Elands & Lambert's Bay

Accommodation in Weekend Getaways - Cape

Article by Rebecca Solomon

The thing about the West Coast is what you see is what you get: the open spaces that hide nothing, the rustic wind-swept fisherman’s cottages and the smell of bokkoms: a local delicacy of sundried fish that permeates the air. It’s a place that allows you to take a minute to breathe in the fresh sea air as carpets of sand sting your knees.

And what better place to do so than along an untouched ElandsBay coastline? Approximately an hour’s drive from Langebaan and two from Cape Town, ElandsBay is a surfing hotspot that attracts many a beach bum in search of the perfect wave. Beaches are deserted, wild, unblemished. Seas are lively. And the skyline stretches on forever....

Breaking the 360 degree solitude, a welcome traveller’s inn - Draaihoek Lodge – which translated means ‘Around the corner’ – can be found.  A four-star manor house with accompanying fisherman-style cottages fitted out with dreamy cloud-white beds and en-suite bathrooms, Draaihoek is a place where you can hide away from it all.

Spend time splashing in the balmy pool waters while catching up on a good holiday read, take a stroll along the shoreline as black oystercatchers dot the surrounding starkness of the sand, chill on your private patio to watch the sunset – ideally sipping a glass of Sauvignon – or tuck into the delicious cuisine served in the manor house – the choice is endless.

Dinner is served from 7pm and offers a menu of traditional dishes. We enjoyed springbok Carpaccio and cheesy asparagus for starters followed by line fish and lamb shank for mains. A supporter of all things local, Draaihoek only serves wines from surrounding farms – I highly recommend Fryer’s Cove – as well as exhibits art from the area in the restaurant.

After an uninterrupted slumber – it is so peaceful and still – we awoke to a robust breakfast on the stoep. While we visited during the height of summer – the mercury was pushing 40+ – Winters are just as cosy as the fireplaces in the restaurant and rooms hinted.

With breakfast out of the way we moved on to Lambert’s Bay – a hub of diamond trawlers, crayfish and gannets. And, for only R2.30 to enter the Cape Nature Conservation harbour to get a taste of the local flair, is a bargain. A visit to BirdIsland should also not be missed especially for those with a Wild Card (apply at Sanparks) as entrance is free.

BirdIsland is a guano factory with its workers the humble gannet. Take a seat at the bird hide to watch these clumsy creatures partake in flying lessons (and a few crash landings). Aside from the gannets, flocks of seagulls, cormorants and plovers can be seen, although beware the pungent smell –  it ain't called bird island for nothing!

The West Coast offers many an outdoor restaurant and is an experience not to be missed. And Muisbosskerm is Lambert’s Bay’s answer to this al fresco boma. Situated on the beach, the rustic enclosure is an all afternoon affair – just make sure you go there hungry! For R170 a head tuck into a feast of pickled herring, fruit platters, a bounty of braaied fish (Snoek, kabeljou, yellow tail, Stompneus among others), traditional boontjiebredie, potjiekos, paella, chunks of piping hot bread with apricot jam and my personal favourite, sticky sweet potatoes. Crayfish is also available on request.

Served on paper plates with mussel shells for utensils it’s an authentic meal that for any seafood lover is a must.

A few glasses of wine (there is a cash bar available) and many, many plates of food later it was time to hit the road. What a weekend!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the Sneaky Weekender articles on this website, do not necessarily reflect the views of Finding Africa.

The view from Draaihoek
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