December holidays are always a big deal here in South Africa, the schools are closed, businesses shut down for a few weeks and the weather is just amazing. While most people book their end-of-year holidays already in January/February, my family has never really been big on going away for the December holidays. This is usually because of work but 2017 was the first time we had gone away for December in 5 years (the last time was because we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday in Mozambique).
Imagine my surprise when my mom told us we were going away for December, and not to Zambia (My dad is beyond obsessed with Zambia) – instead we’d be spending 2 weeks in the beautiful area of Stilbaai! Yay to a beach holiday for the family!
Stilbaai, also known as the Bay of Sleeping Beauty, is a town that forms part of the famous Garden Route. It’s about a 4 hour drive from Cape Town but we decided to drive down from Pretoria (with a stopover) as we took our two small Yorkies, Phoebe and Pedro with. It was a very long journey there and back but totally worth it.
Our accommodation was a beautiful 5 bedroom house (we needed the space for the family) just 30m from the beach! We stayed at Gull’s Stilbaai which is self-catering and oh-so spacious! This holiday home is located right on Moquini Beach, one of South Africa’s Blue Flag beaches. This perfect powder-white beach stretches for more than 11km!
Stilbaai is usually home to about 4000 residents but during the festive season, you can find up to 20 000 people in this little seaside town! Not really being fans of lots of people on the beach, we were so grateful to have the private stretch of beach to ourselves.
While there is so much to do in Stilbaai (water sports; beach activities; feeding the eels; golf; markets; shows etc), we decided to rather lay low as it was so busy. Having said that though, I do have 3 things I can recommend to you that we did get up to while we were in Stilbaai.
Visit Inverroche Gin Disterilly
While it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of gin, my excitement for Stilbaai grew once I found out that we could go for a gin tasting! Plus it would be at Inverroche which is home to the small batch, limited volume, handcrafted products that incorporates a range of rare indigenous flora unique to the Western Cape of South Africa.
We opted for the 1-hour tasting and tour – we loved every minute of it and learnt so much about the process of making gin and how Inverroche adds their own special touch to everything – ps: They are also very focused on sustainability which was great to find out.
I asked a few of my Instagram followers which gin they enjoyed the most from Inverroche and the majority voted for Gin Amber, but my personal preference was the Gin Verdant. You can pop over here to find out what each bottle contains (prices start at R330.00)
Visit Any Of The Stilbaai Beaches & The Beautiful Lagoon
We had the best time just being able to hop over the road and walk right down to the beach. The water was crystal clear; so clean and stunned you with striking shades of blue. While the water was pretty chilly, I naturally frolicked in the waves for most of my time there – I loved swimming in the gorgeous ocean!
Stilbaai also has a gorgeous lagoon that most people head to during high-tide. This was another great spot for us to visit especially where the lagoon meets the ocean. Plus, you can always take a drive and go explore the nearby beaches.
Head for Lunch at Klienbergskloof
Home to a successful Olive farm, Kleinbergskloof offers you a seasonal restaurant that is worth the visit. Actually, the olive tapenade that comes with certain dishes is worthy of the visit alone. With all white decor and a gorgeous view, this seasonal restaurant was aesthetically pleasing and the food was just as good. Perfect location for a Sunday afternoon, grab a bite to eat and indulge in a great glass of wine while strolling along the patio looking out to the lagoon.
If you are planning to visit, just give them a call first to see if their restaurant is open and pick up a few jars of their olives while you’re there.
Have you ever been to Stilbaai? Let me know where you’d recommend to go?