13 superb self-catering stays in Pringle Bay

Posted by Pippa de Bruyn on 23 September 2019

This unspoilt, best-kept secret village is a place to enjoy the simple pleasures of sea, sand, sky – and to linger over homemade meals with loved ones.

TripAdvisor lists accommodation rated by guests, but as much as we love peer reviews, they don’t offer a comparative voice – so how do we know No. 1 is really the best? Pippa de Bruyn, who has reviewed accommodation for 20 years for the likes of Frommer’s and The Telegraph, scours TripAdvisor and other online sites when researching a destination. For Pringle Bay, she created a longlist of 30 to inspect. The following made the cut.

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Picture drinking G&Ts on this west-facing deck, in a front-row seat for the spectacular sunset. Pringle Bay Villa’s garden gate also opens directly onto the beach.

What I found about accommodation here

• This charming coastal enclave has it all – a mountain backdrop, rich fynbos, a reed-fringed river emptying onto a pristine beach, and rural in atmosphere. No high walls, no streetlights, dirt roads, open plots. I looked for properties that made the most of this natural beauty, with views and a sense of privacy.

• I found lots of stock across all price points (with fair to exceptional value). Though almost all of it is self-catering,
you will find something suitable whether you’re a solo traveller, a couple or a large family or group of friends.

• It’s a destination rather than an overnight stop. Most places specify a minimum two-night stay – and far longer in peak season. If you can spare only one night, the best B&B is Moonstruck (from R1, 400 pp sharing, moonstruck.co.za).

• There are three excellent agents specialising in Pringle Bay and surrounds. They advertise on Airbnb and Booking.com, but dealing direct with them means the commission doesn’t go into an offshore account. Anneke Steyn (baytown.co.za) has by far the most properties (about 40), followed by Monica Soer (tribayaccommodation.co.za) and Leigh Mantell (mybeachhouserentals.co.za).

• It’s windy – locals say it blows most of the year, and is particularly fierce in the peak festive season. It calms down during autumn, particularly May, when there’s also a drop in rates.

• The beach is dog friendly, as are a lot of properties, so pack the pooch!


1. Best character

Familie Huis

Not on TripAdvisor

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

This is exactly what its name says: a well-designed, well-equipped home that will suit a family, with a double-volume main lounge made cosy with rugs and a comfortable sofa aside a huge hearth (which is suitable for cooking on), and open to the dining area and kitchen. Above is another mezzanine lounge-family room area. There are lots of shelves of books, games, crafts and pretty things – the layered, textured look that comes from being a much-loved primary residence for many years, and clearly owned by a creative soul.
It’s on a quiet road and surrounded by indigenous plants. That said, the deck has less privacy – it’s more overlooked than any of the others on these pages – but the hook here is the character-filled interior. It’s centrally located, too: the beach, shops and restaurants are all a five-minute walk in either direction, so once you’ve parked the car, put away the keys.

ROOM TIP The main en-suite bedroom is upstairs; downstairs is a twin-bed room and a bunk-bed room (with loads of toys). These two share a modern walk-in shower room.

COST From R1 ,200 for two, plus R300 pp extra (sleeps six).

CONTACT 0827756518, tribayaccommodation.co.za


2. Best-value luxury

O’Shaughnessy Cottage

Not on TripAdvisor

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

The three O’Shaughnessy sisters grew up in a cottage on this wonderful site – facing west across False Bay to take in the Cape Fold mountains truncating at Cape Point.

After their mother passed away, the sisters – now living on different continents – decided to rebuild a modern home that would be big enough for them to reunite for holidays, and the result is simply splendid. A far cry from the original cottage, this architect-designed house offers low-key Scandinavian elegance, with quality materials, simple pared-down furnishings and a neutral palette.

A system of sliding doors creates a completely seamless integration of the kitchen-dining-living space with the long shaded veranda and grassed lawn. Glass doors for windy days enable you to enjoy that mesmerising view from every corner. Upstairs is a separate TV lounge and three bedrooms (one en-suite, two sharing a shower room); downstairs, another two bedrooms share a bathroom.

At low tide you can access the rock pools directly in front of the house, or it’s a two-minute stroll to the beach.

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

ROOM TIP Only two rooms have double beds; the rest have twins. All bar one have great views.

COST From R5, 000 a night (sleeps 10).

