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We’ve scoured the city to uncover its hidden gems and fascinating history. Be inspired by our ultimate adrenaline adventures and fabulous family fun days out. Get ready for your best holiday ever!

Karoo to Coast Exclusive Deals

6/30/2021

Still needing to book accommodation for the Karoo to Coast race, or thinking of staying a few extra nights to explore the area? We have partnered with amazing local experiences and places to stay to give you great deals, exclusive to Karoo to Coast riders and your travelling party.

Quote code KAROO2COAST when booking direct and participating establishments will apply the deal. T&C’s apply per establishment. Book today!

EATERY & ACTIVITY DEALS

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Eden Adventures Eden Adventures give you the opportunity to experience spectacular scenery close up while canoeing along the Touw River, making memories that will last a lifetime. Deal: 25% discount on half day canoe hire and R100 off on double canoe hire – only pay R300. Valid until 30 November 2021. Excludes SANParks conservation levy.

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Paradise Adventures Professional guide Marthinus Esmeyer has over 25 years of adventure experience and offers one of the most popular, raw and thrilling excursions in the area, known as a paradise for adrenalin junkies, thrill seekers and nature lovers. Deal: 20% Off Adrenaline Canyoning trips.

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Wild2Fly Wild2Fly offers hang-gliding and paragliding tandem flights. Chief flight instructor Johan Anderson is a highly experienced flyer and a six-times national hang-gliding champion. Deal: Tandem paragliding flight with free GoPRo video for R850. Save R250!

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Mujo Bar & Restaurant This casual dining bar and restaurant has a relaxed vibe and great views with an outdoor play area, English-style pub and big-screen TV's for watching sport. Deal: 15% discount off the total bill. For eat-in only and cannot be used in conjunction with any other special.

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ACCOMMODATION DEALS

IN GEORGE

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17 on Wellington Modern 4-star apartments and suites are situated in a residential area close to the city centre. The property has a sparkling pool and is available on self-catering or B&B basis. Deal: 20% discount.

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Acorn Guesthouse This 4-star guesthouse is situated in George's city centre. Fine auction pieces from around the world furnish the spacious rooms. Owner, Colin, is a registered tour guide and will gladly help you explore the area. Deal: 20% discount.

Alpine Inn This 3-star traditional Cape Dutch style house on the outskirts of George offers double rooms and self-catering apartments, as well as a pool and garden area. Deal: 25% discount.

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George Backpackers Backpackers situated in the heart of George, it has one dormitory with 4 bunk beds, two dormitories with 2 bunk beds and two private rooms with two single beds each. Deal: Get less 20% discount.

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Protea Hotel by Marriott George King George This 4-star hotel is situated at the back of the George golf course and has a country-style setting. It is equipped with a swimming pool, play park, bar and restaurant and has a popular spa right next-door. Deal: Various offers available here.

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Spirit of the Ocean Situated in a private nature reserve on the cliff of a pristine coastline at Ballots Heights, this upmarket self-catering accommodation offers gorgeous sea views and fynbos trails, as well as its own plunge pool. Deal: 20% discount when booking through the owner, Christina Auerbach, on 084 584 5689 or via this link.

IN HEROLDS BAY

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Oppiesee Self Catering Apartments This 4-star self-catering property is situated right on the Herolds Bay beachfront and apartments have balconies where you can relax while taking in the seascapes. Deal: 20% discount.

IN WILDERNESS

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A Piece of Heaven Self-catering just 150m from the beach, this property offers a shared outdoor swimming pool, lounge and garden. Deal: 10% discount.

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AfriCamps at Oakhurst Glamping at its best, AfriCamp's tents overlook rolling green fields and the beautiful surrounding Outeniqua mountains. Oakhurst Farm consists of a massive 640 hectares, 200 of which are pristine fynbos and indigenous forest. Deal: 10% discount on your stay between 23 - 30 September 2021 on 3-nights or more.

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Beach Villa Wilderness A luxury 5-star bed and breakfast on the beach, this villa has all the mod-cons and sea, pool and mountain views. Enjoy a sundowner at the pool, relax in the private guest lounge or take a refreshing swim in the ocean. Deal: 20% discount.

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Cinnamon Boutique Guest House This 5-star boutique guesthouse in Wilderness village has all the comforts to make your stay completely relaxing. It is also equipped with a fitness centre, braai area, on-site bar and swimming pool. Deal: 35% discount.

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Escape to the Beach At this luxury 5-star guesthouse situated on the Wilderness beachfront that gives you direct access to the warm Indian Ocean, you can also enjoy a courtyard with sun loungers, log fireplace and putting green. Deal: 20% discount.

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Hildesheim Guest House Enjoy the panoramic views of the Outeniqua Mountains from your own private deck or from the large pool in the garden. Hildesheim offers bed and breakfast rooms and self- catering cottages. Deal: 30% discount for Bed Only (excl. breakfast) for 3-night stay or more.

