Overberg Accomodation: A comparison of three options

A few weeks ago M and I did our cycle tour of the Overberg and we stayed in three towns along the way: Grabouw, Sandbaai, Caledon.

We wanted affordable self catering accommodation which would offer us a good opportunity to rest up for the next day and was close to a grocery store so that w could buy supplies. Here is what we used and how they compared:

Belfield Wine Farm: Acorn Cottage

Belfield Wine Farm is just behind the Peregrine Farm stall. We stocked up on food here and cycled the 1km down the road to get to the farm. The Owners Mel and Mike and very friendly and welcoming and  ensured that we had everything we needed. The organised a braai pack for us for supper and when we arrived the Weber was ready. “Oh and there is fresh coffee in the fridge” Mel said as she left us to get settled. We strolled around the garden and relaxed. The setting is nice and quiet and feels like you are very much in the countryside. There is one other cottage on the grounds and also the farm house. The wine tasting room is less than a minute away 🙂

The Verdict: Accorn Cottage is spotless and you can see that is has just been refurbished. The rooms are small but perfectly adequate. There are a few books on the shelf but for those looking for a TV you will be dissapointed, we were not!

Real attention to detail and a love for what they do shone through. I can only reccomend this. We will be back.

Price PPPN: R 275

Sandbaai Country House:

Initial contact with Angelique and Riaan was a bit unenthusiastic but I guess this could be a language thing. Our apartment opened onto the parking area so not a huge on the atmosphere front but we soon got used to it and relaxed. All amenities were there and we had to ask for nothing. We plopped down on the couch and watched TV to relax before taking one of the dogs for a walk on the beach.

Breakfast is included in the price and seeing as we were going to head out the door at first light Angelique made us some sandwiches to die for which we consumed on the road. We really appreciated the gesture. We parked our bikes in the garage. The closest food shop was the Engen garage about 1,5km away on the main road so supplies were a bit limited but we managed.

The Verdict: Sandbaai Country House is good value especially if you include the breakfast ( I can’t judge how good this is). If you want a beautiful setting then I would look elsewhere but if you plan to be out all day and are just looking for a roof over your head then look nowhere else. I can certainly recommend this.

Price PPPN: R 300

Little Lotta Cottage: Spacious Cottage

Spacious it certainly was! A large lounge / dining area / kitchen. Inside braai, etc. We had only very brief interaction with the staff who showed us the cottage and then the bill. A bit strange. Not much hospitality shown. Out of the three options we were most dissapointed bu Little Lotta. There was nothing wrong per se but the broken tiles in the kitchen, not clean counters in the kitchen and unfinished bathroom was not what I would expect.

The Verdict: Spacious Cottage is adequate if you intend to just spend a night and leave the next day. With a little bit of attention and care shown by the owners this would be a great spot.

Price PPPN: R 330.

All three accommodation have a website. contact them there.

Full disclosure: We paid the full advertised price for each of the above for one night each between 21 and 24 Dec 2013. We received no benefit for writing this and these are our opinions alone.

Let me know if this is of interest and I will post more reviews like this.

Overberg cycle tour 21 to 24 Dec 2013

The idea of doing a cycle tour has been in my head for a long time. I did not find the right degree of challenge and manageability for our plan until a few months ago.

M and I were cycling in Grabouw and loved it. A plan was coming together for our December holiday. I love this time of year when you can forget your work routine and return to the basics. Bike, eat, sleep, repeat. In many ways last year’s big bike week was prep for this adventure.

Villiersdorp, Groenlandberg, Grabouw

Villiersdorp, Groenlandberg, Grabouw

Day 1: Groenlandberg 60 km 7h
Villiersdorp was the obvious staging point. We left at first light and followed the tar road to Twaalfontein: Our access point to the big green mountain. It was crucial to get navigation right here in order to avoid unnecessary effort on our first (and most likely hardest) day. A short push through soft sand led onto a long straight jeep track into fynbos fields. Sean greenberghad warned us of a portage section

higher up due to the path being washed away. But soon enough that was behind us and we knew we had cracked the worst. A celebratory snack at the top and down the long jeep track to the top of the Viljoen’s Pass.

More sunscreen was applied and we

bike clean and braai action

bike clean and braai action

headed through the forest. With filled up water bottles. Into the heat of mid day. Thankfully it was mostly down so we did not have to work too hard. Exit the forestry gate and roll into a town stocking up on festivities.

Refuel at Peregrine and cruise to Belfield wines just down the road. Our hosts were superb and the Acorn Cottage offered the perfect shelter for two tired bodies.
The owners had sourced braai packs for us for dinner and those went down a treat. We quickly had to readjust our energy consumption as there were no left overs for the next day.

Grabouw, Higlands road, Arabella, Sandbaai

Grabouw, Higlands road, Arabella, Sandbaai

Day 2: Highlands 60km 5h
Starting with fresh filter coffee is always a treat.
The morning was not too hot and we made good time to the base of the pass. Views were spectacular. Iona farm on top has the most stunning position and a very inviting looking dam. We will be back.
The long down towards Arabella. We practiced building sand castles on the new single track starting at the Arabella gate. Well done on the resort to set this up. Certainly improves your sand riding skills! Lunch under the trees. (We won’t be that leisurely when we do the Total Sports Terra Firma in a few weeks time). Tar into Sandbaai. Shop at the Engen and roll down to the coast and the Sandbaai Country House. Luckily they had tv and this kept us amused.
An early night.

Sandbaai, Hemel en Aarde, Tesselaarsdal, Caledon

Sandbaai, Hemel en Aarde, Tesselaarsdal, Caledon

Day 3: Chocolate and Beer is all you need: Hemel en Aarde 70 km 7h
Our host had packed us sandwiches to die for so bags were heavy as we signed in the the logbook at Euodia Cycles. Up the black route we went into the super pretty valley. Can only recommend this! At the top we hit the district road and continued through dust clouds. A lucky water stream by the side of the road and we continue on to Tesselaarsdal. The hidden gem.

highlands road

highlands road

Super pretty surroundings but the hamlet is a bit disappointing. We find a bottle of liquid gold to refresh and we are off on the last bit to Caledon. Watching blue cranes a plenty.
Little Lotta Cottage was certainly spacious and the cracked tiles add to character.

Caledon, Villiersdorp

Caledon, Villiersdorp

windmills

leaving Caledon with windmills in background

Day 4 Sonderend 60 km 5h

We leave the windmills behind and head for the hills. Chasing herds of sheep and guineafools. Finally down to the Sonderend Rivier. Huge and impressive. The heat saps our energy as we climb the final pass. The freewheel all the way into Villiersdorp. Celebratory coffees and cake!
Well done to M who rode really well and always smiled even when things got hard.

Thanks to Sean McGuire of Eco Adventures for info.
Thanks to Mel and Mike of Belfield wines for superb hospitality. We will be back.
Thanks to Antoinette for the fantastic packed sandwiches.

Thanks to all other friends and supporters who encouraged us along the way.
The only logistical glitch we had was at Nature Conservation who only accepted exact cash for permits on the day. This is just infuriatingly annoying. Especially more so after we phoned several time to confirm details and visited the office the week before.

I can only recommend this trip to all. We had an absolute blast and it is very doable with minimal logistical headaches.