to 5 January in Cape Town due to the city being overrun by local visitors from places such as Gauteng and other parts of South Africa.

In terms of where to go I feel that you have to take into account the factor of the weather and heat. The country towns that you have mentioned all are subject to high temperatures during the period of December and with that said as much as a place like Montagu is a wonderful place to visit I would suggest that you rather try and stay at a seaside village. With that said I would suggest that you do not fly into Cape Town but rather to George. In doing so you can hire a car at the George airport and I then suggest that you travel to the Wilderness. There are a number of guesthouses that you could stay in at the Wilderness and you will also be in good restaurant territory. Guesthouses that you could look at could be:

The Dunes - http://www.thedune.co.za/
Fantastic guesthouse - Try and stay in the White Room. Wonderful hosts and views to die for. Slap bang on the sea.

Albatross Guesthouse - http://www.gardenroute.co.za/wilder/accom/alba/

Close to the Dunes with magnificent views and accommodation. Note that this is a self catering establishment.

If you stay in the Wilderness you will have many places that you can dine at. Serendipity where you will have a fabulous culinary experience as well as at The Palms guesthouse where you will also be served a wonderful meal. You could travel to The Copper Kettle in George as well as the Lake Pleasant Hotel just outside Sedgefield. These are just a couple of places to mention as you could even travel to Knysna (60 Km away) and enjoy some of the good restaurants that the town has to offer. There is also much to see in the areas near to the Wilderness in that you could during the day travel to George, Mossel Bay and Knysna so as to look around these places. All in all you can have a peaceful stay with good culinary experiences while still; enjoying the places where the hustle and bustle is with the difference being that you could do this all at your time. You will certainly be able to escape the crowds, enjoy the beach, have fabulous seaside weather and be further than a day ride from Cape Town. As a matter of fact you will be 4.5 hours away from Cape Town.

If a stay at the Wilderness does not entice you then you could consider staying at an out of the way village in the form of Boggoms Baai. This village is totally isolated and has its own wonderful beach. If you want to stay in BoggomsBaai the place to stay in one of the Sandpiper cottages. http://www.sandpiper.co.za/main.htm


The one factor to consider in Boggoms Baai is that it is totally self catering and there are no restaurants within 30 km which I would say would be of repute. You would have to stick up beforehand in the nearby town of Mossel Bay (there are no shops at all in BoggomsBaai) an do your own cooking etc. I am not sure if this is what you are after but I am just mentioning it in case you are looking for a very quiet peaceful place to stay that is right on a beach.

If all of the above does not appeal to you then you could consider staying at Montagu where you can enjoy country life to the full but I once again warn against the intense heat at this time of the year in most country towns that are not next to the sea. A wonderful place to stay in Montagu would be Aasvoelkrans. ( http://www.aasvoelkrans.co.za) Wonderful; host, very different type of accommodation with all that you will need. Montagu also has a fabulous art route that you can walk where you visit the different artists who stay in the town. There also are hot springs that you can frequent however in the summer this might not be the best activity to participate in.

Another great place to stay in Montagu is LesHautsdeMontagu. (http://www.leshautsdemontagu.co.za/p...lish/home.html) Fabulous accommodation and wonderfully tranquil setting.

Another option that you could have if you decide to not stay at the sea would be for you to stay at FraaiUitzicht (http://www.fraaiuitzicht.com/) which is in a wonderful setting on a farm setup close to Robertson as well as Montagu. The food at the restaurant at this place of stay is also wonderful. If you do elect to stay in this area I recently found a wonderful restaurant that is very new in Robertson called Bourbon Street. This has now become the best restaurant in the small country town in my opinion.

In all of the above suggestions the big hidden factor is availability of facilities as you will be seeking accomodation in the peak time of the year and with it nearly being October already this could be a tough call. I can but only hope that you wont be late in making your plans at this stage of the year.

Obviously if you are going to elect to stay in the Montagu or Robertson region I would suggest that you start out in Cape Town. As I have already said if you are going to stay in the Wilderness or BoggomsBaai area I would start out by flying to George however it is not a difficult drive to do by starting out in Cape Town and travelling the 4-5 hour car journey.

Hope this all helps to make your stay in the Western cape a fabulous one.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
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Sep 16th, 2005, 01:47 AM
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Selwyn, thank you so much for your detailed advice! I've learnt a lot from all your other posts on this forum too, and really appreciate your taking the time to share your knowledge.

I totally take on board your comments about the heat inland - the only reason I wanted to avoid the coast in the first place was to avoid the crowds. I will do some more research into the places you suggested, and Wilderness in general (which sounds great), but as you say, our final choice is pretty much going to be determined by availability, so we'll just have to take what we can find... I'll post our final choices on the forum at a later stage.

Thanks again for the great advice!
eeyoregrey is offline  
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