It’s been quite the year, right? By November, we’re all firmly focused on the finish line that pops up somewhere around mid-December, hopefully with a holiday in waiting. And where better to wash away the stress of 2022 than a seaside escape? Somewhere away from the bustle of a city. Where the white noise comes from ocean waves, not the office air-con, and you have space to breathe in, breathe out, and repeat.
Somewhere like Pure Sea Lodge, perhaps?
Perched on the shores of the Western Cape’s Walker Bay, within the Romansbaai Beach & Fynbos Estate outside Gansbaai, Pure Sea Lodge is the end-point of owners Bjorn and Annick’s own search for wellness. When the cold waters of the Cape proved the solution to chronic illness, the Belgian couple moved to South Africa to create a space for others to soak up the serenity of this seaside locale.
Today Pure Sea offers just four suites – no kids under 16 – in a subtly elegant lodge that draws on biophilic design. Here, textures of wood, stone and rattan echo the natural surroundings, with both the Scandi-chic private suites and airy public spaces leading effortlessly onto sandy paths towards the sea. The estate offers an expanse of lonely shoreline, along with walking trails in the estate, while Annick brings her wellness experience to the compact menu of treatments offered at the lodge.
Just on the other side of Cape Agulhas, Morukuru Beach Lodge rests atop the dunes of Koppie Alleen in a quiet corner of De Hoop Nature Reserve. Sandwiched between fynbos hills and the deep blue seas of a Marine Protected Area, the five suites of Morukuru each dish out enviable sea views. The standout is the Honeymoon Suite, which comes complete with a large private deck and outdoor bath.
Beyond soaking up the sea views, fill your days with guided coastal walks to explore pristine tidal pools, or let the helpful staff set up a beach umbrella in a quiet cove. Self-guided fynbos trails and mountain bike tracks allow you to explore further afield. Prefer a little extra privacy? Morukuru Ocean House is an exclusive-use four-bedroom villa situated close by.
Sandcastle Villa also prides itself on privacy. Set within a 275-hectare private conservancy just an hour’s drive south of East London airport – complimentary transfers included – the dramatic hilltop location is as striking as the unusual architecture. Whether that reminds you of local termite mounds or the sandcastles of halcyon childhood holidays, it’s a fine bolthole for families and small groups to escape to for a little R&R.
Sandcastle’s four spacious suites sleep up to 8 guests, all of whom get to enjoy the facilities of this enormous 1600-square-meter villa. That includes a pair of solar-heated swimming pools, quiet lounges, and a sheltered alfresco dining area where you can tuck into piping-hot pizza from the wood-burning oven.
Not that you’ll be doing the cooking of course. Sandcastle is an all-inclusive stay, with a private chef on hand to cater to your every appetite. And there’s plenty of opportunity to work one up, with two kilometres of gloriously empty beach stretched out below the villa. Grab a surfboard, lace up your running shoes, or take a kayak out onto the Ngculura River. This empty stretch of coastline is yours to explore.
If Sandcastle feels a little remote, head north to Shaka’s Rock, where Sala Beach House recently threw open its doors as a glamorous new address on the Dolphin Coast. Set overlooking Thompsons Beach – famous for its large tidal pool – Sala offers a selection of ocean-view rooms and suites, as well as a three-bedroom private villa for families or groups after a little privacy. The Sala Beach Spa is another reason to stay in, with a trio of treatment rooms and a menu of facial and body treatments.
But up at Makakatana Bay Lodge, you’ll find all the wellness you’re after out on the waters of Lake St. Lucia. Set on the shores of the lake, deep inside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, the Lodge offers an unforgettable beach and bush experience.
Here your days are packed with adventure, whether it’s a cruise on Lake St. Lucia in search of resident hippos and migrant birdlife, or a full-day safari through the Western and Eastern shores of the Park, ending with a beach picnic and a dip in the Indian Ocean. Back at the lodge, freshen up in the lakeside rooms and suites, before dinner in the boma as the bush comes alive at night.
Deadlines and to-do lists? They’re all but forgotten, as you let a dose of vitamin sea take care of the stress of 2022.