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Report 2042: Early Summer in the Western Cape, South Africa

By Panda from UK, Summer 2012

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Page 9 of 12: The Coast - Grotto Beach at Hermanus

After a final breakfast on the flower-bedecked terrace, we said goodbye to the Auberge Chanteclair and headed out of the valley the opposite way to our arrival, taking the steep and curving road over the Franschhoek Pass. There are beautiful views back across the whole valley from this road, with several stopping points. The way down was equally steep and curving, but through a rockier and less inhabited valley – the contrast between the two valleys was quite marked. We were making our way down to the coast for our final few days through the fruit farms of the Groenlandberge area, which also contains several state forests and nature reserves.

After a winding climb up over the Hottentots Holland Mountain range and then a very a steep descent down Sir Lowry’s Pass, with great views over towards Cape Town, we doubled back along the coastal road that wends along the cliffs and bays of Betty’s Bay. Hermanus is a large holiday and retirement town on Walker Bay, attracting many visitors to the town during the Southern Right Whale breeding season of June to October. We passed through the town and out to the residential suburbs to the Grotto Beach district (about 5 km). My husband looked very skeptical as we drove through the neat but ordinary suburban streets and even more when we arrived at the back of a bland looking property but once we were inside the Mosselberg on Grotto Beach he was duly impressed. It is a very stylish property, with five spacious suites and a very large lounge and common areas, with a beautiful view over the white sand expanse of Grotto Beach. Our suite had a large bedroom/living area, a coffee kitchen, a walk- in wet room and a balcony with amazing ocean views.

When I booked the Mosselberg, it stated it had an in-house chef who could cook dinner to order – when I contacted them a couple of weeks before our arrival to confirm we wanted an arrival night dinner, I was told they no longer had a chef, which was a minor disappointment. On this first night, however, the owner offered to cook us an in-house dinner and asked our preferences. After an afternoon relaxing and exploring the way down to the beach, we came down for pre-dinner drinks at 7, to find another couple who had also taken the dining option. They were charming young couple from Belgium, who told us the slightly hair-raising story of hiring a Jeep and taking a journey off into the bush – then getting a flat tyre and realising they had a) no phone signal b) no idea how to change a tyre. They soon managed to work it out! They had also been stopped on the way to Hermanus by a routine police highway patrol and discovered that their International Driver’s Permit was out of date – a large fine would be making its way to them via their rental car company.

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