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Libertas Guest Farm Situated on a working dairy farm, at Libertas's self-catering accommodation you will wake up to picture-book farmland scenery every morning. The kids will enjoy a visit to the dairy nursery and feeding the calves. Deal: Stay 4 nights and only pay for 3, between 23-27 September 2021. We know how tired those legs are going to be after the race on the Sunday. So why not stay an extra night for free on Sunday, 26 September. Book for the period 23-27 September 2021 and pay for only 3 nights. You deserve it after that gruelling 100km race.

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Livingstone Villa 5-star self-catering situated in a residential area with breath-taking sea views throughout the property. This villa is ideal for 4-6 people looking for a luxurious getaway. Deal: 30% discount between 17 September – 03 October 2021.

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Moontide Guest Lodge This 4-star guest lodge is situated in an ideal location - on the banks of the Touw River, fondly referred to as the Wilderness Lagoon. Cottages have private entrances and outdoor seating areas to enjoy the spectacular location. Deal: 45% discount at R660pp for a room (a la carte breakfast available), or R820pp incl. a full breakfast. Has there ever been a better time to explore your own country? We are putting together a fabulous package to reignite the romance - 2 nights with breakfast for R2480... + 60 minute couple massage for R800... and we have negotiated 3-course dinners at our favourite Wilderness restaurants (Girls in the village, and Salina's our fabulous beachfront restaurant, a 5 min stroll from your room) for an unbeatable R240pp, including a welcome drink... 10% discounted boat safari - call us to discuss! Valid until end of September 2021.

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Normarie's Guesthouse At Normarie's Guesthouse, German couple Norbert and Annemarie will provide you with their exceptional brand of hospitality in a warm, friendly and relaxed environment. Deal: 15% off stays between 2 - 5 nights, incl. full breakfast and 20% off stays longer than 5 nights, incl. full breakfast, for bookings via website.

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The Tops This 3-star guesthouse is perched high on a hill with great views. Watch Kingfishers try to land a fish from the boardwalk or the beach from one of three bird hides on the property. Deal: R950 per couple or R550 for a single with breakfast included. Valid for September 2021 only.

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Treedom Villa and Vardos Treehouse villa and gypsy styled vardos, conveniently nestled on the hills of Wilderness overlooking the ocean and Island Lake. Deal: Happiness is planning a trip to somewhere new, with someone you love. Heat things up with our Karoo to Coast winter warmer special offer – treat your partner to a 2-night stay in one of our recently launched luxurious Vardo’s and we’ll include an Infrared and Hot Stone Sauna and romantic bespoke dinner for 2 in your own private greenhouse forest lounge, all lit up by ambient fairy lights to make your stay extra special. Book here Minimum 2-night stay between 01 June - 31 October 2021.

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Views Boutique Hotel & Spa Views Boutique Hotel & Spa is the only five-star graded boutique hotel in Wilderness. Situated on a dune with uninterrupted views of Wilderness Beach. Facilities include a restaurant with deli and award-winning Spa which is open to the public. Deal: Rejuvenate in our tranquil environment, with fresh sea air and our warm hospitality. 25% off between 17 – 30 September 2021 for 2 adults per room/suite incl. full English breakfast, welcome drink on arrival, use of Views Wellness Emporium hydro lounge (indoor heated pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room), Wi-Fi and Netflix, complimentary secure parking and a 10% Wellness Emporium discount voucher or 10% restaurant (including Deli) discount voucher.

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Whales Way Ocean Retreat At this Bed and Breakfast, glamorous rooms have majestic floor-to-ceiling sea views. Located on the dunes overlooking the beach, Whale’s Way also boasts a sun-drenched garden with a small plunge pool.
Deal: 30% discount.

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Xanadu Guest Villa This private 5-star luxury guest house is situated in a prime location right at the idyllic Wilderness beach. Leisure facilities include an outdoor pool overlooking the beach, hot-tub and in-room spa treatments. Deal: 50% discount.

See more accommodation options here > > >

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Happy Holidays in Hoekwil; a perfect weekend escape

6/25/2021

Hoekwil is a sleepy little farming hamlet, set in the forested mountains above the Garden Route coastline. This quirky village is a hidden gem and a true country escape. It is an ideal getaway for nature-lovers with stunning sea, lake, and mountain views at every turn. In addition to its beauty, visitors will not go hungry or thirsty in Hoekwil, there’s a trendy craft distillery, a hip country cafe, and the best ribs and cheesecake in South Africa. Busy families looking for some down time will find it here! The air is clean, the e-bikes are silent, the locals keep the place spotless and there is a plant nursery on every corner!

