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Handpicked for you...

Handpicked for you …

On a deserted stretch of Westbrook Beach, just south of Ballito, is an enchanting seaside cottage tucked deep into the coastal forest. Cowrie Cottage is not visible from the beach, yet the beach is completely visible from the cottage. More than that, the coastline and warm Indian Ocean are in full view, with plenty of whales seen in winter and frolicking dolphins all year round. But winter is likely their favourite season with the sardine run here. Billions of silvery sardines swim and skip past between May and July – some straight into the bellies of dolphins. From Cowrie Cottage, you have grandstand seats of this marine theatre.

While untangling the coastal garden just after moving into the cottage, the owners unearthed a rock with Cowrie Cottage chiselled into it. And so the cottage name was known. You do still find cowrie shells on the beach too, along with other gorgeous east coast shells.

Cowrie Cottage is an unlikely home on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. It’s intimate and under thatch, and fits effortlessly into the surrounding coastal forest without disturbing the environment. An authentic African beach house it is, with décor reflecting a touch of White Mischief and a whole lot of Hemingway. This implies a thoroughly African cottage but with no rough edges. There are checkerboard bathroom floors and antique fittings, draped mosquito nets over beds and light shades reminiscent of fish traps, a few accents of kuba cloth and zebra hide are seen in ottomans and there’s plenty of crisp white linen swathing the queen beds. There’s an inside fireplace too, which is a rarity on this balmy coast but is thoroughly romantic.

Built in the early 60s, Cowrie Cottage was carefully renovated to keep the charm of the original dwelling. There are two bedrooms downstairs and a spacious loft bedroom under the thatch. Downstairs bedrooms have fans and aircon, upstairs has a fan and sea breezes; all are en-suite with garden and ocean views. There’s also aircon in the living areas and fans on the verandah, where so much time is spent chilling, watching tides and passing ships. A gorgeous sundeck is another option for outdoor lazing with a full sea view.

From the front verandah there’s direct beach access along a footpath through the forest. And when you return, there’s an outside shower to wash off and cool off should you wish to. 

Surrounded by gnarly milkwood trees and wild white strelitzias, Cowrie Cottage is a secluded hideaway with a special feeling of being home. It’s unfettered and cosy, spacious and story-book gorgeous. Here you can watch the sun and moon rise over the ocean, spend days fishing, collecting fresh oysters and mussels off the rocks or swimming in tepid rock pools. Around noon, you’ll likely hear the resident fish eagle call as he flies down the Tongaat River close by, fishing for his supper. Then as the sun sets, the garden awakes with lanterns creating pools of light. It’s another perfect evening in Africa. And as you light the braai fire and sip freshly shucked oysters from their shells, you’ll feel embraced by the good life. And at peace with the world around you. 

What we love!

  • The comfortable quaintness of the cottage.
  • African elements unobtrusively reflected in the décor.
  • That you are surrounded by virgin coastal forest.
  • The feeling that the long beach in front of the cottage is entirely yours.
  • Seeing dolphins, whales, oyster catchers and other birds in the lush garden. 
  • That you can’t even see the cottage from the beach.
  • The feeling of seclusion and complete privacy. 
  • Swimming safely in luke-warm rock pools.

Need to know:

  • No swimming in the ocean in front of Cowrie Cottage because of strong rip currents.
  • Permits are needed for fishing and collecting mussels and oysters.
  • Located at the end of a road and the property is security fenced too.
  • No swimming pool.

Reviewed by Keri Harvey

 

Facilities

  • 1 x Bedroom (2 singles) (extra length) en-suite with bath & shower
  • 1 x Bedroom (queen) (extra length) open plan en-suite with bath & shower
  • 1 x Bedroom (queen) en suite bath & shower
  • 1 x guest bathroom with toilet
  • Aircon
  • All linen provided
  • Bath towels
  • BBQ (Weber)
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Ceiling fan
  • Chef (additional cost)
  • Coffee plunger
  • Continental Breakfast (can be arranged)
  • Dishwasher
  • DSTV
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood (2 bags)
  • Ice machine
  • Microwave
  • Nespresso machine (please bring your own pods)
  • Netflix
  • Outdoor shower
  • Private Vinyasa Yoga (can be arranged)
  • Single fridge/freezer
  • Smoking outside only
  • Sun Loungers x 3
  • Surround sound
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • TV (Smart)
  • Umbrella x 2
  • Washing machine
  • Wifi

Guests

Sleeps 6 guests in 3 bedrooms

Check-in time

2 PM

Check-out time

10 AM

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Balito, KZN

Handpicked for you … On a deserted stretch of Westbrook Beach, just south of Ballito, is an enchanting seaside cottage tucked deep into the coastal forest. Cowrie Cottage is not visible from the beach, yet the beach is completely visible from the cottage. More than that, the coastline and warm Indian Ocean are in full

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Rates

Off-Peak - R8 000
Peak - R16 000