Wine lands: De Zeven Guest Lodge
If you’ve not yet heard of the Banhoek valley, add it to your list. Set neatly between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, this dramatic amphitheatre of mountain offers top-drawer wineries (hello Bartinney and Oldenburg) to sip at, conservancy trails to cycle on, restaurants on the doorstep (Tokara, anyone?), and the rest of the wine lands within easy reach.
And De Zeven Guest Lodge is your go-to guest house in the Banhoek. First off, there are those valley views: just as remarkable whether you admire them from the pool deck, the glass-walled lounge, or through the picture window in the custom-built sauna.
Eleven elegant rooms are shared between the Manor House — more classic in style — and the contemporary art-filled Barn Rooms that overlook vibrant fynbos gardens laid out by designer Rentia Hobbs.
It’s bed and breakfast only, but there’s no shortage of great restaurants nearby. If you really can’t bear to leave, there’s a private chef on speed-dial.
Route 62: Jonkmanshof
In Cape Town’s foodie circles, Hemelhuijs is spoken of in hushed tones. And rightly so, what with the detailed décor, bespoke crockery and fine food — unfussy, yet full of care — from chef-patron Jacques Erasmus.
Those same qualities carry through to his intimate guest house in the laid-back village of Montagu, sitting pretty between the Breede River wine lands and the Klein Karoo.
Just four suites are split between two historic properties set a few doors apart on Bath Street. What they have in common is the inimitable aesthetic and eye for detail of Erasmus and partner Hein Liebenberg. Artworks hang easily beside antiques; contemporary décor marries subdued country chic. Four-poster beds and percale linen hint at no shortage of luxury, but fresh citrus from the garden and the best breakfast in the Klein Karoo are what add the unforgettable country touches. Road-tripping Route 62? This is where to break your journey.
If you can’t stay the night, do stop in at De Nagmaal, the farm-style shop where you’ll find Erasmus’s ceramics and homemade goodies from the gardens.
Swartland: Bartholomeus Klip
While the maverick winemakers of the Swartland have put the region on the map of late, it’s wheat, not wine, that has long made this the breadbasket of the Cape. So, fittingly, it’s the corduroy-straight lines of wheat that frame the gravel road leading up towards Bartholomeus Klip, seated on the rump of the Elandsberg mountains.
This beautifully restored Victorian farmhouse offers just four rooms, plus one larger adjoining suite. The décor is vintage farmhouse, and charming in all the right places. Expect warm hospitality from sisters Lesley and Louise Gillett, who run the show.
During the day, enjoy nature drives in the adjoining reserve, take a kayak out on the dam, or pack the bike and tackle the trails up the slopes of the Elandsberg. Or just settle in on the stoep and decompress.
Need more space, or coming with the kids? Wild Olive House (sleeps six) and Heron House (sleeps 10) are better bets, with private pools and large gardens.