Sleep

Hoekwil has plentiful accommodation options, including tranquil mountain cabins, farmhouse hideaways, glamping tents and self-catering cottages.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

Situated on a working plant nursery, Mountain Magic is an idyllic budget getaway. The venue is home to three cosy container-style cabins ; set in a wonderfully intimate and relaxed environment. Two of the containers can be rented together as a self-catering option for a family of six. The other unit is suitable for a couple. Each unit features bright décor, a fully equipped kitchen, outdoor dining areas and braai facilities. The larger unit has a double swing hammock, claw foot bathtub and outdoor shower that is strategically perched on a wooden deck overlooking a gobsmacking stretch of Wilderness beach and the stunning Garden Route National Park. In addition, Mountain Magic offers free WIFI (for when you tire of the ocean views).

Image Featured Image: Div Maritz Photography

Hosts Shea and Leigh Skelton will happily organise one-on-one yoga lessons for their guests. Stretch out on the private yoga deck. It’s hidden in the fynbos, at the edge of the Touw River kloof. It does not get more zen than this, folks!

Eat and Drink

Local eatery and watering hole, the Merchant and Maiden , on Church Street, offers a casual dining experience with a wine, craft beer and cocktail menu that hits the spot. Chef Sally Fyvie-de Waal draws inspiration from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style cuisine. The menu is packed with Italian favourites and fresh garden salads. The Merchant heroes healthy, locally sourced or home-grown, seasonal ingredients.

Image Featured Image: Lisa Leslie Photography

The health-conscious will want to sample the Tabbouleh salad and the falafel, but do not miss the awesome sourdough pizza! The base is made with sourdough starter and the dough is fermented for 72 hours (so it is more tummy-friendly than your average pizza). Pizzas are wood fired in the Merchant’s pizza oven and come with plenty of garlic and homemade chilli oil on the side.

Image Featured Image: Lisa Leslie Photography

Sample the house fries with truffle and parmesan, over a schooner of craft beer or tuck into a Bianco Verde Pizza with one of the local wine offerings. The gourmet toasted sandwiches are made with homemade sourdough bread. Their on-site shop sells local Bomkisi Ceramics, their bespoke coffee blend as well as homemade jams and branded linens. The Merchant is also home to The Serviette Union, a boutique liquor store with a diverse selection of craft beers and spirits. The Merchant and Maiden is a great refuelling station at the end of the local Kingfisher Trail and is great fun for families. It has an outdoor seating area overlooking a fenced jungle gym and a couple of kid-friendly meal ideas.

Opening times Monday to Saturday 11am till 9pm, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

Insider tip : don’t miss Sally’s South American street-style churros, served with a gooey chocolate dipping sauce. They are divine but like all the best foods they take time. Expect to wait about 20 minutes for them!

Image Featured Image: Lisa Leslie Photography

Stuff to do

Hoekwil is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and attracts hikers and mountain bikers in their droves. Families with small children will enjoy a saunter around the Woodville Forest Walk. A short stroll from the car park will take you to a towering 800-year-old Yellowwood tree. Picnic in the forest glade, surrounded by curtains of lichen, leafy ferns, tiny flowers and bracket fungi. The Wandelpad Forest Walk follows a 2km circuit through the forest.

Image Featured Image: Div Maritz Photography

Brave visitors will enjoy the electric bikes and scooters available to rent at the Mountain Magic Shop and Nursery, on Duiwe River Road. You can zip around the village in silence, without breaking a single bead of sweat. Their rates are very reasonable (R125/hour) and helmets are provided. Plant-lovers can also pick up indigenous and medicinal plants , and beautifully made ceramic pots at the Mountain Magic Store. They sell art prints by local surfer girl , Ingrid Nuus. They also rent surfboards, bodyboards, stand up paddleboards and canoes. They are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm , and Saturday and Sunday until 4pm.

Image Featured Image: Div Maritz Photography

Take a cruise out to the Woodville Trading Store, on the Seven Passes Road. It’s a quaint mom and pop shop. The shelves are lined with antiques, potted plants, tinned beans, paperback books and locally made jams. They serve coffee and cake, and have a brilliant play are for kids.

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Stop in at the Hoekwil Country Café and General Store if you’re feeling peckish. They serve Aidan’s famous cheesecake. It’s made from local goat’s milk and the recipe is a jealously guarded secret. It is well renowned as the Best Cheesecake in South Africa. The café serve s blueberry, classic, double chocolate, and salted caramel flavours. It is as good as the hype.

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GET YOUR HEART RACING THIS WINTER

6/10/2021

Needing a mental break this June-July? George has plenty of adventure to get your heart racing.

ADRENALIN FUELLED ADVENTURES

The Wilderness area is filled with adventure activities. On a sunny Winter’s day, canoe along the serene Touw River or kayak along the Kaaimans River to the waterfall gorge. Quad bike through untamed landscapes. Enjoy a round of paintball with your mates and do a dry canyon abseil tour. Go professional rock climbing. Mountain bike, trail run or hike spectacular scenery covering over 1,000km of trails. Fly from the seat of a helicopter.

