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Rugged landscapes, amazing views, gourmet food, whale watching or even swimming with sharks
After our visit to the Cape Winelands we reached the small village of De Kelders, 160 km southeast of Cape Town. This small village is quietly situated between Stanford and Gansbaai and right on the coast. Here you can escape hectic city life and just enjoy the tranquillity.
The coast between De Kelders and Hermanus is a whale watcher’s paradise. Here you will find up to 80 Southern Right Whales (15-20m long) giving birth in the bay from June to early December with the best whale watching time being in October and November. Both these towns have received Best Whale Watching Site awards from UNESCO.
Anyone that is seeking adventure and would like to dive with white sharks, is exactly in the right place when in Gansbaai. The waters around Dyer Island, about 12 km off the coast, are swarming with white sharks (8m long) like hardly any other place on earth, due to a large seal colony. Shark cage diving is just not our thing!
This small town is simply perfect to just go for a walk or hike, relax and unwind. You can walk for hours along the ocean and let your eyes wander over the splendid landscape. It is very safe here and nothing is fenced in.
Sea Star Lodge
The chic Sea Star Lodge, formerly a private home, is the first of 3 hotels in the Sea Star Collection by German emigrant and owner Ardi Hasenohrl. Sea Star Rocks in Cape Town and Sea Star Cliff, about a kilometre down the road, is also part of the Sea Star Collection.
This cozy 5-star Guest House or B & B, is located directly on the coast of Walker Bay. You have stunning views of the Atlantic coast from everywhere. When the fog floats over the ocean in the morning, it is absolutely beautiful!
Manager Clarissa took great care of us. She always spoiled us with a delicious glass of wine and some nice conversation and gave us tips for trips and dinner.
On the upper floor you will find the lounge with a sofa, fireplace, bookshelves, breakfast table and the kitchen. You simply feel right at home. On a lower floor level there is a small pool and a sauna.
Now manager Candice, along with the rest of the team, which also includes the 2 dogs Mulan and Max, takes care of the guests.
Breakfast is varied, delicious and everything you could wish for. You can also order hot egg dishes, which are then prepared with love.
This stylish Rooftop Room has a 35 square meter roof terrace and a great bathroom with glorious views. You could watch the whales from your bathtub, when you are here at the right time of year. There also is a 32″ LCD TV, a Blu Ray DVD player, a Nespresso coffee machine and of course a delicious bottle of Sea Star wine.
You almost feel like in an apartment when you are in the 85 square meter Owners Suite.
Apart from the great view, there also is a dining table with a fireplace, a huge couch, a king-size bed, a Jacuzzi bathtub, a walk-in closet, a Nespresso coffee machine and a full HD projector with a large screen. The DVDs can be found in a number of drawers in the lounge.
Interview with the owner Ardi Hasenohrl
We spoke with Ardi, the very nice owner of the 3 houses in the Sea Star Collection. You quite simply feel just how much he loves this country and his 3 hotels.
Sea Star Cliff
This luxurious and stylish lodge provides guesthouse accommodation and is situated almost right on the cliffs and offers stunning views of the Atlantic coast. It was opened by Ardi Hasenohrl as the 2nd hotel in the Sea Star Collection. In the tastefully decorated, very modern rooms you can sleep under the stars and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view from your bed or the bathtub.
Some days cooking is also done in the Sea Star Cliff – personally by the managers Elzette and Jean! Both are chefs and also cook in the restaurant Springfontein.
Sea Star Lodge guests can also come and eat here. We enjoyed a very delicious 4-course meal with matching wines and that for only 37 EUR per person!
Tips for Dinner
Blue Goose Restaurant
Chic and extremely good fish and grill restaurant. A 3-course meal including wine for 2 people costs only about 32 EUR.
12 Franken St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.facebook.com/Blue-Goose
Coffee on the Rocks (open until 17:00)
Cosy cafe right on the coast overlooking the whales.
