Raw Africa Collection


We made our road trip plans only the day before.

Caught off-guard by a public holiday at the end of the week, we had carte blanche for an impromptu long weekend thrill.

That’s the thing about South Africa… when the spirit of adventure takes you, the possibilities are endless.

Being new locals on the Tsitsikamma edge of the Eastern Cape Garden Route, we were drawn west to the river estuary panoramas and laid-back luxuries to explore in Plettenberg Bay.

Just before we reached Plett, a winding road off the N2 took us higher and higher up to Baron’s Estate.

We should have anticipated the views to be striking, but we only turned to the sea view once we reached the very top and were gobsmacked by the Keurbooms Lagoon and entire Bay that lay stretched out as far as the eye could see.

Sky Villa Boutique Hotel is perched confidently on the most scenic elevation in Plett – away from the buzz of the larger holiday town. The 5-star hotel only opened in December last year but has an established and relaxed charm.

Our room had its doors flung open to the balcony overlooking the Bay. Here and there, little touches of ‘local’ told the story of the surrounds… an artwork of a Knysna Woodpecker against the wall, locally-fired clay bowls and Mungo beach towels and throws – designed and woven at the Mill just down the road at Old Nick Village.

We arrived just in time for sundowners and the theatre of a sunset, framed perfectly from every angle within the Sky Villa Restaurant. Here, another theatrical masterpiece ensured, this time engulfing all of our senses…

Dinner at Sky Villa is served bistro-style, so expect big portions and recognisable classics. The crackling fire and approaching cold front inspired hearty options like slow-braised beef short-rib and Karoo lamb shank. For us, though, the cheeky glamour of freshly-harvested, locally-grown oysters with some local bubbles is what hooked us first.

Fresh oysters are a speciality served every Wednesday during the winter season. At only R75 for six plump ones, booking is essential and needs to be made the day before. On Fridays, they also have a Date Night special – a three-course dinner for two at R500 per person – and reservations are welcomed from non-resident guests.

The Cape starlings’ chatter woke us the next morning.

On the lower deck, the big glass-panelled doors had been pushed back for the breakfast affair, which we later shared with a few local sunbirds frolicking in the garden.

The day was ours to take, but we couldn’t help linger a little… shouldn’t every mini break-away kick off with unlimited sleep followed by champagne for breakfast? From the pampered luxuries of Sky Villa we floated – head in the clouds – to the collection’s beach-bum brother.

The Bungalow is low-key, 5-star exemplified.

Here, our sandy toes were not only welcomed on the big couches, they were encouraged.

The Bungalow has its own SUPs, windsurfing gear and kayaks, which guests can use at leisure – and at own risk. Bean bags and oversized scatter cushions are stacked around bonfire-style fire pits that ward off the coldest of sea-breezes at night… and a splash pool at the very centre of the digs confirms – ‘This Is Living’.

What makes this spot so exceptionally cool is how well it caters for families.

Apart from the family suite, which sleeps 6, there’s also a ‘Pods Room’ where kids can sleep in bunk-like bedroom compartments. It’s a new concept for South Africans, but luxury-seeking backpackers have uncovered the secret and know just where to go for affordable 5-star.

Even in winter, sun-seekers and surfers frequent the bar and rooftop terrace overlooking Wedge Beach. We joined them. After a day of exploring the Tsitsikamma forest, we tucked into The Bungalow’s signature pizzas.

On Thursdays, you can score a pizza PLUS beer for R75 a pop. Then, why not stay on ’till Friday, when live music rings in the weekend vibe. The music stops before 10 pm to accommodate in-house guests, but the sound of the crashing waves will keep you listening for much longer…

Traveller24 Tip: Make use of the winter specials! Accommodation at both Sky Villa and The Bungalow is less 25% for all direct bookings. At Sky Villa, a mountain-facing room, including breakfast, is R1500 per night. Or, if you prefer the sounds of the ocean, a cliff-side room at The Bungalow, including breakfast, costs the same.

– https://www.traveller24.com/FindYourEscape/GardenRoute/plett-road-trip-bliss-head-in-the-clouds-toes-in-the-sand-at-sky-villa-and-the-bungalow-20180815