Image Featured: Canoeing in the Garden Route National Park

Image Featured: Paragliding in Wilderness

Go paragliding. Tandem flying is fun and easy - experienced flight instructors assist you through this unforgettable experience. Sites include Kleinkrantz, the Wilderness Beach Hotel, Paradise Ridge and Map of Africa. There is nothing quite like soaring through the playground in the sky with the sparkling sea at your feet.

Image Featured: Horse riding in Wilderness

Guided horse trail riding will take you through Indigenous forest, mountain trails and rockpools with occasional wildlife sightings. Beginner to advanced riders are welcome.

Image Featured: Surfing at Victoria Bay in George

And if you a very brave. And we mean brave. Book a few lessons and learn to surf. George is famous for its right-hand break at Vic Bay and there are few things more thrilling than speeding through the waves. And our sea water is much, much warmer than Cape Town. We’re fortunate to have the Indian Ocean on our shores.

VIBEY PLACES TO HANG OUT

George isn’t known for its night life but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have trendy places for young people to hang out at. Make sure to breakfast under the bohemian umbrellas at the Pottery, grab a beer and burger at the Bench, eat pizza and mingle at Cactus and visit the Bling Pig and Bootlegger Brewery in Wilderness. There is also a chilled Friday night market at the Milkwood Village.

Image Featured: The Bench in George

AMAZING PICNIC LOCATIONS

George has very mild winters with plenty of sun days. Take advantage of the weather by packing a picnic and enjoying the great outdoors. The Wilderness Picnic Company can hook you up with a basket of delicious spoils. Picnic at spots like the Woodville Big Tree, on the grass at Herolds Bay or Victoria Bay beaches, Island Lake, inside the Garden Route National park, along the Kaaimans River or at the Wilderness lagoon.

Image Featured: The Woodville Big Tree in Wilderness

Discover great places to stay in George, Wilderness and Uniondale > > >

Discover more things to do in George, Wilderness and Uniondale > > >_

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TAKE A MID-YEAR BREAK IN THE GEORGE AREA

6/10/2021

This mid-year holiday, unwind and rejuvenate in George’s great outdoors. Surrounded by ocean, mountain, forest and farmlands in the Garden Route of the Western Cape, George is your passport to paradise.

VIEWS FOR DAYS

By train, boat, car, foot or helicopter – you are spoilt for choice. The Power Van, which departs from the Transnet Transport Museum, chugs up the mountain along the railway track. It offers lovely views from atop the mountain, passes through tunnels and fynbos. Riders climb out for an enjoyable picnic before returning down the mountain.

Image Featured: Wilderness River Safaris

River cruises are available in the Garden Route National Park. This is a relaxing way to enjoy the Touw River or Island Lake and spot the birdlife.

Image Featured: Seven Passes Road

There are plenty of scenic drives in the area – after all, the Garden Route is not known as the “Garden of Eden” for nothing. The most noteworthy are the 7 Passes from George to Knysna, the Outeniqua Pass from George to Oudtshoorn with majestic mountain views – blue rock contrasted against green hills, and the Baviaanskloof in Uniondale, starting at Patensie in the East and ending at Willowmore in the West.

Another way to enjoy the landscape is from the air with Savanah Helicopters, based at the George airport. Enjoy scenic heli-flights of the topography.

Image Featured: Kaaimans River Bridge

Visit viewpoints in Wilderness like the Map of Africa, a natural wonder, or Dolphin’s Point for a better look at the Kaaimans Bridge. 210m long and 36m high, the railway bridge is engineering genius, beautifully positioned at the mouth of the Kaaimans River. The point is also a great place to spot dolphins and whales in the ocean below.

SWING AWAY YOUR STRESS

Image Featured: Oubaai Golf Course

Known as a golfing mecca, George is home to the Links, the number one course in South Africa, and several high ranking courses. Fancourt offers two premier courses, Montagu and Outeniqua. Oubaai’s 18-hole Ernie Els signature championship golf course is set in a truly exceptional position, on a cliff top with the Indian Ocean below. The George Golf Course is also highly rated. Kingswood is inspired by the Home of Golf, St Andrews (The Old Course) in Scotland and is a popular choice.

EXCEPTIONAL TRAILS IN EXCEPTIONAL SETTINGS

There are over 1,000km of trails in the George area alone, frequented by hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Enjoy forested pathways, hidden natural pools and the blue water of the George dam. Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the mountain peaks or trek your way to a waterfall. Walk along the beach. There are plenty of routes to pick from, depending on your fitness and preferred duration. Guided tours are also available.