81 Cliff St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.coffee-on-the-rocks.com
Pop-Up-Restaurant Niel Stemmet
Anyone that stays at one of the Sea Star hotels, can also go to dinner at the private restaurant of interior designer and chef, Niel Stemmet! Definitely not be missed! www.dekeldersprivateretreat.com
Springfontein (open for dinner Wed – Sat)
Award-winning cuisine on a wine farm with fresh home grown ingredients and a touch of molecular gastronomy. www.springfontein.co.za
Honeymoon & Marriage proposals
De Kelders is a very romantic place and the Sea Star Guest Houses provide everything so that you can spend beautiful and romantic moments here as a couple. Owner Ardi always tries to offer his guests something very special. There are many unusual locations for marriage proposals here. As such Ardi for example, once organized a helicopter tour for a German couple. When they flew over the beach, there was a huge heart drawn in the sand by his staff. The “groom-to-be” took the ring out of his pocket and asked his sweetheart to marry him. Everyone was of course, very happy!
For honeymooners, there is also 10% discount, a bottle of sparkling wine and rose petals in the room and bathtub. Romantic picnics on the beach, special spa massages, candlelight dinners etc. are also available on request.
Tips for Trips
Walker Bay Nature Reserve
The perfect place to soak up the sea breeze and go hiking. Tip: As a guest staying at one of the Sea Star hotels, admission is free. Just mention it at the barrier.
The small town of Hermanus is just half an hour’s drive away and is perfect for whale watching (at the right time) and for shopping.
Horse Riding mit Bertie
We took a beautiful ride on the beach with Bertie, but you can also go riding in the mountains. Riding from 18 EUR per hour. Bookings for beginners and advanced riders can be made telephonically at 079 1958463.
Masakhane Township Tour with Vuyi
Our tip to get to know the lives of the locals better. Vuyi, one of the staff members at Sea Star Lodge, took us into her township and showed us where she lives. We tried home-brewed beer and the trip gave us a lot of insight. Unemployment is widespread here. Mostly the people here are from the poorer Eastern Cape and the rest of the family still resides there. We learned about the fates of many parents that see their children very seldom. They can often only find work in faraway places and then send money home for their children’s education. The standard of living is constantly being improved by the government, but it is still a completely different life all together.
A new preschool is currently being built in the township. Thanks to a sponsor, a part of the preschool children’s meals is also covered.
African Seabird and Penguin Sanctuary
Founded in 2006, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, tries to protect and preserve the fragile marine ecosystem. An important part of their work and research is the protection of the breeding and calving grounds of the Southern Right Whale as well as the protection of endangered species such as the African Penguin and the Great White Shark. Injured and sick birds and penguins are nursed back to health in the sanctuary and then released back into the wild.
Every donation helps! www.dict.org.za
Shark Cage Diving /Marine Dynamic Shark Tours
(Winner – African Responsible Tourism Award – Best Wildlife Conservation)
5 Geelbek St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.sharkwatchsa.com
Tip: When booking through the Sea Star hotels, you also get a bottle of wine
We felt right home in this wonderful guest house. Everything is very personal and the all-round service comes from the heart. It feels more like you are visiting friends, than staying at a hotel. Thanks to the guesthouse ambiance you also quickly get to know the other guests. And then the view really is priceless – and all at a great price! No wonder that there are so many regulars here. We will definitely come again – then of course, at the right time to also do some whale watching.
Rooms: 6 rooms at Sea Star Lodge and 9 rooms at Sea Star Cliff
Transfer: About 2 hours by car (144 km) from Cape Town Airport
Parking: Right in in front of the guest house
Minibar: 1 bottle of wine from the Sea Star Collection included
Air Temperature: 7 to 26˚ Celsius
Best Season: All year round
Time Difference: None
Price: From EUR 98 per night in a double room including breakfast at Sea Star Lodge or 110 EUR at Sea Star Cliff
Features: Stunning sea views | great quiet location | wonderful landscapes
Honeymoon Special: 10% Discount, 1 bottle of sparkling wine, rose petals in the room and bathtub
Perfect for: Couples, families, gourmets, people seeking peace and quiet, nature lovers, animal lovers, adventure seekers
More tips for a romantic tour of South Africa can be found here.
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