Naturally when I am nice and swamped at work, I get the intense desire to browse through travel websites and plan my next breakaway.
Today I spent a good few hours on accommodirect.com dreaming about lazy days on the West Coast eating fresh seafood at a tiny nook by the beach, feasting on a lamb tjoppie on a koppie in the Karoo, or tackling a mountain trail in the Overberg.
I justified my extensive daydreaming by pretending to plan for all the upcoming long weekends (another reason to love this country); there is no time like the present after all. At the end of it all I’ve settled on five small towns I want to visit this year.
I have a soft spot for this fisherman’s village on the West Coast, with its white washed houses and outstanding restaurants. It’s where I got engaged, at a tiny nook called Gaatjie with a cup of rooibos tea in my hand and the waves crashing just beyond the rocks. I will always look for an excuse to escape the city and spend a few days soaking up the simplicity.
I’ve always wanted to stay at the Paternoster Self Catering Accommodation, which lies right at the end of the beach to one end, and leads right onto the sand. It looks like an idealic escape.
The accommodation in Paternoster can be a bit steep. A nice alternative is the neighbouring town, Jacobsbaai. It is a lot more reasonable and a quick drive to the popular West Coast haven.
There is something about the Karoo that calms my soul. There is nothing quite like resting your eyes on the horizon as the fading light turns the landscape orange deep-red purple black, while breathing in the cool, sweet night air.
Prince Albert is definitely on my local bucket list this year. I’ve heard so much about this Groot Karoo town with its rich cultural and culinary offering. I have my eye on the Karoo View Cottages, with their incredible views of the Swartberg mountains and a comfortable, rustic charm.
Beyond the popular winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl you’ll find a whole valley filled with fairly undiscovered gems. Bonnievale is known as the valley of wine and cheese (my kind of town), with the Langeberg mountains on one and and the Breede River on the other.
I’ve visited the surrounding area before, staying in Robertson and in McGregor, and I’ve already fallen deeply in love with the valley. I’ve heard so much praise for Bonnievale that this year it’s going on my list. Bonfrutti just outside the town has caught my attention, or in an ideal world I would love to stay at Jan Harmsgat.
There is beauty in all the parts of our country, but I lost my heart in the Overberg. A town I have always wanted to visit is Napier, a tiny settlement between Caledon and Bredasdorp. Did you know the town was founded because two neighbours, Michiel van Breda and Pieter Voltelyn van der Byl, couldn’t agree where to build the community church?
Like Montagu, Grayton and McGregor, Napier is has a quaint charm and rich cultural heritage that makes for an appealing visit. I think the Peace Valley Guesthouse looks like a lovely spot to unpack.
Since the first time I drove through Stanford I’ve wanted to book a weekend getaway. Tucked away in a nature reserve with simple, white washed farm houses, Stanford looks like a village that belongs in the European farmlands.
They have a Sunday morning farmer’s market (I’m sold!), and there are various foodie adventures on the horizon like Overberg Honey Co and Kleinriver Cheese, not to mention the Hemel and Aarde Wine Valley just on the other side of Hermanus. Springfontein Sleeps looks like a gorgeous home away from home, as do the Mosaic Cottages and Akkedisberg Cottages.
The magnificent Akkedisberg Pass runs along the R326, nearby Stanford village, and dates back to 1776. It runs along the foot of the Akkedisberg Mountains. Picture: RoamAfrica #throwbackthursday #heritagethursdays #didyouknow #mountainpasses #mountainpassesbeauty #mountains #scenery #natural #visitstanford #capewhalecoast
Which is your favourite small-town escape in South Africa? Tell me about it in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Accommodation Direct. Main pic: Shutterstock