By Louzel Lombard Steyn
On a clear day, the countertop silhouette of Table Mountain is visible from the high west peak of the Helderberg Mountains on the outskirts of Somerset West, some 50km away. Here, the lavish Spanish Farm Guest Lodge sits nestled on the flanks of the mountain, creating the perfect nook from where to explore the surrounding winelands, beaches and nature reserves… or just relax and soak in the surrounds.
Cape Summer Villa’s Spanish Farm lies right on the edge of the Helderberg Mountain Reserve with its sprawling views over the entire False Bay. It’s a well-known sight, optimally enjoyed from beneath a thick, fluffy duvet with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in bed. On a quiet morning, the giant bay windows can be thrown open to let in the Helderberg’s natural fynbos gardens… and some other fauna.
This was just the case on a visit here in early autumn when a relaxed Springbok came wandering along the private deck of my bedroom. For a group of friends travelling in the first throes of lockdown, the reserve was a saving grace of peace and tranquillity. The resident springbok – I named him George – was our only other company (or at least that we knew of). Every morning, George and I enjoyed each other’s company, neither disturbed by the others’ chewing and sipping. Me, on some homemade rusks and coffee and he, on a scrub of succulent grass and water from a garden puddle.
Both bedrooms in each of the private villas are located below deck with private gardens while upstairs, an open-plan kitchen and living area overlook a sprawling stoep to one side and secluded private pool to the other. Hummingbirds and dragonflies abound, sipping nectar from the pincushions or bouncing off the surface of the pool, undeterred by swimmers and sunbathers. Thanks to the natural slope of the mountain creating different ‘levels’ on the property, the natural pools are tucked beneath an upper-level garden where guests can sunbathe in utter privacy – save for the company of the birds and bokkies, like George.
As the sun set over False Bay on our first night, we sought shelter from the snippy autumn air around the wooden dining table in the glass-walled dining room. It’s the best hang-out spot for friends and family to linger with a bottle of red wine and a hearty dinner, without losing sight of the False Bay lights flickering below in the distance.
Apart from the dining room and entertainment spaces with the private pool, each villa also has its own lounge with a wood-burning fireplace, DSTV and a fully-equipped, modern kitchen which makes the laid-back Winelands lifestyle accessible to visitors.
Perfect breakaway spot that naturally lends itself to social distancing
The 4-hectare estate is an especially perfect breakaway spot that naturally lends itself to social distancing. For those eager to explore as lockdown levels ease up, however, it’s a most central hub.
A short drive down the R44 lies the famous Root 44 Emporium farmers market, which has just been renovated. Stalls with local crafts, delicious food and live music over the weekends is a must. When the ‘Cape Doctor’ is asleep, beaches dotted along the Cape Whale Coast are great for quick swims or a paddle-ski adventure. Lucky paddlers have encountered some of the iconic Southern Right whales up close in the bay. For day drivers, the iconic Clarence Drive on the edge of the False Bay coastline offers a breathtakingly beautiful view from Gordon’s Bay all along the Sir Lowry Mountain slopes.
Spanish Farm is also a hit with the many outstanding golf courses of the Winelands, including the nearby De Zalze golf course with its sweeping views of the mountains and Blaauwklippen River. For our group, the most strenuous activity of the trip was mixing a couple of G&Ts and hiking up a quaintly clad wooden walkway behind the estate to enjoy that world-renowned sun set from our own private deck. In the midst of a global catastrophe, we could all breathe a sigh of relief and regain perspective on how privileged we are to live so close to nature in South Africa.
Nature thrives in this haven on the outskirts of a busy winelands’ town, which is just as well when restaurants and other tourist attractions are forced to close. When they’re open, however, it’s the centre of the most sought-after eateries in the winelands. It’s also an easy 20-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport and a 45-minute drive from Cape Town.
The mountain and fynbos landscape provides a cherished space for both rest and adventure – whatever you choose.
Spanish Farm is offering 15% off listed winter rates from 1 June to 31 August 2021. Please use the promo code RoveSA15 as a reference when booking. This can be entered on the website booking page and the discounted amount will be calculated automatically.
The Helderberg Mountain Reserve is open daily from 07:30. Entrance is R25 for adults and R15 for children under 18.