Newsletter Spring : 2009
Horizon Holiday Cottages, Noordhoek, Cape Town, Western Cape.
Our self catering accommodation set in the beautiful Noordhoek valley offers an ideal base to explore Cape Town. Our rates are affordable but we offer top quality accommodation.
We have extended our winter special rates offer into Spring and early summer. In these recessionary times everyone is shopping around for a good deal. Some people are searching in Google for cheap accommodation that has the same amenities that can be found in Britannia Hotel Newcastle and other modern establishments. We noted the definition of "cheap' as "of poor quality; inferior" Our self catering, Western Cape accommodation, is certainly not cheap as defined, but it is of good quality, spacious, comfortable but very affordable. Now we have made it even more so with our Spring low season offer ; Stay 5 nights and pay for only 4. This offer is valid right until end November, but excludes school holidays. Horizon Cottages is popular with families because it has kid friendly accommodation- plenty of room to play and great security- so bring the whole family.
“Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"” Robin Williams (actor)
Spring is a special time in the Cape :
Although the winters of the Western Cape are not severe, Capetonians look forward eagerly to the end of winter and enthusiastically celebrate the coming of spring on 1 September. Many businesses and offices get into the mood and will hold small office parties, and even encourage dressing appropriately – usually casually in themes of red and white.
Spring is a time of rebirth, and that brings to mind for those of us who live in this beautiful part of the world, which is Cape Town, that is synonymous with the coming of migrating whales, who visit our shores to mate and give birth in the warmer waters. Whilst many whales can be seen basking off shore at Noordhoek’s Long Beach, the most rewarding spots for viewing whales are in our neighbouring False Bay suburbs; Fish Hoek; Glencairn and Simonstown; all just a few minute’s drive away from Horizon Cottages , where the Main Road meanders alongside the sea. Very often you will not even need to look out for the Whales but will be alerted by the number of cars parked at the various observation points on the road , often affording one a truly close up view of these marine mammoths, rewarding you not just with a spume of spray, but a friendly flip of the tail.
Hermanus Whales and Wheels Festival :
Further down the coast is Hermanus , arguably, the whale watching capital of the Western Cape. For me; the coming of spring brings with it the Whales ‘n Wheels Festival, which is held in this charming coastal village, with the classic cars on display on Sunday 27 September. This gives me the incentive to clean and prepare one of my classic sports cars to join friends in this first motor show that follows the winter months. It is sheer pleasure to drive top down in a crisp morning, through Muizenberg , along the coast of False Bay, and over the mountain pass known as Sir Lowry’s pass to join the motoring throng, as well as the tourists, making their way to the festival. The classic car exhibition is held in the grounds of the primary school. Expect to see scores of classic yesteryear cars, even military vehicles and a spectacular display of model cars in the school hall. For a view of some of my classic cars, feel free to browse my facebook page
The Festival’s stars are, of course the Whales, themselves. I can assure you that, if you make your way down to the old harbour, you will find many easy vantage points on the rocks, where you will be able to see far into Walker Bay, and you are guaranteed to be treated to a wonderful aquatic ballet as the whales sound and flap their tails in the air to the enthusiastic clapping and cheering of the crowds.
The festival to be held from 25-27 September attracts thousands who flock from Cape Town to enjoy not only the scenic beauty but to revel in the music and festival atmosphere of this 3 day event. Walk down to the Market square and you will be mesmerized by the array of African and other handicrafts, food and drink stalls, and vibrant African rhythms; you cannot help but being caught up in the excitement and good cheer. Explore the little town which has a wide variety of historic buildings, mostly now given over to Art galleries, antique and collectible shops. You cannot help but be caught up by the festival atmosphere.
Celebrate Longer days in Cape Town :
Long days- ending in beautiful sunsets- what better way to end the day than sipping a cool drink looking out over the ocean. Noordhoek faces West and it is known for breathtakingly beautiful sunsets- nowhere can one enjoy them more than the deck of our local Skebanga’s pub. Sunny afternoons can be spent on the deck of the pub; watching whales mating off the beach in the cool Atlantic.
On the road to Noordhoek Long Beach you will find tucked awayunder the ancient milk wood trees, the Red Herring restaurant above which is situated Skebanga’s Pub - so laid back that shoes are not essential and baggy shorts are fine. This place is loud and always packed - popular with horse riders, surfers and locals just chilling out, but there is always room for one more. Enjoy the truly spectacular views of Long Beach from the outside wooden deck.
Deservedly reputed to be one of Cape Town’s great pubs, Skebanga’s serves great pub fare at modest prices, but locals know that the best nosh is the wonderful thin based Pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven, and said to be the best in the Southern hemisphere. (Certainly I have not had better, not even in Naples- the birthplace of Pizza!) and a challenge to the heartiest eater.
Western Cape Wild Flowers
Spring in the Western Cape is also synonymous also with our spectacular wild Flowers. The most famous spots are up the West coast, and on to Namaqualand. You do not have to travel far to enjoy some spectacular displays. A short drive over the mountain from our Cape Town self catering accommodation you will find Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens; world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora which it displays throughout the changing seasons and for the magnificence of its setting against the slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants in an awesome 528 hectares which includes a diverse range of fynbos as well as natural forest. A wide variety of African plants, proteas, cycads, together with rolling lawns are interspersed with streams and ponds and well-laid out pathways for easy walking. Whether for a casual stroll, a more strenuous walk or perhaps a languid afternoon picnic, accompanied by a choice bottle from the Cape wine lands, the gardens are a must-see when visiting Cape Town. At Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town you will find a visitors centre, a coffee shop and several restaurants.
Further afield but within a drive of approximately 1 hour you will find most spectacular carpet of wildflowers in the Postberg Nature Reserve, which forms part of the west coast national park near Langebaan and is about one hours drive from Cape Town, travelling North up the R27 highway. This section of the nature reserve is open only during the wildflower season and you will be treated to easy viewing of a number of antelope species. The drive alone will be rewarding as you will undoubtedly experience a wide variety of flowers alongside the road.
Don’t think however that you have to make a special trip to see wildflowers; as you drive over Ou Kaapse Weg from Horizon Cottages you will be able to enjoy proteas, pincushions and a variety of flowering bulbs blooming at the side of the road. As you travel the highway into Cape Town you are unlikely to be perturbed if you are caught in peak hour traffic; just look around you and enjoy the flowers on the traffic islands or the spectacular forests that cloak the side of the Table Mountain range. Who would wish for a better way of calming down traffic frustration.
The wildflowers are early this year so take advantage of the off-season rates and visit Cape Town soon.
We hope to see you soon to enjoy spring at Horizon Holiday Cottages