The featured image of this blog on coastal cruising around the Cape, boasts the sheer magnificence of what we are currently experiencing as a winter in Cape Town. On the 21st of this month, Cape Town enjoyed a Winter Solstice of the epic sort. It strikes me as rather bizarre really, as quite frankly, I’d hardly call the half season that we’ve just come through a winter at all. In fact, I think that the Brits would be inclined to agree with me were I to suggest that the climate has been more in keeping with a rather pleasant English Summers day. Feast your eyes with envy upon this collage of photographs taken a few days ago while coastal cruising – these pictures sum up and are visually evident of what we often are blessed to experience as a Cape Town winter sunset. Of course, these days are not everyday, however, they are quite frequent and appear to be becoming more and more so as each year brings with it a milder winter.
Note the ‘beachy’ feel, incredible colours, but more specifically, the fantastic, albeit unusual, cloud formation. On this particular evening we experienced what we call Berg wind conditions – a foehn wind which is hot and dry and blows from the mountainous Kalahari interior which is a high pressure area, down to the low pressure coastal areas. It brings along with it very comfortable temperatures. A few nights ago, this temperature was 26ºC (78.8ºF)!! Now doesn’t that just make you want to visit?
After that little bit of gloating, back to the present….and as such a bit more to boast about. Cape Town as a city is globally known to be one of the most Cosmopolitan cities’s in the world and its certainly not at all hard to see why. But whilst most travelers tend to visit the city itself, many forget about the wonders that the surrounding coasts of the Western Cape have on offer, with an array of sublime, unusual and in many senses ‘easy on the pocket’ destinations – and all within an hours drive from the city centre, thus making it possible for visitors to experience the very best of both worlds when coastal cruising around the Cape. A good tip for those that tend to leave things to the last minute, accommodation for the Cape Town 2014 into 2015 Summer is already quite vastly booked so considering your stay just outside of the city is not a bad idea.
Coastal Cruising around the Cape
Of course a car rental from Capetown is a definite necessity but also highly recommended due to the beautiful scenery that is found in whichever direction you choose to take for some coastal cruising around the Cape. I have to speak from the heart when I say that the Southerly Coast and the West Coast of the Western Cape are home to a few of my most favored destinations. Of each coastline I would like to highlight one property/destination that holds a particularly special place in my heart – and I can say with an almost absolute certainty that should you be fortunate enough to visit any or all of these places yourself, then you too will find that a piece of your soul will remain for long after your departure.
South Coast of the Western Cape
Flanked by the Twelve Apostles mountain range to your left and the Atlantic Ocean to your right, just a short twenty to thirty minutes from Cape Town’s city centre is a destination that I would deem to be nothing short of heaven on earth.
Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge
Situated below the majestic Chapmans Peak Drive and right on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean is Tintswalo Atlantic – a small boutique lodge that welcomes its guests with an awe that is anything but small. Tintswalo is a Shangaan name that when translated, means ‘the intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift’. When parking ones car in the sandy lot just off Chapmans Peak Drive, you’ll be forgiven for having the notion that nothing appears to be as overly special as that which I intimate. Collected by the driver of a van or 4×4 vehicle, you’ll be whisked down the steep slopes of the mountainside toward the shores of the roaring ocean. Upon arrival, a 5 Star luxury heaven, packed seamlessly with 5 Star service and 5 Star cuisine will present itself to you. Don’t be at all surprised by the tremendous impact that its greeting has on your senses and your imagination – I have visited on many an occasion and Tintswalo stills blows me away with every arrival.
Each of the properties 10 uniquely designed and themed suites are nestled right on the oceans edge and once settled into your suite you’ll immediately find yourself submerged in what can only be described as The Tintswalo Magic. The resort caters to your every need so there really is no reason whatsoever to have to leave. From a full English breakfast in the mornings to the 4 course lunches and dinners…even a decadent high tea served in the afternoon. Spa treatments, Jacuzzi, designer cocktails at sunset on the magnificent Balau wood pool deck – Tintswalo offers it all. And in terms of the staff ?? You won’t look to them as staff at the end of your stay…they will be your friends – friends with 24/7 smiles and ‘nothing is too much of a hassle’ natures. They are the gems and the very essence of that which is the jewel of Tintswalo Atlantic.
INSIDER TIP: planning a stay during the months of September to November will provide a fantastic opportunity to view the Southern Right Whale during the annual Hout Bay visit.
West Coast of the Western Cape
Langebaan House Boats
An easy 120 km’s coastal cruising up the West Coast towards Langebaan brings you to a left turn off the main road and into The West Coast National Park. Ten minutes further on along a dirt road and you will come across the Azure blue waters of the Kraalbaai Lagoon where lazy, tranquil days can be spent aboard one of two moored houseboats – a smaller boat named ‘The Larus’ and a much larger boat named ‘The Nirvana’. These boats are permanently moored offshore and the Parks Board staff will deliver you to your raft on a motorized skip and will return you back ashore on your day of departure. Each boat comes complete with hot running water, a gas stove, BBQ on deck and gorgeous Egyptian Cotton sheets…although it needs to be noted that aside from the above mentioned, you will find so much more in terms of creature comforts.
Whilst on each occasion that I have stayed on the boats I have always done my own extensive grocery shopping to facilitate self-catering, there is also the option of having your stay completely catered for. Guests are welcome to bring canoes, wind-surfers, Stand Up Paddle Boards etc. The fishing is fantastic from the deck so be sure to take along your rod and reel and some bait.
INSIDER TIP: due to the provided late check-in and late check-out, you’d be very disappointed should you not have booked to stay for at least two nights. Honestly, one night is just not long enough.
At this particular juncture, it is probably a good idea to also make mention to the fact that both ‘Tintswalo Atlantic’ and ‘Langebaan Houseboats’ are both sublimely romantic and unusual places to host any special occasion, more especially a wedding – so if you’re planning an event in South Africa at any stage in the future, then take it from me, you won’t be disappointed to give consideration to either venue.
As I have visited both areas more than a dozen times myself, I am very happy to respond to any questions pertaining to the properties or the surrounding areas ie. where to go, what to see….