Insider secrets: Hermanus and the Hemel-en-Aarde valley
Want to know what it’s actually like to live in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde valley and Hermanus? We get the lowdown…
Room with a view
Top of many a honeymooner’s bucket list is the romantic Birkenhead House and Villa (www.birkenheadhouse. com), perched on the cliffs with dramatic ocean views and easy beach access. Known for its excellent food and service, it has 11 luxurious suites to choose from for a pampered night or two. The Birkenhead Villa welcomes children and has five suites and a private chef.
Hole in one
Arabella Country Estate boasts 236 freehold lifestyle estate properties that have been developed to a uniform theme. Residents have access to the fully fitted 145-room luxury Arabella golf estate hotel, which includes conference, food, and beverage and leisure facilities as well as a wellness centre. The 18-hole golf course, a par 72 layout designed by Peter Matkovich, is of international standards and has full clubhouse facilities. Despite these credentials, one of the biggest draw cards to Arabella Country Estate is the ecocredentials it boasts.
The property is located within the transitional zone of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and is adjacent to the Bot River Lagoon, a designated buffer zone of the Biosphere Reserve. It has several large vacant areas that will remain undeveloped, and the Arabella Country Estate management is required to conform to the objectives of the Biosphere Reserve, including the principal of sustainable development and protection of the natural environment on and surrounding the property.
Linda Fourie is a professional photographer and has settled in Hermanus after several years living in the USA. ‘We had intended to live in Cape Town but we came to stay in my parents’ holiday home here while we were job hunting and fell so in love with the town that we decided not to leave,’ she says. ‘We live two streets away from the sea and two streets away from the mountain, making ours a very outdoorsy lifestyle.
‘For the kids it’s great,’ says Carolyn Martin, co-owner of Creation Wines. ‘There is not an iota of a chance they will become mall rats: they spend their time surfing, playing tennis, cricket and rugby, and there are plenty of golf courses around us. We have teachers from Cape Town coming to take ballet classes and there are art classes, Mastermaths and plenty of academic support. The local primary school produces some great results and gives the kids a good dose of reality at the same time. There is also a private school, Curro Hermanus, which was initiated by me and a friend about three years ago. It has about 500 kids and is growing. It is part of a large group of well-established private schools across the country, so there is something for everyone.’
Owner of Pure South Gallery and Gift Shop, Liz Coates has lived in Hermanus for nine years and enjoys the fact that although the pace of life is slower than in the city, it’s hardly a sleepy town. ‘There is always something happening here,’ she says. ‘We even started a new art and cultural festival in June this year, Hermanus Fynarts, through Hermanus Tourism. You must have the right attitude to live in a small town. There so much to do: there’s a wine club, boules every second Sunday, hiking clubs, and everything revolves around the golf club. The key is to get involved and support everything that happens in the community. There are lots of small, individually owned businesses here and we all support one another as business is very seasonal.’
Text Candice Botha
Photographs iStock, Supplied
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