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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Cozy Country Cabin

Updated: Jan 6

These days it's quite difficult to find a quiet, decently priced, dog friendly place within 2 hours of Cape Town. So the Country Cabin in St Helena Bay was a wonderful find. The drive is quick and easy from the city, obviously depending on traffic on the N1 and N7, but easy to do in 2 hours, so it's good for a weekend break. It is very easy to find using Google Maps and you recieve the most wonderful welcome from the host, Barbara. She is so generous and loves to share stories and information about the area, and adores having doggy visitors. The cabin is located in Brittanica Heights, above the main part of the seaside town, next to the owners house, but secluded. The cabin is the perfect size for a couple, with doggos of course. The double bed is comfy with enough space for the dogs beds on either side and a chest of draws that is big enough for more than a weekend stay. The bathroom is also a good size with a nice shower. It has wooden floors throughout and the floor in the bathroom is a bit creaky, as is usually the case in a cabin, but not desperately in need of work yet. The lounge/kitchen is just right, with a comfortable couch and chair, small fridge, microwave, kettle and 2 plate stove. There is also the all important coffee bodum and a good amount of crockery. There is an aircon in the bedroom, which is great for the hot summers. The little deck outside has a table and chairs and is a wonderful spot for meals or just having a good read. The cabin also has a nice braai area and an outside shower. You are also welcome to use the small pool near to the main house. The view from the deck is down over the farmlands and towards Paternoster, so you get lovely orange sunsets and see the lights of the village go on at night. There are lovely tortoise and mongoose visitors and lots of birds, including hunting kestrels, in the garden. We also saw a owl flying around once it got dark. Since it is a very quiet and safe area most of the properties, including this one, are not fenced in, so if your dogs need to be enclosed sadly this one is not for you.

St Helena Bay is where Vasco Da Gama first set foot in South Africa and there is a little monument to him near the beach. The town has a large fishing industry and looks to be growing larger with beach estates and lots of holiday homes being built. If you are a fish lover, then there are lots of restaurants you can visit and I'm sure buy fresh fish. You can drive through the harbour and along the pier to watch the boats coming and going. I think it is the cleanest harbour I've ever seen, the water is just amazing in the area. On the east side of the village is a lovely nursery and coffee shop, which also has a little putt putt course. It is pet friendly, dogs must be on leads, and there is a super playful golden retriever who had a hectic game with our guys in the nursery - he was beserk, running zoomies around the plants and pots. We found some lovely plants at the nursery, especially ones that like lots of sun, which we need for our garden at home. In the middle of the town is a little lifestyle centre with a couple of gift shops and restaurants. The Palms restaurant is very dog friendly and a lovely spot to cool off and have a beer or a bite.

To work up an appetite for all the lovely eating places there is a lot of outdoor space. There is a golf course nearby and a farm with cycling, running or 4x4ing, we even saw someone horse riding there. And of course there are beaches - long, long, long, white beaches. The sea is calm and if you are brave enough for the cold you could probably swim anywhere. There are a lot of beach estates with houses built right on the beach, but there are also sections with no houses. You can walk or run from St Helena all the way to Paternoster and even further south down the coast. It is mostly along the beach, with a few sections were the trail goes above the rocks. It is about 30km from the monument to Paternoster, one way. You go through an area called Duyker Eiland which is full of breeding Cormorants and there are also lots of Oystercatchers. The beaches are so long and the sea so sparkly blue you feel like you could just keep going forever, if only the legs didn't get tired running in the soft sand.

What a lucky find this one was. If you are a couple with beach loving dogs then this is a must for you. We will definitely be going back, probably in the winter flower season.

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