Select Page

WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK

Summer, sunshine and falling in love, the Western Cape has so many delightful backdrops for potential romance it’s impossible to make any definitive list, but here are some suggestions within easy weekend distance of Cape Town.

Paternoster

A picturesque West Coast fishing village with a long white-sand beach far away from the madding crowd, Paternoster has become quite the chic retreat nowadays with curated self-catering cottages, boutique hotels – Abalone House and Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel – and the restaurant of the moment, Wolfgat, Kobus van der Merwe’s simple but multi-award-winning sustainable West Coast restaurant. There are several more delicious dining options including Leeto, Oep ve Koep, Die Gaaitjie, Noisy Oyster, and you’ll need to book ahead at weekends and the busy season.

Work up an appetite with a kayak trip to see seals and penguins with Kayak Paternoster, or explore Cape Columbine Nature Reserve and lighthouse. Then potter along the beach and browse local artists’ studios and galleries.

Splash out: Book three months ahead for dinner at Wolfgat and enjoy a thoughtfully composed seasonal tasting menu using local ingredients and foraged wild elements from the Strandveld.
Don’t miss: Jazz on the Rocks, Paternoster’s own festival held in Tietiesbaai – 2020 is their 10th anniversary: 27 February to 1 March.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
wolfgat.co.za

Bosjes

An unspoilt mountain getaway in the Breede River Valley, Bosjes captures the imagination with the stunning architecture of its wave-roofed chapel, ceramic-tiled mural and gorgeous indigenous gardens. The five luxury suites at Die Skuur Guesthouse are designed by Liam Mooney, with a swimming pool for lazy summer afternoons. Stroll in the garden, take a mountain hiking trail where you may come across giraffe, bontebok and zebra, birds and beautiful views. The Bosjes Kombuis restaurant is now headed up by chef Nicolas Oosthuizen (ex Foliage), with consulting from Abigail Donnelly (former editor of Eat Out), and offers delicious farm bistro lunches. There’s also the Tea Garden for tea, scones, cakes and savoury snacks.

Splash out: Dinner is served at the guesthouse, or choose the braai option, a hamper of meats and salads for you to cook yourselves, the fire lit for you on the communal stoep with sunset views of the mountains and a night sky filled with stars.
Don’t miss: Bosjes is a working farm, so share the excitement of harvest time through summer into winter with first peaches, then grapes, olives and proteas.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
bosjes.co.za

Stanford

Country dorp tranquillity, a river running through it and plenty of food highlights, Stanford has more than its fair share of charm seemingly designed for a romantic getaway. A sunset river cruise, tranquil country views, wine estates with great food, historic cottages in a charming village, the list goes on. Self-catering cottages are the way to go here and there’s lots to choose from including Stanford Valley Guest Farm, Springfontein, and Stanford Country Cottages to name just a few. Shop for local ingredients at the Saturday morning market, get your cheese from Klein River Cheese Farmstead, wine from the local estates, and ice cream from Don Gelato, but save space for eating out at unpretentious local favourites such as Madre or Haverfords for lunch, and dinner at Manor House or Springfontein.

Splash out: Springfontein Eats: locavore meets contemporary fusion, a taste adventure that keeps fine dining down to earth.
Don’t miss: Make the most of the beautiful Klein River – African Queen and Lady Stanford both offer cruises, or hire canoes and paddle yourself on the flat water while bird-watching.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
springfontein.co.za

Hermanus

Cliff top walks, fabulous sunsets, lazy beach days, Hermanus has plenty of star ingredients tailor-made for a romantic sojourn. Blue Flag Grotto and Hawston beaches might get crowded but there are plenty of quieter spots to escape to – take a picnic to Rowweklip, Langbaai or Fick’s Pool for sundowners and swims, or to Fernkloof Nature Reserve for shady summer days among the fragrant fynbos gardens.

Book horse-riding on the beach with African Horse Company, explore Walker Bay Nature Reserve and Klipgat Cave with its Stone-Age history, or go canoeing or kayaking with Walkerbay Adventures. This vibrant seaside town has accommodation for all budgets – from self-catering rentals and B&Bs to five-star luxury.

Splash out: Stay at Birkenhead House for the royal treatment, book a couple’s spa session, relax over cocktails with stunning sunset views, and dine in style in a choice of settings.
Don’t miss: Hermanus Country Market on Saturday mornings for a local vibe, crafts, produce, wine and live music.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
theroyalportfolio.com/birkenheadhouse/overview

Silvermist Staycation

With visitors from all over the world choosing Cape Town as their romantic destination, it would be a shame for locals to miss out on romantic escapes right here in the Mother City! One such hidden gem is Silvermist Organic Wine Estate – perched high on the mountainside above Constantia Nek, it feels a world away from the city with incredible forest, vineyard and mountain views.

The boutique hotel offers old-school luxury in its seven suites, fresh farm breakfasts at Green Vine Eatery, and lazy days by the pool with wine from the estate and birdsong on tap. Or mountain hikes among the fynbos straight from your suite.

Splash out: World-renowned La Colombe is on the estate within walking distance of the hotel and full of incredible foodie spoils. Book separately well in advance, the restaurant is independent of the hotel and tables are in hot demand.
Don’t miss: Silvermist is home to the SA Forest Adventures ziplining canopy tour, adding a dash of adrenaline to the romance.

EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
silvermistestate.co.za