As you drive the long winding road through the wilderness of the West Coast’s National Park, and arrive at the beautiful, old little fishing village of Churchhaven, a cluster of outlandish cottages come into view, framed by the shoreline of the Langebaan Lagoon and unfurling wetlands. A hidden bolthole so secluded and serene, the 100-year-old church bells in the village centre chime every Sunday, to signify the end of another week. Immediately opposite the church, and overlooking the placid turquoise waters, Whalesong Beach Cottage reveals its blue roof, as it sits snuggly at the end of the lane, amongst the fragrant fynbos, beneath the branches of an old thorn tree.
In keeping with the vernacular of the village and honouring its signature in being environmentally sustainable, this hideaway opens its beautiful blue doors to a classically styled Fisherman’s cottage. With its iconic white-washed walls, comfy contemporary furnishings, windows and glass doors aplenty – that mirror the colourful concoctions of the bright blues and greens of the interiors – Whalesong Beach Cottage is in complete harmony with the environment it nests within. Two separate cottages stand beside one another, with little outdoor showers, sun-traps, shady siesta spots and a gorgeous long stoep adjoining them together. The main cottage invites you in to the helm of the home where the entertaining, cooking and dining takes place, a large main bedroom and loft space. The L-shaped cottage at the rear has an additional two suites with lovely views out over the lagoon and the wetlands.
Days will spent dawdling down to the water’s edge, passing the resident tortoises, ostriches and mongooses on the way. It’s up to you whether you to choose to climb aboard a rowing boat or paddle board, or simply wade about the gently lapping waves. Endless walks around the lagoon and through the reserve on bikes, scouting the wildlife and magnificent landscape. Many a lazy moments will be spent on the sun-loungers, window benches and heavenly beds with a book and a pair of binoculars, for another positive sighting of one of the 250 bird species that inhabit the area. The peace and quiet will permeate your thoughts, until it’s time to prepare the next feasting around the table. Then it’s back to business in the kitchen that’s big and open-plan enough for a couple of bossy cooks and their exciting menu. When the broth begins to boil over, the outdoor fire-pit beckons for those who wish to huddle around the crackling fire, away from the madding kitchen crowd. There’s enough space to be in your own little world, as well as in it all together, at the same time. That’s the magic of Churchhaven – and this special family cottage – it very quickly transforms time spent together, to being more valuable than ever. The digital detox keeps the board games going, the great chats flowing and the holiday clocks from ticking.
What we love!
- The configuration of the two buildings allows for plenty of quiet resting spots for when it’s just you and a book, with distant sounds of family chatter and laughter blending in with the soothing sounds of nature.
- Even though the property is set back from the shoreline and rests amongst other cottages and the church – which certainly adds to the charm – the views are still absolutely spectacular.
- The gorgeous aromatherapy products in the bathrooms that add an extra indulgence to your stay.
- The fire-pit for all to gather around, taking in the beautiful views and peace and quiet.
What you need to know…
- Churchhaven is only a ninety-minute drive from Cape Town, within the West Coast’s National Park, where opening and closing times of the gate are in place and have to be adhered to.
- During your stay, you’ll be living the simple, off-the-grid life you’ve been talking about doing. There is cell phone reception, but no WiFi. Solar power is the majority rule with the romance of wood burning stoves, fireplaces, and of course gas ovens. Always be water-wise.
- Bring plenty of drinking water.
- There is no need for disco hair; so no dryers, hair straighteners or curling irons to be used in the electrical sockets. They are there for the purpose of small appliances.
- The walkway to the beach is currently being worked on, so it may take a little longer than 5 minutes to amble down to the water’s edge.
- This hideaway does not have an oven.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie