Spring is finally here and if you’re also a resident of Cape Town, then you’ll know that winter has been particularly miserable, making the coming of spring even more exciting. And because I know that not everyone can go on a week’s holiday to enjoy the newly blossomed flowers and mild-to-warm sunshiny days, I put together a list of places where you can be surrounded by nature without driving for hours. And what’s more, none of them will leave you with an empty pocket; so you can keep on saving for that big getaway you’re planning for the end of the year.
Here are 10 affordable spring weekend breaks close to Cape Town.
1. Wildebraam Berry Estate, outside Swellendam
Stay at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, the slopes of which get covered in masses of pink Erica flowers in spring. The self-catering cottages cater for couples on a romantic retreat, but the larger cottages can also house up to 8 people. Taste the delicious range of berry liqueurs or take a 1,5km drive to go hike in the Marloth Nature Reserve, one of three reserves in the Langeberg Mountains.
2. Die Laaitjie, outside Robertson
You won’t believe you’re only 7km outside Robertson when you arrive at this different part of the Langeberg Mountains – in the smallest of the Dassieshoek valleys, to be exact. The 5 hectare farm consists of peach, pear and apricot trees, all of which fill the valley with colourful blossoms during spring. Stay in one of three two-bedroomed cottages or the more romantic double cottage, all of which are furnished in whites and walk out onto a stoep with a braai place. A 55min hike will take you to a waterfall and you can walk behind it and enjoy the cool spring bliss.
3. Duinepos Chalets, West Coast National Park
These charming chalets are situated within the West Coast National Park, a place well known for its spring wild flowers. And if you come in September, you can also see migratory waders, flamingos and pelicans returning after transcontinental trips. The 11 self-catering chalets are scattered around the area and each sleep four to six guests. Wake up to the sound of the birds, have a cup of coffee on your veranda and head out on a beautiful spring hike.
4. Aloe Cottage, Darling
This three-bedroomed cottage is situated on an indigenous renosterveld estate with only nine other houses on the entire estate. You’ll be close enough to Darling to enjoy dinner and wine at the Marmalade Cat, but far enough to enjoy the fresh country air. Mountain bikes are included to explore the area and town with and the cottage is pet friendly. Darling is also known for its picture perfect wild flowers in spring time.
5. Petersfield Farm, Citrusdal
Petersfield is an export citrus and rooibos tea mountain estate, overlooking the majestic Cederberg mountain range. Four fully equipped self-catering cottages each sleep six guests and have their own private swimming pool. The cottages are more than a kilometer apart and create the perfect base from which to explore this 2000-hectare mountain wilderness reserve. And if you have pets, they’re welcome to join you – free of charge.
6. Anchor’s Rest, Hermanus
Hermanus is an all-time favourite for Capetonians and this time of year is ideal for spotting whales wading in the water. The four suites combine wooden floors and furniture with white interiors, creating a wonderfully refreshing atmosphere. You’ll be a short 150m stroll from the famous Hermanus cliff paths where you can spot the whales and you can either cater for yourself or rent them on a bed and breakfast bases.
7. The Shakk, Noordhoek
The ideal surfer’s getaway, this quaint cottage is only two streets away from North Beach, a great surf spots for both professionals and amateurs. It’s also walking distance from The Red Herring, a vibey and relaxed restaurant, making it ideal for four friends. The balcony overlooks the ocean and has an outside braai area from which you can watch the sun set behind Chapman’s Peak. Noordhoek is also known for its beach horse back riding – a wonderful way to celebrate spring.
Many of the delicate, yet hardy species of Cape fynbos blooms in spring, making a weekend away to the Fynbos Retreat even more worthwhile than usual. Situated on the 2500 hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve, it offers two self-catering houses that overlook a beautiful dam and are well equipped with large outdoor entertainment areas. The bigger of the two accommodates 12 people and even has its own pizza oven. Soak up the fresh sunshine by hiking, mountain biking or swimming in the dam.
9. Vaalvlei, just outside Stanford
This working wine farm not only offers you beautiful views of the Kleinriver Mountains and countryside, but it’s also known for its excellent trout fishing. And seeing as the early morning has lost its chilly bite, spring can be the perfect excuse to pick up that fishing rod. The two self-catering cottages are close to the lakes and those not interested in fishing can spend their time hiking, mountain biking or sipping on the farm’s own wines while enjoying the warm sunshine.
10. Kliphuis on Kleinfontein, just outside Tulbagh
Situated high up in the Winterhoek valley, this secluded cottage has a rustic feel, but boasts all the necessary self-catering equipment. It’s an ideal place to take in the views of the valleys and go hiking or mountain biking in the warm spring weather. The cottage sleeps six people comfortably and walks out onto a patio with a braai area, making it an ideal weekend away destination both for friends and families.