The West Coast in winter

By Kirstin Buick
05 August 2013

YOU journalist and blogger Christiaan Boonzaier discovers the benefits of going on holiday in winter, including staying in luxury accommodation on a shoestring budget.

I’M BACK! After a few days’ leave I have enough energy to last until the December break.

But before getting down to writing more stories for YOU I have to first boast shamelessly about my most recent “achievement”: Eight nights’ accommodation on the West Coast cost me only R1 075, which is less than R135 a night.

And don’t think I stayed miles away from the sea or in remote places tucked away in the bundu. Take a look at the pictures and video below. I promise, I stayed just about on the seaside in Yzerfontein, Doring Bay and Strandfontein, and on the slopes of the Cederberg in modern, comfortable houses and chalets where I could enjoy the sea and mountain air and silence.

Many friends and family members believe you should spend winter at home, but I decided to get away. Usually I would stay in a tent, this being the cheapest form of accommodation but because I didn’t feel like braving the Cape winter in a campsite I searched the internet to see if I could find an affordable, comfortable home I could temporarily make my own. I discovered several jewels, reinforcing my belief that travelling in winter has several advantages.

Not only are the roads quieter, but the seaside towns are not as full and special offers abound. And offers where you pay for two nights and get one or two nights free were fairly common and I immediately decided to go for these. It meant there would be more money for booze . . . I mean treats and airtime and I could enjoy nature without feeling crowded out by a bunch of Blue Bulls nervously on the lookout for Stormers on the attack.

At the age of 27 I could for the first time walk 14 km on a beach without encountering another soul, as I walked from Strandfontein to the mouth of the Olifants River and back. For a few hours I could really experience nature and hear its silence and the babbling of mountain streams. I also realised how unbelievably beautiful our countryside is when the heavens open and it rains for a whole day or when Mother Nature bedecks the landscape in blanket of snow – something you rarely see in South Africa.

I challenge everyone not to only focus on what you can experience in the summer sun, but to also think about taking a winter break. If you go with a bunch of friends accommodation is even more affordable and you can share the cost of food and petrol.

Believe me, it’s a winter winner!

Where I stayed

Surfsong, Yzerfontein

Jean Bachelors, Leoni's, Strandfontein

Basic Hut, Driehoek Tourist Farm, Cederberge

Video by Jurg Slabbert

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