If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you might have gathered from my gazzillion enthusiastic posts that Katarina and I – under #RTroadtrip on social media – travelled through Gansbaai last week. We were celebrating this desitination’s recent GOLD for Best Responsible Tourism Destination at the International Responsible Tourism Awards in London.
I have already written more about our motivations – and my epic flirt failure with a VERY attractive man at a traffic light – here.
I just bought an apartment in Cape Town so I cannot be pulling out a ‘For Sale’ sign somewhere in De Kelders and pitching a tent while I (slowly) build the beach house of my dreams.
De Kelders. It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.
When I told Katarina I could move to the Overberg, she literally said to me in so many words: “I do think you are absolutely out of your mind.”
Out of my mind or not – she is more than just partially right, I have to give her that, I’m a tad nuts more often than not – I thought I would like to share my reasons for visiting this part of South Africa – and they don’t involve pitching a tent on an empty lot of land and turning every single coin.
(Note that none of my reasons will include the Shark Cage Diving that Gansbaai is so famous for. Although I support and believe in the work of Marine Dynamics specifically, I think it is important to also talk about the other magical aspects … There must be someone else out there who also doesn’t do heights and opt for adrenaline rushes?!?)
ALL THE VARIOUS SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES BOAST WITH A TYPE OF NATIONAL PRIDE THAT WILL WARM YOUR HEART …
During apartheid, Masakhane (the Xhosa word for “stand together”) was a small township that merely existed out of 6 blocks (euphemistically called “hostels”) each housing 60 people. They were all men and employed on a temporary basis by the local fishing factory, who owned the blocks. Each of them had permission to be in the area for 6 months, after which period they were replaced by new people, practically all of whom were from the former so-called “home lands” Transkei and Ciskei (in the Eastern Cape). Though small, Masakhane was a typical apartheid – era township since it was established as a dormitory area to house black labourers who came to town from rural areas and who could never make their permanent residence in such a place.
Today is the National Day of Reconciliation in South Africa. It was introduced for South Africans to move beyond the dreadful events of past and pledge continuously to a unified future, regardless of culture, belief or race. If, in the light of this day’s particular meaning, you also found it beyond moving to see that so many citizens are doing just that, uniting for change, resiliently insisting that #ZumaMustFall, then I assure you: you will also find this township inspirational. South African or not.
Below, for instance, is a portrait I took of a father and his two sons. They’ll make you a braai from a up-cycled geyser. In fact, they’ll make you and your neighbour and his neighbour, and his neighbour one.
If you want to order one of these masterpieces, contact our guide Ally through Facebook directly.
He’ll either be able to take you there, or organise a delivery.
I’m getting one. I mean: “I don’t want an indestructible braai,” said no South African. Ever.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SONG OF FYNBOS …
That was lame. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
But, bursting into song was totally what I felt like when we went for a ride on Farm 215 with African Horse Company. Not only was it such a pleasure to go on an outing with one of the most skilled match-a-rider-and-a-horse-guides I have ever met, the entire 3 hour excursion through paradise was (around) a whopping R450 …
The best part of this experience was definitely the way the animal carried me through everything, and how I could, instead of constantly looking at my feet and where I am going, really just notice nature around me.
And oh man, and is there nature in the Overberg?!
THERE ARE AFFORDABLE, YET LUXURIOUS PLACES TO STAY …
If Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is also a bit out of your personal holiday budget (like mine), I recommend Farm 215 without any hesitation. The infinity pool, built on the Summer Solstice, is the perfect place for a sassy sundowner … and maybe … if you also find it appropriate … some local Fynbos gin.
FOREST-BABIES, WHO LIKE NOT LOCKING A DOOR AND SLEEPING IN A TENT, CAN FOREVER WRITE FANTASIES IN THE MOST SOUTHERN INDIGENOUS FOREST IN AFRICA …
Beyond the Deep Blue is a shore. For me, one of the most beautiful shores in the world.
Outside whale watching season you will still have views for days. And days. And days.
(I must mention that if it is whale season, the whales frolic so close to shore in De Kelders, that they drive the dogs walking the footpaths crazy. Here, consider Whalesong Lodge – from whose balcony I took the picture below – and ask the owners to tell you about the Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, Pop-Up Restaurants in Off-grid communities and the various wine farms in the neighbouring “Vallei van Hemel en Aarde.” They know all about it.)
I travelled courtesy of Gansbaai Tourism.
Opinions expressed are my own.
This is the first in a series of 4 posts on our #RTroadtrip. Posts featuring Creation Wines, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Saxon Lodge, African Seabird and Penguin Sactuary and Beachcomber Guide to follow.