CONTACT 0825664899, baytown.co.za


3. Best garden

Fynbos Cabin

Not on TripAdvisor

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

This is a contemporary yet cosy place, warmed by a central wood-burning fireplace, tastefully furnished and well designed, but it’s the garden that really sets Fynbos Cabin apart. Instead of ripping up the fynbos to lay down lawns and pavers, the Cabin’s owners cleverly placed and built it so as not to disturb their ready-made, magnificent wild garden. As a result, the cottage is cocooned in textured greens, with large picture windows and sliding doors onto timber decking that is surrounded by plants. It feels almost as if you’re on the mountainside rather than in suburban Pringle Bay (though, like most of the village, Fynbos Cabin is on a dirt road, with no street lamps to pollute the night). The beach and central restaurant-shop complex is a 10-minute walk away.

ROOM TIP With two identical bedrooms, each with a queen bed and a private veranda, this is the ideal house for two couples to share. If you need a bit more space, there’s a three-quarter sleeper couch in the study/reading area (if it’s used by an adult, they pay R300 extra).

COST R1, 450 a night for four people.

CONTACT 0827756518, tribayaccommodation.co.za


4. Best beach house

Pringle Bay Villa

Not on TripAdvisor

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

You’re spoilt for choice locations in Pringle Bay, but this villa takes the cake: on an elevated site at the western edge of the half-moon beach, you look across a rim- flow pool and sparkling bay to the Cape Peninsula mountains, or directly north across the breakers at the looming crags of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. It’s the same view all the properties strung along Beach Road and Die Punt enjoy, but this villa is the closest to the beach, with a secure garden gate that leads directly onto smooth boulders and sand. Views and light stream into a generous open-plan living area, with sliding doors that open onto a big deck, and picture windows framing mountains on every facade. It’s well furnished – uncluttered, with a mostly-white palette warmed by solid timber floors; a quality finish that doesn’t detract from the relaxed beach-house atmosphere. The kitchen is equipped with everything you could possibly desire, there’s a choice of gas or wood braais, and both indoor and outdoor tables have stellar views and can seat 10 guests.

ROOM TIP Only two bedrooms have sea views so it’s a little tricky to share with friends if you’re thinking of splitting the cost – best flip a coin, or be the host.

COST From R6, 950 a night (sleeps eight).

CONTACT 0875502967, capesummervillas.co.za


5. Best bargain

Swallows Nest

Not on TripAdvisor 

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Since it was repainted, the swallows no longer nest in the eaves, but this is still one cute cottage – and a total bargain. The front door opens into the lounge-dining area, furnished with comfortable sofas facing
a fireplace and a timber dining table seating four. There is a small step up into a relatively spacious, well equipped kitchen (the SA- born owner lives in Bermuda and visits once a year), and from here there is a broad but fairly steep staircase leading up to the main loft bedroom. The second bedroom is off the kitchen and furnished with twin beds; both rooms share a bathroom with a
nicely renovated walk-in shower. With lots of light spilling in through the windows and inexpensive but tasteful decor touches, Swallows Nest has a lovely atmosphere. But the real jewel is the private, enclosed garden, where you can enjoy alfresco dining next to the built-in braai, overlooking a wild bit of garden and being serenaded by the resident frogs.

ROOM TIP As the main bedroom is open to the kitchen, this is an ideal bolthole for a couple, solo traveller or small family; not suitable for two couples.

COST R850 a night, and only R950 in peak season (sleeps four).

CONTACT 0825664899, baytown.co.za


6 and 7. Best riverside houses

Restio River and Moon River

TripAdvisor listed but unrated

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Restio River

To be right on the pretty Buffels River, with fabulous views of the Kogelberg, you want a house on Anne Road; the two most gorgeous ones happen to be right next door to each other. Both have jetties regularly visited by resident ducks; both are walking distance – or swimming, if you prefer – to the beach. If you’re a fan of contemporary design, Restio River House (above left) is the top pick: an uber-slick gem designed by internationally acclaimed architects, with a huge, open-plan, extended living area that has doubtless graced the pages of many design magazines. Floor-to-ceiling windows take in the spectacular beach, river and mountain views. Sleeping 10 in luxury, Restio River isn’t cheap but it is great value for money, given that you are surrounded by top-quality finishes, bespoke furniture and collectable art. If you’re looking for something smaller, Moon River House (above right) is a zhushed-up log cabin, painted black and beautifully dressed by the same owner. Offering the same unobstructed and beautiful views, it’s more homely and affordable, and a great option for two couples with a few kids. (At the time of press, Moon River was for sale. If only…)

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Moon River

ROOM TIP All five of Restio’s bedrooms have views, though some are better than others. Two of Moon River’s bedrooms have equally good views.

