Let’s be honest for a minute. Travelling to Scotland or Greece costs an arm and a leg even if you happen to work in Scotland or Greece.
The Rand to Pound/Euro/any overseas currency exchange rate is off the charts at the moment, which makes buying a drink in either Scotland or Greece a major financial investment worth discussing with your broker – and that’s not the best way to get the party started.
There is hope, however. On the Cape West Coast they accept South African Rand and award-winning wine is relatively cheap because it’s made on local award-winning wine estates.
The sun is (almost) always out and the people friendly because, well, they live on the Cape West Coast where crayfish is considered a mid-week TV dinner and every spring the whole place explodes into a fairy tale flower show.
But beside the flowers – and the crayfish and the friendliest people on earth – the Cape West Coast offers adventure activities like world-class rounds of golf and luxury catamaran yacht cruises.
Best of all is, the purveyors of theses luxurious pastimes have gone to the trouble placing their adventures in settings that draw on international destinations, like Scotland or Greece, without losing the Cape West Coast soul which – let’s be honest for another minute – can only be found on the Cape West Coast.
A piece of Greece
The Club Mykonos resort is a little piece of Greece situated on the Cape West Coast. Made up of white buildings set against the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean, the resort offers world-class accommodation.
You can mini-golf or go swimming, but if you’re after true adventure, it’s best to head down to the Club Mykonos Marina and ask for directions to the Elite Charters crew.
Braai cruise anyone?
Set sail – and coals on fire – from Club Mykonos to the crystal clear shallows of Kraalbaai in the Langebaan Lagoon for a 3 hour braai cruise on board a 38ft catamaran. You read that right. Elite Charters at Club Mykonos Marina offers a cruise on Langebaan Lagoon that ends with a braai for the ages hosted by the crew.
But that’s not all. The company boasts a fleet consisting of aforementioned 38ft catamaran, an adventure rubber duck, six wetbikes and a game fishing ski boat – all of which can be chartered for a Cape West Coast adventure without equal.
It’s the ‘complete water sport package’, as they call it, and enough to whet a lot more than just your appetite.
The Lodge at Atlantic Beach
Situated just outside Melkbosstrand, the Lodge at Atlantic Beach is the Cape West Coast’s easy-going oasis within driving distance from the Darling winelands to the east and the crayfish-rich rocks of the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
With its 4-star accommodation, The Lodge offers you the choice to go explore or simply stay in and enjoy the view. And if you’re after the best way to spoil a good walk, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, explore no further than the Atlantic Beach golf course on The Lodge’s doorstep.
St Andrews with springboks
Looking out from the dining room at The Lodge at Atlantic Beach you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re standing at the home of golf, St. Andrews in Scotland, on a very hot, very sunny day.
Stretching before you you’ll see the 10th fairway of a links course rated as one of the premier golf courses in the Western Cape.
Atlantic Beach golf course features 18 holes covering a distance of 6229 metres which puts it on a par with courses in Scotland. The only thing separating it from the UK, however, is a variety of antelope – including springbok – roaming the fairways.
Swim, run, relax
And a breakaway at The Lodge is not only for the easy-going. At the Leisure Centre you’ll find two tennis courts, a fitness centre and – departing outside the entrance – a special trail running around the perimeter of the entire property specially laid out for habitual runners and nature walkers.
Thali Thali Game Lodge
Just off the R27 near Langebaan the Cape West Coast gets wild, really wild. Stretching across 1, 460 hectares of pristine wilderness lies the Thali Thali game and fynbos reserve.
Accommodation comes in the form of three West Coast-style self-catering chalets and five B&B luxury en-suite tents. And if you’d really like to make yourself at home, there’s a big old farmhouse with a wrap-around porch that lends it to lazy afternoons basking in the sun.
Game drives at Thali Thali (www.thalithali.co.za) start at 10am during which you’ll be able to spot Oryx, Springbok, Bontebok, Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe and Ostrich.
Back at the ranch- or lodge should I say – you can try your hand at archery or simply enjoy some well-deserved sundowners on the deck.
!Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre
Just off the R27 we reached the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre – both a modern marvel and ancient eye-opener. The renovated farm house and buildings on top of a hill overlooking Table Mountain in the distance are contrasted by a traditional San settlement a little way down showing how the first people co-existed in complete harmony with their surroundings.
!Khwa ttu offers 4 types of luxury and tented accommodation: Guest Houses, Bush House, Bush Camp and Bush Village Camp. Add to your stay with a San Tour, gallery visit and local restaurant.
Expertly curated exhibitions in the main building gives you a snapshot of San culture and a settlement below a hill demonstrate the original setting where the ‘San Spirit’ took hold.
Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails
The Cape West Coast Biosphere is home to a network of luxury trails that offers something for everyone. Exploring on foot is arguably the best way to discover this unique part of the world as it puts you right in the middle of the action. So strap on a backpack and head off on the Darling Stagger, Eve’s Trail, Five Bay Trail and the Wheels of Time. All trails vary in duration and levels of difficulty.
For slackpacking, and more serious walking like the Five Bay Trail, make contact with the guys at the Cape West Coast Biosphere Trails. They offer 3-4 star accommodation for trailblazers who prefer to stay in style and serve up the best wines the Cape West Coast has to offer to go with spectacular views.
The Darling Brew Experience
The quaint town of Darling is nestled amongst vineyards, wheat fields and nature reserves. Home to some magnificent wine estates and farms, the town has a character all of its own steeped in history and culture.
A more recent addition, however, is the Darling Brew Tasteroom & Brewery. This microbrewery is a bona fide craft beer haven that embodies the slow pace of life on the Cape West Coast.
They offer excellent cuisine prepared with locally sourced produce and, of course, some of South Africa’s best craft beer. The restaurant is overlooks the brewery and is beautifully complimented with an open-air tasting deck and kids play area.