Travel Tuesday: It doesn’t sound exciting, right? Why would anyone who lives in trendy, vibey Cape Town, leave Cape Town to go to a really small town that is about 48 times smaller than Cape Town? Well… New Year’s Eve in Cape Town tends to overwhelm me, it’s busy and there’s this expectation of having to have the best night of the year and because of this, it is almost always underwhelming.
In 2016, we decided to getaway for the weekend and booked three nights in Swellendam, at Hermitage Huisies… or so we thought.
Arriving on the 30th of December at Hermitage Huisies after two hours of driving, we were exhausted, the sun was showing off and my flip flops were melting (I actually got an eczema outbreak because of this, has this ever happened to anyone in Havaianas?)
“Hi, sorry, who are you?”
“We are checking in, for 8 people. We booked three cottages”
“Oh… well… I am only expecting you tomorrow”
After a motivated struggle on our behalf, we checked our booking confirmation and realised that the booker (guys, it was Muneera) reserved the cottages for the incorrect dates. So, the day before New Year’s Eve, we had no accommodation booked and nowhere to go.
That sounds a lot more dramatic than it ended up being. Luckily, the owner was kind enough to call the other holiday accommodation owners she knew and arranged two available cottages nearby.
The new accommodation had a distinct smell of brown sugar, the air was thick and stuffy and well, real friendship happens when your friend saves you from an attack by a giant grasshopper (Thanks Natheefah).
Skipping ahead, we finally checked in at Hermitage Huisies the next day, as confirmed on the booking. The accommodation was clean, fully equipped and well-decorated. Plus, the grasshoppers were normal-sized.
The dam at the accommodation was emptying and we needed a swim, we were kindly directed to the nearest, filled up dam where we could swim (or in my case, ‘swim’). She didn’t mention that we’d need to drive our cars as though they were 4×4’s to get there, nonetheless, it was beautiful, with only one other family enjoying it. It was also peaceful.
Hours went by as we floated along the dam in food shaped floaties.
I can count on one hand the times where I was fully relaxed and doing nothing productive.
The wind picked up and one of us were almost blown away. As the wind pushed her along, further and further away from us, she shouted for help, unable to paddle back to us as she was holding her hat.
“YOUR HAT OR YOUR LIFE?” we shouted desperately.
She chose the hat, and Natheefah had to save her.
New Year’s Eve was spent under the stars and around the fire, the smell of braai meat and garlic rolls filling the air. Potato salad in one hand and a 30 Seconds timer in the other. I was asleep by 02:00am, it was perfect.
Another sunny day meant another search for swimmable waters and we hit jackpot. We ventured further and found ourselves at Witsand Beach, a beautiful Blue Flag beach with white sand stretching on for 4km.
The water was like a lukewarm bath. I could live in that water.
The next morning, we stopped at Tredici, an Italian restaurant in Swellendam. The service was fantastic and the food was good. Good food, good memories, good friends.
So yeah, Swellendam had more to often than I thought.
Ps. Did I mention that we all bought the same R70 hat from Pep so that we could match? #Friendshiphats
Shameez Patel Papa