If you are an avid 4x4er, Uniondale cannot be missed. The M’kama route offers a unique Klein Karoo experience, and Uniondale is also the gateway to 4x4ing the magnificent Prince Alfred’s Pass.

SERENITY IS FOUND AT THE SPA

Image Featured: Fancourt Spa

George and Wilderness have plenty of spas to choose from. Check in to Fancourt and the Views for international award-winning luxury. Besides for offering various treatments, the Fancourt spa offers a Roman Bath and jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and tepidarium. There are also great views over the golf course while you sip a beverage in your towelled gown. At the Views, facilities include a hydrotherapy bath, heated indoor pool, hydro pool, steam room, sauna and Moroccan rasul steam cleanse. There are also some other great mid-range spa experiences, like Sanguine Spa in George.

BE ENRICHED BY CULTURE, ART AND HISTORY

George has two museums. The Transnet Transport Museum is an amazing ode to locomotives and vintage cars and is truly an enjoyable experience for all ages. Enormous life-size retired trains of different models and eras stand proud. The George Museum is worth a quick visit to discover George’s history, with wagons and carts, the first local newspaper, Apartheid historical items and every-day life objects from another world.

Image Featured: Uniondale tuk-tuk

Uniondale is filled with raw history. Book an interesting tuk-tuk tour where you will visit a watermill dating back to the 1800s, restored by Afrikaans author Dalene Mathee, visit an original fort from the Anglo Boer War, and go past heritage buildings like Uniondale’s very own police station – likely the most attractive police station in South Africa. Rock art can be found in Uniondale, as well as in Herold.

Go on a historical and culturally significant walking tour in the community of Pacaltsdorp. A local guide will take you to 12 unique sites where you can learn more about this community that was originally inhabited by the Khoi people and later became a Mission station. 200 years of rich history will unfold as you visit the sites.

Image Featured: Langkloof Gallery and Sculpture Garden

If you enjoy South African art, make a round trip of it by visiting the various galleries in George, Wilderness and Uniondale. Sheena Ridley’s sculpture garden is not to be missed.

TASTE THE FLAVOURS OF GEORGE

Image Featured: Herold Wines

Stop in at Herold Wines or Houtbosch to enjoy wines cultivated from grapes grown in the Outeniqua region. Pick fresh strawberries from the fields at Redberry Farm. Savour a delicious treat from Prince of Tarts, a local baker and magic maker whose humble beginnings at the Sedgefield market turned into the fashionable bakery of today. Pick up a packet of wors, biltong and steak from Van Rensburg’s butchery – a local favourite. Enjoy pairing experiences at Pause Coffee at Timberlake Village or pop in at Caroline’s Chocolate Haven. Totally unpretentious, it will be worth the stop when you taste the handmade Belgian chocolate.

Image Featured: 101 Meade

The main road as you enter Wilderness is lined with restaurants, and there are also eateries overlooking the sea. For a dining experience to remember, make a reservation at Serendipity, where chef Lizelle Scholtz will serve you a South African 5-course fine dining meal on the Touw River bank. In George, enjoy one of the many coffee shops sporting a relaxing garden and plenty of stellar dinner options. Uniondale is most famously known for its ghost so a visit will not be complete without a meal and photo op at the Hungry Ghost restaurant.

Book your holiday in George, Wilderness and Uniondale - discover places to stay > > >

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A Weekend Farm Getaway

5/14/2021

As budget farm getaways go, you won’t find better than Witteberghoek Guest House and Camping Grounds. This historic apple farm is hidden in the Langkloof Valley, close to the sleepy little hamlet of Haarlem. Pack up your kids, bikes and fishing nets and hit the tar to discover simple Klein Karoo hospitality, a secluded cabin in the hills and a truly tranquil escape.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

A turn off the smooth tar of Route 62 takes us into Witteberg Farm, nestled beneath the rocky slopes of the Witteberg hills. Owners Klippies and Johan Strydom guide us through the apple orchards to our little cabin. The stone cottage, ‘Royal Beaut’, sits on the hillside facing east. The stoep has views of the Groot River kloof, acres of apple, pear, peach trees, and the rocky slopes of Witteberg hills. As the sun begins to dip, my husband and our two kids climb out of the car to begin exploring. I am amazed at the quality of the light in the Klein Karoo. Everything seems to glow in the orange evening sunlight. No wonder the locals call this the ‘golden hour’. There is quiet and stillness, birdsong, and a faint breeze. Johan apologies for the lack of cellphone or WIFI reception. With a huge sigh of relief, we switch off the phones and spark up the braai.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

Klippies and Johan Strydom are fantastic, charming hosts and chat easily about the history of the farm. The Strydom Estate dates to 1896 when Johan’s grandfather and fierce looking red-headed grandmother bought the farm. The couple had eight children and Ouma Susanna Maria’s red-hair genes persist in the family line to this day. Johan jokes that the ‘rooikop’ gene seems to crop up somewhere in every generation. The farm is currently managed by Johan and his brother, third generation farmers and his 80-year-old father, David. Despite the crippling drought, the farm produces bumper harvests of delicious soft fruits such as apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums as well as apples, pears, and pomegranates. Johan explains that a mountain spring supplies life-giving water throughout the farm and even feeds their own bottling plant. Witteberg mineral water is purified and bottled on the farm and distributed throughout the Western Cape. In addition, the farm is also home to a small herd of sheep, a few pigs, a flock of chickens, a pair of springbok and some bunnies. Johan climbs into his Isuzu bakkie and promises to return early the next morning to take the kids on the full farm tour.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

Witteberghoek has four rustic self-catering guesthouses as well as a small camping terrain. The cabins are named after the apple varieties growing on the farm; Royal Beat, Fallawater and Sundowner. The former laborer’s cottages have been renovated to comfortably sleep a family of four or five. Each cabin has a stoep with braai facilities and a charming wood-burning stove in the kitchen. The cottages are fed with spring water from the hills and have a solar water heater on the roof. After exploring the waterfalls and pools in the Groot River kloof, we wrapped the kids in blankets and spent the evening counting stars and watching fireflies dance in front of the porch light.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

As promised, Uncle Johan was back at 7.30 am looking for volunteers to help him with the sheep. Our kids pulled on their gum boots and climbed onto the back of the bakkie. My five-year-old immediately took a shine to the quiet, softly spoken and hard-working farmer. Within minutes Ross was hand-in-hand with Johan, herding sheep and feeding rabbits like he had been doing it all his life. Our kids loved feeding the Witteberg pigs. They filled big buckets with bruised apples and emptied them into troughs and then fell apart giggling as the pigs tucked in with gusto.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

Uncle Johan points out rows of beehives sitting on every available rooftop. Bees, he explains, are the fruits farmer’s best friend. The hives are essential to the fruit farming industry as they visit the fruit blossoms, ensuring that pollination occurs. Johan describes how that hives had to be raised above the ground to outwit the local honey badger. The clever and persistent little ratel seems to have already foiled Uncle Johan’s efforts. We see one or two hives which have been pushed off the piggery’s roof and smashed open. The tenacious honey badger seems to be winning the race.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

Witteberg Farm has several well marked walking trails through the hills. These pass the chicken coop and sheep pastures and wind alongside fynbos clothed hills. In the distance, Johan points out the Cape Honeybush crop growing on the hilltops. This unique herbal tea is one of several medicinal plants growing on the farm. Johan shows us other herbs used by generations of local people including ‘Wildeals’ (African Wormwood) and Sour Fig. Today, the antioxidant rich Honeybush is added to their spring water to make a delicious Honeybush Iced Tea.

Image Featured Image: Clare Van Rensburg

We spend the afternoon canoeing on the farm dam and lazing about in the sunlight. Johan pays his new ‘farmhands’ with a pocketful of small freshly picked gem squash, a few ripe tomatoes and a backpack full of bright red Sundowner apples. Our kids stroll home covered in dust and smiling from ear to ear. Witteberghoek provides a unique opportunity for rest, rejuvenation, and quiet family time. It is an affordable three-star getaway on a working farm. Bring your mountain bike and hiking boots, and prepare to switch off completely.

Contact Details Address: Witteberghoek Self Catering Guesthouse, Route 62, Haarlem Phone: Klippies Strydom 084 702 6940 Email: klippies@langkloof.net Website: www.witteberghoek.com Facebook: Witteberghoek Self-Catering Accommodation

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The Evoking Art Festival: Shining a Spotlight on Emerging Young Artists

3/26/2021

Whether you are an art-lover, a proud homeowner with wall space, a wannabe collector or an established art aficionado, the Evoking Art Festival is a date to diarise.

The art festival will involve an exhibition of up to 75 contemporary art works by 25 emerging young artists, as well as poetry readings, live music, and an exciting art auction. Evoking Art Festival 2021 will take place at the Timberlake Organic Village, in Wilderness, on the 24th of April.

Image Featured: Evoking Art

Evoking is the brainchild of Wilderness surfer and painter, Ingrid Nuss, who saw an undeniable opportunity to nurture fresh talent. The established artist describes the Garden Route as a creative hub ‘bursting with artistic potential’. “I love spotting raw talent,” Ingrid explains, “and the evoking festival was born as a stepping-stone to help young artists to break into the contemporary art world.”