COST Restio River from R8, 250 a night (sleeps 10). Moon River from R3, 150 a night (sleeps six).

CONTACT 0735577009 (for both), restioriverhouse.co.za, moonriverhouse.co.za


8. Best setting

The Barnacle

TripAdvisor No. 1 of 5, Speciality Lodgings

Pringle Bay, Western Cape

Harriet Joao’s cluster of four self-contained apartments enjoy one of Pringle Bay’s most enviable locations: on the eastern edge of the beach, precisely at the point where the tea-coloured Buffels River empties onto the white sands, the sound of the rolling breakers just beyond. Otter’s Lair, Milkwood and Mongoose – The Barnacle’s three self-catering units, each with a double bed and bunk bed, lounge and kitchen area, and outdoor dining table with braai area – are clustered around a shared parking area. All have sliding back doors opening onto the lush, pretty garden, with a path- way cut through the reeds directly to the riverbank (kayaks supplied) or beach. Harriet is a fount of knowledge about Pringle Bay, and welcomes well-behaved dogs by arrangement.

ROOM TIP Double-storey Otter’s Lair had the best view from the upstairs living area but my favourite was Mongoose, a cosy open-plan L-shaped unit. It has a lounge centred on a dinky fireplace, the most private garden and an elevated sundeck (with views of the bay). I was unable to view Mussel Pot, an upstairs unit next door with a basic kitchenette.

COST From R1, 100 for two, plus R250 pp extra (sleep four each).

CONTACT 0845249706, thebarnaclepringlebay.com


Worth a look


9. Blue River House This is another Anne Road property worth investigating if you like the idea of being right on the river, with unobstructed mountain views and a few minutes from the beach.
Well maintained; great price too. From R2 ,400 a night (sleeps six). baytown.co.za

10. Tranquility Heights What a find… If you want a remote mountain eyrie with fabulous bird’s-eye views of the surrounding nature reserve, and no one to disturb you, this four-bedroom house is a winner. Book direct with owner Tanya Egberink (0832640754) and you’ll pay R1, 200 for two people, R2, 000 for four or R4, 500 for 10. airbnb.com, booking.com

11. Duck Inn This cottage vies with Swallows Nest (opposite) as one of the cutest in town. It’s a bit bigger, with three bedrooms; the lounge-dining area opens onto a covered veranda overlooking a large garden and mountain views. Expertly managed by Leigh. From R1 400 a night (sleeps six). mybeachhouserentals.co.za

12. Cillie This unpretentious, second-generation family holiday home offers exceptional value: well maintained, seafront position, large garden and a few minutes’ walk from the beach.
It has one en-suite bedroom plus four basic pod-like rooms upstairs, all with sea views, making it ideal for a group that cares more about location than luxury. From R3, 100 a night (sleeps 14). baytown.co.za

13. Sand Sleepers Most beachfront houses on Susan and Barbara roads are losing their sea views due to the encroaching dunes. Sand Sleepers is one such casualty but this Cape Cod-style house offers airy, easy-living spaces that will suit a large family or group of friends. Exceptional value given that it’s literally on the beach. From R2, 000 a night (sleeps eight). baytown.co.za

Don’t Miss This

• The walks: Brodie Link to the top of the mountain, or to the lighthouse and Moonlight Bay.

• Stand-up paddling on the lagoon. Pringle Bay Surf & Beach Shop rents out SUP and surf boards (0614442611).

• The dining pop-ups: anything from Greek or curry nights to tapas at The Anchor and Friday night take-away pizzas
at Fynbos Enterprises. Plus Rooi Tamatie lunches and dinners at chef Renette Vosloo’s home (0713215945).

• Live music and partying at Plankies Pub at the Hangklip Hotel.

• Meeting the alpacas on Elizabeth Road, and Montana the sheep at the Saturday market.

• The tiny CBD, complete with bakery, bookshop, art gallery etc.

Photographs: Gareth van Nelson

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