Currently Schrywershoek Cottage is undergoing renovation and will be ready for summer but is already available for shoots.
Situated just south of Churchhaven is the hamlet of Schrywershoek and here is where you’ll find Schrywershoek Cottage, a traditional West Coast cottage set in an isolated spot on a postcard-perfect lagoon. This idyllic hideaway is built in the vernacular ‘langhuis’ style – long, low-slung and whitewashed with a thatched roof and small shuttered windows.
Life at Schrywershoek is simple… there’s no piped water, no electricity (only solar power), not even a shop, and the locals in this area fiercely protect their little corner of Eden on Langebaan Lagoon. The old-time lagooners are a fascinating breed. Their bloodlines are mixed with sailors and runaways, whalers and deserters. The ‘founding fathers’ include the Barsbys from Devon, Meyers from St Helena, Lloyds from America and De Montforts from France. Strange customs and traditions have been handed down through these families, such as sheepskin dances and curious burial ceremonies, secret herbal remedies and exotic recipes (like breast of flamingo).
Schrywershoek, a large farm that once extended across the entire peninsula from the lagoon to the Atlantic, was bought by Theodore Wiehahn in the 1960’s. The cottage has a sublime location, out of sight of Churchhaven around a peninsula. Three generations, grandfather Theodore, father Kaspar and son Theodor (yes, without an e!) have renovated and extended it over time, adding an outside bedroom and a shaded stoep, and he’s dug a well to provide fresh water.
Only the front lawn separates the cottage from the lagoon, its turquoise colour a balm to the eye after the harshness of the veld in summer. One of the great privileges of staying at Schrywershoek is that guests have sole access to the southern end of the lagoon, which lies within the farm’s borders. You can wander for hours along these pristine shores, impossibly rich in bird life, and not see another soul.
Guests spend lazy days gazing at the parade of flamingos that stain the lagoon rosy pink or the snowstorms of terns falling from the sky to feed on pilchards. You might spot a family of ostriches ambling along the beach or eland browsing the brush. Go cycling in the national park or simply wander through the fynbos feasting your eyes on nemesias and mesembs, gousbloms and babianas.
In the evening, pour a tall iced drink and watch, mesmerised, as lagoon and sky dial through the colour spectrum. Then it’s time to light the candles, hurricane lanterns and braai fire, and settle in for a sociable gathering under a star-infested sky free of light pollution, serenaded by the faraway booming of surf on 16-Mile Beach. There’s really no place quite like it in South Africa.
Schrywershoek Cottage is currently available for photo shoots, versatile in its ability to echo beach or island locations in Greece, the New England coast, the Caribbean or just about anywhere in the Mediterranean.
What we love!
- What makes Schrywershoek Cottage so special is its isolated location and intimate relationship with the lagoon. The water changes hue throughout the day.
- A paradise for hikers and mountain-bikers.
- The pristine, fynbos surroundings deep inside a national park.
- A back-to-basics, barefoot lifestyle at the water’s edge.
- It’s the perfect launchpad for viewing the spring flowers in Postberg’s wildflower reserve.
- Exploring the shoreline with its magnificent birdlife, especially the huge flocks of flamingos. Lagoon birding is exceptional with more than 250 species recorded. In summer the shallow, southern (Schrywershoek) part of the lagoon is home to the largest number of migrant waders in South Africa, including curlew sandpiper, little stint and turnstones. Look out for specials such as bar-tailed godwit, terek sandpiper and chestnut-banded plover.
Reviewed by Justin Fox