Nuss curated the exhibition with four main criteria; she selected young artists with a strong visual aesthetic who display innovation and whose art is moving. She specifically chose to exhibit artists in their 20’s and 30’s, who have a fresh perspective, because she says these artists are all at that crucial point in their careers, ‘when they are at their most energized, excited, and brave’. “I want this energy to translate into the Evoking experience. I want viewers to look at this collection and be swept away,” says Nuss. The 25 artists in the Evoking collection share other commonalities. Each has his or her own unique style or medium and most of the artwork is, yet unseen. Evoking will be the exhibition debut for many of the artists, including Lesica Roux, Milena Favet and Lindie Calitz.

Exhibition Highlights

Children’s book illustrator, Lauren Sparks, produces playful watercolour illustrations of quirky characters. Evoking is a great opportunity to snatch up a print as an unusual nursery gift, or as a funky addition to a child’s bedroom. Surfer and free-style artist, Luke Vieira, is inspired by 1980’s street/skater pop art and artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. His artwork is coloured by his broad travel experience, including time spent in South Korea. Pick up one of his ultra-modern mash-up cartoon sketches, featuring bold drawing, pulsing colour and neon highlights. Lee Molenaar’s artwork explores the emotional impact of loss, gain and compromise in the face adjusting to a bewildering modern world. His art explores our roots in modern culture and the scary pace of change. In addition, Evoking will exhibit works by Harveen du Preez, Amy Anstey, Hermuné Pienaar, and others which expand upon the concept of poignant emotion.

Auction Highlights

The Evoking Auction will involve bidding on over 15 art works with auctioneer Adriaan Barnard.

Image Featured: Red Baloon by Houghmordeen Jansen

Young Houghmordeen Jansen, known locally as Holmes, grew up in the Smutsville Township, outside Sedgefield. He paints portraits of daily scenes from township life. His painting ‘Red Balloon’ will appear at auction. This mixed media painting is a raw depiction of the simplicity of his township childhood. It shows a small child totally absorbed in the pleasure of play. It carries a reserve price of R2000.

Image Featured: Reaching by Janet Botes

Janet Botes’ artwork entitled ‘Reaching’ depicts an outstretched hand. It symbolizes a personal pursuit of connection and elicits a deep yearning sensation. The mixed media work will appear at (reserve R2200).

Image Featured: "Imagination Station" by Ingrid Nuss

Ingrid Nuss will auction her painting ‘Imagination Station’. It depicts a content tiger reclining on a comfortable bed in an overgrown and empty room. This piece will appeal to creatives of all types as it represents the metaphorical space where creativity is stimulated. It is a visualization of how the artist’s ideas flourish in a calm space. The auction reserve will be set at R4000.

Image Featured: "Ecstatic Bliss" by Simon Gower

‘Ecstatic Bliss’ by Simon Gower represents a moment of pure joy and crystal clarity. The oil on canvas shows a strong tribal aesthetic and is painted in shades of yellow and honey. It has a reserve price of R7000.

Affordable Art

One of the main aims of the Evoking Art Festival is to connect fresh talent with art buyers. This fair is a fabulous hotspot from which to find rising stars and is an ideal place to snap up a future investment, without breaking the bank. Evoking places a strong emphasis on affordable art with prices ranging from only R200. Bidding on several artworks will start at only R20.

Festival Details

The festival kicks off with the art exhibition at 2pm followed by live music gigs by Khayelitsha based band Warongx, Cape Town based Altello and a line up packed with local musical talent such as Daytura, Electric Spinach, Shaun Galolo and Chris Auret. Live Poetry readings and an auction of select pieces will follow at 5,30pm. A full menu is available at Zucchini’s Restaurant. Coffee, cakes and light meals from Pause Coffee Roastery and kids can enjoy the open-air play areas and jungle gym.

Image Featured: Warongx Band

The event is free if you register online and VIP tickets are available from evoking.co.za at a price of R500 which includes entry to the artists lounge and VIP area, along with complementary drinks and canapes, R200 auction credit and a limited-edition Evoking art print by Ingrid Nuss.

More information is available at Evoking

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The Ultimate Romantic Getaway to Wilderness

2/9/2021

With breath-taking ocean views, incredible scenery, luxury spas and five-star accommodation, Wilderness tops the bucket list for romantic getaways. Local blogger Clare van Rensburg took her husband for a soul retreat in nature’s wonderland. She gives her top five tips for enjoying a beachside vacation in the Gateway to the Garden Route. One’s first impression of the sleepy little village of Wilderness is the vista from Dolphin’s Point. The Indian Ocean sweeps the golden shore as far as the eye can see. Candy coloured paragliders hang in the balmy summer breeze and the tang of salt saturates the air. Wilderness is soaked in holiday vibes. This relaxed and fun-loving little town is in a league of its own when it comes to romance. If there was ever a place to get lost and in love, it’s here!

