Loya's House

Extracted from Luxury Travel Editors

Discover why ‘The Blue Anchor’, a cliffside hideaway in the Cape’s best-loved coastal town of Hermanus is a year-round favourite…

The cliffside path extends along the shoreline of Hermanus towards Grotto Beach where the Overberg mountains meet this magnificent sweep of Walker Bay.
The view from Loya’s House is iconic Hermanus, stretching up the undulating cliff path towards the unspoilt beaches of Walker Bay where Southern Right whales come to calve each year

The meandering path that hugs the cliffs along the Hermanus coastline has to be the most beautiful stroll in the Western Cape, and in a province spilling over with beauty, that’s a bold claim. Perched along that path, homes both old and new gaze across Walker Bay as the swell pulses in and the mist hovers between the shoreline and the folding hills of the Overberg.

With this in mind, the hero of our story would rightfully be the sea view, the coves and breathtaking scenery. But in this instance they play second fiddle. The Blue Anchor is one of those homes – a premium location a few hundred metres from the centre of town, on a quiet tree-lined road and a stone’s throw from the sea. Literally.

The upper balcony of The Blue Anchor has a beautiful view out over the cliffside path with its rocky coves and tidal pools, extending all along the Hermanus coast with its dramatic Overberg mountains and pristine beaches lining Walker Bay.
Quintessential Hermanus views: from the upstairs balcony at The Blue Anchor, views extend over the cliffside path with its rocky coves and tidal pools and along the coast with the dramatic Overberg mountains and pristine beaches lining Walker Bay

A charming family heritage

With its roots entrenched over three generations, the owners Charles and Claire Russon, have enjoyed more than 50 Christmas seasons in the house.

Over the years, it has been intelligently adapted and designed to handle a hot summer’s day on the deck, a cold day in the north-facing garden courtyard, or a winter weekend warmed by roaring fireplaces – baking perhaps, or cosying up on the sofa with a blanket.

A rich history is felt by the love for the house that just “sits in its bones”. What struck me most were the mementos, artworks and furniture pieces, blending antique with contemporary. In the kitchen, there’s an abundance of platters or bowls for any occasion – bake, braai (barbecue) or feast. You feel immediately at home – everyone can have space – with the kids enjoying an entire annex with their own playroom, television room and bedrooms, if they wish. Or you can all hang together – a stroke of genius in spatial design.

The dining area in the airy, open-plan living area where three generations have enjoyed family celebrations together: The Blue Anchor is a family friendly home filled with happy memories of sunny seaside holidays in South Africa.
Three generations have enjoyed family celebrations here at The Blue Anchor, a family friendly home filled with happy memories of sunny seaside holidays in South Africa

The owners have honoured the property’s history, with the famous blue anchor – originally bought by Claire’s grandmother – taking pride of place in the kitchen, or the truly magnificent refectory table from Groot Constantia Wine Farm in the hallway that was pursued on auction. They have entrusted many of their own precious mementos to welcome anyone -– the family photos are a gentle reminder to take care when you’re here. A lifetime’s worth of shells brimming to the top of a glass vase on a courtyard table have been collected, one-by-one, over years of beach walks or swims in the azure waters of the tidal pool.

Loya's story...

When it comes to generosity, the weekend would not be the same without “anchor host”, Loya Laiki. He recalls the wonderful story of originally meeting the Russon family in Malawi when he was working in a resort as a sous chef. It wasn’t long before Claire offered Loya the chance to visit them in South Africa. She received a call from him some months later, in which he explained he had arrived in Cape Town and was ready to work. Claire, however, lives in Johannesburg so he travelled up to join the family for housekeeping training while working for them in their home, before he took up the helm at The Blue Anchor. Possessing the warm grace so typical of Malawians, nothing is too much trouble for Loya, who is always eager to help but very sensitive to guest privacy, offering to light fires, close up in the evening, and handle meal preparation. Arguably, Loya may just be the greatest treasure of this home.

The open-plan dining area leads towards a large kitchen at The Blue Anchor, while the living area has a cosy wood-burning fireplace – the perfect spot to read a good book or take in mesmerising sea views

What to expect at The Blue Anchor beach house

For those considering a stay, it’s perfect for families and groups of friends. There are six bedrooms – many with views – plus a games room, loft room, sea-facing deck, garden courtyard, swimming pool, braai area and lounge with an abundant wood supply for evenings spent by the fire.

