Making every day count – getting the most out of your African dream!
Perfect Hideaways homes are unexpected and remarkable. From architect-designed beach houses to hi-tech tree houses and blissfully rustic off-grid cottages, each one is a home-away-from-home. A holiday is where we go in pursuit of a dream … so there’s no need to look offshore when we have some gems for you right here on your doorstep.
Africa – the continent with everything: heady, ripe and full to the brim with exotica. You can feel it tingling on your skin, with its lush mountain scenery and rugged coastline with intimate inlets and the underwater brilliance of neon-coloured marine life.
The continent is fingered with colour, madder reds, royal purples and ochre. It is luscious, exciting (where else in the world can you watch whales and dolphins swimming together and see the Big Five in the same day?), and once you have tasted its exotic flavours you will never want to leave. From its high rolling mountains to its bewitching wilderness where wild animals roam, you will be seduced.
South Africans themselves are ingenious and inventive and wherever you go you will find small, sweetly personal endeavours, gardens bursting with vegetables in poorer villages, small potteries where you can buy plates of the palest celadon greens, or a glass blower selling balloons of raspberry coloured glass. There are home-woven cloths in yolky yellows and artisan wines from small vineyards.
Discover hidden hideaways for family holidays
Africa is an ancient land that once supported pre-dinosaur inhabitants and it is in Africa that the oldest Homo sapien bones are found in the Cradle of Humankind. Africa is a hundred destinations in one and easy to get around – on world-class roads you can ride in one day from a highland eyrie to tumbling coastline, from five-star glamorous safari lodges to the small privately owned game lodges like Ashanti, that lies within a ring of Sneeuberg mountains on the edge of the plains of the fabled Camdeboo.
Travel, for example, from the shores of a pristine lagoon, an hour from the capital city of Cape Town where a house called Seagull Cottage commands an intimate inlet with its silvery waters on an elusive piece of turf, hidden from the world in the West Coast National Park and alive to a scattershot of animal life. It is here one can spot a flamboyance of flamingos with their knitting-needle legs, a kudu running across a sandy track and hear the roar of the Atlantic ocean in the distance.
Here in this small fishing village, unknown to the world – or even the nearby cities until recently – you will find a house that is sophisticated and simple, scraped down to its bones but with a satiny luxury as smooth as the inside of a lamb’s ear. When you are whacked out there is nothing like this place, to restore inner peace.
Still thrilling to the rhythm of the continent is romantic Zululand. Not far away lies the east coast, where No. 37, a house with a Rider Haggard swagger, has gleaming swatches of knotted wood and forests of large-leaved, emerald green tropical foliage. It has been described as ‘a deep, slow, yoga-breathing kind of a place’. With its swaying hammocks and the whirl of fans, its real witchery arises from a combination of warm waters and lush greenery.
For centuries, the grand families of the Cape have holidayed in Betty’s Bay, so much so that the name has become a byword for having a relaxed family time. Lemuria is built around large spaces with painted backdrop contrasts, deep black, slicked with shades of turquoise, yellowy emerald, aquamarine and shafts of gold. Despite the recent fires, its luxury lies in its design and position, right on the beach with its tidal rock pools.
To be on the water’s edge is the prize and the house, which grew out of a small cottage, offers uninterrupted views of the sea and is shaded by a tree that lends a latticed penumbra to the interior courtyard on the hottest day.
Deep in everyone’s heart lies the archetype house, the seminal Jungian dream. The River House in Franschhoek is such a house with its restrained use of stone, reed and polished screed. Offset by luxurious woven fabrics, the property lies on a stream between two great Cape vineyards and everything about the house invites you to relax and explore. There is a lap pool for a cool plunge and a vegetable garden bursting with richness, plus the best of Cape wines on your doorstep.
Here’s how to achieve smart holiday planning now…
Booking early is the key. Instead of spending months smooching diaries, the internet is full of tips that will help you stretch holiday time. By taking tactical days off between public holidays and weekends, your two-day breaks can actually become five or six days long.
For example, take eight days of annual leave at Easter to get 16 consecutive days off work. That’s over two weeks!
In England and Europe there are numerous bank holidays that can be stretched out of sight. South Africa boasts 13 public holidays, many of them on a Thursday or a Tuesday. You know what to do – and if not check out this link.
Now that hols are so much a part of a school child’s life with half terms, the long winter vacation in South Africa, the eleven-day break in the spring time, clever planning can help elasticise the often too-short school hols.
So if you feel tuckered out, make for the hills with the help of leisure detectives Perfect Hideaways who have researched the valleys and sea shores to find you that one destination that speaks just to you.
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