Image Featured: Escape to the Beach

  1. Splurge on Sensational Sleeps

We chose to blow our budget on a weekend at ‘Escape to the Beach’, on Sand’s Road. This five-star boutique guest house is famous for its chic modern décor, elegant architecture and proximity to the beach. It is an ideal setting for lovers; dance in the dark, dip your sandy toes in the ocean and have a sneaky kiss on the sun loungers. Stepping through the ground floor entrance, guests are treated to jaw-dropping panoramic views of the ocean. The lounge, bar and kitchen open onto a sun-drenched deck and lap pool. The white sandy beach and soothing surf lie just footsteps from the deck. You can toast your getaway by sipping gin cocktails at sundown and watching the dolphins play in the waves. Take a dip in the jacuzzi and ask hostess Sarie for dinner recommendations. Escape to the Beach has five lavish suites named after the region’s whale species. We stayed in the beach-facing Humpback Suite. The hanging 'love seat' on the private balcony is the perfect place to snap a selfie. There is even a Cowrie shell chandelier hanging over the toilet! Escape to the Beach is all you can expect from a five-star guest house; expensive cotton sheets, duck down pillows, a flat screen TV, Nespresso machine and minimal environmental impact – no dreadful plastic bottles! Best of all, it comes with a soothing ocean soundtrack, for blissful deep sleep.

Image Featured: Escape to the Beach

  1. Pack light and live like a local

Heavenly beach holidays require only the minimum baggage, so pack light! The Wilderness locals are famous for their carefree attitude, walking barefoot and in board shorts. A bikini, a sarong and a couple of dresses will suffice for a holiday at Escape to the Beach. The guest house supplies fluffy robes and slippers which quickly become standard attire. Follow the locals for a ‘post-surf’ morning coffee at the Commonage or the Green Shed in the village. Local hooch joint, The Blind Pig, is a great option for a mid-afternoon craft beer and there is a small craft market every Sunday afternoon in the Milkwood Village.

Image Featured: The Milkwood Village

  1. Enjoy award-winning local cuisine

We chose to get dressed up and dine in luxury at the award-winning Serendipity Restaurant, on Freesia Avenue. This unique fine-dining restaurant is situated on the banks of the Touw River, overlooking the Wilderness National Park. Rudolf Stolze, owner and Maître d’ welcomed us with a selection of local aperitifs and an in-depth explanation of the night’s menu. Drawing inspiration from South African flavours and culinary heritage, executive chef Lizelle Stolze plans a five-course menu championing South African ingredients and flavours. The offerings change seasonally depending on the availability of fresh fish and local game, but invariably include indigenous veldkos, fynbos botanicals and fresh vegetables from the garden. We selected the wine pairing, and a talented young Sommelier chose local wines to complement each course. We loved the descriptions and tasting notes as these were delivered effortlessly at our table. Serendipity is an intimate dining experience, with only five tables of diners per sitting, so bookings are essential. There are several other reputable dining options in Wilderness village. Ilali Restaurant and Social Bar is perfect for cocktails and tapas. They host local musicians in season. Pomodoros is famous for excellent wood-fired pizza and authentic Italian gelato.

Image Featured: The Wilderness National Park

  1. Experience nature’s playground

Spend a peaceful morning in the Wilderness Section of the Garden Route National Park. Stroll the Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail. A seven-kilometre round trip winds along a shaded path through indigenous forest. Take an invigorating dip in the icy waterfall and watch out for the local love bird, the Knysna Loerie. Enjoy a secluded picnic in the great outdoors. The Wilderness Picnic Company promise to ‘deliver food to match your mood’. They specialise in planning romantic picnics in the area and offer a delicious range of freshly prepared local and seasonal foods, in eco-friendly packaging. Our choice, however, was a sunset cruise on the Touw River, with Wilderness River Safaris. This company cater for honeymoons, engagements and anniversaries, and offer a private cruise for the lovestruck on their safari-style boat. A gentle cruise on the idyllic waterways is the perfect way to celebrate love. The reed lined wetlands, lush forests and placid lagoon are perfectly enjoyed with a glass of bubbles, at dusk.

Image Featured: Stock Image

  1. Soothe and spoil your soulmate

The Wellness Emporium at the Views Boutique Hotel offers a couples’ massage package to die for. The ‘Togetherness Ritual’ includes a Moroccan Rasul steam cleanse, followed by their signature serenity massage and a mineral hydro bath. If you are looking for a blissful opportunity to rejuvenate your mind and body and reconnect with your loved one, look no further! On our final morning, Mark and I rose at dawn for a quick dip in the waves at Wilderness Beach. It brought back memories of our first holidays together as boyfriend and girlfriend. As Ed Sheeran would say, ‘We were just kids when we fell in love’. Decades ago, we camped on this very beach. We were penniless then and spent the evening laughing under the stars with a cheap bottle of plonk. We woke up in a stuffy and sandy tent. Our five-star romantic getaway left me feeling smug. We might be older now, but we are certainly wiser, and finally, we can stay in hotels!!!

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