There’s something rather wonderful about hopping in the car for a weekend away knowing that there isn’t a long drive involved. And, with limited cell phone reception in this off-grid hideaway, it’s possible to truly wind down and do absolutely nothing!
Reachable only by foot, Smitswinkel Bay (the last beach before Cape Point) is a delightful little hamlet untouched by time and dearly loved by families who’ve been here for generations – some since 1919 when plots were first created. Many Capetonians don’t even seem to know it exists but the team at Perfect Hideaways has always loved ‘Smits’, as it’s affectionately known, and we’re delighted to welcome our first beach cottage into the portfolio.
Lantern Tides has been thoughtfully designed to make best use of shafts of natural light and sea views across Smitswinkel Bay, with its distinctive lantern-shaped skylight giving it its name. It is a comfortable eco-home with a shaded deck for braais and summer lunches together and a toasty wood-burning stove for wintry nights, when you tuck in early and wake to the stillness of a sea mist rolling in… perfect for lie-ins when you need to dive deep into a good book. Summers here are long and languid, with invigorating salty swims restoring the soul, rock pools to explore, and lazy hours spent watching the kids on the beach.
Be sure to dig out your backpacks and pack lightly, as the path from the road to the house is a 450m walk downhill from the scenic road above that winds its way to Cape Point. It’s a true hideaway in every sense of the word and perfect for those who enjoy a little adventure (and a hike!).
What we love!
• The beautiful light that streams into the house in the late afternoon, and mesmerizing views no matter the weather or time of day
• The sense of community here: children and teens feel safe and everyone knows each other
• Exploring on early morning walks: yellow lichen literally glows on the rocks and the pools are chock-full of sea urchins and colourful anemones
• The fact that Smitswinkel hasn’t changed over the years – and let’s hope it stays that way!
What you need to know …
• That your car may be parked in an enclosed Parks Board parking area at night about a kilometre away, towards Cape Point. Unless you get a lift to the shorter path, the walk back to the house is 1.1km through the valley
• The shorter path is still a 450m downhill walk to the beach house, so it’s a good idea to pack light in backpacks or easy-to-carry bags It’s best to be dropped off at the top of the shorter path, and to arrive in daylight
• Cell phone reception is available on the braai deck but there is no reception on the road above the house, so it is necessary to make a definite time to meet the host at the parking area.
• Baboons sometime visit, but the house is brilliantly designed around these visitors. The troop is tracked by a baboon monitoring team who keep an eye on them
• There is solar electricity and a plug suitable for charging cell phones.
• There’s no need to bring games: there is a great selection at the house (including Catan), plus binoculars.
• If you really feel like leaving the valley, you can explore Cape Point or Simonstown, but we bet you won’t – it’s just heavenly here.
Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon