June 07, 2013
#DiscoverHelderberg: Where to stay in the Helderberg
Natalie Roos’ body was born in Johannesburg… but her soul was always Capetonian. At the age of 14, Natalie started work in the television industry, presenting popular local kids TV show, KTV. Ten years and another TV job later (presenting celebrity gossip show JIP on Afrikaans music channel MK), Natalie made the move down to Cape Town where she started her blog, Tails of a Mermaid (www.tailsofamermaid.com). Her love for the internet and all things communication-driven became a natural progression to a career in Social Media, where she worked in an agency managing the online presence, content and reputation of various brands.
Natalie’s passions include cats, communication and Cape Town.
I recently had the opportunity to spend three days exploring the beautiful Helderberg region, and what I found was mouth-watering food destinations, exciting adventure activities, world-class wine farms and blissful accommodation to suit every weary traveller.
The Helderberg is made up of Somerset West , Strand, Gordon’s Bay and Sir Lowry’s Pass. Frequented by those looking for a long-stay destination where they can spend the summer within a short drive from the city, and where they can experience the Stellenbosch Winelands, some of the Cape's top golf courses and the glorious beaches of Strand and Gordon’s Bay, the Helderberg is the perfect destination.
Here are a few establishments we recommend, from five-star luxury and self-catering accommodation to budget-friendly B&Bs:
Gracious hosts Annelise and Wolf Schroeder are incredibly welcoming and very interesting to talk to. Their beautiful garden is the perfect place to relax on a summer’s day or a sunny winter’s afternoon. These Swiss- and German-speaking hosts ensure a comfortable and easy stay for guests.
Blaauwheim's five-star accommodation offers bed and breakfast as well as self-catering accommodation in the heart of Somerset West. The beautiful self-catering suites come with a fully equipped kitchen (including a small dishwasher). Your every need is catered for, from secure parking to large en-suite bathrooms ... and even Waterford Crystal glasses. Ideal for the long-stay guest looking for spacious and comfortable accommodation to come home to at the end of a long day exploring the area.
Corporate guests are also catered for with the option of a smaller, executive room. Swimming pool and braai facilities make this the ideal summer retreat, and owners Johan and Jo-Anne Blaauw take great pride in ensuring their guests receive five-star treatment.
The Cape Links Guest House offers comfortable self-catering units as well as the option to take occupation of the whole guest house, with full use of the kitchen, living area and swimming pool – this is ideal for couples or families looking for a comfortable home to base themselves. Hosts Kathy and Frank McDonogh specialise in organising golfing and sightseeing for their guests and are always happy to provide transport to and from the airport, or to act as tour guides for their guests.
Just off the Erinvale Golf Course, the Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa is a beautiful property built in the Cape Dutch style of the original farmstead. The rooms are comfortable and cosy and the service is excellent. Situated near the beautiful Lourensford and Morgenster wine estates, with a luxury spa and stunning dining facilities, this is the perfect base for guests looking to explore the many food and wine destinations in the area.
I spent a night at African Dreams and have only good things to say about the accommodation, as well as the owner, Vanessa Reinmuth. Vanessa's hospitality is the picture of that trademark South African warmth, and she made sure my every need was catered for. Secure parking, a stunning view over Somerset West, a coffee machine in the room, electric blanket and a delicious breakfast ensured a comfortable and memorable stay.
Luxury self-catering accommodation in the Somerset West area for groups of up to 32 people. This sprawling farmhouse, set on a 4ha property complete with a swimming pool, rolling lawns, braai area and bar, and with en suite bathrooms in every room, makes for a stunning home-away-from-home. Large rooms and bathrooms open up on to the lush property, while the huge living area is the perfect place for families or couples to come together. This really is the ideal place to book if you and your family are looking for a house to share, with enough space to stay out of each other’s hair.
Ideal for the golf enthusiast, this comfortable self-catering apartment is situated on the Greenways Security Estate. With secure parking, this lock-up-and-go unit is perfect for the long-stay visitor looking for a base with an ocean view and easy access to the Cape’s golfing facilities.
Akkedissie self-catering offers secure parking and access to a swimming pool located behind the main house. The two-bedroom unit is equipped with a kitchen and living area, as well as an outside deck with braai facilities and stunning views of the mountains.
Groenewald is situated within walking distance of the beach and municipal swimming pool, as well as the Strand Main Street. This self-catering accommodation is all you will need if you're looking for a comfortable base while sightseeing in the beautiful Helderberg region.
Sir Lowry’s Pass
This wooden lodge is located in 600 acres of beautiful pine forest, with views of the area. The rooms are luxurious and cosy, with built-in fireplaces and en suite bathrooms. This is the ideal location to get away from it all, but close enough to explore the area. I had the privilege of enjoying a night at this lodge, and the drive to Somerset West was not too far to tackle for dinner. Absolutely beautiful, and you really feel like you are experiencing nature in all her splendour, while just a few minutes' drive from the hustle and bustle of town.
Luxury accommodation in the vicinity of the Helderberg Wine Route. Comfortable rooms are set on a beautiful farm just down the road from must-see wine estates like Waterkloof and Journey’s End. For those looking to organise a wedding, Ongegund offers expertise and service for brides planning their dream day ... even from thousands of kilometres away.
Producing wine mainly for export, Onderkloof offers rustic accommodation on its farm in Sir Lowry’s Pass. Its tasting room is currently being built, but in the meantime, this serves as a great base from which to explore the surrounding Helderberg Wine Route.
Just off Sir Lowry’s Main Road, Kingfisher Hollow offers incredible views of the mountains, a swimming pool and braai facilities, as well as easy access to all the major Helderberg tourist areas, including Somerset, Strand and Gordon’s Bay. Accommodation varies from basic studio rooms for short-stay and business travellers to two-bedroom cabins for families visiting the area.
The Helderberg truly blew me away and I will soon be posting more about where to eat and what to do in this magnificent region. So make sure you check back regularly.