Upstairs, the main bedroom looks out onto one of the finest “moving canvases of gargantuan rolling swells” viewed from a small V-shaped cove that brings the house close to the crashing waves, often with a pod of dolphins seen in the distance. In whale season, particularly around September, this has to be the best seat in the house. The main bathroom en-suite, with its matte-black Victorian tub, Moroccan tiles and walk-in shower with its own sea view, is a real treat.

Technophiles will love the fact that guests can hop onto the Wi-Fi, download the Sonos app and enjoy the house playlist.

For added peace of mind, an intercom connects directly through to Loya at the touch of a button, and security shutters close up the house at night for added security and privacy.

It’s not likely you’ll want to leave this house, but even if you do, a short walk along the cliff path takes you to the village or restaurants nearby. In our opinion, two days would leave you wanting more. Of the many Perfect Hideaway properties we have visited, this sits in the Hall of Fame. My wife admitted that “if it was mine, I would struggle to let this glorious secret out.” Luckily for you, it’s my job to share the story because Loya‘s House just adores its visitors.’

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The Blue Anchor is an easy-going seaside home: the open-plan living area leads to a beautiful garden and pool behind the house

To find out more about The Blue Anchor and the best places to stay in Hermanus or Walker Bay.

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This mesmerising view from The Blue Anchor makes it a home for all seasons: a roaring fireplace allows reflection on moody winterscapes over Walker Bay from its cosy living room, and the summer heat brings the whales. Listen to them playfully slapping their flukes on the surface of the water and the whoosh of their telltale spouts

Original story by LuxuryTravelEditor.com. View @luxurytraveleditors

For more information, contact our team on [email protected]

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When you’re not sitting here soaking up the views, there’s so much to explore around Hermanus and Walker Bay

WHY VISIT HERMANUS AND WALKER BAY?

It’s an easy drive from the Winelands or from Cape Town, and there’s so much to do in the area. Our advice is to self-drive and take a circular route over Sir Lowry’s Pass via the mountainous fruit growing region of Elgin and Grabouw, returning via the coastal route that takes you past Betty’s Bay, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay and the scenic Kogelberg. It’s family friendly, and there’s loads to do besides enjoy the beaches: hike or walk in the mountains, go wine tasting or simply stay put and relax or cook delicious meals together while enjoying the views.
Where is the quaint coastal town of Hermanus?

Hermanus is in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, and is just under two hours’ drive from Cape Town. Perfect Hideaways has a handpicked collection of family friendly, self-catering holiday accommodation in the Western Cape, so if you’re seeking something beyond Hermanus, whether a luxury beach cottage or a romantic weekend escape tucked up on the mountainside in the fynbos, you’ll find it here.

Whales, wine and what else?

Hermanus is world-renowned for its whale season, when whales come into the shelter of Walker Bay to calve and if you walk along the cliffs you’re bound to see (and hear) their tell-tale spouts. Or book a boat cruise from Hermanus or from nearby Gansbaai to Dyer Island with a marine biologist on board, and learn about our great white sharks, seals and dolphins. Equally good is the Hermanus wine route, starting in the nearby Hemel-en-Aarde valley but serious connoisseurs will discover a myriad lesser-known wineries between Baardskeerdersbos and Elim, on the road to Agulhas.

Stanford is a characterful village, best known for its creative community of artists, but the village itself is worth a visit for its small boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and art galleries plus the Birkenhead Brewery and cheese farms nearby. Go kayaking on the Klein River, or book a cruise on the Lady Stanford for rewarding bird watching. A little further down the coast, below Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, is Klipgat Cave – an archeological gem with findings dating back 50 000 to 80 000 years ago, and a striking view back over Walker Bay towards Hermanus from the cave entrance. You can also book a gallery visit to the Grootbos Florilegium to see an extraordinary collection of botanical art that celebrates the legendary Cape fynbos.

Hermanus has safe beaches and enjoys a coastal pathway from the old harbour right along to Grotto Beach, which is loved by runners and walkers at all times of day. Fynbos mountain trails for walkers, cyclists and runners start from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

When is the best time to visit Hermanus and the Overberg?

Many would say that the area is a year-round destination, given that the whales usually arrive in July and are here in their numbers until well into summer with good sightings up until late November. Summer holidays are festive but very busy in Hermanus, so Perfect Hideaways suggest travelling off-peak, from September to November or January to April, but winter is pretty spectacular here when the fynbos and aloes are in bloom.

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Who can resist this ever-changing view of Walker Bay?

For more information, contact our team on [email protected]

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