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If your mental checklist for a quality, soulful getaway includes an unspoilt view of mountains and water, the sounds of silence (and birdsong), the most stylish yet easygoing surrounds and home comforts like the best ever linen and a seriously sorted kitchen, then look no further than Hemel Cottage in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, near Hermanus.

The owners’ passion for the magnificent fynbos-studded surrounds and a desire to build an environmentally sensitive and permaculture principled space is evident in their enchanting eco escape. Designed by Cape Town talent Jon Jacobson of Metropolis Design and built using the footprint of the original farmhouse, Hemel Cottage embraces the surrounds with its nature-inspired palette and materials gathered from the farm, but it’s the focus on guests really getting up close and personal with their biodynamic oasis that is the real delight. There are six hectares of pristine Overberg land to drink in, there are mountain bike and walking trails to explore and afterwards there’s food to cook using veggies from the farm’s own kitchen garden. Hemel Cottage is about breathing in the mountain air and getting grounded again – in comfort and style.

Though compact, Hemel Cottage has space aplenty. The two main bedrooms and bunk room for two are all upstairs so you can sneak off for a snooze after lunch, while there is a pullout sleeper couch downstairs for spillover guests or kids. Downstairs is all about living life beautifully and comfortably. Locally sourced hemp and linens set the natural and texture-based tone while the lounge area features an open hearth and furniture made for lazing on. Most delightful of all in our opinion? The Kolkooi woodfired outdoor hot tub adds a unique and whimsical element to this special nature-focused escape – an unimaginable back-to-basics spoil to complement the thoughtful luxuries at every turn.

What we love!

  • The owners are keen cooks and so the kitchen is brilliantly kitted out, with the best equipment for cooking up a feast
  • The down-to-earth luxuries – from the scented amenities to the beautiful throws and linens
  • The unspoilt views over Bosdam are balm for the soul
  • That Hemel Cottage is both a cosy winter bolthole (think long baths in the Kolkooi tub under the stars) and a wonderful summer escape too
  • Swims in the dam are deliciously refreshing, especially in the hot summer months
  • Early mornings on the outside terrace have a quiet and spiritual quality (it’s not called the Hemel-en-Aarde (heaven and earth) Valley for nothing)
  • Walks and rides on the farm’s trails get you up close and personal with the unspoilt surrounds – we love the Protea walk where you’ll find various examples of this magnificent species in abundance
  • The sense of privacy enhances the aspect of this being such a thoughtful place for retreat and reflection

What you need to know…

  • The Hemel-en-Aarde valley is located approximately one-and-a-half-hours from Cape Town
  • There is internet albeit patchy for comms with the outside world
  • With prior notice, staff can be arranged to service the cottage and even to cook for guests
  • After the recent fires, there are strict fire protocols in place and for peace of mind, the owners have created significant fire breaks on and around the property
  • It’s a lumpy, bumpy road from the turnoff of the farm to the cottage and while you don’t need a 4×4, guests are encouraged to drive slowly and carefully to get there
  • You need a permit to mountain bike outside the property’s surrounds – this is easily available for purchase from the Hermanus Tourism office

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Hemel en Aarde Valley

If your mental checklist for a quality, soulful getaway includes an unspoilt view of mountains and water, the sounds of silence (and birdsong), the most stylish yet easygoing surrounds and home comforts like the best ever linen and a seriously sorted kitchen, then look no further than Hemel Cottage in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, near Hermanus.

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Rates

R4 500 – R6 500