Ballots Heights Nature Reserve
To step through the front door of Sally and Henry Paine’s villa, perched on the edge of a cliff in Ballots Heights Nature Reserve, is to be set adrift on the Indian Ocean. Here, the elements are the heroes: the sea mist drifting through the open glass doors on the veranda, the electric blue of the water that sparkles as whales and dolphins frolic in the waves below you, and the kaleidoscopic colours of the fynbos clinging to the rocky slopes surrounding the house. Sally works with environmentalists and botanists to ensure that the magic of this small fynbos biome is preserved and managed responsibly, despite the development of holiday homes on the reserve. The Bee’s Knees villa is the Paines’ response to their shared passion for this little piece of heaven. “It’s the kind of place where the houses have to make as minimum an impact as they can. We wanted to create an easy relationship between the inside and outside of the house,” Henry tells me, speaking to the ethos of his design aesthetic. Expect a bottle of wine awaiting your arrival to soothe the pains of your journey. And, as the weather here can turn in an instant, the window seat by the wood-burning stove is the place to be on rainy, windy nights as you snuggle in with a good glass of red and a book. On fine days, the winding trails that thread their way through the fynbos (in full flower while we were there) down to the bay below are highly recommended.
Insider tip: To ensure you truly disconnect, there is no wifi at the villa, so pack plenty of books, bottles, and good old-fashioned board games to keep yourself occupied.