Best Places to Stay on the Cape Coast, South Africa
July 28, 2017
South Africa’s Western Cape is the southernmost province on the African continent. It is where the chilly Benguerra current meets the warm Mozambique current, joining the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at a stormy collision point at Cape Agulhas. The province is divided into the east coast, the west coast and the Boland region. It is the home of the famous Cape Winelands, and the Whale Route, the snowy peaks of the Cedarberg, the Garden Route, and part of the Karoo in the Cape Fold Mountain belt. This single province of South Africa offers endless natural beauty, and its famous seas contain immense marine biodiversity.
There are countless seaside cottages, lavish ocean view hotels, and boutique B&Bs along the Cape coast, positioned perfectly for the enjoyment of the aqua horizons, whale and dolphin watching, and fantastic beach activities. This is our selection of the Top 5 coastal accommodations in the Cape… Get packing!
1. Morukuru Ocean House, De Hoop Nature Reserve
This utterly exclusive, off-the-grid, ocean view villa is a 4-bedroom dream come true for family travellers who are seeking the comfort and adventure in the privacy of South Africa’s east coast De Hoop Nature Reserve. Fynbos dunes descend from the Overberg Mountains and cascade into the Indian Ocean’s rocky coastline where 51km of untouched beaches meet the sea. Morukuru Ocean House is an architectural beauty, blending the natural environment with luxurious interiors, while remaining completely solar-powered and environmentally sustainable.
Each of the 4 en suite bedrooms opens up to a sea view, accommodating 8 adults and 4 children (of all ages) in total. There is a superior team running the show at Morukuru Ocean House: the expert chef, a personal butler, housekeepers, and activities guide. The presence of luxury is evident in the magnificent, yet subtle, décor and interior touches, the sublime meals served at the dining table or out on the beach or in the bush, and the quality of service.
The De Hoop Nature Reserve is a 36 000 hectare protected area, overlooking one of the largest Southern right whale breeding grounds in the world. These giants of the deep come to the shallows on the coastline to calve, giving this area its name: The Whale Coast. The terrestrial area of De Hoop is a safe haven for plenty of wildlife and bird species of the unique Cape fynbos region. Over 260 species of birds can be spotted in this beautiful mountain-floristic area. The activities at Morukuru Ocean House include game drives, mountain bike trails, sand boarding on the dunes, beach picnics, snorkelling, hiking, birdwatching, whale watching, spa massages, and stargazing.
2. The Plettenberg Hotel, Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is one of South Africa’s most popular beach towns, located on the east coast’s scenic Garden Route. Like much of the Cape coast, Plett (for short) was inhabited first by indigenous people and then by various sailors and explorers, all of whom have left their mark in some way, adding to the interesting history of the area. The stone left behind on Beacon Island by a group of stranded sailors in the 1600s is now in the Cape Town museum, and there is evidence of tools ornaments of Middle Stone Age man and the Khoisan in caves on Keurboomstrand. All of this in addition to Plett’s fantastic nature and sea activities, superb dining and seaside village appeal.
The Plettenberg is a 5-Star luxury hotel only 5km from the town centre, located in an enviable position overlooking a long stretch of beach and crashing waves of warm Indian Ocean water. This hotel has numerous rooms as well as private villas, all of which are kitted out to provide geusts with sheer comfort and convenience. The use of glass has brought the endless bay view and distant horizon to every inch of the hotel, while the seaside-chic style of the bedrooms, restaurant, terraces, swimming pools, and lounging areas is perfectly in tune with the nearby beach.
3. On The Rocks, Bakoven
“On the rocks” conjures up images of smooth whiskeys or tangy gin and tonics jingling in tumblers at sunset, but it is also the very literal name of our third Cape seaside accommodation selection. On The Rocks is an exquisite 2-bedroom cottage in Bakoven, Cape Town, neighbouring the trendy seaside strip of Camps Bay. This little gem is somewhat hidden in the shadow of its popular surroundings, which gives it a beautifully secretive and tranquil energy. Table Mountain towers behind it and the chilly Atlantic Ocean laps at the rocky coastline in front of it – an unbeatable location!
The simply stylish interiors of this pretty clapboard cottage is light and bright with polished wooden floors, whitewashed wooden wall panels, and comfortable, beachy furniture. Big glass windows invite the sea views in, and the wooden balcony offers the perfect place for sundowners, right on the rocks that meet the Atlantic waves. This beach cottage is a retreat among the trendy bustle of the Cape Town scene, perfect for a couple or a double-date weekend location, and with the superb natural appeal of Table Mountain National Park, lots of bays and beaches to explore, countless brilliant eateries, bars, theatres, and all the Cape Town culture one can handle; On The Rocks is holiday happiness.
4. Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, Paternoster
On the Cape’s west coast is a locally famous fishing village called Paternoster, where South Africans and tourists alike have found a sublime seaside holiday vacation where fresh fish and sea views encourage revitalisation of the soul. The west coast is a very special place for adventure seekers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, sun lizards, and food and wine lovers.
Salty sea air and coastal nature reserves combine in style at Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, which occupies a peaceful stretch of beach on the outer edge of Paternoster, nearby enough to feel part of the character-filled village scene, filled with local flavour and fine-tuned with top class restaurants whose chefs expertly utilise the fresh seafood produced by the ocean and present delectable dishes in driftwood structures right on the sandy shores. Strandloper – meaning ‘beach walker’ in Afrikaans – is the name of a group of people who descended from the San, and lived a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle on the west coast of South Africa, from the Cape Colony to the Skeleton Coast from Namibia. The beach hotel of the same name is located in area that the Strandlopers used to live, which is something deeply historic to think about when gazing out at the deep blue sea from the casually sophisticated viewing decks of the private ocean-facing suites.
5. Birkenhead House, Hermanus
Ending on a luxurious note with Birkenhead House in the whale watching capital of South Africa: Hermanus. This town was once known as Hermanuspietersfontein, after a Dutch settler who taught Dutch in the area in the early 1800s. It has since been shortened and is now a popular tourist town, which thrives between June and December when the southern right whales are seen in the bay, close to shore, where they gather to give birth every year. During the quieter months of the year, Hermanus hardly loses its value, as its natural splendour continues to thrive in the form of spectacular fynbos valleys and protected beaches.
Birkenhead House is ideally positioned out on a clifftop overlooking the sea, which crashes into the rocks below. Its surroundings are alive with the power of the sea and as endless as the horizon. The Cape Floristic Kingdom furnishes the terrestrial surroundings with vegetation unique to the area. The interiors of this 16-suite luxury hotel represent the floral kingdom at its back and the kilometres of colbalt seas that extend before it. The swimming pool is in a particularly good spot at the edge of the cliff with nothing but a sun-kissed horizon stretched out in front of it. No luxury is spared at Birkenhead House, which belongs to the prestifious Royal Portfolio.
By Chloë Cooper