Words by Lauren Manuel
Home to the majestic Table Mountain; Boulders Beachm, with its African penguin population; endless wine country and alluring coastline, it is no surprise that the city of Cape Town calls to travellers from across the globe.
Pristine landscapes and outdoor adventures await those in search of a breath-taking stay within the province of the Western Cape. From luxury houseboats to wine estates and five-star suites on a nature reserve, here’s a list of spectacular stays all within three hours’ drive of Cape Town, perfect for romantic getaways or breaks away with family and friends.
A natural oasis at Cascade Country Manor
Tucked in the heart of the Paarl Winelands, surrounded by olive groves, the Drakenstein Mountains and a serene garden, lies the century-old manor house of Cascade Country Manor. Check into your large, spacious room with an indoor fireplace and a private patio or terrace facing the pool or garden. When morning arrives, wake up and order the breakfast picnic in your room and dine indoors without having to leave your bed.
An easy trail from the manor house will take you to lookout points to view the manor and surrounding areas, while a short stroll will lead you to the private cascading waterfall just 3,000 meters away, where you can enjoy an outdoor massage in summer. The oasis of the manor house and pampering treatments provided at the Cascade Manor Spa will ensure you will feel worlds away from the busy life you left behind, if only for a while.
Luxury houseboat in South Hill Vineyards
Just an hour away from Cape Town and surrounded by the mountain ranges of the Hottentot Hollands, Kogelberg and the Groenberg is where you’ll find the cool mountain plateau of the Elgin Valley-Home of South Hill Vineyards. A hop, skip and a steep drive through the vineyards will bring you to a houseboat permanently moored on the lake – the perfect combination of off-the-grid living and self-catering luxury, it can house up to six adults or four adults and four children.
On a chilly winter’s day, keep the indoor fire going and enjoy the mountain and lake views with a glass of South Hill’s finest wines in hand. Discover your favourite wine at one of the wine tastings in their restaurant-come-art gallery and book a table for lunch. On a hot day, kayak along the lake or sunbathe on the deck or rooftop and ensure you get some tips on how to make a good South African braai (barbecue) around the fire.
A luxury eco-reserve adventure at Grootbos
When it comes to luxury in the Overberg, the award-winning Grootbos does this with such finesse. Voted one of Natural Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, Grootbos offers up over 2,500 hectares of pristine wilderness, home to over 100 endangered plant species.
With accommodation options for families or couples, their suites, set with ocean-facing views from the decks, lounge, bedroom and bathroom overlooking the vast nature reserve and Walker Bay, are unrivalled. Order breakfast in bed or stroll their ancient milkwood forest (over 1,000 years old) to the restaurant where the finest gourmet meals made with local ingredients are always served with a smile. Visiting families will be delighted by the childminder who entertains the kids after 12 noon every day with cookie decorating, treasure hunts, movies in the evenings and more.
Dive into the fascinating world of fynbos and the rich birdlife on a guided nature drive, ride horses through the reserve, go whale watching from a boat cruise or explore nearby caves with a guide. Don’t forget to experience what the Grootbos Foundation has on offer; beekeeping visits to where they farm organic honey, to the nursery where they grow organic produce and the excellent Green Futures Adult Education and training college offering courses in horticulture, hospitality and guiding.
Stellenbosch hospitality at Evergreen Manor House
Tucked within the heart of South Africa’s second-oldest town, Stellenbosch, Evergreen Manor House and Spa grants you the chance to experience the best of the Winelands’ hospitality and luxury. After a warm welcome from the staff and a glass of sherry upon arrival, this quaint boutique hotel with its lovely garden will have you relaxing upon check-in just in time for afternoon tea.
Stay in beautiful rooms set with period and antique furniture with old-world charm and savour hot, sunny days at the poolside dining area with delicious coffee and superb meals. Stroll into town or the Botanical Gardens, only a short walk away, sip a glass of Stellenbosch wine on the porch at sunset or book a treatment at their wellness centre.
Countryside luxury at Knorhoek Wine Estate
Looking for a countryside reprieve for a group of friends or for you as a couple? Knorhoek’s luxury neighbouring self-catering Rose and Lavender cottages on the farm provide the perfect place to exhale and enjoy barefoot meandering on the green lawns. Wake up to birds in the oaks outside your window and mountain views from the porch with your morning coffee.
Explore the farm on foot or pick up your favourite wines, ice and water from the reception (which guests can access at any time and add to their tab) and sip while reading a book from the bookshelves in the rooms. Pop down to the restaurant with its little stream, outdoor tables, sprawling lawns, kid’s playground and rock pool for a summer dip.
All images courtesy of Lauren Manuel