Meet me in Churchhaven
About a ninety-minute drive from Cape Town, hidden within the wilderness of the West Coast National Park, the beautiful old fishing village of Churchhaven rests. A place so secluded and serene, the 100-year-old church bells ripple across the clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon every Sunday, signifying the end of the week.
A cluster of sugar-cube cottages dot themselves along the shoreline and around the wetlands, consciously and modestly occupying the reserve. Being totally off-grid, and in line with nature’s narrative, the community has established an environmentally sustainable way of living. The cottages were built using only natural, local materials, and are protected by a stringent set of design guidelines if any renovations are made. The charm of this little hamlet’s history, that’s so embedded into the soil, takes hold of your soul and captures your heart. Days are spent slowly ambling down to the water, like the resident tortoises, wading through the gentle waves, ducking and diving to your joyful heart’s content. Occasionally climbing aboard a rowing boat or paddleboard, in an act of exerting some of the energy earned at the brunch table. Only to return to the cottage for another feasting and earning all over again. Without the futile techy temptations, the vastness of the landscape robs you of your thoughts and replaces them with silence. Intermittently broken by a slow, muffled growl of the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. The odd ostrich skips past the front porch from time to time, over the antelopes’ tracks. Mongooses, Cape foxes and at least 250 bird species – including a bevvy of over 5000 flamingos – will keep you captivated when you’re lazing by the lapping waters or swinging from the hammock. It’s a treasure trove to those that settled and nurtured its land. It’s a secret slice of West Coast heaven, and we’d like to share it with you.
So secret that not everyone can access the reserve at any given time. The West Coast National Park gate opens and closes at certain times – In winter, between the months of April and August, the gate opens at 07h00 and closes again at 17h30. In summer, between the months of September and March, the gate opens at 07h00 and closes again at 18h30. Once the gate is closed, you cannot gain entry. A conservation fee is payable per person, upon entry into the park all year round.
Here are our Churchhaven hideaways…
This classically styled cottage opens its sturdy wooden doors to the heartbeat of the home, where the kitchen, dining and living space stretches itself open-plan. Allowing the light to blissfully bounce off the lagoon and permeate every room. The front porch is perfect for still, summer evenings listening to the stillness that surrounds, as the pizza oven warms the stones and bakes a little slice of Napoli.
With the sublime, tepid waters of the lagoon just a short amble down the rugged pathway, through the burgeoning fynbos, this dreamy hideaway gently pulls itself away from the water’s edge and hovers above like a proud patron of the reserve. Darting yellow-billed kites and sweeping swallows catch the breeze that’s cooling those crispy, sun-kissed shoulders.
An overtly honest and laid-back humble hideaway, this relatively younger cottage harmoniously mingles with an older crowd. Situated on the sandveld – that cushions the roar from the Atlantic and nurtures the blossoms of the fynbos shrub – free-roaming antelope and kudu can be gazed upon as they leisurely graze and wade their ways through the wetlands.
Rough stone walls, polished screed floors, reeded ceilings, French linens, free-standing bathtubs, antique cabinetry and candelabras, nguni rugs and ottomans, wooden batonka stools, swinging hammocks, red doors, green tables and white walls adjacent the turquoise blue waters. This hideaway is rich in its colours and textures, and generous with its space and serenity.
Sitting discreetly upon one of the many sandy pathways around the reserves, this rustic beach hideaway is ideal for the active members of the crew who can step out onto the running and hiking trails, and bicycle routes around the lagoon. Or meander down to the shoreline for a bit of sailing and kite-surfing – books, buckets and spades for those who’d rather watch on by.
A morning swim in the cool, clear waters is followed by a decadent brunch at the long table where the baked goods are steaming and the coffee is flowing. A quick snooze ensues, in the hammock that’s shaded by the reed roof. Or perhaps an hour of toasting the backs of our calves on the low walled seating area. Only leisure is on the cards at this homely hideaway.
This gorgeous cottage, full of quirky vintage treasures and story-telling memorabilia, oozes charm in every room. Almost directly on the shores of the lagoon, you can spot the flamingos dancing and taste the salty air from the comfort for the verandah. Light the fires at night and watch the lanterns burning on the small boats on the lagoon.
What feels like a farm-style kitchen with its vastness and antiquated charm, this hideaway is great for a team of six to all gather around the hob without spoiling the broth. Carry the dishes outside to the verandah where the style continues from pillar to post. Sit back and savour the spectacular view, with your favourite people around the table.
A colourful concoction of bright blues, greens, yellows and reds adorn the walls, the furniture, the kitchen shelves and the light shades in this slightly eccentric fisherman’s cottage. Seclusion and calm enraptures as you look out beyond the thorn trees, the natural fynbos shrub and out to the lagoon.
West Of The Moon
Although it looks like an ancient homestead within the nature reserve, this delightfully quaint cottage shares its old soul and heirloom furnishings with the magnificent nature it inhabits, delivering breathtaking views of the lagoon from dawn till dusk.
Spend your days hanging out in the hammock, cooking up a culinary storm in the colossal kitchen, feasting from the long tables, reading endlessly from one of the recliners, or quite simply doing nothing but looking out over that blue lagoon. If you must, take a little hike around the reserve with the bird and flora books for a game of PI (positive identification).
Yellowwood Cottage – For Sale!
A journey to the so-called slice of heaven can quickly become an investment of a lifetime with this exquisitely styled hideaway, overlooking the lagoon. Where one weekend of fun and frolics with the family turns into a long life of barefoot, kikoi, laid-back, beach living, wading through crystal clear waters from dawn until dusk, and venturing off into the wilderness for some trail finding and small game spotting. Days and nights spent in the sanctity of Churchhaven will be the best days and nights of your life.
Perfect Hideaways has over 300 curated properties across South Africa. If you’d like to stay in one of these hidden gems, contact us on [email protected] or +27 21 790 0972 so that we can help you find your perfect hideaway.